The first few years 2007-2009 consisted of the original core members of the Board of Directors (Breininger, Alvarez, Mooneyham, Heller, Robbins, Novak, and Brown) led by Darrel Slack ('85) strategizing about just what our role as an alumni group would be through meetings and board calls, and a private Yahoo Group. We were late to the gay alum group party, both USNA and USMA had established gay alumni groups in the early 90s, which we admired for their boldness and courage. From an outsider's perspective, although "right" was on their side, it was pretty clear the Academies were not ready to foster a positive working relationship with USNA Out or Knights Out in the early days, and not for lack of trying on the part of the alumni leaders. Blue Alliance made a few assumptions and took a measured approach. We assumed that
Don't Ask, Don't Tell was going to be repealed at some point during the Obama presidency.
Society was changing to reflect wider acceptance of the LGBT community in general.
There were gay cadets and alumni in sufficient numbers as to warrant attention from the Academy regarding policy.
The Air Force Academy would greatly benefit from a group of alumni who were both supportive of the Academy and its mission, and were willing to assist and work with, not against USAFA in what we felt was an inevitable outcome. Who better than a group of successful graduates, now civilian, all proud of their alma mater, to be right there with the leadership staff of the Air Force Academy as times were changing!
Gay active duty, alumni, and cadets would greatly benefit from networking opportunities and the knowledge that they were not alone.
Don't be political, stick to the mission at hand - foster support and encourage equal treatment of cadets at the Academy and provide networking opportunities for alumni who had been away for far too long. A recurring theme for LGBT alumni was they lost touch and did not feel connected to their school.
Some of our first conduits to successful communication came from Dr. Steve Samuels and Col. Gary Packard ('82) in the Dept. of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at USAFA. Prior to the repeal of DADT in 2011, somewhere in 2009, we felt ready to reach out to the AOG to take their temperature. Our two primary contacts, and ultimately our biggest cheerleaders, were Gary Howe ('69) and William "T". Thompson ('73) - On the phone call T. said "What took you so long"? Gary was the Executive Director and T. was Chairman. What made these gentlemen so courageous was that at the time Blue Alliance was not an AOG Affinity Group. With the policies in place at the time, they foresaw our same vision and were willing to work with us behind the scenes to lay the groundwork. It was an exciting time. Within one week of the repeal of DADT, we received a call - "Welcome to the AOG as our newest affinity group!" Since then we have been involved directly with the Academy. We have reached out to each and every Superintendent and had meaningful dialogue. Of note, two of our most important advocates over the years were USAFA Supt. Lt. General Michelle Johnson ('81), Brigadier General Andy Armacost, Dean of Faculty, and Lt. General Jay Silveria ('85). Over the years, Blue Alliance has become a trusted affinity group. On many occasions our Board has been called upon to help the Academy understand and work through issues with the integration and development of all cadets with our unique perspectives. We have spoken at NCLS, the week long character development course all cadets must take. We have participated in panels at the Academy's request. We have even been guest lecturers in Behavioral Science classes. We have held numerous dinners, tailgates, and events. We invite you to track some of our history in the Past Events link above, to browse our website, to take a look at our Facebook page, to register on our Membership page, to donate to our cause, and to reach out to tell us what you - the USAFA LGBTQ+ community wants to see next.
Sincerely, Jeff Breininger ('85) Chairman Trish Heller ('87) Executive Director