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Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Abbreviation IAVA
Formation 2004
Type 501(c)3
Purpose/focus "To improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families"
Headquarters New York, New York
Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), is an advocacy group dedicated to United States veterans of the War in Iraq and War in Afghanistan. Founded in 2004, IAVA the first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for new veterans. With over 200,000 Member Veterans and supporters nationwide, IAVA's role is to support the 2.4 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Executive Director and FounderEdit

Paul Rieckhoff is the group's Executive Director and Founder. He served as a First Lieutenant and infantry rifle platoon leader in the Iraq war from 2003-2004. He is also the author of Chasing Ghosts. Prior to going to Iraq, Rieckhoff worked as a high school football coach and on Wall Street. He received a B.A. in Political Science from Amherst College in 1998 and lives in New York City.

Legislative VictoriesEdit

IAVA shepherded passage of the New GI Bill in 2008, was instrumental in getting Advanced Appropriations signed into law in 2009, made critical advances in VA Disability Reform in 2010, was a major player in passing the Vow to Hire Heroes Act in 2011 and is focused on defending attacks to the New GI Bill in 2012.

Board of DirectorsEdit

Edward Vick, Board Chairman. Edward Vick is a former Naval officer who served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War and received two Bronze Star Medals with Combat “V”, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Presidential Unit Citation and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. His business career was spent in the marketing communications business, including most recently, the chairmanship of Young & Rubicam Advertising and its parent, Young & Rubicam Inc.

Wes Moore, veteran, author, and former White House Fellow and Special Assistant to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, is on the board of directors. A paratrooper and Captain in the United States Army, he served a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan with the elite 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division. Wes spearheaded the American strategic support plan for the Afghan Reconciliation Program that unites former insurgents with the new Afghan Government. Wes completed an MLitt in International Relations from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University in 2001 with a degree in international relations. He is authoring a book published by Random House due for a highly anticipated 2010 release. Wes was recently named one of $2agazine’s Top 30 Leaders Under 30 for 2007 and one of Crains New York top 40 young business leaders under 40.

Les Gelb Leslie (Les) Howard Gelb is a former correspondent for The New York Times and is currently President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.Les was director of Policy Planning and Arms Control for International Security Affairs at the Department of Defense from 1967 to 1969, winning the Pentagon’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Award. Robert McNamara appointed Gelb as director of the project that produced the infamous Pentagon Papers, on the Vietnam War. He was an Assistant Secretary of State in the Carter Administration from 1977 to 1979, serving as director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs and winning the Distinguished Honor Award, the highest award of the US State Department. He was a diplomatic correspondent at The New York Times from 1973 to 1977; between 1981 and 1993 he served in various positions, including national security correspondent, deputy editorial page editor, editor of the Op-Ed Page, and columnist. He was a leading member of the Times team that won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism in 1986 for a six-part comprehensive series on the Strategic Defense Initiative. Les became President of the Council on Foreign Relations in 1993 and is now President Emeritus. He received a B.A. from Tufts University in 1959, and an M.A. in 1961 and Ph.D. in 1964 from Harvard University. From 1964-1967 he was Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University.

Rosanne Haggerty is the founder of Common Ground (NYC) Community, a not-for-profit housing development and management organization in New York City, which provides innovative housing opportunities for homeless adults. Common Ground is the largest developer of supportive housing in the United States. The organization’s work has been widely imitated both in the US and abroad. Rosanne received her BA from Amherst College and is currently pursuing an MA at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Historic Preservation. Prior to founding Common Ground in 1990, she was the coordinator of housing development at Brooklyn Catholic Charities. In addition to her role as executive director of Common Ground, Rosanne serves as a trustee of Amherst College and the Folger Shakespeare Library, a director of the Times Square Business Improvement District and of the Dwelling Place Women's Shelter. She is a board member of New York City’s Citizens Housing and Planning Council and the Centre for Urban Community Services.

Perry Jefferies served as a First Sergeant with the Army’s 4th Infantry Division in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. After deploying to Iraq and traveling with the cavalry through the Sunni Triangle, his unit moved to the Iran-Iraq border and set up Camp Caldwell, future home of the new Iraqi Army. Perry joined the Army after enlisting in the Texas National Guard and served in Korea, Germany, and the United States before deploying to Iraq. He was awarded the Bronze Star for service in Iraq. He has served in infantry, armor, and cavalry units as a cavalry scout, platoon sergeant, first sergeant, supply sergeant, and as an instructor at the ArmorSchool at FortKnox. He retired in 2004 and was awarded the Legion of Merit. He is a member of the Order of Saint George for service to Armor and Cavalry. A graduate of PierceCollege in Washington[citation needed], he works with the Armed Services Blood Program at FortHood and is a founding member of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Yannick Marchal is currently an exotic derivatives trader at Deutsche Bank in London in the Foreign Exchange Complex Risk group. He co-founded IAVA with Paul in 2004 and acted as IAVA’s Chief Operating Officer through December 2005. Prior to his time at IAVA, Yannick worked in the Investment Banking and Equity Research divisions at JPMorgan for over three years. He graduated cum laude from Stern Undergraduate Business School in January 2000 and received an MBA from INSEAD, class of December 2006, with distinction.[citation needed]

Craig Newmark A web-oriented software engineer by training, with 30 years of IT experience at companies such as IBM and Bank of America, Craig Newmark now spends his days working as a customer service rep at In 1995, while Craig was working at Charles Schwab, he started craigslist as an email list for friends and co-workers about events going on in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1999, Craig retired from IT consulting to work full-time on craigslist. What started as a fun side project in Craig’s living room has since grown into one of the busiest sites on the internet, helping people with basic day-to-day needs such as finding a job, an apartment and a date, all within a culture of trust. Craig is involved with a variety of community efforts and is particularly interested in organizations promoting public diplomacy, Middle East peace and new forms of media such as participatory journalism. He sits on the boards of Sunlight Foundation, OneVoice, FactCheckED, and VotoLatino. Craig graduated from Case Western University.


From their website, the group "addresses critical issues facing new veterans and their families, including mental health injuries, a stretched VA system, inadequate health care for female veterans, and GI Bill educational benefits. IAVA also provides valuable resources and empowers veterans to connect with one another, fostering a strong and lasting community."[1]

The group uses Facebook and other forms of social media to connect veterans.[2]

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

Williamson, Published on IssueLab

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