Mr. Michael Dakduk served in the United States Marine Corp for four years as an E-6, specializing in communications. During his military service he served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was selected to serve with the Marines’ Special Operations unit. He currently serves as Executive Director for Student Veterans of America, a nonprofit organization. He has led the organizations 7 million dollar strategic planning process with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In his Executive Director role, he serves as an advocate for Veterans seeking higher education opportunities, and endeavors to change the landscape to better serve student Veterans. Mr. Dakduk has built and managed a network spanning five regions that includes 25 state directors, and four full time employees. He also expanded affiliate operations by 200 percent using a grassroots, social change engagement model. He has managed to retain over 70 percent of the affiliated by focusing on succession planning and unified national-local campaigns. Additionally, he has developed valued partnerships with many major private and public sector entities such as: Google, Booz Allen Hamilton, JP Morgan Chase, Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Department of Labor, and the White House.
Mr. Dakduk is a member of several boards, committees and task forces such as: Veteran’s Advisory Committee on Education, Department of Veterans Affairs; Interagency Task Force of Veteran Small Business Development; Points of light Institute Community Blueprint Advisory Council; and the Jump of Joy Foundation respectively.
He earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Public Administration from The University of Nevada Las Vegas in 2010. He was also awarded the Harry S. Truman Congressional Scholarship. He also has logged over 4000 hours of community service earning the U.S. President’s Lifetime Volunteer Service Award in 2010.
General Daniels began his military in 1965 when he enlisted in the Air Force. He served combat tours in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969. In addition to his combat tours in Vietnam, he served in a humanitarian mission in Vietnam and Laos. General Daniels military experience includes serving as the Assistant Adjutant General for the Oklahoma National Guard; Executive Officer to The Adjutant General (TAG), Nebraska National Guard, and Director of Personnel Policy for the office of the Secretary of Defense.
General Daniels is a tireless advocate for the equitable treatment of Veterans at the state and federal level. He is a strong supporter of Junior ROTC programs in Fort Worth school system as well as promoting aerospace and aviation opportunities for minorities.
He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Central State University and his Masters degree from Troy State University. He is also a graduate of the Personnel Officer Course, Air Command and Staff College, Air Force War College, and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. General Daniels resides in Texas.
Lieutenant Colonel Richard de Moya retired in 1995 after served 23 years in the U.S. Army, and is a WestPoint graduate. He is currently the President of Veteran’s Transition and Assistance Services, in Middleton, Wisconsin.
Colonel de Moya has over 30 years experience serving within the Veteran community. He has extensive knowledge and background in management, communications, and leadership. Having served as an Army officer, Colonel de Moya was responsible to the health and welfare for several troops during his 23 year tenure. As a senior administrator and manager of programs and services at the Wisconsin Veterans Affairs Office for 12 years, he was responsible for overseeing the state benefits and services program, including the implementation of a variety of Veterans Affairs programs. The following are examples of these programs: disability claims processing, two VA funded state Veterans cemeteries; and homeless Veteran programs. Colonel de Moya also served as Co-chair of the Governor’s Council on Homelessness and as an advisor to the VA National Center on Homelessness among Veterans.
Colonel de Moya was instrumental in bringing the Troops to Teachers Program to Wisconsin. He demonstrated a strong commitment to education while serving as the Director of the Wisconsin State Approving Agency (SAA).
Colonel de Moya holds a Master’s degree in Education from Pennsylvania State University, and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Wisconsin.
Mr. Diaz has served thirteen years in the United States Navy Reserve as a Combat Photographer. He has served two tours of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is currently the founder, editor and publisher of “The Orange County (OC) Sentinel” magazine and owner of Alex Diaz Productions. The OC Sentinel disseminates information on benefits, resources and events relevant to Veterans, active duty military members, their families, civic leaders and the community at large.
Mr. Diaz has over 14 years of professional experience as a mortgage office and real estate agent. He currently serves on the board of the Orange County Home Ownership Prevention Collaborative; with an emphasis on helping Veterans preserve their homes.
In addition, Mr. Diaz currently serves as the Commander of the American GI Forum’s Rudy Escalante Chapter. He has played an active role in several Veteran events in his community to include: serving as the Public Affairs Officer for the Inaugural Orange County Homeless Veterans Stand Down; organizing committee-member for the Moving Wall’s visit to Garden Grove, California; and facilitated a Veterans Conference at Santa Ana College. Mr. Diaz resides in California.
Colonel Many-Bears Grinder is a U. S. Army National Guard retiree with over 35 years of service. She was an Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) veteran who served in Afghanistan. During her deployment, Colonel Grinder served as the Head of Secretariat for the International Police Coordination Board. She has also worked with Afghan Police forces and senior officials to ensure standardized training for the Afghan Police.
In January 2011, Governor Bill Haslam selected Many-Bears Grinder to be the Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs. She has the honor of being the first woman to serve the State in this capacity. Commissioner Grinder has been instrumental in opening a new State Veterans Cemetery in East Tennessee and Veterans have received more than 1 billion dollars in federal funding from claims filed by the department in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Mrs. Many-Bears Grinder has created many milestones since her appointment in 2011 to include: the state’s first formal casualty standard operating procedure to assist casualty officers and surviving members, co-hosting the fist Women Veteran’s Summit in 2012 that offered networking opportunities as well as benefit and health information.
Colonel Grinder holds a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the Army War College and a Master’s degree in Human Resource Development from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is a member of several military and Veteran organizations including AMVETS, Vietnam Veterans of America, the American Legion and Disabled Veterans of America.
In 2004, Many-Bears Grinder was inducted into the Fort Benning Hall of Fame for her many accomplishments.
Brigadier General Oscar Bautista Hilman was born in Libmanan, Camarines Sur, Republic of Philippines. He graduated from Central Washington University with Bachelor of Science in Law and Justice and he received his Masters of Science Degree in Strategic Science from the United States Army War College.
He received his commission through the Officer Candidate School in 1977. He was an enlisted man and attained the rank of Sergeant First Class (E-7) before commissioning as Second Lieutenant. His military education includes Armor Basic and Advanced Courses, Tank Commander Course, Combined Arms Services Staff Course, United States Army Command and General Staff College, United States Army War College. While assigned as United States for Property and Fiscal Officer for State of Washington (USC Title 10), he attended numerous courses in finance and resource management, procurement and contracting, audit and internal review, facilities and base management, supply and logistics management, and human resource management courses.
General Hilman served as Commander of the 81st Brigade Combat Team in support of Iraqi Freedom II (2004-2005) where his brigade received two combat streamers. His brigade secured seven forward operating bases (Scania, Camp Bucca, Tallil and Cedar, Kalsu, Baghdad, Green Zone, LSA Anaconda/Balad Air Base). While at Anaconda, the 81st Brigade set up a Joint Defense Operating Base to protect the air base and major logistic base. Soldiers of Task Force Tacoma conducted combat operations to protect thousands of military and civilians at LSA Anaconda and Joint Balad Air Base. Additionally, the 81st Brigade also assisted the Iraqis at their first national election and transfer of sovereignty. He retired as Deputy Commanding General, I Corps and Fort Lewis.
His awards and decorations include: Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, and the Combat Action Badge. General Hilman resides in Tacoma, Washington with his wife Patty.
Mr. Hunt served over nine years in U.S. Army as Light Infantryman. He was awarded the Purple Heart for military merit while serving in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, Republic of South Vietnam. Mr. Hunt served as the Veteran Service Officer for Robeson County, North Carolina. In addition, he has served as a Service Officer for the National American Indians Veterans, Inc.
Mr. Hunt has served as Post and District Commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Past Chief of Staff Military Order of the Purple Heart State of North Carolina, and a member of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Lumbee Warriors Association, and National Association of County Veterans Service Officers. Mr. Hunt currently volunteers as the Veterans Service Officer and Director of Veterans Affairs for the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina. He resides in North Carolina.
Dr. Jardine enlisted in the Army in 1971 and retired as a Colonel in December 2003. He was branch qualified in Infantry, Artillery, Military Intelligence, Quartermaster, Aviation, Military Police, with functional area expertise in Aviation Logistics, Operations, Plans and Training, Maintenance Test Pilot and a Master Fitness Trainer.
During his distinguish military career, Dr. Jardine has served as the Commander, Ground Forces Component Command, Hawaii Airport Security Mission and Force Protection of Critical Infrastructures for the State of Hawaii and as the Deputy Commander, 29th Enhanced Separate Infantry Brigade (Light), leading this brigade from the worst combat brigade in the nation to #1 in readiness in 2003. He has received innumerable medals, awards and honors for his long distinguish service to his country and state. In 2005, Dr. Jardine was awarded the highest civilian award from the National Guard Association of the United States, the Patrick Henry Award.
Dr. Jardine’s professional experience includes owning and operating Native Hawaiian Veterans, LLC, which provides a wide variety of services to include homeland security, emergency management, information technology, community relations, public outreach, and professional staff augmentation.
Dr. Jardine holds a Doctorate of Business Administration in Organization Leadership from University of Rockville, Masters Degree in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College, Master Degree in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix Management, Public Administration from San Diego State University, Management from Chaminade University and an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from Honolulu Community College. Dr. Jardine resides in Hawaii.
Ms. Mitchell currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer for Veterans at Your Service, LLC, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business that specializes in assisting Veteran’s in preparing claims for VA benefits. She has served as an Appeals Consultant/Veterans Claims Agent for the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. In addition, Ms. Mitchell has served as a Benefits Counselor at Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training.
Ms. Mitchell served over nine years on active duty in the U.S. Air Force, while on active duty she served as a Personnel Affairs Specialist and Military Affairs Supervisor. In this capacity, she supervised and trained five personnel in the administration of several military programs which included the Survivor Benefit Plan, Transition Assistance Program, the Family Support Center, the Air Force Aid Society, and Special Trophies and Awards. Ms. Mitchell was successful in developing a computer program to identify personnel with over 17 years of military service to automatically schedule a pre retirement counseling appointment.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from North Carolina Central University. Ms. Mitchell resides in Virginia.
Mr. Benjamin Palacios retired from the United State Army in May 2003 after serving for 32 years; Mr. Palacios worked as the Vice President for Green Millennium Industries, Ltd., in Seoul, Korea. In November 2004, Ben joined the Anteon Corporations as a Business Development Manager for the Pacific region which covers the Republic of Korea, Guam, Japan, and Okinawa. In August 2007, Ben relocated back to Guam and opened his own consulting company. He assisted several companies to include Comark, HNTB, CH2M HILL, and Kellogg Brown and Root and established their businesses on the island. He is an Associate Partner for Doran Capital Partners and opened and managed their office on Guam. He also served as an Advisor for Poongsan Corporations and H.K. Industry, Ltd. In December 2009, Mr. Palacios started working for Science Application International Corporation (SAIC) as an Assistant Vice President, Regional Account Manager for Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), region.
He is a member of numerous professional organizations to include the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), the Noncommissioned Officer Association (NCOA), the AFCEA, and the Pan Pacific American Leaders and Mentors (PPALM).
Teresita “Terri” Guevara Smith was born in Guam and raised in the village of Ordot. She joined the United States Army as a Patient Administrator and eventually changed her career field to become an Intelligence Analyst in 1980. Terri’s patriotic service spans over 37 years, from the U.S. Army and as a civilian with the Department of Defense. She retired from active service as a Sergeant First Class in February 1997.
As a Veteran of Foreign Wars, she has been in the Persian Gulf War (December 1990 - May 1991) and Iraq War. In the Iraq War, Terri deployed (volunteered) as a DOD Civilian (January-August 2005). Terri joined the Defense Intelligence Agency as an Intelligence Officer and earned numerous awards. Her greatest accomplishment was receiving the “The Knowlton Award,” one of the highest honors in Military Intelligence presented by the Office Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) for her work in the Department of Defense Open Source Intelligence Collection Management Program. Terri also received three Intelligence Community (IC) Meritorious Unit Citations with the most recent citations for her work in the Afghanistan Pakistan Task Force, and her subsequent awards were: the Defense Intelligence Diversity Award 2002; and the Federal Asian Pacific American Council 2013 Civilian Award “Outstanding Individual Leadership” recipient.
Terri has held several leadership roles working with the following non-profit organizations: Former President to the oldest Guam club, the Guam Society of America, Washington D.C.; Senior Advisor on Chamorro Women Veterans and Maryland Coordinator to the National Organization of Chamorro Veterans in America, United States, Guam, and CNMI; Guam representative to the Pacific Island Council of Leaders; Prince Georges Minority Group/NAACP, Upper Marlboro Maryland; Founder and Co-Chairman of the National Organization of Pacific Islanders in America.
Terri has pursued numerous Joint Military Intelligence Training and College Course, with National Intelligence University Classes; towards completing her degree.
Mr. Trujillo is a Laguna Tribal Member who belongs to the Road Runner, Little Parrot, and Turkey Clans. He serves as the Tribal Veterans Service Officer for the Pueblo of Laguna and the Co-Chair of the All Indian Pueblo Council Veterans Committee.
Mr. Trujillo entered the United States Navy in 1993, and served four years as an Aviation Electronics Technician, Aviation Warfare Specialist 2nd Class Petty Officer. He specialized in the F-14 Tomcat Avionic and Radar Weapons Systems. Mr. Trujillo served multiple tours to the Persian Gulf with Fighter Squadron Eleven (VF-11) on board the USS Independence, USS Carl Vinson, and the USS John C. Stennis. He later entered the Hampton Roads Naval ROTC Unit and went to college at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. In 2001, Mr. Trujillo graduated with his Bachelors of Science in Communication, and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He later attended Flight Training at Naval Air Station Pensacola and Aviation Maintenance Officer School at Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Florida. He served with Marine Air Wing Group 13 at Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona. Mr. Trujillo was elected and served as the 2nd Lt Governor for the Pueblo of Laguna in 2009-2010. He served as a member of the Pueblo’s Energy Core Team for PNM, Continental Divide Electric Cooperative, and New Mexico Gas Company.
Mr. Trujillo also served as the Ex-Officio to the Laguna Development Corporation, the Mid-Region Council of Government-Metropolitan Transportation Board, the New Mexico State-Tribal Collaboration and Communication Work Group for a Safer New Mexico, and was a member of the All Indian Pueblo Council. Mr. Trujillo resides in New Mexico.
* Denotes Chairman
** Denotes Vice Chairman