John "Rip" Fliszar USNA ’71 (L)
with husband Mark Ketterson
Many of us noted the obituary for John "Rip" Fliszar USNA ’71 in the November Shipmate Magazine written by his husband, Mark Ketterson. Although we never had the pleasure of meeting John, we placed his name on our in memoriam page here at USNA Out dot org. As we were simultaneously attempting to reach out to Mark, he contacted to us after he stumbled across our website. His poignant note to us is quoted:
I stumbled upon USNA OUT quite by accident and saw Rip (John) listed. I had no idea this site existed; nor did he, and I am sick over that as it would have meant the world to him. I have indeed read through it, and it’s amazing.
Many thanks to those who provided input so that we could develop the USNA Out goals for 2011 in support of our mission.
I believe that we have developed a very aggressive set of goals for USNA Out to accomplish in 2011, and I have no doubt that with the dedicated effort of many of our members that we will be able to fulfill our expectations.
Midshipmen, Alumni and Naval Academy Support – Support the Naval Academy and Brigade of Midshipmen:
Members – connect and network with each other:
Fundraising – Raise funds for USNA Out and the Naval Academy Foundation:
Organizational Development – strengthening the USNA Out organization:
We know there is much additional work to be done for USNA Out to remain in step with the forthcoming changes as the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy sunsets.
Franklin McNeil, Jr. ‘83
Franklin N. McNeil, Jr. was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and raised primarily in Memphis, Tennessee. After participating in high school sports and speech teams; leading his high school's student government and the Memphis' Association of Student Council Presidents and being elected to Boys State and Boys Nation, he received a congressional nomination to the U. S. Naval Academy from Congressman Jim Sasser. He received a B.S. degree in Political Science in 1983 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.
The Blue-Alliance, our counterpart alumni association at the U. S. Air Force Academy has just launched an all-new website. The Blue-Alliance was founded in 2007. We congratulate the Blue-Alliance for establishing this visible web presence and wish them continued success in their mission.
Because our webmasters are now sharing concepts and challenging each other's creativity, USNA Out will also benefit from the added energy of the Blue Alliance web development team. Visit their website and get to know and understand our counterparts of the U. S. Air Force.
In light of the Tyler Clementi (Rutgers/GWB) incident, USNA Out has added some stronger wording to our “Gouge for Mids” page to emphasize the availability of mental health services for Midshipmen at USNA.
There are only two confirmed and one suspected suicides among Naval Academy LGBT Alumni, all in an era when homosexuality was considered quite differently than in today's society. This is not saying that it is any easier for some today to come with the understanding of who they are, but the available resources to those “questioning” are vastly improved.
René Puliatti USNA '85
At a birthday party with classmates.
René, Joe, Eric & Jim. Pensacola, 1986
I grew up in upstate New York and in central Pennsylvania, two relatively conservative settings. At the Milton Hershey School in central PA, I was definitely an overachiever – Glee Club President, Student Body President, Class Treasurer, and yes, even Drum Major! I wasn’t sure then if I were gay or if it was just a phase, but I knew it was a label to be avoided. When considering colleges, I applied to the Naval Academy and Cornell University, among others. I chose the Naval Academy because I wanted to serve my country, to make a difference and to be challenged. I did and I was – in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
The Naval Academy was an amazing experience. I did well academically (Economics with German, traveling to Germany multiple times), sang with the Glee Club all four years (traveling nearly every other month), and did the required ProDev (barely). Still, to succeed there I had to compartmentalize my life, focus on my training and schoolwork, and suppress any romantic/sexual feelings. Luckily, I was raised a good Catholic, and besides, there wasn't much idle time for that kind of trouble. [read more..]
Annapolis, Maryland - USNA Out Chair Brian Bender ’93 attended this year's Outreach Conference February 26-28. The title of this year's conference was “Answering the Call: Encouraging STEM Education for the Next Generation.” The conference had a split theme this year: Strategic Outreach review and recruiting future midshipmen and officers with aptitude in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
MORE THAN 115 of 190 for whom we had email addresses have already taken part in the current study!
We learned some really eye-opening things about ourselves when we began gathering information last year as part of establishing the profile of the typical LGBT Annapolis Alumnus. But our numbers have grown significantly since the “Out of Annapolis” trailer hit YouTube last year. The “revaildation” of the survey will allow for many more of the members to participate as well as discover or confirm other key facts about the alumni as a group that had not been previously considered. The revalidation will also continue to ensure the data are squeaky clean.
Here are some of the facts that we know about ourselves as a group. This is the information that we will fine tune through the revalidation:
Less than one in every eight of us LGBT USNA alumni had fully "accepted" our sexual identity as LGBT before we took the oath of office to enter the military. Many had no idea what they were going to face in the future as they reidentified as LGBT at Annapolis, in the Fleet or later in life. For classes prior to 2000, twenty percent actually got married not fully realizing at the time it wasn't right for them, and later ended those marriages.
LGBT alumni enter into individual warfare specialities at the same proportions as their straight peers. But the Marine Officers on the whole are the ones who have the most difficult time coming to grips with their sexuality. Even when “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” ends, DADT is still going to be the way of life in the Marine Corps, no Marine alumni intend on changing. All of the known suicides of LGBT alumni were Marine Officers.
Those who did identify as LGBT when they entered had a different set of challenges to face, but they were more likely to serve out their commitments. Less than one-percent felt that their LGBT status had put them into a position to be blackmailed by a co-worker."
The various data are included throughout the film as it relates to individual members as they tell their stories.
If you are an LGBT alumni of USNA (alumni means took oath of office as a midshipman, whether or not you graduated) and would like to participate, please contact the study director here at USNA Out.
I first met Hubert when he came to stay with me and my family while I was house-sitting in Annapolis for two weeks in the summer of 2007. I invited all USNA Out members to visit, and he was one of many who accepted. I remember that something went awry with his travel plans from Florida, and he was not sure when he would arrive. Over at the Naval Academy touring around with my family and friends, I received a phone call that he was arriving soon at the house. I left the tour and headed back.
I had never met him before, but
One of the accomplishments that USNA Out can put under their belt for 2009 was the completion of the 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Charitable and Educational Organization filing with the Internal Revenue Service. This was the logical follow up step to gaining our incorporation in the State of Maryland last fall. The application is lengthy with over 50 pages of attachments. Thanks to Steve Clark Hall ’75, who when the package was complete, helped do a page by page review to ensure nothing was missed. We are hoping that the application will be approved without requiring supplemental information.
Many of the usual suspects returned for Army-Navy 2009.
The weekend began at a "Welcome to Philly" reception at the home of USNA Out member Joe Soto. More than a dozen alumni from West Point, Annapolis and New London made it to town in time for the Friday night affair. Thank goodness for the late afternoon 14:30 kick-off time for the game.
USNA Out members chat with
PA Congressman Patrick Murphy
who stopped in at the tailgate.
©2009 Jo Ann Santangelo
This year, we thank the Knights Out of West Point for taking charge of orchestrating a great Tailgate brunch before the game. For the first time, the Army and Navy were represented in equal numbers.
A few USNA Out members made the trek to Philadelphia to join us for the first time. Braxton Sisco '95 flew in from Dallas, Texas, bringing along his mother-in-law while his partner Robert finishes studying in the UK. An alumni from '00, who first learned about USNA Out by googling "army navy gay tailgate" (it works, as usual) came down from New York with a friend.
An additional SF Bay Area Chapter/USNA Out game watching event was held at the North Star cafe in San Francisco. More coming when we have photos/reports.
Here's what we know of so far. If you have more events that need to be added to this story, please contact our webmaster:
Philadelphia: USNA Out will be joining Knights Out at the Knights Out tailgate in the parking lot. Look for the Knights Out guidon & banner. There are other events on Friday and
USNA Out Members,
Yesterday you received news from Jeff Petrie via email that USNA Out is in transition - making positive strides forward and organizing to even more effectively meet our shared objectives and mission.
New Interactive Roster
Just as USNA Out was grown over the past six years, so has the content on our website. Thanks to the critical eye of USNA Out Board Secretary Eric Shangle '97, content has just been reorganized to make material easier to find.
The best new feature is the new "Member Roster" -- Viewable in Alfa Order! Searchable! Sortable! And complete with little thumbnail pics of our members. For registered USNA Out members only. The "Members Roster" will appear as the top "Inside USNA Out" menu item when you log into our website. Members are allow to share as much info about them as they desire, or can even “opt-out” of appearing on the roster all together.
Petaluma art gallery owners Donna(L)
and USNA Out's Linda receiving the
Small Business of the Year award from
State Senator Mark Leno.
Last year, 2008 a few USNA Out members collected at the Pelican Art Gallery on a beautiful day in Petaluma to enjoy the annual Veteran's Day Parade. It is a very sweet event in the San Francisco North Bay that draws veterans and their families from around the Bay Area. USNA Out member Linda Postenrieder and