Col. James Angelo Viola ’84, Alexandria, Va.
Army Aviation, 27 years
Major: Physical Education
Retired Army General Aviation and Commercial Division Manager for Flight Standards Service in the Federal Aviation Administration.

Awards/Honors: Legion of Merit, 4 x Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Meritorious Service Medal.

My experience of losing close friends in Somalia 1993 affected me as a trainer of soldiers. I always fought for the best training I could get for my soldiers and to have my soldiers trained and ready every day for the next call. I am proud to have served a career in the military and feel equally proud to continue to serve in the government with a mission of Aviation Safety and reducing General Aviation Accidents.


Col. Mike Shamp ’78, Warrington, Pa.
Major: Secondary Education
U.S. Marine Corps, 27 years
Currently a contract compliance manager, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)

Awards/Honors: Distinguished Service, Iraq Campaign, Global War on Terrorism - Expeditionary, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, National Defense, Armed Forces Reserve, Selected Marine Corps Reserve, Sea Service Deployment.

A poignant moment: Saying "good-bye" to a wife and three children knowing I might never see them again when I deployed to Iraq. Serving means having pride in our country and with the men and women who sacrifice so much so we may enjoy the freedoms we too often take for granted. Also, my service reflects my family heritage of serving in every major conflict this country has been involved.


Steven Softly ’84, Southampton, Pa. 

U.S. Coast Guard, 1980-1986
Major: Political Science
Retired, supervisory inspector with the United States Marshals Service, 1986-2011. Currently, I am the owner/trainer of Crossfit Lifeforce.

Awards/Honors: Expert handgun and rifle, Unit Commendation

Basic Training was an eye opener. It proved to me that I could do anything, even to return to ESU to complete my degree work. If it wasn't for my time in the Coast Guard I would never have completed my degree. Between my time in the Coast Guard and the U.S. Marshals Service, I have served our country for over 31 years. It is extremely important to me and I think every American should serve our country in some way.


Sr. Airman Russell Stein ’08, McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.
United States Air Force, 3 years, currently deployed in Kuwait
Major: Hospitality Management

Awards/honors: ATSEP Outstanding Performer 2011, AF Outstanding Unit Award 2012, Senior Airman Below The Zone (six month early promotion from E-3 to E-4) February 2013 Airman of the Month.

I was able to march in the Veterans Day Parade in New York City. The outpouring of support from everyone was just tremendous. Serving is a privilege, not a rite. I am thankful for every day I have the opportunity to serve.