The annual Memorial Day ceremony is co-hosted yearly by VVMF and the National Park Service to pay tribute to members of America’s armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam and in all conflicts.
Chuck Hagel was the 24th Secretary of Defense, serving from February 2013 to February 2015. He is the only Vietnam veteran and the first enlisted combat veteran to serve as Secretary of Defense.
Some of Hagel’s current commitments include service on the Board of Trustees of RAND; Advisory Board of Corsair Capital; Senior Advisor to GALLUP and to the McCarthy Group; Centennial Scholar, Georgetown Walsh School of Foreign Service; Distinguished Scholar, University of Nebraska at Omaha; Distinguished Statesman at the Atlantic Council; Board of Directors of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS); Director and Founding Member of the American Security Project; and Advisory Board Chairman of the HillVets Veterans Organization.
Hagel served two terms in the United States Senate (1997-2009) representing the state of Nebraska. Hagel was a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; and Intelligence Committees. He Chaired the Foreign Relations International Economic Policy, Export and Trade Promotion Subcommittee; and the Banking Committee’s International Trade and Finance, and Securities Subcommittees. Hagel also served as the Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and the Senate Climate Change Observer Group.
Previously, Secretary Hagel was a Distinguished Professor at Georgetown University, Co- Chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, Chairman of the Atlantic Council. He served as a member of the Secretary of Defense’s Policy Board, Secretary of Energy’s Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of Nuclear Power, Systemic Risk Council Board of Directors; and as a member of the Board of Directors of Chevron.
Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Hagel was president of McCarthy & Company, an investment banking firm in Omaha, Nebraska. In the mid-1980’s, Hagel co-founded VANGUARD Cellular Systems, Inc., a publicly traded corporation. He was President and CEO of the World USO, Private Sector Council (PSC), and Chief Operating Officer of the 1990 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations (G-7 Summit). Hagel also served as Deputy Administrator of the Veterans Administration under President Ronald Reagan and Deputy Commissioner General of the 1982 World’s Fair.
He is the author of the book, America: Our Next Chapter and was the subject of a 2018 book by General Daniel Bolger entitled, Our Year of War, and a 2006 book by Charlyne Berens entitled, Chuck Hagel: Moving Forward. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Hagel and his wife, Lilibet, have a daughter (Allyn) and son (Ziller).
Secretary Hagel is Co-Chair of the PBS National Policy Advisory Committee. He also serves on the Finance Committee and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.
Edward L. Hubbard, author, artist, and internationally known speaker, is dedicated to helping others overcome any obstacle, handle any ordeal, and reach any goal by developing the correct state of mind. Building upon his adverse experiences during more than six and one half years of captivity in North Vietnam, Ed conveys a positive message for personal growth. After hearing his presentation, you will feel good about your country, yourself, and your own ability.
A product of the Midwest, Ed spent his childhood in the Kansas City area. At age seventeen, he joined the Air Force Reserve and in 1962, entered active duty where he received his navigator wings and commission through the Aviation Cadet program.
Ed culminated a twenty-eight-year, active duty, military career in August, 1990, of which almost 25% (six years, seven months, and 12 days) were spent as a prisoner of war. It was an experience that truly changed his life, and as a result, the lives of countless others.
Following his release from prison in 1973, Ed completed five college degrees in seven years, in his spare time and at night. In 1976, his concept– after only eight days of implementation –increased the productivity of a $350 million resource by 50%. He later inherited an organization “…the worst managed…” among fifty-eight units by an Air Force audit. Within four months, he turned the unit around and demonstrated statistically significant improvement in 96% of the audited areas.
During ten years as head of the largest safety organization in the Air Force, they shattered all records. They achieved 30% to 70% improvements in all categories, where a 3% improvement had long been the norm. His organization was recognized as “best in the Air Force” for ten consecutive years, and a previously accepted, multi-million-dollar loss rate per year was reduced to less than fifty-thousand dollars per year.
In 1985, Ed began motivational speaking. Following his Air Force retirement in 1990. Ed formed Positive Vectors, Inc., in order to share the lessons he learned during captivity and authenticated by his Air Force results. Since, he has spoken to thousands of members of corporate America, government agencies, and non-profit groups. Ed’s desire to change the attitudes of individuals through a better understanding of true, human potential remains his number one goal in life.
Today, Ed is an acknowledged motivational speaker, management consultant, artist, and author. His book, “Escape from the Box: The Wonder of Human Potential” was published in January, 1994.
McCarthy grew up in Cohasset, MA and went to nursing school in Boston at Massachusetts General Hospital. After graduating from nursing school in 1969 she joined the Army and served as an Army nurse first stationed at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, DC where she worked in the ICU and Recovery Room caring for the wounded soldiers back from Vietnam. After only 10 months she was ordered to report to duty to the 95th Evacuation Hospital in DaNang, South Vietnam where she worked in the Pre-op and Receiving area triaging and caring for the wounded soldiers and civilians.
Upon returning from the war in Vietnam McCarthy got out of the Army and went to college and nurse anesthesia school using the GI Bill to help pay for her education. She worked as a nurse anesthetist for several years and in 1980 returned to school and received her PhD from the Uniformed University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD in Physiology in 1985. After completing a fellowship at Navy Medical Research Institute she joined the US Public Health Service as a Commissioned Corps officer where she worked for the Food and Drug Administration as a regulatory scientist reviewing data for the approval of FDA regulated products such as medical devices and drugs.
McCarthy retired from the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in 2006 and she continues her work in academia as a professor at the University of North Florida. McCarthy served as the first women veteran on the Montgomery County Veterans Commission in Rockville, MD and her primary goal on the commission was to improve care for Veterans in Montgomery County especially those returning from war experiencing the difficulties of posttraumatic stress. She is a member of the American Legion and goes home to Cohasset, MA each year to march as a Veteran in the Memorial Day parade.
McCarthy served as an Army nurse in 1970-71 at the 95th Evacuation Hospital in Da Nang, SVN, in Pre-op and Receiving caring for the wounded. She was the first women Commissioner to serve on the Montgomery County, MD Veterans Commission where she continues to serve Veterans.
Founder and President Emeritus of VVMF
In 1979, Jan Scruggs conceived the idea of building the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., as a tribute to all who served during one of the longest wars in American history. Today, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is among the most visited memorials in the nation’s capital.
Scruggs was a wounded and decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, having served in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade of the U.S. Army. He felt a memorial would serve as a healing device for a different kind of wound—that inflicted on our national psyche by the long and controversial Asian war.
Scruggs launched the effort with $2,800 of his own money and gradually gained the support of other Vietnam veterans in persuading Congress to provide a prominent location on federal government property somewhere in Washington, D.C. After a difficult struggle, Congress responded, and the site chosen was on the National Mall near the Lincoln Memorial.
As president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Inc., the nonprofit organization created to build and maintain the Memorial, Scruggs headed up the effort that raised $8.4 million and saw the Memorial completed in just two years. It was dedicated on November 13, 1982, during a week-long national salute to Vietnam veterans in the nation’s capital.
After the completion of the Memorial, Scruggs, along with author Joel L. Swerdlow, put to paper To Heal a Nation—the moving story of Scruggs’ efforts to build The Wall. In May 1988, it became an “NBC Movie of the Week.”
He has appeared on 60 Minutes, Nightline, Good Morning America and The Today Show as well as C-SPAN, CNN and FOX. He has written opinion articles for The Washington Post, USA Today, The New York Times,The Washington Times and other national and regional publications. A national speaker and author, Scruggs has written articles on a wide range of topics, including the Civil War and the battle of Gettysburg.
Scruggs is a native of Washington, D.C, and grew up in Bowie, Md. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from American University in Washington, D.C., and his law degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
Jan Scruggs retired from VVMF in June 2015.