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Advisors Who Serve(d) Tell Their Stories: Fourth of July, 2015

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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 forgotten.

So following on our Memorial Day slideshow, ThinkAdvisor continues our four-year-old tradition of honoring advisors who served in the U.S. armed forces, whether in war or peace, with a second part for this Fourth of July weekend. The slideshow presents the names, images and what the advisors remember about or learned from their service.

Robert Peyreigne

Name: Robert Peyreigne

Title/Company: Complex Manager / Morgan Stanley

Branch: US Navy

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Ensign / LT

Service Dates:  1981 – 1988

Work you did: Flew A6 E Intruder

Brief story that stands out from your service time: The best story I have is the reunion with wife Betsy after being on a cruise for over nine months on the USS Coral Sea. It was so great to be back in the US. A picture was taken by a photographer and put in the paper the day after we got back. Joseph Campano

Name: Joseph A. Campano

Title/Company: Senior Vice President, Branch Manager / Morgan Stanley

Branch: US Army, Military Intelligence

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2LT upon graduation from West Point, CPT (P) in July of 1993

Service Dates:  1983 – 1993

Work you did: Served as a Military Intelligence Officer in Fort Huachuca (AZ), South Korea, Pensacola (FL), Berlin (Germany), Monterey (CA) and Aberdeen Proving Ground (MD)

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I was stationed in Berlin during the fall of the Berlin Wall. Because of the nature of our mission in Berlin, suffice it to say that the members of our unit “may have known” about the announcement prior to “the breaking news” reported by American media in 1989. I was near “The Wall” on November 9th, but went back on the morning of the 10th with some friends and a sledgehammer to “procure” my piece of history. Every time I’ve moved to a new house since then, I’ve had to tell the movers “ Do not to touch those rocks….they’re coming with me.” Frank C. Carpenter

Name: Frank C. Carpenter

Title/Company: Registered Principal / Legend Equities

Branch: USAF

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Airman/Airman 1st Class

Service Dates: 1953 – 1958

Work you did: Security Service

Brief story that stands out from your service time: Lived in Alaska, Germany, Turkey, North Africa was quite taken by the differences in the cultures of the various areas, and that people are people the world over.

 Matt Carey

Name: Matt Carey

Title/Company: Financial Advisor / Blue Spark Capital Advisors

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2LT – CPT

Service Dates:  1988 – 1996

Work you did: Transportation Officer

Brief story that stands out from your service time: Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm changed my life. On August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and I found myself at the forefront of a massive deployment to the Middle East. I was XO of the First Cavalry Division’s Transportation Company and involved in a massive movement of troops and equipment from Ft. Hood, Texas, to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. This was a huge life experience that I would never have expected upon my commissioning into a peacetime Army designed to support Europe during an (unlikely) Soviet invasion. Six months in the desert running convoys in Saudi, Iraq and Kuwait was a major growth experience for me as a person and professional.

J.D. Pellecchia

Name: J.D. Pellecchia

Title/Company: President / Pellecchia Financial Services

Branch: US Marine Corps

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Second Lieutenant – Major

Service Dates:  1989 – 1997

Work you did: Naval Aviator, EA-6B Prowler

Brief story that stands out from your service time: What stands out to me from my service is that the military instilled in me values which carry over to every aspect of my life. When I first heard “One Team, One Fight” I did not realize that over 25 years later I would still be fully embracing that approach to life, family, community and our world – the approach of comradery, teamwork, and serving with excellence. I actually entered the service as a fourth generation Marine and a third generation Marine Corps Aviator (…no pressure on my son!!). My Great Grandfather was an Infantryman in World War I. My Grandfather flew F4U Corsairs in the Pacific campaign of World War II. My Father was a Forward Air Controller (FAC) in Vietnam and flew an O-1 Bird Dog.

Although there was something important with several generations taking this path, my decision to serve was not only to follow in their footsteps. When I decided to join, it was about being part of something bigger than myself. The United States Marine Corps gave me that gift and the gift of being in a band of brothers and sisters from every walk of life in the United States. Together as a team that could not be divided; we were afforded the opportunity to see our country and our world. We learned what it takes to stand up as a citizen, community member, husband, father, and I even see it translating in serving my clients today. I have been blessed to have two great careers – as a United States Marine Corps officer and as a Financial Advisor where I am working with many great people both in and out of the military. Semper Fidelis.

John Kulhavi

Name: John Kulhavi

Title/Company: Managing Director, Wealth Management Advisor / Merrill Lynch

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2nd Lieutenant, Brigadier General

Service Dates:  1965 – 2000

Work you did: Tank Commander, Helicopter Pilot, Infantry Commander, General Officer

Brief story that stands out from your service time: Being shot down twice in Vietnam. Working for General James Mukoyama, a highly effective leader.

Rusty Russell

Name: Rusty Russell

Title/Company: President / Covenant Wealth Management

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2nd Lieutenant – Major

Service Dates:  1986 – 1995

Work you did: Platoon Leader, Chemical Defense Officer

Brief story that stands out from your service time: In 1989, I was serving as the platoon leader of an NBC reconnaissance platoon in the 3rd Infantry Division in West Germany. During that time, tension was increasing in Eastern Europe as the Iron Curtain was yielding to democracy. My wife and I had visited Berlin the year before, both West and East Berlin, and passed through the iconic Checkpoint Charlie and the accompanying museum. We’d seen the Berlin Wall, the East German guards, the Soviet troops first hand. The threat of a communist crackdown and the accompanying potential of military operations was building.

But on the night of November 9th, 1989, with less than a month before I was to return to the United States, Germans on both sides of the Berlin Wall swarmed the wall and the wall fell. Without a shot fired, the Cold War ended. About 2 weeks later, on a dark, cold, rainy November night, I was driving in town and stopped to adjust my windshield wiper. A small East German Trabant stopped next to me with 4 people crammed into its small interior. The mother rolled down her window and the father asked me for directions. In my best German, I replied that I did not know the directions and that I was an American. The two children in the back seat immediately sat up and looked out the window with a surprised and worried look in their faces. I waved and said, “Willkommen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland!” (Welcome to West Germany!) to which they smiled, relieved, and thanked me for my time and rode away. I will never know what propaganda-tainted thoughts came to their mind when they realized I was an American, but I am glad I was able to welcome them to freedom with a smile.

Brendan Michael Rodden

Name: Brendan Michael Rodden

Title/Company: Advisor Mastery Program for New Financial Advisors / Raymond James and Associates

Branch: US Marine Corps

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Private First Class – Major

Service Dates:  1991 – 2015

Work you did: As an enlisted Marine in the reserves worked as driver in a combat engineer battalion, and later as an officer on active duty served as a tank officer and light armored vehicle officer in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Brief story that stands out from your service time: The thing that stands out most from my military service is the birth of my daughter. She was born in August 2010 in the middle of a month long pre-deployment training exercise before my battalion deployed to Afghanistan. As the battalion executive officer I was only able to get out of the training exercise for two days for my daughter’s birth before going right back into training in the field, but thankfully my parents had come to assist my wife with my new born daughter and young son. After the month long training exercise I was home with my family for five weeks, but still working long hours preparing the battalion for deployment. At the end of the five weeks I led the advance party from the battalion to Afghanistan, and was deployed there for 250 days as my son likes to remind me. I missed most of the first year of my daughter’s life, but consider myself very fortunate, because I have seen many other Marines get notifications of their child’s births while deployed.

Before leaving the military I had decided on becoming a financial advisor, and received my certificate in financial planning from Boston University, and passed the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) exam. I was supported by the local Financial Planning Chapter in Richmond, Virginia, where I won their first scholarship to take a CFP preparation course before taking the exam. I was also accepted into the program offered by the Wall Warfighters Foundation, which assists military personnel transition over into the financial services industry. The Wall Street Warfighters program allowed me to attend training at FINRA, and even going to the Securities Industry Institute at Wharton.

Patrick A. Kujawa

Name: Patrick A. Kujawa

Title/Company: Regional Director / Halbert Hargrove

Branch: US Navy

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Ensign/Lieutenant

Service Dates:  1990 – 1994

Work you did: Officer, Surface Line

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I was honored to serve on the USS Halsey (CG 23), a guided missile cruiser named for Admiral William “Bull” Halsey of World War II fame. During our second deployment to the Persian Gulf in 1993, we skipped the traditional stop at Pearl Harbor and instead went to Tahiti. No US Navy ship had been there in 10 years and the Commander-in-Chief Pacific Fleet thought it would be good for us to “show the flag” in that part of the Pacific. After we departed Tahiti on the way to the Gulf, we had a very meaningful ceremony in a confining body of water off Guadalcanal Island called “Iron Bottom Sound” where over 20 US and Japanese Navy ships lie on the ocean bottom. Admiral Halsey led a heroic effort to turn the tide of WWII in the Pacific, as the Japanese Navy and Army dominated in 1941/42. The entire crew of the Halsey donned our Dress White uniforms, assembled on the “fantail” and honored the dead by laying wreaths in the water. To this date over 20 years later I can still vividly picture the scene of somber sailors dressed in whites, honoring those who previously gave their lives so we could be free.

Ed Sanchez

Name: Ed Sanchez

Title/Company: Sales and Support Training / Riskalyze

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Lieutenant to Captain

Service Dates:  1988-1993 and 2004-2009

Work you did: Helicopter Pilot 

Brief story that stands out from your service time: My best commander was a person who gave me enough freedom to make mistakes without hurting people and i’m grateful for the lessons that i learned by being able to try new things in a real environment while still having a great leader to rely on.

Michael Kren

Name: J. Patrick Berry

Title/Company: President / CONCERT Retirement Plan Consulting

Branch: US Navy

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: E-3 – LCDR

Service Dates: 1987 – Present

Work you did: Navy SEAL Teams

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I have so many good memories from my service that I find it difficult to focus on a single event to talk about. I shared most of them with my best friend and swim buddy, Sean Sheehy, who went on to serve with an elite group in SEAL Teams and passed away many years ago now. He was a great guy…until he started drinking whiskey  - which was one of the many traits we had in common. I wish he was still here so we could enjoy those shared memories together. It just isn’t the same talking about it with someone who wasn’t there.

Bob Gerstemeier 

Name: Bob Gerstemeier

Title/Company: President / GFG, LLC

Branch: US Navy

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Ensign – Commander

Service Dates: 1993-Present (Still in Reserves) 

Work you did: Naval Flight Officer

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I’ve found that kids everywhere in the world are a lot alike and just want to play.

Scot Hanson

Name: Scot Hanson

Title/Company: CFP / Educator’s Financial Services, Inc

Branch: US Navy

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: E-3 to O-2

Service Dates:  1981-1988

Work you did: General Aviation

Brief story that stands out from your service time: Enlisted as E-3, went to ATC Air Traffic Control school, then assigned to USS Forestal CV-59 aircraft carrier. Guantanno Bay Cuba next duty station. Was accepted to AOCS in Pensacola, FLA for basic flight school. Stationed in Brunswick, Maine, in P-3 squadron, with deployments to Keflavik, Iceland, and Lajes, Azores. Nothing in civilian life can prepare you for the challenges to face in US Navy. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to serve with the finest people I know. I am a better CFP today, due in large part to my US Navy training.

Eldon Dryden Pence

Name: Eldon Dryden Pence

Title/Company: CIO / Pence Wealth Management

Branch: US Army Military Intelligence, Psychological Warfare

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2nd Lieutenant – Colonel

Service Dates:  1982 – Present

Work you did: Assignments in Special Ops & Intel to include Commander 362 PSYOP- Desert Storm Commander 306 PSYOP Commander 306 PSYOP Commander DET 3 CENTCOM ARE-Remote Director of Intel CENTCOM CISC SD- Commander Joint Transformation Intel – Commander AFRICOM ARE

Brief story that stands out from your service time: As a young captain I was mobilized to develop and lead the Psychological Warfare Campaign for 1st Armored Division in Desert Storm. We did not know what to expect and where relieved when the campaigns worked and Iraqis began to surrender by the thousands. It was the second night, we had a long way to go and the Republican Guard still to destroy. It was cold, it was windy, it was incredibly dark and we had to keep moving. Hundreds of surrendering Iraqi solders were shivering in the night, huddled in make shift holding areas. Over the radio we could hear their guards chatter of how the newly surrendered were so cold and hungry. No one issued an order, no one established a plan, but in the darkness through our night vision goggles we could see, one by one, US tanks and solders swinging buy the containment areas never stopping but as the drove by dropping off their own food, extra clothing, whatever they had, and giving it to those who just an hour before had been trying to kill them as their sworn enemy. It was this care for fellow man, generosity of the American Spirit, honor among soldiers, this code of conduct, that impressed me so, that I knew I had dedicated my life to its most noble profession.

Jon Schriner

Name: Jon Schriner

Title/Company: Video & Social Media Producer / Blu Giant

Branch: US Marine Corps

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Private(E-1) to Corporal (E-4)

Service Dates:  2001 – 2006

Work you did: Cryptologic Linguist (Russian)

Brief story that stands out from your service time: During my time as a U.S. Marine, there wasn’t much conflict with Russia. Therefore, the use for a Russian Linguist was. let’s say, minimal. However, shortly after I graduated from the Russian basic course at the Defense Language Institute in 2002, I was able to participate in a really amazing event. An orphanage in Russia was bringing a group of kids to meet potential adoptive parents in San Francisco. They needed a fairly large number of interpreters. The school was contacted and allowed several of the recent graduates to go spend a day in the park with the kids. It was great. They were so happy to meet Americans who could speak their language (and at their approximate vocabulary level). The only problem was that they really cared much more about hanging out with us than they did meeting their potential future families.

Dwayne Edwards

Name: Dwayne Edwards

Title/Company: Business Analyst / MarketCounsel

Branch: US Marine Corps

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Second Lieutenant – Captain

Service Dates:  2007 – 2013

Work you did: Infantry and Intelligence

Brief story that stands out from your service time: One of my fondest memories in service takes me back to Iraq in 2009, when my team and I partnered with the local police in Ar Rutba, Iraq, to bring supplies and services to schools within our district. It helped us see that these kids are just like our kids. They want to play, laugh, and learn. We were lucky to play a small role in that quest.

Philip J. Messuri

Name: Philip J. Messuri

Title/Company: Certified Financial Planner / Financial Solutions Planning and Investments

Branch: US Air Force

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Second Lieutenant – Lt. Colonel

Service Dates:  1970 – 1990

Work you did: Pilot, Instructor Pilot, Program Manager

Brief story that stands out from your service time: My first assignment out of pilot training was a Dehavilland C7A Caribou, a short takeoff and landing cargo plane. My father, always looking for a laugh, had looked up the attributes of the Caribou in Jane’s Aircraft. His words to me were along the lines of you should be able to handle this plane since it takes off at 60 knots, flies at 60 knots and lands at 60 knots. The reality was only slightly different however and more like 40 knots for a short field takeoff, 120 knots at max cruise and 50 knots for a short field landing.

– Check out the other years where ThinkAdvisor honored Advisors Who Serve(d).

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