On Memorial Day, the nation pauses to remember those who, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, gave “the last full measure of devotion.” AdvisorOne honors those advisors and partners to advisors—and one famous non-advisor who influences the advisory world, PIMCO’s Bill Gross—who served in the armed forces of the United States. This is the third year we’ve published this slideshow that is meant, in a small way, to thank all those who served their country.
We’ve created a special landing page for you to view all three of our previous slideshows as well. The 18 people on the following pages responded to our call this year to share the particulars of their service—some in the past and some still serving—and, in most instances, some photos of themselves when they were in service.
Most telling to us, however, were the vets’ responses to how their military service helped prepared them for their advisory careers. We began this series of slideshows in 2011 because anecdotally there seemed to be a large percentage of advisors, both men and women, who had served in one of the branches of the military over the years but in many cases had not received the appreciation they were due for their service.
The comments of this group on their military experiences speak for themselves—profound and humorous, patriotic and often self-deprecating, but humbly proud of their service as well.
Name: Larry R. Frank Sr.
Title/Company: Owner RIA – Better Financial Education
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2nd Lieutenant – Major (Pres. Clinton’s early retirement option)
Service Dates: 1978 – 1994
Work you did: Helicopter and fixed-wing pilot; Joint HQ Staff Southcom; HQ Air Staff Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 1st Gulf War; HQ AMC TACC staff
Brief story that stands out from your service time: I met my wife from El Salvador and the rest is history!
Name: Michael J. Anderson, JD, CFP
Title/Company: Wealth Manager – True North Advisors
Branch: Army & National Guard
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2nd Lieutentant – Captain
Service Dates: 1996-2004
Work you did: Platoon Leader, Staff Officer, Unit Commander
Brief story that stands out from your service time:Serving in the 82nd Airborne Division during a fairly “quiet” time (prior to 9/11) it was amazing how intense we still trained. Besides the parachute jumps (which were fairly constant), we would cycle through our training rotations frequently and were on two-hour recall every 12 weeks. I remember a time of being “almost” deployed to Kosovo.
We were ready to go, but they pulled us off at the last second and sent another group a week later (probably for political reasons, but we were at the end of our training cycle and fairly tired). I miss aspects of the service and have taken some of the valuable lessons I learned and tried to apply it to my life every day. It was a great honor to serve and I was thankful to serve for, and alongside some amazing individuals, both in the 82nd and in the Texas Amry National Guard. Airborne!
Name: Bill Gross
Title/Company: PIMCO - founder and co-chief investment officer
Branch: U.S. Navy
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: LT JG – Lieutenant, Junior Grade
Service Dates: 1967 – 1970
Work you did: N/A
Brief story that stands out from your service time: I arrived at the Pensacola Naval Air Station ready to fulfill my enlistment and ready to become a fighter pilot. And like all raw recruits, we were put in the capable hands of a drill sergeant. Remember, the drill sergeant’s duty is to humiliate and harass us to the breaking point and beyond. And me, the cocky college boy, was so shaken by the experience that it was one of the military moments I remember most vividly. I spent half the night cleaning my rifle, and failing the inspections nonetheless. It took me so long to make up my bunk to my sergeant’s specifications that I slept on the floor. I did push-ups and chin-ups and marched and ran obstacle courses but my sergeant was never satisfied. “You’ll never fly a jet Mr. Gross!,” he screamed. “BLIMPS are more your style!” I ended up flying neither.
Name: Dennis A. Costarakis
Title/Company: Vice President-Investments – Wells Fargo Advisors
Branch: U.S. Navy
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Seaman Recruit – Commander
Service Dates: 1959 – 1980
Work you did: Submarine Officer
Brief story that stands out from your service time: When graduating from college with a math degree, I volunteered for submarine duty and therefore had to get an interview with Admiral Rickover’s staff, which was required at the time. After completing all the interviews I was told I was not accepted to attend the nuclear power school. Immediately after the denial they offered me a teaching position at the nuclear power school. I declined, went to submarine school, and served aboard diesel-electric submarines.
Name: Mark Presley
Title/Company: Financial Advisor – Raymond James Financial Services
Branch: Army, Special Forces
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Second Lieutenant – Lieutenant Colonel
Service Dates: 1990 – Present
Work you did: Paratrooper, Ranger, Green Beret
Brief story that stands out from your service time: In 2002 I had been in charge of a Special Forces element in Afghanistan and was allowed to come home for Christmas. I had forgotten we were “sterile,” without much in the way of identification or possessions. In the early morning darkness upon arrival back at Ft. Bragg I realized I had no way to get home and nothing to rent a car to travel back to my home state with. In crisis moments like those you realize how important your friends are.
Name: Shane Merritt
Title/Company: Financial Advisor – Merritt Capital Management, Inc.
Branch: Air Force
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Airman – Sergeant
Service Dates: 1988-1995
Work you did: Tactical Air Controller
Brief story that stands out from your service time: It’s hard to synthesize so many events in such a short space, but I would say that not a single memory sticks out, but rather a plethora of them, from survival schools to war… the lessons learned were countless and absolutely play a part in everything I do.
Name: John Crespy
Title/Company: Senior Vice President Invest. – Raymond James & Associates
Branch: Naval Air
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: E-1 – E-4
Service Dates: 1967 – 1972
Work you did: N/A
Brief story that stands out from your service time: Going through boot camp with a tight end from the Baltimore Colts.
Name: Peter Stark
Title/Company: Managing Director – Raymond James Financial
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2nd Lieutenant – Captain
Service Dates: 1989 – 1994
Work you did: Field Artillery Officer
Brief story that stands out from your service time: The camaraderie was and is something I will treasure for the rest of my life. Teamwork, integrity, and a sense of duty define who I am, and it was fine-tuned in the military.
Name: Don Trone
Title/Company: CEO – 3ethos
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Cadet – LCDR