This episode features Katie Holder, a 2016 graduate from the U.S. Military Academy. In this episode, you’ll hear about Katie’s experience growing up in a household with two parents that went to West Point; the unique ways in which the Academy pushed Katie to develop and accept her own identity; what it was like being gay at the Academy only one year after “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed; and how she’s managed her Army career with her wife who’s also an Academy graduate with her own career in the Coast Guard. If you listened to past episodes, you may notice that Katie has the same last name as one of our past guests – Ann Holder; this is because Ann is actually Katie’s mom and a class of 1989 graduate from West Point. If you haven’t listened to that episode, I definitely encourage you to do so (you can find that episode here) – you’ll quickly see that these two women are extremely humble and it’s fun to see how their experiences compare. I’ll be sure to link to that episode in the show notes. Enjoy the show!


  • Growing up in a family with two parents that went to West Point
  • Having an older brother at West Point while she was there
  • Being gay at the Academy one year after “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed
  • Meeting her wife while at the Academy
  • Managing a career in the Army while being married to someone in the Coast Guard
  • Being gay in the military


  • Can you tell everyone where you’re from? What school you went to and when you graduated?
  • Can you give everyone 1-2 lines about who you are?

2:23 PART I:

Katie and her mom, Ann Holder, a 1989 graduate from USMA
  • What made you choose a Service Academy – and what made you specifically choose the U.S. Military Academy?
  • Both of your parents were graduates from West Point, but you didn’t hear about it growing up?
  • Having an older brother at West Point while she was there
  • What did you want to do post-graduation when you applied?
  • Did you know what you were getting into with the military?

11:30 PART II:

  • It sounds like getting into the Academy went pretty smoothly?
  • If you had to sum up your time at the Academy in one word, what would it be?
  • Let’s talk a little bit about your first day and first summer there – how did that go for you?
  • How was it going into the academic year?

20:40 PART III:

Katie and he wife
  • What were some of your highlights at the Academy?
  • Was soccer a highlight for you at the Academy?
  • Had you determined that you were going to go into aviation by your senior year?
  • What geared you towards aviation?

29:28 PART IV:

  • Were there any lowlights during your time at the Academy?
  • Struggling with being gay at the Academy.
  • Reflecting on the different responses she’s received as she’s come out to family, peers, and leaders.
  • Meeting her wife while at West Point.

40:50 PART V:

  • What was the transition like from the Academy into the military?
  • How did you manage your relationship while being in different careers and branches?
  • Are the Coast Guard and the Army supportive of your relationship?
  • Are you happy with your career in aviation?


  • How do you currently feel about your decision to attend a federal service academy?
  • What’s next for you?
  • Do you worry about how new units and leaders will receive you as you move around with the military?
  • Do you have any parting words for listeners? Perhaps a key message to your fellow Service Academy sisters?
  • What’s one random fun fact about you?
  • Where can people reach you?


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