Burr Campaign Announces “Veterans for Burr” Leadership Team

Burr Campaign Announces “Veterans for Burr” Leadership Team

Raleigh, NC — The Burr campaign today announced the “Veterans for Burr” leadership team with members from cities and towns throughout North Carolina. The group of veterans is supporting Senator Burr this fall in large part for his efforts to ensure that veterans receive the world-class health care they have earned and for his overall commitment to our country’s service members. As a former ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Senator Burr has led the charge on holding the VA accountable for their mismanagement. Senator Burr fought to create the Veterans Choice program so that veterans could see a doctor of their choice, and this year he has authored legislation to fix the VA health care system so that veterans no longer have to face unacceptable waits or bureaucratic hassles to get medical care.  He has also successfully fought to bring new VA medical facilities to communities across North Carolina.

“Senator Burr’s passion for improving the lives of the men and women who have served or currently serve our country in the military is second to none. From authoring the Veterans Choice Program to fighting successfully to bring 19 new VA medical facilities to North Carolina, Senator Burr has led the charge on giving veterans the care they deserve when they return home. That’s why it’s imperative we fight for him this fall, so he can continue to fight for us in the Senate.” – Maj. Gen. Hugh Overholt, Co-Chair of the “Veterans for Burr” leadership team


“Veterans for Burr” Leadership Team

Lt. Gen. William Ingram, Jr., United States Army: Ingram is the former Director of the Army National Guard. General Ingram received his commission in 1972 as a Distinguished Graduate through Officer Candidate School, North Carolina Military Academy at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He has commanded United States, United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in Croatia, Macedonia and Kosovo and has taken leading roles in homeland security and disaster response at home. General Ingram previously served as Chairman of the Army Reserve Forces Policy Committee (ARFPC). He served as The Adjutant General, North Carolina for over nine years. Prior to serving as the Director of the Army National Guard, Ingram served as Special Assistant to the Vice Chief of Staff, Army.

Lt. Gen. H.W. Blot, United States Marine Corps: Blot graduated from Villanova University with a B. E. Degree in June 1962, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He served in the Marine Corps from 1962 to 1996. After completing instruction at The Basic School, Quantico, VA., he underwent flight training at Pensacola, FL, and Beeville, TX. His first operational assignment was to VMF-232, and the assignment included a combat tour at Danang, Vietnam. In February 1967, General Blot reported to the 3d Marine Division in Phu Bai and took command of the Communications Company, Headquarters Battalion. He was advanced to major general on May 24, 1991 and took command of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing until July 1993. He then assumed duties as the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Aviation, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, DC. General Blot was promoted to lieutenant general in July 1994 and was assigned as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Aviation until his retirement in 1996. Lieutenant General Blot is married to the former Marie Frasmer. They have four children: Harold Jr., Michael, Thomas and Caroline.

Lt. Gen. Tom Waskow, United States Air Force: Lt. General Tom Waskow retired from the United States Air Force in April 2005.  He currently serves as the Chairman of the USO-NC. He served the USAF as Commander, U.S. Forces Japan, and Commander, 5th Air Force, Yokota Air Base, Japan.  In these two position he was the senior U.S. military representative in Japan and commander of U.S. Air Force units in Japan respectively. He was the key force provider in response to the devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean during Operation Unified Assistance in Japan in 2005. Waskow also directed the protection of the Hawaiian airspace during the September 11th attacks and was Director of Air and Space Operations, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, in Hawaii.  He has held command at all Air Force levels and accumulated nearly 5,000 flight hours, including 904 combat hours.  Selected to fly the air-to-air F-15 Eagle early in its operational deployment, he has flown all models and variants of the Eagle. During the Vietnam War, he flew 282 combat missions over South Vietnam and Cambodia. In addition to intense combat experience in Vietnam, Lt. Gen. Waskow contributed extensively to contingency operations Deny Flight and Silver Wake in the Balkans, Noble Eagle in Hawaii in 2001, and the multinational Peace Keeping Operations in East Timor. Waskow received his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering and his Masters degree in business.  He also was a Senior Executive Fellow at Harvard and a Seminar XXI Fellow at MIT. 

Maj. Gen. Hugh Overholt, United States Army: Overholt is a retired Major General of the U.S. Army and has been appointed to the North Carolina State Board of Transportation. Prior to joining his current position at the firm of Ward and Smith P.A., he served as the Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army from 1985 to 1989. Mr. Overholt also served as Assistant Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army from 1981 to 1985. General Overholt has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (Oak Leaf Cluster), Legion of Merit, Department of Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (Oak Leaf Cluster), and the Army Commendation Medal (Two Oak Leaf Clusters). General Overholt is a Member of the Arkansas Bar, North Carolina Bar, District of Columbia Bar and a Member of the American Bar Association. He resides in New Bern and is married to the former Laura Annell (Ann) Arnold with two children.

Maj. Gen. Tom Braaten, United States Marine Corps: Braaten is the chairman of the the Marine Cops Scholarship Foundation for the New Bern area and also the Eastern Carolina Aviation Heritage. Braaten joined the Marine Corps in February 1965, and retired as major general in 2001. After starting as a repairman, Braaten attended Officer Candidate School and became an aviator in June 1968, after which he served a year in Vietnam. He served as commander of the Marine Corps Air Bases, Eastern Area from July 1998 until July 2001 when he retired. He had earned several medals, including Distinguished Service, Defense Superior Service, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Combat Action Ribbon.

Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger, United States Marine CorpsEnsminger served in the Marine Corps for twenty-five years, part of which he served as a drill instructor. Jerry’s daughter Janey passed away from leukemia when she was only nine years old, after having been exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Jerry has devoted his life to making sure those who lived at Camp Lejeune while the drinking water was contaminated receive proper medical care from the federal government. His work culminated when the Janey Ensminger Act of 2012, which was introduced and championed by Senator Burr, became law.

Gunnery Sgt. Alex Quiles, United States Marine Corps: Quiles was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, and joined the Marine Corps in 1988. Quiles served in Operation Just Cause, Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Desert Stay. He has deployed with the 11th and 15th Marine Expeditionary Units in support of operations Land Pakistani Forces Somalia and Operation Southern Watch. Quiles is a graduate of the Marine Scout Sniper, Amphibious Reconnaissance and the Assault Breachers Courses. He is a graduate of the US Navy Dive School, US Army Airborne, Stateline Jump Master, Military Free Fall, Free Fall Jump Master and Pathfinder courses. Quiles retired from the Marine Corp in 2010. He is married to Maritza Quiles, a Guilford County teacher for more than 25 years, and has three children, two of whom are also Marines. 

Sgt. Rodney Cress, United States Army: Cress graduated from the Infantry Non-Commissioned Officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning, Georgia, in 1970. Cress served in Vietnam and received the Bronze Star Medal with Valor for heroism during the Vietnam Winter-Spring Campaign. Cress has become a tireless advocate for veterans, receiving the Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service and the North Carolina Society of Historians Barringer Award of Excellence for military history.

Sgt. Mike Verardo, United States Army, Sarah Verado: Michael Verardo served as an infantryman with the 82nd Airborne Division and was severely wounded from an enemy planted IED while deployed to Afghanistan. The IED immediately ripped off his left arm and leg, left him badly burned over 35% of his body, caused severe facial trauma and left him with a severe traumatic brain injury. Michael spent three years recovering and endured over 100 surgeries and years of speech, physical, visual and occupational therapy. Sarah serves as Michael’s full time caregiver and manages all aspects of his medical care as he is unable to advocate for himself. In addition to her service for Michael, Sarah works closely with veterans to ensure they are receiving the proper access to benefits and health care. Sarah serves as the alumni Fellow representing North Carolina for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to bring awareness to Hidden Heroes, the caregivers who take up the battle on the homefront. Sarah also serves as the Development Director for the Independence Fund, raising funds for veterans and their families as it relates to mobility, wellness, and peer support. The Verardos are passionate about sharing their story of “surviving surviving” and life after catastrophic combat injuries. Their story has been shared on Fox News, Fox and Friends, Evening News with Diane Sawyer, Bill O’Reilly’s O’Reilly Factor, the Huffington Post and other national and local publications.  Sarah and Michael live outside Charlotte, NC, and have two daughters under two years old: Grace Gloria, and Mary Scott.