Tech. Sgt. Vann Miller, Air Force Academy in Native Currents. Discussion »
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, COLORADO Native American Heritage Month is an opportunity to learn of the accomplishments of respected citizens while acknowledging the contributions to our nation of those members from Native American tribes. Here at the Air Force Academy, one notable member has been acknowledged by her peers for her dedication and service.
Retired Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon (l)
congratulates Gayle Blue-Keyes
Gayle Blue-Keyes, director of the Information Protection office here, officially began working for the Air Force family in 1993. Nearly 20 years ago, she began her career as an Air Force intern with the 94th Security Police Squadron at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia. Although her relationship with the military extends into her childhood, Blue-Keyes said she has had a full and successful life in the Air Force.
“I've moved around with the military throughout my career, and I've been used to that,”
“When I was a child my family moved to Clark Air Base (Luzon Island, Philippines), where I ended up going to high school.”
While Blue-Keyes is a descendant of the Mississippi Band of Ojibwe, she grew up in the military once her mother remarried a service member. Her experience as a military dependent gave her a unique perspective, she explained.
“Growing up in a small town in North Dakota during the 70s, my multi-racial family was seen as foreign and not warmly accepted.”
“Though moving to the Philippines was a complete culture shock, I loved the immersion in the different cultures.”
Blue-Keyes said culture played a significant role in the lessons she's learned early in life.
“I absorbed the world through experiences of my American classmates, many who were bi-cultural themselves,”
“That environment really gave me confidence and a sense of strength I had not previously known. When we returned to the states with a Mississippi assignment, I earned a full academic scholarship to Jackson State, a historically black university famous as Walter Peyton's alma mater.”
Her family's military experience helped her recognize the opportunity of attending a culturally diverse university, she said.
“Going to JSU was the one of my best life decisions, as I got a debt-free education and met the father of my four kids there,”
“Another great and equally life-altering decision was to apply and accept a job with the Air Force upon graduation.”
After her first job at Dobbins ARB, she followed the advice of a mentor and decided to take charge of her career. She said she pursued great opportunities wherever they led.
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posted November 12, 2012 9:20 am est