Fire Controlman 2nd Class Ann Foster
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month
Join us as we celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Sailors and their important contributions to the defense of our nation.
Q: Why did you decide to join the Navy?
A: I joined the Navy in October of 2010. At that time I was working as a photographer for the Associated Press and several other publications in central Pennsylvania. I suppose that my life to that point was quickly losing any kind of structure and I was looking for something more meaningful and dependable for employment. At this time too, DADT was still being upheld. It wasn't until I left boot camp in February of 2011 that I learned that the repeal had happened. I remember my mother was very concerned about her openly-gay daughter joining the military at the time. I am proud that I was among the last generation of sailors who enlisted when the policy was still in place. I feel like I joined at the end of one era and the beginning of a new one.
Q: Who have your role models or mentors been that have influenced you or helped to guide you throughout your Navy career?
A: I have been very blessed to have several great Chiefs since I've been in the Navy. When I first was starting my program Gay, Lesbian and Supportive Shipmates (GLASS), Chief Boatswain's Mate Dena Reese was my cornerstone and strength when dealing with the hurdles and bureaucracy that came along with starting a Navy program. Now I see her as a true mentor and friend who has stood by me and my program from day one and a fellow activist for the military LGBT community. Also Master Chief Culinary Specialist Dwayne Beebe has been an amazing mentor and advocate in the continuing fight for LGBT military rights.
Onboard my ship, USS Milius, I have had the good fortune to have several amazing Chiefs who have helped me grow both personally and as a Sailor. Chief Fire Controlman Brian Mueller and Chief Gunner's Mate Celestino Martinez are some of the best Chiefs a Sailor could ask for. Also Command Master Chief Bill Houlihan has put his neck out and been one of the most supportive Master Chiefs that the GLASS program has ever had.
Q: What does being a leader in the Navy mean to you?
A: To lead, actions speak far louder than words. I was put in a leadership position the moment I started my organization GLASS because at that time, there was no one else in the military who was trying to do what I was doing. I found myself as a very junior E-4 who had just finished "A" school with absolutely no military experience now leading an entire group of people because we had a common goal. Rank does not denote the ability to lead, desire to lead and willingness to lead are far more important.