WASHINGTON – Today, President Biden appointed 11 members to the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC):

  • Lieutenant General Mark Philip Hertling, USA, (Ret.), Secretary
  • Darrell Leroy Dorgan
  • John L. Estrada
  • Florent Groberg
  • Amy Looney Heffernan
  • Matthew E. Jones
  • Raymond Duane Kemp, Sr.
  • Bud D. Pettigrew
  • Michael E. Smith
  • Gail Berry West
  • Daniel P. Woodward

Established by Congress in 1923, ABMC is a federal agency charged with guarding America’s overseas commemorative cemeteries and memorials that honor the service, achievements, and sacrifices of U.S. Armed Forces. ABMC oversees 26 permanent American military cemeteries and 32 federal memorials, monuments and markers located across 17 foreign countries and the United States.

Mark Phillip Hertling, Secretary

Lieutenant General (retired) Mark Hertling served 38 years in the U.S. Army as a tanker and cavalryman, commanding at every level from tank & scout platoon leader on the East-West German border to Commander of US Army, Europe and 7th Army. Hertling saw combat with a cavalry squadron during Desert Storm, as an Assistant Division Commander in Baghdad, and as the Commander of 1st Armored Division and Multinational Task Force Iron in Northern Iraq. His military awards include Distinguished Service Medals, Bronze Stars, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, the Purple Heart, and decorations from Germany, Romania, Poland, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Hertling is a 1975 graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point; he holds master’s degrees from Indiana University and the National Defense University, and in 2019 he earned a doctorate from the Crummer Graduate School of Business, Rollins College. Mark and his wife Sue reside in Florida. They have two sons and five grandsons.

Darrell Leroy Dorgan

Darrell Dorgan is a North Dakota native and an award-winning journalist who worked as a television news director/anchor for 25 years. He currently chairs Dakom Communications/Dorgan Films, a corporation involved in real estate and producing television documentaries.

Dorgan is a Vietnam veteran who belongs to AMVETS, VFW, DAV, and American Legion. He was appointed to the American Battle Monuments Commission for eight years by President Obama and the Kennedy Center Advisory Board by President Clinton. He has also served on the North Dakota Historical Society Foundation Board for 25 years; he was the head of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame and chaired the recent North Dakota WWI Centennial Commission. He is married and has two daughters.

John L. Estrada

Ambassador John L. Estrada served as a volunteer member on the Biden Presidential Transition Agency Review Team for the Department of Defense. He also served as the U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago from 2016 to 2017, and the 15th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps from 2003 to 2007 during his 34 years of active duty. After retiring from the Marine Corps, he went to work for Lockheed Martin Corporation as Senior Manager for Lockheed Martin Training Solution Incorporated. Ambassador Estrada is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Southern Watch. His personal awards include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with three gold stars, the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He is a former board member for Operation Homefront, a nonprofit organization that provides emergency assistance for members of the military, those wounded, and the families they leave behind. He is also a former member of the board of governors for the USO, former member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, former member of the Executive Advisory Council for Mission Readiness, and former Commissioner with the ABMC.

Florent Groberg

Florent “Flo” Groberg served in the United States Army from 2008 to 2017 and is a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest military honor, for his extraordinary gallantry, intrepidity and heroism while serving in combat operations in Afghanistan in 2012.

Today, Groberg leads the Microsoft Azure Global Government M360 Mission Solution Team. He is responsible for working with governments worldwide to identify key missions and systems that should operate on the Azure Cloud. He holds a master’s degree in management with a specialization in intelligence policies from the University of Maryland University College in College Park, MD. He is married to Carsen Groberg, with whom he has a dog named V and a cat named Ranger.

Amy Looney Heffernan

Amy Looney Heffernan is the Vice President of Travis Manion Foundation, where she focuses on empowering veterans and families of fallen heroes. She is dedicated to carrying on the legacy of her late husband — LT (SEAL) Brendan Looney, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010 and awarded the Bronze Star with Valor – and friend Travis Manion; the two are buried side by side in Arlington National Cemetery.

A consistent voice to the national conversation and advocacy of veterans and families of the fallen, Looney has appeared on Fox News, CNN, CBS, and TED-X, as well as in written publications such as the Washington Post. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Johns Hopkins University and her Master’s in Public Administration from George Washington University. Looney currently resides in the Chicago area with her husband Joel, daughter Grace, and dog Payton.

Matthew E. Jones

Colonel Matthew Jones currently commands the 89th Airlift Wing, home of Air Force One, where he is responsible for worldwide special air mission airlift, logistics, and communications support for the President, Vice President, cabinet members, combatant commanders, and other senior military and elected leaders. A three-time combat airlift commander, Col Jones also served in numerous Headquarters U.S. Air Force and Joint positions including as the Special Assistant to the Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Prior to his current assignment Col Jones was the installation Commander at Dover AFB Delaware, home of the DoD’s largest mortuary, fulfilling our nation’s sacred commitment of ensuring Dignity, Honor and Respect to our fallen and Care, Service and Support to their families. Col Jones, who is a native of Arizona, resides in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland with his family. He is a distinguished graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a B.S. degree and has master degrees from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the Army War College, and the University of Pittsburgh’s KATZ Graduate School of business.

Raymond Duane Kemp, Sr.

Raymond D. Kemp Sr. is a U.S. Navy veteran who culminated 33 years of service as the Fleet Master Chief of Europe and Africa. While on active duty, he served six presidents, completing 11 combat deployments, with 19 years of sea duty. In times of high conflict, he provided training and mentorship for Sailors during the execution of their lethal duties. As the Fleet Master Chief of Europe and Africa, he had oversight and influence over 56,000 service members, civilians, contractors, and family members.

He is the founder of Kemp Solutions LLC, a leadership development and resilience-building company. With an ever-present heart for the warrior, he also serves as Vice President on the board of Mystic Warrior Foundation, which helps transitioning service members cope with the challenges of PTSD and combat-related stress. Kemp also serves on the Bob Feller Act of Valor Foundation and Wings Over America boards, which provide scholarships to service members and their families.

Bud D. Pettigrew

Bud Pettigrew is the chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party. Previously, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps before teaching history and coaching football, wrestling and track for 20 years at various public schools. He then spent a decade in project management working at the Minnechaduza Foundation. Pettigrew has also worked on numerous campaigns and was actively engaged in Veterans for Biden during the 2020 election. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Hastings College, and has done additional graduate work at universities in Nebraska. He and his wife Angela have two children, Arthur and Evan.

Michael E. Smith

Michael E. Smith is a retired Navy Rear Admiral who recently co-founded and led the American College of National Security Leaders, a national security think tank committed to strengthening the United States’ national security initiatives by informing the debate, influencing decision-makers, and educating the public. During his 32-year naval career he commanded at all operational levels from the commanding officer of the navy’s newest destroyer to command of an aircraft carrier strike group. He served as the Special Assistant to two Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff where his team conducted independent research and provided unfiltered direct advice on the most strategic and pressing national security topics. In his first flag officer assignment he was the director of the Navy’s Strategy and Policy Division where he oversaw a broad Pentagon, legislative, and Navy-wide portfolio, including responsibility for integrating emerging national strategy with Navy and Defense policy initiatives.

Smith is currently an Adjunct Research Associate for the Institute for Defense Analysis where he leads a diverse international team facilitating defense transformation efforts through in-country advisory and consulting services to the most senior Indonesian military and government officials. He also chairs the board of MVLE, a dynamic non-profit that caters to the diverse needs of individuals with disabilities through specialize services that foster personal and professional growth.

Gail Berry West

Gail Berry West is a retired attorney who formerly headed both the Washington Office of Armstrong World Industries (1995-2003) and Bell Communications Research (1983-1995). She began her career as a corporate attorney in the Office of the General Counsel of IBM.

She was an appointee of the Carter Administration where she held positions of Special Assistant to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Staff Assistant to the Interdepartmental Task Force on Women; she completed her public service as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force in Manpower and Reserve Affairs. She is the widow of the Honorable Togo D. West, Jr., an attorney and former Secretary of the Army and Secretary of Veterans Affairs in the Clinton Administration.

Daniel P. Woodward

General Dan Woodward retired from the Air Force as a Brigadier General, following more than 28 years of distinguished service. While in the Air Force, General Woodward served in a variety of operational and staff positions, including tours as a Wing Commander, and as a flag officer on the Joint Staff and the Air Staff. He is a command pilot with more than 3,000 military flight hours, and is married to his college sweetheart, retired Air Force Major General Maggie Woodward.

Following retirement from the Air Force, General Woodward served as Vice President, Integrated Solutions, General Dynamics Information Technology. After leaving his position with General Dynamics, he became Executive Director of Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings, a nationwide collegiate nonprofit that builds young military and civilian servant leaders through the lessons found in community service, unique professional development experiences, and education. He continues to serve in this position.

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