This is a picture taken by my fiance’ Cyndy Long, in 1966. She was waiting for the cadet wing to march up the ramp on the way from the parade field to the Terrazzo . You can see the 17 spires of the Cadet Chapel (one each for the 12 apostles and the five chiefs of staff). The building on the right is my part of Vandenburg Hall, the cadet dorm. My room at the time was on the top floor about half way down. The mountain in the background is one of the Three Sisters, the other two just out of sight to the left.
Perhaps most interesting about this photo is the “Bring Me Men” quotation (difficult to see) over the ramp up to the Terrazzo. This motto was one of the first things I saw as I got off the bus from Colorado Springs my first day at the Academy. And I was struck by the motto. True I was struggling with my gender dysphoria, but one of the reasons I decided to accept the appointment to the Academy was that I hoped that there, in that hyper-masculine environment for four long years, I would at last “beat” down for good my gender confusion.
Bring me men to match my mountains, Bring me men to match my plains, Men with empires in their purpose, And new eras in their brains. Bring me men to match my prairies, Men to match my inland seas, Men whose thoughts shall pave a highway Up to ampler destinies, Pioneers to cleanse thought’s marshlands, And to cleanse old error’s fen; Bring me men to match my mountains – Bring me men!
Women were allowed to enter the Academy beginning in 1976, but the Bring Me Men motto remained. I’m sure at least some of the women were not entirely comfortable with that, but of course, they had little say in the matter. And I’m equally sure that if any of them had spoken up about the motto being a problem, they would have caught literal hell. Traditions and all that, you know. But in 2003, some 23 years after the first women graduated from the Academy, a sexual misconduct scandal erupted in which several female cadets finally received official support in their claims of rape by male upper classmen. The fallout of the high-level investigation that followed resulted in a plan called “Agenda for Change” that, among many important changes, called for the motto to be replaced with something more appropriate for the times. So the words came down and were replaced with the cumbersome new motto:
Change is a long time coming, but it eventually comes. 🙂