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Center for Minority Veterans (CMV)


Members of the ACMV

Charles Allen, MD, CFI, Major, USAF (Retired)
African American

Charles E. Allen, MD is a retired Air Force Officer, (Major, KC 135 Tanker Pilot, 23 combat flights during the Gulf War), a retired family practice physician and former project director for UW-Milwaukee (UWM) Veterans Upward Bound (VUB). He currently is an associate lecturer of chemistry-biochemistry at UWM and national director of education, training, and mental health for the National Association for Black Veterans (NABVETS), headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dr. Allen has over 35 years of experience working with Veterans, as a physician he did rotations at the Zablocki VA in internal medicine, surgery, and psychiatry. As project director for VUB and national director of education, training, and mental health for NABEVTS, he has been responsible for ensuring Veterans and their dependents are provided the resources and training for improving basic skills, assisting in job placements/training, and wellness. Dr. Allen has over 45 years of teaching experience in both secondary and postsecondary institutions. Dr. Allen is a certified flight Instructor (CFI), serving as the chief pilot for New Beginnings Aviation Ministry and training officer for Wisconsin Civil Air Patrol.

A native of Hallandale Beach, Florida, Dr. Allen earned his BS in Chemistry/Biochemistry from Rocky Mountain College, Billings, MT; his MS in Health Services administration from Central Michigan University and his MD from Maria Dehostos, School of Medicine, Dominican Republic. Dr. Allen is very active on several Veteran boards: National Association For Black Veterans (NABVETS), former chair of the National Command Council); board member Center For Veterans Issues (CVI); Milwaukee County Veteran Board of Directors; Allied Veteran Council of Milwaukee; Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW); and former member of the Long Term Care Committee for the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.

Charles E. Allen, MD resides in Wisconsin.

Salvador J. Castillo, USAF

Salvador J. Castillo is an U.S. Air Force Veteran. He was assigned to the 43 SFS Squadron in Pope Airfield, Ft. Bragg, NC in support of the 82nd Airborne Division from 1998-2002 as Security Forces Member. In July of 2006-2008, he joined the 36 Infantry Division unit as an Intel Analyst.

Salvador J. Castillo after returning to civilian life, was employed with Child Protective Services as an Investigator. In 2010, he was hired as the Assistant Veterans Service Officer for Cameron County and a year later would be appointed to be the Director for the Veterans Service Officer to present. “As a Veteran and current Cameron County VSO I have been able to face challenges with limited resources and find creative solutions to improve processes. In my current position we have been able to duplicate the amount of staff, obtain a new building, secure a $300,000 grant and increase the productivity of the office without compromising accuracy as claims submitted through my department have a 98% approval rating. As a desire to expand my skills I was able to attain a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Texas Pan-American which has provided me with the necessary expertise to lead a department and appropriately administer resources. Furthermore, I have been involved in various intergovernmental projects such as the development of the Cameron County Veteran’s Court and have been the President of the South Texas Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans Association. Through this non-profit entity we have also secured a building, granted funds though the probation department among many other accomplishments. It is my passion to empower Veterans to be as productive and esteemed in civilian life as they were while service men and women. While oversees I served my country and always felt that I wanted to do more, working with Veterans provides me the opportunity to fulfill this desire as I am serving those who have serve and their families. The County Service Officers throughout of State fulfill their mission to advocate for Veterans and their families through the attainment of benefits. However, this great task brings forth a numerous challenge where I could be of upmost service in order to provide every Texas Veteran with their deserved representation.”

Salvador Castillo resides in Texas.

Irma Hagans Cooper, Colonel, USA (Retired)
African American

Colonel Irma Hagans Cooper is a thirty-year Veteran of the United States Army. She is a graduate of the Army War College with a MS in Strategic Studies. She has held three (3) Commands ranging from Company to a Medical Group including one command in Iraq. Colonel Cooper has distinguished herself by exception??y meritorious conduct in a myriad of assignments with the Army Nurse Cor. In all positions, she has demonstrated inspiring leadership, tireless energy and total dedication to the spirit and mission of the Army Nurse Cor and the United States Army Reserves. Colonel Cooper previously Commanded of the largest Medical Group on West Coast which consists of two Combat Support hospitals and 12 medical companies and detachments. She successfully planned organized and sustained command and control for medical units in California and Utah. She successfully executed numerous deployments and humanitarian missions. She commanded major deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and humanitarian missions to Honduras, Germany, and El Salvador.

Colonel Cooper’s professional execution of medical deployments established confidence in the AMEDD's ability to meet the medical needs of the Combatant Commanders. Currently, she continues to be active working with Veterans, with a focus on Women Veterans and mentoring junior officers. She is President of the Los Angeles Chapter National Association Black Military Women (LA-NABMW) and serves as Co-Chair of California Women Veteran Leadership Council (CWVLC).

Colonel Cooper resides in California.

Lisa Carrington Firmin, Colonel, USAF (Retired)

Retired Colonel Lisa Carrington Firmin is the Military Liaison and Associate Vice President for Veteran and Military Affairs at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). As the founding leader for Veteran and Military Affairs, she oversaw the consolidation and realignment of all Veteran support services on campus and the creation of the Center for Military Affiliated Students to better support and serve Veterans and military affiliated students. To help transition Veterans to UTSA more efficiently, she helped to streamline the Veteran certification process, instituted priority registration for Veterans and developed a tailored Veteran Orientation program.

She is the founder of the premier UTSA Top Scholar program, combining merit scholarships with student enrichment experiences. During her military service, Col. Carrington Firmin held a multitude of leadership roles and received numerous awards – including, but not limited to, the Legion of Merit Medal with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

Among her many professional honors, Col. Carrington Firmin was featured on the SA Movers and Shakers radio show, San Antonio Magazine and LATINA Style Magazine; earned the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce National Latina Leader award, the Governor of Texas’ Yellow Rose award, the State of New Mexico’s Major T.H. Baca award, the National Diversity Council’s Trailblazer and Most Powerful and Influential Women in Texas awards, the Texas Diversity Council Greater San Antonio LGBT Ally award, the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas Latina Trailblazer award and the Northside Education Foundation Pillar award.

Colonel Carrington Firmin retired from the United States Air Force as its most senior ranking Latina officer, after leading UTSA’s ROTC program to the best in the nation and being awarded a Bronze Star Medal for her efforts in combat as an Expeditionary Mission Support Group Commander in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle.

Colonel Carrington Firmin resides in Texas.

Ronald Garcia, US Navy

Ronald Garcia is a Veteran of the United States Navy, where he completed two tours of duty in Vietnam.

He was recently awarded the Veteran of the Year Award for the 72nd Assembly District. Assembly member Mike Duvall presented the award on behalf of the California State Assembly. Mr. Garcia is active in many other organizations including: Advisory Board Member for the U.S. Army; adjunct Faculty Member for the Los Angeles Trade Technical College (LATTC); Life Member of Brea Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW); member of the Brea American Legion; and as a 4th Degree Knights of Columbus.

Mr. Garcia is a past member of the Orange County Division, League of California Cities Advocacy Committee and has previously held positions which include serving as Chair & Vice Chair of the Brea Planning Commission, and Chair of the Brea Investment Advisory Committee; on the Board of Directors for the Neighborhood Housing Services of Orange County; on the Board of Directors for the Orange County Housing Trust; on the Board of Directors for the Santa Ana Federal Empowerment Zone Corporation; as President of the Hispanic Outreach Taskforce (HOT); as President for the Whittier of Chamber of Commerce; on the Board of Directors for the Whittier YMCA; on the Board of Directors for the Skills Foundation; as a Founding Member of the City of Whittier Sister City Committee; as the Founding President of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professional Board of Directors; and as a member of the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. North Orange County magazine named Garcia one of the top 25 most influential people in North Orange County for 2006 in the area of politics and public service.

Mr. Garcia is retired from Fannie Mae where he held the position of Senior Deputy Director. His education includes a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration; with a minor in Finance, from the University of Redlands.

Mr. Garcia resides in California.

Warren A. Jones, MD, FAAFP, Captain, US NAVY (Retired)
African American

Warren Jones MD, FAAFP retired as a Captain in the US Navy after serving twenty-two years of service. Dr. Jones also has over thirty years’ experience in health care. Notably, he founded and established the Mississippi Institute for Improvement of Geographic Minority Health and Health Disparities (MIGMH) at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMC). Over the course of his tenure there, Dr. Jones secured approximately $38 million for MIGMH and its constituent programs.

Dr. Jones’ other professional experience includes directing the State of Mississippi’s Medicaid Program. As program director, he was responsible for providing health care for over 768,00 Mississippians. He also developed and implemented the Mississippi Medicaid Medical Home program that allowed for annual physical examinations and health assessments. Over the course of his career, Dr. Jones has been recognized for his pioneering efforts in the field of health as well as a distinguished educator. He was recognized as Outstanding Minority Educator in the State of Mississippi and was elected the first African American President of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

He was also the first African American appointed as an associate vice chancellor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Dr. Jones is Emeritus of Family Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMC), Chair Emeritus of the National Medical Association’s Family Medicine Section and Immediate Distinguished Professor of Health Policy at UMC. Prior to Hampton, he held the NIH Endowed Chair in Health Disparities Research at Dillard University, his undergraduate alma mater. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Tougaloo College.

A native of New Orleans, Dr. Jones is a 1978 graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans.

Dr. Jones resides in Mississippi.

Robert V. “Bobby” McDonald**
African American

Robert V. (Bobby) McDonald is an effective community and business leader, with accomplished sales and marketing skills. He is a notable speaker, author and historian and a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

He serves as President and Executive Director of the Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County. The OC Black Chamber is beginning its 37th year. Under his leadership, the Black Chamber has consistently partnered with minority business associations, local chambers and legislators to provide support and advocate for the county’s many small-business owners.

Mr. McDonald developed the chamber’s educational outreach programs and has established the chamber’s Veteran’s business network programs. Through a partnership with Explorer Studios, two award winning educational films have been produced, “Building the Dream” and “History of the Buffalo Soldiers.” McDonald is now a member of the PBS So Cal Board of Trustees where he has assisted with historic African American PBS presentations such as “The March at 50” and “African Americans, Many Rivers to Cross.”

McDonald and Michael Hurd partnered to produce and publish Hurd’s “Black College Football, 100 Years of History, Education and Pride” in 1992. McDonald wrote the Foreword and the Grambling section of the book.

McDonald is a also U.S. Navy Vietnam Veteran, a member of the 9th and 10th (Horse) Calvary Association-Buffalo Soldiers, a former Student Body President at Los Angeles Harbor College and he served as a governor’s appointee to the California Cultural Historical Endowment Board and the 17 member State Board of Governors of the California Community College System where he created and chaired the Board’s Veteran’s Affairs Committee. He is an appointee to the Orange County Veterans Advisory Council and an appointed member to the VA Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans in Washington, D.C.

Mr. McDonald resides in California.

Rebecca C. Samson, Colonel, USA (Retired)
Asian American

COL Samson is a 27-year active duty Veteran of the US Army, having served as an officer both in the Regular Army and in the Active Guard Reserve (AGR). A graduate of the Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, GA, she was commissioned as an Ordnance officer in 1982. COL Samson’s military experience is diverse. She has served in a variety of leadership and staff positions from tactical to strategic level. A graduate of the Associate Logistics Executive Development Course from the US Army Logistics Management College, she served as a multifunctional logistician with experience in three logistics branches: Ordnance, Quartermaster and Transportation. As a Captain, she deployed to Saudi Arabia and Iraq for Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm from Sep 1990-Apr 1991 as a Maintenance Officer under 1st Corps Support Command in support of 24th Infantry Division, XVIII Airborne Corps. In addition to being a logistician, she served as the Operations Officer in the Sacramento Recruiting Battalion in CA, and as a Detailed Inspector General as well as a Systems Integrator in Force Management at the US Army Reserve Command Headquarters in Fort McPherson, GA.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from San Diego State University (1981) and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with emphasis in Human Resource Management from National University (1989). She is also a resident graduate of both the Command and General Staff College (1998), Fort Leavenworth, KS and the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, PA where she received a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies (June 2006).

Her awards and decorations include, but are not limited to, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (6th award), the Army Commendation Medal (2nd award), the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Southwest Asia Service Medal with three Bronze Service Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Hour Glass, the Overseas Ribbon, the Kuwait Liberation Medal – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Kuwait Liberation Medal-Government of Kuwait, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Army Superior Unit Award, and the Department of the Army Staff Identification Badge.

Committed to serve her community, she is a founding member of the Pan Pacific American Leaders and Mentors (PPALM), a non-profit mentorship program connecting mentees (active and reserve military, Veterans, and DOD Civilians) with experienced professionals who have achieved personal, professional, and career success. She is a lifetime member of both the Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the U.S. Army War College Alumni Association. She has been an active USO volunteer for over a decade, supporting troops on active and reserve duty, retirees and Veterans. She is also a Eucharistic Minister at St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Springfield, VA. Additionally, COL Samson is an Army Arlington Lady, whose duty is to attend the burial of fallen Soldiers and Veterans at the Arlington National Cemetery, be a part of the official funeral ceremony, and present the Chief of Staff of the Army’s condolences to the designated family member.

Colonel Rebecca Samson resides in Virginia.

Linda L. Singh, Major General, US Army Reserve National Guard
African American

Major General Linda Lee Singh was Maryland’s first African American and first woman Adjutant General. She is a senior advisor to the governor. She was responsible for the readiness, administration, and training of more than 6,700 members of the military department with an annual budget of more than $314 million. As the adjutant general, she served as the official channel of communication between the governor and the National Guard Bureau and serves as a governor’s cabinet member, according to her biography in the Maryland Archives.

Major General Singh is a longtime Maryland resident, where she currently resides with her husband and two daughters. She received her commission in 1991 through Officer Candidate School at the Maryland Military Academy in Reisterstown, Maryland. Her military career spans more than 30 years of service in both the enlisted and officer ranks. She has served in staff and command assignments at every level, including deployed assignments in Kosovo and a combat tour in Afghanistan supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Her previous military assignments include commander of the Maryland Army National Guard and director of the Joint Staff, Maryland National Guard.

Her military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, the Kosovo Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NATO Medal (two), the NCO Professional Development Ribbon, the Maryland Distinguished Service Cross and the Virginia National Guard Bronze Star Medal.

Major General Singh is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College, where she received a master’s degree in Strategic Studies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Columbia Union College, a master’s degree in business administration, military management from Touro International University, a master’s certificate in Six Sigma from Villanova University, is a graduate of the U.S. Northern Command Joint Task Force Commander’s course and is a fellow from the International Women’s Leadership program at Harvard University/INSEAD.

Major General Linda L. Singh resides in Maryland.

Nathan A. Tilton, Sergeant First Class, US Army (Retired)
Pacific Islander

Mr. Tilton, a disabled Veteran, serves as an independent researcher. He was responsible for collecting, organizing, and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data to explore current issues, predict trends, and develop solutions. These projects draw on different disciplines such as sociology, medicine, psychology, and other fields. In addition to his work as an independent researcher, Nathan works with the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, by advocating for people with disabilities to receive disability benefits while acting as a part of congressional briefing team. He addressed systemic barriers facing people with disabilities by building and implementing innovative and high-impact advocacy plans.

Mr. Tilton’s professional career also included serving as Lab Manager for the Berkeley Disability Lab which was formed to serve as a nexus for disability research, media, and design in the Bay Area. As a Federal Air Marshals Service, he ensured citizens were protected from terrorism threats by serving on domestic and international flights. Sunburst Youth Challenge Academy performed highly complex (senior-level) care and taught living skills to cadets in a residential environment.

Mr. Tilton is retired from the California Army National Guard where he achieved the rank of Sergeant First Class (E-7). His education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and he is working to complete his Master of Arts in Medical Anthropology in 2022.

Sergeant First Class Nathan A. Tilton resides in California.

Beth A. Townsend, Lieutenant Colonel, USAFR (Retired)
Native American

Lieutenant Colonel Beth Townsend joined the United States Air Force as a Judge Advocate General after graduating from law school in 1989. She served on active duty until 2001 when she left active duty and moved to Iowa. While on active duty she served in California, Colorado, Texas, Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom at base and command level offices. She also deployed to Vicenza, Italy, to the NATO Combined Air Operations Center in support of Operation Allied Force where she served as the legal advisor from October, 1999 until March 2000. After leaving active duty, Lieutenant Colonel Townsend joined the United States Air Force Reserve and served at the 55th Wing/JA, Offutt AFB, Nebraska before being selected as a Military Judge, a position she held for her last five years of service. Her PME includes completion of Air Command and Staff and Air War Colleges. Lieutenant Colonel Townsend retired from the Air Force Reserve after 21 years of active and reserve duty.

Lieutenant Colonel Townsend entered private practice in Iowa, practicing in the areas of civil rights and employment law where she represented individuals who had been discriminated based on a protected class status. Lieutenant Colonel Beth Townsend was in private practice from 2000-2010.

She was then appointed as the Director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission in February 2011 by Governor Terry Brandstad. As the Director, Lieutenant Colonel Townsend overhauled the Commission including eliminating a 10-year backlog of investigations and decreasing the amount of time it took to process civil rights complaints as well as increasing enforcement for individuals who were not represented by legal counsel before the Commission. In 2015, Governor Terry Brandstad appointed Lieutenant Colonel Townsend as Director of Iowa Workforce Development and she was unanimously confirmed by the Iowa Senate. As the Director, she has general supervision over the various services Iowa Workforce Development provides to Iowans including the unemployment benefit program, reemployment services, workforce services and Home Base Iowa, a unique program designed to recruit Veterans to Iowa and connect them with Iowa employers and communities. She was reappointed by Governor Kim Reynolds in 2018 and again confirmed by the Iowa Senate. Lieutenant Colonel. Townsend served as the chair of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies Veterans Affairs Committee from 2016-2019.

Lieutenant Colonel Townsend is a graduate of Kearney State College, Kearney, Nebraska, and the University of Nebraska Law School. She is a member of the Nebraska and Iowa state bar. Lieutenant Colonel Townsend is a member of the Choctaw Nation and she is the third of four generations of Choctaw family members to serve in the Army, Navy and Air Force beginning with her grandfather’s service in the first World War.

Lieutenant Colonel Townsend resides in Iowa.

Michael J. Yaguchi, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF (Retired)
Asian American

Lieutenant Colonel Yaguchi is an Air Force Veteran; the former Director of VA Programs for CSRA International, Inc., Managing Director of Yaguchi & Associates, LLC, and Chairman & CEO of ALFA-PPE, LLC, and is a member of the board of directors, Armed Forces Insurance.

Lieutenant Colonel Yaguchi enlisted in the Air Force as a medical service specialist in 1978. After completing Officer Training School in 1986, he served in a variety of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) crew, wing, and higher headquarters staff positions, and was an on-site weapons inspector under two strategic arms control treaties (INF and START). He retired from the USAF in 2006. In 2009, he assumed duties as the Director, Nuclear Policy in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (OUSDP). He also served as Director, Human Capital, OUSDP. In 2018, he started Yaguchi & Associates, LLC and launched his inaugural project in late 2018. He also served on the Board of Directors for many non-profit organizations, including, but not limited to: The Alzheimer Association (Northeast NE); the Go For Broke National Education Center; past executive director, Pan-Pacific American Leaders and Mentors; and currently serves on the advisory board with the National Veterans Network, and is Board Chair of Minority Veterans of America.

Lieutenant Colonel Yaguchi has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Washington; and a Master of Arts in Air and Space Operations, Air Command and Staff College.

Lieutenant Colonel Yaguchi resides in Washington.

**   Chairperson

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