Eilhys England, Chairperson of Stand For The Troops, is pleased to announce that MAJ GEN John Batiste, US Army (Retired) has been elected President of the Board of SFTT, a nonprofit 501(c)3 educational foundation based in Greenwich, CT. General Batiste, President and CEO of Klein Steel, brings to SFTT the benefit of three decades of military service, organizational leadership, and advocacy for America’s frontline warriors. Six years to the day after the passing of Col. David ‘Hack’ Hackworth on May 5, 2005, the legacy foundation that he co-founded with his wife Eilhys England continues to build on his life work of safeguarding the physical, mental and emotional well-being of America’s frontline serving and returning troops.
General Batiste is the product of a military family, (the son and son-in-law of veteran career soldiers), a graduate from West Point who served for over 30 years and a two-time combat veteran who led troops in two war zones, including Iraq. In 2005, as a two star General, he refused to accept his third star that would have promoted him to become the second-highest ranking military officer in Iraq. Instead, he resigned in principle, in protest at the prosecution of the Iraq war.
In the tradition of SFFT founder David Hackworth, John Batiste made headlines again in 2006 when he and six other senior retired generals (Batiste was the only General who had held a high level position in the Pentagon and had commanded troops in Iraq) went public with their condemnation of the prosecution of the war in Iraq and called for the immediate firing of then Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. It was dubbed the ‘Night of the Generals’ by the media.
In the Army, General Batiste rose from infantry officer to commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division -the “Big Red One”- which conducted successful peace enforcement operations in Kosovo and combat operations in Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom II). His deployments, assignments and commands took him from Fort Benning to Bosnia (Operation Joint Endeavor), NATO, the Joint Staff at the Pentagon and the Department of Defense. His final assignment in the US Army was commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division, the “Big Red One,” from August 2002 to June 2005. After retiring from active duty in 2005, he joined Klein Steel, a Rochester, NY company as its president. He is a graduate of West Point, the Army War College, and the financial management MBA program at Naval Postgraduate School.
General Batiste’s support of veterans and their families includes service as a board member of the Rochester-based Veterans Outreach Center, founding president of the Rochester Regional Veterans Business Council, and a member of the board of advisors of the First Division Museum at Cantigny. As Committee Chair of SFTT’s PTSD Initiative prior to his election to Board President, he has been instrumental in focusing attention and resources towards prevention and treatment of the PTSD epidemic (on average 18 veterans every day commit suicide in the United States).
General Batiste succeeds Fred Tanne, P.C., a senior corporate partner in the New York office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Tanne is stepping down as President to co-chair SFTT’s critical new PTSD initiative that is working to establish diagnosis and treatment protocols, remove the stigma of PTSD that prevents many from seeking treatment, and get those most at risk into appropriate treatment. A resident of Mt. Kisco, he will continue to be available to the Foundation as a member of SFTT’s Advisory Board.
Continuing their service as SFTT Board officers, with Ms. England and General Batiste, are:
SFTT Vice Chair/Secretary Roger Charles, a Peabody award winning investigative journalist who’s been singled out for recognition for his coverage of the Oklahoma City bombings for ABC News and CBS 60 Minutes II – Abuse at Abu Ghraib – to mention just two. At SFTT, he was also the driving force behind the May 2007 NBC Nightly News, Dateline and MSNBC investigative reports by Lisa Myers on inferior body armor. Combined with Roger and Eilhys’ reaching out to US Senators, it resulted in a call for Congressional Hearings and further independent testing. An Annapolis graduate, Roger Charles is a retired USMC Lt. Col. who commanded an infantry platoon in I Corps during the Vietnam War.
SFTT Board Treasurer Bob Evans, a national market manager for 3M in its Washington, DC office. The son of a career Army Officer, Bob served as a division artillery aviation officer, artillery battery executive officer and troop commander at Fort Hood, Texas. Bob is president of the prestigious National Order of Battlefield Commissions. It counts Audie Murphy and the late SFTT founder David Hackworth among its 1000 by invitation only members.
SFTT (www.sftt.org) is a non-partisan apolitical organization chaired by Eilhys England, a Greenwich resident who co-founded the organization with her late husband Col. David Hackworth, America’s most valor-decorated soldier. SFTT is unique in its mission and uniquely qualified to carry out its mission to give a voice to our troops. SFTT provides a platform and voice for the brave men and women defending us on the frontlines, by educating the public and policy makers in Washington D.C. on the need to send our country’s brave warriors off and to welcome them back with the best available equipment, training and support to make it home alive in body, mind, and spirit.
For information on SFTT, visit the foundation’s website at www.sftt.org or phone 203–629-0288.