The AVC’s 15th Annual Conference and Awards Gala will once again take place in Washington, DC at the United States Navy Memorial. Dates are October 25-27th, 2012. The conference is our nation’s premier gathering of heroes, where they share their experiences with an audience of hundreds of JROTC and ROTC students as well as West Point and Air Force Academy cadets and Naval Academy midshipmen. You are cordially invited to join us for this very special gathering.
This year’s conference will again feature legends and heroes from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam all the way through to young service members from today’s military. Registration is open to the public, and we hope that you will be able to join us for a weekend none who attend will soon forget.
We are very proud to note that, for the first time this year, the Awards Gala will be televised as a very special Veterans Day program, airing around the country and to our troops around the world on The Pentagon Channel. All who attend the Awards Gala agree that it is an incredibly moving and inspiring evening, and we are very excited to make it a new Veterans Day television tradition.
Recipients of the Medal of Honor, including Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, the first living recipient of our nation’s highest honor from operations in Afghanistan.
- The surviving veterans of the legendary Doolittle Raid on Tokyo.
- Former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Generals Colin Powell and Richard Myers.
- Heroes of the Battle of Midway, 70 years later.
- Acclaimed veterans from the Korean War and the Vietnam War, commemorating the 60th and 50th anniversaries of the conflicts.
- Veterans of D-Day, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, the Battle of the Bulge, and others from our “Greatest Generation”.
- A LIVE conversation with troops on the front lines in Afghanistan.
- A rare and exclusive appearance by active duty U.S. Navy SEALs.
- An appearance by George Mendonsa and Greta Friedman, recently identified through extensive research as the “sailor and nurse” in the famed “VJ Day in Times Square” kiss photo.
Special events during the three day gathering include:
- A very special opening event, “The Wounded Warrior Experience”, featuring the inspiring stories of our nation’s wounded heroes hosted by Fox News journalist Jennifer Griffin.
- An exclusive reception at the historic Army & Navy Club in downtown Washington, D.C.
- The AVC’s annual signature event: the American Veterans Center’s Awards – honoring heroes from the “Greatest Generation” to today’s “Next Greatest” generation.
Thursday, October 25
6:45 – “The Wounded Warrior Experience”
Featuring service members who have been wounded in the line of duty, sharing their inspiring stories of recovery and
determination, along with resources available to service members transitioning from the military to the private sector.
Hosted by Jennifer Griffin, National Security Correspondent for the Fox News Channel
SGT Rick Yarosh – U.S. Army cavalry scout, wounded when his Bradley vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Abu Ghraib region of Iraq.
Sgt Rob Jones – U.S. Marine Corps, lost his legs from an IED blast while serving in Afghanistan, now a paralympian rower.
CMSgt Richard Simonsen – Senior Enlisted Leader for Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, focusing on PTSD/TBI/Suicide Prevention.
Kim Ruocco – Director, Suicide Postvention Program – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).
SGT Rick Zimmerman – U.S. Army, suffered a traumatic brain injury during service in Iraq, now at the National Geospatial-Intelligence
SSG Charles Eggleston – U.S. Army, severely wounded an IED while serving in Iraq, going on to become an advocate for wounded
warriors. Representing Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation.
LTC James Hilleary – Retired U.S. Army officer, Associate Faculty, University
of Phoenix-Northern Virginia Campus
6:45pm – Reception 8:00pm – Discussion
This program will be filmed for broadcast on The Pentagon
Channel on and around, Veterans Day 2012
Visit www.woundedwarriorexperience.com for more information
and panelist updates. This event is free of charge.
Friday October 26
SPEAKER SESSIONS AT THE U.S. Navy Memorial – SESSIONS BEGIN AT 8:30AM
Buses from Renaissance Washington Hotel depart at 7:45 and 8:10 AM – Bus transportation available to and from hotel throughout the day, on the hour
U.S. Navy Memorial
Naval Heritage Center
701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 123
Washington, DC 20004
9:00AM The Greatest Generation: The War in Europe
George Klein – 2nd Ranger Battalion – D-Day.
H. Newcomb “Newc” Eldredge – Veteran of the 10th Mountain Division in the Italian Campaign, and recipient of two
Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart for actions during the battle for Mount Belvedere.
Dorothy Pecora – Chief Nurse and Liberator, one of the first women to receive the Bronze Star Medal for her experiences in
combat, military nursing and the Holocaust.
Moderated by: Bob Patrick – Director Veterans History Project, Library of Congress.
10:00 AM The Doolittle Raid
The remaining veterans of Jimmy Doolittle’s legendary attack on Tokyo, April 18, 1942
Lt. Colonel Richard Cole – Co-pilot, Plane #1 (Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot)
SSgt. David Thatcher – Engineer Gunner, Plane #7
Major Thomas Griffin – Navigator, Plane #9
Lt Colonel Edward Joseph Saylor – Engineer of aircraft #15
Moderated by: Thomas Casey, Doolittle Tokyo Raiders
10:45 The Korean War 60th Anniversary: -
Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Major Chew Een ‘Kurt’ Lee – The only Chinese-American Marine officer fighting
at Chosin. Platoon Commander with B 1/7. He was featured in a 2010 Smithsonian Channel documentary.
Col Warren Wiedhahn – Marine Corps Veteran of Inchon and Chosin Reservoir
Dr. Stanley Wolf – Navy surgeon with 7th Marines at Hagaru.
Moderated by: Maj Guillermo A. Canedo, USMC
11:45 LIVE FROM AFGHANISTAN: From the Front Lines
LIVE webcam conversation with troops serving on the Provincial Reconstruction Team Farah, in Farah Province Afghanistan
CDR Louis Martin McCray – USN – Commander Provincial Reconstruction Team Farah
Staff Sgt. James Bates – USA – Squad Leader for Provincial Reconstruction Team Farah’s security force
Screening of Uncommon Courage: Breakout at Chosin in the U.S. Navy Memorial Theater
1:30 The Last Ace
Featuring BGen. Steve Ritchie, the only Air Force “ace” pilot of the Vietnam War and recipient of the Air Force Cross.
2:15 When the Cold War Turned Hot: Aerial Recon During the Cuban Missile Crisis
Colonel Wayne Whitten – Ret. Marine, Author of Marine involvement in Cuban Missile Crisis.
Ken Jack – Former PH2 VFP-62 and co-author Blue Moon Over Cuba: Aerial Reconnaissande during the Cuban Missile Crisis.Chris Pocock – Expert Overhead Recon during Cuban Missile Crisis.
3:00 U.S. NAVY SEALs AND EXPEDITIONARY WARFARE:
A rare appearance by active duty members of the Navy’s SEAL, EOD, and Expeditionary Warfare communities share their
perspectives on service, sacrifice, and life in their chosen professions.
4:00 Capstone Remarks:
Featuring General Colin L. Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State.
SPECIAL EXCLUSIVE EVENING RECEPTION AT THE
With special guests, wounded warriors from Walter Reed and Bethesda
Note: Coat and tie required.
The Army & Navy Club is located at 901 17th St. NW in downtown
Bus transportation will be available from the Renaissance Hotel at 6:15 PM.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 27
SPEAKER SESSIONS AT THE U.S. NAVY MEMORIAL –
SESSIONS BEGIN AT 8:30 AM
The U.S. Navy Memorial is located at:
701 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20004
8:30AM – The Montford Point Marines
The first African-Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corps during WWII. Recently honored with the Congressional
LtCol Joseph Carpenter
Gunnery Sergeant Reuben McNair, Sr
Staff Sergeant Eugene Groves
Moderated by: Gunnery Sergeant Everett Wills
9:30 AM – The Turning of the Tide: The Battle of Midway
Sgt. Ed Fox – Machine gunner on Midway with the 6th Defense Battalion, Fleet Marine Force
Captain John Crawford – Served as an ensign aboard the USS Yorktown
RADM Donald Showers (tentative) – One of the Navy’s codebreakers who deciphered the Japanese codes indicating their
plans to attack Midway
Maj. Albert Grasselli – Marine Corps veteran & Pearl Harbor survivor, participated in the Battle of Midway Island as one of
the first designated aerial navigators in Marine aviation history.
CPO Chief Hank Kudzik – Served aboard the USS Nautilus, a submarine that played a pivotal role in the Battle of Midway.
10:30 AM – The Greatest Generation: The Pacific
R.V. Burgin – Marine Corps veteran portrayed in HBO’s The Pacific and author of Islands of the Damned.
Roy Matsumoto – Japanese American who went from the internment camps to serve with the famed Merrill’s Marauders
behind enemy lines in Burma.
11:25AM KEYNOTE REMARKS
General Richard B. Myers – 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Screening of Honor and Sacrifice: Nisei Patriots in the MIS in the U.S. Navy Memorial Theater
1:00 The Korean War 60th Anniversary Discussion -
In the Shadow of the Greatest Generation: American Veterans of the Korean War
David Mills – Army POW – taken captive by the Chinese during the battle of Outpost Harry
Jack Keep – USN, served onboard the USS Gatling (DD 671) – participated in Operation Mainbrace in the North Atlantic.
Major General Frederick “Boots” Blesse – USAF Double Ace pilot from the Korean War
Moderated by: Melinda Pash – Author of In the Shawdow of the Greatest Generation: The Americans who fought in the Korean War
1:50 THE MEDAL OF HONOR
Recipients of the U.S. Military’s Highest Award
Maj General James E. Livingston – USMC, received Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in 1968 during the Vietnam
War, author of Noble Warrior
Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta – United States Army, first living recipient of the Medal of Honor for valor in Afghanistan.
2:40 PM Honoring The Iraq War Generation
Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom representing those who served in Iraq: 2003-2011
Introduction and Remarks by:
Lt. Col. Steve Russell – Author of We Got Him: A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein
Discussion on Operation Iraqi Freedom
Elliott Ackerman – Marine Corps recipient of the Silver Star, Second Battle of Fallujah.
Sergeant Monica Beltran – Virginia National Guard and among the few women recipients of the Bronze Star with Valor.
Sergeant Marco Martinez – Recipient of the Navy Cross for Valor during the battle of Al Tarmiya.
Moderated by Lt. Col. Russell
3:45 The Kissing Sailor
A panel on the new U.S. Naval Institute Press book that through exhaustive research has identified the sailor and
nurse in the legendary “VJ Day in Times Square” photo
Authors Larry Verria and George Galdorisi
George Mendonsa and Greta Friedman, identified through the authors’ research as the sailor and nurse.
The American Veterans Center’s
15th Annual Awards Gala
Honoring American Heroes from
the Greatest Generation to the Latest Generation
Registration and Reception: Begins at 6:00 Awards Gala: 7:00
Renaissance Washington DC Hotel
999 9th Street NW, Washington DC 20001