Captain Bonadonna was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in Merrick, New York on Long Island. He attended and graduated from Virginia Military Institute, and was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1979. After attending The Basic School and Infantry Officers Course, he was assigned to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina where he performed various duties with the 8th Marine Regiment, to include Platoon Commander, Company Executive Officer and Company Commander. He deployed to Beirut, Lebanon in 1982. After his tour with 8th Marines, Bonadonna was transferred to Parris Island, South Carolina to join the 1st Recruit Training Battalion. He served as a series officer and later as Regimental Instructional Training Officer. In 1986, he was assigned as Inspector-Instructor, Headquarters Company, 25th Marines in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1988, he left the active duty ranks to pursue graduate study at Boston University. He retained a reserve commission and served in a variety of billets with 25th Marines, to include Headquarters Company Commander, Operations Officer of the 1st Battalion, and Operations Officer of the Regiment. In the summers of 1995 and 1996 he was an instructor in the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP). From 1996-1997, he served as liaison between HQMC Plans, Policies, and Operations and the Naval War College, participating in several war games at the NWC Wargaming Center. During this time, he was continuing to teach and to pursue graduate study at Boston University. He also taught as adjunct in area colleges in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. He was a member of the adjunct faculty of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College from 1998-2001 and has served again in that role from 2009 to 2012. His last reserve assignments were as Field Historian, Marine Corps Historical Division and Senior Non-Resident Fellow of the Lejeune Leadership Institute. He completed a tour as Field Historian in support of 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade/Task Force Tarawa as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Colonel Bonadonna retired from the Marine Corps reserve in 2008. He joined the staff of the Commandant at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 2001 as a company officer and is currently Director of Ethics and Character Development. He has written on ethics and leadership. His doctoral dissertation, Served This Soldiering Through: Language, Masculinity, and Virtue in the World War II Soldier’s Novel, was published in book form,. Another book, Soldiers and Civilization: How the Profession of Arms Fought and Thought the Modern World into Existence will be published by Naval Institute Press in 2017. Captain/Colonel Bonadonna and his wife, Dr. Susan Bonadonna, MD, have three children: Erik, 24, Devon, 21, and Luke, 18. They reside in Larchmont, New York. His personal decorations include a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.
Major Ramiro De Anda is a Logistics Planner and MAGTF Officer who twice deployed to Iraq, once to Afghanistan, with a BLT on a MEU, and served on recruiting duty. He is currently a Master Instructor within the U.S. Naval Academy's English Department where he teaches Rhetoric and Introduction to Literature I and II, Practical Writing, Literature of War, Professional Communication and Marine Corps Leadership Practicum to service selected 1/C Midshipmen. Major De Anda possesses a Master of Education in Adult Education and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Post-Secondary Education. His teaching and research interests include PTSD Literature, Rhetoric and Composition, Latino Literature, Literature of War, Nineteenth-Century American Literature (Transcendentalism), Lyric and Contemporary Poetry, and Interpersonal Communication Theories.
CDR Deborah Fermo is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Naval Aviator. After graduating from the USNA in 1995, she spent 9 years as a pilot of the SH60F/HH60H aircraft where she served as an Anti-Submarine Warfare and Combat Search and Rescue pilot during operational deployments to Europe and the Middle East. In addition to serving as a flight leader and mission commander, CDR Fermo has also held numerous leadership positions ashore, including serving as a Naval Academy accessions and training officer and the Associate Chair of the English Department, and as an action officer planning Individual Augmentation missions for U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, VA. In her current position, CDR Fermo is a recalled Navy Reservist and serves as a Senior Instructor in the English Department of the United States Naval Academy (USNA). In 2014, she co-founded the Naval Academy Women’s Network, a network that empowers and equips Midshipmen to navigate their careers as leaders through increased opportunities for engagement, education, and experiences with officers and graduates. The establishment of the Naval Academy Women’s Network has incentivized numerous other programs to promote gender equality at USNA and in the Fleet. CDR Fermo holds a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College and lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband, also a pilot in the U.S. Navy, and their three children.
Commander Mike Flynn is a Permanent Military Professor in the English department at the United States Naval Academy (USNA). He earned his PhD in 2015 from the University of Texas Austin in the Comparative Literature program, writing his dissertation on representations of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in contemporary Colombian literature. After graduating from the USNA in 1995, he trained as a navigator on the EP-3 electronic reconnaissance aircraft, and flew in operations around the world, including the Balkans, Iraq, South America, and the Pacific.
Gil Hersch is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute for Philosophy & Public Policy at George Mason University. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of California, San Diego in January 2016. He earned a B.A. degree in philosophy, politics and economics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Hersch served as a field intelligence officer in the Israeli Defense Force.
The Rev. Dr. Dave Oravec has been a parish pastor for 26 years and is now serving at St. Martin's Lutheran Church in Annapolis, Maryland. He is a chaplain in the reserve component of the United States Navy, holding the rank of Captain. He served in Iraq and has worked extensively with Wounded Warriors. His doctoral work focused on Spirituality and the Suffering of God.
LtCol Russ has served in a variety of positions since his commissioning in 1997. His assignments as a F/A- 18D Weapons and Systems Officer include three tours with VMFA(AW)-533 in Beaufort, South Carolina, where he served as the squadron Adjutant, S-2 Officer-in-Charge, WSO Training Officer, Administrative Officer and Maintenance Officer. Moreover, he served as Air Officer and Forward Air Controller for 10th Marines in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and commanded Airfield Operations Company for Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 in Beaufort, South Carolina during his non-flying tours. LtCol Russ has served in two primary staff positions: 1) Senior Planner for the Aviation Combat Element in MEB-Afghanistan; 2) Aviation Operations Officer/Planner and Aviation Liaison to the Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policy and Operations, Department of Aviation at Headquarters Marine Corps. LtCol Russ’ operational and combat deployments include duty in the Western Pacific, Afghanistan, and Iraq. LtCol Russ’ personal decorations include two Meritorious Service Medals, Air Medal (with numeral 8), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and four Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.
Lieutenant Commander Ryan is a 1999 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer in the United States Navy. His various operational assignments include a division officer tour on USS PATRIOT (MCM7); EOD platoon officer assignments with EOD Mobile Unite THREE; EOD/ATFP officer on Carrier Strike Group TWO; Operations Officer of EOD Mobile Unite TWELVE; and Executive Officer of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unite ONE. LCDR Ryan is currently serving as a Junior Permanent Military Professor in the English Department at the United States Naval Academy. LCDR Ryan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English from the U.S. Naval Academy, a Master of Arts degree in English from the Catholic University of America, and a Master of Arts in Health and Wellness Coaching from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. His personal decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards), and various campaign and unit awards. He is married with three sons and lives in the Annapolis area where he enjoys participating in a variety of outdoor activities, works on various holistic veterancare initiatives, and participates in the local community.
Lieutenant Commander Welsh graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and minor in Spanish and was commissioned in May of 2000. She attended Surface Warfare Officer School in Newport, RI before reporting to her first command, USS WHIDBEY ISLAND (LSD-41) out of Little Creek, VA in March of 2001. While onboard, she served as the Combat Information Center Officer and completed a seventh month deployment to the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Upon completion of her first division officer tour, Lieutenant Commander Welsh then reported to USS MCINERNEY (FFG-8) stationed in Mayport, Florida where she served as the Training Officer from January 2003 until June 2004. During this time, she made her second deployment in support of the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) participating in several multi-lateral exercises and counter narco-terrorism operations in the Pacific Ocean.Lieutenant Commander Welsh returned to the Naval Academy in June, 2004 as an instructor in the Department of Seamanship and Navigation. She remained on shore duty until July, 2007 and earned a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College before returning to sea for her department head tours. After completing the department head training pipeline in Dahlgren, VA and Newport, RI, Lieutenant Commander Welsh reported to USS JOHN PAUL JONES (DDG-53) out of San Diego, CA as the Operations Officer in August, 2008. She returned to Fifth Fleet for a seven month deployment in support of the Ballistic Missile Defense mission and multi-lateral operations within the region. Following her tour onboard JOHN PAUL JONES, Lieutenant Commander Welsh headed to Pearl Harbor, HI and served as the Theater Security Cooperation (N-5) and Operations Officer (N-3) at Destroyer Squadron Thirty-One from January, 2010 until June, 2011. She made a 5 month deployment to Southeast Asia executing a series of bi-lateral exercises in support of Cooperation Afloat Readiness (CARAT) in Seventh Fleet.In December of 2010, Lieutenant Commander Welsh was selected as a Junior Permanent Military Professor of Leadership at the United States Naval Academy. She returned a third time to the Academy in July of 2011 and currently serves as a Leadership Instructor in the Department of Leadership Ethics and Law. Lieutenant Commander Welsh will teach NE203 Ethics and Moral Reasoning for the Naval Leader in the Fall of 2013. Lieutenant Commander Welsh's personal awards include four Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and one Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.