Familiar Face Returns to Lead Global War on Terrorism Memorial Effort
WASHINGTON — Michael “Rod” Rodriguez, the former head of the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation, is returning to the role of president and CEO as the effort to build the memorial picks up steam, the organization announced Monday.
As reported by The Well News last week, President Joe Biden signed S.535, the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act, into law on as a part of the annual defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2022.
The bipartisan bill authorizes construction of a memorial in the reserve area of the mall, which extends roughly from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol and from the White House to the Jefferson Memorial.
It was sponsored by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.; Reps. Jason Crow, D-Colo., and Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., championed the companion legislation in the House.
Rodriguez previously served as president and CEO of the foundation from March 2018 to September 2020 before taking a leave of absence for, among other things, an overseas deployment.
A member of a military family, Rodriguez is a retired Special Forces Green Beret with 10 deployments, from his first to Somalia with the 10th Mountain Division in 1993, to several deployments with the 7th Special Forces Group while in uniform, to a recently completed deployment to Somalia in the summer of 2021.
His last assignment as a Green Beret was as a sniper instructor at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After 21 years of continuous service, he was medically retired for numerous injuries he received while in the service.
“Our board is united that Rod’s experience in the global war on terrorism and demonstrated leadership and coalition-building skills make him the right person at the right time to lead the foundation going forward,” foundation board Chairman Ted Skokos said in a written statement.
“Rod has proven his passion for building a memorial since the organization’s earliest days, and we are glad to have him leading the way as we enter a crucial new period of planning and funding it,” Skokos added.
For his part, Rodriguez said he was “humbled and honored” by the foundation’s board of directors’ decision to bring him back to fulfill the mission of constructing a Global War on Terrorism Memorial on the National Mall.
“Seeing this memorial come to fruition is part of my life’s mission, and I will continue to strive alongside all of our allies to make it happen,” Rodriguez said.
In announcing Rodriguez’s return, the foundation board also expressed appreciation for the efforts of outgoing president and CEO Marina Jackman.
“We thank Marina for her hard work in steering the organization through a critical period. During her tenure, the foundation boosted its public profile, raised millions of dollars, and achieved an essential legislative victory in securing congressional authorization for a memorial on the National Mall,” said Ken Hersh, board vice chair.