Public News


Army Selects Four Scholars for Promotion to LTC

Congratulations to the following Olmsted Scholars:

MAJ Sonny Avichal (OSC 12, Lima)
MAJ Lou Frketic (OSC 10, Bologna)
MAJ Jeff Fuller (OSC 10, Kunming)
MAJ Ken Wainright (OSC 12, Jerusalem) 
All of the above Scholars have been selected for promotion to LT COL by the U.S. Army! These Scholars serve as a fine example of Olmsted leadership.


Olmsted Scholar Nominated for Promotion to ADM

Olmsted Scholar Vice Admiral James (Jamie) G. Foggo (OSC 87, Strasbourg) has been nominated for promotion to the rank of Admiral and assignment as commander, US Naval Forces Europe-Africa and commander, Allied Joint Forces Command, Naples, Italy. Congratulations to Vice Admiral Foggo! General Olmsted would be proud of this example of Olmsted leadership.


Air Force Selects Scholars for Promotion to Lieutenant Colonel

Congratulations to the each of these Olmsted Scholars on their selection for promotion by the U.S. Air Force to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel! Kevin Anderson (OSC 17, Valparaiso)
Mike Baird (OSC 13, Lviv)
Melissa Dombrock (OSC 15, Rabat)
Andy DuBois (OSC 11, Taipei)
JC Gorman (OSC 14, Taipei)
Shane Hughes (OSC 14, Bangkok)
Alan Kent (OSC 10, Prague)
Matt Murphy (OSC 14, Kunming)
Scott Wallace (OSC 13, New Delhi)

100% of the eligible Scholars were selected, with two selected two years early and one Scholar one year below the zone!


Air Force Selects Scholars for Promotion to Colonel

Congratulations to the following Olmsted Scholars on their selection by the U.S. Air Force for promotion to Colonel!
Sean Cosden (OSC 06, Sophia)
Brian Denaro (OSC 06, Guangzhou) 
George Granholm (OSC 09, Freiburg)
Ben Jonsson (OSC 06, Amman)
Enrique Oti (OSC 07, Hangzhou)
Jim Price (OSC 08, Timisoara)

All of these outstanding officers were selected below the primary zone!


Olmsted Scholar Screened for Operational Department Head

Congratulations are in order for Olmsted Scholar LT Patrick Sullivan (OSC 15, Prague) on screening for Operational Department during the recent Aviation Department Head Screen Board (ADHSB). Sullivan is currently serving as the Shooter/Assistant Division Officer on USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71).   Bravo Zulu!


Navy Selects Olmsted Scholars for Promotion to CAPT

Congratulations to Olmsted Scholars CDR Dan Fillion (OSC 03, Osaka) and CDR Dorsey Wisotzki (OSC 08, Tunis) on their selections for promotion to CAPT by the U.S. Navy! Fillion is currently the Assistant to the Chief of Staff, N7 at U.S. Naval Forces Korea, Busan, Korea. Dorsey is Commanding Officer, Special Reconnaissance TEAM TWO, Virginia Beach, VA. Bravo Zulu!


Olmsted Board of Directors selects Class of 2018

On March 14, 2017, the Olmsted Foundation Board of Directors selected the 59th class of Olmsted Scholars. The board selected 19 officers for the Olmsted Scholar Class (OSC) of 2018 including the first officer to be selected for the Olmsted Scholar Program from the US Coast Guard. 
Congratulations to the following officers whose names and projected locations for overseas study are listed below:
US Navy:
LT William Bogdanowicz - Santiago, Chile
LT John Pappas - Zagreb, Croatia
LT Christopher Putko Jr. - Jerusalem, Israel
LCDR Karl Sault - Seoul, South Korea
LT Zachary Smith - Thessaloniki, Greece
US Air Force:
Capt Danielle Caretti - Podgorica, Montenegro
Capt Steven Christopher - Kunming, China
Capt Brad Fisher - Kyiv, Ukraine
Maj John Gerlach II - Lyon, France
Capt Collin O'Bryant - Cluj-Napoca, Romania
US Army:
CPT Walter Biner - Stockholm, Sweden
CPT Steven DeJesus III - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
CPT Michael McCaughey - Lisbon, Portugal
CPT Richard Pazdzierski - Osaka, Japan
CPT Jeffrey Wismann - Rabat, Morocco
US Marine Corps:

1stLt William Dougherty - Xiamen, China

Capt Ryan McGonigle - Sofia, Bulgaria
Capt Christopher Smith - Berlin, Germany
US Coast Guard:
LT Melissa Martinelli - Mendoza, Argentina


Lt Col Joseph Wall, OSC'12, Takes Command of the 79th ARS

Olmsted Scholar Lt Col Joseph Wall, USAF, (OSC 12, Freiburg) has recently taken command of the 79th Air Refueling Squadron at Travis AFB, CA. It is unusual for an active duty officer to take command of a reserve unit but the decision is in line with the Air Force Total Integration strategy which seeks to meet mission goals by coordinating active duty, reserve and guard units. Lt Col Wall's experiences as an Olmsted Scholar have prepared him well to learn a different language and culture and the presiding officer, Lt. Col. Daniel Stout, acting 349th Operations Group Commander, noted during the ceremony that those skills would be "put to good use in learning the Air Force Reserve language, as one of the first Active Duty commanders of a Reserve Squadron in this time of emphasis on Total Force Integration."



Olmsted Scholars Selected for Promotion to MAJ by the US Army

Congratulations to the following Olmsted Scholars on their selection for promotion to MAJ by the US Army! The Olmsted Foundation is proud of these Olmsted Scholars and their continued leadership and service:

CPT Brandon Gilles (OSC 17, Poznan)
CPT John Kline (OSC 17, Madrid)
CPT Caleb Ling (OSC 16, Chiang Mai) 
CPT Jennifer Purser (OSC 17, Brno)


Olmsted Scholar Promoted to Lt Col by the USAF

Jamil Musa (OSC 11, Rabat) was recently promoted to Lt Col in a ceremony hosted by General Vincent K. Brooks, Commander, United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command & United States Forces Korea and General Leem, Ho Young, Deputy Commander. In a fitting demonstration of cooperation with our Korean partners, Lee, Seung Jun was also promoted to Lt Col during the ceremony. Lt Col Musa currently serves as the Aide-de-Camp to GEN Brooks.


Olmsted Scholar Assembly in Colorado Springs

On Veterans Day, a group of over 30 Scholars, spouses and special guests met in Colorado Springs to reminisce on their Olmsted experiences. Scholar classes from 1962 to 2011 were represented and it was a wonderful opportunity for many Scholars to meet other Scholars for the first time. Foundation Vice President Bob Stratton hosted the Scholar Assembly and gave the assembled group an update on Foundation business and Olmsted Scholar Program challenges and issues. Extra time was spent discussing The Foundation’s social media initiatives over the past year. A great time was had by all and a special thanks goes to Dan Szarke (OSC 05, Strasbourg) for arranging the venue and a wonderful meal. It was a truly a memorable evening and it is always good when the Olmsted Scholar family gets together.


Olmsted Scholars Serve As Table Co-Chairs at SCUSA 68

Olmsted Scholar LTC Mark Lehenbauer (OSC ’09 Israel) and MAJ Christina Bembenek (OSC ’09 Morocco), served as co-chairs at West Point’s 68th Student Conference on United States Affairs (SCUSA). Organized by West Point’s Department of Social Science (affectionately known as Sosh) and graciously sponsored by the Olmsted Foundation, the conference brought more than 250 students from over 120 different universities and 20 countries to discuss the most challenging issues affecting the United States today.  The theme for this year’s conference was Democracy and Democratization: Challenges and Opportunities. Each table has two co-chairs: an academic and a practitioner (or in the case of Olmsted Scholars, well-educated practitioners!).  After some friendly dialogue and a footrace, Christina agreed to cede the Ethno-Religious Conflict table to the higher ranking officer. Mark’s table faced tough questions such as how/when to prioritize foreign policy objectives of both stability and democratization given the inherent ethno-religious tensions in many nation-states and how culturally-acceptable forms of democracy differed from US notions and whether these should be considered by policy-makers in terms of their likelihood for promotion of tangible US interests. Christina’s table, Political Radicalism,battled with thorny issues like who gets to define radicalism, how much radical thought should a democracy have to tolerate, and how should the United States respond to political radicalism at home and abroad. We both found our students to be incredibly thoughtful, well-prepared, and creative in their approach to dealing with these incredibly complex issues. Conferences like SCUSA perfectly illustrate the importance and value of the Olmsted experience because United States policies and interventions are only successful when leaders understand and appreciate the complexity and the nuances of a foreign culture and its people. 


Scholars Receive Awards at the Naval Submarine League Symposium

LCDR Jonathan Ahlstrom (OSC12, Aix-en-Provence) was awarded the Rear Admiral Frederick B. Warder Award for Outstanding Achievement. Ahlstrom is currently serving as the Executive Officer on the USS Asheville. 

LCDR Nathan D. Luther (OSC 06, New Delhi) was awarded the 2016 Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood Award for Professional Excellence. Luther currently serves on the USS Nevada. Both Scholars were presented with their awards on October 26, 2016, at the Naval Submarine League Symposium. VADM Doug Crowder (OSC 08, Lausanne), USN, Ret. attended the ceremony and was able to congratulate both Scholars on their worthy achievement. 


Olmsted Scholar Program Opened to United States Coast Guard

Olmsted Chairman VADM Doug Crowder(OSC 80, Lausanne), USN, Ret. announced the official acceptance of the U.S. Coast Guard into the Olmsted Scholar Program during his opening remarks at the third annual Olmsted Lecture Series. The Board of Directors voted to approve participation by the U.S. Coast Guard in the Olmsted Scholar Program on October 18th during the Board of Directors meeting. The first USCG Scholar will be selected in March of 2017. 


Olmsted Foundation Welcomes New Secretary/Treasurer

The Olmsted Foundation is pleased to welcome our new Secretary/Treasurer on board. COL Mark Elfendahl (OSC 99, Jena), USA, Ret., has officially joined our staff after recently retiring from the Army after 27 years of service. Elfendahl was a 1989 graduate of the United States Military Academy and attended the University of Jena as an Olmsted Scholar where he earned a Master of Arts degree in International Relations and European History from Friederich Schiller University. His most recent assignment was the Chief of Plans, JPSE, USTRANSCOM Joint Enabling Capabilities Command, Norfolk, Virginia. Elfendahl has received the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (three oak leaf clusters), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (oak leaf cluster), Southwest Asia Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, Joint Meritorious Unit Award (four oak leaf clusters), Army Superior Unit Award, Ranger Tab, Parachutist and Air Assault Badges, Army Staff Identification Badge, and the German Parachutist Badge. 


Colonel A.J. Werner Takes Command of the 9th OG

Colonel A.J. Werner (OSC 04, Sofia) has taken command of the 9th OG, located at Beale AFB, CA. The 9th OG is responsible for the planning and execution of global reconnaissance missions in support of all six geographic combatant commanders. Werner also oversees the USAF's high-altitude reconnaissance Formal Training Unit, which employs RQ-4 Global Hawk, T-38 Talon, and U-2 Dragonlady aircraft.

Werner is a USAFA graduate and has spent his career in Air Force Training and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, as well as Joint Operations and Planning. Werner's staff duties have included service for US Strategic Command, the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force, and US Central Command. He earned a Master's Degree as the first-ever Olmsted Scholar in Bulgaria. His combat experience includes missions during Operations ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and NEW DAWN, and command of all US and NATO U-2 missions for Operations ODYSSEY DAWN and UNIFIED PROTECTOR. 


Scholar Assumes Command of the U.S. Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan

In a ceremony on July 22nd, Captain Jeffrey Kim OSC'97 (Leiden), assumed command of the U.S. Naval Base in Yokosuka (officially known as Fleet Activities Yokosuka).  Located 50 kilometers south of Tokyo, Fleet Activities Yokosuka is the largest U.S. naval installation overseas and home to the U.S. Seventh Fleet Flagship.  It is also the homeport for the USS Ronald Reagan, the Navy's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier, and its strike group.  The installation supports a multi-national community of over 20,000 people, comprised of ship- and shore-based service members, their families, American and Japanese civilian employees, plus contractors.  Yokosuka plays a critical role in the Navy's rebalance to the Asia-Pacific and is a centerpiece of the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance.  Kim had been stationed in Yokosuka six years ago as the commanding officer of the destroyer USS John S. McCain.  As the installation commander, Captain Kim looks forward to not only supporting the Seventh Fleet but continuing to build on the strong bilateral ties with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, as well as maintaining close relations with the local Japanese community.  In addition to having studied abroad as an Olmsted Scholar earlier in his career, he most recently completed a one-year Mike Mansfield Fellowship in Tokyo, where he worked in Japanese government offices to include the defense and foreign ministries, and the National Diet.  In attendance at the change of command ceremony was fellow Scholar and friend Commander John Bradford OSC'02, who is assigned to the Seventh Fleet staff as the Regional Cooperation Coordinator.


Lt Col Sean Baerman, OSC 11, Takes Command of the 98th Flying Training Squadron

Lt Col Sean Baerman (OSC 11, Buenos Aires) took command of the 98th Flying Training Squadron at the US Air Force Academy on July 18th.  Baerman remarked that "I took command of the 98th Flying Training Squadron almost 20 years to the day exactly when I made my first jump on Falcon DZ as a cadet. It is a great honor to fleet up from Director of Operations to Commander and I look forward to leading the AF's best instructors for the next two years. We've got a very unique mission, and I couldn't have asked for a more rewarding opportunity."
Congratulations to Lt Col Baerman on being an excellent example of Olmsted leadership!


COL Joseph Hilbert, OSC 03, Takes Command of the 82nd DIVARTY

COL Joseph Hilbert (OSC 03, Leipzig) took command of the 82nd Airborne Division Artillery unit on July 8th. Olmsted Foundation President Bruce Scott traveled to Fort Bragg, NC to represent the Foundation at the change of command. Hilbert notes that "taking command of the 82nd Airborne Division Artillery is incredibly humbling and an amazing honor for me. It's always exciting to be in the 82nd Airborne. When I think about things like the storied history of the unit and the daily focus on readiness and winning tomorrow's fight, I get very excited about joining this team. There's no other place in our Army like it and there's no other place where I would want to command."
Hilbert also serves the Olmsted Foundation as our Active Duty Director for the US Army. Congratulations to Joe!


Col. Guillame "Will" Beaurpere, OSC 04, Takes Command of the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne)

COL Guillame "Will" Beaurpere, (OSC 04, Ifrane), took command of the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) based at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington on July 7th. At the change of command ceremony, Beaurpere commented that "I will work to sustain this organization's standards, and I stand in awe of the forces we have in the current fight. He went on to say that "to command 1st Group is the greatest honor. We serve under the banner of quiet professionalism." Congratulations COl Beaurpere!


Colonel David Jones, OSC'00, Relinquishes Command of the MCCSSS

Olmsted Foundation President Bruce Scott was able to travel to Camp Johnson, North Carolina to attend the Change of Command ceremony for outgoing MCCSSS Commander Colonel David E. Jones. Colonel Jones was an OSC'00 Scholar in Buenos Aires and has recently finished service to the Olmsted Foundation as the USMC Active Duty Director and is also a past winner of the Robert Yablonski Esprit award.
Jones leaves command of the Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools unit having felt that the command was extremely fulfilling as he was able to affect the lives of all Marines, both officer and enlisted. The specific Military Occupational Specialties the unit produced create not only future leaders but also the best trained Marines to meet the current and future needs of our operating forces.
Colonel Jones will move on to this new role as Deputy Commander for Marine Corps Installations Pacific (MCIPAC) in Okinawa, Japan and we wish him all the best!

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Olmsted Scholar Class of 2017 Welcomed to the Olmsted Scholar Program

The Olmsted Scholar Class of 2017 was welcomed into the Olmsted Scholar Program at the Annual Reunion on June 4,2016 at the Anderson House in Washington, D.C. The Olmsted Foundation is expanding our location list this year and sending two Class of 2017 Scholars to new locations; Cape Town, South Africa and Tbilisi, Georgia. We are pleased to announce the next class of Scholars and wish them the best of luck as they begin the Olmsted Scholar program.


Lt Col Thomas Graham, OSC'11 (Krakow), Assumes Command of the 315th Fighter Squadron

In a ceremony on June 1st, Lt Col Thomas Graham, OSC'11 (Krakow), assumed command of the active duty 315th Fighter Squadron in Burlington, Vermont. The 315th Fighter Squadron is integrated with the Air National Guard's 158th Fighter Wing. Graham is "excited to get settled in Burlington, Vermont and looks forward to working with the host wing to make the Total Force more mission capable, now and for the long term!" He indicated that the 315th is preparing to receive their first F-35's in 2019 and that the next two years will be crucial for the unit as the Green Mountain Boys become the first Air National Guard unit to operate the newest fifth generation fighter.


Tokyo Scholar Assembly

Olmsted scholars united over Tohoku style udon noodles at the Sato Yoske restaurant in Tokyo on December 16th. December is the traditional month for celebration of the bonenkai, or "forget the year party", in Japan. Coworkers and friends are encouraged to gather together and embrace hopefulness for the new year while forgetting the woes of the past. The bonenkai tradition dates back to the 15th century and was celebrated yet again by many of our Olmsted scholars in Japan. Hiroko and Jeffry Kim, Mat Myers (OSC'09) and family, Fumiyo and Rodney Tanaka, John and Annette Bradford (OSC'02), Gary Sampson (OSC'09), and Midshipman 2nd Class Steven Zakravasky were all in attendance. 


Passing of Olmsted Scholar

The Olmsted Foundation is saddened to announce the passing of Olmsted scholar COL Phil Galanti, USA Retired.  Phil Galanti graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1962 and was a member of the Olmsted class of 1966. He attended the University of Madrid from 1966-1968. Phil served with the 18th Engineer Brigade in Vietnam. He spent time working with the Bechtel firm and later joined the Army Reserves where he served in the 353rd Psychological Operations Battalion, the 351st Civil Affairs Command, and DCSOPS. In retirement he continued to pursue his love of travel and served as docents both at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Monterey Museum of Art. Phil and his wife Carrol were present for the unveiling of the Olmsted Scholar Plaque at the United States Military Academy. Phil passed away shortly after his 75th birthday on October 15, 2015. Phil will be missed by the Olmsted community. Que en paz descansa. 


Second Annual Olmsted Lecture Series

The National Press Club served as the backdrop for the second annual Olmsted Lecture Series on November 16, 2015. Olmsted scholars and their guests were present for an illuminating presentation on 21st century defense challenges by James G. Stavridis, PhD, Dean of The Fletcher School, Tufts University. Dr. Stavridis discussed the current security environment, key adversaries, and gave analysis of precedents to be aware of in the face of complex security challenges. Dr. Stavridis expressed his support and belief in the Olmsted Foundation and our continued goal of broadening cultural education for military professionals in his opening remarks. Dr. Stavridis is the 12th leader of The Fletcher School since its founding in 1933.  A retired 4-star Admiral in the U.S. Navy, he led the NATO Alliance in global operations from 2009 to 2013 as Supreme Allied Commander.  He also served as Commander of U.S. Southern Command, with responsibility for all military operations in Latin America from 2006-2009. A Fletcher PhD, he won the Guillon prize as outstanding student in 1983 and has published six books and over a hundred articles. His 2012 TED talk has over 700,000 hits. His focus is on innovation, strategic communication and planning, and creating security through international interagency, and public/private partnerships in this turbulent 21st century.


Always Remembered

On Saturday, October 3rd, the Olmsted Foundation will walk for the seventh consecutive year in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk. The Olmsted team will walk in remembrance of Colonel Bob Yablonski (OSC ’80) and Captain Steve Murphy (OSC ’96).


Locations Announced for OSC 2016

Since the Olmsted Foundation started, Scholars have moved to over 60 countries, learned about 40 languages and attended 200 universities. We are excited to announce the locations for our next class of Scholars as they each begin to prepare to start the program.


Olmsted Board Selects OSC 2016

The Olmsted Board of Directors met on March 17, 2015 and selected the Olmsted Scholar Class (OSC) of 2016. Nineteen officers were selected by the Board from across the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.


Scholars Tour Gaza Tunnels

Olmsted Scholars Maj Gen Steven Shepro (OSC 93, Strasbourg) and Maj Stew Welch (OSC 11, Tel Aviv) recently visited Israel for some Joint Staff strategic talks, and they had the opportunity to explore Hamas offensive tunnels near the Israel-Gaza border.


Light the Night Walk

On October 17, the George and Carol Olmsted Foundation Team joined thousands of others and walked in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) "Light the Night" celebration. Read the full article for details.


Scholar Editoral in the Washington Times

Former National Security Adviser, Robert (Bud) McFarlane, Olmsted Scholar Class of 1965, Geneva, recently penned an op-ed piece on President Reagan's political courage that appeared in the Washington Times.   See the full article for details.


Passing of a Scholar

The Scholar community was notified two weeks ago of the passing of Lt. Col. (Ret) Marius (Gus) Sorenson.  A memorial service was held at the Air Force Academy chapel prior to interment at the Academy cemetery on 3 Mar 14.  Attached is a brochure from the memorial service which provides a fuller account of Gus' life and legacy.  A Scholar who will be sorely missed.


Virginia Tech Cadets on Olmsted Funded Travel

Attached is an article recently published in the Virginia Tech Corps Review magazine.  It highlights the involvement that the Olmsted Foundation has carried on with the Title 10 Senior Military Colleges over the years.  To read it, click on "Read Full Article"


VMI Cadets Travel to Vietnam

Four cadets from VMI recently made a trip to Vietnam under the Olmsted Foundation's Short-Term Cultural Immersion Program.  See the full article for the attachment with a trip writeup and a link to a short video on the experience.