The 45th Leadership San Antonio (LSA) class met on October 8, 2021 to conclude the last class day for the longest class ever.  The day, hosted by the “Be All You Can Be” team, highlighted the key phases of our military, starting from recruitment, to active service, to retirement; giving the class a better understanding of why San Antonio is “Military City USA.”  The event was held at the Radius Center. The day started with the TMI Corps of Cadets color guard presenting the colors.  The national anthem was performed by the San Antonio Youth Orchestra.

The Class transitioned to hear about military recruitment. Brian Parks, IT Director, Phoenix IT Workforce Operation, USAA (Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve Veteran) and Patrick Freshwater, Associate Attorney, USAA (Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Reserves) joined us to discuss military recruitment. Brian showed a video on ‘zero day,’ the day the U.S. Air Force enlisted members arrive in San Antonio for basic training.  Patrick was on hand to accept the oath.  From there, Brian shared his experience in rising through the ranks and how he made the transition to civilian life.

Continuing the discussion of the life cycle of a member of our military, Robert Naething, Deputy to Commanding General (SES) at U.S. Army North (Fifth Army), joined us to discuss Joint Base San Antonio to give the class an overview of what makes our city “Military City USA” and the various career opportunities for members of our military.

Afterwards, the class delved into the cybersecurity mission in San Antonio.  The group had the honor of hearing from and engaging with Colonel Joshua A. Rockhill, Commander 26th Cyberspace Operations Group at Joint Base San Antonio, and his staff about the cyber mission in San Antonio. His remarks focused on the importance of the intertwined history of our city and that of the Military, how mission critical community building is for the Military, the desire to continue to sustain and grow partnerships within the city and to uplift the shared duty we all have in defending national security. Colonel Rockhill left the participants feeling safer knowing that the Military continues to defend our great nation, especially as it relates to cyber threats, right from our very own city.

Transitioning from learning about the opportunities of our active military, LSA Class 45 learned about the rich cultural military history on display in San Antonio. John Baines, Founder & Chairman, Vietnam Veterans Memorial of San Antonio, Inc., talked about his role in the development of Veterans Memorial Plaza.  After a brief lunch break, LSA Class 45 went on a Mission to locate monuments that highlight and honor our military history.

The study of the lifecycle of a member of the military continued as we focused post-service experiences in the private sector. Randy Harig, CEO, Texas Research & Technology Foundation & VelocityTX (prior U.S. Air Force and Army Reserve), moderated a panel with Tim Jensen, Chief Strategy Officer/Co-Owner, Grunt Style (prior USMC), and Aaron Holland, Co-Owner Team Combat (prior USMC). The class learned about how Tim and Aaron applied the leadership learned in the military to their post-military careers, and the role of a military owned business in community. Tim discussed the growth of Grunt Style and challenges faced with their growth.  Aaron discussed his new business Team Combat, a mission-based tactical laser tag where participants face realistic combat simulations for fun, sport, or tactical training purposes and the tough decisions they have to make.

The day concluded with a presentation from the National Veterans Outreach Program. While many veterans successfully transition to civilian life and contribute their legacy to the community, some require additional advocates. Sergio “Serg” Dickerson, Colonel (RET) Sergio Dickerson, President & CEO for the American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program, talked about how so many veterans are one major crisis from becoming homeless and their efforts to advocate for veterans and their focus on ending veteran homelessness.

In addition to various discussions and mission, participants were invited to take in the art exhibit curated by Bihl Haus Executive Director, Dr. Kellen Kee McIntyre. The exhibit highlighted art from three women veterans who have participated in the Forward Art! program. Through this program, veterans are finding relief and healing from emotional and physical wounds with every brush stroke.

The themes interwoven into each LSA 45 Class Day are: Legacy, Service and Action. There is no better example that exemplifies all three aspects than that of the United States military. “Military Legacy” is how the experiences gained by a member of our service may have an enduring influence on our community, our city and America as a whole.  We hope that LSA Class 45 was able to better appreciate our military and the role it plays in the legacy of San Antonio.

Team “Be All You Can Be” could not have organized our day without the generous support of our sponsors:  USAA, Blanco North Dental, NuStar Energy L.P., JP Morgan Chase, University Health, Cheese & Honey, San Antonio in a Box, the spotted Mule, Radius, DocuMation, BCOWW, Yosa, Team Combat, TMI Episcopal, Grunt Style LLC, PMC, Medina River Coffee Roasters and Bihl Haus Arts.

Team BAYCB – Proud Military City USA Supporters, Anna-Melissa Cavazos, Jenness Gough, Roger Bynum, Melissa Mota Ramirez, Mark Moran, Michelle Moreno, Stacie Morales, and Ingrid Etienne.

Committee Chairs
Alex Rapp and Alison Wiesenthal


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