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LEADING BY EXAMPLE
We are led by a team of dedicated men and women — business people; government officials; leaders in their fields; and former, retired, active-duty, and reserve Marines. These are people who align with us in our belief in strengthening and reinforcing our nation’s future by shaping future leaders.

Lieutenant Colonel Mike Kessler, USMC (Ret.)

Chairman of the Board of Directors

Mike Kessler began his career when he was commissioned a second lieutenant after graduating from the University of Washington in 1973. His 25 years of service to our country include command of two rifle platoons and time as the Series Commander and Assistant Director of the Drill Instructor School at Marine Corps Recruiting Depot. He also commanded a Landing Support Company, an H&S Company, a Marine Security Company as Marine Barracks in Bangor, Washington, and a rifle company with the First Battalion, Seventh Marines. In 1999, LtCol Kessler was hired as the first National Executive Director of the Young Marines of the Marine Corps League. LtCol Kessler has guided the program’s growth into one of the preeminent youth organizations in the United States which serves as a model for other youth groups in drug-demand reduction, having won six Fulcrum Shield Awards for excellence in youth anti-drug education. Also, the Young Marines program has expanded its purpose and intent to include engaging with the communities and endorsing a program that supports America’s veterans. Other organizational accomplishments include creating a series of summer programs, developing a national database, creating a National Leadership Academy, formalizing Veterans Appreciation Week, and producing a series of videos for which the organization earned six Telly Awards for video production excellence. LtCol Kessler retired to Everett, Washington, with his wife, Kimberly. They have six children and eight grandchildren.Mike Kessler began his career as a commissioned second lieutenant after graduating from the University of Washington in 1973. After serving 25 years in the U.S. Marine Corps in a multitude of leadership positions, LtCol Kessler was hired as the first National Executive Director of the Young Marines of the Marine Corps League in 1999. He guided the program’s growth into one of the pre-eminent youth organizations in the U.S. LtCol Kessler retired to Everett, Washington, with his wife, Kimberly. They have six children and eight grandchildren.

Commander John Alexander, USN (Ret.)

Vice Chairman of the Board

Mr. Alexander’s career in the United States Navy spanned 21+ years. At sea, he served as Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer on two destroyers and then spent a tour as the Navigator aboard a guided missile destroyer. He spent the next 18 years in a variety of positions with Navy Public Affairs. His final Navy assignment (1988-1992) was as Deputy Director, Navy Broadcasting Service where he oversaw the operations of 38 Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) outlets around the world. After retirement from the Navy in 1992, John joined the staff of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society as the organization’s first public affairs professional. This 501(c)(3) non-profit charity was founded by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904 to provide emergency financial assistance to Sailors, Marines, and their families. In 2006, John was promoted to Vice President, Chief Communications Officer. During 2012, the staff, composed of 3,500 volunteers and fewer than 240 paid employees, disbursed more than $45 million in financial assistance to nearly 100,000 clients. John retired in October 2012, after 20 years of service with the Society. During his tenure, he raised more than $325 million to promote and support the Society’s programs. His last year of service set a record of $20.8 million in charitable gifts. Mr. Alexander earned his Bachelor of Journalism and Master of Arts (Journalism) degrees from the University of Missouri. His military awards include a Meritorious Service Medal and three Navy Commendation Medals. He continues to work as a development and public relations/communications consultant, primarily helping clients interested in providing assistance to military families.John Alexander’s career in the U. S. Navy spanned 21+ years in a variety of positions. After retiring in 1992, John joined the staff of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society as the organization’s first public affairs professional. During 2012, the staff disbursed more than $325 million to promote and support the Society’s programs. He continues to work as a development and public relations/communications consultant, primarily helping clients interested in aiding military families.

Major General James Kessler, USMC (Ret.)

PRESIDENT AND CEO, MARINE CORPS HERITAGE FOUNDATION
Member of the Board of Directors


James Kessler currently serves as the President and CEO of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. After a distinguished, 33-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps, Kessler served as the in-country program manager of the Logistics Civilian Augmentation Program for DynCorp International in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Following that, he served as the Vice President of the Materiel and Maintenance Division at LMI. His military career culminated in his last assignment as Assistant Deputy Commandant, Installations and Logistics (Facilities), where he was responsible for management and oversight of the Marine Corps’ Military Construction efforts, energy, environintellectual compliance, and performance oversight of all installations’ logistics functions. He simultaneously served as the first Commanding General of the Marine Corps Installations Command, where he had command of 24 worldwide installations, leading a workforce of more than 31,000 people and managing a budget of more than $4 billion. Mr. Kessler holds a bachelor’s in history from the University of Washington, a Master of Science in systems management from the University of Southern California, a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and a Master’s in military studies from Marine Corps University. He is a graduate of both the Executive Program in Logistics and the Advanced Program in Logistics and Technology in UNC Chapel Hill.
Major General James Kessler concluded a 33-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps while serving as Assistant Deputy Commandant, Installations and Logistics (Facilities) and as the first Commanding General of the Marine Corps Installations Command. He had command of 24 worldwide installations, managing a budget of more than $4 billion. He has received 4 higher education degrees in addition to other educational certificates. He recently served as the Vice President of Materiel and Maintenance Division, LMI. He currently serves as the President and CEO of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation.

Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Micheal Barrett, USMC (Ret.)

Member of the Board of Directors

Micheal P. Barrett became a United States Marine in 1981 at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. His impressive 34-year career culminated in his selection as the 17th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps – the very top enlisted position in the Marine Corps – by General James F. Amos, USMC, then-Commandant of the Marine Corps. Sergeant Major Barrett held that position from June 9, 2011, until his retirement on June 1, 2015. Sergeant Major Barrett continues to serve in many roles, including Director, Young Marines National Foundation; Director, Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation; Director (Military Advisor), Armed Forces YMCA; Ambassador-at-Large, Marine Corps League; and Military Advisor, Veterans United Home Loans. Sergeant Major Barrett is married to the former Susan M. DeLaVega of Los Angeles, CA. The Barretts have two sons, Michael and Jonathan.Micheal P. Barrett’s impressive, 34-year career as a U.S. Marine culminated in his selection as the 17th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. He retired from service on June 1, 2015. Sergeant Major Barrett continues to serve key positions in organizations including the Young Marines National Foundation; Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation; Armed Forces YMCA; Marine Corps League; and Veterans United Home Loans. He is married to the former Susan M. DeLaVega of Los Angeles, CA. The Barretts have two sons, Michael and Jonathan.

David Webb

Radio and Television Commentator
Member of the Board of Directors



David Webb is a concerned citizen, a radio and television commentator, and an active supporter of the Young Marines. He has appeared on CNBC, and numerous U.S. and international television programs. David serves on the board of directors of the Young Marines National Foundation; Wounded Warriors Family Support; and the Scarlet and Gold Foundation. He also serves as an advisor to the V.E.T.S. Program and to the Iwo Jima Association of America.
David Webb is a concerned citizen, a radio and television commentator, and an active supporter of the Young Marines. He has appeared on CNBC, and numerous U.S. and international television programs. David serves on the board of directors of the Young Marines National Foundation; Wounded Warriors Family Support; and the Scarlet and Gold Foundation. He also serves as an advisor to the V.E.T.S. Program and to the Iwo Jima Association of America.

Colonel Sheryl E. Murray, USMC (Ret.)

Member of the Board of Directors

Sheryl Murray, from Agar, South Dakota, graduated from Huron College, Huron, South Dakota, with a major in political science. After college, she was commissioned a 2ndLt in the United States Marine Corps. She was an adjutant/manpower officer with a variety of human-resource positions from the unit level to Headquarters Marine Corps staff level. Sheryl served 34 years active duty and retired as a colonel. Her command tours included series commander, Woman Recruit Training Command, Parris Island, SC; commanding officer, Education Center Company, Quantico, VA; commanding officer, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, Parris Island, SC; and commanding officer, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Forces Pacific. Of note, Sheryl’s staff tours included vice director J1/The Joint Staff, where she was assigned on 9-11. During that assignment, she was the US Delegate to the Women in NATO Committee, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, where she was part of a team that advised other NATO countries on policies to integrate women into their militaries. Sheryl received a Master of Science in Business Administration from Boston University in 1992; and she attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, graduating in 1993. Colonel Murray retired from the Marine Corps in 2006. After retiring from active duty with the Marine Corps, Sheryl was selected for the position of Assistant Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs (ADC MR&A), HQ Marine Corps and was appointed as a member of the Department of Navy’s Senior Executive Service (SES). She assumed this position in 2007, where she assisted the DC M&RA in the operation and management of the M&RA department—its programs, plans, policies, and studies—ensuring the integration of all of its diverse functions in the accomplishment of the Marine Corps mission. Sheryl retired from that position in 2016, after a total of 44 years’ service to the Nation as a Marine officer and a senior executive, with a focus on people. Sheryl continues that focus on people, now supporting youth nonprofit organizations. She serves as a director on the Young Marines Foundation Board of Directors and on the Young Marines Board of Directors. She also serves as a director on the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation Board. Sheryl and her husband, Freddie L. Murray, also a retired Marine, reside in Leesburg, FL. They have two sons and two grandchildren.Sheryl served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 34 years, retiring as a colonel in 2006. She continued to serve the Nation in various leadership roles for an additional 10 years thereafter. Sheryl continues to focus on people; in addition to being on the board of directors at the Young Marines National Foundation, she also serves as a director on the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation Board. Sheryl and her husband, Freddie L. Murray, also a retired Marine, reside in Leesburg, FL. They have two sons and two grandchildren.

Lieutenant Colonel David S. Jonas, USMC (Ret.)

Member of the Board of Directors

David S. Jonas is a partner in the law firm of FH+H (Fluet Huber + Hoang). He was nominated to be the general counsel of the United States Department of Energy in May 2017. He was successfully voted out of committee but withdrew his nomination after a lengthy wait for confirmation. During that period, he served as senior policy advisor to the secretary of energy. Before that, David served on the Defense and Energy transition teams and the Energy landing team. And before that, he was a vice president at Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed). He has extensive experience in national security issues, litigation, employment law, and government contracting, and he is recognized as one of a handful of experts worldwide in nuclear-nonproliferation law. David was a career member of the Senior Executive Service, and he served as general counsel of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), where he negotiated a number of international agreements, including the U.S.–India Civil Nuclear Agreement. Some of the other positions that David has held are the general counsel of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board and the director of legal strategy and analysis at the Office of the General Counsel, United States Department of Energy. Also, he briefly served as the deputy site manager of the Pantex plant in Amarillo, Texas, and as a distinguished research fellow and lecturer at the U.S. Naval War College. Before his civilian service, David was a Marine Corps officer, holding a wide variety of command and staff billets. He served as nuclear-nonproliferation planner for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, negotiating multiple international agreements, and he has worked extensively with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Conference on Disarmament, and the United Nations. He is one of the only judge advocates to have commanded two units, including a company in an infantry regiment—the 5th Marine Regiment. David argued the case of Davis v. United States, 512 U.S. 452 (1994) at the Supreme Court of the United States, becoming the first judge advocate in the history of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force to do so. An experienced litigator and negotiator, he has represented clients in more than 150 trials, including more than a dozen contested jury trials. He has represented hundreds of clients in appellate and administrative proceedings. He received the Award for Excellence in Legal Writing from the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, in 1992, and he was selected as the Outstanding Career Judge Advocate in the Marine Corps, in 2000. David concluded his military service as a lieutenant colonel. Mr. Jonas is an adjunct professor at George Washington (GW) University Law School and also taught at Georgetown Law for more than 12 years. He teaches nuclear-nonproliferation law and policy, and he was a pioneer in developing the academic coursework in that discipline. He was recognized as a distinguished adjunct professor of law at GW. Mr. Jonas serves on the board of directors of the Naval War College Foundation, the Young Marines, the Young Marines Foundation, and the Marine Executive Association. Also, he serves on the advisory committee of the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law, and he was appointed by the secretary of commerce to the Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee. Recently, he completed his three-year term on the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Advisory Committee on Law and National Security and just began his term on the board of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative. Mr. Jonas holds a B.A. from Denison University, a J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law, an LL.M. from the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School, an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center, and an M.A. from the U.S. Naval War College.David S. Jonas is a partner in the law firm FH+H (Fluet Huber + Hoang). He has extensive experience in national security issues, litigation, employment law, and government contracting, and he is recognized as one of a handful of experts worldwide in nuclear-nonproliferation law. After a long and illustrious military career in the U.S. Marine Corps, David retired from service at the rank of lieutenant colonel. He also serves on the board of directors of the Naval War College Foundation, the Young Marines, and the Marine Executive Association.

Lieutenant Colonel Mike Zeliff, USMC (Ret.)

Ph.D.
National Executive Director


Mike is a veteran Marine, educator, and father. After 28 years in the Marine Corps, Mike transitioned from finding and leading a few good men to raising two. Mike believes in the self-fulfilling prophecy of high expectations, the power of positive reinforcement, and the value of solid role models. Mike is committed to building the Foundation to the point that it can independently sustain the Young Marines organization.Mike is a veteran Marine, educator, and father. After 28 years in the Marine Corps, Mike transitioned from finding and leading a few good men to raising two. Mike believes in the self-fulfilling prophecy of high expectations, the power of positive reinforcement, and the value of solid role models. Mike is committed to building the Foundation to the point that it can independently sustain the Young Marines organization.

CONTACT US

The Young Marines National Foundation
PO Box 530543
St. Petersburg, FL 33747

Email: giving@ymfoundation.org

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