From growing up in the Republic of Panama to graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy to founding a company with three people that grew to sixty offices in seven countries to serving as one of the youngest members of a Fortune 500 board, this highly decorated military officer is a Columbia Law School graduate, a White House Fellow, and a bestselling author. Hailed as one of fourteen Latino role models for the nation in the book Hispanics in the USA: Making History, Charlie Garcia’s leadership abilities have earned him a role in the administration of four U.S. Presidents.
At the U.S. Air Force Academy he was the Deputy Wing Commander – the 4th highest-ranking cadet leading over 4,400 students. A distinguished graduate of the skydiving program and the elite Army Reconnaissance Commando School, his peers elected him to serve as the Chairman of the Cadet Wing Honor Committee, where he supervised over 200 honor investigations and sat as the chair of seventy-two cadet honor boards. He was chosen to represent the Air Force Academy at the 2nd Annual Leadership Conference at West Point, and he was awarded the “Honor and Ethics” trophy bestowed to the graduating senior who “most personified the ideals of personal integrity.”
Due to his Spanish language fluency, Mr. Garcia was selected to serve in war torn Central America as an intelligence officer training Latin American militaries in counter guerrilla warfare. While there he published a provocative article that caught the attention of General John R. Galvin, the Commander of the U.S. Southern Command, who later became NATO Supreme Allied Commander. General Galvin chose him as one of his key advisors in Latin America, and Mr. Garcia authored a top-secret study on Fidel Castro’s efforts to destabilize Latin America, which was declassified and published as a cover story by U.S. News and World Report magazine. For his military service in Latin America and his analysis of sensitive geopolitical matters, he was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the third-highest medal bestowed upon members of the armed forces by the Department of Defense.
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan selected him to serve as one of fourteen White House Fellows. These mid-career professionals spend a year working as full-time, paid special assistants to the President, the Vice President, Cabinet Secretaries, and other top-ranking government officials. White House Fellows also participate in an education program consisting of roundtable discussions with renowned leaders from the private and public sectors, as well as trips to study U.S. policy in action both domestically and internationally.