Throughout history, from the North African coast to the swamps of Cuba; from the sands of Normandy to the frozen hills of Korea; through the jungles of Vietnam and now into the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts of the Middle East, brave men and women have left safe homes and pleasant lives to defend and advance this nation. They have courageously combated tyranny and oppression to bring freedom to others. Our nation owes these men and women a tremendous debt of gratitude.”
Bob McDonnell: A Veteran listening to and looking out for our Military, our Veterans, and their Families
Making Virginia America’s Most Veteran Friendly State
America is at war. Virginia has a special responsibility to support our 245,000 active duty military service members, reservists, National Guard members and DOD civilian employees, the over 800,000 military veterans, and the families of our service members and veterans all of whom call Virginia home.
Virginia has hosted our military services on her soil since our nation began. George Washington, a great Virginian was the first commanding general of the US Army. We have always opened our arms to the brave men and women who relocate here on military orders to serve this nation. We welcome their families into our communities and value and support them while their fathers, mothers, husbands and wives serve this great nation. We strive to make the transition to civilian life convenient when so many of them choose to remain in Virginia upon conclusion of their military service. All Virginians keep the home fires burning for our sons and daughters when they leave the Commonwealth to serve the country from afar and we welcome them back with heartfelt gratitude and a deep sense of honor when they return home to Virginia. When any of those great Americans gives the last full measure of devotion, sacrificing themselves for our freedom, Virginia has the most solemn responsibility a grateful nation possesses as home to their final resting place whether in Arlington National Cemetery or the many other National and State veteran’s cemeteries in the Commonwealth.
Bob McDonnell appreciates the special significance and the added responsibility that Virginia has to this extraordinary community of patriotic citizens. That is why he is a leader on initiatives to improve our support for the active military community, veterans, and their families that call Virginia their home.
Bob knows the sacrifices of military service first hand. He was a one year old in 1955 when his father, USAF Lieutenant Colonel John McDonnell, moved the family to Fairfax County. Bob’s dad retired from the Air Force in 1964 and went on to a second public service career with the Naval Investigative Service.
After completing high school Bob was off to South Bend, Indiana to live his dream of attending the University of Notre Dame. He could only afford college through a full Army ROTC scholarship. For Bob McDonnell a higher education came with a commitment to serve our country. Like his father before him, Bob would wear the uniform as a military officer.
Bob entered active duty in the U.S. Army in October 1976, completing basic training in Texas, and was assigned to Grafenwohr, Germany during the Cold War. In Germany, Bob was a platoon leader with the 2nd Armored Division (Fwd), and also ran a medical clinic for the post. In December 1979, Bob left Germany, heading to Fort Eustis in Newport News, Virginia, but he left Germany having gained a helpful tool for his future endeavors, a Masters of Science in Business Administration degree earned by taking 3 years of night classes from Boston University.
At Fort Eustis in Newport News, Captain Bob McDonnell worked at McDonald Army Hospital as the Medical Supply Officer. In April 1981 he left active duty, but he didn’t leave the service. All told Bob would serve 21 years in the U.S. Army, both active duty and reserves, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1997.
Bob and Maureen also know the sacrifice of sending a child overseas in the service of our nation. Their oldest daughter, Jeanine, answered the same call to service as her Dad and both of her grandfathers. She also served as an officer in the U.S. Army, including a year tour of duty in Baghdad, Iraq in 2005-2006.
In 1789, George Washington said “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation.”
These sentiments apply just as strongly today as they did at the founding of our nation. For Bob McDonnell there is no greater obligation of a nation than support for the military, veterans, their families, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Bob McDonnell is committed to supporting Virginia’s heroes and giving them the care and support they richly deserve. Bob McDonnell is the only veteran running for Governor in this race. Bob McDonnell is a vet who will listen to vets. Bob McDonnell is a Veteran for Veterans.
Veterans are Republicans, Democrats and Independents. Bob McDonnell understands that results are the only things that matter and he will work in a bipartisan manner to get results for Virginia’s veterans. He recognizes the good work of the 23 veterans’ services organizations on the Joint Leadership Council (JLC) that include the American Legion, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the National Association for Uniformed Services (NAUS) and many others. He will continue to actively work with them to expand upon their success and met with them personally as Governor. These groups are vital to advancing veterans’ issues and they have been successful in a number of efforts that Bob supported, including qualification for instate tuition, increasing veterans’ claims officers, the Wounded Warrior program, the Phyllis and Paul Galanti Education Center of the Virginia War Memorial, and the recently signed Interstate Compact.
Bob McDonnell is honored to outline his military and veterans platform at the American Legion Convention. Bob is a member of Post 110 in Virginia Beach. As Governor, Bob will make the following proposals a reality for our active duty military service members, veterans and their families in the Commonwealth of Virginia:
Appoint a Senior Advisor to the Governor for the Military Community and Dependent Affairs
Virginia must aggressively partner with the U.S. Department of Defense and the active duty military leadership in our state to respond to the challenges and unique needs of our service members, active duty, reservists, National Guard and their families in Virginia.
One out of every ten Virginians is a military veteran. It is a testimony to the valor of Virginians to consider the spirit of service and sacrifice that our fellow Virginians have demonstrated. They have honored us with their service and we must always care for and support them with our respect and loyalty.
First we must do all we can to make the transition from military service to civilian life easier: