American Veterans Vote


June 3, 2023

Our Strategic Goals

  Support Veterans and their Families

  Defend our Constitution as Written and Amended

  Protect the Nation at Home and Abroad 

From the CEO

A Call For Inspired Leadership

and National Purpose

Quite a year. Enemies aggressively on the march, economic turbulence and inflation increasing, Congress deadlocked, military adrift and confused, recruiting challenges mounting, readiness declining, and, even worse, a detached president continues to deliver a dark vision for America – yeah, 1979 really sucked!  

It's Memorial Day, and I can’t help but reflect on comrades, missions, losses, and lessons learned…or not learned. There have been bad times, lousy leadership, and sacrifices made in earlier times. But the pain of the immediate is always sharper. Still, a historical conscience is helpful as we attempt to put this present in context with similar, bad times. 

Bob Wood

CEO, American Veterans Vote

LTG (R), US Army

"Inspired leadership, diligence, strategic vision, and competence are essential traits, present in the leaders we must choose and support." 

Those late seventies were years of “clean up” after too many hits and misses in adapting to the Volunteer military. Most post-draft military experiments aimed at attracting recruits had gladly lapsed - VOLAR, lower standards, beer in the barracks (!). The Army had jettisoned its ill-advised slogan, “The Army wants to join you” but had yet to figure out a worthy replacement. 1979 was a year on the cusp of a military emerging (evacuating) from Vietnam and redesigning its training models, maturing a volunteer force, and further implementing both values centered leadership and standards-based performance. Desert One proved there was much left to do, particularly in Joint planning.


There were many steps forward: Training centers, fleet exercises, Red Flag, AAR’s, forward presence, equipment investments, consistent strategy and adaptive tactics, intent based operations, joint integration. But the real juice that moved our profession forward was based on inspired leadership and renewed belief in a national purpose worth our sacrifices and hard work. Two difficult ingredients for success, both interrelated, and both achievable.

One leader in the military and one in politics come to my mind, one for his inspired military leadership and one for his inspired presidential leadership. While there were certainly others who met the challenge of recovering our strengths, redefining success, and reminding us that the sacrifice was worth the cost. It was my good fortunate to serve and to learn from General Max Thurman and President Reagan during this period.

General Max Reid Thurman

On General Thurman’s office wall in the Pentagon hung a memento which he prized. It was the first copy of the song lyrics prepared by a marketing team for this impatient, demanding leader. It was titled simply, “Be All That You Can Be.” For a generation looking for purpose, challenge, and growth, this motto reconnected the Army with a younger recruit. It wrenched new attention to new standards and enduring values from the worthy but no longer relevant vestiges of past wars. 

General Thurman launched this personal appeal to a new force in 1981 from his role as Commander of Army Recruiting Command. He would go on to redesign how this force was equipped, trained, and used as Army G1 (81-83), Vice CSA (83-87), Commander TRADOC (87), and CINC SOUTHCOM (89-90). Desert Storm was a successful graduation exercise for our rejuvenated military. This leader made a difference!

We know the impact President Reagan had on ending the Cold War with the Soviet Union. But it was his inspired example of leadership, vision, and excellence in high office that I can recall from personal and close experience. The sense of purpose and spirit for service within our transitioning military was palpable. What seemed a dispirited decade of the 70’s grew to be a belief in - dare I say – winning in the 80’s. Disarmament, Star Wars, the Wall falls, Economic success. As President Reagan increased military budgets for Strength, he similarly strode the world stage seeking Peace. The strategy of Peace Through Strength made sense, particularly for a volunteer military looking to America’s and their own future. This leader made a difference! 

"If not us, who? And if not now, when?"

Ronald Reagan

40th U.S. President

American Veterans Vote comprises Veterans from every era of Service, WWII to yesterday’s ETS. History informs us. We made much of it. Inspired leadership, diligence, strategic vision, and competence are essential traits, present in the leaders we must choose and support. Those who divide us, trivialize essential values and beliefs, or demean the Service of those who served and sacrificed for our Constitution and Nation deserve early retirement, not public service.    


God Bless all who have served – Active, Families, Veteran, Retired. All gave some, some gave all, in the defense of our Constitution and service to our Nation.




LTG Bob Wood

U.S. Army (Retired)

CEO, American Veterans Vote



Inspiration Corner


COL (R) Michael B. "Yama" Hoyes

Be The Example

While standing for our National Anthem at my grand daughter’s high school graduation this weekend, I found myself thinking about service, and because it is Memorial Day weekend, thinking about those who paid the ultimate price. And then I noticed people, many people, walking around to find their seats and conversing during the playing of the anthem, and that saddened me. I wondered when was it that I was trained to stop and face the flag during the anthem…was it during grade school? It certainly became quite apparent (and enforced) when I joined the military decades ago. It remains such a part of me and my fellow Veterans, it is like my skin…it remains part of serving.

In the Old Testament, Joshua assembled the tribes of Israel and reminded them of all the many blessings they received from God. The promises made and the promises kept by God despite Israel’s failures. Joshua tells his people that they have a choice concerning who they would serve (false gods) and concludes with: “But as for me and my household we will serve the Lord.” [Joshua 24:15b]


Considering that and my wonderings about “when was I trained”, I was reminded about what Paul wrote in Romans: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” [Romans 10:14]


So, we as Veterans, have a responsibility to tell our countrymen, and especially Veterans that follow, what we have learned, while being examples for them.

A Veteran's Perspective


Rocco Dryfka

Over the Memorial Day weekend, you may have seen a replay of an interview done last year of Carl Dekle, a 100 year-old Word War II Veteran now passed, who served in the Marines. As the interview progressed, Carl broke down and cried saying that “…we haven’t got the country we had when I was raised.” Carl worried that future generations wouldn’t have the same opportunities he had. "It’s just not the same,” he continued, “…people don’t realize what they have. The things we fought for and the boys that died for it, it’s all gone down the drain.”

Carl Dekle

Lifelong Marine

I haven’t lived as long as Carl, but I certainly share his sentiments – it’s not the same, even from just a few years ago. I try to put myself in Carl’s shoes and I can imagine it – he put his life on the line for his country, probably didn’t expect to survive, saw his friends killed, and witnessed the sorrow of families whose loved ones paid the ultimate price.

But Carl did make it home and resumed his life. He found beauty in the little things, did volunteer work, and assumed that the country was now safe and in good hands. With the presumption that elected leaders would do the right things for the country, Carl passed the baton – he did his part; now it was up to others. Unfortunately, at the end of his life, Carl realized that the others he entrusted the country to dropped the baton, and you could tell from the video that it broke his heart.

While Memorial Day was set aside to honor and mourn those who died serving in the Armed Forces, I’m hoping Veterans will also use the occasion to recommit to safeguarding the ideals of this country – the same ones that Carl thought worth fighting for. If Carl was with us today, I’d imagine he’d thank us for our service, but warn us to keep our eyes on the ball. Live your life he’d say, but keep abreast of the news, engage your elected officials, and vote, volunteer, or run for office if you can.  

Featured Event

Housing Shortage


Hampton Roads

Come join the first Veteran Policy Forum hosted by AVV UNITE, our 501c4 organization.

This will be a moderated panel discussion by elected and appointed government officials, SMEs, and real estate officials, followed by a Q&A.

Click here for details

Veteran Forum on Affordable Housing co-hosted by AVV and The Hampton Roads Black Caucus in Virginia Beach on Monday, 5 June.

I Say Again

Newsletter Key Takeaways

  • Republics are dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people

  • Our republic is in a precarious situation and is not guaranteed

  • Local voting empowers our Constitutional Republic to limit federal overreach

  • Inaction is not an option - Veteran voters have the numbers to force change through the ballot box

  • Fight political apathy; Veterans must be front and center in voter turnout, absentee ballot sign-ups, and early voting

The Decisive Edge - Early and Absentee Voting

Use the following QR codes to:

  • Register to vote
  • Request an absentee ballot
  • Track your ballot

It's a fact ...early mail-in voters decide the elections.


Click here to register

Click here to track ballot

American Veterans Vote, Inc. (AVV) is a volunteer team of Veterans and Veteran supporters who led the Veteran Coalition for Glenn Youngkin. We are a 527 Political Action Committee with a nationally-focused mission to promote the political voice of Veterans and mission partners in support of our three strategic goals:

  • Support of Veterans and their Families
  • Defense of the Constitution, and
  • Promote Our Nation’s Security

AVV’s goal is to help Veterans maximize their political voice by supporting Veterans’ ability to Vote, Volunteer and Run for Public Office.

"Every Veteran, Every Vote."

We don't speak FOR Veterans... we speak AS Veterans.

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