Military guests at tonight’s State of the Union
Published: January 24, 2012
WASHINGTON – The White House has announced its guest list for tonight’s State of the Union address. Here’s a quick look at the military members and veterans who will be attending the event (bios supplied by the White House):
Army Sgt. Ashleigh Berg -- Berg is from Malibu, California, and joined the United States Army in July of 2004. She has been stationed in South Korea and Germany, and has served two tours of duty in Iraq. Her husband, Army Sgt. Matthew Berg is currently deployed to Afghanistan on his 3rd combat tour. She is currently assigned to the 94th Army Missile Defense Command in Fort Shafter Hawaii, and is serving a three year tour as the Commanding General’s Executive Administrative assistant.
Retired Navy Capt. Mark Kelly -- Kelly is an American astronaut, best-selling author, and an experienced naval aviator who flew combat missions during the Gulf War. The winner of many awards, including the Legion of Merit, two Defense Superior Service Medals and two Distinguished Flying Crosses, Kelly was selected as an astronaut in 1996. He flew his first of four missions in 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, the same space shuttle that he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. He has also commanded Space Shuttle Discovery and is one of only two individuals who have visited the International Space Station on four different occasions. Already a celebrated American, Kelly became the center of international attention after the January 2011 assassination attempt on his wife, US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. In their best-selling memoir, Gabby, the couple shares their story of hope and resilience with the world.
Navy Adm. William McRaven -- McRaven assumed command of the Joint Special Operations Command on June 13, 2008. Prior to assuming command, he served from June 2006 to March 2008 as commander, Special Operations Command Europe. In addition to his duties as COMSOCEUR, he was designated as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre, where he was charged with enhancing the capabilities and inter-operability of all NATO Special Operations Forces. He has commanded at every level within the special operations community, including assignments as deputy commanding general for operations at JSOC, commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group 1, commander of SEAL Team 3, task group commander in the CENTCOM area of responsibility, task unit commander during Desert Storm and Desert Shield, squadron commander at Naval Special Warfare Development Group, and SEAL platoon commander at Underwater Demolition Team 21/SEAL Team 4. Adm. McRaven’s diverse staff and interagency experience includes assignments as the director for Strategic Planning in the Office of Combating Terrorism on the National Security Council Staff, assessment director at U.S. Special Operations Command, on the Staff of the Chief of Naval Operations and the chief of staff at Naval Special Warfare Group 1.
Air Force Col. Ginger Wallace -- Colonel Ginger Wallace is an Air Force intelligence officer who has led airlift and intelligence operations during Operations Southern Watch, Provide Relief, Uphold Democracy, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom And Iraqi Freedom. She currently lives in McLean, Va., with her partner of over a decade, Kathy Knopf. In December, Knopf attended Wallace’s promotion ceremony and participated in the “pinning on” of Wallace’s rank, marking the first such event reported following the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell.” Wallace is currently training to deploy to Afghanistan in the Spring 2012 through the Afghanistan-Pakistan Hands program.