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Board of Directors

Chair of the Board Emeritus

Rear Admiral June Ryan, USCG (RET)

Rear Admiral June Ryan is a motivational speaker, Success Trainer, and coach, drawing upon her 35 years of military service and formal certification in the Success Principles – Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want To Be®, by Jack Canfield, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul®.

During her career, June was a trailblazer, achieving many historical firsts for women – including the first enlisted woman in the Coast Guard to rise to the rank of Rear Admiral, the first woman to serve as the Military Advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the third woman in our nation’s history to serve as the Military Aide to the President of the United States.

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She served in a wide variety of leadership roles including five command positions; two aboard Coast Guard cutters, three regional units ashore; including Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District (Great Lakes Region) that spanned 8 states and a 1,500-mile international maritime border.

June holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Bowling Green State University, and a Master of Arts degree in Adult Education from the University of South Florida.

Her personal military awards include the CG Distinguished Service Award, two Defense Superior Service Medals, three Legion of Merits, and six Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medals among others.  She wears the Presidential Service Badge, the Secretary of Homeland Security Service Badge, the Advanced Boat Force Operations pin, and Coast Guard Cutterman pin.

When not speaking or volunteering, June enjoys spending time with her husband of 30+ years and their high school-aged daughter.

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Chairperson of the Board

Lieutenant General Lori Reynolds, USMC

Lieutenant General Lori Reynolds graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1986.  She was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the Marine Corps and assigned as a communications officer. Commands in the operating forces include command as a LtCol of 9th Communication Battalion from 2003-2005 where she deployed the battalion to Fallujah Iraq in support of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force from 2004-2005. 

As a Colonel, she commanded 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group from 2009 – 2011 where she deployed the MHG to Camp Leatherneck Afghanistan.  In that capacity, her command built and she commanded Camp Leatherneck, the home of NATO Regional Command Southwest.  She also commanded AO Belleau Wood, the area of operations surrounding Camp Leatherneck.

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In the supporting establishment, she commanded Recruiting Station Harrisburg PA as a major.  As a Brigadier General, from 2011-2014, she commanded Marine Corps Recruit Depot/Eastern Recruiting Region Parris Island SC, where she was responsible for recruiting and training 30,000 new Marines a year.

Her staff positions include staff and leadership billets at Marine Corps Systems Command, Headquarters Marine Corps C4 and the Joint Staff J6.  From 2014-2015, following her time at Parris Island SC, she served as Principal Director, South and Southeast Asia, Office of Secretary Defense for Policy.  From 2015 – 2018, she has commanded the Marine Corps component of United States Cyber Command, Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command.  Currently, she is serving as the Deputy Commandant for Information, US Marine Corps.

She is a graduate of the Naval War College and the Army War College.

Her decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, The Legion of Merit, and The Bronze Star Medal.

Senior Advisor

DCDR Dr. Gladys Brignoni, USCG

Dr. Gladys Brignoni assumed the duties of Deputy Commander, Force Readiness Command in November 2011. In this capacity, Dr. Brignoni leads in preparing the total workforce by adapting a human performance cycle to impart the skills and knowledge required to achieve mission excellence.

Prior to assuming this position, Dr. Brignoni was the Executive Director at the Navy Warfare Development Command where she oversaw all contracts, requirements and programs to include doctrine development, Fleet Synthetic Training, and Modeling and Simulation that directly supported the Navy Continuous Training Environment.

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In 2009, Dr. Brignoni was the Facility Support Services and Contract Manager for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic where she led the regional acquisition strategic plan and resource management (totaling over $1.5 Billion) for installations located throughout the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia.

From 2005-2009, Dr. Brignoni was the Executive Director at the Center for Naval Intelligence (CNI). She served as principal advisor to the Commanding Officer on all matters relating to the Center’s mission, program goals and objectives. At the forefront of the Naval Education and Training Command’s efforts to bring the integrated learning environment to the classroom, she successfully adapted curriculum content and delivery to increase student throughput and decrease academic attrition. Dr. Brignoni also implemented a continuous process improvement culture saving the Navy over $5 million.

Other career highlights include assignments as the Learning Standards Officer at CNI, the Education Specialist at the Joint Forces Staff College, and the Language and Cross-Cultural Training Staff Specialist at the Peace Corps. From 1996-2000, Dr. Brignoni was an Assistant Professor at Old Dominion University, where she directed the teacher certification program and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in foreign language pedagogy.

Over the past 20 years, Dr. Brignoni has had extensive experience in training, performance improvement and change management. She holds a B.A. from Purdue University, a M.A.T. and a Ph.D. in Education from Indiana University. She is a member of the Defense Acquisition Workforce as a certified Facilities Engineer and a Black Belt graduate of the Naval Sea Systems Command’s Lean-Six Sigma College.

Senior Enlisted Adviser

Master Chief Leilani L. Cale-Jones, USCG-RET

Master Chief Cale-Jones enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in July 1987. Upon completion of basic training, she reported to her first assignment at Station Chetco River in Brookings, Oregon. Her follow-on assignments include Group/Air Station Astoria, National Pollution Funds Center (cm), Communications Area Master Station Pacific, Group Milwaukee, USCGC POLAR SEA (WAGB 11), Integrated Support Command Seattle (pf), Yeoman Rating Force Master Chief, Command Master Chief for Maintenance & Logistics Command Pacific, Command Master Chief for Coast Guard District 14 in Honolulu, HI, and Command Master Chief for Pacific Area.  She assumed the duties as the Deputy Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard in May 2014.  She retired on 31 October 2018 after over 31 years of faithful service to the Coast Guard and the nation.

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Master Chief Cale-Jones earned her General Equivalency Diploma (GED) to Enlist in the U.S. Coast Guard and has gone on to hold a Masters Certificate in Quality Systems Management and a Green Belt in Six Sigma and a MBA in Strategic Leadership. Master Chief Cale-Jones is a graduate of the Coast Guard’s Leadership and Management School, Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Academy East, the Navy’s Senior Enlisted Academy and the National Defense University Command Senior Enlisted Leader Course.

Master Chief Cale-Jones’ awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with two gold stars, Coast Guard Commendation Medal with two gold stars and the Operational Distinguishing Service Device, Coast Guard Achievement Medal with two gold stars, the Commandant’s Letter of Commendation with one gold star and two Antarctic Service Medals.

USMC Board Of Directors Representative

Major Christine M. Taranto, USMC

Major Christine Marie Taranto was born on 18 February 1985 in Savannah, Georgia. She was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in May 2007, having completed her Bachelors of Science in Economics at the United States Naval Academy.

Following The Basic School and Logistics Officer Course, she was assigned to Combat Logistics Regiment-17, Landing Support Company in May 2008. During this tour, her assignments included Landing Support Platoon Commander, Company Executive Officer Landing Support Company, Company Executive Officer Headquarters and Service Company, and Arrival/Departure Air Control Group Officer In Charge/Platoon Commander Combat Logistics Battalion-7 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Additionally, she served as the Logistics Officer for Combat Logistics Battalion 13 on board the USS Comstock as part of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit in support of WESTPAC 11-1.

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Post deployment, Captain Taranto executed orders to Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 in Jacksonville, North Carolina in December of 2011. During this tour she served as the Squadron Logistics Officer, Headquarters and Service Company Commander, and the Operations Officer.

In June of 2014 she reported to Monterey, California to study Material Logistics Management at the Naval Postgraduate School. In March of 2016 she graduated with a Masters of Business Administration. She is currently assigned to Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Virginia. She was promoted to the rank of Major in August of 2017 and is currently a Logistics Analyst and the Continuous Process Improvement Coordinator/Trainer for Marine Corps Systems Command.

She is a distinguished graduate of Expeditionary Warfare School and a graduate of Naval War College JPME Phase I. Her personal awards include three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and One Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Additionally, Captain Taranto has been a member of the All-Marine Running Team and the All-Marine Triathlon Team since 2013, selected as a member of the Military World Triathlon Team in 2015, and was Marine Corps Female Athlete of the Year in 2013 and 2015. Captain Taranto was also selected as member of the Top 40 Under 40 Military Class of 2015. She earned her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt in November of 2017.

USCG Board Of Directors Representative

Captain Martha Laguardia-Kotite

Retired US Coast Guard Captain, Martha LaGuardia-Kotite is an award-winning author of five books. Her inspirational presentations and writing are influenced by her 29-year career serving at sea and ashore.

A leader, Martha earned numerous personal and team awards for her mobilizations during national disasters, missions saving lives at sea and work as a public relations spokesperson for the Service, the Commandant’s Press Secretary and a New York City public relations firm’s account lead for IBM.

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An experienced motivational speaker, Martha moderates panels and presents to corporations, schools and leadership symposiums. Martha enjoys making a difference using her own “sea stories” and her profiles of top-leaders, courageous men and women as a foundation for her keynotes and TED style talks.

She delivers life-changing stories enriched by hard-earned wisdom and her belief that no matter your age or experience, we can be bold. We can achieve our daring dreams, our mission and enjoy the journey of life!

SSLA President

Lieutenant Commander Alexa Jenkins

LCDR Alexa Jenkins is a native of Palos Verdes, CA.  In 2004, she graduated the U.S. Naval Academy with a B.S. In English and a minor in Spanish.

Her first tour of duty was aboard USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN (CG-57), where she served as the Gunnery Officer.  She completed two deployments: one to the Arabian Gulf and one to Seventh Fleet while onboard.  In 2006, LCDR Jenkins reported to USS FORT MCHENRY (LSD-43) where she served as Combat Information Center Officer, and deployed on the inaugural Africa Partnership Station deployment throughout Western Africa and the Gulf of Guinea.  She was then forward deployed to the Gulf of Aden 2009, in her following tour as Aide to CTF 151/ESG 2 for the first Flag-led counter piracy coalition.

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In 2012, LCDR Jenkins reported to USS GONZALEZ (DDG-66) where she served as the Operations Officer.  She deployed with GONZALEZ to the coast of Somalia to conduct an independent scan eagle mission.  She finished her second Department Head tour as the N3 at DESRON 23 in San Diego.

During her tour as Commanding Officer of USS TORNADO PC-14 from September 2015 to July 2017, she also filled a gap in Commanding Officers and took command of USS CHINOOK (PC-9) in Manama, Bahrain before returning to command TORNADO.

While on shore duty at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill NROTC, LCDR Jenkins earned her MBA from the Kenan Flaglar School of Business. She also completed her Joint Professional Military Education Phase One (JPME I) while at UNC.

She is currently stationed at Naval Support Facility Arlington as the OPNAV N131 Head Officer Promotion Planner.

LCDR Jenkins’s awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (5); Navy Achievement Medal (3) and various unit and campaign awards.

LCDR Jenkins is married to Rod Jenkins of Jacksonville, FL.

SSLA Vice President

Chief Jodi Geibel

Chief Petty Officer Geibel is a native of Omaha, Nebraska and is a single mother of three daughters. She enlisted in the Navy in July 2000. Upon graduation from Recruit Training Command and ET “A” School, she reported to Naval Air Technical Training Center, Pensacola, FL earning her first Navy Enlisted Classification Code, 1570 and was advanced to Petty Officer Third Class. Petty Officer Geibel’s first duty station was Naval Air Station, Key West where she served as the Air Traffic Control Communication Maintenance Technician. In 2004, she screened for special duty and was selected for Pre-commissioning Unit San Antonio (LPD-17). During her tenure, at PCU San Antonio, she received NEC 9612 (WSN-7 Inertial Navigations Technician), NEC 1405 (Combatant Super High Frequency Satellite Communications Maintenance) and NEC 1486 (Single Audio System).

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In 2005, she was advanced to Petty Officer Second Class and was given the title of Work Center Supervisor of Communications. In 2006, she was part of the commissioning crew of USS San Antonio (LPD-17). While stationed on board, Petty Officer Geibel was the first Second Class Petty Officer to obtain the qualification of Officer of the Deck (In port) and Combat Systems Officer of the Watch (CSOOW). Petty Officer Geibel was transferred, in 2007, to Naval Air Engineering Station, Lakehurst, New Jersey and served as the Ground Electronics Maintenance Division Leading Petty Officer. In 2008, she was selected as NAES Lakehurst Junior Sailor of the Year. Petty Officer Geibel was selected for Recruit Division Commander Duty and transferred to Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes in 2010. En route, she obtained NEC 9502 (Instructor) and NEC 9508 (Recruit Division Commander).

After successfully pushing 5 divisions and serving as Leading Petty Officer, she screened and was selected for RDC “C” School Instructor Duty. In 2011, Petty Officer Geibel was advanced to First Class Petty Officer, obtained her Master Training Specialist qualification and was awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award. While serving as Leading Petty Officer of RDC “C” School, she was selected as Naval Service Training Command’s Instructor of the Year, 2012. In 2013, she checked onboard Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Center where she served as the Leading Petty Officer for Information Resource Management Department. She also served as the Sea Service Leadership Association’s Secretary from 2012-2017 and is now the Executive Vice President.  In 2012 she was named the National Association of Women, “Woman of the Year”.  In July 2015, she qualified as a Landing Craft Air Cushion Navigator and is currently stationed at Assault Craft Unit Five, Camp Pendleton, CA.  In September 2016, she was selected for Chief Petty Officer and immediately deployed on USS Somerset (LPD-25).

Chief Petty Officer Geibel’s personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Award (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards), Good Conduct (six awards), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, and Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

SSLA Treasurer

Lieutenant Colonel Jenny Storm, USMC

After completion of The Basic School in June 2000, Lieutenant Howard (prior to marriage) was assigned to Financial Management School in Camp Johnson, NC where she graduated top of her class. From there, she was stationed with 1st Force Service Support Group, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA as a deputy disbursing officer. During this time, she participated in several exercises to include KERNAL BLITZ as a watch officer and the DEVIL PUPS program as a Series Commander, teaching leadership to young teenagers.

In October 2001, she joined the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit as the Disbursing Officer and deployed from June – December 2002 aboard the USS BELLEAU WOOD to the CENTCOM AOR. Immediately upon return, she deployed again with Amphibious Task Force-WEST from January – July 2003 as the Disbursing Officer during Operation Iraqi Freedom, supporting the Marines of 3d MAW aboard the USS BONHOMME RICHARD, as well as Marines aboard six other ships operating in the Persian Gulf area.

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After returning from her second deployment, she received orders to Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, VA as a Financial Analyst on the Program Objectives Memorandum team. During this tour of duty she completed Amphibious Warfare School, non-resident; Masters of Science, Acquisition and Contract Management with the Florida Institute of Technology; and attained Level II DAWIA Certification from Defense Acquisition University in the area of Program Management and Financial Management, earning the additional MOS of 8057, Acquisition Professional Candidate.

Upon leaving active duty in December 2006, Captain Storm joined an Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA) detachment as the Comptroller, Headquarters Service Battalion, Marine Forces Pacific, Camp Smith, HI. Captain Storm then commanded Ordnance Maintenance Company, 4th Marine Logistics Group in Waco, TX from March 2010 – May 2012. During that time, she was promoted to the rank of Major, completed Command and Staff Reserve Seminar, and Advanced Logistics Officers Course. She was then assigned to 4th Maintenance Battalion, Charlotte, NC as Executive Officer until 2014. During this time, she attained the MOS of 0402 (Logistics Officer), completed Advanced Joint PME, and earned a Master of Arts in Leadership from the University of Oklahoma. From January 2015 – June 2016, she served as the Combat Logistics Regiment 45 Future Operations Officer in Marietta, GA, spearheading efforts to integrate reserve Marines into II Marine Expeditionary Force. From July 2016 - July 2018, she served as the commanding officer for Combat Logistics Battalion 451, a reserve battalion located across 12 sites in nine different states and headquartered out of Charlotte, NC. She then spent a year at the Department of Homeland Security as a CMC Fellow before checking in to her current unit, Marine Forces Cyberspace Command.

Personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two gold stars and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. She has also earned the Iraqi Campaign Medal with two bronze campaign stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Ribbon, and Sea Service Deployment ribbon with one bronze star. She is married to Daniel and has three children.

SSLA Vice President For Membership

Technical Sergeant Kristine Troy

Technical Sergeant Kristine E. Troy is a Geospatial Intelligence Analyst Instructor assigned to the 315th Training Squadron, Goodfellow Air Force Base (AFB), Texas, where she is responsible for conducting intelligence training annually for 532 Airmen from Basic Military Training and cross training prior service Airmen in the Geospatial-Intelligence Analyst Course to develop intelligence operators for global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Additionally, she will be attending National Intelligence University in 2018-2019 where she will be earning her Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence.

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TSGT Troy entered the Air Force in November 2009. She graduated from the Imagery Analysis Course in 2010.  Her background as an Imagery Analyst includes various duties where she supported the United States Central Command and United State European Command while at the 45th Intelligence Squadron, Joint Base Langely-Eustis AFB, Virginia, supporting war fighters in Operations ODYSSEY DAWN and ENDURING FREEDOM.  She has been hand-selected for multiple positions to include a special access analyst in a $1.6 billion dollar program satisfying critical Department of Defense requirements; Release Control Officer; followed by Chief Enlisted Manager Assistant and Commander Executive Assistant at Goodfellow AFB.  Sergeant Troy has deployed in support of Operations NOMAD SHADOW and INHERENT RESOLVE.


  • 2005 Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication & Bachelor of Science in Apparel & Merchandising, Colorado State University, CO
  • 2011 Associate’s Degree in Intelligence Studies and Technology, Community College of the Air Force
  • 2013 Airman Leadership School, Joint Base Langley-Eustis AFB, Virginia
  • 2015 Associate’s Degree in Instructor of Technology and Military Science, Community College of the Air Force


  • Nov 2009-Dec 2009, Student, Basic Military Training, Lackland AFB, Texas
  • Jan 2010-Jun 2010, Student, Technical Training School, Goodfellow AFB, Texas
  • Jun 2010-Mar 2014, Geospatial Analyst, Joint Base Langley-Eustis AFB, Virginia
  • Mar 2014-present, Geospatial Intelligence Instructor, Goodfellow AFB, Texas
  • Future, Student, National Intelligence University, Bethesda, MD

Major Awards and Decorations

  • Joint Service Commendation Medal
  • Air Force Commendation Medal
  • Joint Service Achievement Medal
  • Air & Space Campaign Medal

Other Achievements

  • 480 ISR Wing Airman of the 2nd Quarter 2011
  • Senior Airman Below the Zone 2011
  • 17th Training Group Support NCO of the 3rd Quarter 2016
  • 315th Training Squadron Volunteer of the Year 2016

Effective Date of Promotion

  • Airman First Class - Nov 2009
  • Senior Airman - Sep 2011
  • Staff Sergeant - Jul 2013
  • Technical Sergeant - Feb 2018

SSLA Secretary

Lieutenant Cherisa Friedlander

Lieutenant Cherisa L. Friedlander is currently the Operations Officer aboard the NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow, a fisheries survey vessel out of Newport, RI. Here she serves as the liaison between the vessel and scientists from collaborative agencies, ensuring operational readiness and project efficiency. Surveys include some of the longest running fish surveys in the world, as well as deep sea coral and marine mammal surveys. In addition, she serves as the ship’s Medical Person in Charge and Environmental Compliance Officer.

Prior to Newport, LT Friedlander was the station chief of the Atmospheric Research Observatory at the South Pole, Antarctica. Here she maintained and collected climate data for NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, Global Monitoring Division. The 13 month assignment on the ice included 6 months of darkness and 9 months of station isolation. LT Friedlander was specially requested to fill the assignment based on the needs of the Corps, demonstrating flexibility and her desire to serve in any capacity needed.

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From 2014-2017 she served as the Operations Officer at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Fisheries Ecology Division in Santa Cruz, CA. Here she assisted with critical Pacific fisheries programs such as rockfish and salmon, and served as the lab’s Vessel Operations Coordinator for 6 small boats. LT Friedlander simultaneously completed her Master’s Degree in Applied Marine and Watershed Science from California State University Monterey Bay. Her coursework included topics in Advanced Marine Science and Policy, International Marine Law, Seafloor Mapping, Economics, and Climate Change.

Her first assignment was junior officer aboard the NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker, NOAA’s newest fisheries survey vessel. As a member of the delivery team, she single-handedly developed the vessel’s operational procedures and environmental plans. She ensured allocation of necessary compliance permits and spill response equipment, which enabled the ship to obtain its first Certificate of Inspection from the USCG. As the first navigation officer for the ship, she established the ship’s paper and electronic chart suite and prepared the voyage plan for the ship’s arrival in its homeport of San Diego, CA, which included a transit through the Panama Canal.

LT Friedlander’s personal awards include an Antarctic Service Medal, two NOAA Corps Achievement Medals, three NOAA Corps Director’s Ribbons, and ribbons for International and Pacific Sea Service. In addition she has earned three commendation letters crediting her exemplary service during her augmentation aboard the NOAA R/V Gloria Michelle and the USCG Eagle training cruise, as well as recognition for achieving the highest score on her Leadership Philosophy Panel while at Basic Officer Training Class.

Cherisa also holds a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and a Minor in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island. She was an active member of the school’s Marine Science Society and swam for four years on the university’s Division One swim team, serving as captain her senior year.

SSLA Awards Coordinator

Chief Tanya Smith

Chief Smith was born in Gulfport, Mississippi. She attended Gulfport High School and graduated in 1997. In July 1999, Chief Smith joined the Navy and reported to boot camp at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, IL. After completing her recruit training she attended Apprenticeship Training in Pensacola, Florida. Her first tour of duty was USS BATAAN LHD5 in Norfolk, VA, from November 1999 to August 2003. During this time, she deployed three times, the ship's Maiden Voyage, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. While serving onboard the USS BATAAN, she was advanced to Petty Officer Third Class and earned her Enlisted Aviation Warfare and Surface Warfare designations. Prior to her departure, she was advanced to Petty Officer Second Class and received her first Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medal. 

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In August 2003, she transferred to Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department, Jacksonville, Florida.  While there, she was selected as Junior Sailor of the Quarter, First Quarter in 2005.  In October 2006, she transferred to SEACONRON TWO TWO, VS-22, in Jacksonville, Florida. While there she participated in numerous detachments to include Curacao, Alaska, Canada, Key West and Al Asad Iraq for a short-fused six-month deployment. While deployed she advanced to Petty Officer First Class, and received her Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Service Medal for Aviation Maintenance Inspection and her end of tour Navy and Marine Corps service medal. Upon the decommissioning of VS-22 she transferred to HELANTSUBRON SEVEN, HS-7 while there, she was selected as Senior Sailor of the Quarter, Third Quarter and received her end of tour award Navy and Marine Achievement Medal.

Chief Smith challenged herself professionally and personally, where she successfully completed screening to RTC, Great Lakes as a Recruit Division Commander and completed Recruit Division Commander “C” school in April 2010.  All eight of her divisions have graduated with honors.  In March 2013 she departed Recruit Training Command, went Forward Deployed Naval Forces to Atsugi, Japan.  Shortly after her arrival she was advanced to Chief Petty Officer and was pinned September 13th, 2013. She served at both VFA-115 and VAW-115 from March 2013 through December 2016. Chief Smith is currently serving at Patrol Squadron Thirty (VP-30).

Chief Smith’s awards include: Navy Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals (8th), Navy Unit Commendation, Battle Efficiency Ribbons (3rd), Good Conduct Medals (4th), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal (3rd), Sea Service Ribbons (5th), Overseas Sea Service (2nd), Sharpshooter Rifle, and Marksman Pistol.

SSLA Vice President for Chapters

Operational Specialist First Class Kendall Slaughter

Operational Specialist First Class (Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) Kendall Slaughter was born in 1986 in Jackson, California. In 2009, Petty Officer Slaughter joined the Navy and reported to boot camp at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, IL. After completing her recruit training she attend Apprenticeship Training in Great Lakes, IL. Her first tour of duty was the USS Oscar Austin DDG 79 in Norfolk, VA. From there she transferred to the AMC Passenger Terminal Norfolk where she served until 2012. Petty Officer Slaughter then went on to serve on the USS Barry DDG 52 from 2012 to 2016 where she completed a nine month Ballistic Missile Defense deployment executing Operation Active Endeavor, Operation Relentless Shield, Exercise Noble Dina, Exercise Proud Mant

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During her tour on the USS Barry she advanced to Petty Officer Third Class, Petty Officer Second and finally Petty Officer First Class and received her Enlisted Surface Warfare designations and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. Prior to her departure, USS Barry homeport shifted from Norfolk VA, to Yokosuka Japan. In July 2016, she transferred to Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West, FL where she executes the President’s Nation Drug Control Strategy in the Western Hemisphere. While there, she was selected Senior Service Member of the Quarter, Second Quarter in 2017 and Fourth Quarter 2018 and nominated for Senior Service Member of the Year in 2017 and 2018 and Joint Operation Center Operator of the Year for 2018.

SSLA Public Affairs Officer

Lieutenant Commander Theresa L. Carpenter

Public Affairs Officer, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 15

LCDR Theresa Carpenter, a native of Columbus, Ohio, enlisted in the Navy in 1996 as an Aviation Electricians Mate (Aircrewman). Her first assignment in the Navy was to the Operational Maintenance Division at Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland where she worked on electrical systems on the Navy P-3 Orion. In 2000, she reported to Sea Control Squadron 35 (VS-35), which deployed on USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

In September 2003, LCDR Carpenter was selected for the Seamen-to-Admiral 21 program. She completed her Bachelors of Arts degree in Communication from Worcester State College, MA and was subsequently commissioned in 2006. As an Ensign, she reported to duty in Hawaii onboard USS RUSSELL (DDG 59) and earned her surface warfare qualification.

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In December 2007, LCDR Carpenter reported to Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet and was selected as a Navy Public Affairs officer in May 2008. She served as fleet community relations director, coordinating multiple senior leader engagements and running the aircraft carrier distinguished visitor program, for which the command received the 2009 RADM Thompson-Ravitz award; a Navy award bestowed on programs which demonstrate public affairs excellence.

In April 2010, she reported to U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM). While assigned at PACOM, LCDR Carpenter worked as media officer during Japan’s Operation Tomodachi, coordinating commander engagements and strategic communication efforts with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and component command public affairs. During this operation, LCDR Carpenter created crisis communication messaging for response to an almost simultaneous humanitarian crisis, earthquake, nuclear reactor explosion and tsunami. During her assignment at PACOM, she created the command’s first integrated, proactive communication plan tying strategic messaging to media events and internal products.

In June 2013, LCDR Carpenter assumed duties as the public affairs officer for the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, providing Navy strategic communication guidance for nearly 3,500 Marines and Sailors while spearheading a 12-person team to develop an aggressive hometown marketing campaign, operational deployment metrics and the creation of the first command newsletter and Facebook page.

She graduated from San Diego State University in May 2016 with a Masters of Arts Degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies. In July 2016, she reported to USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) as the media department head and public affairs officer. While onboard, she deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and supported Exercise Malabar and the Three-Carrier Strike Force Exercise. This milestone tour culminated in her team winning 17 Navy and DOD communication awards.  

LCDR Carpenter’s personal awards include one Joint Meritorious Service Medal, one Joint Commendation Medal, two Navy Commendation Medals, one Joint Achievement Medal, four Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and numerous campaign medals. She is a graduate of the Naval War College, with a Masters of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies, specializing in Information Operations. Additionally, she has an accreditation in public relations (with a military emphasis) from the Public Relations Society of America.

Vice President of Administration

Lieutenant Commander John Dittmer, USNR (RET)

LCDR John Dittmer, USNR-Ret was born in Norwich, CT into a Navy Family.  In 1987, he was commissioned from the NROTCU at Marquette University in 1987, where he graduated with a B.A. in Political Science & History. He attended Surface Warfare Officer’s School in Coronado, CA, and served on USS COOK (FF-1083) as 1st LT. In 1988, he transferred to NAVSTA San Diego and served as Assistant Staff Civil Engineer.  In 1989, he reported to HQ, Allied Forces Baltic Approaches in Karup, Denmark as an Information Systems Security Officer for a NATO C2 system.

In 1992, LCDR Dittmer transferred to BUPERS in Arlington, VA, where he served in several positions within the Information Systems Directorate (Pers-10).  During this period, LCDR Dittmer first became involved with SSLA.  In 1995, LCDR Dittmer transferred to NAVBASE, Guantanamo Bay, serving as Base Security Officer & Provost Marshal for JTF-160 during Operation Sea Signal.  In 1996, LCDR Dittmer, transferred to the staff of Director, COMSEC Material System (DCMS) in Washington, DC.  Then, he transferred to the Navy Reserve in 1998.  He was mobilized in 1999 (Kosovo Campaign & Bosnia) and in 2001 to support the Global War on Terror.  In 2005, he medically retired from the Navy.

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LCDR Dittmer helped to transform the Women Officers Professional Association (WOPA) to the Sea Services Leadership Association (SSLA) in 2005. He became the last President of WOPA and the first President of SSLA, the only man to have served in either capacity.  He currently serves as VP of Administration. For his “day job,” he is a Principal Cybersecurity Engineer, supporting the Services as a contractor.  He has a MA in Computer Systems Management from Webster University and he is professionally certified as a CISSP-ISSMP, PMP, GSLC, GCED, GCCC, and GLEG.  LCDR Dittmer is also a 1997 graduate of the Naval War College.


P.O. Box 40371
Arlington, VA 22204



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