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Distinguished Speaker Series

The Ranger community is rife with members who have provided substantial contributions, whether in combat, in uniformed service, or following their separation from the military.  The USARA Distinguished Speaker Series provides an opportunity for those interested in U.S. Army Rangers to hear the stories of these distinguished individuals and connect with them on a personal level.


First Sergeant Matthew Eversmann, USA, Retired

Matt Eversmann enlisted in the Army as an infantryman in December 1987, and was stationed at Fort Drum, NY, with the 10th Mountain Division. In 1992, he reenlisted and arrived at Fort Benning, GA, for his assignment in the 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. He spent eight-and-a-half years in the Regiment, serving as a squad leader, a weapons squad leader, the battalion air operations sergeant, the battalion liaison sergeant, and a platoon sergeant. Matt was also the officer in charge of the 75th Ranger Regiment’s Pre-Ranger Course that helped train future leaders to pass the grueling Army Ranger School.


In August of 1993, Matt and his company deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia, in support of Operation Gothic Serpent.  For his service in Somalia, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor device and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.


Matt’s last military assignment was as an Infantry Company First Sergeant in the 10th Mountain Division. He and his men spent 15 months in Iraq during “the Surge” fighting Al-Queada and implementing the counter-insurgency strategy.


Matt retired in 2008 and is a Partner and Co-founder of Eversmann Advisory, a consulting Firm in West Palm Beach. His specialty is preparing young leaders to join and succeed in the professional workforce.


He is an Emmy award-winning documentarian and has co-authored two NYT Best Seller list books with James Patterson. Their latest book “Walk My Beat With Me” hits the bookstores in February 2023. They are currently working on their Fifth book.

Prior Presentations

General Joseph L. Votel, USA, Retired


General Joseph L. Votel is a retired U.S. Army Four-Star officer and most recently the Commander of the U.S. Central Command – responsible for U.S. and coalition military operations in the Middle East, Levant and Central and South Asia. During his 39 years in the military, he commanded special operations and conventional military forces at every level, including service as the commander for 1st Ranger Battalion, and later the 75th Ranger Regiment. His career included combat in Panama, Afghanistan and Iraq. Notably, he led a 79-member coalition that successfully liberated Iraq and Syria from the Islamic State Caliphate. He preceded his assignment at CENTCOM with service as the Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command and the Joint Special Operations Command.

Brigadier General Craig Nixon, USA, Retired


Brigadier General Craig Nixon is a Distinguished Military Graduate of Auburn University, retired General Officer, successful entrepreneur, passionate supporter of veteran non-profit organizations, and a proud husband and father of four. He is a member of the Ranger Hall of Fame and was named as one of Auburn University at Montgomery’s Top Fifty Alumni in 2017.

Major Jeremy Noble, USA


MAJ Jeremy Noble served as the Regimental Psychologist for the 75th Ranger Regiment from 2016 until 2021.  His primary duties included personnel selection (RASP1, RASP2, FG RASP, etc.), executive coaching, psychotherapy and psychological assessment, and Command consultation.  Jeremy is Ranger and Airborne qualified.  He has deployed to Afghanistan seven times in support of Rangers and to conduct operational psychology duties.  Prior to his time in the 75th Ranger Regiment, Jeremy completed his post-doctoral residency in both clinical and operational psychology at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  He graduated with his PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2014.  Finally, he is the proud father of a seven-year-old Doberman named Zeke. 

Command Sergeant Major, Rick Merritt, USA, Retired


Command Sergeant Major (CSM) (R) Rick Merritt retired from active duty in the U.S. Army after serving almost 36 years since he entered the military in March of 1984.  He and his family returned from South Korea in December 2018 after he served as the Command Senior Enlisted Leader (CSEL) (for all US Army Forces) advising the Commander, EIGHTH US ARMY for 3 ½ years.  He is currently consulting as the Director, US Army Special Operations Programs for Republic Mission System, INC. and a Military Consultant with Daniel Defense.

Command Sergeant Major, Rick Lamb, USA, Retired


Command Sergeant Major (CSM) (R) Richard “Rick” Lamb is the Director of Military Relations for the Global SOF Foundation. He has over forty years of experience executing Joint, Combined and Interagency Special Operations. He led soldiers in operations traversing the tactical level to the strategic, in over thirty-seven countries, across five Continents, and in six Geographic Combatant Commands. He spent more than twelve years overseas and participated in almost every major combat operation spanning Operation EAGLE CLAW through Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

Author Gary L. Hinaman


Gary L. Hinaman grew up in Johnson City, NY, and received his bachelor’s degree in Geology from Binghamton University.  Gary volunteered for the active duty Army and served from October 18, 1968, to June 12, 1971.  He was commissioned as a 2LT Infantry officer on September 9, 1969, and promoted to 1LT on September 9, 1970.  He served as a Tactical Officer for the 62nd OCS company from September 1969 to March 1970.  He graduated from Ranger School Class 13-70 to earn his Ranger Tab. He served in Vietnam from June 1970 to June 1971. 

Colonel Martin "Marty" Spann, USA, Retired


Colonel (ret) Martin “Marty” Spann is the Chief Operating Officer for Tactical Drone Concepts. He has twenty-six years of law enforcement experience with the Los Angeles Police Department which includes expertise in gangs, firearms, and airborne aviation operations.


He began his career by enlisting in the United States Marine Corps where he was involved in Operation “New Arrivals”, the evacuation and relocation of 110,000 refugees displaced after the fall of South Vietnam.


After his discharge from the United States Marine Corps, he joined the U.S. Army National Guard and was commissioned through the United States Army Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning Georgia where he was branched as an Infantry Officer. During his career, he commanded at every level from a rifle squad to an Infantry Battalion.

Dr. Jeff Struecker


Jeff Struecker was a decorated soldier. At age 18, he enlisted in the United States Army as an Infantryman and retired as a chaplain with over 22 years of active federal service. In 2017, he was inducted into the US Army Ranger Hall of Fame.

He served for ten years in the 75th Ranger Regiment in positions from Private to Platoon Sergeant. While serving in this unit, Jeff competed in and won the David L. Grange Best Ranger Competition in 1996. He taught ROTC at the University of Louisville and was recognized in 1998 as the US Army ROTC, Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. Jeff spent his final ten years in the US Army serving as a chaplain in Airborne and Ranger units.

Colonel Andrew "Drew" Morgan, USA (M.D.)


Dr. Andrew “Drew” Morgan was selected by NASA in 2013.  Dr. Morgan is an emergency physician in the U.S. Army with sub-specialty certification in primary care sports medicine.  He is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, NY and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD.  Prior to his selection to NASA’s 21st group of astronauts, Dr. Morgan served in elite special operations units worldwide.  He is married with four children and considers New Castle, PA his hometown. Drew most recently served as flight engineer on the International Space Station for Expedition 60, 61 and 62.