Portrait of Ron DeSantis

DeSantis Campaign Press Release - DeSantis Campaign Launches Veterans for DeSantis

October 18, 2023

DeSantis Would Be First Veteran to Serve in War Elected Since 1988

Tallahasee, FL - Ron DeSantis, the only veteran in the race for president, launched his Veterans for DeSantis Coalition today. The coalition features a National Leadership Team as well as grassroots veterans from across the country who will share how DeSantis's military service and vision to reverse America's decline make him the best suited to serve as Commander-in-Chief.

The governor will hold the first of a series of "Veterans for DeSantis" events in Anderson, South Carolina on Thursday, October 19. The coalition launch follows the plan DeSantis released during the summer to rip the woke out of the military and restore it to "mission first."

DeSantis tapped Congressman Rich McCormick (R-GA), a decorated USMC and U.S. Navy veteran, to lead the Veterans for DeSantis National Leadership Team.

"We need a Commander-In-Chief who has worn the flag on his sleeve, and truly understands what it means to put service above self. We need a President with a track record of accomplishments, focused on tackling the challenges that plague our families and communities, and unapologetically committed to our conservative values. I am proud to endorse Governor DeSantis and serve on his National Leadership Team because he has proven himself to be a servant leader who never backs down from a fight. We can trust Ron DeSantis to lead, succeed, and always put the American people first." - Congressman Richard McCormick, former Commander, U.S. Navy.

"Ron DeSantis was the smartest Naval Officer and one of the most selfless individuals with whom I ever served. I was his Commanding Officer in the Navy and now, I want him to be our commander-in-chief." - Dan Bean, Captain, U.S. Navy

"In today's increasingly volatile world, America needs a strong leader who understands the gravity of this responsibility to each service-member, and this nation. As a veteran, who has served our nation in a combat zone, Ron DeSantis is ready to stand up and fight for this nation on day one." - Florida State Senator Jay Collins, First Sergeant, U.S. Army

Veterans for DeSantis is the fourth coalition that the DeSantis campaign has launched to date, following Mamas for DeSantis, Law Enforcement for DeSantis, and DeSantis' Faith and Family Coalition.

Ron DeSantis stands out as the only veteran on either side of the aisle in the 2024 presidential race. After watching the Twin Towers collapse in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, DeSantis felt called to serve. After graduating from Harvard Law School, he volunteered to join the US Navy and later volunteered to deploy to Iraq alongside SEAL Team One as a JAG officer. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.

The full national leadership team is below. Click here for more information or to join the coalition.

  • National Chair: Congressman Rich McCormick, Commander, USMC and U.S. Navy
    • Afghanistan War Veteran
  • Aaron Poynton, Captain, U.S. Army
    • Special Operations
  • Charles Rainey, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
    • Iraq War Veteran
  • Cole Lyle, Corporal, USMC
    • Afghanistan War Veteran
  • Dan Bean, Captain, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
    • Served with the Governor in the Reserves as his Commanding Officer
    • Legion of Merit Recipient
  • Dan Green, Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy and Navy Reserves
    • Iraq War Veteran
  • David Kim, First Lieutenant, U.S. Army
    • Operation Just Cause Veteran -- Panama
  • Dennis Kenneally, Major General, U.S. Army (Ret.)
    • Vietnam War Veteran
    • Bronze Star
  • Kevin Lacz, Petty Officer First Class, U.S. Navy
    • Navy SEAL
    • Iraq War Veteran
    • Bronze Star
  • Latham Saddler, Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy
    • Iraq War Veteran
    • Afghanistan War Veteran
  • Orson Swindle, Lt. Colonel, USMC (Ret.)
    • Vietnam P.O.W.
    • Gold Star
    • Silver Star Meda
    • Two Bronze Stars
    • Two Purple Hearts
  • Garnett "Sandy" Clark, Captain, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
    • Vietnam War Veteran
  • Thom Shea, Petty Officer First Class, U.S. Navy
    • Silver Star
    • Navy SEAL
  • Tim Cruickshank, Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
    • Bronze Star
    • SEAL Team Medic
  • Florida Speaker of the House Paul Renner, Commander, U.S. Navy
    • Gulf War Veteran
    • Afghanistan War Veteran
  • Florida State Senator Jay Collins, First Sergeant, U.S. Army (Ret.)
    • Green Beret
    • Purple Heart
    • Iraq War Veteran
    • Afghanistan War Veteran
    • Injured in combat, leg amputated in 2014 as a result, requalified, and served another 5 years on active duty
  • Indiana State Representative Chris Jeter, Commander, U.S. Navy
    • Iraq War Veteran
    • Attended Naval Officer Basic Training with Governor Ron DeSantis
  • Iowa House Majority Leader Matt Windschitl, Sergeant, USMC
    • Iraq War Veteran
  • New Hampshire Senator Regina Birdsell, Petty Officer First Class, U.S. Coast Guard
  • North Carolina State Representative Ken Fontenot, Captain, USMC
    • Pastor
  • South Carolina Representative Micah Caskey, Captain, USMC (Ret.)
    • Iraq War Veteran
    • Afghanistan War Veteran

Ron DeSantis was a member of the United States Navy. Use of his military rank, job titles and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense.

Ron DeSantis, DeSantis Campaign Press Release - DeSantis Campaign Launches Veterans for DeSantis Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/367746

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