We make it happen.
We are led by dedicated men and women—businesspeople; government employees; and former, retired, active-duty, and reserve Marines—who believe in strengthening the country by strengthening our nation’s youth and who donate their time toward the goal of shaping future leaders.
Lieutenant Colonel Mike Kessler, USMC (Ret.)
Commander John Alexander, USN (Ret.)
Major General James Kessler, USMC (Ret.)
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Micheal Barrett, USMC (Ret.)
Sheryl E. Murray
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 2d Lt 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. Also, she 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.
David S. Jonas
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.
Lieutenant Colonel Mike Zeliff, USMC (Ret.)
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.