WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden appointed the following members to the Board of Governors of United Service Organizations (USO) Inc., a not-for-profit charitable corporation that provides live entertainment to members of the United States military and their families :
- Gil Kerlikowske from South Carolina
- Ginger Miller from New York
- Chief Staff Sergeant Manuel Piñeiro, USAF (Ret) of Maryland
- Rebekah Gleaves Sanderlin from florida
- Major General Francis D. Vavala, ARNG (Ret) of Delaware
- Mary A. Winnefeld from virginia
The USO has 250 centers around the world on every continent, managed by thousands of staff and volunteers who strive to match the dedication of our military personnel and uphold our nation’s sacred obligation to support those who sacrifice so much for America.
Gil Kerlikowske has a long and distinguished career in the public service. He enlisted in the Army in 1970 in the Military Police and served on active duty until 1972 and continued for an additional one year in the Army Reserves. He joined the St. Petersburg Police Department in 1972 and held command positions for fifteen years, while the GI Bill earned him undergraduate and graduate degrees in criminal justice at the ‘University of South Florida (Tampa).
He served as police chief in four cities, including Buffalo (1994-1998) and Seattle (2000-2009). He was appointed and confirmed as Director of the White House Office for National Drug Control Policy (2009 – 2014), a cabinet-level position, and subsequently served as the only Senior Commissioner of Customs and Security. United States border protection (2014 – 2017). Mr. Kerlikowske was a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2017) and is currently a Non-Resident Fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University.
Ginger Miller is the daughter of immigrants, a native of New York City and a former homeless Navy veteran who turned her passion into a goal and became a White House Change Champion for Veteran Women and President and Chief of the management of Women Veterans Interactive (WVI). WVI empowers and empowers female veterans to gain the support and resources necessary to achieve post-military success.
Ms. Miller is currently a member of the Northwest Federal Credit Union Advisory Board and previously served on the Minority Veterans Advisory Board at the US Department of Veterans Affairs, as Chairman of the Prince George County Veterans Commission, commissioner of the Maryland Commission for Women and as a member of the Maryland Caregivers Coordinating Council.
Staff Sergeant Manuel Piñeiro
Manuel Piñeiro is currently Impact Coach for Impact Human Performance (IHP), with a focus on improving human performance and bringing out the best in people. He also provides leadership development for leading organizations. Piñeiro is a 32-year-old veteran who held the most senior enlistment position as the United States Air Force’s first directing special services sergeant. In this role, he was responsible for setting direction, policy and management for more than 2,700 senior sergeants in the Regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. He was also the principal advisor to the Secretary of the Air Force, CSAF, CMSAF and First Sergeant Academy on the training program, which established roles, responsibilities and the use of missions in time war that impacted nearly 600,000 airmen and their families around the world. supporting operations Desert Shield and Storm, as well as operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Piñeiro has delivered over 200 speeches to audiences of all sizes around the world. As the first senior enlisted non-commissioned officer to be selected to work for the Under-Secretary for International Affairs, he established a policy and strategy to promote professional military education with host nations which enhanced their capacity to develop, grow and achieve leadership philosophies that connect to our mutual endeavors.
He received a Bachelor of Science in Education and Workforce Development from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He is also responsible for creating the Joint Service Professional Military Training Experience at DoD National Defense University.
Rebekah Gleaves Sanderlin, presidential appointed member
Rebekah Sanderlin is a longtime communications professional and military wife and military family lawyer. She began her career as a print journalist and wrote for numerous regional and national publications, including Military.com, where she wrote a weekly column for Parents of Military Members.
Marriage to a soldier in 2003 exposed Ms. Sanderlin first-hand to the challenges facing military personnel and military families. As a result, she began volunteering in the U.S. Army Military Family Support efforts and helped start the National Military Family Support Organizations, Blue Star Families, and the Military Family Advisory Network. Due to her volunteer work, Ms. Sanderlin was one of the 5 finalists for Best Spouse of the Year in the Army in 2012, received the Col. Maggie Raye Volunteer Award in 2020 and worked closely with Joining Forces throughout the Obama-Biden administration. Now working primarily as a marketing strategist while pursuing creative writing opportunities in print and film, Ms. Sanderlin lives with her recently retired husband and their three children in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Major General Francis D. Vavala
Francis D. (Frank) Vavala, Major General, United States, Army (Retired) lasted 50 years. He enlisted as a private in 1967 serving three years, achieved the rank of sergeant, then attended the Officer Candidate School and was appointed a Second Lieutenant in 1970 and retired as as Major General in February 2017, serving his last 18 years as a warrant officer. General of the Delaware National Guard.
He commanded at the platoon, company, battalion, and brigade levels and was promoted to the rank of brigadier general, as Deputy Adjutant General of the Delaware Army National Guard in 1995. He was then promoted to the rank of major general, as adjutant general of the Delaware National Guard. in 1999. Prior to his retirement, he was promoted Lieutenant-General (State) and General (State), respectively by Governors Markell and Carney, making him the only Delawarean to achieve this honor.
While serving as adjutant general, he held important national positions as president of the Association of Adjutants General of the United States and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association of the National Guard of the United States. He currently sits on numerous boards, committees and commissions at the state and national levels and is the Veterans Defense Specialist for the Delaware Technical and Community College. He resides in Wilmington, Delaware with his 54-year-old wife, Jane; they have three children and three grandchildren.
Mary A. Winnefeld
Mary A. Winnefeld is the co-founder of Project SAFE, a nonprofit organization working through a collaborative, multi-pronged, non-partisan approach to end the catastrophic epidemic of substance use and overdose in our country. Ms. Winnefeld currently sits on the Board of the Cohen Veterans Network, the CRAFT Adaptation Council at Stanford University, the Easter Seals DC MD VA Advisory Board; she is also an ambassador for Tragedy Assistance for Survivors. Previously, she served on the Advisory Board of the Opioid / Substance Use Advisory Board of Walmart, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, and USO Metropolitan Washington. Ms. Winnefeld is the recipient of the Department of Defense and the Navy’s Meritorious Public Service Award and the USO Distinguished Service Award. Through her personal experience as the wife and mother of military personnel, Ms. Winnefeld is keenly aware of the challenges that have affected and defended military families for over thirty years.
Prior to dedicating her life to the SAFE mission and defending the families of military personnel and veterans, Ms. Winnefeld was employed by Leidos / SAIC for 19 years as a program manager for NATO and a member of their ethics committee. .