The First Command Military Advisory Board constitutes a select group of retired senior flag officers and senior enlisted leaders from each of the Nation’s military services. The 10-member board provides First Command with advice on how to best serve the interests of our valued military clients, and offers an independent perspective on important issues like:
Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen is a United States veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 43 years. His military career culminated with his appointment as the 59th superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He held this position for five years and retired in 2018.
Before this assignment, Lt. Gen. Caslen served as the chief of the Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq, where he served as the senior military commander in Iraq after the drawdown of U.S. and allied forces in 2011. Lt. Gen. Caslen also served as the commandant of the United States Army Command and General Staff College and the commanding general of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth.
During his time in the U.S. Army, Lt. Gen Caslen held several other notable positions including commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division, commanding general of the Multi-National Division- North during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Commandant of Cadets for the U.S. Military Academy. He served as Chief of Staff of both the 101st Airborne Division (AASLT) and the 10th Mountain Division, where he also served as Chief of Staff of TF Mountain during Operation Enduring Freedom. Additionally, he was deployed in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, JTF-B in Honduras, and Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti.
His awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit with four oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters. He also earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge and is Airborne, Air Assault and Ranger qualified.
A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Lt. Gen Caslen holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Long Island University and a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Kansas State University. He is a member of the Kansas State Engineering College Hall of Fame, recognized for a Life Time of Service Award from the American Red Cross, was selected as the Honorary Rock of the Year Award for his efforts in diversity as the Superintendent of West Point, and was recognized with an honorary Doctorate from Long Island University.
He has been married to the former Michele Pastin since 1977. They have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren.
Sgt. Maj. Kenneth O. Preston is a United States veteran who served in the United States Army for almost 36 years. He retired in 2011 as the longest serving Sergeant Major of the Army — holding the position of 13th Sergeant Major of the Army from January 2004 to March 2011.
During this time, Sgt. Maj. Preston served as the Army Chief of Staff's personal advisor on all soldier- and family-related matters. He devoted the majority of his time traveling to Army instillations to provide support for leaders and to talk to soldiers and their families to understand their needs, personal hardships and challenges of serving a nation at war. Before becoming Sergeant Major of the Army, Sgt. Maj. Preston held a variety of command sergeant major positions. Most recently, he served as the Command Sergeant Major for the Combined Joint Task Force 7 in Baghdad, Iraq.
Sgt. Maj. Preston holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Trident University International. He has also completed several military educational courses, including the Basic Noncommissioned Officer's Course, Advanced Noncommissioned Officer's Course, First Sergeant's Course, M1/M1A1 Tank Master Gunner Course, Master Fitness Trainer Course, Battle Staff Noncommissioned Officer's Course and the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy.
His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, two Legions of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, four Army Meritorious Service Medals, a Joint Service Commendation Medal, four Army Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals, the Good Conduct Medal 11th award, two National Defense ribbons, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the NCOES Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon 5th award, the NATO Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal (Government of Kuwait), two Joint Meritorious Unit Awards, Army Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Department of the Army Staff Badge.
Lt. Gen. John E. Wissler is a United States veteran who served in the Marine Corps for 39 years. His career culminated in the position of Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command and Commanding General, Fleet Marine Forces, Atlantic, which he held until his retirement in 2017.
Previously, Lt. Gen. Wissler served as the Commanding General, III Marine Expeditionary Force and Commander, Marine Corps Forces in Japan. During this time, he was twice activated as the Commander of Joint Task Force 505, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the Philippines after Super Typhoon Haian and in Nepal after the 2015 earthquakes.
His other General Officer command assignments include: Commanding General of the 2d Force Service Support Group and 2d Marine Logistics Group during Operation Iraqi Freedom; Deputy Commanding General for the Multinational Force West during Operation Iraqi Freedom; Deputy Commanding General II Marine Expeditionary Force; and Commanding General of the 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
Lt. Gen. Wissler holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He is a graduate of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, the Amphibious Warfare School, the Armed Forces Staff College. He completed a year-long Federal Executive Fellowship in Foreign Policy studies at the Brookings Institution.
Sgt. Maj. Alford L. McMichael is a United States veteran who served for more than 36 years in the United States Marine Corps. His military career culminated in an appointment as the first ever senior noncommissioned officer for Allied Command Operations to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (NATO).
Before his appointment to NATO, Sgt. Maj. McMichael was the 14 Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps between 1999 and 2003. Before this position, he had several other appointments as a sergeant major at various locations including the United States Marine Corps headquarters, Manpower and reserve Affairs Division; the 1 Marine Aircraft Wing; the 31 Marine Expeditionary Unit in Okinawa, Japan; and the Officer Candidates School at Marine Corps Base Quantico.
Prior to becoming a sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. McMichael held several other significant leadership positions: the director of the Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy; the assistant Marine officer for the NROTC Program at the University of Minnesota; and the first sergeant of Company C, 3d Reconnaissance Battalion in Okinawa, Japan.
Sgt. Maj. McMichael's military honors include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
Since his retirement from the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. McMichael has continued to advocate on behalf of service members. Currently, he is a managing director of Pinnacle Five, LLC, a consulting company focused on providing advisory services to businesses and organizations associated with veteran issues and the Department of Defense.
Sgt. Maj. McMichael serves on the board of directors with the Call of Duty Endowment, which identifies and funds organizations that help unemployed veterans find work. He is also a member of the advisory board for Thanks USA, a non-partisan, charitable effort to provide scholarships for children and spouses of active-duty military personnel.
Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk is a veteran who served in the United States Navy for 34 years. His military career culminated in an appointment as the 56 Chief of Naval Personnel. He was sworn in on October 11, 2011 and served in this role until August 2013. Before assuming this position, Vice Adm. Van Buskirk was the Commander of the Seventh Fleet.
As a Flag Officer, Vice Adm. Van Buskirk served in several assignments including U.S Pacific Fleet Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff; Commander Carrier Strike Group Nine; Assistant Deputy of Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans and Strategy (N3/N5B); and the Deputy to the Deputy Chief of Staff, Strategic Effects for the Multi-National Force- Iraq.
A career submariner, Vice Adm. Van Buskirk served on board the following submarines: USS Seawolf (SSN 575), USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716), USS Tunny (SSN 682), and USS Georgia (SSBN 729-Gold). He also commanded USS Pasadena (SSN 752). Ashore, he commanded the Submarine Development Squadron 12 and served on various staffs including the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs and both the Submarine Force U.S Pacific and Atlantic commands.
Vice Adm. Van Buskirk is a 1979 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and holds a master's degree from the Naval Postgraduate School.
After his retirement from the U.S Navy in 2013, Vice Adm. Van Buskirk joined Oceaneering International Incorporated's Advanced Technologies Group, a global provider of engineered services and products for the oil and gas, defense, space, entertainment and robotic sectors. He currently serves as the Vice President for Strategic Program Development for the company.
Fleet Master Chief Petty Officer Charles “Chuck” Clarke is a United States Veteran, who served more than 28 years in the United States Navy. When he retired in April 2016, he was one of the top five enlisted sailors in the service.
Master Chief Clarke most recently served as the 17 Fleet Master Chief for United States Fleet Forces Command. During this time, he was responsible for giving leadership and guidance to the enlisted sailors and providing advice to Navy leadership. Previously, he served as Command Master Chief onboard USS Kitty Hawk, which was homeported in Japan and Washington, and USS Nimitz, which was homeported in California. He also held the position of Command Master Chief for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/FIFTH Fleet/Combined Martime Forces in Manima, Bahrain.
Some of Master Chief Clarke's other assignments include disbursing clerk onboard USS Dubuque, military pay supervisor at the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Forty and at the Recruit Training Command and PSD Point Loma, the deputy disbursing officer onboard USS Mount Vernon, and the command career counselor at Naval Support Activity and PCD Iwo Jima.
Master Chief Clarke is a graduate of the U.S. Navy Senior Enlisted Academy, the Command Master Chief/Chief of the Boat Course and the National Defense University Keystone Course. He holds an Associate degree from National University in San Diego, a Bachelor's degree from Excelsior College and a Master's degree from the University of Oklahoma. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD in Organizational Leadership at Northcentral University.
His military honors include the Legion of Merit, three Meritorious Service Medals, six Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, six Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. He also holds numerous individual, campaign and unit awards.
Lt. Gen. Norman R. Seip is a United States veteran who served in the United States Air Force for 35 years. His military career culminated in the position of Commander, 12 Air Force/Air Forces South at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, retiring in October 2009.
A command pilot with more than 4,500 flying hours, Lt. Gen. Seip flew the F-15E in support of Operations Southern Watch, Northern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He held the position of Deputy Combined Forces Air Component Commander for U.S. Central Command, and he had a direct impact in supporting combat operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. He has commanded at the squadron, group, and wing level and served on Major Command, joint, and Headquarters Air Force staffs.
Lt. Gen. Seip holds a Bachelor of Science degree in History from the United States Air Force Academy and a Master of Public Administration degree from Golden Gate University. He is a graduate from the Squadron Officer School, the Air Command and Staff College, and the Air War College.
Post retirement, Lt. Gen. Seip was a USAF Senior Mentor for six years involved in all aspects of operational level warfare and command and control.
His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Aerial Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal, and numerous international awards.
Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth J. McQuiston is the former Command Senior Enlisted Leader, United States Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. He served as the principal advisor to the Combatant Commander for all matters concerning joint force integration, career development, utilization and sustainment of more than 150,000 enlisted personnel serving the headquarters and USTRANSCOM's air, land and sea components throughout the world.
Chief Master Sgt. McQuiston entered the Air Force in April 1982. After completing basic military training and technical training, he served in various administrative and personnel management positions at squadron, wing and major command levels. His experience includes serving as the special assistant to a major command commander and senior enlisted advisor serving as the sole personnel manager for enlisted matters. He also served as a military personnel flight superintendent servicing more than 15,000 Airmen and their families, a major command senior officer management superintendent responsible for career management of more than 500 colonels and 40 active-duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve general officers. Prior to his final assignment, he served as the command chief master sergeant at the wing, numbered air force, and deployed area of operations supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Chief Master Sgt. McQuiston was named a Distinguished Graduate of the Noncommissioned Officer Academy, McGuire AFB, N.J., in 1993 and graduated from the Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Gunter AFB, Ala., in 1998. He subsequently completed senior leadership courses at the Center for Creative Leadership, San Diego, Calif., at Gettysburg, Pa., and at the National Defense University, Fort McNair, Va. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from Wilmington (Del.) University and a Master of Business Administration degree from TUI University.
After serving for 35 years in the United States Coast Guard, Vice Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara was sworn in as the 27 Vice Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard on May 24, 2010. During her two-year tenure in this role, she served as the Coast Guard second-in-command, executing the commandant's strategic intent, managing internal organization governance and serving as the component acquisition executive.
Before becoming Vice Commandant, Vice Adm. Brice-O’Hara held several other flag level positions including Deputy Commandant for Operations, Commander of the Fourteenth Coast Guard District, Director of Reserve and Training, Commander of the Fifth Coast Guard District and Director of Personnel Management. In these positions, her assignments varied widely, from managing operations for over 12 million square miles of the Central Pacific Ocean to developing policies to recruit, train, allocate and support Coast Guard Ready Reservists.
At the time of her selection to flag rank, Vice Adm. Brice-O’Hara was the Commanding Officer of Training Center Cape May, the Coast Guard's only recruit training program. Before that, she held several other notable positions at stations across the country and at the Coast Guard Academy.
A native of Annapolis, Maryland, she graduated from Goucher College in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology, and she received her Coast Guard commission from Officer Candidate School the following year. She holds a Master of Science degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College and a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where she was named a Littauer Fellow.
Vice Adm. Brice-O’Hara's personal awards include the Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal, a Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal, five Legions of Merit, a Meritorious Service Medal, six Coast Guard Commendation Medals, two Coast Guard Achievement Medals and the Commandant’s Letter of Commendation.
Charles “Skip” W. Bowen III served as the 10 Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard (MCPOCG), assuming the position on 14 June 2006. He was previously assigned as the Officer in Charge of Coast Guard Station Marathon.
After attending basic training at Coast Guard Station Cape May in Cape May, N.J., in 1978, MCPOCG Bowen's first duty station was to a patrol boat, USCGC in Clearwater, Fla. From there he was assigned to Coast Guard Station Marathon in the Florida Keys just in time for the Mariel boatlift in 1980. A subsequent assignment at Station Fort Pierce, Fla., was followed by another patrol boat, the newly commissioned USCGC , homeported in Miami. From south Florida he traveled to the Mid-Atlantic seaboard to join USCGC Point Arena as the Executive Petty Officer. Upon advancing to Chief Petty Officer he was assigned as the Officer in Charge of Coast Guard Station New Haven, Conn., in June 1990. Following a successful tour at New Haven, he was transferred to Station Sand Key in Clearwater Beach, Fla., in 1994.
In 1997, MCPOCG Bowen was assigned as the Officer in Charge of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter in Newport, R.I., until her decommissioning in April 1998. During May 1998 he was assigned as the Officer in Charge of Coast Guard Cutter , based in Woods Hole, Mass., which was the first of the high-tech 87-foot (26.5 m) Patrol Boats on the east coast.
From 1999 to 2001, MCPOCG Bowen served as the Seventh District Command Master Chief. In May 2002, he graduated with distinction from the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy. While at the Academy, he was selected as one of the few non-Army students ever to serve as a class vice president. Upon graduation, he was awarded the prestigious William G. Bainbridge Chair of Ethics award. From June 2002 to June 2004, he served as the Command Master Chief of the Headquarters' Units. In addition to those duties, he also served as the Interim Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard from July – October 2002.