U.S. Navy CDR JANETTE M. ARENCIBIA
Health Security Cooperation, Readiness & Training Officer,
ENTOMOLOGY Center of Excellence, Jacksonville Naval Air Station
Global Health Professional, Plans, Operations and Medical Intelligence Officer
Janette Arencibia is a 1988 graduate of Mercer County High School in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 1995 and in 1996 from the EKU MPA program where she was a Patricia Roberts Harris Fellow and Presidential Internship Management Candidate. She is a graduate of the U.S. Navy War College where she earned a Masters in National Security and Strategic Studies. LCDR Arencibia is, as well, a graduate of the Marine Corps Command and Staff, Marine Corps University and is currently enrolled in the Uniformed Services University Global Health Engagement program.
In support of Operation Enduring Freedom, she was the first Medical Service Corps officer to deploy from a training command reporting as Chief, Joint Visitor’s Bureau with BCT 41 - Task Force Phoenix V to Afghanistan. Arencibia became one of the first female officers to instruct security and weapons training for females in the Afghan National Army ranks. She well represented the U.S. Navy among Army ranks earning the Keith L. Ware Award for her photography and additional written submissions throughout the course of her assignment in Afghanistan. She was awarded by the Afghan National Army for training and instruction provided and is also an honorable member of The Order of St. Barbara, a military honor society of the U.S. for both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps Artillery, including Field Artillery and Air Defense Artillery as a result of her involvement in artillery field training.
Arencibia’s initial sea tour was aboard USNS MERCY where she was a medical planner and patient regulator managing over 200,000 casualties during OPERATION UNIFIED RESPONSE –HAITI. Immediately following her redeployment from Haiti, she deployed onboard the USS IWO JIMA (CP 10) as the Lead Medical Planner. While serving aboard the IWO JIMA, she liaised with Central and South American embassies on behalf of FST-2. As the Plans, Operations and Medical Intelligence DUINS awardee, she reported to the Joint Staff Surgeon’s office in 2012. During her Joint Staff assignment, she was the Project Manager for the Joint Medical Planning Tool; now the required verification and validation analytical tool for the Joint Forces. She was requested to extend at the Joint Staff Surgeon’s office then accepted the Lead Medical Planner Position at NORAD-USNORTHCOM in 2013 where she served until 2016. Arencibia transferred to Marine Forces Central Command where she served as the Lead Medical Planner for exercises EAGER LION and NATIVE FURY and is currently the USCENTCOM Theater Security Cooperation Manager for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Her shore assignments include the Navy School of Health Sciences Security Manager, NNMC-Bethesda Officer in Charge of Contingency Operations, BUMED M3 Readiness Officer, and Medical Officer Recruiter.
Currently, CDR. Arencibia coordinates Global Health Initiatives, Force Readiness, Force Protection and Theater Security Operation specific to building Global Medical Force multiplier capacity. She is a Joint Qualified Officer. Her military awards include: Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Commendation Medal, the Navy Marine Commendation Medal (2 awards), and other unit and service awards specific on CV. She serves as an Executive Board Member for the Gratitude Professor Foundation and volunteers with Remember, Honor, Support of the Tampa and St. Petersburg Bay area.
My name is Christopher Lewis Cockrille. I am the host of “The Kristof Lewis Podcast”. I was born in the United States of America, growing up at 8,500 feet in a small mountain town in Colorado. I have also been fortunate enough to have lived in Budapest, Hungary where my family is from (where the name “Kristóf” comes from, which my family calls me). I absolutely love traveling and have visited 26 countries which has opened my eyes to many cultures and people of different backgrounds. Currently, I am living in Norfolk, Virginia with my wife, baby girl and Golden Retriever.
I created The Kristof Lewis Podcast in March of 2018, five months before I was honorably discharged from the United States Navy after serving nine years. I currently work in the ‘tech’ sector while I continue to create and build upon the podcast. I have always had a deep desire to help others, and I love speaking with other people that share this passion. I am a huge advocate of self-education, or focused learning, and a growth mindset. I understand that the learning process is different for each person, which is why I love the variety of the guests that I am able to converse with. I dropped out of college and dropped right into self-education, and never looked back.
Too many times in my life, I underestimated myself and set my goals too low. People told me that I would never find a job that I truly enjoyed. Through each Conversation I will show you that it is indeed possible to do what you want in life as long as you’re adding value to others. We can pursue anything we want and we alone are responsible for our success as long as we work hard enough for it. We should not keep what we know and learn to only ourselves.
Demetrius' story is no different than many youths, born in a metropolitan area riddled with drugs, crime, and plagued with addiction. He was the middle child of three siblings raised by a single mother due to the absence of his father. Demetrius had to experience at an early age just how detrimental addiction was and the damage it can do to a family. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, drugs, crime, addiction, and violence were the norm; and it was a life expected for most. With the lack of jobs and the poverty this city had to offer; Demetrius’s mother did the best she could in raising her two young children all on her own.
With the loss of her job combined with the recession, the trajectory of their lives would shift from barely getting by to barely being able to keep the lights on. By the time Demetrius was graduating high school, a majority of the kids he grew up with had already begun to employ the lessons our environment had taught them; and many had already received the outcome. Demetrius was faced with the cruel realization about his future and what he could get out of this city. Eventually, this led him to make a tough decision at the tender age of 18; join the United States Marine Corps upon graduating high school.
The time came and he enlisted in 2009. Demetrius has served 10 faithful years. Throughout his service he has faced obstacles and overcame adversity; he also deployed to different countries in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force. These tours along with many other challenges would go on to transform him into the man he is today. A Sergeant and Martial Arts Instructor Trainer within the United States Marine Corps, Demetrius has had the privilege to train, lead, guide, and mentor fellow Marines.
Andy Och is an award winning television and multi-media producer who has traveled the world with his pen, paper and camera. A Radio/Television and Film graduate from the University of Maryland, Andy started his production career in music – recording and touring with his band in the 80s & 90s. Soon after that he added his camera to the mix, and all the pieces fell into place. A storyteller from a young age, Andy enjoys the art of communication, and will go anywhere in the world for more knowledge, greater understanding and a good story. He is a true documentarian of life.
Most recently, for the C-SPAN series – “First Ladies: Influence and Image”, Andy spent over a year traveling to nearly every location that helped tell the stories of every First Lady of the United States of America. He covered Martha Washington through Michelle Obama, and visited with people and places all across the country. From Colonial Williamsburg to Stanford University, he was given an ALL ACCESS – BACKSTAGE PASS to some of the nation’s most treasured collections and historical landmarks. He spent time in libraries and museums – homes and schools – birthplaces and cemeteries – train stations and churches. No stone was left unturned, no door left unlocked, in his unique and historical journey to learn everything he could about these women before, during and after their time in the White House.
Historians, archivists and enthusiasts agree – Andy’s recent project and travels put him in a small and rare group of people. He is responsible for one of the most complete and vast collections of material and information about this unique sorority of women ever assembled. He IS the First Ladies Man, and he is excited to share the stories of his adventures.
Mr. Och states, “I think it’s important to be aware of the first ladies that did things or put policies into place that are still relevant today, and not just the obvious ones we learned about in school.” He brings a fresh look and a new passion to an often overlooked subject in American History.
The First Ladies Man is set to publish his first book, Unusual For Their Time (Dec 2015) that is a companion to his speaking program; it allows him to tell all the tales from the road. Mr. Och’s travels were extensive; from Fredericksburg VA to California, Mr. Och relates, “On my very first stop in Fredericksburg for Elizabeth Monroe, I held earrings that were woven from her actual hair. I knew this was going to be the adventure of a lifetime.”
Andrew continues and adds, “One of my last stops on the West Coast was the Reagan Museum and Library in Simi Valley, CA to research Nancy Reagan. The true love story that is the Reagan’s was a powerful way to wind things up, and reaffirm that these women are people. Real people who live; love, laugh and cry.”
Bringing education and entertainment together, Andrew Och has accumulated one of the most intricate and complete historical collections of America’s First Ladies. He is a historian, teacher, lecturer and producer who lives and breathes his work. During his lectures, he’s often asked- who was his favorite First Lady? Mr. Och’s answer sums up his lecture series, “I can’t name just one lady. Their separate contributions need to be looked at as a whole because together they’ve helped sew the unique fabric of our country and for that we’re extremely lucky.”
Abram Korn was 16 when the Nazis invaded his hometown of Lipno, Poland, on September 1, 1939, the first day of World War II. He survived the entire war as a Jewish prisoner, enduring the ghettos, the horrific concentration camps, the Death March from Auschwitz.
Astoundingly, Abe kept his sense of human dignity–with gangrenous feet he struggled to stay on the healthy-workers list; with scant supplies he bargained for food and coal and helped others survive. Abe always believed he could live one more day, and on April 11, 1945, when the Buchenwald camp was liberated, he was finally free.
After Liberation, Abe focused on going to school and earning a living. He began rebuilding his life with other survivors in Germany. Eventually, as a man earnest to forgive past sins and take individuals at face value, he married a German Lutheran, who later converted to Judaism. They moved to the United States, where they raised their family and built a remarkably successful automotive business.
By the time Abe died in 1972, he had almost completed a rough first draft of his memoirs. His eldest son, Joseph, recently prepared Abe’s manuscript for publication. Abe’s Story: A Holocaust Memoir was released on April 11, 1995, the fiftieth anniversary of his liberation from Buchenwald Concentration Camp.
To the family he raised proudly in the Jewish tradition, Abram Korn left a legacy of powerful inspiration. For modern readers seeking the best in Holocaust literature and riveting drama, Abe’s Story is an incredible story of hope, of the human potential to do good in the face of horrible evil. All who read Abe’s Story seem to apply it to their lives today. It inspires them to persevere, despite any obstacles in their paths.
Jill Stephenson spent over 20 years in corporate leadership positions. Little did she know, her life events would steer her down a different career path.
In her eyes, being a mother to Benjamin Kopp was her largest blessing and gave her life meaning. At age 13, Ben vowed to serve his country and expressed this with such determination. She knew then, that her son was destined for greatness. As a result of his determination, Ben became an Army Ranger and served with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. On July 10, 2009, Jill received a phone call that would change her life forever.
During his third deployment, but first in Afghanistan, Ben saved the lives of six of his fellow soldiers before being wounded during a firefight. He survived his injuries long enough to make it back to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Due to the severity of his injuries, Ben was unable to overcome the trauma. He was then declared brain dead and removed from life support. Before his death, Ben ensured his living will state that he donate all of his organs, including bone, skin and tissue. His donations saved or enhanced the lives of 60 people. His heart still beats in a woman who resides in Winnetka, Illinois.
Jill formed a friendship with news reporter Bill Lunn, who was moved by her son’s heroic story. In collaboration with Jill, Bill Lunn was able to publish his first book, “Heart of a Ranger”. A book that outlines Ben Kopp’s legacy, before and after death. They jointly conduct readings and book signings across the country.
Jill speaks nationwide and is an active advocate for organizations such as the ILMFR, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors and American Gold Star Mothers. Jill is able to provide peerless wisdom that exudes strength and encouragement because of her experiences in her career and personal life. Through her adversities she has found the hidden blessings. She draws on her strength and has made it her mission to instill positivity, motivation and hope to all who experience hardships and difficulty moving forward. Jill knows how to grasp what life throws at us. She takes that energy and turns it into drive, motivation and success. Her voice speaks to a variety of audiences allowing her to be a featured speaker for Proctor & Gamble, the University of Minnesota and the US Army.
Her story has been featured on the Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, the Hallmark Channel, The World News, Independent Journal Review & more.
Cpl. Benjamin S. Kopp, was a rifleman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga. He was born on Jan. 20, 1988, in Minneapolis, Minn.
Kopp was seriously wounded during a combat operation in southern Afghanistan, July 10. Kopp was medically evacuated through Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany to Walter Reed Medical Center,Washington, D.C., where he died as a result of his wounds July 18. His unit hadattacked into a Taliban safe haven where they fought a determined enemy from multiple directions for several hours, resulting in the killing of more than 10 Taliban fighters.
Kopp was on his third deployment in support of the War on Terror with two previous deployments to Iraq.
After graduating from Rosemount High School, Kopp enlisted in the U.S. Army from his hometown of Rosemont, Minn., July 2006. He completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning Ga., as an infantryman. After graduating from the Basic Airborne Course there, he was assigned to the Ranger Indoctrination Program also at Fort Benning.
He graduated from the Ranger Indoctrination Program and was then assigned to Company C, 3rd Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment June 2007 where he served as a Rifleman.
His military education includes the Basic Airborne Course, Ranger Indoctrination Program, and the U.S.Army Ranger Course.
His awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, Army Achievement Medal with two awards, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the Parachutist Badge. Kopp was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, Purple Heart and the Meritorious Service Medal.
Colonel Ben Knisely grew up in the small town of Osprey, Florida, just a few miles south of here. He graduated from Riverview High School. He entered military service following his graduation from the University of South Florida, in Tampa and 28 years later, retired from the US Army at the rank of Colonel.
A couple notable aspects of his career that I would like to share with you in this introduction is that during a tour of duty in Viet Nam, the then, First Lieutenant Ben Knisely, while piloting a UH-1 MEDEVAC helicopter was shot down by an enemy missile in the Ah Shaw Valley over enemy territory and severely wounded in the crash. He and his co-pilot were listed as MIA in April 1968 and were subsequently rescued by a very highly publicized heroic and daring mission executed by the Army’s famous 101st Airborne Division. The details of the harrowing escape and evasion actions by Lt. Knisely and his copilot, and the subsequent and successful rescue efforts by a small special Operations team was captured in a book by Peter Dorland, called DUSTOFF 65, published in 1974. The Infantry Lieutenant, who led the famous and heroic rescue effort directly into the face of the enemy, was recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor.
After 9 months of hospitalization, Knisely not only petitioned to stay on active duty, but re-qualified to fly MEDEVAC helicopters, and did so for the remaining years of his Army career…..In his last tour of duty; he served on the special staff of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Ben hides his physical scars of combat well. Clothing covers the skin disfigurement of his burns, and you will Hardly notice the limp of his prosthetic left ankle and foot, but he admits that he suffers from PTSD, for the haunting dreams of his combat shoot-down event almost 50 years ago still come back now and then, and for that invisible wound, he will be the first to tell you that there is no cure.
Colonel Knisely now lives in Sarasota, Fl. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of a Wounded Warrior organization called Operation Second Chance. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Sarasota Military Academy, and is the Military and Veterans Liaison Officer for the Sarasota County Sheriffs Office. His list of military awards and decorations are far too numerous for me to read to you … He is a named member of the elite Order of Dedalions and in 2013 Ben was inducted into the US Army’s Medical Aviation Hall of Fame.
We posed the question: "Whats Does Freedom Mean To You?"
A compilation of answers from our fellow veterans Michael Flynn, Rocky Bleier, Michael Burns, Carl Higbie, Simon Harmer (U.K.), Jason Redman, Erik Shaw, Herb Thompson, Russ Barnes, and Janette Arencibia.
May God Bless America (and, the United Kingdom) and All of You For Your Commitment, Loyalty & Sacrifices in the Support of Freedom!