Retired military officers speak at Rancho Santa Fe event


“From Service to Leadership” was the title of a program sponsored by the Armed Forces Interest Group (AFIG) on Tuesday Sept. 27. Held at the Performing Arts Center at Rancho Santa Fe School, a very distinguished panel of retired military officers spoke to more than 60 people.

During WW II, Staff Sgt. Lester Tenney served as a radio operator and later as a Tank Commander in the 192nd Tank Battalion in the Philippine Islands. His commanding officer surrendered all forces on Bataan and Tenney, then survived the infamous Bataan Death March and three-and-a-half years as a prisoner of the Japanese. He has been awarded many military decorations for valor and received special recognition for his role in helping his POW friends survive their prisoner of war camp in Japan. Retired from business for many years, he and his wife Betty reside at La Costa Glen and are the founders and “energy” behind Care Packages from Home a nonprofit that provides 500 personally packed care packages to deployed military personnel.

Ronne Froman served in the United States Navy for 31 years, and retired a 2-star Admiral. In her last Navy job, she was the director of Ashore Readiness for the Chief of Naval Operations, responsible for nearly 90 Navy stations and bases around the world with a $7 billion dollar budget.

Since 2010, Ronne has been working on a Veterans Program called REBOOT. When you join the military you are programmed to be successful, but when you get out no reprogramming is done to help make vets successful in the civilian world. REBOOT provides the necessary behavioral training to help in the transition. She also serves on the USS Midway Museum Board. She has received numerous awards, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.

Phil Landis served as a captain in the U.S. Army and is a Vietnam War combat veteran. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge. Prior to his appointment as Veteran’s Village San Diego’s president and CEO, Landis served as chairman of the VVSD Board of Directors for seven years and four years as a board member. Landis was recently appointed to the Veteran Administration’s Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans by Secretary Shinseki.

As each of the panelists spoke about their military service, it was very apparent that that period of their lives influenced their decision to become leaders in the community after service.

AFIG sponsors quarterly programs such as this. Please visit

for details on 2012 programs.