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posted Friday, July 15, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 28
First openly Gay member of West Point Board of Visitors
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First openly Gay member of West Point Board of Visitors

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Sue Fulton, a founding board member of OutServe, the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel, was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy Board of Visitors on July 5.

Fulton, who graduated in 1980 with the first West Point class to include women, is the first openly Gay member of the Board.

'I'm proud to have the opportunity to support the cadets who will lead our Army in the coming years,' said Fulton, who served as an Army captain and company commander after her 1980 graduation. 'And I'm pleased that the president is clearly setting the stage for a post-'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' military with appointments like this. It is my honor to continue to serve the Academy and the Army that I love.'

'Sue's tireless work for repeal of DADT came from a heartfelt commitment to serving soldiers, and a belief that DADT was harmful to military readiness,' said JD Smith, OutServe's active-duty co-director, who is identified by a pseudonym while DADT is still in effect. 'She's been a company commander; she knows cadets; and she loves West Point. This is a great day for the Academy.'

The USMA Board of Visitors, the oldest currently operating board appointed by the president, comprises nine members of Congress and six presidential appointees. Its mission is to provide 'independent advice and recommendations' to the president on matters concerning the Academy.

Former Congressman Patrick Murphy, an outspoken straight advocate for the repeal of DADT, was recently appointed to the board.

'Sue's appointment demonstrates the commitment our nation's most hallowed institutions have to equal treatment of everyone, a quintessential American value,' said OutServe spokesperson Jonathan Hopkins, West Point '01, and former Army captain. 'But we aren't fully honoring that commitment until [DADT] certification and repeal occur. Every day of delay is borne on the backs of Gay and Lesbian troops who have endured so much for so long under this policy. Everything is in place for immediate certification, and we look forward to swift action by the chiefs, [Defense] Secretary [Leon] Panetta, and the president.'

'Sue's appointment is a promising signal that we are close to certification and final repeal, which will remove this ongoing burden from our troops,' added Ty Walrod, OutServe's co-director. 'We know that the troops, Gay and straight alike, are ready for this to be done.'

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