World War I ended in 1918, and of the more than 65 million participants, none are alive today. With World War II over for 70 years now, the millions who served in that war are disappearing. Fortunately, many have had their stories recorded, giving us a deeper and more colorful understanding of a soldier’s life. But soldiers serve in the military in peace as well as in war, and those peacetime stories are often ignored.
So for Memorial Day, ThinkAdvisor continues our now four-year-old tradition of honoring advisors who served in the U.S. armed forces, whether in war or peace. This slideshow presents their names, images and what they remember about or learned from their service.
ThinkAdvisor had such a big repsonse to our request for stories, we will only present 16 veterans deserving of praise and do a second round for the Fourth of July holiday.
Name: Bill Grantham
Title/Company: Financial Planner / Paragon Financial Advisors
Branch: US Army
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Beginning: 2LT Current: 1LT (P)
Service Dates: 2010 – Current
Work you did: Field Artillery Officer
Brief story that stands out from your service time: I commissioned onto Active Duty from Texas A&M University in 2010 and have since transitioned into the Army Reserves. I’ve got a lot of good memories of the soldiers I served with and the posts I was stationed. One of my favorite memories was during my deployment to Afghanistan. My folks put me on a care package distribution list with a local charity group. They would send us packages once every few weeks and one day they mailed me a full set of golf clubs and just about 300 golf balls. We had a great time hitting those out into the middle of nowhere and our Battalion Sergeant Major, a huge golf fanatic, had a detail construct a driving range out of plywood and a canvas tarp to catch the balls before they hit the backstop. I still don’t know where he resourced Astro Turf from, but the whole set up really boosted morale.
Name: Fred Taylor
Title/Company: Investor Coach / Professional Associates Wealth Coaching
Branch: US Navy
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: SA – SN
Service Dates: 1957 – 1963
Work you did: Radar
Brief story that stands out from your service time: Providing air cover for Marines removing Americans from Nicaro, Cuba in the middle of the revolution.
Name: Frank Barrella
Title/Company: Advisor / Summit Brokerage Services
Branch: US Navy
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: E1 – E5
Service Dates: 1977-1981
Work you did: Boiler Tech
Brief story that stands out from your service time: I was stationed on board the USS Josephus Daniels CG-27! After 7-8 weeks of training down in Guantanamo, Cuba, my ship’s first port of call was St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Our ship was anchored off shore and there were about 100 sailor’s topside as the liberty boats were scheduled to start bringing us ashore. In the distance a small skiff with two young ladies were approaching our ship and being on a guided missile cruiser we were not far above the water line. As soon as they were close enough to the ship they took they’re tops off and said “hey sailor boys how do you like these” and kept circling the ship! As they continued to circle sailors (including officers) were running from port to starboard and back! Several sailors jumped in water as this frenzy continued to build! Needless to say “Black Beard and his band of pirates had one hell of a time in St. Thomas!”
Name: Dean Owen
Title/Company: President / M Dean Owen CPA
Branch: US Navy
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: E-3 to E-6
Service Dates: 1987-1997
Work you did: Submarines and Tactical Operations
Brief story that stands out from your service time: Learned to do financial planning and taxes in the Military
Name: Charles Reeder
Title/Company: CSA / Barclays Wealth
Branch: US Marine Corps
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: E-1 PVT — E-4 CPL
Service Dates: 2006 – 2010
Work you did: 0331 Heavy Machine gunner
Brief story that stands out from your service time: While serving with 2nd battalion 6th marines, my unit was invited to Fleet Week in 2009. As the USS Iwo Jima was pulling into port, the USO show troop boarded our ship to give us a performance. I was one of the marines selected to do the color guard for the show. Before the performance we were asked to take a picture with the USO girls standing boy girl boy girl. I didn’t know it at the time, but the beautiful young girl that I was standing next to would later become my wife. I officially met her the next night when we were both mutually invited to an event in the city. I ended up talking to her the whole night and we spent every day of Fleet Week together. After my unit departed from NYC we keep in constant contact with each other and made trips to see each other every other weekend, and when I left the Marine Corps a few months later I move to NY to be with her. She is the reason I am here and also the reason why I am in my current industry. Memorial Day is a special day for us because we mark it as our anniversary. This year, 2015 will mark six years that we have been together.
Name: Peggy Stephan
Title/Company: Financial Advisor / Retirement Capital Strategies
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Ensign – Commander
Service Dates: 1989 – Present
Work you did: Naval Aviator
Brief story that stands out from your service time: I flew many missions in the Persian Gulf, often in countries where women were not allowed to drive and men were not supposed to be seen with women they were not related to. In Kuwait I had a problem with a fuel line fitting, and a local man drove me all over the airfield to find the part I needed. It was culturally challenging for both of us. When I thanked him for his help, he replied “I would do anything for an American pilot, because you saved my country.”
Name: Joe Lyons
Title/Company: Chief Investment Officer / Tricord Advisors Inc.
Branch: US Navy
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Ensign – Lieutenant
Service Dates: 1971 – 1978
Work you did: Surface Warfare Officer
Brief story that stands out from your service time: Evacuated 1,700 Vietnamese civilians in 1975. Recently met a Vietnamese woman who was on one of our squadron ships after a helicopter delivered her from the US embassy roof in Saigon. She was so grateful it brought a tear to my eye.
Name: Sean Michael Pearson
Title/Company: Financial Advisor, Associate Vice President / Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
Branch: Pennsylvania Air National Guard
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: A1C to Captain