States "most successful in cultivating military operations tended to have some type of military advisory panel established in state law" Stephen Moret
Retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Jack Bergman, who for more than four years commanded the Marine Corps Reserve from New Orleans before retiring from the military in 2009, is among the 25 people appointed to the Louisiana Military Advisory Council, a committee created last year to promote military-related interests in the state, Gov. Bobby Jindal's office announced Friday evening.
So, too, is retired Marine Col. Bill Davis, who retired from Marine Forces Reserve in 2011 as assistant chief of staff for facilities and is now commandant of the New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy, the state charter high school being built at the Federal City campus in Algiers.
The Military Advisory Council was created as a replacement for the defunct governor's military advisory board, at the request of Jindal's economic development secretary Stephen Moret, he told NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune last year. The defunct board required an executive order to recreate it every year, Moret said.
Moret, who has been appointed to the council, said that states "most successful in cultivating military operations tended to have some type of permanent military advisory panel established in state law."
In announcing the appointments, Jindal's office said the council was formed "to provide a forum for issues concerning the installations and units of the armed forces located in Louisiana and the military and retired military personnel and their families who reside in Louisiana."
In effect, the council includes members of local organizations that act as advocates for their respective military installations.
For instance, Stan Mathes, Plaquemines Parish's economic development director, was appointed to the council by Callendar Commitment, a business group whose mission is to support the Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse.
Davis will represent the interests of military in New Orleans, including the Marine Corps Support Facility, New Orleans, the 29-acre compound in Algiers that serves as the headquarters for Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North and is considered the anchor for Federal City. As assistant chief of state for facilities, Davis had a seat at the table when plans were made for the $160 million headquarters building in the facility.
David LaCerte of Saint Gabriel, a Marine reservist who is serving as Jindal's interim secretary of Veterans Affairs, is the council's chairman. LaCerte, an infantry officer, led some of the first Marines into Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and has led more than 100 combat patrols.
The appointments come at a time when Louisiana faces challenges with its military presence. Fort Polk stands to lose thousands of soldiers and family members under an Army proposal.
Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City already has lost a squadron of 24 A-10 Thunderbolt II airplanes, while the Naval Air Station in Belle Chasse is in the midst of losing an E-2C Hawkeye squadron, Carrier Airborne Early Airborne Squadron 77, whose disestablishment ceremony is Saturday (March 9).
Other appointments include:
- State Rep. Nick Lorusso, R-New Orleans, who also is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve.
- Jack Humphries of New Orleans, who is field chair o the Louisiana Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Defense Department agency.
- Ed Stanton of Slidell, a retired Coast Guard captain and executive vice president of Response Services for O'Briens, a SEACOR company.
- Don Vinci of New Orleans, who is retired from the Navy Reserve and is Entergy's vice president for its gas distribution business.
- Maj. Gen. Glenn Curtis of Alexandria, Louisiana's adjutant general.
- Bennett Landreneau, retired major general and former Louisiana adjutant.
- Clarence Beebe, mayor of Hornbeck, La.
- Charles Campbell of Shreveport, a retired Army general who was the 17th commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command.
- Lt. Gen. Robert Elder of Shreveport, former commander of the 8th Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base.
- Jim Hill of Shreveport, an attorney and civilian aide to the secretary of the Army for Louisiana.
- Brian Jakes of Hammond, chief executive of Southeast Louisiana Area Health Education Center In., and a West Point military academy liaison officer.
- Steve Jordan of Lake Charles, founder and president of Jordan Oil Company.
- Travis Greaves of Baton Rouge, Jindal's tax and economic policy advisor.
- Deborah Randolph of Alexandria, president of the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce.
- Mike Resse of Leesville, president of Fort Polk Progress, a business group formed to support the sprawling Army installation in Vernon Parish.
- Ben Russo of Rayne, director of market development, contracts and regulation at Cleco Power LLC.
- State Sen. John Smith of Leesville.
- Andy Thomson of Shreveport, a Northrup Grumman Aerospace Systems executive.
- Murray Visor of Shreveport, president and chief executive of Barksdale Forward, a business group formed to support Barksdale Air Force Base.
- Lorenz "Lo" Walker, mayor of Bossier City.