Executive Board Officers
President: 1stLt Matt Hicks, USMC
VP Membership & Recruiting: CPT Donna Monteleone USA
VP Fundraising: Col. Alan Buck, USAF
VP Secretary: LT Susan Monks, USN
VP Newsletter: MAJ Phil Cruz USA
VP Treasurer: LTC Jeff Jensen USA
VP Webmaster: Lt Col John Simonetti USAF
VP Veterans Affairs: Captain Ron Egut, USN
VP Programs: 1LT Don Boyle USA
VP Chaplain: CPT David Tross, USA
Past President: 1LT Al Smith USA
YAA Co-Chair, Captain Mary Durand, USN
**Community Affairs: Donna Cole
**Board Member at Large: CWO Will Seeley USMC
* One Vote Only
1Lt Matthew Hicks, USMC Matt is a 1987 USMC Officers Candidate School Platoon Leaders Class graduate. Upon graduation in May of 1988 from Kenyon College with a BA in political Science Matt was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and reported to the USMC Basic School in August of 1988. After completion of The Basic School at Quantico, VA., Matt completed MOS training at Camp Lejeune, NC and was assigned to the First Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment (Artillery) of the First Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, CA.
Matt served as the Battalion Motor Transport Officer during numerous deployments to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms and a deployment to Southwest Asia, participating in combat operations going into Kuwait City as a member of Task Force Papa Bear and Task Force Ripper during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
Matt left active duty in August of 1991 and remained a member of the USMC Individual Ready Reserve until December of 1993.
After leaving active duty, Matt has spent thirty years as a member of the Wall Street community in both institutional and retail sales roles. In his retail sales roles, Matt has worked with a number of our active-duty forces and retired military personnel. He feels that it is his duty to give his Wall Street skill set to those who continue serve our great nation.
Matt passionately believes in giving back to his local community. Matt is a Deputy Chief in the Ridgefield Office of Emergency Management and he is the Junior Vice Commandant of the Ridgefield Detachment of the Marine Corps League in Ridgefield, CT where Matt and his wife Daniella live. Matt has a son who is an engineering student a Virginia Tech and a daughter at Ridgefield High School.
VP – Membership & Recruiting
CPT Donna A. Monteleone, USA Captain Donna A. Monteleone was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated from Polytechnic Institute of New York in 1978 with a BS, Meteorology and Oceanography.
Donna was enrolled in Army ROTC while at university and was in the 2nd ROTC class which accepted women. She was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant the day after graduation at Carnegie Hall. With heavy math and science undergraduate studies, she was assigned to the Signal Corps.
After completing Signal Corp Officer Basic Course at Fort Gordon, Georgia, she was sent to the DMZ with the 122 Signal Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, Camp Casey, Korea as Communications Staff officer to the Division Commander. She worked with the White House Communication Agency during President Jimmy Carter’s visit to Korea in 1979.
2LT Monteleone then became a Platoon Leader 329th Army Security Agency (ASA) Company, Camp Hovey, Korea. This Military Intelligence platoon monitored communications from North Korea and relayed transmissions back to Intelligence HQ in Seoul.
After returning state-side from Korea, 1LT Monteleone served as Executive officer and Platoon Leader with Combat Development Experimentation Command, Fort Hunter-Liggett, California. In 1981, she was the only woman officer on the joint Army-Marine Corps exercise which led to the establishment of the current desert training operations at Fort Irwin, CA.
In 1982, CPT Monteleone attended Signal Officer Advanced Courses at Fort Gordon, Georgia and Telecommunications Staff Officer College, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. She did her Master’s Degree studies at University of Southern Mississippi while at the Telecommunications Staff Officer College.
CPT Monteleone also served a liaison officer and host to visiting officers (and families) from Egypt, Lebanon, Kenya and Australia. This was especially rewarding welcoming other military from allied countries, getting to know each other, their cultures and even learning to cook some of their specialty dishes!
CPT Monteleone served as 7th Signal Command, Executive Officer, Fort Ritchie, MD, and Company Commander, Fort Gordon, GA. As a reserve officer, she also assisted the ROTC Department at Seton Hall University, NJ.
After leaving the military, she worked as a telecommunications engineer and purchasing manager for Exxon Corporation. She transitioned to chemicals with Witco Corp, in NYC before becoming a purchasing manager for Unilever Corp, NYC.
CPT Monteleone is married to Neil P. Randle, PhD. They met when working for Unilever. They have lived abroad in multiple countries, both when single and married. They have boy-girl twins who were born while on assignment with Unilever in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Their son, Nicholas, is an accountant and their daughter, Marie is a math teacher at Norwalk HS.
VP – Fundraising
VP – Secretary
LT Susan Stuban Monks USNR. B.S. United States Merchant Marine Academy 1982. U.S. Coast Guard Third Mate of Steam and Motor Vessels, Unlimited Tonnage. J.D. Quinnipiac University School of Law 1990. Admitted to the Connecticut Bar, U.S. District Court, U.S. Court of Military Appeals. Atlantic Richfield Oil Company, served as 3rd Officer of oil super tankers in the Alaskan crude oil trade, 1982-84. Communication Electronics Command (CECOM), Fort Monmouth, NJ, Engineer for electronic warfare equipment installed on the AH-64 Apache and AH-1 Cobra helicopters. Maintenance Engineer for the ASN 128 Doppler Navigation System and the ALQ-136 Countermeasure Set, 1984-86. Transitioned from Individual Ready Reservist to active service as the Operations Officer and Navigator for the flagship MV CPL Louis J. Hauge Jr.’s maiden voyage executing the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Prepositioning Ships Squadron II mission in Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Terminal, 1985. Reserve Officer attached to the Naval Control of Shipping (NCSO) Unit 601, New Haven, CT, 1987-1992. Attorney General Office, Pago Pago, American Samoa, Legal Intern, 1988. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Regional Counsel, Superfund Enforcement Attorney, 1990-1994. Adjunct Professor of Law, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Naugatuck Valley Community College, and Western Connecticut State University, 1994-present. Magistrate, Connecticut Superior Court, 2011-present.
Susan resides in Trumbull. She has five children and two grandchildren.
VP – Newsletter
MAJ. Philip J. Cruz USA (Ret) B.S Secondary Education Western Connecticut State University 1976, M.A.T. Sacred Heart University 1996, Educational Administration Certification Sacred Heart University 2005, Graduate, United States Army Command and General Staff College 1992, Fort Leavenworth Kansas.
MAJ Cruz joined the United States Army Reserve as an enlisted man in 1971 and served within the enlisted ranks from E1Supply Clerk to E7 Chief Senior Supply Sergeant. He was selected as one of a very few enlisted soldiers to receive a direct commission as an Quartermaster Officer in the United States Army Reserve by the Secretary of the Army in March 1980. MAJ Cruz has served as Logistics, Transportation, Training, and Civil Affair officers within the duration of his 25-year tour with The 76th Training Division and Special Operations Command (USSOC). His last Billet was as HHC Detachment Commander 411th Civil Affairs Battalion.
MAJ Cruz works as a teacher for the Newtown Board of Education. He is an 8th grade Social Studies and Language Arts teacher for the Newtown Middle School. He has taught in the Newtown District for the past 23 years. Prior to his teaching career MAJ Cruz was a Sales Engineering Manager for three nationally prominent Semiconductor companies Intel, National Semiconductor, and Fairchild Semiconductor Corporations serving the electronic and information processing fields.
He resides in Newtown with his wife Sandra. They have two children daughter Amanda, residing In the D.C.area, and a son Andrew, who passed away in 2008.
VP – Treasurer
LTC Jeffrey M. Jensen, USA (Ret)I began my military career in the ROTC at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. After 4 years in the Corps, I was commissioned as a2d Lieutenant June 3, 1972. After getting married on Labor Day weekend that year, the Army had the wisdom to move me to the Air Defense Artillery (ADA) basic officer’s course at Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX.
After completing the course, I left active duty the following January and returned home to Connecticut where I became a training officer at a basic combat training battalion (76th Division Training) in Fairfield, CT. After three years, I was promoted to 1LT and eventually to Captain, earning best “Company Commander in the Battalion” kudos. In 1980, now a Captain, I was assigned as Division Safety Officer for the 76th Division (Training) in West Hartford. In conjunction with that position, I attended the U.S. Army Safety School at Fort Rucker, AL.
Subsequent to that I was promoted to Major and assigned to the Public Affairs Office. While in this role, I helped establish the first US Army reserve mobilization center at Ft Campbell. After that event, I was named the division Equal Opportunity Officer.
I completed my career in the Army while serving as a Military Intelligence Officer and retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1996.
VP – Webmaster
Lt Col John F. Simonetti, USAF (Ret) Lieutenant Colonel John F. Simonetti was born Oct 12, 1957 in Derby, Connecticut. After graduating High School at Fairfield Prep in 1975 he attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY graduating in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science Degree (Cum Laude) in Physics. In 1981 he earned his commission at the Air Force Officer Training School at Lackland Air Force Base, TX. He is a graduate of Squadron Officer’s School (1985), Air Command and Staff College (1995), and holds a Master of Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (1997).
Lieutenant Colonel Simonetti earned his pilot wings in 1981at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas as a Distinguished Graduate and winner of the Academic Award from Undergraduate Pilot Training. From there he was assigned to the 25th Flying Training Squadron at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma as an instructor pilot in the T-38. In March 1986 he attended F-16 Basic Training at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona and graduated in October, 1986. His first F-16 assignment was to the 496th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Hahn Airbase, Germany. There he also served as squadron Standardization and Evaluation Liaison Officer and Assistant Chief of Wing Training for the 51 Tactical Fighter Wing. In 1989, Lieutenant Colonel Simonetti was assigned as Air Liaison Officer to the 8th Infantry Division of the US Army in Bad Kreuznach, Germany. In October, 1990 he volunteered to serve in Operation Desert Shield and was reassigned to the 12th Aviation Brigade already in place at King Fahd Airport, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. During Operation Desert Storm, Lieutenant Colonel Simonetti’s unit participated in history’s largest air assault operation in conjunction with the 101st Airborne Division’s movement into Iraq.
Immediately after the war, Lieutenant Colonel Simonetti was selected as initial cadre member of the 18th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. After requalification and Block 40 F-16 training at MacDill and Luke Air Force Bases, he arrived in Alaska in December, 1991. There he served as F-16 instructor pilot, flight commander, and Chief of Wing Stan Eval. Reassigned to 17th Air Force Headquarters, Sembach Airbase, Germany in February 1995 as Chief of Safety, Lt Col Simonetti witnessed the closure of that command and was asked to serve as F-16 evaluator on the United States Air Force, Europe Standardization and Evaluation Team. He rose to become Chief of that office in 1997 and in July 1998 was reassigned to Luke as an instructor pilot and assistant operations officer in the 309th Fighter Squadron. Lieutenant Colonel Simonetti completed his tour at Luke as the assistant operations officer in the 56th Operational Support Squadron and instructor pilot in the 310th Fighter Squadron.
A command pilot with over 3300 Flying hours, Lieutenant Colonel Simonetti has over 2000 hours in F-16. His military decorations include the Air Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Commendation medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Achievement Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Combat Readiness Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Armed Forced Expeditionary Medal, and the Kuwait Liberation Medal. He retired from the Air Force in 2001. He then flew with from Delta Airlines for 21 years as an international pilot and retired in 2022.
Lieutenant Colonel Simonetti is married to the former Louise B. Anziano from Trumbull, Connecticut. They have twin sons John and Joseph, 40, who are married and live in the DC area, and 7 grandchildren.
VP – Veterans Affairs
CAPT Ronald S Egut, USN (Ret) Ronald Egut was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Graduated Parma Senior o University 1968 with a BS in Education. Joined the Navy 1966 as an AVROC (Aviation Reserve Officer Candidate). Attended 7 weeks Aviation Officer Candidate School summer 1966 at NAS Pensacola and second 7 weeks summer 1967. Upon college graduation, commissioned an Ensign USNR and entered Navy flight training program.
Preflight School NAS Pensacola, VT-1 (training squadron 1) NAS Saufley, VT-3 NAS Whiting, VT-5 NAS Saufley, VT-31 NAS Corpus Christi. Aircraft Carrier qualified on USS Lexington and USS independence. Earned Naval Aviator Wings June 1969. Upon completion of flight training was selected as a SERGRAD (Selectively Retained Graduate) with NAS Saufley as flight instructor 2 year tour. Next assignment was VP-47 NAS Moffett. Training enroute Celestial Navigation NAS Corpus Christi, Nuclear Weapons NAS North Island, SERE (survival evasion resistance escape) Warner Springs, VP-31 and VP-47 (patrol squadron) NAS Moffett. Deployments to NS Adak AK and NAS Agana Guam. Upon release from active duty served various Naval Reserve Units -VP-91, VTU’s, Submarine Development Squadron 12, USS Abraham Lincoln CVN-72. Retired April 1993.
Civilian Occupations – Provident Life & Accident Brokerage Consultant San Francisco,Ca. Branch Manager Portland, OR
Commercial Airline Pilot – People Express, Eastern Airlines, Business Express, Continental Airlines. Retired as a Boeing 737 Captain July 2006
VP – Programs
LT Donald Boyle, USAR (Ret), B.S.Biology,Norwich University 1968, MS Biology, Hofstra University. Vietnam Veteran, Purple Heart Recipient, 1/77 Armor, 5th Mechanized Infantry Brigade. Morgan Stanley securities broker. Bank of America, loan consultant. Now retired.
VP – Chaplain
Captain David Tyrone Elvis Tross, USAR. CPT Tross was born as a first generation American to Caribbean parents on Dec 29, 1982, in Bronx, New York. He attended and graduated from Herbert Hoover High School in San Diego, California in May 2000. Captain Tross received his Bachelors degree from Southern Connecticut State University in Sociology. He later went on to Crown College in Minnesota and received his Masters Degree in Divinity. Captain Tross is currently enrolled in The College of Metaphysical Studies, Santa Barbara, California to receive his Doctorate.
Captain Tross decided to serve this great country on Aug 27, 2000 as an active-duty Navy Sailor graduating from Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois. Throughout his 7-year Active-Duty Naval career, Tross was attached to Amphibious Construction Battalion Two in Little Creek, Virginia; Amphibious Construction Battalion One in Coronado, California; Port Operations in Newport, Rhode Island and Port Operations in New London, Connecticut. Tross made it to the rank of Boatswain Mate Second Class, (BM2) were he also achieved various qualifications, awards and medals such as but not limited to, Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist (SCWS) and Small Craft Coxswain.
In March 2008, Tross decided to leave active-duty Navy life and joined the Connecticut Army National Guard as a Military Police (31B) Soldier. While in the Connecticut Army National Guard, Tross achieved many qualifications and awards. Tross also obtained a second Military Occupational Specialty as a Correction/Detention Specialist (31E). In Sept 2021, Tross was direct Commission to Chaplain in the United States Army Reserve as a 1LT. Due to his educational and professional background, Tross’ date of rank was revised to March 03, 2020. Chaplain Tross currently serves as the Battalion Chaplain for the 744th Military Police Battalion out of Easton, Pennsylvania. Chaplain Tross is a true servant under God’s watchful eye as he loves to help others, give back to the community, serve his town, his state and his country on different levels and capacities. Chaplain Tross is endorsed by the World Council of Christian Churches (WCICC) as a Christian chaplain. He also serves as a Minister in Triumph Christian Center in Waterbury, Connecticut and sits on the Trustee Board as well. He also holds a position as Dean of Academic Affairs for the T.I.M Bible College & Seminary.
Chaplain Tross resides in the smallest best town in Connecticut, Prospect, with his wife Nikki and 2 children. His oldest son lives in Nebraska.
LT Al Smith, USA Al Smith graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1965 with a BA in Economics. He was drafted into the Army in Nov ’65, taking Basic Training at Ft Dix, Advanced Infantry Training at Ft Jackson and Officer Candidate School at Ft Benning.
As a 2nd Lieutenant his first assignment was as a Basic Training Officer at Ft Campbell. In April ’67 he received his orders for Vietnam, assigned to the 1st Infantry Division as an Infantry Platoon Leader. He later served as a Mortar Platoon Leader and was the company’s Executive Officer during the TET offensive.
Upon returning from his tour in Vietnam he was assigned as the Officer Candidate School Recruiting Officer visiting colleges / universities in the Boston area.
Al left the military in Nov 1968 to start a career in the private sector. He worked for Shell Oil, Avon Products (including a three year assignment in Tokyo, Japan) and CEL Communications. He retired after 17 years with Lee Hecht Harrison.
Al spends much of his retirement time supporting several causes and organizations he feels strongly about: (1) Assisting Veterans – as a member of a Veterans Advisory Panel in CT District #5 and conducting job search sessions with veterans; (2) Volunteering as a Citizen Leader for No Labels and as Co-Chair, CT Braver Angels Alliance (a national movement focused on depolarizing the partisan divide in our country and fostering civil discourse amongst those with very different opinions and beliefs; (3) Volunteer with Compassion and Choice; (4) Community work with the Brookfield VFW (4) Career Transition support for the Human Resources Association of NY.
Al and his wife Maribeth live in Brookfield, CT. They have a son and three grand-daughters.
YAA Co-Chair: Captain Mary Durand, USN (Ret)
CAPT Mary Durand, Nurse Corps, USN (Ret) Captain Durand started her Navy life as the daughter of a 30-year career Naval aviator; born in Annapolis, Maryland, she traveled widely with her family. She is proud of her father’s career which started as E-1 and retired as O-6. She is equally proud of her brother who served as a SEABEE in Vietnam and her nephew who a retired Navy JAG Commander.
Captain Mary Durand started her own Navy career as a Selected Reservist, serving seven years before being recalled to active duty. Her 13 years of civilian nursing experience included trauma, burn, operating room, critical care and dialysis nursing. She completed her Masters Degree in Adult Health Nursing and licensure as an Adult Nurse Practitioner prior to starting active duty in 1988. While on active duty she served in various medical-surgical positions at Pensacola, as the community health nurse on a developmental team in Okinawa, and then in the Tidewater, (first completing a dual Master’s Degree in Nursing through DUINS as a Family Nurse Practitioner and Community Health Nurse; then as the Senior Nurse at Oceana Branch clinic). Assigned as one of the first Family Nurse Practitioners ADDU to SURFLANT from the Naval Medical Center, Captain Durand enthusiastically brought primary care and health promotion services to the deck plates; serving on over 40 different “small boy” ships with a total of 186 days underway. She deployed for 178 days as the senior officer to the Camp Doha clinic in Kuwait and served with Army medical providers. Captain Durand rounded out her 27-year career with a tour at NATTTC clinic in Pensacola, Florida providing primary care and health promotions services to a large joint service training community.
Captain Durand’s personal awards include the Navy Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation medal with two gold stars, Navy Achievement medal with one gold star, and the Military outstanding volunteer medal. Other awards include: Meritorious Unit Commendation with two stars, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, and the National Defense Ribbon.
Captain Durand has one daughter, Alison, who works for Principal Financial Group, married with three children; and one son, Alan, who is a professional rock and ice climbing guide, Mohonk Preserve Park Ranger, and CAD engineer, married with one child. CAPT Durand is married to Anthony Barca, a Howard Hanna/Rand Realty agent.
VP – Community Affairs
Donna Lynne Palmer Cole was born July 28, 1946 in Winnipeg Manitoba. Her father served in the Canadian Air Force during WWII and over twenty years afterwards. In 1968, Donna graduated from Grace Hospital School of Nursing in Winnipeg. In 1976, she was one of the fifteen Canadian nurses chosen to help open King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was while working there that she would meet her future husband, Lt. Col. (Ret.) David P. Cole. They were married in Barrie, Ontario, Canada in 1979 and subsequently moved to Norwalk, Connecticut to start their lives together. Together they worked as part of and in conjunction with various military organizations, including the WCMOAA. While her husband passed in July of last year, Donna continues her work with veterans and the community.
Board Member at Large: CWO3 Will Seeley, USMC
Chief Warrant Officer Seeley enlisted in the Marine Corps on November 13th, 1996 and went to recruit training in Parris Island, SC. Upon graduation, he attended the Field Radio Operator’s Course (FROC-23) in 29 Palms, CA and gained the MOS 2531 now 0621. In July of 1997, he became a Radio Operator for the Liaison section of 5th BN, 10th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, NC. While in Sierra Battery he was promoted to Lance Corporal in August of 1997, Corporal in October of 1998 and Sergeant in September 1999.
Chief Warrant Officer Seeley left the 2nd Marine Division and went to Officer Candidates School (OCS) in May of 2001 where he joined the Training Support Platoon. He served as the Echo and Kilo companies support NCO for the 2001 summer cycle. He became the Operations NCO in September 2001, and when promoted SSgt in November 0f 2003; became the Platoon Sergeant of the Training Support Platoon.
In May of 2005, Chief Warrant Officer Seeley was assigned to 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) as the Radio Chief for the Command Element. While at the MEU, he conducted humanitarian assistance in rescuing and recovering citizens of the badly hurricane-stricken area in New Orleans from hurricane Katrina. The MEU was also involved in: Infinite Moonlight in Jordan, NEO Operations in Beirut, Lebanon where the MEU helped evacuate over 15,000 US citizens. In 2008, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Seeley was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant. Not long after his promotion, the MEU flew directly to Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan where he was involved in combat operations in Helmand province for over 9 months.
Chief Warrant Officer Seeley attended the Warrant Officer Basic and Tactical Communications Planner’s course at Quantico, VA in January 2010. Upon graduation, Chief Warrant Officer Seeley became a Tactical Communications Planning and Engineering Officer / (MOS) 0620. His first unit as an officer was the 2nd Marine Air Wing G-6 as a member of the SPE cell. and soon deployed to Camp Leatherneck where he and his fellow warrant officers planned, engineered and executed an architecture aboard Camp Dwyer which was considered the model commercialized communications model for the Marine Corps in Afghanistan.
Back at 2d Marine Division in 2012, Chief Warrant Officer Seeley worked concurrently at Division G6 SPE as well as at the Communications Company. In 2013, Chief Warrant Officer Seeley transitioned back to Quantico, VA this time in a capacity as the Project Officer for Marine Corps Systems Command. By August 2013 CWO Seeley was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer 3 and responsible for “sunsetting” the Digital Techcon Control (DTC) and Joint Enhanced Core Communications Suite (JECCS) programs.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Seeley retired from the Marine Corps after twenty Years on active duty on 1 December 2016.
Chief Warrant Officer Seeley’s personal decorations include the Meritorious Service (MSM) Medal, the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (five awards) and the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2 awards).