Historical & Operational Perspective
TFGON began in the Mid-1990’s as THE FLAG & GENERAL OFFICERS’ MESS, an informal social networking group formed by two retired Navy Flags with mutual business and military interests, Rear Admiral Chuck McGrail and Rear Admiral Jim Carey. Chuck and Jim served as the Founding National Co-Chairmen and the organization grew to a mailing list of over 450 members, with regular gatherings held at the Fort Myer Officer’s Club in the form of stand-up cocktail receptions, usually with speakers or presentations or both. During the first several years of the group, we were honored to have as our Guest Speakers the Chief of Naval Operations, the Chiefs of Staff of the Army and Air Force, and the Commandants of the Marine Corps and Coast Guard. There were also presentations by the Superintendent of Arlington Cemetery, the founders of The Military Channel on cable TV, a Former Attorney General of the U. S., and a broad spectrum of other distinguished speakers and organizations with presentations of interest to Flag and General Officers. Functions were held quarterly and attendance ranged from 30-60 flag and general officers, depending upon the speaker or “the competition” if there were other military-related functions being held on those dates. TFGON also became “the organization of choice” and was regularly contacted by executive search firms and major corporations seeking retired flag or general officers for job opportunities or board of director’s service.
Unfortunately, in the late ‘90’s, Admiral Chuck McGrail had a heart attack and passed away, and Jim Carey’s wife became ill and his time greatly restricted, so the gatherings became less and less frequent and then ceased altogether when Jim’s wife was hospitalized. That is, until Mid-2005 when some of the former members of the organization contacted Jim Carey and asked that the group be re-energized as they missed the comradery, military veterans fellowship, the opportunity to help fellow veterans in need and to be kept aware of veterans and patriotic events, and the ability to stay in touch with both old and new flag and general officer colleagues.
The organization now meets socially once a quarter and regularly circulates the resumes/bios of retiring AND retired Flag & General Officers among it’s membership and to a broad range of executive search firms seeking flag or general officers for corporate or board of directors positions. The organization general membership is 100% military war veterans and consists of active duty, retired, and reserve/guard flag and general officers of the five armed services and membership numbers over 1,800.
Social functions focus on networking and mutual assistance and comradery with a secondary goal of ensuring all can avail themselves of the resume/bio circulation system if they seek employment or wish to change jobs, as well as sharing such information with each other so that all are aware of who is available for corporate or board of director positions, who is leaving active service and ready to begin “Career # 2”, who works where and what projects and programs they are involved with, and what Q&E each has accrued through their 30+ years of military service. In addition, TFGON continues to be regularly contacted by executive search firms and major corporations seeking retired flag or general officers with specific qualifications and experience [Q&E] and those job opportunity announcements are circulated via e-mail or fax to the entire organization so that those so qualified who are interested can respond. The members also exchange information with each other on veterans and patriotic events that they become aware of, band together to assist veterans in need, and generally serve to ensure that each others’ status as war veterans with 30 years or more of service in America’s five military armed forces are observed and respected.
A recent development  involves the organization serving as the catalyst in providing flag or general officers with specific specialties or expertise or career experience to serve as “guest lecturers” at both USA and foreign military defense universities and colleges, including the DISAM Foreign Military Sales training courses conducted at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. This past summer, TFGON entered into an informal agreement with the Canadian Forces College [CFC] in Toronto to provide CFC with flag or general officers to address their senior officer command and management courses as guest lecturers. These programs are attracting growing interest in other nations in that active duty flag and general officers are often unavailable to speak to these classes due to deployments or short-fused schedule changes, whereas retired flag officers have greater control over their time and can schedule and commit to address a specific class on a specific date and time, an ability which is of significant value to the educational institutions. The advantage that TFGON has in assisting with such efforts is their up-to-date membership database and the ability to circulate a search for specific credentials or experience or qualifications within hours of the position description being submitted, rather than the weeks or months it can take to make such arrangements through official government channels and bureaucracies.
In 2008, based upon the growth of the number of flag and general officers interested in participating in the organization and it’s needing to restructure from an informal social organization to a more formal organizational structure, as well as TFGON’s make-up of 100% war veterans, the decision was made to incorporate TFGON as a veterans organization and to apply to the IRS for recognition as a 501.c.19 veterans organization.
Questions on any of the above may be referred to Rear Admiral [Ret.] Jim Carey at RADMCarey@aol.com Further details on TFGON are available on the organizations web site at www.flagandgeneralofficersnetwork.org