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Honoring Advisors Who Serve(d): Fourth of July, 2021

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In honor of Independence Day, we are pleased to share these stories of military veterans in the advisory world, told in their own words. The first installment of this year’s compilation debuted on Memorial Day.

This group is arranged in alphabetical order and features photos sent by advisors from their time in the service. Maybe you’ll recognize a few faces along the way.

Garth Flint

Name: Garth Flint

Title/Company: Co-Founder & Partner, Beacon Pointe Advisors

Branch: US Navy

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

Service Dates: 1963 – 1968 Regular; 1968 – 1976 Reserves

Work you did: I flew as a Naval Aviator in the F-4 Phantom, carrier based with two cruises to North Vietnam. I had 217 missions, was shot down and rescued on the 194th mission. While in my raft in Ha Long Bay, one of the rescue aircraft, flown by a good friend of mine, made a very low pass over me then did a couple of rolls and went back to orbit with the other rescue aircraft. When we returned to the carrier, my friend asked me how I liked his aerobatics and I said, “they scared me more than being shot down!” Most of our missions were flak suppression (bomb the anti-aircraft sites) and then converted to fighter coverage (prevent engagement by enemy aircraft) for the jet attack bombers we were escorting. The balance of the missions was combat air patrol flown next to the coastline to protect the aircraft carriers from enemy aircraft.

Brief story that stands out from your service time: (in conjunction with the above…) My co-pilot and I were conducting a routine weather reconnaissance flight mission in our F-4 Phantom over Vietnam, and we were shot down in the icy waters in the Tonkin Gulf. We survived our emergency ejection from our jet, and we were rescued! A short story on our harrowing experience was published by Tom Wolfe, in “The Truest Sport: Jousting with Sam & Charlie.”


Bud Martin

Name: Bud Martin 

Title/Company: Managing Director, Private Wealth Advisor / Rockefeller Capital Management

Branch: US Navy

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Seaman / Second Class Petty Officer

Service Dates: 1967 – 1971

Work you did:  Nuclear Weapons Technician

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I was assigned to the USS Independence, that had just rotated out of Vietnam. She was assigned to the 6th Fleet that had responsibility for the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. During the next three years we had two deployments to the Med for 9 months each, assigned to be first carrier landing for new pilots out of Mayport Fl, patrolled the eastern seaboard, but pretty far out. The job was really to be ready in case something ugly came along. Fortunately, for all of us, my specialty never entered the game. When we returned to home port, Norfolk, in ’71, I mustered out to civilian life. The ‘Indy’ went to dry dock to be refitted. Afterward she went back to Nam for another tour. I’ve always been lucky, having been on the ‘Indy’ between Deployments to Vietnam. Today, my good fortune continues, working is a wonderful industry with some of the brightest minds in the business. Now the funny part. The photo is 52 years ago, in Athens, and 80 pounds ago.


Name: Tad Mayhall 

Title/Company: Financial Advisor / Edward Jones

Branch: US Air Force and Air National Guard

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Airman Basic /  currently Chief Master Sergeant

Service Dates: 1993 – present

Work you did:  Munitions Systems, Air Force Paralegal, Air Intelligence Superintendent (current role)

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I joined the Air Force at 17, and eight years later transitioned to the Air National Guard. I was quickly re-activated due to the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Now back to serving as a traditional guardsman, my firm, Edward Jones, has always supported my dual careers. 

I see some parallels between developing as a leader in the military and as a financial advisor. The mission and goals at the firm are clear and concise, yet the landscape of our industry is ever-changing. My military missions are also clear and concise, but because the adversary and their capabilities are always evolving, we evolve our techniques. At the core of the military, our goal is to protect the United States and its vital interest. The mission and goal to build a business by deeply serving our clients and community are clear, but how we accomplish that is left up to us as individuals. When necessary, we evolve our approach and technique, but never abandon our mission to serve the serious, long-term individual investor.

The best advice I received as I was rising through the ranks to become Chief Master Sergeant, was to “learn from everyone, good or not, and shape your leadership skills to best serve those you lead.”


Alison McCarthyName: Alison McCarthy 

Title/Company: Financial Consultant / McCarthy Planning / LPL

Branch: US Navy

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: E1 / E5

Service Dates: 1984 – 1988

Work you did:  Interior Communications/Telephone systems management

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I had a really great mentor early into my Navy experience that I didn’t even know I had at the time.  I was a 19 girl in an almost all male SIMA (Ship Intermediate Maintenance Activity) base.  The older men were happy to have me do some custodial work and leave each day at 11:30am.  At the time, I thought that was an awesome deal since I got paid whether I was there or not but,  the woman,  in her late 20’s or early 30’s (Eileen ‘something’) who out ranked me, made me stay and study for my next level exams.  At the time I didn’t ‘get it’ but she gave me a huge gift that I have been trying to re-pay to all the other younger women that came after me to make sure that we have a place at the table if we want it and deserve it.  She moved me forward and I owe so much to her.  


James McCauley

Name: James P. McCauley, Jr. 

Title/Company: President / Income & Asset Advisory, Inc.  (affiliated B/D American Portfolios)

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2nd Lieutenant / Captain 

Service Dates: 1966 – 1971

Work you did:  While in Vietnam, assigned to Special Forces as an S-2 Intelligence Officer responsible for briefing and debriefing recon teams executing cross-border intelligence-gathering missions and participated in Hatchet Force Missions (company-size incursions to block enemy troop and re-supply movement along the Ho Chi Minh Trail). Also, assigned to the MACV-SOG as a Laos Desk Officer working with numerous agencies on the planned collection and analysis of enemy intelligence

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I enlisted in early ‘66, and I was in Vietnam in early ‘69. I had gone to all these schools for Infantry OCS, Officers’ Intelligence, Special Forces Q Courses, Jump, Airborne and Vietnamese language. I was commissioned in ‘67, in ‘68 I was promoted to first lieutenant and in ‘69, I was promoted to captain. On Okinawa I was assigned to the 1st Special Forces group, 441st Military Intelligence Detachment (MID). I then volunteered to go to Vietnam on a TDY assignment with a 5th Special Forces unit called Studies and Observations Group (SOG). We conducted cross-border operations in Laos and Cambodia from Vietnam. Our mission was to collect intelligence on the Ho Chi Minh trail used by the NVA [North Vietnamese Army] to move people, weapons and ammo. It was quite an experience for a 21-year-old kid from Westchester. I was not in a lot of intense combat. On the second tour of duty I went to Saigon as the Laos desk officer targeting missions for the units I was with during the first year. I had a staff of four or five NCOs. During this time in Vietnam there was a lot less physical danger.  


Ken Milano

Name: Ken Milano 

Title/Company: Managing Director, Private Wealth Advisor / Rockefeller Capital Management

Branch: US Navy

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

Service Dates: 1988 – 1998

Work you did:  US Naval Academy; Submarine Officer

Brief story that stands out from your service time: A group of 36 young men started with me in 10th Company at Annapolis on indoctrination day some 29 years ago. We stayed together as a group for 4 years. Those of us who graduated served honorably in the Navy as pilots, SEALs, submariners, and fleet officers. These many years later we serve as a constant support system for one another: sending messages with heartfelt comradery, memorable stories, and encouragement when needed. My fondest memories of the Navy are the exceptional people I met along the way.   


Mark Moehlman

Name: Mark Moehlman

Title/Company: Managing Director & Partner, Beacon Pointe Advisors

Branch: US Army, Finance Corps

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Military service as a draftee (private) / Specialist 4th Class

Service Dates: 1969 – 1971

Work you did:  Basic Training at Ft. Ord, CA, April-June, 1969; Payroll specialist at Ft. Hood, Texas from July, 1969 to April, 1970; Payroll specialist at DaNang, Vietnam from May, 1970 to January, 1971. I paid the troops that did the actual fighting.

Brief story that stands out from your service time: The highlight of my Vietnam tour was coming home for a two-week leave in November of 1970, and seeing both the SC-UCLA and SC-Notre Dame football games in the L.A. Coliseum.


Edward Muhlenfeld

Name: Edward F. Muhlenfeld

Title/Company: Senior Wealth Advisor / Wilde Wealth Management Group/ Cetera Advisors

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: I was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Artillery from the Princeton University ROTC program and ended service as a Captain

Service Dates: 1965 – 1970

Work you did:  Air Defense Missile Unit Executive Officer in the Panama Canal Zone; Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) Advisor in the Mekong Delta

Brief story that stands out from your service time: Upon returning from Vietnam I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease and spent the next six months at Walter Reed undergoing radiation treatment. I was given a VA disability rating making me eligible for VA care which is really where my appreciation for service has grown. Every time I visit the VA Medical Center here in Phoenix I am amazed by the number of patients from our wars.  The scope of their service is truly inspiring and I urge parents to encourage their children to keep their spirit alive for future generations


Dryden PenceName: Eldon Dryden Pence III

Title/Company: Chief Investment Officer, LPL Principal / Pence Wealth Management

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Second Lieutenant / Colonel

Service Dates: 1982 – 2015

Work you did: Commander (Brigade, Battalion, Company), Remote Director of Intelligence, G-2 Intelligence Chief, PSYOP Officer (Psychological Operations), MI Officer (Military Intelligence)

Brief story that stands out from your service time: During the First Gulf War, I was in command of a psychological operations unit to support the attack on Iraq’s Republican Guard. Armed with leaflets and loudspeakers, we developed a highly effective surrender appeal campaign that resulted in thousands of Iraq soldiers surrendering. In one instance, we took the commander of an Iraq battalion into custody. As my translator began to speak to him in Arabic, he glanced at my Harvard class ring, looked at me and said, “I speak perfectly good English. When did you graduate from Harvard?”  “1982,” I replied. To which he said, “Tufts 1980. We are a long way from Harvard Square.”


Name: Summer Pretzer

Title/Company: VP, Risk & Regulatory Affairs / Cetera Financial Group

Branch: US Marine Corp

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  Private First Class / Corporal

Service Dates: 1993 – 1997

Work you did: Unit Diary Clerk

Brief story that stands out from your service time: The night before graduating from boot camp the drill instructors have a dinner with family that are attending the graduation.  My mother asked my drill instructors why they were so mean to me, so the next day I was literally doing push-ups in my dress blues minutes before we were to go out on the parade deck for the graduation ceremony.


Frank TauchesName: Frank Tauches

Title/Company: In-House Supervisory Principal / American Portfolios Financial Services

Branch: US Marine Corps

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Officer Candidate / Colonel 

Service Dates: 1965 – 2008 active; 1971-1974,1991-1992 USMC Reserve 

Work you did: JAG Officer (Trial Counsel & Military Judge); Company Commander; Staff of Navy Appellate Review Activity, Counsel for the Commandant, and the Secretary of Defense.

Brief story that stands out from your service time: During Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, I served as the Hearing Officer in the cases of Conscientious Objectors; and as Commander of Marine Reserve Troops in the New York National Victory Parade. From 1993 to 1994, I was the National President of the Marine Corps Reserve Officers Association and testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee.


 Roderick Von LipseyName: Roderick “Rod”  von Lipsey

Title/Company: Managing Director, Private Wealth Advisor / UBS Global Wealth Management

Branch: US Marine Corps

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: US Naval Academy Midshipman (1976-1980); USMC 2nd Lieutenant (O-1) through Lieutenant Colonel (O-5)

Service Dates: 1980 – 2000

Work you did: Marine Fighter Pilot, DFC recipient for Valor in Combat; Senior Aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; White House Fellow and Special Assistant for Foreign and Security Policy to the Chief of Staff to the President; Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow; and Director, National Security Council, The White House.

Brief story that stands out from your service time: Being the son of a Philly policeman and schoolteacher, I’ve always enjoyed the opportunity to visit schools and talk with youngsters about public service, the military, and of course, share my passion for flying. Kids are always interested in hearing about what was it like to be a fighter pilot. Given the popularity of the original “Top Gun” movie, many were particularly impressed that I was a graduate of the Navy Fighter Weapons School (a “real life” TopGun), and often asked about the accuracy of the movie?  Was I like “Maverick”? Or was I like “Iceman”?  Of course, kids will always find a way to humble you with their directness and lack of a filter, shall we say… On one occasion, a young man stood up, looked me straight in the eye and say, “excuse me, but YOU don’t look anything like Tom Cruise!”… Wow. A ‘shot across the bow’ for the lean, balding, African American guy in a flight suit up there on the stage. Of course, the rest of the kids thought that was just hilarious (c’mon lots of them were thinking the same thing!); so, a round of snickering broke out around the room. I remember the awkward pause. I smiled. Not one to be outgunned by a ‘student pilot,’ I let him have a whiff of victory for a few beats and then said: “Son, you are absolutely right. In fact, Tom Cruise is one of my favorite actors. But you know what? He was only pretending to be like me in that movie!” From this story, I’d like to hold up America’s Armed Forces as the most diverse and inclusive organization in the world. Full stop. And the playing field is more level today than ever before. I’m grateful for the opportunities afforded me through service to our Nation, and salute all of those who have served and sacrificed – both in and out of uniform – to sustain our democracy and freedom. I’m also proud to be a part of the UBS Veterans’ Network – helping those who served find a new and familiar “home base” within the financial services industry.


Mike WoodsName: Mike Woods

Title/Company: President & CEO / Stocker Woods Financial

Branch: US Marine Corps

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Private / Corporal

Service Dates: 1991 – 1995

Work you did: I was a computer guy. Everything from programming to office IT guy.

Brief story that stands out from your service time: One day when I was working in DC for a bunch of high ranking officers a call came in from a guy named Dick Cheney and he asked for the Colonel in the office by the same last name.  Since the Col was in a meeting and I didn’t want to disturb him, and thinking it was his brother or some other relative calling, I took a message.  See where this is going??  Very long story made short…. I later got to meet the Secretary of Defense over at the Pentagon so I could explain what I had done and why.  He thought it was a lot funnier than the Colonel did by the way.