Leadership Secretary Walter Gaskinof The North Carolina Department of Military & Veterans Affairs LtGen Walter Gaskin is currently serving as the Secretary for the North Carolina Department of Military & Veterans Affairs. Lieutenant General Gaskin has served on the North Carolina Military Affairs Commission. From 2010 until his retirement from the United States Marine Corps in 2013, LtGen Gaskin served as the Deputy Chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium, providing strategic military counsel on operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya to NATO’s Secretary General and North Atlantic Council. LtGen Gaskin also served as the Commanding General of the 2d Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, NC from June 2006 until July 2008. In addition to this role, he simultaneously served as the Commanding General of II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). During this tour, LtGen Gaskin led II MEF (FWD) during its year-long deployment to Al Anbar Province, Iraq as the Commanding General of Multinational Forces-West. Gaskin also served with 3rd Force Service Support Group (Echo and Foxtrot Logistics Support Units); 3rd Marine Division (Division Command Center) in Okinawa, Japan; and with Combined Forces Command C/J-3, Seoul, South Korea as the Head of Ground Forces Branch. Mr. Gaskin most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of La Porte Technology Defense (LAPORTECH). LAPORTECH is an engineering Technical Development Plan supplier with the capability to design, test, retrofit, and roll-out new and existing specialty defense and commercial vehicles. Prior to this, Mr. Gaskin served as the Managing Director in Charge of Operation Management Complex of Global Bank in Irvine, CA. A graduate of Savannah State University's NROTC Scholarship Program with a Bachelor of Science, he earned a Summa Cum Laude Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma and completed the Senior Executive Seminar from the JFK School of Government at Harvard University. His military education includes the Amphibious Warfare School; Army Command and Staff College; Army War College; and the Combined/Joint Force Land Component Command Course. Assistant Secretary Military Affairs - Ariel AponteThe North Carolina Department of Military & Veterans Affairs Secretary Larry D. Hall appointed Chief Warrant Officer (US Army, Retired) Ariel Aponte as the Assistant Secretary for Military Affairs. Ariel Aponte arrived in North Carolina in 1998, when he was assigned to his first duty station, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. While at Fort Bragg, Ariel has served in the 82nd Airborne Division, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), United States Army Special Operations Command, and the United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. Mr. Aponte is a graduate of the Special Forces Qualification Course, Enlisted Honor Graduate of the United States Army Ranger Course and Distinguish Graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College. Mr. Aponte served in positions of increasing responsibility to include Special Forces Weapon Sergeant, Special Forces Assistant Operations Sergeant, Special Forces Assistant and Detachment Commander, Company Special Forces Operations Warrant Officer, Operations Officer, and Director of Professional Military Education. Mr. Aponte deployed multiple times throughout his career to SOUTHCOM, NORTHCOM, and CENTCOM area of responsibility. His awards and decorations include Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 2 Campaign Stars, Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device, Bronze Star Medal (5th award) Meritorious Service Medal (2nd Award), Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device, Army Commendation Medal (3rd Award), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medial with Campaign Star, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, and the Senior Parachutist Badge. As the Assistant Secretary of Military Affairs, Mr. Aponte oversees all efforts and initiatives for the State of North Carolina on the next round of Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC), as defined by the Governor and the General Assembly. Mr. Aponte serves as the principal designee for the following committees on behalf of the NC DMVA; Sentinel Landscape Committee, State Reentry Council Collaborative, Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs, Hometown Strong, and State of North Carolina and Republic of Botswana Bi-lateral Committee. Assistant Secretary Veteran Affairs - Terry WestbrookThe North Carolina Department of Military & Veterans Affairs Terry Westbrook is the Assistant Secretary for Veterans Affairs for the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. He has held this role since January 2021. In this role, he supervises all the Veteran Service activities, including management of the State Veterans Home program, the State Veterans Cemetery program, and the administration of the North Carolina Children of Wartime Veterans Scholarship program. Terry is a retired veteran of over 35 years of service. He attained the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Four prior to his retirement in April of 2017. He deployed four times (once to Jordan, twice to Iraq, and once to the Sinai Peninsula). He has received numerous awards, including multiple Meritorious Service Medals, multiple Army Commendation Medals, the North Carolina Meritorious Service Medal, and the North Carolina Commendation Medal. Terry is also a retired civil service employee, with over 30 years of service, having executed this service concurrently with his military service. He He final assignment was as a property management specialist for the North Carolina National Guard. Terry has been married for over 35 years to Thelma Westbrook. They have two children (Bobby, who is married and has two children; and Whitney, who just got married on April 30). They live in Raleigh, NC.