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The authorizing legislation for ABMC (36 U.S.C., Chapter 21) specifies that the president will appoint not more than 11 members to the commission and an officer of the Army to serve as the secretary. President Barack Obama appointed Max Cleland to serve as secretary in June 2009. Commissioners Darrell Dorgan, John Estrada, Evelyn Foote, Rolland Kidder, Richard Klass, Merrill McPeak, Constance Morella and Maura Sullivan were appointed in July 2010; Commissioner Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel was appointed in December 2010; Commissioner Ike Skelton was appointed in July 2011; and Commissioner Cindy Campbell was appointed in September 2011. Commissioner Foote resigned from the Commission in August 2012; a replacement has not been named.
Merrill A. McPeak - Chairman
Retired Air Force Gen. Merrill McPeak was chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force from 1990 to 1994. A career fighter pilot, he flew 269 combat missions in Vietnam, some of them while in command of the Misty squadron of high speed forward air controllers. In 1967-68, he performed as a demonstration pilot in 199 official air shows as a member of the Air Force's elite aerobatic team, the Thunderbirds. Before becoming Air Force chief, he commanded the 20th Fighter Wing, 12th Air Force, and the Pacific Air Forces. Since retirement from active military service, McPeak has made a second career as an investor and director of public and private companies. He is chairman of Ethicspoint, a leading provider of risk-management and compliance software-as-a-service, including secure, anonymous reporting of ethical violations in the workplace. McPeak holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Diego State College, a Master of Science degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is a graduate of the National War College.
Retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Cindy Campbell is the vice president for community relations and media affairs at the Fisher House Foundation, a non-profit that provides temporary housing for military dependents while their family member is treated in military hospitals. In 2009 Campbell retired from the Navy after serving 30 years, qualified as a surface warfare officer. Her last assignment before retirement was in the East Wing of the White House as the White House Military Office Director of Administration from March 2007 to July 2009. She has volunteered extensively with the Department of Defense Bone Marrow Donor Program, registering over 150,000 donors onto the national registry, a Department of Defense record. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawaii and a Master of Science degree in education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.
Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel is the vice chair of the New York State Council on the Arts and has served as chair of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center since 1995. Diamonstein-Spielvogel was the first director of cultural affairs for New York City and was also the longest-serving landmarks commissioner in the city's history, spanning four mayoral administrations from 1972 to 1987. In addition, she is a former chair of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Foundation, and a former member of the New York City Art Commission and the New York City Cultural Commission. Diamonstein-Spielvogel was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the board of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council and by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, where she was the first woman vice chair in its 100-year history. She is the author of 20 books, producer of nine television series, and curator of seven international museum exhibitions—one of which traveled to 82 countries under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State. In addition, Diamonstein-Spielvogel serves on a broad array of boards, including the boards of The Trust for the National Mall, the High Line, the Fresh Air Fund, and the New York State Board for Travel and Tourism.
Darrell Dorgan is the owner of Dakom Communications, which is involved in producing historical documentaries for television and real estate ventures. He also served for 14 years as the executive director of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, retiring in 2011. In that capacity, he spearheaded the effort to build the Western Heritage Center that was named the national Cowboy Museum of the Year in 2010. Prior to that service, Dorgan spent 25 years as a television journalist, finishing his career as a producer, anchor, and writer for the Prairie News Journal, an hour-long news program viewed in three states and two Canadian provinces. Dorgan is the recipient of more than 50 state, regional and national awards for journalistic excellence and served as the first journalist in residence at the University of Maine in Presque Isle. He received this honor a second time and he has had a scholarship named after him. Dorgan is a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran, a member of AMVETS, and the Disabled American Veterans.
John L. Estrada
Retired Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada works for the Lockheed Martin Corporation as senior manager for Lockheed Martin Training Solution Incorporated. He was the 15th Sergeant Major of the U.S. Marine Corps from June 2003 to April 2007. Prior to stepping down from the position in 2007, he served 34 years in the Marine Corps. His personal awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with three gold stars, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Joint Services Achievement Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Estrada is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Southern Watch. He is a board member for Operation Home Front, a nonprofit organization that provides emergency assistance for military troops, the families they leave behind, and wounded warriors when they return home. He is also a member of Mission Readiness.
Rolland Kidder is a director of Friends of the National World War Memorial, Inc., a Washington-based nonprofit organization. From 1994 to 2001, Kidder served as an ABMC Commissioner and was a member of its World War II Memorial Committee. He is the author of “A Hometown Went to War”, an oral history of 37 veterans describing their experiences during World War II. Kidder is a Vietnam War veteran.
Richard L. Klass
Retired Air Force Col. Dick Klass serves as president of the Veterans Alliance for Security and Democracy (VETPAC), a political action committee that supports veterans and other candidates dedicated to the values for which veterans served, fought and died. In Vietnam he flew over 200 combat missions as a forward air controller. His military decorations include the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit and Purple Heart. After retiring from the military, Klass held several senior positions with U.S. aerospace and consulting firms. He sits on the boards of the Falcon Foundation at the Air Force Academy and the Council for a Livable World. Klass is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and the National War College. He received a Master of Arts degree and a Master of Letters degree from Oxford University in England as a Rhodes Scholar and served as a White House Fellow.
Ambassador Constance Morella served as a congresswoman for the state of Maryland for 16 years, during which she was a member of the Committees on Science and Government Reform as well as chair of the Subcommittees on Technology and the District of Columbia. She also served as the ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). During that time she was a key participant in negotiations to enlarge the OECD with five new member states. After leaving the OECD in 2007, she began serving as a professor at American University’s School of Government, where she teaches courses in women, politics, and public policy.
Isaac “Ike” Skelton represented Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District from 1977 until early 2011 and is currently a partner at the law firm of Husch Blackwell LLP. During his career, Skelton chaired the House Armed Services Committee and was instrumental in bringing the Army Engineer School to Fort Leonard Wood and the B-2 stealth bomber to Whiteman Air Force Base, both of which are located in his district. Before serving in Congress, Skelton was a state senator from 1971 until 1976, and a special assistant attorney general in Missouri from 1961 to 1963. He received his Associate of Arts degree from the Wentworth Military Academy and Junior College in Lexington, Mo. and his bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Maura C. Sullivan
Former Marine Capt. Maura Sullivan was born and raised in Evanston, Ill. and attended Northwestern University on an ROTC scholarship. After graduating she served more than five years on active duty in the Marines as a logistics and operations officer. Her first assignment was to Okinawa, Japan where she served throughout southeast Asia in support of joint military exercises. She deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in 2005 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and served there with distinction, earning a Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Upon separating from active duty, Sullivan began degree programs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School, where she was elected co-president of Harvard's Armed Forces Alumni Association. Sullivan graduated from Harvard in 2009 and accepted a role in PepsiCo's Leadership Development Program.
Max Cleland – Secretary
Max Cleland has served his country for nearly 50 years. After graduating from Stetson University in DeLand, Fla. in 1964, where he was commissioned in the U.S. Army, Cleland obtained a master's degree in American History from Emory University in Atlanta. He went on active duty in the fall of 1965. He volunteered for Vietnam in 1967. Rising to the rank of captain, Cleland was wounded in combat and after a year-and-a- half in military and VA hospitals, he returned to his home state of Georgia. Elected to the state senate in 1970, where he served two terms, Cleland was appointed head of the Veteran's Administration under President Jimmy Carter in 1977. In 1981 he returned to Georgia and was elected first as Secretary of State and then as U.S. Senator.