Storm the Hill 2012: Meet the Teams
Posted by Michelle McCarthy on March 29
DOUG CONNOR, Walnut Creek, CA. Doug served as a surgical intensive care unit nurse in the U.S. Army. Doug deployed to FOB Diamondback in Mosul, Iraq from November 2005 to October 2006. After leaving the Army in 2007, Doug’s traumatic experience in Iraq caught up with him and he struggled with sleep disturbances, depression and thoughts of suicide. Doug’s struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder led to estrangement from many close friends and family who reached out to help. At his lowest point, a fellow veteran reached out and convinced Doug to seek help. He recovered with treatment at VA and is now pursuing a master’s degree that will allow him to become a nurse practitioner. Doug lives with his wife and two children.
PAUL RIECKHOFF, New York, NY. Paul is the Founder and Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Paul served as a First Lieutenant and infantry rifle platoon leader in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003-2004. He is the author of the critically-acclaimed Chasing Ghosts, and a nationally recognized authority on the war in Iraq and issues affecting troops, military families and veterans. Prior to deploying to Iraq, Paul worked as a high school football coach and an Investment Banking Analyst on Wall Street. He received a BA in Political Science from Amherst College in 1998 and lives in New York City.
JOU “JESSI” TSENG, San Francisco, CA. Jessi enlisted in the U.S. Army after she graduated high school and was stationed at Ft. Lewis, WA. She deployed to Iraq in 2007 with the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division and was stop-lossed for six months. After leaving the Army, Jessi enrolled at University of California, Santa Barbara where she championed critical student veteran policies and services on campus. Priority registration, priority housing and a certified on-campus Post-Traumatic Stress counselor were all established because of Jessi’s advocacy. Jessi struggled to find full-time employment after she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree with honors in 2011. She currently works part-time at the San Francisco Veterans Resource Center while she applies to graduate schools. TIREAK TULLOCH, Huntington, NY. Brooklyn native Tireak Tulloch enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in June 2000 as a tactical data network systems specialist. He was deployed to Iraq in 2003 with Alpha Company, 6th Communication Battalion, supporting ANGLICO Marines and Navy SEALS with classified network access along various points alongside our British counterparts. Tireak deployed again in June 2004 to Camp Blue Diamond, Iraq, where he provided technical liaison support to an Army signals unit and handled network security for 1stMarDiv. After completing his second tour in 2005, Tireak started to look for work in his field of expertise. In 2006, Tireak took an entry-level technical position with MTA Long Island Bus. He separated from the Marine Corps in 2008 and currently holds a new position with MTA Long Island Rail Road as a Junior Network Engineer.
RAMSEY SULAYMAN, Savannah, GA. Ramsey is a Marine officer; he served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2008 to April 2009 as an infantry platoon commander and company executive officer. He attended the University of Toledo where he received his B.A in Political Science and International Relations. He also went to graduate school at Toledo where he studied and taught philosophy as a graduate assistant. Ramsey has experience on Capitol Hill as a researcher for the Corporation for Effective Government and as a Congressional intern in office of Rep. Marcy Kaptur. He is fluent in Spanish, French and Arabic.
MATTHEW PIZZO, New York, NY. Matt joined the U.S. Air Force in 2001 and reported for basic training on September 11, 2001. He served as a Communications System Controller and deployed to Talil Air Base in Nasiriyah, Iraq from September 2004 to February 2005. Matt led a team of communications specialists in the design, installation and maintenance of over 20 classified and unclassified communication networks in Iraq. After service overseas, Matt enrolled in the University of Colorado while serving as an Enterprise Controller for the Air Force Network Operations Center. He graduated summa cum laude in May 2008 and went on to law school in New York City after he struggled to find employment with an undergraduate degree. Matt received his J.D. from New York Law School in May 2011 and is actively looking for work in the legal, financial services or compliance field.
ANDREW COLON, Great Mills, MD. Andrew served seven years in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Combat Correspondent and a Civil Affairs Specialist. He separated from the Marine Corps in 2011 and struggled to find a job. Unable to find work, Andrew matriculated into the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where he is studying media and communication studies with a double minor in sociology and political science. He attends school under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
LAURIE EMMER, Sycamore, IL. Laurie is a career soldier who joined the U.S. Army in 1982. She deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in January 2003 where she served first as a medical platoon sergeant and later as a Logistical Task Force Air NCO. She also served at Deh Rawood and FOB Salerno in Khost province. She retired from the Army in November 2005 after sustaining a head injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. She was eventually awarded a 100 percent disability rating and recovered with treatment at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Laurie struggled to translate her military skills for civilian employers after leaving the service. She has a BA in Business Administration and Accounting and is currently pursuing a second degree in History and Political Science at Northern Illinois University. Laurie is married to an Iraq veteran and has four children, including two who are Army veterans and one who just returned from Afghanistan.
TOM TARANTINO, San Anselmo, CA. Tom is a former Captain who left the Army in 2007 after 10 years of service. He returned from Iraq in 2006 after one year of deployment with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. Tom served in combat as both a cavalry and mortar platoon leader, and was awarded the Combat Action Badge and Bronze Star. Tom graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2002 with a degree in Global Studies and International Relations. As IAVA’s Deputy Policy Director, Tom assists with research and policy through coordination with Congress, Veterans Service Organizations, and governmental organizations.
MOSES MADDOX, Vista, CA. Moses is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps with two tours served in Iraq. He was trained as a Financial Management Specialist, but he served as a Graves Registration Specialist in 2004 and a Civil Affairs Specialist in 2006. He left the Marines in 2006 and immediately enrolled in a local community college using the GI Bill. The quick transition was rough at first, as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and a Traumatic Brain Injury took their toll on his coursework. He struggled to get treatment at VA and overcame his invisible injuries. Moses bounced back academically by the end of the fall 2008 semester and made Dean’s List. He also became Vice President of the Veterans Club and later, Veterans Supervisor at Palomar College where he ensures the prompt payment of GI Bill benefits for other student veterans and their dependents. Moses later transferred to California State University, San Marcos, where he is graduating with a BA in Social Sciences in May. He currently lives with his wife and son.
LINDA STANLEY, Oceanside, CA. Linda served more than 20 years as a nurse in the U.S. Army and Air Force. After she retired in 2010, she returned to school to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. She is scheduled to graduate in 2012 and plans to continue serving the military and veteran communities as a mental health professional who understands transitional issues facing service members and their families. Linda has a service dog named Willow who helps her counsel Marines suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at Camp Pendleton.
WILLOW STANLEY, Oceanside, CA. Willow is a two year-old English Lab with two full time jobs. Willow serves as Linda’s service dog for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and as her colleague when Linda treats patients for combat stress or PTSD. Willow was raised for the "At Ease" service dog program at Camp Pendleton, which places dogs in the San Diego area. Willow considers herself a Marine at heart even though she is with an AF veteran.
DAVE SMITH, Berkley, CA. Dave enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps straight out of high school and served as a rifleman and team leader with 4th Marine Regiment. He served two deployments in Iraq and saw some of the heaviest fighting of the war during tours in Najaf, Karballa and Diwaniyah. Dave separated in 2007 with a severe case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but he avoided treatment because he was afraid a diagnosis would hurt his employment prospects. After working in construction and security, Dave was accepted into the University of California, Berkeley where he currently studies Political Science using the GI Bill. Dave first became involved with IAVA through Ride2Recovery, where he met late IAVA Member Veteran, Storm the Hill alum and advocate Clay Hunt. Dave is honored to be involved in Storm the Hill 2012 to carry on Clay’s legacy of leadership and service.
LAURA ARAUJO. Long Beach, CA. Laura is a 27-year-old combat veteran of the U.S. Army. She served on active duty for 3 years while stationed at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, and deployed for a 15 month tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After graduating from California State University Long Beach, Laura interned with the IAVA policy team in Washington D.C for the summer of 2011, where she helped advocate for veterans within the legislative branch. Now separated from the U.S. Army Reserve, she works as a Graduate Fellow for JusticeCorps in Long Beach, California helping people of low socioeconomic status gain access to the legal system. She is passionate about social justice and ensuring veterans, and their families, get the help and benefits they deserve.
CHRISTOPHER FORD, Coeur d’ Alene, ID. Chris served 24 years in the U.S. Air Force and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His military career included stints as Flight Chief, Armed Response Team member, Fly Away Security Teams (FAST), 911 dispatcher, Security Forces Combat Arms training, Maintenance Instructor and Range Master. An injury sustained during his tour in Iraq caused Chris to lose his Security Force career position. He was medically retired from the U.S. Air Force in March 2010 with the rank of Master Sergeant and a high disability rating. Denied vocational rehabilitation by VA, Chris has not held full-time employment since his discharge in February 2010.
NAVEED ALI SHAH, Springfield, VA. Naveed served as an Active Duty public affairs specialist with the U.S. Army from January 2007 to August 2010, including one combat tour in Iraq from July 2009 to July 2011. After he left the service, Naveed struggled with the transition to civilian life, and he fought to get the care he needed from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Naveed is currently attending school on the Post-9/11 GI Bill while working as a Social Media Director for Best Buy.
JONATHAN ROBINSON. Kansas City, MO. John served four years as a U.S. Marine infantryman with four additional years in the reserves. While deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, John served as a small-unit level counterinsurgency tactics. After John left active duty, he completed his bachelor’s degree and has done consulting work in New York and overseas. He now lives and works in Kansas City where he works at a private foundation researching, developing and implementing programs to support economic reconstruction in conflict areas.
TYLER TANNAHILL, Overland Park, KS. Tyler deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines to northeastern Afghanistan in 2006. While in Afghanistan, Tyler participated in Operation Mountain Lion, a large-scale operation designed to gain a foothold in the Korengal Valley. In 2007, Tyler also deployed as a squad leader to Barwanah, Iraq where his unit patrolled for IED and weapons caches and trained Iraqi Police. Tyler has since left the service and enrolled in Kansas State University, where he is pursuing a degree in Political Science. He remains active with Kansas State Collegiate Veterans and Student Government on campus. He hopes to start a career in government after graduation, and he enjoys hunting when in season.
ZOE BEDELL, New York, NY. Zoe Bedell joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2007 and served four years as a logistics officer. She deployed to Afghanistan twice during her career. Her first deployment was from October 2009 to April 2010, when she served as the Current Operations Officer with Combat Logistics Battalion-1. Upon returning, she accepted assignment as the Regional Command (Southwest) Female Engagement Team Officer-in-Charge. From June 2010 to April 2011, she trained and deployed a group of 47 Marines to engage with men and women throughout southwest Afghanistan. Zoe completed her active duty service in August 2011 and began her current job as an analyst at the boutique investment bank Foros. She currently lives in New York City and is working on a book about her experience with the Female Engagement Team in Afghanistan.
WAYMOND DUANE WILLIAMS, Conyers, GA. Duane served 26 years in the U.S. Army before being medically retired as a senior enlisted advisor. He served multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he also deployed in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the First Gulf War. Duane struggled to receive proper treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs as he was being medically retired, and he fought to ensure he received the medical benefits he earned after two decades in the Armed Forces. He has recovered well enough to complete a Master’s in Public Administration and pursue a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Walden University, but he continues to grapple with his recovery. Duane also serves as the Chairman-elect of the DeKalb County Veterans Advisory Board.
JAMES BAILEY, Richmond, VA. James served as a Military Working Dog Handler and security forces patrolman in the U.S. Air Force. His Air Force career led him to Montana, North Carolina, and two deployments overseas. While deployed to Iraq in 2008-2009, James and his military working dog Robby were attached to the 4th Infantry Division and the 1st Cavalry Division. The two provided explosive detection support to the infantry. After separating from the Air Force in September 2011, James adopted Robby and moved to Richmond, VA. James is attending college at Virginia Commonwealth University on the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
MATT COLVIN, Hoboken, NJ. Matt was born in Maryland and has been living in Hoboken, NJ since leaving the military in Sept 2007. He joined the U.S. Air Force on Sept 11, 2001 and served six years with the 41st Electronic Combat Squadron in Tucson, AZ as an Airborne Cryptologic Linguist. During his military career, Matt served two tours at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, first in 2004 and again in 2006. While in Afghanistan, Matt flew over 100 combat sorties conducting communications jamming and liaising with air and ground assets to coordinate raids. With help from the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Matt is graduating with a B.S. in Business/Marketing this spring. As IAVA’s Strategic Partnership Fellow, Matt manages IAVA's partnerships in the corporate sector.
PETER OLSEN, Great Falls, MT. Peter is an Army Reservist with nearly 11 years of service as a Medical Service Corps Officer. He began his career as Active Duty and transitioned to the Reserves in 2005 when he enrolled in graduate school at the University of Massachusetts. He deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, where he ran aid stations with 10th Mountain Division. More recently, Peter mentored Afghan Army and Police medical units. Peter currently serves as the personnel officer for a U.S. Army Hospital in Helena, Montana. He is also the Vice President of Sports and Competition with Special Olympics Montana.
MIKE LIGUORI, San Carlos, CA. Mike enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps as a motor transport operator and deployed to Iraq twice. He separated from the Marine Corps in 2006 and enrolled in college under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Mike struggled with the transition from combat to campus and felt out of sync with his civilian peers. He persevered and graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor’s in Business Management. Mike is in the finishing stages of publishing a memoir about his experiences in Iraq, and he remains active in the veteran community as the founder of a nonprofit that helps veterans develop professional careers.
NICK ELLIS, Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Nick served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps as a combat cook and was deployed once to Iraq. While serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Nick was assigned to Quick Reaction Forces (QRF), security patrolling and entry control checkpoints. Nick left the service in 2006 and struggled with the transition to civilian life in the absence of a strong Transition Assistance Program (TAP). Nick is currently enrolled at the University of Phoenix under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. He continues to look for full-time employment and volunteers with a nonprofit in Jupiter, Florida that pairs new veterans and their families with older veterans.
PATRICK CLANCEY, Alexandria, VA. Patrick served as a U.S. Army infantry officer from 2003 to 2009. During his career, Patrick served in numerous leadership positions from platoon to battalion level, including deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Patrick still serves as a Major in the Army Reserves. He works for a strategy and technology consulting firm, and is active in the Wounded Warrior Mentor Program. He lives with his wife and daughter.
JEFF HENSLEY, Frisco, TX. Jeff served 21 years in the U.S. Navy as a fighter pilot flying F-14s and T-45s. Jeff served in the First Gulf War and again in Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he was attached to a civil affairs team in Baghdad. Jeff’s team was responsible for the restoration of the Iraqi industrial base and the development of local governance. After his deployment, Jeff retired from the Navy and used the Post-9/11 GI Bill to pursue a Masters Degree in clinical mental health counseling at the University of North Texas. Jeff remains active in the military community with an internship at the Rocky Top Therapy Center in Keller, TX, where he provides other veterans with equine-assisted counseling services. Jeff lives in Frisco, TX with his three children and credits his smooth transition to civilian life to timely resources and support from the community.
JOHN MCGLOTHLIN, Laurel, MD. John served nine years in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper and Arabic linguist. During his time in the Army, John deployed twice, first to Iraq with the 101st Airborne and later to Afghanistan with the 173d Airborne. John plans on attending law school in the fall. He currently lives in Laurel, MD.
MEGAN O'CONNOR. Venice, CA. Megan served two consecutive tours as an Army Medical Service Corps Officer in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2004-2006. She was attached to the 2nd Marine Division in Ramadi at the height of the insurgency. In 2008, she deployed to Paktya Province, Afghanistan as a Civil Affairs Team Leader on a Provincial Reconstruction Team. She Is currently a member of the 1st Group, 5th Brigade, 75th Training Division, in Garden Grove, CA. She is using the Post 9-11 GI Bill and is months from completing her Masters in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Megan hopes to treat fellow service members suffering from PTSD and TBI.
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