Skip Muller USNA ’96
I grew up in a family with a military service tradition. My father flew B-17's in Europe in World War II, and when I was four and my parents decided to move from New York to Florida, we settled in Satellite Beach, FL, next to Patrick AFB because my father (then retired from the advertising business in New York) liked to be around pilots.
After graduating from Cocoa Beach High School in Cocoa Beach, FL, I turned down a scholarship to Florida State University because I felt a burning desire to enlist in the Navy as a crypto-linguist. I went through 1.5 years of basic and advanced Russian training at the Defense Language Institute on the grounds of the Presidio of Monterey in Monterey, CA, followed by cryptology school at Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, TX. My career took an unexpected turn when the Berlin Wall came down, my career prospects disappeared and I earned a nomination to USNA via NAPS.
After commissioning as a Surface Warfare Officer I had a challenging and rewarding DIVO tour aboard a pre-commission destroyer, USS DECATUR DDG 73, built in Maine and stationed in San Diego. I saw the ship through the late phase of construction through sea trials, christening, commissioning, more sea trials and prep for deployment. My second officer tour as the Assistant Auxiliaries Officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS JOHN C STENNIS CVN 74 was cut short by my discharge under DADT.
During my nearly twelve years active duty in the Navy, including my four years at USNA, I experienced the stress of coming to terms with my sexuality in an environment where being out would mean being losing my career. Despite the difficulties, I left with a valuable enlisted and officer experience that proved to myself I could succeed under any level of difficulty. I am grateful to the Navy for that experience, and for the great lifelong friendships I gained during those years.
Through USNA Out in its early years (roughly 2004-2010) I had the honor and privilege of being actively involved in supporting gay and lesbian mids and officers, building lifelong friendships and deriving as much personal satisfaction from the mentorship relationships as I hope the mentees feel they received. The advent of social media vastly improved the ability for GLBT midshipmen and officers to connect, build support groups and share important information. While the repeal of DADT is a victory, challenges will remain during the coming years as the Navy socializes openly GLBT servicemembers into its centuries-old cultural structure.
I've been in a relationship with a college student I met while stationed in San Diego, and we legally married in Washington, D.C., in April of 2014. We navigated my active duty Navy service, DADT and many other challenges together, and if you're a midshipmen or officer, gay or straight, know that having wonderful and trusted friends, and being a wonderful and trustworthy friend to them, will help you to build a rewarding life no matter what career, financial, health, family or other challenges you face.
Skip Muller '96