- GEN Ray Odierno (US Army, Retired)
- GEN James Lindsay (US Army, Retired)
- GEN Buck Kernan (US Army, Retired)
- GEN Lance Smith (US Air Force, Retired)
- GEN Dan McNeill (US Army, Retired)
- LTG John R. Vines (US Army, Retired)
- LTG Michael Ferriter (US Army, Retired)
- MG Zannie Smith (US Army, Retired)
- MG Chuck Swannack (US Army, Retired)
- RDML Cliff Sharpe (US Navy, Retired)
- CSM Steve England (US Army, Retired)
GEN RAYMOND T. ODIERNO
General Raymond T. Odierno culminated his military career serving as the 38th Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 7 September 2011 to 14 August 2015.
A native of Rockaway, New Jersey, General Odierno attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1976 with a commission in Field Artillery.
During more than 39 years of service, he commanded units at every echelon, from platoon to theater, with duty in Germany, Albania, Kuwait, Iraq, and the United States. While assigned to U.S. Army Europe, General Odierno served as a battalion executive officer and division artillery executive officer including deployment for Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. He later commanded 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery, 7th Infantry Division, and the Division Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division. General Odierno commanded the 4th Infantry Division, leading the division during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM from April 2003 to March 2004 including the capture of Iraq’s deposed dictator, Saddam Hussein. From December 2006 to February 2008, he served as the Commanding General, Multi-National Corps – Iraq (III Corps), the operational commander of the surge of forces. Later, he served as the Commanding General, Multi- National Force – Iraq and subsequently United States Forces – Iraq, from September 2008 until September 2010. From October 2010 until August 2011, he was the Commander of United States Joint Forces Command. Other significant assignments include: Arms Control Officer, Office of the Secretary of Defense and Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff where he was the military advisor to Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.
General Odierno founded and is the Owner and President of Odierno Associates, LLC. He serves as a Senior Advisor to JPMorgan Chase & Company to provide strategic advice and global insights to Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, the Board of Directors and members of the Operating Committee on a broad range of issues including international planning and country risk analysis, operations and the rapidly evolving issues of physical and cyber security. The general also serves as a Senior Advisor to Teneo Holdings, LLC; Senior Advisor to Virtu Financial, Inc.; and as a board member for Eastern Airlines.
General Odierno holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from West Point and a master’s degree in Nuclear Effects Engineering from North Carolina State University. He is a graduate of the Army War College and holds a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. He also holds two honorary degrees, a Doctorate in Humane Letters from North Carolina State University and a Doctorate of Laws Honoris Causa from the Institute of World Politics.
General Odierno is married to his high school sweetheart, Linda. They have three children and four grandchildren.
GENERAL JAMES LINDSAY
General Lindsay's military career began when he enlisted in the Army in 1952. He graduated from the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School in May 1953 as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry. His military education includes the Infantry Officer Advanced Course, Army Language School (German and Russian) the US Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the National War College. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Master of Science degree in Foreign Affairs from George Washington University.
Lindsay commanded units at all levels, from platoon through MACOM, in both peacetime and war. His first assignments were with the 82nd Airborne Division, 7th Special Forces Group and Military Intelligence. Within the 82nd Airborne Division he held eight assignments, from platoon to division level. During the Vietnam War, he was an advisor to the Vietnamese Airborne Brigade, commanded the 2nd Battalion 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division and was the G3 (Assistant Chief-of-Staff, Operations and Plans) for the 9th Infantry Division.
As a general, Lindsay commanded the 82nd Airborne Division, the United States Army Infantry School, the XVIII Airborne Corps, the United States Readiness Command, and was the first Commander in Chief, United States Special Operations Command. General Lindsay retired July 1, 1990.
GEN WILLIAM F. "BUCK" KERNAN
General William F. “Buck” Kernan was born in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He was commissioned in November 1968 from Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Our Lady of the Lake University and a Master of Arts degree in personnel administration from Central Michigan University. His military education includes the Infantry Advanced Course, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College.
General Kernan’s initial assignment was as Liaison Officer with the 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Assigned to Vietnam in August 1969, he served with the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, as a Rifle Platoon Leader, Battalion Reconnaissance Platoon Leader (Tiger Force), and Assistant S3. Following this assignment he returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and served as Company Commander, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 325th Infantry.
Upon completion of the Infantry Officer Advanced Course in March 1974, General Kernan was assigned to the U.S. Army Recruiting Command as an area commander in Austin, Texas. Joining the 2nd Ranger Battalion at Fort Lewis, Washington, in April 1976, he commanded two companies and was the assistant S3 before departing in July 1978 to attend the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In July 1979, he was assigned to the Military Personnel Center in Washington, D.C., initially to the DA Secretariat, and then to the Officer Personnel Management Directorate as an Infantry Branch Assignment Officer. In August 1981, he was selected to be the U.S. Exchange Officer representing the 82d Airborne Division to the British Parachute Regiment where he commanded Company C, 3 PARA, for two years.Upon his return from England in July 1983, General Kernan joined the 2d Battalion (Airborne), 508th Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division,where he served as the executive officer and battalion commander. After completing the Army War College in July 1987, he assumed command of the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia. In December 1988, he assumed the duties as Deputy Commander, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia, and held that position until June 20, 1989, when he assumed command of the 75th Ranger Regiment. On December 20, 1989, he led the 75th Ranger Regiment in its combat parachute assault into Panama during Operation Just Cause. In September 1991, he was assigned to the 7th Infantry Division (Light), Fort Ord, California, where he served as the Assistant Division Commander (Maneuver). In July 1993, he was assigned as the Director of Plans, Policy, and Strategic Assessments, J5, United States Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. General Kernan commanded the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) from February 1996 until February 1998 and assumed command of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg on March 12, 1998.
GEN LANCE L. SMITH
General Lance L. Smith served in the United States Military for 37 years and retired January 2008. Most recently he served as Commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia. As Commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command, he was responsible for maximizing present and future military capabilities of the United States by leading the transformation of joint forces in the areas of joint training; joint interoperability; and joint innovation and experimentation.
As Combatant Command Authority for Air Combat Command, Fleet Forces Command, U.S. Army Forces Command and Marine Forces Command, he held operational control over almost 1.19 million U.S. military forces in his role as the force provider to the other combatant commanders. As Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Smith led the transformation of NATO’s military structures, forces, capabilities and doctrines to improve interoperability and military effectiveness of the Alliance and its partner nations. He also led individual NATO training development and, in collaboration with Supreme Allied Commander Operations, executed training programs for Coalition forces deploying to Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo.
A native of Virginia and a graduate of Virginia Tech, the general entered the Air Force in 1970 after completing Officer Training School. He has more than 13 years in command during war and peace. He commanded two fighter wings and led two air expeditionary force deployments to Southwest Asia: AEF III and the 4th Air Expeditionary Wing. He served as the Commander of 7th Air Force, Pacific Air Forces; Air Component Commander, ROK and U.S. Combined Forces Command Korea; and Deputy Commander U.S. Forces Korea. The general also served two tours at the Pentagon and was Commandant of the NATO School at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Commandant of the Air War College and Commander of the Air Force Doctrine Center. Prior to his current assignment, he was Deputy Commander, U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.
GENERAL DAN K. MCNEILL
Upon completion of the requirements for graduation in 1968, General McNeill was awarded a Bachelor of Science and a commission as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry from North Carolina State University and the University’s ROTC program. McNeill has served with Special Forces, airborne infantry, mechanized infantry and aviation units. As a general officer, McNeill has commanded the 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps, U.S. Army Forces Command as well as serving as an assistant division commander, corps chief of staff, deputy corps commander and Deputy Commander/Chief of Staff FORSCOM. In addition to a myriad of assignments to posts throughout the United States, McNeill has served overseas assignments in the Republic of Vietnam, the Republic of Korea, Italy, Panama, Haiti, Saudi/Iraq and Afghanistan. In June, 2008, McNeill completed a final tour of 16 months in command of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. McNeill retired on July 31, 2008, after completing more than 40 years of commissioned service.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL JOHN RANDOLPH VINES
Lieutenant General John Randolph Vines is the former commander of the U.S. Army’s XVIII Airborne Corps and Multi-National Corps – Iraq.
Vines previously commanded the 82nd Airborne Division during the U.S. deployment to Afghanistan. He was responsible for tactical combat missions. Subsequently, Vines replaced Lt. Gen. Dan K. McNeill as the commanding general of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Vines received his BS Degree in Chemistry from the University of Alabama and his MA Degree in National Security and Strategy from the Naval War College.
He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry in 1971 through the ROTC program at the University of Alabama.
His previous assignments include the 3rd Infantry Division; U.S. Army Europe and Seventh U.S. Army; Ranger Department, US Army Infantry Center; Company Commander and S3 in the 1st Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment; and the original Executive Officer of the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at its activation from 1984 until 1987.
As Lieutenant General, Vines has served in several command and staff assignments within the XVIII Airborne Corps to include joint duty with the Joint Special Operations Command. He served as Commander, 4th Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, during its combat parachute assault in Operation Just Cause and later when the unit was deployed as the first ground combat unit in Operation Desert Shield.
His second tour of joint duty with the Joint Special Operations Command included operations in Somalia; Commander, 2d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); Assistant Division Commander for Operations, 82d Airborne Division; Chief of Staff, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg; Chief of Office of Military Cooperations, Cairo, Egypt; Commander, 82d Airborne Division from August 2000 until October 2002; Commander, Coalition Task Force 82, in Afghanistan from 1 September 2002 until 1 May 2003; and then Commander, Combined/Joint Task Force-180, Bagram, Afghanistan, until October 2003; Commander, Multi-National Corps Iraq in Baghdad from January 2005 until January 2006.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL MICHAEL FERRITER
Lieutenant General Mike Ferriter served 35 years in the U.S. Army commanding Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and International Forces at every level from a Second Lieutenant Infantry Platoon leader to the Commanding General of the Advising and Training Mission in Iraq. In his final Army position, LTG Ferriter was the Commanding General of the Army’s Installation Management Command, responsible for operation of all the Army bases worldwide with a $12B budget and 73,000 military and civilian employees. During his command tour, LTG Ferriter transformed the Installation Management Command and cut costs by nearly $3B.
LTG Ferriter was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry from The Citadel in 1979. He served as a Paratrooper and in light and heavy Infantry forces, as well as with Army Special Operations as an Army Ranger. He parachuted with Paratroopers and Rangers 198 times and has served in combat in Mogadishu, Somalia and in 3 tours in Iraq.
He spent his career building teams and developing leaders and he believes we all have the ability to demonstrate inspired leadership. Upon his retirement, he established The Ferriter Group LLC, in order to develop leaders, build teams and transform corporations. LTG Ferriter also provides Hands-On Inspired Leadership seminars for Veterans, Wounded Warriors and families of our Fallen Soldiers. He believes when you add Veterans to your ranks; you infuse leadership, teamwork and success. LTG Ferriter and his team also present Hands-On Inspired Leadership seminars to senior business executives, corporate managers, high school teens and anyone looking to build character, build teams, and develop self-confidence and resilience.
He provides consulting services on the Board of Advisors for a few organizations including Patriot Foundation, Renewable Energy companies, the Veterans Golf Association, Links to Freedom Foundation and To The Fallen Entertainment. He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt and currently head instructor at Champions Martial Arts Academy, in Puyallup, Washington.
LTG Ferriter and his wife Margie have been married 35 years and raised 4 awesome children who grew up valuing service to the nation. The Ferriter family includes Meghan Ferriter, PhD; Major Dan and his wife Jessica Ferriter, Captain Paddy and his wife Lauren Ferriter, and Captain Garrett and Mary Whitney Whittaker with their son, Parker and daughter, Reagan.
LTG Ferriter lives his life by these three beliefs: Do Your Best! Do What’s Right! Demonstrate Inspired Leadership!
MAJOR GENERAL ZANNIE SMITH
Major General (Retired) Zannie Smith was born in Hopewell, Virginia. General Smith began his military career in 1962 as an enlisted soldier in the 82nd Airborne Division. He was commissioned through Officer Candidate School as an Infantry officer. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Tampa and a Master of Arts Degree in Business Management from Webster University. His military education includes the Infantry Officer Advanced Course, Command and General Staff College, and the Army War College. His distinguished career in the Army included a variety of command and staff positions. As a Junior Officer he served in assignments in the Republic of Vietnam, Fort Sherman, Panama, Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. As a field grade officer, he served in a variety of key positions including an operations officer in the Combined Field Army, Republic of Korea, a battalion S-3, battalion executive officer, and brigade executive officer in the 7th Infantry Division (Light) at Fort Ord, California. He served on the Army Staff at the Pentagon in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans. He was the Commander of the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York and later served as the division’s G-3. General Smith served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm as the Deputy G-3, XVIII Airborne Corps, and from November 1991 until October 1993, commanded the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade. Subsequent assignments were Chief of Staff, Joint Task Force, Somalia; Chief of Staff, 101st Airborne Division; and G-3, XVIII Airborne Corps. After assignments with United States Army Reserve Command, I Corps, NATO assignment in Turkey as the Deputy Commander, Joint Sub Regional Command Southeast/Commanding General, United States Army he became the Deputy Commanding General, XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg and Acting Commanding General during Operation Enduring Freedom. After his retirement from the U.S. Army, General Smith joined Anteon Corporation as a Group Senior Vice President in August 2004 and continued as Senior Vice President, National and Homeland Security Division following General Dynamics’ acquisition of Anteon in June 2006. In that capacity he managed the Division’s entire portfolio of approximately 3,800 people and over $1 billion in business providing information technology support and professional services to customers within the United States Army and a select number of other federal government customers. General Smith retired from General Dynamics in 2012. In January of 2015, General Smith was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer and President of USfalcon, Inc. Prior to his appointment, he was a member of the USfalcon Board of Advisors.
MAJOR GENERAL CHARLES "CHUCK" SWANNACK
Major General Charles H. Swannack, Jr. was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry from the United States Military Academy on 9 June 1971. He has proudly served his Nation for thirty plus years in command and staff positions at every level from platoon to Department of the Army.
Prior to retiring, MG Swannack served for six months as the Deputy Commander, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, where he helped prepare Corps units for deployment to Iraq. Before assuming these duties, MG Swannack commanded the 82nd Airborne Division from 8 October 2002-27 May 2004.? During this time, he provided forces to Combined Joint Task Force-180 for combat operations in Afghanistan, and he personally led the Division during combat operations from Kuwait to Baghdad and later civil-military operations in western Iraq.
Prior general officer assignments include: Commanding General of Multinational Division (North) and Task Force Eagle during Operation JOINT FORGE (SFOR 11) in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where he oversaw implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords; Commanding General of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, where he was the senior trainer for all Light, Airborne, Air Assault, Ranger and Special Forces units in the Army; and Deputy Director for Strategy, Plans and Policy within the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, Headquarters, Department of the Army. His initial assignment as a general officer was with the 82nd Airborne Division as the Assistant Division Commander (Operations).
As a Brigade Commander, MG Swannack deployed to Haiti for peacekeeping operations during Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY. He also served in the Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate, J5, the Joint Staff, where he was instrumental in developing and executing US strategy and policy for Central America and the Caribbean Basin. As a Battalion Commander, he deployed to Panama during Operation NIMROD DANCER and subsequently participated in combat operations during Operation JUST CAUSE.
MG Swannack is a graduate of Capstone and the National War College. He holds a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is a Registered Professional Engineer in Virginia.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit (6OLC) and Bronze Star Medal (1OLC). He proudly wears the Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge and the Ranger Tab.
MG Swannack is married and has twin children.
REAR ADMIRAL CLIFFORD "CLIFF" S. SHARPE
RDML Cliff Sharpe is a native of Lumberton, N.C., and a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C. He retired in 2012 after thirty years of service. Flag assignments included: Commander, Carrier Strike Group Eight; Commander, Naval Service Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill and Chief Operating Officer for Naval Education and Training Command (NETC).
At sea, Sharpe commanded Destroyer Squadron Two, USS Stout (DDG 55), and (MCM) Rotational Crew Echo. Earlier sea duty included Operations Officer for Destroyer Squadron 22 and USS Thomas C. Hart (FF 1092), as well as his initial sea assignment upon completion of Officer Candidate School in USS Josephus Daniels (CG 27). He completed multiple deployments in support of DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
Ashore, Sharpe served at the Naval Personnel Command and on the Joint Staff, Washington, in the Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate (J-5). Previous shore assignments include Surface Warfare Officer Community manager and instructor duty at both the Surface Warfare Officer School and at the Naval Academy Preparatory School. Sharpe holds a Master of Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island. He as holds a Masters in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College where he graduated with distinction and served as the U.S. representative to the Naval Staff College (Class 47), a program of work, travel and study with international officers.
RDML Sharpe is married to the former Brenda Bagley. The couple has three grown children.
COMMAND SERGEANT MAJOR STEVEN R. ENGLAND
CSM Steven R. England (US Army, Ret.) is a native of Ohio. He enlisted in the United States Army in August 1971. He received Basic and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Ord, California. Throughout his distinguished military career he continued to further his military education and training. He completed Airborne, Ranger, Jumpmaster, Drill Sergeant, Jungle Warfare schools, and the Instructor Training Course, as well as being a graduate of all noncommissioned officer education schools including the functional courses, Operations and Intelligence Course, and the First Sergeant Course. Command Sergeant Major (R) England was also chosen as the Association of the United States Army Graduate for Military Excellence for the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy and the Operations and Intelligence Course. He attended the first Command Senior Enlisted Leadership Course at JFCOM; where he also acted as the senior mentor.
Command Sergeant Major (R) England held numerous leadership positions throughout his career, which include: squad leader; ranger instructor; platoon sergeant; drill sergeant; first sergeant; operation sergeant major; battalion and brigade CSM; Commandant, XVIII Airborne Corps Noncommissioned Officer’s Academy; Division and Corps CSM; and Command Sergeant Major for Combined/Joint Task Force-180, Bagram, Afghanistan. His assignments over his 34 year career include: Command Sergeant Major, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg; Command Sergeant Major, 82d Airborne Division; Brigade Command Sergeant Major, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment; and Battalion Command Sergeant Major, 3-505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He also served at the Ranger Department as the Tactical NCO and all three of the ranger battalions, and the regimental headquarters of the 75th Ranger Regiment.
Command Sergeant Major (R) England has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal; Defense Superior Service Medal; the Legion of Merit; the Bronze Star Medal; Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters; Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters; Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf cluster; Joint Meritorious Unit Award with one oak leaf cluster; the Army Good Conduct Medal (10th award); National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Southwest Asia Service Medal with two bronze stars; Noncommissioned Officer’s Professional Development Ribbon with numeral 4; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; Kuwait Liberation Medal; Combat and Expert Infantryman Badge; Master Parachutist Badge with gold combat star; Pathfinder Badge; Ranger Tab; and Drill Sergeant Identification Badge.
In 2011 he was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame and received the Sergeant Major of the Army William G. Bainbridge Medal from the Association of the United States Army. In 2014 he was the recipient of the Doughboy award the highest honor given by the Infantry community.
Command Sergeant Major (R) England is married to the former Renae Troth they have two daughters Heather and Amanda.