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Published on: Sunday, June 16, 2024 read more ...

Advisory Committee on Arlington National Cemetery 

*Lt. Gen. James Peake — U.S. Army, retired. Peake served as the Army Surgeon General for four years and as the sixth U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs from December 2007 to January 2009. He is a 1966 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point as well as a veteran of the Vietnam conflict, receiving a Silver Star, a Bronze Star with “V” device and Purple Heart. He is a graduate of Cornell Medical School and is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Project Hope.



*Mr. Chet Edwards — Representative from Central Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 2010. While in Congress, he was a champion for issues impacting service members, veterans and their families. His dedication to improving services and the welfare of our nation’s veterans is notable by his 2009 legislation, which provides full college scholarships for all military children who have lost a parent in service to our nation since September 11, 2001.



Capt. Thomas Kelley — U.S. Navy, retired. Kelley is a Medal of Honor recipient for gallantry in Vietnam in June 1969. Upon retirement from 30 years of active service, he worked as a Department of Defense civilian employee and was then appointed as Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services. He was selected by the governor to serve as the Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services and retired from public service in January 2011.



Col. Gene E. Castagnetti — U.S. Marine Corps, retired. Castagnetti served as the Department of Veterans Affairs Director of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii from February 1990 to September 2013. He is the recipient of the Civilian Medal from U.S. PACOM for outstanding outreach to active duty members and veterans of the nation. He was selected as the VA National Cemetery Employee of the year by National Disabled Veterans Association (DAV) for his contributions to disabled veterans and expertise in national VA cemetery operations. He was a United States Marine Corps infantry officer from October 1961 to July 1989 and served two combat tours in Vietnam.


Maj. Gen. Elizabeth A. "Ann" Harrell — U.S. Air Force, retired. Harrell is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Emory University with more than 30 years of service. She has extensive experience in supply management, including time-sensitive support to combat operations. After retirement, she continued to work in support of active duty and retired military personnel through the Army Soldier for Life program. She worked with the Office of the Surgeon General to develop policy for full-time care of seriously wounded veterans. She also served on the General Electric Corporation Senior Advisory Committee for its internal veterans' network, and continues to serve on the Advisory Board for the Museum of the United States Air Force.


Lt. Col. Gerald Torrence — U.S. Army, retired. Mr. Torrence is a military veteran with over 25 years of proven experience in the United States Army and the federal government. Mr. Torrence served as the Director of Historical Programs and Services, and then as Director for Strategic Planning, for the U.S. Army Center for Military History, culminating his federal service as the Chief for Strategy, Plans and Policy at the American Battle Monuments Commission. The recipient of multiple awards for outstanding performance and professionalism, Mr. Torrence holds an Executive MBA and is a certified project management professional and knowledge manager. He is also a published author of and speaker on topics of U.S. military history and is a designated 5X military historian.


Command Sgt. Maj. Mark L. Farley — U.S. Army, retired. Mr. Farley retired from the United States Army with 32 years of active duty service. During his career he served in numerous positions of increasing leadership responsibilities, including First Sergeant Course Instructor, Chief Instructor and Command Sergeant Major. While assigned to U.S. Army Pacific Command as Command Sergeant Major, he played a key role in ensuring USARPAC units remained mission-ready to support any contingency operation, with over 7,000 soldiers deploying in support of the Global War on Terror (GWOT). His career culminated as the sixth Command Senior Enlisted Leader, U.S. European Command. He holds a bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude) in Criminal Justice Administration: Law Enforcement from Park College, and a master’s degree in Management and Leadership from Webster University. Mr. Farley recently retired from civilian federal service as the Civilian Deputy Assistant Commandant, U.S. Army Military Police School.


Ms. Rosemary Freitas Williams — Ms. Williams was appointed as the Department of Veterans Affairs’ first Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications to the Secretary in 2009. Ms. Williams continued her federal service as the Director, Communication and Public Liaison for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management before being appointed as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense–Military Community and Family Policy, a position she held from 2013 to 2016. Continuing in her federal service, Ms. Williams then returned to the Department of Veterans Affairs to serve as the Assistant Secretary–Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, a position she held through 2018. Ms. Williams continued to serve the military community through service as a board member for several military family advocacy organizations and veterans service organizations.