For Independence Day, ThinkAdvisor likes to dedicate at least a little space to an important group of financial advisors: military veterans. Not all stories by veterans are about hitting the beaches or dodging bullets; many are of the quiet moments before and after that action and over the course of many years of serving in the U.S. military.
ThinkAdvisor continues its five-year-old tradition of honoring advisors who served, whether in war or peace, with a follow to our Memorial Day slideshow for this Fourth of July weekend. This slideshow presents these advisors’ names, images and what they remember about or learned from their service.
(Picture above is during Desert Storm – Demolition prep of enemy mortar site)
Name: Jon Melges
Title/Company: Senior Vice President, Branch Manager, Managing Director / RJFS
Branch: U.S. Army
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Sergeant E – 5 Promotable
Service Dates: 1990 – 1994
Work you did: Army Infantry
Brief story that stands out from your service time: While attached to Joint Task Force Bravo conducting remote site operations with the CIA in the mountains of Honduras, we came under a firebase alert. I grabbed my gear, ran to my position and tumbled into my assigned bunker. I looked over at my battle buddy who was wide-eyed and pressed up against the wall. I followed his line of site until I came upon a coral snake curled up in the grenade sump just to my left. At that point we were both more scared of what was inside the bunker than the rebels outside. For the next couple of hours, two grown men shared 10% of the fighting position and gave the snake the other 90%. When the all clear was given you probably never saw two soldiers move faster either.
Name: Garth Flint
Title/Company: CEO, Co-Founder / Beacon Pointe Advisors
Branch: U.S. Navy
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Ensign – Lieutenant
Service Dates: 1963 – 1968
Work you did: Flew in F-4B Phantom II as Weapons Officer (RIO)
Brief story that stands out from your service time: Based on USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) with VF-161. Shot down over North Vietnam on 12/27/67 and subsequently rescued. Back in the air on 12/29/67. Tom Wolf wrote a detailed encounter about our experience, titled “The Truest Sport Jousting with Sam and Charlie.”
(Veterans Day parade of Air Force unit: Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Name: Anthony Favela
Title/Company: Wealth Manager / Creative Planning, Inc.
Branch: USMC and Army
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: SGT
Service Dates: 1995-2003; 2009-Present
Work you did: Assault Amphibious Vehicles and Operations
Brief story that stands out from your service time: On my way home back from deployment after being in the Persian Gulf and Africa for 6 months. I was standing on the LPD USS Deluth and floating into port to Pearl Harbor, it was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. The American flag was waiving, wind was blowing and I was getting chills down my back. I realized truly for the first time how happy and humble I was to be an American and serving my country. I will never forget the first day I looked at the American flag differently and understood what it truly meant to be an American. Sempre Fi and Go Army!
Name: Ralph Mitchell
Title/Company: Principal Executive / Carthage Financial Group, LLC
Branch: U.S. Army
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2LT – LTC
Service Dates: 1977 - 2007
Work you did: Infantry Officer / Military Intelligence / Logistician
Brief story that stands out from your service time: I was named after my Dad who served as a Combat Infantryman during the Korean War and who was later killed in action while serving in Vietnam. The first time I went to “The Wall” in Washington, D.C., to see his name among the over 58,000 other names on that monument, it really struck a nerve and proves that our American FREEDOM is not free; but comes at a very heavy price that is paid by our military personnel and their immediate families.
Name: Johnny W. Dawson
Title/Company: Financial Advisor / Edward Jones
Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Private First Class / Corporal
Service Dates: 2003 – 2007
Work you did: Infantry / Squad Leader / 2nd Battalion 7th Marines 1st Marine Division
Brief story that stands out from your service time: Memorial Day is more than just recognition; it is about sacrifice, honor and remembrance. Each day, I can see the faces and hear the voices of the men who fought selflessly for their country and paid the ultimate price. I am honored to remember them on Memorial Day through a tradition we started a few years back. Each year, I take my three sons to plant flags to honor all of the men and women who have laid down their lives for our freedoms in this great country. Semper Fi.
Name: Dick Gootee
Title/Company: CFP / Atherton Wealth Advisors
Branch: U.S. Navy
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 3rd class petty officer
Service Dates: 1960 – 1963
Work you did: Guided missile technician
Brief story that stands out from your service time: Initially had a misconception about great travel involved until I found out about having a billet (job) that came with it. After guided missile school, I spent 2 years on newly commissioned guided missile destroyer TRAVELING the high seas. Looking back it was in top 10 of defining life experiences.
Name: David Hollands