TAPS President and Founder
Bonnie Carroll founded the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) in 1994, at a time when there was no national support network for the families of America's fallen heroes. Through her own grief following the death of her husband, Brig. Gen. Tom Carroll, who perished in an Army plane crash in 1992 along with seven other soldiers, she turned her tragedy into a purposeful effort to create what is today the major national program providing compassionate care for all who are grieving the death of a service member.
Since its launch in 1994, TAPS has cared for the more than 100,000 surviving family members through a national network of peer-based emotional support services; a 24/7 helpline available to those grieving a loss; connections to community based care throughout the nation; and casework assistance for families navigating all of the resources and benefits available to them.
In addition to founding and serving as the President of TAPS, Carroll also held appointments in the government, including White House Liaison at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) under President George W. Bush, Executive Assistant to the President for Cabinet Affairs under President Reagan, and in Baghdad, Iraq, as the Senior Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Communications during Operation Iraqi Freedom. During her earlier career in Washington, D.C., Ms. Carroll lived and worked on Capitol Hill as a political consultant on Presidential and Congressional campaigns and consultant on national defense issues.
Carroll retired as a Major in the Air Force Reserve following 31 years of service, where her career included serving as Chief, Casualty Operations, HQ USAF. Prior to joining the USAFR, Maj. Carroll served 16 years as both a noncommissioned officer and then a commissioned officer in the Air National Guard as a Transportation Officer, Logistics Officer, and Executive Officer.
Carroll has also served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Death Education and Counseling, the Department of Defense Military Family Readiness Council, the VA Advisory Committee on Disability Compensation, the Defense Health Board, and the Board of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She is past co-chair of the Department of Defense Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide by Members of the Armed Forces and she currently serves on the VA Advisory Committee on Families, Caregivers and Survivors. Co-author of Healing Your Grieving Heart After a Military Death, she has published numerous articles on grief and trauma following a military death. She has appeared on CNN, FOX, NBC's The Today Show, and other national programs speaking about military loss.
In addition to receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama and the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award from the Department of Defense, Carroll was also featured in People Magazine as a "Hero Among Us"; named a recipient of the Community Heroes Award by the Military Officers Association of America; has been recognized by the Defense Department with the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service; and has received the Army's Outstanding Civilian Service Medal and the Navy's Distinguished Public Service Award.
Ms. Carroll holds a degree in Public Administration and Political Science from American University, and has completed Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government's Executive Leadership Program on International Conflict Resolution. She is a graduate of several military service schools, including the USAF Logistics Officer Course, Squadron Officers School, Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, Academy of Military Science and USAF Basic Training (Honor Graduate).