From the Editor


Gabrielle Fong ’16 is the first woman to lead a Yale ROTC battalion.

Midshipman Max Graham ’18

Midshipman Max Graham ’18

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Early on, we at the Yale Alumni Magazine knew our intern Gabrielle Fong ’16 was something special. She finishes tasks in record time. She always takes the initiative. And (if you know any college students, this one will be jaw-dropping) she asked to come into the office at 7:30 some mornings to get her work done.
Then we got the invitation to the NROTC Change of Command Ceremony. On December 11, we watched as Gabby (at left in photo) was presented with the flag of the Yale Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, becoming the first woman in the history of Yale ROTC to serve as battalion commander.

Gabby, a history major who grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, doesn’t come from a military family. In high school, she wanted to be a military legal officer and she wanted to fly, so she planned to apply to the Air Force Academy. A counselor suggested she also consider the Naval Academy. She visited each, and there was no contest: she loved “the camaraderie surrounding the culture of the Navy.” 

Once she found out about NROTC, Gabby chose Yale, which she values for “the really great dialogue” on campus. She was the first woman in Yale NROTC. She was appointed battalion commander by the six Navy officers who oversee the Yale unit, based on her “military aptitude”: physical fitness, uniform prep, ability to work well with others, ability to command respect, and follow-through.

At the ceremony, Gabby outlined her goals for the 46 Yale College midshipmen standing in formation in front of Sterling Library. She stressed uniforms, because the NROTC represents the Navy. As she told me later, “the minimum standard should be that you always look good”: at all times, your shoes should be shined and three creases ironed into the back of your blouse. She cares deeply about leadership. She’s organizing an NROTC leadership conference, to “establish ourselves nationally among our NROTC peers and bring people together.”

And she wants the battalion to work on personal development and self-awareness. Gabby has taken the free leadership courses offered at SOM, and she believes in addressing our own flaws to become “the best versions of ourselves.”

We are impressed. Or, as the midshipmen said: “Aye, aye, ma’am.”


  • Gloria Gonzalez
    Gloria Gonzalez, 1:26pm January 17 2016 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Way to go girl! So happy for you and I know your family is just bursting with pride! You did good!

  • John
    John, 3:51pm January 17 2016 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    You are an impressive young woman! SO proud of you and what yoru accomplishments in your life! Saluting you with pride and love in my heart!! XOXO

  • Jennifer Julier
    Jennifer Julier, 12:16pm January 21 2016 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    In 2015, Gabby also did outstanding double-duty as AYA head clerk for the Class of 1966's 50th reunion and NROTC alumni relations liaison in charge of organizing and producing a Yale Veterans Summit on the same weekend.

  • Jennifer Julier
    Jennifer Julier, 12:18pm January 21 2016 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Sorry, meant to type Class of 1965.

  • Heather Blazis
    Heather Blazis, 8:38am January 29 2016 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    We are so proud of you! Keep up the great work!!!
    Your Mercy Family

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