Stephen “Butch” Whitehead, Commander
Called to serve once again
After reaching the rank of command sergeant major and serving 27 years in the Minnesota Army National Guard, I made the decision to hang up my uniform last February in preparation to focus solely on my approaching responsibilities as DAV national commander. It was the right choice to make—and one I do not regret—but I did so with the lingering feeling that I still had much more to give to my country.
As many of you know, taking off the uniform doesn’t mean your ties to the military are irreversibly severed. In fact, the friendships and camaraderie we all find in service often last a lifetime. I can’t think of any better illustration of this than the existence of DAV, our noble mission and the many members within our ranks.
To that end, a number of my friends and former colleagues in the Guard made me aware of a leadership opening that would allow me to continue leading and developing soldiers. With command assurance that DAV could remain my top personal priority until I pass on the reins of leadership at this year’s national convention, I am proud to share with you that I rejoined the military in November and accepted the responsibility to serve as the command sergeant major of the Army National Guard’s 34th Infantry Division.
I want to extend my sincerest appreciation to each and every DAV member for your support and understanding as I venture to lead more than 15,000 Minnesota-based soldiers who continue to sacrifice on our behalf. The opportunity to lead such a storied combat unit as the “Red Bulls” is one I simply could not pass up.
When I left the military, DAV gave me a renewed purpose. It showed me the importance of fighting to ensure America’s veterans get the benefits they’ve earned and deserve. Individuals like you, who raise your voices in support of veterans and their families, remind me every day of the importance of our organization’s work.
I truly believe this new opportunity will help me to keep my finger on the pulse of emerging veterans issues. Through the input of our young service members who sacrifice so selflessly, this opportunity will help me advise DAV leaders on future issues so the organization can continue to improve, grow and adapt. DAV and the veterans and families it serves deserve that. I hope you agree.
Again, I want to reiterate that I am not leaving DAV and will continue to fulfill my duties as national commander for the duration of my tenure in office.
Thank you for your support.
If you want to find out more about the National Commander, you can find his biography here.