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RALEIGH, NC — This morning, Cal Cunningham’s campaign launched “Veterans & Military Families For Cal,” in a virtual town hall.
Cal, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve, has served three active duty tours, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. Looking out for North Carolina’s veterans and military families is personal to him. You can read more about his military service here.
During today’s event, Cal said, “In a state with so many veterans and military families, I know that serving our military communities, serving our veterans, in a number of ways is going to be deeply personal. It is part of the DNA of our state that we honor those who have served our country, served our families, and served our communities.”
Cal believes our leaders in Washington should be unwavering in their support of our service members and military families. To Cal, that means fighting for military project funding in North Carolina, working to ensure the Veterans Administration runs efficiently and leaves no veteran behind, supporting our troops who are wrestling with Post-Traumatic Stress, and expanding educational and job opportunities for veterans when they return to civilian life. In particular, the VA needs additional resources to support the growing ranks of women who serve, including to address incidences of domestic and sexual assault.
The group’s co-chairs include General George Walls, Willie Fleming, Dr. Vikki Andrews, Cpt USA (Ret), Rep. Grier Martin, Ryan McGill, and General J.R. Gorham. The group will also include members from across North Carolina who support Cal for his dedication to service and commitment to improving the lives of the military community. In addition, veterans and members of military families across the state are encouraged to join throughout the campaign.
General George Walls
“Throughout my career in the Marine Corps and afterwards in public life, I have lived by the credo that responsibility always rests at the top. The same is true in Washington. If we expect our veterans’ healthcare, livelihoods, and families to be valued, we have to elect leaders who will fight for them no matter what. I support Cal Cunningham because he is the kind of leader who can get the job done.”
Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in 1965, George H. Walls served on active duty for over twenty-eight years until retiring at the rank of Brigadier General in 1993. During his military career, he commanded units at every rank and served in staff assignments in the United States and overseas. He last commanded the 8,000 person Second Force Service Support Group, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
“As long as I’ve known Cal, he has always possessed a fervent energy to help people. He understands the specific challenges that veterans and their families face, and I know he will work tirelessly to lift us up.”
Willie Fleming is a combat veteran who served in the military from 1971 to 1973 in Vietnam and Cambodia. He has served as the President of the African American Caucus of the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party and the State President of the African American Caucus. He is also the founder of the International Minority Coalition and a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award.
Dr. Vikki Andrews, Cpt USA (Ret)
“As an Army veteran, I understand what it means to answer the call to serve. I see that same courage and commitment to service in Cal. In the Senate, I am confident he will be a strong advocate for the people of North Carolina, especially our veterans, servicemembers, and their families.”
Dr. Vikki Andrews is a retired Army veteran and former Adjunct Professor at Methodist University, Webster University, and Central Texas College. Her recent civic involvement includes past Chair of the Cumberland County Democratic Party, Chairperson of the Martin Luther King Cumberland County Day of Service Planning Committee, and member of the Cumberland County Communicare Board, Cumberland County United Way Evaluation Committee, Cumberland Partnership for Children Evaluation Committee, and the Cumberland County Cancer Advisory Board.
Rep. Grier Martin
“After the attacks on 9/11, I remember talking with Cal about the call to serve his country that eventually led him to the Army Reserve and three tours of active duty. Back then Cal stepped up when his country needed him most, and today he’s stepping up to serve his country again. I’m proud to support Cal in the fight to bring North Carolina the leadership our veterans deserve.”
Grier Martin is a U.S. Army Veteran of the War in Afghanistan who served together with Cal in the years after 9/11. After active duty, Grier once again answered the call to public service and was first elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 2004. There he started the bipartisan Military Veterans Caucus where he continues to fight to help veterans get access to health care, especially for traumatic brain injuries (TBI), help veterans avoid foreclosure, and provide more educational opportunities.
“I’ve served 12 years of active duty service, including three tours in Iraq, because I hold the values of service and duty above all else. I know Cal Cunningham, I know he shares those values, and I know he will lead with those values to improve the lives of veterans across North Carolina. “
Ryan McGill joined the Navy at 17 years old, and went on to serve 12 years of active duty service, first as a Navy Diver aboard the USS Emory S. Land AS-39. After the attacks on 9/11, Ryan commissioned in the Marine Corps, where he served as a CH-46E Helicopter Pilot and Operations Officer with three combat deployments to Al Anbar Province in the western area of Iraq. Ryan continues to lead a life of service to his country and his state, both in leadership positions with the Charlotte Civil Service Board and the Truman National Security Project. Today, Ryan continues to serve as a UH-60L Blackhawk Helicopter Pilot in the North Carolina Army National Guard.
General JR Gorham
“In times of crisis, I believe rather than make excuses, true leaders take action. Our nation is at a critical turning point and we need leaders in Washington who will act decisively on behalf of the people they represent. I’m proud to support Cal because he has proven his ability to be a leader who will step up and serve the people of North Carolina.”
General J.R. Gorham applied his father’s sharecropper wisdom and became the first African-American Brigadier General of the North Carolina National Guard, Vice President of First Citizens Bank in Kernersville and the Commissioner of Juvenile Justice in the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. A graduate of East Carolina University, J.R. married his college sweetheart Barbara Jean Battle and became Daddy to Tony, Jamie, and Joshua.