FOUNDER & CEO, IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA (IAVA)
Paul Rieckhoff is an Iraq war veteran and a nationally recognized authority on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and on issues affecting troops, veterans and their families. He is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), a non-partisan non-profit founded in 2004, with almost a quarter of a million members in all 50 states. Time magazine called it “the most important organization representing the new generation of veterans.” Rieckhoff has appeared on hundreds of TV and radio programs, written for The New York Times and other national media platforms, and has received numerous honors and awards for his work on behalf of veterans. After graduating from Amherst College in 1998, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves. While working at J.P. Morgan in 1999, he transferred to the New York Army National Guard. He left Wall Street on September 7, 2001 with plans to travel and pursue additional military schooling. Four days later terrorists piloted a commercial jet into the World Trade Center, and Rieckoff immediately joined the rescue effort at Ground Zero. He then completed officer training and volunteered to deploy to Iraq in January 2003, joining the 3rd Infantry Division as a Platoon Leader. His unit spent almost a year conducting a thousand combat patrols in Baghdad; all 38 men in his platoon returned home alive.