Seminar Special Guests

30th Annual National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp
May 23 - 27, 2024
Arlington, Virginia

Seminar Special Guests

30th Annual National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp
May 23 - 27, 2024
Arlington, Virginia

During the seminar, you will have the opportunity to hear from national experts in grief, trauma, health and wellness and more. Below is a list of the speakers and presenters who will be in attendance.

Make sure to also download the TAPS Events app. Recommended session schedules for different grief programming and speaker information are all built into the easy-to-navigate app.


Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr.


General Charles Q. Brown, Jr.

General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. is the 21st Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, and the principal military advisor to the President, Secretary of Defense, and National Security Council. Prior to becoming Chairman on October 1, 2023, General Brown served as the 22nd Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force. General Brown earned his commission in 1984 as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC program at Texas Tech University. General Brown has served in a variety of positions at the squadron and wing levels, including an assignment to the U.S. Air Force Weapons School as an F-16 Fighting Falcon Instructor. His notable staff tours include Aide-de-Camp to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force and Director of the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff Executive Action Group. His joint assignments include three assignments to U.S. Central Command as Air Operations Officer, Current Operations Division; Deputy Director, Operations Directorate; and Deputy Commander. General Brown has commanded a fighter squadron, the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, two fighter wings, and twice served as a Combined/Joint Air Component Commander with command tours at U.S. Air Forces Central Command and Pacific Air Forces. General Brown is a command pilot with more than 3,000 flight hours primarily in the F-16, including 130 combat hours, and has flown 20 additional fixed and rotary-wing aircraft. Throughout his career, he deployed or directly supported Operation Southern Watch, Operation Northern Watch, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Odyssey Dawn, Operation Unified Protector, and Operation Inherent Resolve. In addition to his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Texas Tech University, General Brown has a master’s degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School, a distinguished graduate from Air Command and Staff College, a graduate of the Air War College, and served as a National Defense Fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses.


General Martin Dempsey


General Martin E. Dempsey, U.S. Army (Ret)

General Dempsey retired as the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September 2015, after previously serving as the Army’s 37th Chief of Staff. Past assignments have taken him and his family across the globe during both peace and war from platoon leader to combatant commander. He is a 1974 graduate of the United States Military Academy and a career armor officer. General Dempsey’s awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Distinguished Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star with “V” Device and Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Action Badge, and the Parachutist Badge. In addition to his Master's degree in English, he holds Masters' degrees in Military Arts and National Security Studies. Dempsey now brings his extensive leadership qualities to the Chairmanship of USA Basketball. Elected to the post by the board of directors, Dempsey will lead USA Basketball through the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. General Dempsey and his high school sweetheart, Deanie, have three children who each have served in the U.S. Army. They have nine wonderful grandchildren. General Dempsey is a member of the TAPS Board of Directors.


Admiral Christopher W. Grady


Admiral Christopher W. Grady

A native of Newport, Rhode Island, Admiral Christopher W. Grady graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1984 and received his commission through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program. Grady is also a distinguished graduate of both Georgetown University, where he participated as a fellow in Foreign Service at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, and the National War College. A career Surface Warfare Officer, Grady served aboard USS Moosbrugger (DD 980) as combat information center officer and antisubmarine warfare officer. As a department head, he served as weapons control officer and combat systems officer aboard USS Princeton (CG 59). He then commanded Mine Countermeasures Rotational Crew Echo aboard USS Chief (MCM 14), and later deployed to the Arabian Gulf in command of USS Ardent (MCM 12). Grady subsequently commanded USS Cole (DDG 67), deploying as part of NATO's Standing Naval Forces Mediterranean. In command of Destroyer Squadron 22, he deployed to the Arabian Gulf as sea combat commander for the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. Ashore, Grady served in the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then as naval aide to the Chief of Naval Operations, as the assistant branch head of the Europe and Eurasia Politico-Military Affairs Branch (OPNAV N524), as executive assistant to the Navy's Chief of Legislative Affairs, as the deputy executive secretary of the National Security Council in the White House, and as the executive assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations. As a flag officer, he first served as Director of Maritime Operations, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (N2/3/5/7), then subsequently commanded Carrier Strike Group 1/Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group, where he deployed for nearly 10 months to the Western Pacific and the Arabian Gulf conducting combat operations in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. He later served as Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic; Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet/Commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO/Deputy Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa. From May 2018 until December 2021, he served as the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, and the Naval Component Commander to both U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Strategic Command, as the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander for U.S. Strategic Command and executed Task Force Atlantic in coordination with U.S. Naval Forces Europe. Admiral Grady was sworn-in as the twelfth Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s second highest-ranking military officer, on 20 December 2021. The admiral represents the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the Deputies Committee of the National Security Council and chairs the Joint Requirement Oversight Council (JROC) which is responsible for reviewing and establishing acquisition priorities for major weapon systems amongst the military branches. He also co-chairs the Deputy’s Management Action Group (DMAG) and the Deputy’s Workforce Council (DWC) with the deputy secretary of defense to address departmental budgetary priorities and serves as the senior member of the Nuclear Weapons Council, responsible for managing the atomic stockpile and coordinating nuclear weapon-related programs and budgets. The admiral is currently the Navy's "Old Salt", its longest-serving surface warfare officer on active duty.


General Daniel Hokanson

General Daniel R. Hokanson

General Daniel R. Hokanson serves as the 29th Chief of the National Guard Bureau and as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity, he serves as a military adviser to the President, Secretary of Defense, National Security Council and is the Department of Defense’s official channel of communication to the Governors and State Adjutants General on all matters pertaining to the National Guard. He is responsible for ensuring the more than 453,000 Army and Air National Guard personnel are accessible, capable and ready to protect the homeland and provide combat ready resources to the Army and Air Force. General Hokanson served previously as the Director of the Army National Guard, and earlier as the 11th Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau. General Hokanson graduated from the United States Military Academy and served on active duty in Air Cavalry, Attack Helicopter and Aircraft Test organizations prior to joining the Oregon National Guard. He has commanded at the company, battalion and brigade combat team levels, and served as the 30th Adjutant General of the State of Oregon. General Hokanson also served as the Deputy Commander of U.S. Northern Command, and Vice Commander, U.S. Element, North American Aerospace Defense Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. His combat deployments include Operations JUST CAUSE, ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. He commanded the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Iraq and served as Chief of Staff for Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix in Afghanistan. General Hokanson was also a member of the United States World Helicopter Team and founded the National Guard’s first Military Assistance to Safety and Traffic (MAST) and Military Air Rescue Team (MART) program where he commanded nearly 100 air rescue and fire-fighting missions throughout the Pacific Northwest.


Chef Robert Irvine


Chef Robert Irvine

Robert Irvine is a 16 year Navy veteran, world-class chef, fitness authority, and philanthropist. He seeks to inspire people to live better through all his endeavors. A tireless supporter of our veterans, he gives back to those who defend our freedoms. Robert pioneered a new genre of programming for Food Network with his extreme cooking challenge show, Dinner: Impossible, which ran for 7 seasons and over 100 episodes. He parlayed that success into the even more popular Restaurant: Impossible, which ran for 13 seasons and 160 episodes. Robert didn’t just renovate restaurants and retrain staff in record time, he counseled owners through personal problems that were destroying their businesses. At its peak, 1.2 million viewers tuned in on a weekly basis. Robert has also hosted or appeared on Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America, Next Iron Chef, Restaurant Express, Chopped: Impossible, Guy’s Grocery Games: Impossible, A Hero’s Welcome, Food Network Star, ABC’s Body of Proof, ABC Family’s Melissa and Joey among others.


Brett Jones

Brett Jones, Singer Songwriter

Brett Jones is a country music singer/songwriter originally from Warm Springs, Georgia. His first professional staff writing position was with country star Ronnie top twenty single, and in 1996, his first #1 country single. Since his career began, he has notched seven #1 country singles, two #2 singles, 14 top tens, and over 150 major label recordings. Some of his notable recordings are: You Gotta Love That by Neal McCoy, Cover You In Kisses by John Michael Montgomery, A Little Past Little Rock' by Lee Ann Womack, Better Man, Better Off by Tracy Lawrence, You Wont Ever Be Lonely by Andy Griggs, What Do You Think About That by Montgomery Gentry, Don't Ask Me How I Know by Bobby Pinson, Good Little Girls by Blue County, That's How Country Boys Roll by Billy Currington, Crazy Town by Jason Aldean, and If Heaven Wasnt So Far Away by Justin Moore. As a performer, Brett has been on play bills with: Little Texas, Tracy Byrd, Ricochet, Michael Martin Murphy, Joanna Smith, the Gatlin Brothers, Eddie Raven, Gary Morris, Michael McDonald, Big and Rich, Daryl Worley, Billy Currington, Phil Vassar, Shawn Camp, Rob Crosby, Andy Griggs, Randy Houser,Jason Jones,Jamie Johnson, Darryl Singletery, Bobby Pinson, Rhett Akins, Blue County, Mark Chesnut, Billy Ray Reynolds, Hank Cochran, and Kenny Chesney among others. Brett has also been a successful publisher sine 1997, and has had a hand in the careers of Tony Lane, Joanna Smith, Jason Jones, and Dallas Davidson. Some of his copyrights are: Honky Tonk Badonkadonk by Trace Atkins, Put A Girl In It by Brooks & Dunn, and Start A Band by Brad Paisley.


Robert Patrick

Robert Patrick, Actor

Robert Patrick has worked with the top actors and directors in his field for the last 20 years. His breakthrough role came as the legendary T-1000 in Terminator 2. He was the first actor in the history of motion capture and since then, he has worked on iconic films and television shows including Die Hard 2, Wayne's World, Last Action Hero, Fire in the Sky, Cop Land, The Faculty, Walk the Line, Bridge to Terabithia, Spy Kids, Flags of Our Fathers, The Sopranos, The Outer Limits, Elvis, The Unit, The X-Files, Sons of Anarchy and True Blood. He starred as Agent Cabe Gallow in Scorpion for CBS for four seasons and most recently was seen in The Laundromat and Perry Mason. He is currently co-starring in the new series Peacemaker. Patrick is a lifelong supporter of the military and the USO. The grandson of an Army veteran, who served during World Wars I and II and the Korean War, Patrick grew up with a profound respect for troops. He regularly goes on USO hospital visits and has participated in four USO tours to seven countries since 2008, visiting more than 8,100 service members and military families. As a longtime motorcycle enthusiast and Boozefighter, Patrick served for years as an Honorary Grand Marshall for the famed Love Ride which benefited veterans. He became the proud co-owner of Harley-Davidson Santa Clarita.


Matt Pavone

Matthew Pavone, Artist

Matthew Pavone is a visual artist based locally in Northern Virginia, and an active community volunteer. He serves on the Middleburg Art Council, in Middleburg Township, and on the Board of Directors for a local nonprofit, The Artists in Middleburg. In addition, he partners with various other local and national nonprofits to help fundraise and raise awareness for their causes. Among his various creative pursuits with the art world is an ongoing art series focused on flags - in particular the American flag. Matt's interest in the American flag as a symbol stretches back to his early childhood in New Jersey, at which time his adjacent neighbors were World War II veterans, brothers, Nick and Frank Maltese. His earliest childhood memories include the American flag, which Nick and Frank flew 365 days a year. As an artist who creates stylized depictions of objects from his own past, the flag is naturally an image Matt gravitates toward. I rely heavily on his emotional connection to those objects to express how he feels using color. He works with different mediums and frequently uses collage, stencil, and hand-cut wood silhouettes to create his artwork. Matt also incorporates a variety of different painting techniques to produce an impression of those memories. These memories tend to flow through panels of imagery that are based on what he describes as looping memory tracks (e.g. flags, flowers, coffee, etc). From these memory tracks, he investigates his influences and explores his identity using color and patterning. He attributes his creative approach to exposures to street art and counterculture of New York City and Montreal in the 1980s and 1990s, where as a child, Matt spent significant time.

Friday Evening: The Art of the Flag


Tony L. Whitehead


SEA Tony L. Whitehead

Senior Enlisted Advisor Tony L. Whitehead is the Senior Enlisted Advisor (SEA) to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Pentagon, Washington D.C. He serves as the Chief’s principal military advisor on all enlisted matters affecting training, utilization, health of the force, and enlisted professional development. As the highest enlisted level of leadership, he provides direction for the enlisted force and represents their interests. SEA Whitehead entered the Air Force in December 1982. His background encompasses a myriad of positions and assignments in the Security Specialist and Security Forces career field, and as a First Sergeant. He joined the Florida ANG in April 1994. SEA Whitehead has deployed in support of Operations Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom, including a tour as the Provost Senior Enlisted Leader to the 10th Area Support Group, Camp As Sayliyah. Prior to his current position SEA Whitehead served as the Command Chief Master Sergeant of CONR-1 AF, Tyndall AFB, Florida where he advised the commander on matters influencing the health, morale and welfare of assigned American and Canadian forces and their families.


Army Band Downrange


The U.S. Army Band Downrange

Downrange supports the men and women of the Armed Services through popular music while reaching all audiences, young and old, with their continuously up-to-date repertoire of rock, pop, country, R & B, and inspirational signature patriotic arrangements that are popular with all listeners.


Marine Drum and Bugle Corps


The U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps

"The Commandant's Own," the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps' mission is to provide music and drill ceremony to the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Commanding Officer of Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. founded in 1934 as an augmentation to the United States Marine Band, "The Commandant's Own" is the only active duty drum and bugle corps currently serving in our Armed Forces.


Voices of Service


Voices of Service

Voices of Service (VOS), part of the nonprofit Center for American Military Music Opportunities also called CAMMO is a singing quartet which includes retired Master Sgt. Caleb Green, retired Staff Sgt. Ron Henry, Sgt. Maj. Christal Rheams and Sgt. 1st Class Jason Hanna.