About the YVA  – –  “True to Her Traditions”

The Yale Veterans Association (YVA) is dedicated to recognizing the importance and value of military service. Established as a shared interest group with the support of the Association of Yale Alumni, we’re a non-partisan, non-political organization comprised of members of the Yale community, including alumni, students, faculty, and staff, who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces of the United States or its allies and their supporters. Our mission is to leverage the strengths, talent, and dedication of our members and friends to uplift and support fellow veterans and to cultivate leaders for military and public service.


Founders & Current Leadership: 

Tom Opladen ’66, co-founder, Incorporator, Director & President, Navy Lieutenant, USS Telfair (APA-210), USS Dyess (DD-880) 

“My vision is for the YVA to emphasize the importance and value of military service in the Yale community, to honor those who have served, and to enhance the dialogue between the university and its veterans.”

LizV Elizabeth Verardo ’16, Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, President, Yale Student Veterans Council, Vice President YVA, Army Aviation Captain, 101st Airborne Division(Air Assault)

“Philosopher George Pierson said that Yale is “at once a tradition, a company of scholars, a society of friends.” This is especially true within the veteran community on campus, where you’ll find no shortage of past and present service members from various backgrounds, united around their common commitment to service. Join us!”


Kohnen Danny Kohnen ’15 SOM, steering committee, Navy Lieutenant — Submarine Officer: USS COLUMBUS (SSN 762), Yale NROTC Nuclear Power Officer

“The YVA reinvigorated a sense of service at Yale University.  The strengths, talents, and dedication of our veterans have positively influenced the campus culture.  In addition, Yale is categorically redefining the landscape of all military branches as more students graduate into leadership roles in the armed services.” 


  Josh Ray ’13, Director, Navy FC2 (SW), USS Benfold (DDG-65) 

“The YVA brings Yale veterans together from over sixty years of service—facilitating meaningful conversations and forging lasting relationships. That to me is invaluable and just one of the many functions of the YVA.”


  Larry Lipsher ’62, Treasurer, Army Reserve Specialist – Military Police 

“As an Associate Branford Fellow, I am pleased that Yale has re-opened its doors and arms to ROTC. Yale has a fine military tradition, and the YVA has a role to play in enhancing and expanding the understanding of and the value of military service.”


  Brian Hughes ’00, steering committee, Army Sergeant – Infantry, 1/75th Ranger Regiment 

I joined the YVA to help veterans in need and to help bridge the cultural divide between military and civilian. Yale will once again become a leader in military affairs, as she is with foreign affairs and international studies.”

  Fred Nagle ’66, co-founder, Incorporator & Director, Army Captain – Ordnance, 8th Army


  Flagg Youngblood ’97, Incorporator & Director, Army Captain – Artillery, 2/3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, 40th Infantry DIVARTY 

“Citizen-soldiering is integral to guaranteeing our Constitutional freedoms, especially those the academy cherishes. I volunteer with the YVA to ensure current and future Yalies have the opportunity to train for military service on campus.”


hathawayKyle Hathaway ’14 SOM, steering committee, Navy Lieutenant — Intelligence: Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Chief of Naval Operations Intelligence Plot, Electronic Attack Squadron-137

“The YVA serves as a place to continue building the camaraderie, sense of mission, and set of values that typify military service. It is my hope that the YVA can help Yale become recognized as a source of strong military talent and a welcome home for returning veterans.”

  Adrian Bonenberger ’02, steering committee, Army Captain – Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade, 10th Mountain Division 

“My Yale experience lacked elements of service and camaraderie I found in the military. The YVA provides another chance to serve, bringing together individuals who share the conviction we can never fully repay the institutions that raised us—family, college, and country.”


  Charles Faint ’13GRAD, steering committee, Army Lt. Colonel – Intelligence 

“I’m proud to be a part of the YVA, which is helping Yale return to its military roots. The support we receive from, and give to, Yale and the local community is truly inspirational.”


  Severio “Bob” Fodero, steering committee, Army Colonel – Medical Service Corps, 340th General Hospital 

“I am heartened to see Yale again open its doors to ROTC; I was on staff at Yale when the original program was ended.  The YVA will assist in reminding the Yale community of the service contributions its veterans have made on behalf of our country.”


  Glen Gechlik ’05SOM, Director, Air Force Major – Physician 

“The YVA in a short time has become a vibrant community wishing to serve others—mentoring cadets and fellow veterans and bringing-up issues important to veterans.”


   J.D. Hamel ’13JD, Secretary and Director, Marine Corps Corporal – Public Affairs 

“I’m active in the YVA so veterans on campus may enjoy the same support strucure that’s available for dozens of other affinity groups. Veterans need to stick together, and YVA helps us do so.”


  Jared Jonker ’13GRAD/SOM, steering committee, Navy Reserve Lieutenant 

“For me, it’s the friendships fostered which have and will continue to make the YVA an invaluable group within the Yale community.”


  Henry Kwan ’05GRAD, Director, Army Sergeant – Public Affairs 

“Those who have served understand the true meaning of the words Honor—Duty—Country and know that service to others doesn’t end when they take off the uniform. I can hardly think of a better way to spend my days than in the company of such dedicated individuals.”


  John Perez ’12SOM, steering committee, Army Captain


  Kim Raseman – Yale TR&S, steering committee, Army Security Agency, 9th Infantry Division, 11th Armored Cavalry 

“Pleased and proud to help student veterans, ROTC cadets, and alumni and staff who have served in the military.”


Siembeda  Jay Siembieda ’09SOM, Director & Washington DC chapter lead, Navy Lieutenant – HH46D Pilot, HELSUPPRON 8 (HC-8) 

“Having a well-educated officer corps is essential to the strength of our nation’s military; so, it’s gratifying to help support ROTC’s return to campus. Yale has a rich military history, and a newfound future.”

1 Kevin Riddle IFEL’62,IFEL Coordinator, Air Force Security Service Airborne Voice Intercept.
“Work through VYA to make visible some of the less known examples of service to country by Yale and Yale students.

Chris_Harnisch Chris Harnisch ’15 SOM/Jackson Institute, steering committee, Army Intelligence Officer, Combined Joint Interagency Task Force Shafafiyat.
“The YVA and the YSVC allow Yale veterans to build camaraderie, continue public service, and remember and carry forward the tradition of national service of this great university.”

NelsonEric Nelson ’02, steering committee & New York City Chapter Leader, Army Infantry Captain — 173rd Airborne Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, and 79th IBCT.

“I am proud to serve the YVA in reconnecting two of our country’s great treasures: our military and Yale.”

© 2013 Yale Veterans Association. All Rights Reserved.