Operation C.R.E.S.T. is an effort to provide young people with memorable leadership experiences from America's veterans. Focusing on the core leadership attributes of Courage, Resilience, Empowerment, Service, and Teamwork, veterans and students join forces to unleash a wave of positive impact in their communities through powerful conversations about history, memorable learning activities that inform and inspire, and community service events that put leadership ideas into action.
The Operation C.R.E.S.T. podcast is a student-led production where veterans share their memories of Courage, Resilience, Empowerment, Service, and Teamwork during their time while enlisted in the Armed Services. Students are given the opportunity to learn important lessons from these conversations, and are tasked with a service opportunity of their own: the digital preservation of the veteran experience as a part of the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project. Join our students and veterans as they sit down and engage in important and meaningful conversations, and stay tuned for updates via our newsletter regarding new programs coming soon.
Through this experience, students design interview questions, lead discussions, select audio tracks, and finalize recordings. In the process, they learn important skills in technology and leadership, and provide an invaluable service by donating all recorded interviews to the Library of Congress to be preserved for future generations.
When given the opportunity to share their memories, participating veterans are renewed and refreshed. Sharing their stories provides an opportunity to continue to serve the nation even though their enlistments are up. These conversations are just the beginning of a host of ways that we're designing that will allow veterans to continue to serve America by working with youth.
Episodes of the Operation C.R.E.S.T. podcast are published on the first Friday of each month. Stay tuned for Episode 5 coming soon!
Join Shaw and Rohan as they sit down with Technical Sergeant Tina Laing, who served 15 years of active duty service in the Air Force and two years in the California Air National Guard before she received a medical discharge from the Air National Guard in 2006. After retiring, Sergeant Laing served as a government-contracted financial analyst in Air Force Space Command managing the Air Force’s Cyber Infrastructure 13.1 billion dollar portfolio. In 2014, Sergeant Laing felt a moral obligation to finish serving a full twenty years in uniform and opted to apply to become an Air Force Junior ROTC Instructor teaching leadership to high school students. What was supposed to be a few years' commitment ended up being a true passion and she continues instructing today at Unity Reed High School. She is the back-to-back-to-back three-time Virginia state drill champion coach, as well as a first-place trophy winner at the Air Force JROTC National Drill competition competing against 865 units across the globe. She holds an advanced degree in Business Administration and is married to her husband, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Charles Laing, and has two children, Kate and Zach.
Join Matthew and Riley as they sit down with United States Army Major Rudy Salcido. Mr. Salcido is a veteran with a combined 10 1⁄2 years of active-duty service, and 19 years of Federal Service with the Army National Guard. Born in El Paso, Texas, he was raised in a small town just outside El Paso named Socorro. He graduated from Socorro High School in 2000 while attending the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) Academy and was a multi-sport athlete and very involved in extra-curricular activities. After high school, he attended the University of Texas at El Paso and graduated in December 2005 with his Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and a Minor in Military Science. In the same month, he received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant with the United States Army National Guard. After graduation and commissioning, he reported to Army flight school and graduated in October of 2007 as an Army Aviator. While attending flight school, he applied for the United States Border Patrol, entered on duty in December 2007, and was named class leader. Continue reading...
Join Miguel & Rohan as they sit down with Marine Corps Infantry Sergeant Richard Machamer. Richard completed three combat deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During that time he participated in combat operations to expel insurgent forces from Fallujah, Ramadi, Ar Rutbah, and Mosul. During Operation Koa Canyon in Hit, Iraq, Richard's unit was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation. In the latter part of his military career, Richard led an intelligence cell and was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal for operations that resulted in the capture of several key insurgent and Al Qaeda leaders operating in Al Anbar province including Multinational Forces West’s 2nd most wanted insurgent leader. Richard recently founded a corporate intelligence firm that he currently runs in addition to serving on the Board of Directors of The 9:57 Project. In his free time, Rick enjoys touring local wineries and breweries, competitive axe throwing, hanging out with his dog, Freya, and playing video games online with his Marine Corps buddies.
Join Shaw and Luke as they sit down with United States Army Lieutenant Colonel Rogers “Roge” Stinson. Roge is a veteran with over 20 years of active-duty Service. During his career, he served as a CH-47D “Chinook” heavy lift helicopter pilot and maintenance test pilot. He has served both in combat and in support of peacetime operations around the world. Roge served in Iraq with the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 5/6 where he commanded an Aviation Support Company, leading over 350 Soldiers and department of defense contract support personnel. He is a 1995 graduate of Furman University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry and then was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Roge also holds a Master of Arts degree in Human Resources Management from Webster University. Roge retired from active duty in 2015 and is the co-founder of Logistics Associates, LLC headquartered in Northern Virginia, where he currently serves as Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Human Resources. He’s a proud father of two children and a professional photographer.
Join Ava and Riley as they sit down with Captain Jason Smith. Jason is a 25-year military veteran serving as a pilot and leader in both the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army. He has served on the National Security Council; as Senior Policy Advisor on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; and as strategic advisor and communications director for the Commandant of the Coast Guard.
He has led soldiers and sailors during three combat deployments, nine afloat deployments, and in emergency response to several hurricanes, including hurricane Katrina - rescuing more than 200 lives. He has served at the operational and strategic level working with state, federal, tribal, and foreign agencies.
Jason has a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard, a Master’s in International Relations from St. Mary’s University, and a Bachelor’s in Biology from Sam Houston State University. Jason also serves on the Board of Directors of The 9:57 Project.