VoteVets.org continues to focus on matters including, but not limited to, foreign policy, energy security, veterans’ unemployment, and opening military service to life-long Americans born to undocumented immigrants, as well as continued investment in care for veterans. More often than not, Veterans have a stake in the top issues of the day, and VoteVets.org is committed to getting their voices heard on these issues. For that reason, VoteVets.org has, and will continue to, work with all progressive allies representing labor, immigration, gay and lesbian rights, and environmentalists, when their issues coincide with the needs of troops and veterans.
In the field, VoteVets Action Fund has:
Over 400,000 supporters in all 50 states, including troops, veterans, military families, and their supporters
State Captains organizing in all 50 states.
Over 5 million voter contacts since 2006, spending over $2 million in direct mail, phone calls, and voter canvasses
Over $30 million raised and spent since inception
On the air, VoteVets Action Fund has:
- Run over 51 TV commercials and radio spots in 32 states advocating the support of our friends.
- Aired over $22 million in television and radio ads, advocating re-election for allies and urging defeat of those who do not support troops and veterans.
In the media, VoteVets Action Fund has:
- Done over 560 interviews, news stories, and on air media appearances
- Dropped over 300 Letters to the Editors and Opinion Editorials throughout the 50 states from local veterans
Board of Advisors
Jon Soltz, Chairman
Jon Soltz is the Co-Founder and Chairman of the 400,000+ member veterans group, VoteVets.org. He served twice in Iraq - in 2011 as a Major, helping train the Iraqi Army prior to the removal of US Troops, and in 2003, as a Captain during Operation Iraqi Freedom, deploying logistics convoys with the 1st Armored Division. In 2000 he served as a tank Platoon Leader in the Kosovo Conflict. As Chairman of VoteVets.org, Soltz has overseen the creation of a 400,000+ grassroots network of Veterans, military families, and civilian supporters, from scratch. In his time as Chairman, VoteVets.org has raised over $20 million for VoteVets Action Fund and over $2 million for candidates, via VoteVets Political Action Committee. Under his leadership, the group has become one of the most aggressive organizations of Veterans in America, holding politicians accountable for their votes and actions that adversely affect veterans, while supporting those politicians who have the backs of those who served. Soltz is frequently quoted in major publications and frequently appears on cable shows, including Larry King Live on CNN, Nightline on ABC, PBS’ News Hour, the Dylan Ratigan Show, NewsNation with Tamron Hall, The Ed Show, and The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC, among other shows on many networks. He has been interviewed by the Associated Press, Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Time magazine, Newsweek, Politico, Roll Call, The Hill, and many other national and local papers. Soltz is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College with a dual degree in Political Science and History and a 2010 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.
Douglas J. Band
Douglas J. Band currently serves as the Counselor to President Clinton. He began working in the White House in 1995 and has been with President Clintonfor nearly 13 years. He has served as Counselor to President Clinton since 2002, advising and counseling him, accompanying him on his travels across America and around the world, managing his daily life, serving as a key architect of Clinton's post-Presidency and overseeing both the William J. Clinton Foundation and office.Prior to his role as Counselor to President Clinton, Doug served in theWhite House Counsels office for four years, becoming a Special Assistant to the President before he was made the youngest Deputy Assistant ever to serve a President. Doug concluded his last year in the White House in the Oval Office as the President's Aide. Doug is a graduate of the University of Florida with a major in English anda minor in Ethics, Georgetown Graduate School with a Masters in Liberal Arts, and Georgetown Law School. Doug and his wife Lily live in New York City.
Richard Beattie is Chairman of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. Beattie is also Chairman of the Board and founder of New Visions for Public Schools, a not-for-profit organization that develops and implements programs to affect system-wide improvements in public education in New York City. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the National Women's Law Center, as well as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Vice Chairman of the Boards of Overseers and Managers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Chairman of the Board of Managers of Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases. Beattie also has many years of experience in government service having worked in the Carter Administration as General Counsel of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and as a Special Advisor and Emissary for Cypress during the Clinton Administration.
Beattie joined Simpson Thacher in 1968 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Prior to law school, he served four years in the Marine Corps as a jet pilot, after graduating from Dartmouth College in 1961.
Bill Belding earned two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts during his five-year tenure with the U.S. Navy. He completed three tours of Vietnam as a Navy SEAL from 1967 to 1972. Throughout his career, his dedication to veterans' issues has been evident. An experienced attorney, he has also worked pro bono for various veterans' organizations.
Before his appointment as President of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF) in October 2004, Belding served as Chief of Staff at Common Cause, a non-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization working to hold government accountable to its constituents. In addition, as President and Chairman of Veterans Park in Los Angeles from 1996 to 2000, he raised over $10 million from the private sector and initiated cooperative agreement with the federal Veterans Administration for this non-profit.
Belding earned his law degree from University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. He earned a B.A. in Economics in 1967 from Ezra Stiles College, Yale University.
General Wesley K. Clark (Ret.)
General Clark was born in Illinois and moved Little Rock, Arkansas with his mother after his father died. He graduated as valedictorian of his high school; was first in his class at West Point ('66); and attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. As a company commander in Vietnam he was shot four times and was awarded the Silver Star. He was promoted through the ranks to serve as the Commanding General for the U.S. Southern Command, then as Director for Strategic Plans for the Joint Chief of Staff. Finally, he was promoted to be the NATO Supreme Allied Commander where he led air strikes to end the genocide in the Balkans without losing a single soldier in combat. In addition to his Silver Star, General Clark earned the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Distinguished Service Medal, and our nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Wes Clark wrote two books, Waging Modern Wars and Winning Modern Wars. He has been a commentator for CNN and Fox News Channel and in 2004 he sought the Democratic nomination for President in 2004, winning the Oklahoma primary.
MG Paul D. Eaton (Ret.)
Major General Paul D. Eaton (Ret.) recently retired from the US Army after more than 33 years service. His assignments include Infantry command from the company to brigade levels, command of the Infantry Center at Fort Benning and Chief of Infantry. His most recent operational assignment was Commanding General of the command charged with reestablishing Iraqi Security Forces 2003-2004, where he built the command and established the structure and infrastructure for the Iraqi Armed Forces.
Other operational assignments include Somalia, Bosnia and Albania. Additional assignments include the Joint Staff, Deputy Commanding General for Transformation and Stryker Unit Development and Assistant Professor and head of the French Department at West Point. He is a 1972 graduate of West Point, son of a West Point Air Force fighter pilot, long an MIA from the Vietnam War; remains recently identified for burial at Arlington National Cemetery. He is married to PJ Eaton, an Army veteran and daughter of a Naval Academy graduate career Marine. He is father to a daughter and two sons, both Soldiers, one a Military Intelligence Specialist, one an Infantry Captain.
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson (Ret.)
Lawrence Wilkerson is the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William Mary in Williamsburg, VA.
He also taught for six years in the University Honors Program at the George Washington University in Washington, DC (2006-2011). His last positions in government were as Secretary of State Colin Powell's Chief of Staff (2002-05), Associate Director of the State Department's Policy Planning staff under the directorship of Ambassador Richard N. Haass, and member of that staff responsible for East Asia and the Pacific, political-military and legislative affairs (2001-02). Before serving at the State Department, Wilkerson worked as a private consultant to General Powell (1997-2000).
Before that, he served 31 years in the U.S. Army, including as Deputy Executive Officer to then-General Colin Powell when he commanded the U.S. Army Forces Command (1989), Special Assistant to General Powell when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-93), and as Director and Deputy Director of the U.S. Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Virginia (1993-97). During the course of his military service, Wilkerson was awarded the DOD Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Bronze Star among other awards and decorations.
At the Department of State, he earned the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award, as well as two Superior Honor Awards. Since leaving the State Department, Wilkerson has spoken to groups all over America—World Affairs Councils, university and war college audiences, and members of local and state governments and the U.S. Congress and their staffs.
In addition, he has been published in The American Conservative, Playboy Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, the Miami Herald, the New York Daily News, and other magazines and newspapers across the country, as well as appeared on television with Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, Chris Hayes, Ed Shultz, Lawrence O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow, Wolf Blitzer, Chris Cuomo, and Alisyn Camerota, the BBC's Hardtalk and Newsnight, and others. He has appeared in several recent documentaries also, including Alex Gibney's "Taxi to the Dark Side", Charles Ferguson's "No End in Sight”, Rachel Maddow’s “Hubris: Selling the Iraq War”, and the Danish filmmaker, Boris Bertram’s, “The War Campaign”. He was also chairman of the U.S.-Cuba 21st Century Policy Initiative at the New America Foundation from 2006-2010.
Lawrence and his wife, Barbara, live in Falls Church, Virginia. Their son, Alex, was a USAF officer/navigator in C-130s for ten years and now serves fulltime in the Tennessee Air National Guard as a REAPER drone pilot/officer, making his home in Nashville. Their daughter, Suellen, a former Army officer and member of the US Secret Service, now helps her husband manage a small farm in Mt. Airy, Maryland. Lawrence and Barbara have four grandchildren, Lance (16), Mary-Kaitlyn (14), Alexandra (15), and Mathew (8).
In January 2007, Flom was appointed Chairman and CEO of EMI’s Capitol Music Group, where he oversaw the careers of such artists as Coldplay, Lenny Kravitz, Corinne Bailey Rae, KT Tunstall, and Joss Stone. Flom is equally known for contributing his time and energy to various charitable organizations, including serving on the board of the Drug Policy Alliance (a division of George Soros’ Open Society Institute), the Innocence Project, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (F.A.M.M.), and the Legal Action Center, whose work is at the forefront of the fight to end discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS and/or histories of addiction. He has also served on the board of Manhattan’s New School.
In addition, Flom has been active in raising awareness and funds for various medical research organizations including The T.J. Martell Foundation, which honored him with its Humanitarian Award in 2005, and City of Hope, which presented Flom with the Ambassador Award in May 2008 at an event that raised more than $400,000 for cancer research. Flom was also named the UJA Federation’s first “Music Visionary of the Year” and was awarded the “Torch of Liberty” by the American Civil Liberties Union. Flom’s passion for social justice and commitment to philanthropy are not surprising given his upbringing. Born and raised in New York City, he is the son of legendary lawyer Joseph Flom, a co-founder of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and the late Claire Flom, a noted philanthropist in her own right and the founder of New York’s Gateway School. In 1990, Flom’s parents created the Joseph and Claire Flom Foundation, whose mission was to promote racial understanding and tolerance and to help gifted disadvantaged youth. Today Jason Flom uses his considerable influence among his peers in the music industry to honor his mother, who died in November 2007 after a long battle with cancer.
Leslie H. Gelb
Leslie H. Gelb is President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, and a former columnist for The New York Times. He has written four books on foreign policy, including The Irony of Vietnam, which won the Woodrow Wilson Award for Best Book on Foreign Relations. Mr. Gelb served as the Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs under President Jimmy Carter, where he was awarded the Distinguished Honor Award (the State Department's highest honor). Mr. Gelb also served as Executive Assistant to U.S. Senator Jacob Javits. In the U.S. Defense Department, he served as Director of Policy Planning and Arms Control, International Security Affairs, where he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award (the Pentagon's highest honor). Mr. Gelb was also awarded the Front Page Award in 1985, and the Central Intelligence Agency's Director's Award in 2004. Mr. Gelb graduated from Tufts University in 1959, and received his Master's Degree from Harvard University in 1961, and Ph.D. in 1964.
Paul Hackett volunteered to serve in Iraq as a Major with the 4th Civil Affairs Group, 1st Marine Division. Hackett was assigned to Ramadi and took part in the Fallujah campaign and subsequent reconstruction efforts. Having completed his tour of duty in Iraq , he returned to Ohio in early 2005. Shortly after his homecoming, Hackett declared his candidacy for Congress in the overwhelmingly Republican Second District of southwestern Ohio, a seat vacated just days before Paul's return from Iraq.
Written off as a long shot by the media, Hackett's campaign was fueled by the power of the Internet and grassroots activists. On Election Day, Hackett stunned the political universe, winning more than 48 percent of the vote in a District where George Bush received nearly two-thirds of the vote just ten months earlier. No Second District Democrat had done so well in more than 30 years. Hackett recently left electoral politics as a candidate after leaving the Democratic primary race to challenge incumbent Ohio Republican, Senator Mike DeWine.
As an undergraduate at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Hackett volunteered for the Marine Corps reserves. His father had served in the armed forces and taught Hackett that, if able, military service was his patriotic duty. After graduation Hackett attended Cleveland State University's Marshall College of Law and upon receiving his degree went on to fulfill his commitment to the Marine Corps serving on active duty in destinations such as Quantico, Virginia; Okinawa, Japan; and the Philippines to name just a few. It was during this time that he married his college sweetheart, Suzi.
Elaine Kamarck has a son who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and is a Lecturer in Public Policy who came to Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in 1997 after a career in politics and government. She served in the White House from 1993 to 1997, where she created and managed the Clinton Administration's National Performance Review, also known as reinventing government.
At the Kennedy School she served as Director of Visions of Governance for the Twenty-First Century and as Faculty Advisor to the Innovations in American Government Awards Program.
She conducts research on 21st century government, the role of the Internet in political campaigns, homeland defense, intelligence reorganization, and governmental reform and innovation. Kamarck received her PhD in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Lawrence J. Korb
Lawrence J. Korb is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and a Senior Adviser to the Center for Defense Information. He was a Vice President, Senior Fellow and Director of National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously, he served as Director of the Center for Public Policy Education and Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, Dean of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, and Vice President of Corporate Operations at the Raytheon Company.
Dr. Korb served as Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower, Reserve Affairs, Installations and Logistics) from 1981 through 1985. For his service in that position, he was awarded the Department of Defense’s medal for Distinguished Public Service. Mr. Korb served on active duty for four years as Naval Flight Officer, and retired from the Naval Reserve with the rank of Captain.
Dr. Korb has 20 books and more than 100 articles on national security issues to his name.
William E. Little
William E. Little, Jr. was born in Manhattan in 1941, and spent his childhood years on Long Island. After graduating from Princeton University in 1963, he attended the U.S. Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, and was commissioned an ensign in June of 1964.
Will spent his first tour of duty at the U.S. Navy Communication Unit in Argentia, Newfoundland, and his second at the U.S. Navy Communication Station in Yokosuka, Japan, leaving active duty in March 1968, and settling in New York City.
Will joined his family's business, George Little Management, a major producer of trade shows. After managing several trade shows over the years, and heading the Company from 1984 until 1998, he went into "semi-retirement." He is currently the Chairman of the Lakeville Journal Company, Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Trustee-Emeritus of Bates College, Trustee of the Nantucket Historical Association, Director of WAMC Northeast Public Radio, and Director of Senate Majority PAC.
Will and his wife, Helen, have two grown children, Thea and Chris. His great interest in politics has led to involvements such as being a trustee of the New York State Democratic Party, and a majority trust member of the (federal) Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Connie Pillich is a legislator, attorney, MBA, veteran, and mom.
Connie put herself through college with an Air Force ROTC scholarship, student loans, and part-time work. She spent eight years on active duty and served in support of Operation Desert Storm. She achieved the rank of Captain and is a three-time recipient of the Air Force Commendation Medal. After serving in the Air Force and earning her MBA, Connie worked as a public defender. She later opened her own law practice before running for public office.
In 2008, Connie was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives, winning a seat that had long been held by the opposing party. Representative Pillich held the seat for three terms before opting to leave the legislature.
As a legislator, Representative Pillich supported the Ohio military community by introducing bipartisan legislation to connect veterans with their benefits, help military families meet the financial challenges of deployments and transfers, and get veterans and their families back to work. Representative Pillich served as ranking member of the Veterans Affairs committee, convened the Veterans Caucus to highlight issues facing Ohio’s military community, and introduced the Ohio Veterans Bonus for veterans of Operations Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom.
Connie currently lives in suburban Cincinnati with her husband, Paul Forshey, and their two children, Kayla and Tallin.
Steven Wozencraft, the CEO of John O’Donnell Associates, LLC of New York City and Laguna Beach, has spent the last 25 years of his professional career working with NGO’s and Non-Profits. He was President of The John O’Donnell Company, a 45 year-old firm in New York, which specialized in financial development for non-profit organizations. He has been a driving force in the world of financial development for non-profits and NGO's for more than 25 years.
He has sat on the Boards of various organizations, regional and global, and as President of the John O’Donnell Company he has overseen the growth and development of numerous organizations and helped them raise collectively over a billion dollars. Some of the organizations he has worked with around the globe include The Boys Club of New York, Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, The William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Foundation, the African Medical Society, Jewish Board of Family and Children Services, Hellen Keller International, Israeli Guide Dogs, The Empire State Pride Agenda, Kids Peace, The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation among many others.
He currently consults with private foundations and select non-profits on many different levels to help these organizations accomplish their missions by using his ties to individuals and corporations around the globe.
Vice Chairmen & Senior Advisors
Senior Advisors are VoteVets.org’s front-line leaders. They are integral to the organization in the fact that they are not only active volunteers, but they’ve also been trained by VoteVets.org in the art American politics. Whether it’s political strategy, media strategy, or lobbying, these Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have successfully transitioned from military leadership to political leadership.
When it comes to finding those who can translate wartime experience into civilian leadership, these are America’s best and brightest. If you are a member of the media and would like to speak with any of them, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lt. Col. John M. Fawcett Jr. (ret.)
Mr. John M. (Jay) Fawcett, Jr. is the CEO of Western Strategies Center and the owner of Merlin Strategies & Solutions. Most recently he was a civilian contractor working for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) supporting the USNORTHCOM J5 in the area of doctrine and legislative liaison. Jay’s previous SAIC assignment was at the USAF Command and Control Training and Innovation Group where he worked directly for the commander in strategy and concept development and was liaison to various foreign air force organizations such as the RAF Air Warfare Centre, RAF JFAC Headquarters, Royal Norwegian Air Force, Luftwaffe, Royal Australian Air Force, and NATO.
Mr. Fawcett was born in Mt. Pleasant, PA. He earned his commission from the United States Air Force Academy, including one semester on exchange at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY.
He has commanded a headquarters squadron and a Tactical Air Control Party at brigade level during combat operations including the initial helicopter assault into Iraq during Operation Desert Storm.
While serving on the ACC staff, Mr. Fawcett developed the JFACC Team Training approach and helped implement the program after moving to Hurlburt Field. He was the editor for the Presentation of USAF Forces Document ("Little Red Book"), precursor to Air Force Doctrine Document 2, and assisted with the Air Operations Center baseline initiatives resulting from the 1997 USAF C2 Summit.
Dr. (Col.) Katherine Scheirman (ret.)
Dr. Katherine Scheirman, MD, MHA, CPE, FACPE, is a Senior Advisor to VoteVets.org, and has twenty years experience in the Department of Defense medical system. She retired from the Air Force in 2006 with the rank of Colonel. During her time in the military, she was assigned to a number of duties where she saw 'first hand' the shortcomings of the DOD medical system and its effect on troops. Most recently, she was the Chief of Medical Operations at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, which saw the majority of those injured during the war in Iraq.
During that assignment, she directed four branches responsible for medical operational and legal policy guidance for 10 USAFE medical facilities and an Air Force squadron at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and provided oversight and mentoring for 11 Chiefs of Medical Staff and over 700 medical personnel throughout Europe. She was responsible for all quality of care, patient safety, behavioral health, JCAHO compliance, community health programs and business plan execution there, among her decades of other assignments at home and abroad.
Dr. Scheirman earned her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Michigan State University, her MD from University of Oklahoma, and master's degree in Health Care Administration from Baylor University. She is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Management, and is a Fellow of the American College of Physician Executives.
LTC Miguel A. Sapp, USAR
Miguel A. Sapp has served his country in and out of uniform. In 1980 he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Field Artillery. In 1982 Mr. Sapp graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Speech Communications and started his active duty in the Army. Mr. Sapp served with the 15th Field Artillery Regiment in Korea and Fort Ord. After completing four years of service Mr. Sapp returned to Syracuse University to attend law school and graduate school. Mr. Sapp received his J.D. in 1988 and a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School in 1989.
Mr. Sapp has worked as a public defender in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and as a prosecutor in the District of Columbia. In addition he has served as an attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Army. Mr. Sapp has also served as the Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas.
Mr. Sapp served on Operation Sea Signal which interdicted Haitian migrants in international waters in 1994 as a Civil Affairs Officer. Later that year Mr. Sapp was part of Operation Uphold Democracy which went into Haiti to reinstall President Aristide. In 2005 Mr. Sapp served as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom as the Chief of Civil Military Operations in Tal’Afar with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. In 2006 he was assigned to the Multi National Corps-Iraq, C9 section as a liaison officer. In 2007 Mr. Sapp again served in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq to serve as the Rule of Law Advisor for the Diyala Provincial Reconstruction Team and the 1st Cavalry Division. During his second tour he helped establish the first Major Crimes Court to try terrorists. Mr. Sapp has been awarded the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Combat Action Badge for his service in Iraq.
Mr. Sapp is originally from Jamaica, New York. Mr. Sapp is married to Tonya Sapp, they have one daughter Angela and they reside in Washington DC.
Lt. Col. Andrew Horne, USMC (ret.)
Andrew Horne is a 27-year Marine veteran who served in both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. During his tenure in Iraq's western Al Anbar Province 2004-2005, Horne was responsible for holding the first Iraqi elections in the nine Sunni-dominated cites west of Al Ramadi, as well as for numerous reconstruction and security projects. He retired from the Marine Reserves in November 2006 and now has a private law practice in Louisville.
Sam Schultz is a nine-year veteran in the Indiana Army National Guard and has been on deployments to peacekeeping and combat zones in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, serving with the 1-151 and 1-152 Infantry Battalions. In 2006, Sam Schultz ran in the Republican primary for Congress against incumbent Rep. Mike Sodrell. VoteVets.org PAC endorsed and supported his candidacy.
Joseph R. Kramer, formerly Sgt. Kramer was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mr. Kramer attended the University of Pittsburgh where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Shortly thereafter he enlisted in the U.S Army serving with the 2/502nd Infantry Regiment in the 101st Airborne Division. While serving with the 101st, Sgt Kramer completed a yearlong tour in Iraq in 2003-04, taking part in the initial phase of combat operations and continuing on with stabilization efforts in Mosul, Iraq. While serving in Iraq, Sgt. Kramer was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor for his actions during a raid on a terrorist safe house. Since completing his four-year active duty commitment in the Summer of 2005, Mr. Kramer has returned to Pittsburgh, where he has been working as a member of Pennsylvania State Senator Jim Ferlo’s staff handling a variety of projects and assignments including aiding Pennsylvania veterans. Mr. Kramer is currently pursuing a graduate degree in security and intelligence studies.
Petty Officer Rick Hegdahl was first recalled to active duty for Operation Noble Eagle with Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit 101. MIUWU-101 provided seaward security, protecting High Value Navy Assets in the Puget Sound area of Washington State from Oct 25th 2001 thru Dec. 22nd 2002.
After voluntarily extending his tour of duty, he deployed with Naval Coastal Warfare Group One and Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit 106 to the Port of Ash Shuaiba, Kuwait in support of Seaward Security Operations for Operation Iraqi Freedom Dec. 31st 2002 until July 30th 2003.
Rick was again recalled to active duty on the 25th of April 2005, re-trained as an Inshore Boat Unit with MIUWU 101 and deployed to Kuwait. MIUWU 101 was responsible for the protection of High Value Navy Assets in the Port of Ash Shuaiba, Kuwait and Kuwait Navy Base.
After returning home in March of 2006, Rick started a home remodel and repair business and in November 2006 retired from the Navy after 24 years of honorable service.
He lives with his 13 year old daughter Roya, in Bellevue, Washington.
Captain Rose Forrest began her military career in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in 1999, as a Private First Class serving as a legal specialist for the 728th Main Support Battalion. She was later commissioned as a quartermaster officer and served for one year as a platoon leader in a general supply platoon for the 728th MSB. Following this assignment, Rose served as a platoon leader in a Class 3/5 platoon for three years in the 628th Division Aviation Support Battalion at Ft. Indian Gap, Pennsylvania.
In 2004, she was mobilized with the 228th Forward Support Battalion at Camp Shelby, Mississippi as the personnel officer. She then transferred to the 2nd Brigade, 28th Infantry Division to serve as the Mortuary Affairs Officer and manage the Brigade Lioness program for a twelve month deployment to Ramadi, Iraq. Upon returning from the deployment, Rose transferred to the Maryland Army National Guard and served as the Materials Management Officer with the 1297th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. In November 2007, she assumed command of the Headquarters Company, 1297th CSSB.
Rose was a Legislative Director for Senator Rob Garagiola, Chairman of the Maryland General Assembly Veteran's Caucus, from 2003-2005, and a pre-school teacher from 2001 to 2003. She is also admitted to the Maryland Bar.
Rose was born in Hartford, Connecticut and graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2001 with a BA in Journalism. She graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 2006 with a Jurist Doctorate.
Captain Forrest resides in Pasadena, Maryland, and is married to Stephen T. Podwojski. They have one son, Andrew Forrest Podwojski.
A machine gunner in the U.S. Marine Corps, Elliot Anderson has been deployed overseas three times, including a combat deployment to Afghanistan in 2004-05. Elliot left active duty as a Corporal, before being promoted to Sergeant in the Individual Ready Reserve. Elliot is currently studying political science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, while also dealing craps at a local casino. After his graduation, Elliot plans on studying law.
Ernesto Estrada grew up in South Gate, California, a predominantly Hispanic suburb of Los Angeles. After graduating high school in 1999, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the age of seventeen. In March of 2000, after completing Boot Camp at MCRD San Diego and Marine Corps Tank School at Fort Knox Kentucky, Ernesto was assigned as a Tank Crewman to B Company, 1st Tank Battalion, Twenty-Nine Palms California.
In 2001, Ernesto was deployed as member of the Tank Platoon with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) and was a part of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Arabian Sea .
During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, he served as a tank gunner with Bravo Company, 1st Tank Battalion. Ernesto was honorably discharged from active duty with the rank of Sergeant in August 2003.
Once discharged, he enrolled at The College of the Desert, in Palm Desert, California. After earning an A.A. degree in history in December of 2005, Ernesto moved to San Francisco to attend San Francisco State University. He graduated from the university Cum Laude in May 2007 with a degree in history.
Phillip Gilfus of Fayetteville, North Carolina joined the Army after the attacks of September 11, 2001. After completing Officer Candidate School in 2002, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps and assigned to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (OPFOR) at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.
In 2005, after having served as a platoon leader and as maintenance control (shop) officer, Phillip volunteered to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was deployed as an "agent of change" by the Center for Army Lessons Learned and became an embed with the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Divsion in Mosul, Iraq. For four months, he conducted interviews, observed operations, and collected data to create lessons learned for both units in combat and in training, and to provide recommendations for changes in Army doctrine and equipment development. After redeployment to Fort Irwin, he was promoted in December 2005 and served as the material officer in the regimental Support Operations.
Captain Gilfus left the Army on July 4, 2006 and returned to North Carolina. He is currently a criminal defense lawyer in private practice in Fayetteville, NC.
Jim Mowrer, an Iraq War veteran, resides in Des Moines, Iowa with his wife Chelsey who works for Wells Fargo. Jim served as the State Veterans Director for Senator Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, and is currently an assistant organizer of the Iowa Democratic Veterans Caucus.
A member of the Iowa National Guard’s 1-133 Infantry Battalion, he and his fellow soldiers were mobilized in October of 2005. They subsequently spent 16 months in Iraq, the longest serving unit in the Iraq war to date. Their deployment, extended by four months, eventually totaled 22 months.
A Sergeant, Mowrer was the Senior Intelligence Analyst at Camp Korean Village in the Al Anbar province.
Nick Suhr graduated from the United States Military Academy in 2002 with a BS in Economics. He served for four and a half years with the 11th Field Artillery of the 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division as a battery fire direction officer and executive officer, company fire support officer, and battalion maintenance officer.
He served in Iraq from January of 2004 until February of 2005, and was present for the first Iraqi National Elections. Nick’s experiences there led him to become more active in the political sphere. He has been heavily involved with VoteVets since he left the active service in May 2007.
Nick currently lives in Albany, NY and attends Renssealaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He will graduate with his master's degree in Operations Research and Statistics in May of 2008. Nick hopes to begin law school in the fall of 2008. He is originally from Laguna Niguel, California, where his family still lives.
Will Fischer is the Executive Director of the Union Veterans Council, AFL-CIO. He’s a Marine and served for six years with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines, including a tour of duty in 2004 in Fallujah, Iraq. A product of a union household and a member of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), Will is a committed trade unionists and has spent more than a decade working on political and legislative campaigns.
In addition to his professional life, Will has served his community as a 9th grade English teacher in post-Katrina New Orleans and as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer with the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Center for Economic Development.
He lives in Washington, DC with his wife and family.
Jason Wold was born in Olympia, WA and graduated from Del Norte High School in 2000. He enlisted in the Army as an infantryman that summer. After the completion of his training at Fort Benning, Jason was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. He deployed to Iraq twice—the first time as a machine gunner to Tikrit in 2003, and the second time to southern Iraq in 2005.
Jason is currently attending AMU studying counterterrorism, while also working as a site supervisor for a corporate security firm. He lives with his wife, Jenna, in Dallas, Texas, and plans on one day working for the federal government.
Brandon Day joined the Army as an infantryman after the attacks of September 11th. He served two tours in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division, participating in the initial invasion in 2003. Day then returned to Iraq in September 2005 and served there until September 2006.
He lives in Minnesota.
Peter O’Brien is originally from Boston, Massachusetts. He joined the Army in early 2001 and served as an infantryman in the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. As a SAW gunner, O’Brien deployed to Afghanistan shortly after 9/11 with his unit. While there, he participated in Operation Anaconda in March 2002. After returning home from Afghanistan, O’Brien’s unit began training up for the invasion of Iraq. He crossed the border from Kuwait into Iraq with the first wave in March 2003. O’Brien served first as an RTO and then as a Fire Team Leader in Hillah, Baghdad, and Tal Afar. He was wounded in a car bombing in Tal Afar in December 2003 and returned home later that month. O’Brien was honorably discharged in 2004.
He currently lives with his wife and their three children in Whitman, MA.
Casey Howard grew up in Oregon and joined the Army in 1998 after graduating from the University of Portland. He served as an army Medevac pilot and platoon leader in Germany, Korea, and at Ft. Campbell, KY.
Casey deployed to Iraq as a pilot in command and AVUM platoon leader with the 542nd MED CO (AA), 6th Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division from 2005-2006. He also served during two tours in Kosovo as a Medevac team leader and as a detachment commander.
Casey left the Army on New Year's Day, 2007, and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in secondary education at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Casey lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Kristi, who is a Company Commander at Evans Army Hospital at Ft Carson.
Michigan native and Ann Arbor resident Aaron Bailey is a 1999 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. Aaron served five years as an infantry officer at Fort Riley, Kansas with the First Infantry Division and at Fort Myer, Virginia with the Third Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) before leaving active duty in 2004.
In May 2007, Aaron was mobilized from the U.S. Army Reserve and served six months as an Operations Officer with the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan. Aaron has since returned home and is pursuing an MBA at the University of Michigan.
An Army Blackhawk pilot, Barry Dille has been stationed at Camp Stanley Korea, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Camp Zama, Japan, and Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Along with flying, he has served as a company operations officer, a platoon leader, a battalion operations officer, and a force protection/anti-terrorism officer.
Barry is originally from Phoenix, Arizona, but he currently lives in New York City with his wife Heather (a former Blackhawk pilot herself) and their daughter, Cora. Barry owns a travel agency and acts as Director of Sales for a Japanese hotel group. He is currently attending New York University to obtain a Graduate Certificate in Travel and Tourism, while at the same time applying to the Ph.D. program in International Relations there.
Barry has a degree in History from Arizona State University and a Master’s degree in Asian Studies from the University of San Francisco. He snowboards, skateboards, and is an avid fan of the Phoenix Suns.
Rogelio Martinez was born in, Defiance, a small town in northwestern Ohio. While growing up, his childhood was split between Texas and Ohio. After graduating from Defiance High school, Rogelio started work at the same factory at which his father and older brother worked. Six months of working the third shift he was persuaded to join the Army by his fellow coworkers.
On April 22, 2001, Rogelio entered the military and was shipped off to Fort Benning, Georgia for infantry Basic Training. He was at Airborne School on 9/11 and, at that point, decided to volunteer for the Ranger Indoctrination Program (RIP). Rogelio received his tan beret and was stationed with the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.
After two deployments to Afghanistan and one to Iraq with the 1st Ranger Battalion, Rogelio decided to separate from the military and pursue a Bachelor’s degree in communication. Presently, Rogelio is a junior at the University of Texas of San Antonio.
Patrick Almand was born and raised in Waxahachie, Texas and graduated from Waxahachie High School in 1995. While working part time—and through the use of scholarships—Patrick put himself through college, graduating from Texas A&M University with a BS in Agricultural Economics in May 2001.
After September 11th, 2001 Patrick made the decision to resign his position as a financial consultant with A.G. Edwards in Houston, Texas to enlist in the United States Army. After completing OSUT basic training at Ft. Benning, Georgia, Patrick arrived in Schweinfurt, Germany on December 26, 2002 for his first tour in the Infantry. Patrick was assigned to 1/18 Infantry, 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.
In February 2004 Patrick was stationed in Tikrit, Iraq (Saddam’s hometown) with 1/18 Infantry as a grenadier in his fire team. Patrick was on the ground patrolling the streets daily, clearing buildings during raids and conducting covert observation of suspected insurgent hot spots throughout his time in Iraq. Over the course of that year, Patrick completed over 250 combat patrols, 17 raids, and an untold number of observation posts. He eventually became a Team Leader after the injury of his predecessor during fighting in Samarra. Patrick was also responsible for training A Company 201st Iraqi National Guard.
Patrick returned to the United States in 2005 and joined the Reserves in October. He graduated with honors from the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School Civil Affairs specialty course in June 2007 and was promoted from Sergeant to Lieutenant via direct commission (branching Military Intelligence) on November 1, 2007.
Patrick currently lives in Dallas, Texas where he works as a civilian financial analyst and serves in the Army Reserve as the Battalion Training Officer of the 490th Civil Affairs Battalion. He is completing work on an MBA from the University of Dallas.
Terence O’Rourke graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee with a degree in Political Science and History. He was commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer in May 2000, but accepted an educational delay for law school. Terence graduated from the Tulane University School of Law in May 2003.
In November 2003, he reported to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for the artillery officer’s basic course. After graduating, Terence was assigned to the 18th Field Artillery Brigade (ABN) at Fort Bragg, where he served as a fire platoon leader and battery maintenance officer for C/3-27 FA. After becoming promotable, Terence was moved to the Brigade staff where he was assigned as the Budget and Contracting Officer and assistant S-4. After 18 months in this position, he was picked up for a Military Transition Team (MiTT) slot.
Terence deployed to Ramadi, Iraq in June 2006 as a member of a 10 man team sent to advise a battalion with the 1st Iraq Army Division. Four months into the tour, he was made the Operations Officer Advisor for 4-1-4 IA and spent the next eight months running missions with the Iraqis from Baghdad to Tikrit.
He left active duty in August 2007 and is currently studying for the Massachusetts Bar Exam in February 2008. He lives in Boston.
Josh Denton was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Northern New Jersey. He attended the University of New Hampshire, majoring in Political Science and History, and was commissioned as a field artillery officer in the Spring of 2003 from Army ROTC.
Josh served as a platoon leader in 3-27 FAR (MLRS), the only mechanized artillery unit at Fort Bragg. When the remainder of 18th Field Artillery Brigade (155s) deployed to Iraq, his battalion stayed behind as rear D and converted to HIMARS. He later served as an executive officer to HSB as a first lieutenant.
After receiving orders to serve as the intel advisor on a MiTT in Iraq, Josh attended the Military Intelligence career course at Fort Huachuca. After that, he trained at Fort Riley with other members of the MiTT and deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in the summer of 2006 as a captain. While there, he served as the intel advisor to the 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army—a unit consisting of the old Republican Guard T-55s and T-72s. This unit deployed to the Adhimiyah district of Baghdad during Operation Together Forward in an attempt to stop the sectarian violence that spiraled out of control after the Samara Golden Mosque bombing in 2006. The 10 Americans on Josh’s team were the only ones in Shaab and Ur at that time. When the mission failed, his team was replaced by a brigade from the 82nd Airborne, and his battalion’s new mission was to man checkpoints along route Plutos.
Josh redeployed during the late summer when the initial violence of the surge began to subside. Within three weeks of returning from Iraq he was on terminal leave. Josh returned to New Hampshire and currently lives in Portsmouth. He works part time and during the primary did a substantial amount of volunteer work for the Edwards campaign. He is attending classes at the University of New Hampshire while working toward an MPA.
George Zubaty was born and raised in Warsaw, Kentucky. After attending and graduating from Gallatin County public schools, George attended Northern Kentucky University, graduating with a degree in History.
In the spring of 2001 George enlisted in the U.S. Army. After completing basic training and Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, he was assigned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, home of the 101st Airborne Division.
George deployed first to Afghanistan in 2002, and then to Iraq in 2003 with C Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment (Rakkasan). While in that unit, George served in nearly every role in a rifle company, as a rifleman, grenadier, team leader, and eventually company RTO and clerk. During the mad rush through the center of Iraq in 2003 George participated in the taking of Saddam International Airport, the seizure of the Iraqi Intelligence ministry building, and the establishment of U.S. presence in Iraqi Kurdistan.
After completing his enlistment in 2005, George took the opportunity to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Entering graduate school in 2005, George began working in various political campaigns as a volunteer. In 2007, George graduated with a Master’s degree in Political Science and has continued his political work hoping to continue public service in the future with elected office.
George is happily married to Jennifer M. Barbour of Charlottesville, Virginia who, despite being his intellectual and professional superior in every way, continues to tolerate his presence in their new home in Louisville, Kentucky.
Shannon Smyth served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force from 2002 to 2006. He completed two deployments in support of both OIF and OEF, serving in Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, and Jordan as a C-130 Combat Airlift crew chief. While stateside, Shannon was assigned to Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas and Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina (now Pope Army Airfield, Fort Bragg, North Carolina).
In 2007, Shannon joined the U.S. Navy Reserve as an administrative officer in Eugene, Oregon. Later that year he transitioned to the Army National Guard and joined the 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry in December.
Shannon earned an Associate’s degree in Aircraft Technology from CCAF in 2006 and will graduate with a BS in Political Science from the University of Oregon in 2008. He currently works as a Congressional aide in Eugene, Oregon, where he handles Military and Veterans Affairs. Shannon lives in Eugene and is currently preparing for law school.
David Brigac enlisted in the U.S. Army during at the beginning of his senior year of high school in 1995. He was first deployed to Honduras after Hurricane Mitch in 1998. He then returned overseas in 2006, deploying from Fort Drum, NY to Afghanistan. He served a year-long tour there (in several areas) conducting signal operations and convoy security. After coming home in 2007, he worked on the campaign of former Louisiana Congressman Don Cazayoux and provided counsel to the state’s Democratic Party on veterans issues. In 2009-2010 he was awarded the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for his work in Korean orphanages.
David graduated from Troy University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree, lives in Dallas and remains very active with the local veterans community, specifically with critical organizations like The Mission Continues.
Miranda Norman joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard in September of 1999, her senior year of high school. She served in OIF II with her Guard unit, C Company, 120th Combat Heavy Engineers, at Camp Al Taqqadum, Iraq, serving as an Automated Logistics Specialist.
Since returning from the combat theater in 2004 Miranda has become active in local Democratic politics. She currently serves as the Secretary for the Oklahoma Democratic Veterans Committee, served as a delegate to the Young Democrats of America National Convention, and is a member of the University of Oklahoma College Democrats. Miranda is a junior at the University of Oklahoma where she is pursuing a degree in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Administration.
Vince Wulf was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1982 and raised in Whitehall, where he graduated from Whitehall Yearling High School in 2000. At the beginning of his senior year, Vince enlisted in the U.S. Army as an infantryman. He was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas in March 2001 and served his time there with C Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 4th Infantry Division until September 2004.
Vince deployed to Iraq in April 2003 and returned home in March 2004. He spent the bulk of his time in Tikrit, but was also assigned to the 101st Airborne Division in Mosul for one month.
Vince currently lives in Columbus, Ohio where he works full-time as a corrections officer for the State of Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. He also attends Columbus State Community College part time where he is majoring in corrections.
Luke Goodrich enlisted in the Vermont Army National Guard in December 2001. As a fan of the winter outdoors, he signed up as a rifleman in 3/172 Infantry (Mountain), a battalion designed to win the tactical advantage in alpine environments. In January 2005, he left Vermont as part of a battalion-sized attachment to the Pennsylvania National Guard's 2nd BCT, 28th Infantry Division. After mobilization training, he landed in Iraq in July 2006, for an eleven month tour in Ramadi. Luke’s company was responsible for security in the Tammim district on the west side of Ramadi, where he split time as an E-5 Team Leader between the company headquarters platoon and a line platoon on daily patrols.
After returning from deployment in June 2006, Luke spent time decompressing in rural Vermont, and with friends and family up and down the east coast. Since September 2006, he has lived in the Boston area where he works in advertising for an online retailer. After six years in the Guard, he attended his last drill in December 2007, and now serves in the Inactive Ready Reserve.
Chris LeJeune joined the Army in 1998 as an infantryman. He went through OSUT at Fort Benning, Georgia, and was then stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. In 2000, Chris was deployed to Kuwait for Operation Desert Spring. Upon returning five months later, he transitioned to the 6th MP Group (CID), where he did an 18-month internship as a Military Police Investigator. Chris was assigned shortly thereafter as a training NCO for MP's who were deploying to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom.
Chris left active duty in June 2002, and joined the Utah Army National Guard. Initially he was with the REC unit of the 19th Special Forces, however, he then transitioned to become a combat engineer (Explosives and Demolitions) with the 1457th Engineer Combat Battalion. He was deployed with his unit on February 8, 2003 for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Chris served in Baghdad and Dogwood until May 2004. He returned home with 60% disability for PTSD and bilateral hearing loss (as an AT-4 had been fired next to his left ear).
Chris left the Army after receiving an honorable discharge and enrolled in college. He earned a BS in Computer Science, and now works for Oracle. Chris lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife, Christine, and their four daughters.
*To become a Senior Advisor, VoteVets.org members must:
- be a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) or Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)
- be an active member of his or her State Team
- successfully complete a VoteVets.org political orientation event in Washington, D.C. (in lieu of attending one of these sessions, any active member holding the rank of E-8/O-4 may be invited)
- provide VoteVets.org with a copy of his or her DD-214