ROA honors Arnold L. Punaro for inestimable contributions to the nation

General Punaro has made inestimable contributions to the nation both in and out of uniform. ROA thanks General Punaro for his lifetime of service.”

— ROA executive director, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Jeffrey Phillips, U.S. Army

WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, December 27, 2023 / — With the Dec. 11 news that the Reserve Forces Policy Board will have new leadership under the Hon. Lisa S. Disbrow, former under secretary of the Air Force, and a retired Air Force Reserve colonel, the Reserve Organization of America extends congratulations to Colonel Disbrow and heartfelt gratitude to the board’s former chairman and lifetime public servant, retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro.

“No one knows more about America’s Reserve and National Guard than General Arnold Punaro,” said ROA’s executive director, retired Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey E. Phillips. “A longtime friend to ROA and a mentor to me, General Punaro has made inestimable contributions to the nation both in and out of uniform. ROA thanks General Punaro for his lifetime of service to country and wishes him success in this next chapter of his rich story.”

Punaro was the chairman of the RFPB, an independent advisory board to the secretary of defense on reserve component matters, comprising serving reserve component flag officers and distinguished civilian experts, for more than 10 years.

As chairman, Punaro led more than 40 board meetings that included leaders from the military and private and public sector. These meetings culminated in 71 recommendations to the secretary of defense on how to enhance reserve component readiness, including duty status reform, total force integration, and total uniformed force benefits parity.

From 2005 to 2008, he chaired the Independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, which provided nearly 100 recommendations on how to best organize, train, equip, compensate, and support the reserve components to meet national security needs.

In uniform, Punaro served as the director and deputy commander of the Marine Corps Reserve, deputy commanding general, Marine Corps Combat Development Command (Mobilization), and for three years as the commanding general of the Fourth Marine Division.

In 1990, Punaro was mobilized for Operation Desert Shield. In 1993, he completed an active-duty tour as commander of Joint Task Force Provide Promise (Forward) in the former Yugoslavia. He was mobilized for a third time in 2003 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also served as an infantry platoon commander in Vietnam where he was awarded the Bronze Star with V Device for valor and the Purple Heart.

From 1973 to 1997, Punaro worked as Sen. Sam Nunn’s director of national security affairs and then as staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee. During his “combat tours” inside Washington’s beltway, Punaro engaged in the formulation of all major defense and intelligence legislation, the oversight and review of all defense policy and programs, and civilian and military nominations.

Maj. Gen. Punaro’s leadership and expertise of the RFPB will be deeply missed. ROA looks forward to remaining in contact with this great public servant, and building on his legacy with a strong relationship with the RFPB under Chairman Lisa Disbrow’s leadership.

Matthew Schwartzman
Reserve Organization of America
[email protected]
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