Fleet Admiral Halsey gets his fifth star from Secretary of the Navy Forrestal, joined by WWII leaders Fleet Admirals King and Nimitz.
Credit: Naval History & Heritage Command

Our National Advisory Board

The Homecoming 250 National Advisory Board includes former Navy Secretaries and retired leadership from the Navy and Marines.

After all the living Secretaries of the Navy endorsed Homecoming 250’s plans to celebrate the Navy and Marine Corps 250th, seven of those former Navy Secretaries agreed to serve on our National Advisory Board. Those Navy Secretaries, who worked under seven Presidents of both parties, serve as the core of a National Advisory Board that includes retired commissioned and enlisted leadership from both the Navy and Marine Corps. The National Advisory Board will provide advice on how to host these national 250th celebrations honoring our Navy and Marines. It compliments Homecoming 250’s Board, which will organize those celebrations in the Delaware Valley birthplace of the Navy and Marines.

Honorable John F. Lehman

John Francis Lehman Jr. served as the 65th Secretary of the Navy from 1981 to 1987. He launched the effort to build a 600-ship Navy, reactivated the Iowa-class battleships, and formulated a new U.S. Maritime Strategy during the Cold War.

Lehman was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received a B.S. from St. Joseph’s University, a B.A. and M.A. from Cambridge University, and later a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. After serving in the Air Force Reserve, he transferred to the Naval Reserve in 1968, earning his wings and serving as a Bombardier Navigator in A-6 Intruders. He retired as a Captain in 1998.

Prior to being Navy Secretary, Lehman served on the staff of Henry Kissinger, was Deputy Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and served as CEO Of Abington Corp.

After serving as Secretary of the Navy, Lehman was an investment banker with PaineWebber and a member of the 9/11 Commission. He is currently chairman of private equity investment firm J.F. Lehman and Company, chairman of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, and a member of the Board of Overseers of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of WHERE ARE THE CARRIERS, OCEANS VENTURED, and numerous other books.

The Navy has authorized the construction of the USS John F. Lehman, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

Honorable John H. Dalton

John Howard Dalton served as the 70th Secretary of the Navy from 1993 to 1998. He led the Navy after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Dalton was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. After attending LSU for one year, Dalton transferred to the U.S. Naval Academy. He graduated from the Academy and served in the Navy from 1964 to 1969, attaining the rank of lieutenant. He received naval nuclear power training and served in the submarines USS Blueback and USS John C. Calhoun. He was subsequently promoted to Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserve.

Dalton received an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined and ran banking and investment banking firms in Arkansas and Texas. He served as president of the Government National Mortgage Association, and a member and chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board.

After serving as Secretary of the Navy, Dalton was President of the Housing Policy Roundtable, and received the International Security Leadership Award from the National Security Caucus.

Honorable Gordon R. England

Gordon Richard England served as the 72nd and 73rd Secretaries of the Navy from 2001 to 2003 and from 2003-2005. He led the Navy’s response to the 9/11 attacks in the War on Terrorism. He also served as the first Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, and as Deputy Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2009.

England was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from the University of Maryland. He worked as an engineer on the Project Gemini space program, as a program manager on the E-2C Hawkeye Navy aircraft, and as CEO of a consulting firm.

After earning an M.B.A. from Texas Christian University, England joined General Dynamics Corp., achieving high positions including Director of Avionics, President of Engineering, and President of its Fort Worth Division, where he was responsible for the Division’s aircraft programs under the General Dynamics and then Lockheed corporations. He was on the Defense Science Board.

After serving as Secretary of the Navy and as Deputy Secretary, England was involved with various civic, charitable, and governmental organizations, including the USO. He has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and received the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award.

Honorable Donald C. Winter

Donald Charles Winter served as the 74th Secretary of the Navy from 2006 to 2009. As Secretary, he was responsible for almost 900,000 people and an annual budget over $125 billion.

Winter was born in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from the University of Rochester, and earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Michigan. He then joined the aerospace technology company, TRW. He received a three-year appointment to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, where he managed efforts that eventually became part of the National Missile Defense Program.

Returning to TRW, Winter became vice president of its defense systems division. He served as president and CEO of TRW Systems, and, after Northrop’s acquisition of TRW, headed Northrop Grumman Mission Systems.

After serving as Secretary of the Navy, Winter has been an independent consultant and Professor of Engineering Practice at the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering at the University of Michigan. He also chaired Australia’s National Shipbuilding Advisory Board, and serves as a special advisor to the Prime Minister.

Winter was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2002 and currently serves as the Chair of the Academy.

Honorable Ray Mabus

Raymond Edwin Mabus Jr. served as the 75th Secretary of the Navy from 2009 to 2017, the longest tenure of the civilian leader of the Navy and Marine Corps since World War I. He opened all jobs in the Navy and Marine Corps to women, promoted the use of alternative energy by the Navy, developed the Gulf Coast Restoration Plan after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and doubled Navy shipbuilding. He was chosen by Glassdoor as one of the top fifty CEOs in the country, the only government official picked.

Mabus was born in Ackerman, Mississippi. He received a B.A. from the University of Mississippi and an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University. He served in the Navy as a surface warfare officer from 1970-1972 aboard the cruiser USS Little Rock. He received a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and served in Mississippi government, including as State Auditor.

From 1988 to 1992, Mabus served as Governor of Mississippi, the youngest elected to that office in more than 150 years. He was Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 1994-1996, and then became a CEO of a public company.

After serving as Secretary of the Navy, Mabus has been a director of two public companies, a lecturer at Harvard, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Explorers Club.

Honorable Richard V. Spencer

Richard Vaughn Spencer served as the 76th Secretary of the Navy from 2017 to 2019. He also briefly served as Acting Secretary of Defense and Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense.

Spencer was born in Waterbury, Connecticut. After graduating from Rollins College, he joined the Marine Corps, serving as a Naval Aviator from 1976 to 1981, flying CH-46 helicopters and retiring as a Captain. He then worked on Wall Street as an investment banker. He became President of Crossroads Investment Management LLC, and then joined Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. as Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer. He then became Managing Director of Fall Creek Management LLC. He also served on the Defense Business Board and the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel.

After serving as Secretary of the Navy, Spencer became Managing Director of Pallas Ventures, an investment fund focusing on developing technologies that will have an impact on national security. He also is Global Chairman for Bondi Partners, and on the board of the Global Atlantic Financial Group, Aviation Safety Resources and Morpheus Space. His charitable activities have included board service on the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and Veterans Campaign/Center for Second Service and Honoring Our Vets.

Honorable Kenneth J. Braithwaite, II

Kenneth J. Braithwaite served as the 77th Secretary of the Navy from 2020 to 2021. He was the first Navy flag officer (admiral) to become Secretary of the Navy. Previously he served as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Norway.

Braithwaite was born in Livonia, Michigan and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1984. Earning his Wings of Gold as a Naval Aviator, he flew P-3 Orions tracking adversary submarines. Redesignated a public affairs officer, he served aboard USS America and with Carrier Group 2 as well as Striking Force 6th Fleet.

After serving as Chief of Public Affairs at the Philadelphia Naval Base, Braithwaite joined the Naval Reserve in 1993. In 1995 he earned a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Continuing his Navy service, he commanded Navy Combat Camera Atlantic where he deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Later he became the first commander of Joint Public Affairs Support–Joint Forces Command where he deployed for disaster relief in Pakistan. He was promoted to Rear Admiral in 2007, and served as the first Vice Chief for Information until retiring from the Navy in 2011. In the private sector he has held executive roles in the health care and petroleum industries.

While serving as Secretary of the Navy, Braithwaite orchestrated the first ever TriService Maritime Strategy aligning the Navy, Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard with the National Defense Strategy. Moreover, he led the Department through COVID-19, maintaining readiness while protecting personnel. He also stressed the importance of culture, strengthening the Navy’s ties to its history by supporting a new National Museum of the United States Navy, and naming the new Constellation-class frigates after the U.S. Navy’s first frigates.

Admiral William J. Fallon, USN (Ret)

Admiral William Joseph Fallon commanded U.S. Pacific Command and then U.S. Central Command, directing U.S. combat efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan before retiring as a four-star Admiral after 40 years of service.

Fallon was born in East Orange, New Jersey. He graduated from Villanova University, and later from the Naval War College and National War College. He also received an MA from Old Dominion University. In 1967, he received his commission through the NROTC program and was designated a Naval Flight Officer. He flew in RA-5C Vigilantes in Vietnam, A-6 Intruders, and many other aircraft types from numerous carriers. He led a Carrier Air Wing in combat during the Gulf War. He then commanded a Navy Battle Group and the 6th Fleet Battle Force during NATO military operations in Bosnia. He later served as Commander of the U.S. Second Fleet and NATO Striking Fleet, and as Presidential Special Envoy to Japan.

On September 11, 2001, while serving in the Pentagon as Vice Chief of the Navy, Fallon personally directed the recovery of the Navy staff in the wake of the attack. He later commanded the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

After retiring in 2008, Fallon was a Fellow at the MIT Center for International Studies and currently serves on the Global Affairs Advisory Boards of Occidental College and the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University. He is a director on the boards of GoSecure Inc., FastData.io, and the American Security Project. He is a partner in Tilwell Petroleum, LLC, and Global Alliance Advisors, LLC. He serves as Chairman of the Board of the Naval Historical Foundation.

General Robert Magnus, USMC (ret.)

General Robert Magnus served as the 30th Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps from 2005 to 2008. When he retired as a four-star general after 38 years of service, he was the last active Marine Corps officer who had served during the Vietnam War.

Magnus was born in Brooklyn, New York. After enlisting as the Naval Reserve, he was accepted into the University of Virginia’s Naval R.O.T.C. and graduated in 1969 with a commission as a Marine Corps second lieutenant. After completing The Basic School at Quantico, he trained and was designated as a Naval Aviator. He became a CH-46 helicopter pilot, serving in various assignments at sea and ashore. While on assignment in Washington, D.C., he graduated from the National War College and earned an M.B.A. from Strayer College.

In 1988, Magnus became Commanding Officer of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365. In 1997, following promotion to the general officer ranks, he was assigned as Commander, Marine Corps Air Bases Western Area, and Commanding General, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, followed by duty as Deputy Commander, Marine Forces Pacific. Ordered to Headquarters Marine Corps in 2000, he served as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Policies and Operations, and then as Deputy Commandant for Programs and Resources.

For his service as Assistant Commandant, Magnus received the Navy Distinguished Service Medal upon retirement. He subsequently was Chairman of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and Chairman of Elbit Systems of America. He is currently serving as a Director on the boards of EnerSys and Marine Biological and Environmental Technologies, an Advisor to Sterling Investment Partners, and a Governor for the Technion (Israel’s Institute of Technology).

Admiral Craig S. Faller, USN (ret.)

Admiral Craig Faller commanded U.S. Southern Command where he enhanced Western Hemisphere security by building strong, trusted partnerships between the United States military and Latin American and Caribbean security forces. He retired as a four-star Admiral after 38 years of service in October 2021.Faller was born in Ft Belvoir, VA and grew up in the western Pennsylvania town of Fryburg. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a BS in Systems Engineering and the Naval Post Graduate School with a MA in National Security Affairs. He was also both a graduate and instructor in the Naval Nuclear Power Program. Previously, Faller served as the top-most military assistant to the Secretary of Defense, James N. Mattis. Faller also commanded the USS Stethem (DDG 63), USS Shiloh (CG 67), Carrier Strike Group Three (The John C Stennis Strike Group) and Navy Recruiting Command. He also served as Director of Operations (J3) for United States Central Command and the Navy’s Chief of Legislative Affairs.

He currently serves as a Senior Fellow at the National Defense University, a Senior Fellow at Florida International University, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.

Vice Admiral Sally Brice-O'Hara, USCG (ret.)

Vice Admiral Sally Brice-O’Hara retired from the U. S. Coast Guard in July, 2012. During 37 years of active duty, she achieved several firsts for women, but is most proud to be a role model and inspiration to all members of the Service.

At the time of retirement, she was the 27th Vice Commandant, second in command, Chief Operating Officer, and Component Acquisition Executive of the Coast Guard. Other flag assignments included: Deputy Commandant for Operations; Commander, Fourteenth Coast Guard District; Director Joint Interagency Task Force West; Director of Reserve and Training; Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District; and Director of Personnel Management.

An Annapolis native, she graduated from Goucher College in 1974. She holds advanced degrees from the Harvard Kennedy School and National War College.

Currently, Vice Admiral Brice-O’Hara serves on: the Board of Directors of the Coast Guard Foundation; the Coast Guard Academy Board of Trustees; and the Military Advisory Board of First Command Financial Services. She is President of the Whitehall Cemetery Foundation. Previously, she served on the Board of Directors of the Naval Institute; co-chaired the Navy Memorial’s “Year of Military Women”; served on the Women in Military Service for America Foundation Leadership Circle; and most recently, served on the Committee for the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine Consensus Study on New Coast Guard Authorities. She operates a farm in Annapolis that has been in her family since the late 1700’s.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Jim Herdt, USN (ret.)

James Lee Herdt served as the 9th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON), the most senior enlisted member of the Navy, from 1998 to 2002. His responsibilities included leading program and policy development for an enlisted force of over 400,000 personnel, and serving as a personal advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations, Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of Defense, and Congress on all Navy personnel policies.

Herdt was born in Casper, Wyoming. He enlisted in the Navy in 1966, and served ashore and on the USS Independence and USS Will Rogers. In 1974, he enlisted in the Naval Reserve, serving while attending Kansas State University. Rejoining the Regular Navy in 1978, he served aboard USS Texas, USS Cincinnati, and at the Nuclear Power School in Orlando, Florida, prior to serving as Chief of the Boat aboard USS Skipjack. He then served as Command Master Chief at Nuclear Field "A" School, on USS Theodore Roosevelt, and at the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes. He became the Chief of Naval Education and Training Force Master Chief. He is an Enlisted Warfare Specialist in Aviation, Surface Warfare, and Submarine Warfare. He graduated from the U.S. Navy’s Senior Enlisted Academy and the U.S. Army’s Sergeants Major Academy, and earned an M.B.A. at the Florida Institute of Technology.

After retiring from active duty, Herdt founded Herdt Consulting, Inc., that helps businesses become more productive and successful. He also joined the former Sergeant Major of the Army, former Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, former Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, and former Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard in founding Pinnacle Five, LLC, which informs potential employers on the benefits of hiring veterans.

Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Alford L. McMichael, USMC (ret.)

Alford L. McMichael served as the 14th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, the highest-ranking enlisted Marine, from 1999-2003. McMichael also served as the first senior enlisted advisor to the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO until his retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2006.

McMichael was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas. In 1970, he joined the United States Marine Corps. McMichael subsequently served as the Guard Chief at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, a Drill Instructor in San Diego, California, and the Detachment Commander of the American Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark. He later served as the Assistant Marine Officer Instructor at the University of Minnesota, the Director of the Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy in El Toro, California, and the Sergeant Major of Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Virginia. He then served as the Sergeant Major of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, Sergeant Major of the First Marine Aircraft Wing, Okinawa, Japan, and Sergeant Major for the Manpower and Reserve Affairs Division, Headquarters, Marine Corps.

After retiring from active duty, McMichael became the founder of 4-Drew LLC to help develop the next generation of our Nation's youth to become productive citizens. In 2008, McMichael became a published author with his book titled LEADERSHIP - ACHIEVING LIFE-CHANGING SUCCESS FROM WITHIN.

Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ron Green, USMC (ret.)

Ronald L. Green served as the 18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, the highest-ranking enlisted Marine, from 2015 to 2019. Green, the longest-serving SMMC, was the senior enlisted advisor to three Commandants of the Marine Corps before retiring after more than 36 years of active service.

Green was born in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1983, after attending recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, he reported to Camp Pendleton, California, as a field artillery cannoneer in the 11th Marine Regiment. He was later assigned to the 12th Marine Battalion on Okinawa, Japan. After training, he became a field artillery nuclear projectileman. Promoted to Sergeant, he served as an artillery tower operator and later section chief at Camp Pendleton, and a senior drill instructor at Parris Island.

In 1993, Green deployed to Somalia with the 9th Marine Regiment during Operation Restore Hope. After his return, he served as a battery sergeant gunner in the 11th Marine Regiment, and then as the Assistant Marine Officer Instructor at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Promoted to First Sergeant, he performed Inspector-Instructor duty with the 23rd Marine Regiment, and deployed to South America in support of Operation United Americas.

Promoted to Sergeant Major, Green reported to the 3rd Marine Air Wing and was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2006. In 2008, he became Sergeant Major for the Headquarters Battalion in Arlington, Virginia, for Marine Corps Forces Europe & Africa in Stuttgart, Germany, and for I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton.

Green also earned a B.S. and an M.S. from the University of Maryland University College, co-authored reports for both NATO and the Department of Defense, and was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Vincent W. Patton III, USCG (ret.)

Master Chief Vince Patton served as the Eighth Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard (MCPOCG) from May 1998 until his retirement from more than 30 years of active service in November 2002. A native of Detroit, Michigan, he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in June 1972, and retired November 2002 after 30 years of active duty.

During Master Chief Patton’s Coast Guard career, he served on three cutters along with operational and administrative assignments, including a joint service assignment as the senior enlisted advisor to Joint Task Force-160 during Operation Support Democracy. Among his numerous military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal.

Master Chief Patton holds a Doctor of Education degree from the American University, Washington DC. His dissertation was based on the development and implementation of the Coast Guard Enlisted Evaluation System. He also holds a M.A. degree in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University, Chicago, IL and a B.A. from Pacific College, Angwin, CA. He is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Academy, U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy (with distinction), and the Department of Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute.

Currently, he is chairman of the board of trustees and adjunct faculty member at Northeast Maritime Institute College of Maritime Science. He is actively involved with a number of other public service and nonprofit organizations, serving on boards with the National Coast Guard Museum, U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps and the Uniformed Services Benefit Association.