Tour Leaders & Historians
Historians & Tour Leaders:
LTC Robert "Bob" Hesselbein USAF(Ret) grew up in Ohio and was deployed to Vietnam in 1972 as a U.S. Army AH-1G Cobra gunship pilot. He then transitioned to the United States Air Force (USAF) until 1986 flying A-10 and F-16 jets. Hesselbein moved to Wisconsin to take a job as a pilot for Northwest Airlines while continuing flying jets for the Wisconsin Air National Guard until his retirement as a lieutenant colonel in 2000. A veteran with thirty years of combined military service, he continues to participate in military legacy activities. He is a former Vietnam Helicopter Pilot Association (VHPA) President, a docent and presenter specializing in the Vietnam War at the Wisconsin State Veterans Museum, providing military education tours at Civil War National Military Parks and as member of the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association, Air Force Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Below, Bob in front of a tour group in Hoi An, Vietnam.
Kim Kessler began her federal career in the United States Air Force where she served as a Finance & Accounting Clerk. She transferred to the United States Marine Corps in 1978. An Honor Graduate at MCRD, she served at CLNC, I&I Staff in Wyoming, PA, MCB, Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan; & The Basic School (TBS), Quantico, VA (where she was commissioned as a Warrant Officer.) Subsequent to her commissioning she served in 1st Maintenance Bn, 1st FSSG, Camp Pendleton, CA. During her military career she served in numerous billets that focused on personnel administration, training & legal service support. In 1991, she transitioned from the Marines to continue her Federal career in Civil Service billets. She served as the Director for the Department of Defense, Executive Leadership Development Program, the Federal Government’s “Best Leadership Development Program, from 1998 until retirement in August 2014. From June 2007-10, she served concurrently as the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Civilian Personnel Policy.) Her personal military decorations include a NCM, NAM w/2 stars, and MGC Medal w/2 stars. As a civil servant, she received the Joint Civilian Service Award from the USSOCOM.) She has lent her expertise to MHT contributing to the development of several European tours.
LtCol Mike Kessler USMC(RET) began his career when he was commissioned a 2ndLt after graduation from the University of Washington in 1973. His 25 years of service to our country include commanding two rifle platoons; Series Commander & Asst Dir of the DI School at MCRD, SD; commanding a Landing Support Company; H&S Company; a Marine Security Company at Marine Barracks in Bangor, WA, and a rifle company with the 1st Bn, 7th Marines. He also commanded two battalions at the School of Infantry & served as the special operations advisor to the U.S. Ambassador in Somalia. He was the mission commander of the evacuation of Americans & third country nationals from Rwanda. His last assignment on active duty was as the XO of Marine Barracks, Washington, DC In 1999, LtCol Kessler was hired as the first National Executive Director of the Young Marines of the Marine Corps League. During his tenure, the program grew into one of the pre-eminent youth organizations in the United States and serves as a model for other youth groups in drug demand reduction, having won eight Fulcrum Shield Awards for excellence in youth anti-drug education. Additionally, the Young Marines (YM) program expanded its purpose and intent to include engaging with the communities & endorsing a program that supports America's veterans. LtCol Kessler retired to Everett, WA in 2015. He continues to volunteer his time with MHT, The Gold Star Mothers of America & serves as the Commodore of the Everett Naval Base Yacht Club. He earned numerous personal & unit awards while on active duty, but his greatest accomplishments are noted from his years of service to the Young Marines, helping shape the lives of America's Youth.
Dr. Charles Neimeyer became the IJAA Historian after retiring in 2017 as the Director and Chief of Marine Corps History at Marine Corps University, Quantico. Prior to Quantico, he was the Dean of Academics at the Naval War College (NWC), Vice President of Academic Affairs at Valley Forge Military Academy, a full time professor of National Security Affairs from 1997-2002 at NWC. He also served as an award winning history professor at the US Naval Academy and the University of Central Oklahoma where he was named the 1997 Liberal Arts “Outstanding Professor of the Year.” During his 20 years as an artilleryman in the USMC, he served in a variety of posts and stations including tours in all three active Marine Divisions. He retired in 1996 as a Lieutenant Colonel. Dr. Neimeyer is a noted author whose most recent book On the Corps was named by Naval Proceedings as one of the top naval history books of 2008. He holds a Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in History (with distinction) from Georgetown University and an additional Master’s Degree from the Naval War College.
Col Richard "Rich" Yoder, USMC(Ret) earned his Bachelor’s degree in History from Rutgers University (1977) before becoming a 2ndLt in the U.S. Marine Corps. He is a graduate of The Basic School (1977), Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School (1985), Marine Corps Command and Staff College (1993), and a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College (2003.) He retired from the Marine Corps in 2008 having served for 31 years. His posts include G-1, 3d FSSG, Okinawa, Japan; Director of Manpower, MCB Quantico, VA; Chief, Personnel Readiness Division, J1 Joint Chiefs of Staff; as well as Vice Director, J1, Joint Chiefs of Staff. In his last post, he served as Branch Head, Promotion Branch, HQMC. From 2008 to 2014, he was engaged in the Department of Defense (DoD) Executive Leadership Development Program with the responsiblity for the strategic planning, operational development and tactical implementation of an experimental immersion training program for DoD civilians. He serves as Vice Chairman of the Board for the Young Marines, Inc. Below, Rich (without beret!) with a Leopard 2A4 German MBT Crew. Rich leads tours to Europe. He assists with tours to Ireland, Vietnam, Guam/Iwo Jima & educational tours in CONUS.
LtCol William “Ron” Campbell Jr.,USMC (Ret), is a 1961 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. As a career Marine pilot, Ron served two tours in Vietnam flying Sikorsky UH-34Ds and Lockheed KC-130Fs, earning a Meritorious Service Medal and twenty-four Air Medals. He ended his career as the commander of a composite helicopter squadron, HMM-262. Currently, Ron is a tour leader for MHT specializing in Asia and WWI.
COL P.J. Dermer USA(Ret) was one of the Army’s foremost Middle East regional experts. His career spanned over 30 years of experience including multiple assignments throughout the region. His experience includes military and civilian venues spread over a wealth and breadth of challenging spectrums including national levels of the U.S. government. He was in the Office of the Vice President in 2002, the critical year in the run up to the war in Iraq, and subsequently served two tours spanning the length of the country. His first tour was as a senior advisor in the Coalitional Provisional Authority where he established Baghdad’s first locally represented City Council followed by the rebuilding of Iraq’s Ministry of Defense and senior Army ranks. In his second tour Colonel (ret) Dermer served initially as a senior negotiator for reconciliation efforts with Sunni and Shia militas, working closely with the various Awakening movements. Later, he became the senior military advisor for the Baghdad Operations Command in the fight for Baghdad in 2008. At present, Colonel (ret) Dermer is one of a handful of private U.S. businessmen trying to establish successful business enterprises in Iraq.
He has extensive coalition-building experience working with international counterparts to foster the Middle East Peace Process serving four tours in the Levant region. He has advised, mentored and written extensively for the nation’s senior military and civilian leadership. In the conduct of his duties, Colonel Dermer had the unique opportunity to realize national level strategy on the ground in the Middle East’s extremely complicated social, cultural and religious environment. Countries of expertise include Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, North Africa and the Persian Gulf.
Ron Dudek served as a Marine Tanker in I-Corps during Vietnam. He is one of MHT's most experienced Vietnam Tour Leaders having gone numerous times with legendary Captain Ed Garr.
Don Farrell is a retired educator and has been a battlefield tour guide with Military Historical Tours since 2007. Mr. Farrell is the author of numerous books and articles relative to the history of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, including the only history of the Northern Mariana Islands. His books have been the standard for history in the school system for both Guam and the Northern Marianas. Mr. Farrell served in the U.S. Air Force from 1965 to 1971, and moved to Guam in 1977, eventually becoming the Chief of Staff to the Governor. Don made Tinian in the Northern Mariana Islands his home in 1987 and now serves on the CNMI Humanities Council Board of Directors and the CNMI Historic Preservation Board of Directors.
Steven C. Girard is a Retired Untied States Army (Infantry) SSG and Field Historical Officer for both United States Army & U.S. Marine Corps. A combat veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-1991), Operation Joint Endeavor, Joint Guard, Joint Forge, Operation Enduring Freedom & Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has a Bachelor's of Art Degree in History from the University of Maryland. A devoted historian he has served as a Field Historical Officer/Historian for such units as the 2nd Infantry Division, 4th Infantry Division, 10th Mountain Division, 101st Airborne Division, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment & 5th & 6th Marine Regiments. He specializes as a WWI American Expeditionary Forces Historian/Archivist and a Special Historical Consultant (WWI) to Marine Corps History Division, Quantico.
Bruce Allan Jones
Bruce A. Jones graduated from Kansas University and later served in the US Army. In Vietnam Bruce was assigned to the U.S. Army's 4th PSYOP GP, attached to the 1st Marine Division in I Corps. After leaving the military Bruce had a career as a National Park Service archeologist. On two occasions during his career he returned to Vietnam to supervise excavations seeking evidence of American service personnel unaccounted for at the end of the war. Bruce joined the MHT team in 2006 and leads tours to Vietnam and Europe.
Bob Laramy served with the Marines in I-Corps as an Aerial Observer (AO) with the 1st Marine Division. He is a Vietnam Tour Leader and while serving with the "Catkillers" of the 220th Aviation Company he was shot down near Hue City on 22 February 1968. In support of the Battle of Hue City, his pilot 1LT Terrance M. Bozarth was KIA but Bob was rescued from the resultant crash by Marines on the ground.
Col Alexander "Sam" McClinchie USMCR(Ret) also served in Vietnam and has led numerous tours back to I-Corps. Sam was a member of the 38th OCC & Basic School Class 3-66 before his assignment in-country as a Lieutenant. Below Sam at the Tam Hiep Clinic, Vietnam.
Col Joseph "Joe' Mueller is one of MHT's most experienced WWII in the Pacific Tour Leader. A Vietnam Veteran, he is MHT's expert on Guadalcanal, "The Slot" & Tarawa. He has led tours to Korea, Iwo Jima & Hawaii for MHT
James Oelke-Farley has worked extensively as a Tour Leader in the Central Pacific. He has been an Iwo Jima Tour Leader and is an expert on the Marianas Campaign in 1944 covering Guam, Saipan & Tinian. He was the Cultural Resources Program Manager for the U.S. National Park Service on Guam when he first began working the Pacific Island Campaigns with MHT. He has returned to the Washington DC area and is working more with MHT.
Lina Ruhlman is an Overseas U.S. Veteran Revisit & Peace Camp For Youth Programs Leader for MHT. She is also well versed in Guam & Iwo Jima and has been a Tour Leader for both.
LTC Steve Tharp USA(Ret) is a retired U.S. Army officer and Department of the Army civilian with 40 years of government service who has lived for 29 years in Korea; 14 years while on active duty. Steve’s Korea assignments during his 28 years on active duty include Chief of the Policy Planning & Operations, Directorate of Plans & Policy at the ROK-US CFC; Assistant Secretary & Language Division Chief, UNC Military Armistice Commission where he met extensively with North Korean & Chinese military officers at the Joint Security Area-Panmunjom; Platoon Leader/Company Executive Officer (XO) of Company C, 1st Battalion (BN), 23rd Infantry Regiment where he spent 20 weeks on the DMZ leading reconnaissance & ambush patrols. He was trained in Chinese (Mandarin) & Korean before attending the Korean Army Staff College.
Steve’s other infantry assignments include: Platoon Leader, Ranger Company XO & Company Commander. Other assignments include Defense Language Institute, Presidio of Monterey, as the Associate Dean, Asian School II (Korean) & BN XO, 229th Military Intelligence BN. He is currently writing a series of books about the Korean DMZ and leads tours to the Korean DMZ.
Mark Typinski has spent a career in military and law enforcement, spending 10 years in the U.S. Marine Corps followed by local and federal agencies. His job has allowed ample travel overseas, including a tour in Europe where he developed a passion for the history of both World Wars. He has toured the Western Front and Battle of the Bulge areas extensively, and subsequently studied the campaigns in those regions with a focus on U.S. involvement in both wars. His education in history continues, with an eye towards pursuit of an advanced degree in military history.
David F. Wall
Col David F. Wall USMCR (Ret) earned a BA from St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH and an MBA from Bryant University in Smithfield, RI. He served with the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam from April 1967 until May 1968 as an Artillery Forward Observer and Battery Commander. Following his active duty he enjoyed civilian careers in commercial banking, manufacturing and distribution management and crisis management consulting. David remained in the Selected Marine Corps Reserve until 1992 then retiring at the rank of Colonel. David joined the MHT team in 2006 and has led tours to Europe, Vietnam, South Korea and China.
Col William White USMC(Ret) is one of the most experienced Tour Leaders for the U.S. Battlefields of WWI. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia who entered the Marine Corps during the Korean War and served in Vietnam. Upon retirement he was the Editor of Leatherneck Magazine for the Marine Corps Association before retiring again to run his farm in Nokesville and concentrate on MHT European Tours where he is an acknowledged master. With General Mundy (L) at a WWI American Battle Monuments Commission Cemetery.
James White is the son of noted WWI historian Col Bill White, USMC who made this annual excursion a MHT legacy tour and James is a WWI expert in his own right having done this tour multiple times and has extensive knowledge of the French WWI battlefields.