Chief of Staff
Senior Advisor to the President
Director of Registration & Senior Staff Accountant
Director of Marketing
Senior Director, Memorial Engagement
Board of Directors
Dr. Sharon Bannister is a former U.S. Air Force Major General with 15+ years of C-level experience leading complex healthcare teams. She received a direct commission as an Air Force Dentist in July 1992. Throughout her 31-year career, she served in multiple roles including patient care, post-doctoral educator, military command positions both stateside and deployed, and C-level executive leadership positions both within the Department of the Air Force and the Defense Health Agency. She also served as the 20th Chief of the Air Force Dental Corps, directing dental policy and operational guidance for a global dental enterprise.
Her career culminated serving as the Director of Medical Operations for the Department of the Air Force, responsible for guiding the U.S. Air Force and Space Force medical operations strategic and operational goals. As a trusted and proven professional, she drove policy and strategic direction for the $52B Department of Defense healthcare system comprised of more than 144K medical personnel. Having served in multiple critical governance roles during the historic, Congressionally-mandated Military Health System reform, she was recognized for producing multibillion-dollar results through the development of inclusive teams with a shared passion for crafting, marketing and executing strategy designed for global impact. Additionally, as a four-time military commander, she exercised decision authority for all policies, healthcare operations, resource management, budget execution, human resource management, risk management and community relations for clinics and hospitals. Within the Department of Defense, Congress, and nationally, Dr. Bannister is known for her healthcare expertise, relationship building, and advocacy.
Dr. Bannister received her Doctor of Dental Surgery from Case Western Reserve School of Dentistry as well as Master of Science degrees in Periodontics from the University of Texas Health Science Center and National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Her Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry was received from Miami University where she was recently awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. Sharon is also a nationally renowned speaker who connects with audiences through her diverse background as a servant leader, dedicated healthcare executive, board-certified periodontist, educator, wife, mom, veteran’s advocate, and Gold Star daughter.
Espey (Ted) Browning, is the Chair of the Audit Committee. He currently serves as an Executive Lecturer in the College of Business at James Madison University. He has been a Partner at Ernst & Young, as Partner at Johnson Lambert, LLP, an Adjunct Professor at The College of William and Mary Raymond A. Mason School of Business, Montgomery College and the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business. In addition to his support to the Women’s Memorial, Mr. Browning currently serves on the Joint Trial Board of the American Institute of CPAs. He has served on other boards of Directors and committees to include chairing the Professional Ethics Committee of the Maryland Association of CPAs.
Mr. Browning is a Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Global Management Accountant. He holds a BS in Accounting from Smith School of Business and an MS from the University of Maryland University College. He Co-Authored the United Way Guide to Implementation of New Accounting Standards as well as multiple articles on ethics and gifts-in-kind.
Master Sergeant (Retired) Melissa Crane is a member of the Foundation Audit Committee. Melissa entered the Marine Corps in 1982 and served in several key administrative positions to include with the Division Inspector General, 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton and as Administrative Chief to the 12th and 13th Sergeant Majors of the Marine Corps. She was later assigned as the Audit Chief and as the Assistant to the Director of the Marine Corps Non-Appropriated Fund Audit Service (MCNAFAS), Headquarters Marine Corps. She retired from the Marine Corps in 2003 after 21 years of service.
She is currently with the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, DC. and serves as the Assistant Director, Assurance and Financial Reporting. In this assignment she is responsible for providing financial support to the Department of Homeland Security Headquarters’ offices to include the Office of the Secretary, Executive Management, and the offices within the Under Secretary for Management. She has previously served as a Senior Auditor at the Department of Transportation and Auditor-In-Charge at the Department of Justice. Her other non-profit contributions include serving as the Treasurer for Young Marines.
Mrs. Crane is a Certified Internal Auditor and Certified Government Auditing Professional. She holds both a Master’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Accounting.
Brenda D. Davis is a member of the Finance and Investment Committee for the WIMSA Foundation Board of Directors. She served in the United States Marine Cops from 1984 until 1990. While her military occupational specialty was ground supply, she also filled Training non-commissioned officer billets as several secondary billets.
After her active duty time, she continued her involvement with the Maine Corps by serving as a Key Volunteer. This affiliation propelled her into other volunteer arenas including leadership positions in the Greater New Orleans Council of the Navy League, Joint Family Readiness Program, Joint Task Force Civil Support, and Marine Forces Reserve. Brenda joined the Maine Corps Family Team Building staff for Marine Forces Reserve (MFR) in 2011, traveling throughout the country facilitating Lifestyles, Insight, Networking, Knowledge, and Skills (LINKS) for families of Marines and life skills curriculum for the Marines, Sailors, and their family members serving within MFR. In 2014, she became the Family Readiness Officer for Marine Forces Reserve, executing the family readiness vision of the Commander, MFR.
She also served as the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Coordinator for MFR, insuring that deployed Reserve members and their families were given an opportunity to properly reintegrate. Brenda resigned her position in 2016 to assume a full-time volunteer role with the Young Marines, a national youth organization promoting team-work, discipline, and leadership for youth between the ages of 8 until graduation of high school. Their drug demand reduction mission and veterans
support agenda are of particular interest to her. She assists with the execution of national events, mentors and advises program participants, develops curriculum, and facilitates both youth and adult volunteers.
Major General (Retired) Jan Edmunds is the Chairwoman of the WIMSA Foundation and heads the Board’s Development Committee. MG Edmunds served 32 years in the US Army as a logistician culminating her career as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Headquarters Department of the Army. Other key general officer assignments included commanding a Theater Support Command in Korea, Command of the 13th Corps Support Command at Fort Hood Texas, and Command of the Army War Reserve Support Command in Rock Island, IL. After retiring she was Senior Vice President for Logistics and Services with Cypress International, consulting in the Defense and Aerospace market for 7 years and still supports clients part time.
Her other activities include the Board Directors for BRTRC, a Defense professional services company, Vice President of the Board of Trustees for Old Dominion University’s Research Foundation, and a previous member of a Defense Science Board Task Force assessing options such as small modular reactors and other alternative energy sources for energy delivery at forward and remote operating bases. She holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Edinboro State University and an MBA from Florida Institute of Technology, is a graduate of the US Army War College and holds a commercial pilots rating.
Dr. Julie Englund, is the Foundation Treasurer and Chair of the Finance and Investment Committee. She is a board member and active community volunteer with broad experience in higher education, public policy research organizations, and not-for-profits.
Formerly she was Executive Vice President and Secretary to the Board of Achieving the Dream, a non-profit dedicated to reforming practices in community colleges. She served as Chief Financial Officer of the National Academy of Sciences, Treasurer and Vice President for Finance and Administration at The Catholic University, Dean for Administration at Harvard Law School, and Treasurer and Vice President for Finance and Administration at The Brookings Institution, Senior Vice President for Finance, Administration, and Membership with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and Associate Vice President at Hood College. Her career also includes federal service.
She is a member of the Board of Trustees of Cedar Crest College, a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is a former member of the Board of Trustees of Wilson College for nine years where she served as the Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee, Chair of the Investment Subcommittee, member of Executive Committee, and member and Treasurer of the Board of the Humane Society University.
Julie earned a Masters of City Planning degree and a Doctorate in Education from Harvard University. Her BA degree, magna cum laude, is from Briarcliff College. She is the daughter of WWII military pilot Irene Englund, Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs).
Brigadier General (Retired) Barbara A Goodwin, USAF, (Ret) is the Foundation Secretary and a member of the Finance and Investment Committee. Her thirty-year career as an Air Force officer and nurse provided numerous opportunities for experiences at all levels of organization and leadership positions, culminating with her selection as Chief, USAF Nurse Corps. In 1992, following retirement she joined the American Red Cross and was a member of the Blood Services department as a Collection Specialist until retiring in 2013. In addition, she earned credentials in the Travel and Tourism industry and continues to serve as a Travel counselor with a local agency in Maryland.
Over the years she has continued to be an active participant in community organizations with emphasis on Women and Veterans associations including Business and Professional Women’s Foundation; Military Officer Association of America (MOAA); a former director on the Board of the Air Force Retired Officers Corporation which oversees a Continuing Care Retirement Community (Falcons Landing), and local parish ministries.
General Goodwin earned a MSN from University of Colorado, BSN from University of Pennsylvania and a Diploma in Nursing from Boston City Hospital School of Nursing. She is a graduate of the Air War College.
Rear Admiral (retired) Nancy Lescavage is the Vice Chair of the Board and a member of the Foundation Governance Committee. Nancy most recently served as the Deputy Secretary for Quality Assurance for the Pennsylvania Department of Health. In this role, she planned and directed the policy, operations and execution of the Bureau of Facility Licensure and Certification and the Bureau of Community Program Licensure and Certification.
She served on active duty in the United States Navy for over 35 years and rose to the rank of rear admiral while holding a variety of leadership, business, education, clinical and legislative liaison roles. Most notably, she was the 20th Director of the Navy Nurse Corps and was the Director of TRICARE Regional Office – West, overseeing managed care support contracts and an integrated health care delivery system covering 21 states and 2.7 million eligible TRICARE beneficiaries. Nancy earned her graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania along with a Certificate of Management from the Wharton School of Business. She obtained a baccalaureate degree from the University of Maryland and a diploma in nursing from Saint Joseph Hospital in Reading, Pennsylvania. She is the recipient of numerous military, civic, academic and leadership awards including the Outstanding Federal Health Care Executive Award.
Brigadier General (Retired) Eden Murrie is a member of the Foundation’s Governance Committee. In 2020 Eden transitioned from Chief Operating Officer to Chief Executive Officer of Operation Stand Down Tennessee a 501(c)(3) that focuses on helping Veterans and their families by engaging, equipping, and empowering them with a wide range of services, including employment assistance, VA benefits assistance, networking, housing, and more.
Eden is also the Board Chair for Rock The Street Wall Street. She is also a board member for the Tennessee State Veterans’ Homes, Mission Getting to Next Foundation, Centerstone Military Services and the Davidson County Veterans Court Foundation. Additionally, she is an adviser for the Nashville YWCA Dress for Success program.
Prior to her current position, Brigadier General Murrie culminated a 29-year Air Force career as the Director of Air Force Services in Washington, DC. As a member of Air Force’s executive management team, she was responsible for the development and execution of a $2 billion portfolio of worldwide programs. She has senior executive experience including working on the National Security Staff for the White House, serving on the staff of a Member of Congress and leading multinational organizations.
Eden is also a master navigator with over 2400 flying hours, her flying career included serving as an instructor and evaluator in three different aircraft. She is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and has MAs in Political Science and National Security Strategy and an MBA from Vanderbilt’s Owen School of Management. She has a Certificate from Georgetown University in Legislative Affairs; a Certificate from Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy with a Certification in Fundraising Management and is a graduate of Harvard’s Executive Fellows Program.
Mariah S. Sixkiller is a member of the Foundation Development Committee. In November 2020 Mariah became Director of Government Relations for Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center.
From 2014 until 2020 She was the managing Partner of Sixkiller Consulting LLC, where she formulated public policy strategies for high profile private and non-profit clients with defense, veteran’s affairs, intelligence and foreign policy equities.
From 2006 to 2014, Mariah was National Security Advisor to a senior leader in the House of Representatives. In that role, Sixkiller advised her boss and other Members of Congress and helped manage committee activity related to foreign policy, defense, homeland security, and intelligence issues.
Prior to that role, Mariah worked as a Senator’s foreign policy advisor, providing support on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and in the Senator’s office; and also for another Senator as her
Director of Research. Earlier in her career, Mariah held a political appointment at the White House Office of Management and Budget and worked as a government affairs analyst in both the non-profit and private sectors.
Mariah is originally from Boston, graduated with honors from Brown University, and now splits her time between Seattle and Washington, DC.
Brigadier General (Retired) Allyson Solomon is a member of the Foundation’s Governance Committee. An experienced non-profit leader she is President of the National Guard Youth Foundation. Allyson served nearly 36 years as a member of the Air National Guard as an enlisted woman and then as an officer. Among her many accomplishments as a trailblazer and leader, she was the first African-American women to be appointed as a senior commander in the Maryland Air National Guard. In 2003 she became the first woman and the first African-American woman to be promoted to Colonel in Maryland National Guard History.
In 2006, Allyson was selected to serve as the Chief of the General Officer Management Office at the National Guard Bureau, Washington, DC. Reporting directly to the Chief, NGB, her office was responsible for managing the careers and training of over 350 general officers nationwide. Later she become the first female and African-American brigadier general, as well as the first female and African-American assistant adjutant general, in the Maryland National Guard’s 374-year history.
Allyson received a B.A. in Business Administration from Loyola University and M.A. in Public Administration from Auburn University at Montgomery. She has been recognized as a professional and role model by the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame for civic programs in the community. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Incorporated, the National Guard Association of the United States, and the National Guard Association of Maryland.
The Honorable Caryn Wagner is Chair of the Governance Committee for the Foundation. She has over 35 years of experience in the intelligence, national and homeland security fields. She served at the intersection of national and homeland security as the Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security, responsible for meeting the intelligence and information needs of the Department and also of State, local, tribal and territorial law enforcement officials.
Earlier in her career, Ms. Wagner was responsible for intelligence analysis for the Department of Defense, as the Deputy Director for Analysis and Production at the Defense Intelligence Agency. She also served as the first Chief Financial Officer for the National Intelligence Program after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was created in 1994, after serving as the head of its smaller predecessor organization, the Intelligence Community Management Staff. Ms. Wagner served five years on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as a Sub-Committee Staff Director and as Committee Budget Director. She began her intelligence career as a Signals Intelligence officer in the United States Army, serving in Texas, Arizona and Germany.
Caryn received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History from the College of William and Mary, and a Master of Science degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California.
Senior Chief (Retired) Patricia M. Ward is a member of the Foundation’s Development Committee. She is a Principal/Director for Booz Allen Hamilton and in that role provides flag and Congressional-appointee level guidance to leaders across the Defense Department with particular emphasis on Navy and Information Warfare initiatives.
As a Navy Senior Chief Information Technologist, Tricia blazed a path for women in the military during her 20-year career. She held multiple leadership positions including Command Senior Chief and Communications Security Manager at Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific (formerly called SPAWAR Systems Center San Diego) and the Officer-in-Charge Communication Security Advice and Assistance Team at the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station in San Diego
Ms. Ward remains a staunch advocate of women in military and technology fields. As president of the national nonprofit, Women in Defense, she led 5,000 members across 24 geographic locations to support women in national security roles. She’s also served on the National Board of Directors for the National Defense Industry Association (NDIA), providing interpretation of policy and impacts to government industry in support of National Defense. Other non-profit leadership roles include chairing various national and local conferences and a fundraising campaign for the Children’s Organ Transplant Association.
She earned a B.A. from San Diego State University in Adult Education and Instructional System Design and an M.S. in Public Policy Leadership from Georgetown University. Her awards include the Athena Pinnacle Award for Women in Technology, the San Diego Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year award and the YWCA “Tribute to Women in Industry” award, among others.
Captain (Retired) Sean Murtagh is a member of the Foundation’s Audit Committee. Sean served 27 years in the United States Coast. He held several key positions in the Coast Guard, both in ashore and afloat command roles, personnel and finance assignments, and as the Chief Budget Officer for the service, overseeing the execution of its $10B in annual appropriations. Additionally, he was detailed as the Deputy Executive Secretary for Homeland Security during both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, coordinating the preparation of White House briefings and materials for the Secretary of Homeland Security. He was also selected to serve as a military fellow at the Center of Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) where he provided advice on pressing maritime issues to include Arctic policy and military strategy. His passion for the military and government continues in his current role as a financial advisor that focuses primarily on military families and federal government employees. Sean is also active in other non-profit organizations, including being the Vice President (elect) for the Shepherdstown Rotary Club and the Treasurer for his county’s Animal Welfare Society.
Sean received a B.S. in business administration from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, an MBA from the University of Rochester, a MA in Appalachian Studies from Shepherd University, and a MA in Creative Media from the University of the West of Scotland. He also holds an Executive Certificate in Financial Planning from Georgetown University.
Melissa Lee Dueñas is a Senior Vice President at Leidos Inc., a global Fortune 500® information technology, engineering, and science solutions and services leader working to solve the world’s toughest challenges in the defense, intelligence, homeland security, civil, and health markets. The company’s 36,000 employees support vital missions for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Reston, Va., Leidos reported annual revenues of approximately $11.09 billion for the fiscal year ended January 3, 2020
In her role, Melissa is the Chief Communications Officer, responsible for the oversight of all employee, digital and crisis communications; media relations; branding and advertising; creative services; marketing; and corporate social responsibility efforts to include environmental sustainability and all charitable giving. She joined Leidos (then SAIC) in 2006.
Melissa acts as the primary spokesperson and crisis response communicator for the company.
She manages a diverse and talented staff of professionals who work to drive business value for the enterprise. Melissa oversees all of the company’s advertising campaigns, and marketing and sports-related sponsorships. Melissa also acts as a company representative in the community, maintains relationships with key charitable organizations and oversees the deployment of the company’s $4.5M annual philanthropic giving program.
Melissa previously served as the VP and Director of Media Relations for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Prior to that, she was a speech and ghostwriter for senior government officials at the Pentagon. She served as U.S. Air Force Public Affairs for 10 years, where she led teams focused on Photojournalism, Media and Community Relations, and Crisis Response. Melissa deployed in support of OPERATION NORTHERN WATCH, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM.
She holds a Master of Business Administration from The University of Maryland, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies. She also holds degrees in Public Affairs and Aircraft Armament Technology.
Active in the community, Melissa is on the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia, where she works to empower the underserved. She also serves on the board of Washington West Film Festival, which donates all proceeds to charity. Melissa is a founding member of the Corporate Leadership Council of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, where she works as an advocate for the memorial and helps address challenges facing military women, past and present.
Chief Warrant Officer Five (CW5) (Retired) Phyllis Wilson served 37 years in the Army as a Military Intelligence Soldier. She has served around the globe – visiting dozens of countries – in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and North America. She has been mobilized numerous times to shoulder the duties of defense of the nation and has deployed to Iraq as an Intelligence Analyst with Special Operations.
Chief Warrant Officer Five Phyllis J. Wilson served as the United States Army Reserve Command Chief Warrant Officer as a key member of the Executive Team managing an organization of more than 200,000 personnel with an annual operating budget of more than $8 Billion. She was a Senior Military Fellow with the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Strategic Studies Group focused on Global issues 2050 and beyond.
Phyllis is a Registered Nurse and holds two Master’s degrees, two Bachelor of Science degrees, and a certificate in Non-Profit Management from Duke University. She attended the Defense Language Institute for both German and Spanish. She is a graduate of the Program in Advanced Security Studies at the George C. Marshall Center and School in Garmisch, Germany. She has received numerous military decorations and awards ranging from the Legion of Merit to the Army Parachutist Badge. She has been inducted into the Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame and the U.S. Veterans Hall of Fame. She is President of the Military Women’s Memorial, the only major national memorial honoring more than 3 Million women who have defended America from the Revolutionary War to today. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, has appointed her to the Reserve Forces Policy Board. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Policy Vets and the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). She is also a Senior Fellow at AUSA. Phyllis serves as an Army Reserve Ambassador for Maryland which is afforded the rights, privileges, and protocol status equivalent to that of a 2-Star General Officer.
Phyllis is a member of numerous military and veteran organizations to include: The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Military Order of the World Wars, Association of the United States Army, Association of the United States Navy, Women Marines Association, Reserve Organization of America, Military Women Across the Nation, Army Women Veterans Association, Military Officers Association of America, Disabled American Veterans, Air Force Association, U.S. Army Warrant Officers Association as well as the Mayflower Society, the Daughters of the American Revolution, National Defense Industrial Association, and Women In Defense.
In March 2020, Phyllis was named a Power Player of the Week on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. View the video Here.
She has eight children, four of whom are combat veterans. She has sixteen grandchildren.
Honorary Board Chairwomen
WIMSA is proud to have the support of these pioneering women.
Vice Admiral (Retired) Vivien Crea was the 25th Vice Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, holding the second highest position in the Coast Guard, and she is the first woman to do so. She was confirmed by the Senate to her historic post in June 2006. VADM Crea retired on August 7, 2009. Vice Admiral Crea was the first woman to attain flag rank in the United States Coast Guard. In 2010, she became the first Coast Guard aviator to be inducted into the Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame. VADM Crea assumed command of Coast Guard Atlantic Area on July 16, 2004 giving her operational command of all Coast Guard activities in an area of responsibility spanning the Eastern and Midwestern United States from the Rocky Mountains to Maine and Mexico, out across the Atlantic and through the Caribbean Sea. VADM Crea previously served as Commander, First Coast Guard District, overseeing all Coast Guard operations in the Northeastern United States, from the Maine-Canada border to Northern New Jersey. Prior to that she served as Director of Information and Technology of the Coast Guard as Chief Information Officer and oversaw the Coast Guard’s Research and Development program.
Earlier assignments include Chief, Office of Programs in Coast Guard Headquarters, Commanding Officer of Air Station Clearwater, Executive Assistant to the Commandant of the Coast Guard; Commanding Officer, Air Station Detroit; Operations Officer, Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico; Coast Guard Aide to President Reagan (the first woman from any service, as well as the first service member from the US Coast Guard to serve as the Presidential Military Aide); and many other operational assignments. As a Coast Guard aviator, Vice Admiral Crea has flown the C-130 Hercules turboprop, HH-65 Dolphin helicopter, and Gulfstream II jet. VADM Crea earned a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as one from Central Michigan University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
General (Retired) Ann E. Dunwoody is a senior advisor to the Foundation. She was the first woman in U.S. military history to achieve a four-star officer rank. Her last assignment prior to retiring was a commander of one of the Army’s largest commands, the US Army Materiel Command with more than 69,000 employees and a presence in, or impacts to, all 50 states and 145 countries. Her other military firsts include being the first woman to command a battalion in the 82nd Airborne Division in 1992, and she became Fort Bragg’s first female general officer in 2000. Dunwoody was also the first woman to command the Army’s Combined Arms Support Command.
She commanded at every level, at home and abroad. She also supported the largest deployment and redeployment of US forces since WWII. She is the highly acclaimed author of and lecturer on the book, A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America’s First Female Four-Star General.
General (Retired) Dunwoody is currently the president of First 2 Four, LLC and serves on the board of directors for L-3 Communications, Republic Services, and Logistics Management Institute. General Dunwoody is also serves on the Council of Trustees for the Association of the United States Army. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the State University of New York College at Cortland and Master’s Degrees from the Florida Institute of Technology and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
Admiral (Retired) Michelle J. Howard served 35 years in the United States Navy. She led Sailors and Marines multiple times in her career as the Commander of: a ship, an Expeditionary Strike Group, Task Force, and a Naval theater. Her last command was from 2016 to 2017 as U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa. She simultaneously led NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command Naples with oversight of missions from the Western Balkans to Iraq. Operations in her career include: NATO peacekeeping, West African Training Cruise, Indonesia Tsunami Relief operations, and the rescue of the Maersk Alabama from Somali Pirates. Michelle J. Howard is a Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran.
In 1999 Admiral Howard became the first African American woman to command a ship in the Navy. In 2014, she was the first woman to become a four-star Admiral in the U.S. Navy and the first woman to be appointed to the position of Vice Chief of Naval Operations (the second highest position in a Military Service). She is the first African American woman to reach the rank of three-star and four-stars in the Armed Forces.
Admiral (Retired) Howard has a Bachelor’s Degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master’s of Military Arts and Science from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College as well as honorary degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, American Public University and North
Carolina State University. Admiral Howard has received numerous awards in recognition of her public contributions including the Women of Color (STEM) Career Achievement Award, USO Military Woman of the Year, Thurgood Marshall College Fund National Hero Award, French Legion of Honor, Order of Naval Merit Brazil and the Atlantic Council Distinguished Military Leadership Award.
Lieutenant General Carol A. Mutter is a senior advisor to the Foundation. She was the first woman in the history of the U.S. Armed Forces to be nominated to the three-star grade. He last active duty assignment was as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Manpower and Reserve Affairs at Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington D.C. Lieutenant General Mutter graduated from the Woman Officer Basic Course and began her career in data processing. She served as the Project Officer for Marine Air Command and Control Systems at Camp Pendleton, CA and as a Financial Management Officer at Quantico, VA.
As a Colonel she was assigned to the J-3 Operations Directorate in Colorado Springs, CO and became the first woman to gain qualification as a Space Director, later becoming the Division Chief for operation of the Space Command Commander in Chief’s Command Center. She later was assigned to the III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Okinawa Japan. As a Brigadier General she became Deputy Commanding General, Marine Corps Systems Command and Program Manager for Command and Control Systems. Again assigned to Okinawa, she was the first woman general officer to command a major deployable tactical command, the 3d Force Service Support Group, III MEF, U.S. Forces Pacific. In 1994 she was the first woman in the Marine Corps promoted to Major General and in 1996 she became the first woman of any branch promoted to three- star.
LTG (Retired) Mutter received a Bachelor’s in Mathematics Education and an honorary doctorate from the University of Northern Colorado. Additionally, she has a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, Newport Rhode Island and both an M.S. and honorary doctorate degree from Salve Regina University also in Newport.
Other activities have included the National Advisory Council of the Alliance for National Defense, National Academy of Sciences Committee on American Youth Population and Military Recruiting, National President of the Women Marines Association.
General (Retired) Janet C. Wolfenbarger is a senior advisor to the Foundation. She is 35-year veteran of the Air Force and the branch’s first four-star female general. She commanded the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio from 2012 until her retirement on July 1, 2015. Among the Air Force’s largest major commands, the AFMC employs roughly 80,000 people and manages $60 billion annually in its efforts globally to maintain Air Force preparedness. Wolfenbarger was also the vice commander and director of the AFMC Intelligence and Requirements Directorate at Wright-Patterson AFB.
She began her career as a technical intelligence analyst in the armament division at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. As part of a decorated and pioneering military career, which included being among the first female cadets accepted into the Air Force Academy in 1976, General Wolfenbarger served as the military deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition and as the service’s director of the Acquisition Center of Excellence at the Pentagon. She also directed the B-2 System Program Office and commanded the C-17 Systems Group for the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson.
General Wolfenbarger holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a Master’s Degree in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master’s Degree in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces as well as an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.
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