September 1, 2020 - In the wake of the Republican National Convention that set out to stoke the flames of fear and racial tension, today. The Lincoln Project announces the first wave of veterans, military, and national security community members who have joined our Leadership Coalition in an effort to encourage participation in our election process. The Veterans and Military Community Leadership Coalition consists of veterans, Blue and Gold Star family members, caregivers, and advocates of those who have bravely and selflessly served our nation.
The group will work to help spread the mission of The Lincoln Project through the military and veteran communities and will also actively encourage veterans to help ensure a free and fair election by signing up as poll workers and volunteers across the nation. Links will be provided on The Lincoln Project’s website to assist veterans in signing up with their local supervisor of elections.
“Our veterans, service members, and their families know what a leader should be and have seen first hand how Donald Trump has failed his sacred duty as Commander-in-Chief,” said Fred Wellman, The Lincoln Project’s Senior Advisor for Veteran’s Affairs. “Words are not enough to show support for them and now we continue to face a global pandemic amid efforts to undermine our national elections. So, now we are called upon to step up again and fight for our nation and volunteer at home to serve locally in our communities as poll workers and supporters when so many cannot because of their risks of illness. We are thrilled to have this incredible group of advocates join our effort at The Lincoln Project.”
Members and Bios:
Bob Andrews is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and served special operations tours in Viet Nam (63-69) and in the CIA under George H.W. Bush before becoming Senator John Glenn’s national security advisor in 1980. He retired from the Boeing Company in 1999. On 31 July 2001, President George W. Bush appointed him to lead DoD’s Office of Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. From 2007-2009, Bob was the Special Assistant to Secretaries of the Army Pete Geren and John McHugh.
Donna Barbisch is a retired Army Major General. Her military experience spanned more than 38 years. She started as a nurse in Vietnam and evolved to combating weapons of mass destruction and emerging threats. She is an internationally acclaimed speaker on pandemics and crisis leadership, balancing lives lost and economic stability.
Daniel Barkhuff is a former Navy Lieutenant and New England native. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2001 and served 8 years as a US Navy SEAL, completing tours in Iraq where he led a sniper team in the Battle of Fallujah, Afghanistan, and Africa. He left the military and used the GI Bill to pay for medical school at Harvard, and completed a residency in Emergency Medicine at the University of New Mexico. He is now an EM physician at the University of Vermont. In 2017 he founded Veterans For Responsible Leadership.
Joseph J. Collins
Joseph Collins is a retired Army Colonel who served from 2001-2004 as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability Operations. He was a professor for two and a half decades at West Point, Georgetown University’s Security Studies program and the National War College. Collins is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and earned a doctorate in political science from Columbia University.
John H. Dalton served as the 70th Secretary of the Navy from 1993-1998. He was recognized by the National Security Caucus as their prestigious International Security Leadership Award recipient in 1997 for his “leadership and vision in promoting American sea power and a bipartisan maritime strategy.” Secretary Dalton has had a distinguished career in government beginning as a naval officer. He served in the Navy from 1964 to 1969 and has received numerous U.S. military decorations as well as decorations from the governments of Bahrain and Ecuador. Secretary Dalton also served as the President of the Housing Policy Council of the Financial Services Roundtable, as President of the Government National Mortgage Association of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and as a member and Chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board.
Christopher David is a former Navy Lieutenant and currently a laboratory scientist and clinical chemist. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy he served for 8 years on active duty with the U.S Navy Civil Engineer Corps. After 25 years as an engineer, he changed careers late in life and went into the healthcare field. He is colloquially known as Captain Portland in his hometown after a video went viral nationally of him being assaulted by federal agents during a recent protest.
Judith Gentz is a retired psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner of 38 years. She is the Gold Star Mother of USAF Captain Joel Gentz who was killed in action June 9, 2010 on a rescue mission in Helmand Province Afghanistan. Her main motivators to insure Trump is not re-elected are his failure to acknowledge and use science during the Covid-19 pandemic, his failed international relationships with allies, Did his failure to consider the climate change effects of his environmental policy, and his daily lies, narcissism and lack of knowledge about the constitution.
Ernesto is a retired member of the Air Force and a Purple Heart recipient. Currently in the energy security sector providing sustainable power during emergencies he previously served as the National Adjutant and Chief Executive Officer of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Over the course of his military career, he held numerous command and staff positions. He served multiple tours in the Middle East in a wide range of assignments to include Director of Security Assistance for the Multinational Security Transition Command in 2008, leading the world’s largest foreign military sales program. Ernesto was wounded on March 26, 2008, when he used his own body to shield the occupants of an open bunker from indirect fire from mortars and rockets at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Phoenix, Iraq.
Mark Hertling is a retired Army Lieutenant General who spent four decades in uniform. He served under 8 Presidents (5 Republicans, 3 Democrats), spent over 3 years in combat, commanded the 1st Armored Division in Northern Iraq for 15 months, and his final assignment was as Commander of US Army, Europe.
Andre Hollis is a former Army Lieutenant and is the Chief Executive Officer of Tiger International Advisors, a strategic consultancy that assists clients in solving discreet, difficult problems. From 1998-2001, Andre served as Senior Counsel to Rep. Tom Bliley’s Commerce Committee and Rep. Dan Burton’s Government Reform Committee. He served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics from 2001 to 2003.
Blair Hughes is an advocate for wounded veterans and military caregivers. The wife of a US Army infantryman who was severely injured in Iraq in 2008 and mother of five. Blair is a Fellow Emeritus of The Elizabeth Dole Foundation, participated in the creation of the Congressional Caucus for Military Caregivers, and previously worked at the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program. She is currently spearheading a new non-profit, providing unique educational support to military children with special needs.
Mike is a retired Army Colonel with over 24 years in uniform, commanding soldiers in Kuwait, Germany, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. A graduate of West Point, Georgetown and the University of Rome, Mike recently retired from active duty. He has been an outspoken advocate on defense and national security issues such as veteran suicide, removing confederate symbols, the egregious pardon of war criminals and other abuses of executive power and politicization of the military.
Scott Jensen is retired Marine Corps Colonel and expert on responding to and preventing sexual assault and harassment. His 27-year career as an aviator included multiple combat deployments, command in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and concluded as the head of the USMC Behavioral Programs. Following retirement, he began a second career as a nonprofit executive, served as the CEO of Protect Our Defenders, and is now an independent management and culture consultant.
John Lock is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, graduate and former assistant professor of the United States Military Academy at West Point. A Ranger qualified Master Parachutist, he has served with the 1st Armored and 82nd Airborne Divisions, as well as in Bosnia and Saudi Arabia. He is also a published author of military leadership and history related books endorsed by the likes of General (Retired) Colin Powell and Stephen Ambrose.
Brennan Mullaney is a U.S. Army Cavalry Officer, whose active duty service included two deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. For the last several years he has been leading in the nonprofit space promoting veteran well-being through peer engagement and community building. Brennan is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and earned an advanced degree in Law & Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University.
Matt Pelak is an Army veteran non-commissioned officer with over 20 years of service as an airborne infantryman with multiple combat deployments. He’s also a former State Department contractor and worked for Blackwater for several years before working as a firefighter/paramedic and deploying to countless natural disasters in the US and around the world with NGO’s and the WHO. Matt is also an entrepreneur and tech co-founder, and currently works in global logistics.
Jessica Piper is the granddaughter of a Korea veteran, the daughter of a Navy veteran, and the mother of a Missouri National Guardsman. Jessica is also a public school English teacher in Missouri. She has developed a Language Arts curriculum to incorporate the teaching of slavery into American Literature and presents nationally on teaching Slavery and Social Justice.
Curtez Riggs is a retired Army First Sergeant who spent twenty-one years in uniform. A native of Flint, MI now residing in San Antonio, TX, Curtez is a capitalist, community builder, and advocate for the military community. Today, he uses entrepreneurship as a tool to create economic opportunities for marginalized communities.
Colleen Saffron was a 21 year military spouse who was actively involved in military and veteran advocacy for spouses and caregivers of the wounded. She received a Presidential Award for lifetime service from George W. Bush on the White House lawn in 2008 and was a 2009 Army Face of Strength. Colleen resides in central Texas where she is a full time caregiver to her husband of 31 years who was seriously wounded in Iraq in 2004 and served 22 years in the US Army.
Glenn Schatz is former Navy Lieutenant and is now Vice President of Veterans for Responsible Leadership. He is an entrepreneur in the Internet of Things (IoT) space, and has previously founded other tech startups and worked at the U.S. Department of Energy. In the military, he was a nuclear submarine officer stationed in Virginia on a guided missile submarine. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, where he also returned to teach Energy Policy as a military officer and civilian professor, and received his Masters Degree in National Security Policy from Georgetown University. Glenn was born in Taipei, Taiwan, grew up in Tucson, Arizona, and currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
Daniel Eufracio Tapia
Dan Tapia is former Navy Electronics Technician Third Class and currently a sommelier with 26 years experience in restaurants, including 9 years in wine specifically. In his restaurant in Long Beach, CA, Dan hired veterans almost exclusively. Hailing from Arizona originally, he has lived in 7 states, 5 countries, and the District of Columbia, much of which was during his 6 year Navy career.
Fred Wellman is former Army Lieutenant Colonel and serves as Senior Advisor for Veterans Affairs at The Lincoln Project. He served for 22-years as an aviator and public affairs officer including four combat tours over Operation’s Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. He was spokesman for General’s David Petraeus and Martin Dempsey in Iraq before embarking on a civilian career as an entrepreneur and veterans advocate. Recently, he served as Administrative Chief of Staff of a COVID Field Hospital in New York City staffed by military special operations veterans. He is Ranger-qualified and a graduate of West Point and the Harvard Kennedy School.
Matt is a former Army Captain and current entrepreneur working to develop medical devices. He is also Co-Founder of No One Left Behind (NOLB) - an organization that has helped over 5,000 former US military interpreters and their families resettle in the United States. CNN recognized Matt as a 2018 CNN Hero for his work with NOLB. He is the author of Watches Without Time (Just World Books, 2012), which chronicles his experience serving as an embedded combat adviser with the Afghan security forces in Ghazni, Afghanistan, in 2008.