On November 11, 2022, VVMF will host a very special Veterans Day Observance at The Wall. In addition to celebrating the service of all our veterans, especially our Vietnam veterans, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Watch the broadcast of the ceremony at: https://www.vvmf.org/live
SEC Chuck Hagel
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.
Secretary of Defense
Lloyd James Austin III was sworn in as the 28th Secretary of Defense on January 22, 2021. Mr. Austin is the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to the Department of Defense and serves on the National Security Council.
Mr. Austin was born in Mobile, Alabama, and raised in Thomasville, Georgia. He graduated from the United States Military Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission in the Infantry. He holds a Master of Arts degree in counselor education from Auburn University, and a Master of Business Management from Webster University. He is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced courses, the Army Command and General Staff College, and the Army War College.
His 41-year career in the Army included command at the corps, division, battalion, and brigade levels. Mr. Austin was awarded the Silver Star for his leadership of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Seven years later, he would assume the duties of Commanding General of United States Forces – Iraq, overseeing all combat operations in the country.
After a tour as the Army’s Vice Chief of Staff, Mr. Austin concluded his uniformed service as the Commander of U.S. Central Command, responsible for all military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. In this assignment, he led U.S. and coalition efforts to battle ISIS in Iraq and Syria. He retired from the Army in April, 2016.
Since his retirement from military service, Mr. Austin served on the Boards of Directors for Raytheon Technologies, Nucor, and Tenet Healthcare.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
The Honorable Denis Richard McDonough was nominated by President Biden to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. Mr. McDonough’s nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 8th, 2021, and he was sworn in the following day as the 11th Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
On January 27, 2021, during his confirmation hearing, Secretary McDonough testified to Congress, “I will work tirelessly to build and restore VA’s trust as the premier agency for ensuring the well-being of America’s Veterans. After all, there is no more sacred obligation nor noble undertaking than to uphold our promises to our Veterans, whether they came home decades ago or days ago.”
Secretary McDonough served in the Obama Administration as the 26th White House Chief of Staff from February 2013 to January 2017. In that role, Mr. McDonough managed the White House staff and worked across the cabinet to advance the Obama-Biden agenda, confronted management issues facing the federal government, and devised and enforced goals, plans, and performance standards to preserve the Obama-Biden Administration’s reputation for effective, ethical operations.
Prior to his role as Chief of Staff, Mr. McDonough was Principal Deputy National Security Advisor from October 2010 to January 2013. He also served as the Chief of Staff of the National Security Staff and as the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications. He chaired the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee, leading the multiagency team to address complex challenges including crisis management and national security policymaking. And throughout his service in the White House, Secretary McDonough helped lead the Obama-Biden administration’s work on behalf of military families and Veterans.
Before his eight-year tenure in the White House, Secretary McDonough served in senior leadership and policymaking positions in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Professional Staff Member on the International Relations Committee and in the U.S. Senate for Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Senator Ken Salazar.
Since his White House tenure, Secretary McDonough was Professor of the Practice of Public Policy at the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, Senior Advisor and Senior Principal at the Markle Foundation, and on the board of directors of the National Democratic Institute, the Tent Partnership for Refugees, and the SAFE Project, a national nonprofit working to end the nation’s catastrophic addiction epidemic.
Secretary McDonough grew up in Minnesota in a family of 11 children, graduated from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and earned his master’s degree from Georgetown University. Secretary McDonough and his wife, Kari, have three children.
Connie G. Evans
Connie Evans is Native American, an enrolled member of the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho. She was born February 5, 1942 and raised on a Nez Perce Indian Reservation.
Evans attended schools on the Reservation and graduated from Kamiah High School in 1960. She graduated from San Mateo Junior college in California as a Licensed Vocational Nurse in 1961. Evans graduated as a Registered Nurse from St. Alphonsus Hospital School of Nursing in Boise, Idaho in 1965 and served in the Army Nurse Corps from 1965 to 1969 attaining the rank of Captain. She served in Texas, Vietnam and Germany. Upon discharge from the Army, she returned to College at the University of Washington in Seattle where she obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, Masters Degree in Nursing and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Certificate in 1976. Besides her career in the Army Nurse Corps, Evans worked in various Health facilities in Idaho, Washington, California and Texas. In 1978 she transferred her Army commission to the United States Public Health Service Corps and worked with Indian Health Service in Lapwai, Idaho until she retired as a Commander in 1991. She has also worked as Adjunct Faculty at Lewis Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho assisting the Nez Perce Elder teach the Nez Perce language, and as a reviewer/consultant with Kauffman and Associates and Support Services International on various I.H.S. Projects. She has also reviewed various Indian Headstart programs with the American Indian Headstart Programs branch. She has belonged to numerous advisory boards, foundations, National and State Professional Nursing Associations when she was employed as an RN. She is an active member of the Commissioned Officers Association, The Retired Officers Association and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. She is married to Steven R. Evans and they have three children, James Walker, Benjamin Evans, Lisa Burks and four grandchildren. She and her husband owned a family business, Old West Enterprises, in which they recreated authentic Nez Perce Tipis for more than twenty years.