No group of people have done more in maintaining the United States as the ‘Land of the Free’ than our brave veterans and their families. The troops in our country are constantly putting their personal lives on hold and their mortal lives on the line to defend the freedom and democracy that many of us take for granted each day. In honor of National Military Appreciation Month, our speakers on military and patriotism help us show our gratitude to the men and women in our armed forces.
1. Mike Abrashoff
Mike Abrashoff served as military assistant to Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, helped draft the air defense plan for the naval forces in the Persian Gulf in 1990, and served as the Executive Officer of the Cruiser Shiloh to support United Nations sanctions against Iraq. After his work in the Gulf War, Mike helped turn the weakest ship in the pacific fleet–The USS Benfold, into one of the most motivated and high preforming teams.
2. Taryn Davis
The death of her husband in a road-side bomb attack in Iraq in 2007 inspired Taryn Davis to found American Widow Project, which allows about a thousand women who lost their husbands in the armed forces to gather, share stories, and be comforted by the fact that they are not alone.
3. Michael Strobl
Michael Strobl’s personal memoir, Taking Chance (2004) tells of his experience escorting home the remains of a Marine killed in “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Strobl served in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during Desert Storm, working as an Operations Research Analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Today he is a highly in-demand motivational speaker, and currently works at the Pentagon.
4. Carey Lohrenz
Carey Lohrenz was the First female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot in the U.S. Navy. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin Carey attended the Navy’s Aviation Officer Candidate School before starting flight training and her naval career. She is currently working on her Masters in Business Administration in Strategic Leadership and is a Partner and the Vice President of Sales and Business Development at The Corps Group.
5. Charlie Plumb
Despite being detained and tortured as a prisoner of war for 2,103 days in North Vietnam, Charlie Plumb still believes that he has lived the American dream. Prior to his capture, Charlie flew 74 successful combat missions as a Naval pilot over North Vietnam and made over 100 carrier landings. Even after being released from prison, Charlie continued his flying career for 28 years.
6. Tom Casalini
Although not a Veteran himself, Tom Casalini has dedicated his life as a photographer to honoring men and women who have honorably served their country in the armed forces. Specifically, Tom has traveled the country meeting and photographing recipients of the Medal of Honor.
7. John Foley
Naval Pilot, John Foley became Lead Solo of the Blue Angles Flight Demonstration team. Using Blue Angel methodology as a model, he developed a framework for excellence that has informed his life in a profound way and has guided his approach to achievement.
8. Peter Lemon
Peter C. Lemon is one of the youngest surviving recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, for assisting in saving lives in Vietnam. United States President, Barack Obama, presented Mr. Lemon the coveted ‘Outstanding American by Choice’ award in a 2009 White House ceremony recognizing his life of professional achievement and civic contribution.
9. Gerald Coffee
Gerald (Jerry) Coffee was awarded the Distinguished ‘Flying Cross’ for taking photos ultimately used by the United States UN ambassador to prove the existence of Soviet missiles in Cuba. After being detained as a POW in North Vietnam for seven years, Jerry was released and returned to operation duties until he retired from active duty with various distinguished service awards.
10. Vincent Boles
As a Major General who commanded soldiers, civilians, and contractors on five continents in the five years following 9/11 (including operation Iraqi freedom), Vincent Boles has experience planning and executing strategy. Today, Vincent uses his 33 years of in depth military experience to teach others how to lead in crisis situations and maintain focus on the ultimate goal at hand.
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