A coalition of retired military leaders, including several distinguished Generals and Admirals, today announced their endorsement of Nathan Fletcher for Mayor. The group includes three former “Navy Mayors” of San Diego. They cited Fletcher’s ability to lead complex organizations and make tough decisions. The coalition includes Rear Admiral and “Navy Mayor” Len Hering, Brigadier General Michael I. Neil and former City of San Diego Chief Operating Officer and “Navy Mayor” of San Diego Rear Admiral Ronne Froman.
“I led large organizations and was responsible for managing thousands of people and billions of dollars during my career. I know first-hand what it takes. Nathan is battle-tested and has what it takes to be a great Mayor,” said Admiral Len Hering, a former “Navy Mayor” of San Diego. “It is time to turn the page and bring a new generation of leadership to City Hall. Nathan Fletcher is the candidate who not only represents this change, but can actually deliver results and get things done.”
“Leading a city the size of San Diego requires the ability to truly lead, not simply manage, an organization,” said former City of San Diego Chief Operating Officer and former “Navy Mayor” of San Diego Admiral Ronne Froman. “San Diego needs a new generation of leadership not tied to the problems of the past who can bring everyone to the table to get things done.”
A flag officer is any official in the U.S. Military holding the rank of general, lieutenant general, major general, or brigadier general in the US Army, Air Force or Marine Corps or admiral, vice admiral, rear admiral or commodore in the US Navy or Coast Guard. They are the military’s most senior leadership, and command thousands of officers and rank-and-file members of the armed forces.
The full list of flag officers who have endorsed Nathan Fletcher includes:
Rear Admiral Ronne Froman, United States Navy Retired – Admiral Froman is formerly the “Navy Mayor” of San Diego and served as the Chief Operating Officer of the City of San Diego. She served in the United States Navy for 31 years, commanding naval installations around the world. After retirement, she took on several daunting civilian roles. These include serving as chief of business operations for the San Diego Unified School District and as CEO of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross, where she is credited with restoring confidence in the organization.
Rear Admiral Len Hering, United States Navy Retired – Admiral Hering is a former “Navy Mayor” of San Diego and currently serves as Vice President for Business Services and Administration at University of San Diego. Admiral Hering’s personal awards include Navy Distinguished Service Medal, (2) Legion of Merit Medals, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, (4) Meritorious Service Medals, (2) Navy Commendation Medals, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and various other personal achievement, campaign service awards and ribbons.
Rear Admiral Jose Betancourt, United States Navy Retired – Born in Mexico and raised in Texas, Rear Admiral Betancourt attended Officer Candidate School and received his commission in March 1972. He served as “Navy Mayor” of San Diego. Rear Adm. Betancourt served aboard USS Frederick (LST 1184), USS John S. McCain (DDG 36),USS William H. Standley (CG 32), and USS Fox (CG 33), where he served as Executive Officer. He commanded USS Merrill (DD 976) andUSS Peleliu (LHA 5). While in command of Merrill, he deployed to the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, where his ship served as flag ship and mine countermeasures support ship during extensive mine clearance operations. Ashore, Rear Adm. Betancourt served as Aide and Flag Lieutenant to Commander, Naval Forces, Marianas, and Special Assistant for Officer Accession Programs in the Office of the Chief of Naval Personnel, Washington, D.C. Other assignments ashore include duty with the Chief of Navy Recruiting, Washington, D.C., and service in the International Military Staff at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Rear Adm. Betancourt’s first flag assignment was as the Commander, Mine Warfare Command, in Ingleside, Texas.
Other Flag Officers
Rear Admiral George Worthington, United States Navy Retired -Rear Admiral George R. Worthington, USN (Ret.) served in Vietnam in 1963 and 1965; as part of the Navy’s famed Underwater Demolition Teams in 1966-67; and on the Naval Special Warfare Group responsible for the U.S. Navy SEAL Team operations in 1971. He returned to Cambodia as a naval attaché in 1974-75. Senior staff tours included assignments with the Chief of Naval Operations as Naval Special Warfare Program Sponsor; Chief of Staff, Joint Special Operations Command (Europe), Stuttgart, Germany; and first Flag Officer assignment as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operations), which included Department of Defense Counter Terrorism. He is a designated Intelligence Subspecialist. In his naval service, he received the Distinguished Service Medal, two awards of the Legion of Merit, and other service awards.
Vice Admiral Pete Hekman, United States Navy Retired – Vice Admiral Hekman’s Navy career was characterized by his involvement in readiness, maintenance, equipment and systems design and deployment, and in training. Vice Admiral Hekman commanded Task Forces in the Western Pacific, and in the mid 1980s served for over two years as Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group One, which at the time was composed of 6 nuclear and 6 conventional Cruisers, and seven Destroyer Squadrons, and was assigned additional responsibilities for all Pacific CRUDES overhaul, maintenance, and material readiness.
In 1983 VADM Hekman served as Deputy Director of the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon. He served as Deputy Director, Navy Research, Development, Test and Evaluation on the Staff of the CNO from 1985 – 1987. He served as Deputy Commander for Surface Combatants and Carriers, Naval Sea Systems Command prior to assuming command of NAVSEA in 1988.
Vice Admiral Edward Martin, United States Navy Retired – A 1954 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Vice Admiral Martin was designated a Naval Aviator in 1955 and subsequently served in numerous carrier based squadrons in both the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets. While on a combat mission over North Vietnam on July 9th 1967, he was shot down near Hanoi by a surface-to-air missile and held there as a POW for nearly six years. Following repatriation in 1973, he rapidly resumed his career, serving in succession as the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air Warfare); Commanding Officer, USS CANISTEO (AO-99); Commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier, USS SARATOGA (CV-60); and, as Chief, Current Operations for the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command. Upon his promotion to flag rank in 1980, he was assigned as Chief of Naval Air Training; then, as Commander Carrier Group FOUR, and following, as Commander Carrier Group TWO and Commander Task Force SIXTY. In 1983, he was promoted to Vice Admiral and appointed as Commander, United States Sixth Fleet. In this capacity, he was responsible for all U.S. Naval Operations and NATO activities in the Mediterranean and Levant during the military activities in Lebanon and littoral near Libya.In 1985, Admiral Martin returned to Washington upon his appointment as the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air Warfare). Subsequently, in 1987, he was appointed as the United States Commander, Eastern Atlantic and the Deputy Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Naval Forces Europe. He served in this capacity until retiring from active duty in June 1989.
Rear Admiral Ken Slaght, United States Navy Retired – During his naval career, Rear Admiral Ken Slaght served as Commander of the ammunition ship USS FLINT (AE 32). He received his commission upon graduation from the United States Naval Academy and he also attended the Defense Systems Management College and the Naval Destroyer School, as well as the Naval Post Graduate School where he received a Masters Degree in Computer Systems Management.
Rear Admiral Will Rodriguez, United States Navy Retired – Rear Admiral Rodriguez served as the Officer In Charge of the Naval Command, Control and Ocean Surveillance Center, Group Director for the Integrated Information Systems Engineering Group (SEA03J), Program Manager for the Naval Electronic Combat Surveillance Systems and Maritime Cryptologic Systems at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (PMW 163), and Program Manager for the Navy Command and Control Systems, including the Global Command and Control Systems – Maritime. Upon selection to Flag Rank in March 2004, Rear Admiral Rodriguez was assigned as the Chief Engineer for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR 05). He was also the Acting Commander for SPAWAR, and during the month of September 2007, he was the Acting Program Executive Officer for Enterprise Information Services (PEO EIS). He also served as the Director of Outreach, West Coast for the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He was responsible for business development and relationship-building between the Naval Postgraduate School and its external customers.
Major General Bob Butcher, United States Marine Corps Retired -General Butcher became a Naval Aviator in 1960, completing both domestic and overseas assignments. He reported to the Commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces, Southern Europe in Naples, Italy in July 1983, where he served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans and Policy. While serving in this capacity, he was selected in April 1986 for promotion to brigadier general. He also served as the Assistant Wing Commander, 3rd MAW, FMF, Pacific, MCAS. He was assigned duty as Commanding General, 6th Marine Expeditionary Brigade and promoted to major general on March 9, 1989, with a date of rank of March 1, 1989. He was assigned duty as the Director of Operations (J3), U.S. Commander in Chief Staff, Camp H.S. Smith, Hawaii on July 26, 1989. He commanded Landing Force Training Command at the NAB Coronado from August 7, 1991 until his retirement on August 1, 1992. His medals and decorations include: the Defense Distinguished Service Medal; Distinguished Service Medal; Defense Superior Service Medal; the Legion of Merit; Distinguished Flying Cross; Bronze Star Medal and Combat “V”; Air Medal with bronze Numeral “15” and various other medals and ribbons.
Brigadier General Michael I. Neil, Unites States Marine Corps Reserve Retired – Mr. Neil is a recipient of the Navy Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the San Diego Padres and frequently serves as a television commentator on legal and military matters. In 2008, Mr. Neil was the recipient of the Daniel T. Broderick Award for Civility, Integrity and Professionalism in trial advocacy presented by the San Diego County Bar Association.