Meet the Co-Chairs: Veterans, Military, and Family Members Advisory Council

The Veterans, Military, and Family Members Advisory Council is co-chaired by Retired Major General Alfred Valenzuela of the U.S. Army and Retired Major General Peggy Combs of the U.S. Army. In this Q&A, these renowned leaders share their insights, expertise, and aspirations for the council charged with ensuring recognition of the sacrifice of our service members and their families. To honor their contributions, these co-chairs center our discussion on the value of service, as well as supporting the families of the larger military and American community.

A250: What inspired you to be a co-chair for this advisory council?
The 250th Anniversary of our great nation is a significant milestone in its history. We are proud of our country and proud of the service and sacrifice of those who have served in our Armed Forces to keep our country and the liberties granted in our Constitution strong. We feel honored to have served and are always seeking ways to continue to serve in retirement. Leading a group of veterans and military service organizations in commemorating the contributions and sacrifices of our veterans and their family members is a labor of love and indeed a high honor.

A250: What do you hope to accomplish as a co-chair pair?
First, we want to establish a national campaign to recognize service and sacrifice, exciting and engaging Americans. Then, we hope to empower and energize VSO/MSO/currently serving across the states, territories, and tribes. Also, we aspire to salute veterans and their families through programs and projects within the campaign. Then, we want to assist the commission and other advisory councils in engaging and exciting Americans in the 250th commemoration events. Finally, we want to memorialize for all time the 250th  anniversary of our nation and the role veterans and their family members have played and continue to play in strengthening our great nation.

A250: What does America need to know about this advisory council?
Military service across the board touches all Americans and every community across our nation in one form or another. The greater military community is a valued and critical part of American society. It is a community of selfless servants and their family members who truly appreciate the freedoms and liberties we have in this great nation and, more importantly, understand the sacrifice it takes to maintain them. We hope that through our diverse and inclusive advisory council, we can best advise the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission on how to best reach and engage that community, and to appropriately honor and commemorate its service and sacrifice. In 2026, we will be asking all Americans to remember that sacrifice made on behalf of their freedom, and to celebrate and honor those who earned and continue to earn it.

Check back Monday, July 12, for a conversation with the Co-Chairs Jim Campi and Alan Spears of the Parks, Preservation, and Public Spaces Advisory Council.