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.
Deputy Secretary Martin Fallsof The North Carolina Department of Military & Veterans Affairs
Secretary Larry D. Hall has appointed Colonel (US Army, Retired) Martin Falls as the Deputy Secretary for Veteran Affairs. Falls is a native of Hickory NC and lifelong citizen of North Carolina where he graduated high school and Lenoir Rhyne University. He joined the US Army in 1982 as a Private advancing to the rank of Sergeant and was accepted into Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning GA. He graduated as the Distinguished Honor graduate and commissioned a 2LT in the Infantry. Mr. Falls is a distinguished Graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic and Advance Course, Combined Arms Service Staff School, Command and General Staff College and the Air War College. Throughout his career, he held numerous positions to include successful command tours at the Company, Battalion and Brigade level. He held numerous Senior Staff positions to Include Army G-1 Personnel Officer culminating as Brigade Commander. He held positions in three branches; Infantry, Armor and Engineer. Mr. Falls is a combat veteran of Iraqi Freedom and retired in 2012 with over 30+ years of service.
After military service, Mr. Falls worked as a Manpower Management Analyst for the U.S. Army prior to his employment with NCDVA. Mr. Falls has an extensive personnel and leadership background as demonstrated by his assignments throughout his career. While working with the North Carolina Division of Veteran Affairs, he held positions as District Service Officer, Region I Manager, Chief Operations Officer for the State, Deputy Director, and now Assistant Secretary of Veteran Affairs.
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.