John P. Yori IIl Co-Founder & President

John P. Yori IIl
Co-Founder & President

John P. Yori III

As a Division Staff Officer and Flotilla Commander with the United States Coast Guard - Flotilla Washington One Auxiliary, John has over 16 years experience in the landscape design and installation industry and holds two degrees  from the University of Maryland.

Over the past 10 years, John worked in the Washington, DC metro area with a major landscape design and installation firm before deciding to share his skills, experience and knowledge in the landscape industry to help affect change by hiring and training our veterans and thus, providing them with a good job and an above average pay scale for the industry. Military service members bring with them a unique and positive influence on the private sector workforce including the military values of honor, integrity and commitment to excellence.

Successfully sponsoring “Military Appreciation Nights,”  in various venues around DC. John's new landscape venture managed not only to raise much needed essential items for our wounded heroes but also succeeded in bringing about a higher level of awareness to ordinary Americans who previously did not understand the immense need for their assistance and participation.

In early 2013, realizing that this need required the commitment of a non-profit organization, John partnered with Chris McDonald, a Navy veteran, to establish United Soldiers and Sailors of America, a Veteran Service Organization. Through streamlined programs and services, USASOA is having a direct impact on the overall quality of life of our wounded, ill and injured veterans and their families by providing them with the essential items, goods and resources to live a healthy, dignified life. The USASOA mission is clearly summed up in its motto, “ In Gratitude For Their Sacrifice.

Marsel Gray      Executive Director

Marsel Gray

Marsel is a former combat medic, having served six years in the military ending as an E5 Sergeant. He joined the military in 2011 and is the most recent in a family succession of military servicemen dating all the way back to the American Revolutionary War. His prior work includes employment in government, civilian, and private sectors doing program management and health promotion.

Marsel has also worked as a Deputy and Field Training Officer in the law  enforcement field and corrections sector until 2016 while living in Tennessee. 

Marsel and his spouse moved to Washington, DC in 2017 where he brings fresh ideas and organizational methods to USASOA. His long term goals include improving the organization and assisting leaders and staff to achieve its goals.

 Marsel holds a Master of Science (2016) from Austin Peay State University as well as a Bachelor of Science (2013) from the same institution. Marsel is an avid reader, weightlifter, and traveler. He is also fluent in German.




Matthew Granato Civilian Advisor

Matthew Granato
Civilian Advisor

Matthew Granato

Matt Granato brings extensive experience in the non-profit, intergovernmental, and association fields. With his arrival, USASOA will be able to focus its efforts in building a comprehensive advocacy agenda, including the development of an extensive grassroots network, for accomplishing its mission. 

Matt has 15 years in non-profit management, ten of them as a senior executive. Most recently he served as Executive Director of a national health association, where we interacted with federal officials articulating members’ interests and advocating on their behalf. Prior to that, he spent several years with an international trade association, where he served as director of marketing and member services until his appointment to chief operating officer in 2012. His time with both these organizations granted him extensive experience in the areas critical to USASOA. These areas include working on an inclusive advocacy agenda, cultivating stakeholder relations, and managing mission-critical tasks. 

Matt approached USASOA to volunteer his expertise with our organization because of his commitment to our core mission, and his appreciation and gratitude toward our wounded veterans and their families. Matt's work with USASOA focuses on building strong, effective partnerships with other VSO’s that believe as we do in placing our mission first and foremost.

Matt holds an MBA in marketing and international business from The George Washington University, a Master of Laws (LLM) in international law from the University of Nottingham Law School, U.K., and a BA in international relations from the University of San Andrés, Argentina, and the University of Westminster, U.K.



Gabe Lee Board of Directors

Gabe Lee
Board of Directors

Gabe Lee

Gabe Lee joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2001 and was attached with the newly formed anti-terrorism battalion, formerly the 3rd Battalion 8th Marines Infantry Regiment (3/8).  It was the Nation’s first military-unit-based response to terrorism. From 2001-2005, this highly-specialized group was on-call and available 24/7 as an anti-terrorism rapid response force. 

In December 2001, the unit was deployed to a semi-isolated Marine Corps Base in Okinawa, Japan to continue training in advanced Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Defense, Close Quarter Battle, and advanced infantry/special tactics. From Okinawa, the unit continued train in areas such as Fuji, Japan, and with elite units like the Republic Of Korea “ROK” Marines near the DMZ in South Korea.

After returning to the USA from its first training deployment, Gabe’s unit continued its advanced training. In 2003, it was called to Port-Au-Prince Haiti as a Quick Reaction Force. In less than 24 hours following news reports of potential US involvement in Haiti, Gabe’s unit was on the ground and securing the Port-Au-Prince Airfield. For six months, Gabe’s unit maintained security for the city and conducted humanitarian outreach for thousands of citizens in crisis.

In 2004, Gabe’s unit retired the specialized roll of the Marine Corp’s Anti-Terrorism Battalion and was sent to Fallujah, Iraq where he spent the remainder of his enlistment.  Gabe’s consistent and steady leadership during this time rendered him an honored and valued Marine.  He was promoted to Sergeant (E5), the highest rank allowed by the U.S. Marine Corps after just one four-year active duty tour. In addition, he was recognized and rewarded with over 15 medals and commendations. 

After serving 4 years active duty, Gabe returned to Boulder to attend the University of Colorado. In 2011, he graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors Degree in Public Relations and Mediation.  Following enlistment, he taught martial arts and small-arms tactics in the USA and Colombia as well as self-defense classes for women and adolescents. 

Since 2005 Gabe has lived and traveled worldwide and has worked with a variety of clients in digital marketing and communications, including start-ups, non-profits, and The Economist. He is currently lives with his wife Jen in Washington, DC and is employed as a marketing manager for a professional services firm.

Thomas A. Gibson Military Advisory Board

Thomas A. Gibson
Military Advisory Board

Thomas A. Gibson

Thomas A Gibson currently serves as the Project Director for Winn Development in Washington, D.C.

With extensive experience in urban redevelopment, Mr. Gibson's professional background includes work in both the private and public sectors with experience in law, finance, military, local government, and the non-profit sector. His career in real estate development has involved complex projects specializing in mixed-income and mixed-use properties requiring public-private partnerships. Projects under his management have included diverse elements of development including historic renovation, new construction, affordable housing, rehabilitation, tenant-purchases, and transit-oriented development.

Mr. Gibson holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia, a master's degree in real estate finance from Georgetown University, and is an Executive MBA candidate at Cornell University's Johnson School of Management. He is also a LEED accredited professional in building design and construction (LEED AP BD+C) from the U.S. Green Building Council and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute.

Mr. Gibson is a Commissioner on the Arlington County Tenant-Landlord Commission and currently sits on the Military AdvisoryBoard for the United Soldiers and Sailors of America , an all-volunteer, non-profit dedicated to providing funding and supplies to the daily lives of combat wounded veterans.

In addition to his civilian work in real estate development, Mr. Gibson serves as an artillery officer in the Marine Corps Reserve.


Gary Rogers Military Advisory Board

Gary Rogers
Military Advisory Board

Gary Rogers

A native of New Hampshire, Gary holds a B.S. degree in Microbiology from Kansas State University.

Gary entered the Air Force in January of 1973, receiving his pilot wings and completed B-52 Combat Crew Training in 1974. A Command Pilot with over 2,500 flight hours, he served in numerous flying positions as B-52 Co-Pilot, Pilot, and Instructor Pilot. While assigned to Wurtsmith AFB, MI, he obtained a M.A. from Central Michigan University and in 1993, he took command of the 4444 Training Support Squadron B-2 Detachment at Whiteman AFB, MO.

Between 1995 and 2001, Gary served as a Joint Staff Officer at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium and Headquarters U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) in Stuttgart, Germany. In 1997 Gary attended National War College in Washington, DC where he was awarded an M.S. in National Security Strategy. Gary retired from active duty in 2001 after 26 years of duty.

Since 2001, Gary continues to serve as a defense contractor supporting systems engineering and technical advice efforts for numerous defense and intelligence agencies. He currently resides in Alexandria, VA with his wife Natalie, and serves as Vice President for Intelligence Program for Strategic Alliance Consulting, Inc., a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB).


Christopher Wright Military Advisory Board

Christopher Wright
Military Advisory Board

Christopher Wright

Christopher Wright graduated in 2007 from The United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science  degree in Naval Architecture. After completion of Naval Flight Officer (NFO) Training in Pensacola, Florida, he report to the Fighting Tigers of Patrol Squadron Eight in Jacksonville, Florida.

From 2008 to 2012, he has logged over 1200 hours in the P-3C Orion aircraft, earning the highest level qualifications of Instructor Tactical Coordinator and Mission Commander. While in Patrol Squadron Eight, Chris held duties of Communications Officer, Planing/Readiness Officer, Avionics/Armament Division Officer, NFO Tactics Officer, and NFO Training Officer. During his tour, he completed two deployments to the Middle East, participating in Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation New Dawn, and anti-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa. In 2010, he participated in Operation Unified Response, the operation to deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to the people of Haiti following the massive 7.0 earthquake. 

In April of 2012, Chris reported to the Pentagon as a member of the Navy’s Foreign Liaison Office. There he worked closely with over 120 Foreign Naval Attaches, fostering increased partnership and maritime security. Additionally, he was assigned as project officer for the Chief of Naval Operations’ Counterpart Visit Program. He budgeted, planned, and executed visits for eleven Foreign Heads of Navy at the invitation of the U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations. 

Chris has been awarded the Air Medal (Strike/Flight), two Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary and Service Medals, and the Armed Forces Service Medal.

Mary Paxton, Program Coordinator

Mary Paxton,

Program Coordinator

Mary Paxton

Mary Paxton is a Registered Nurse specializing in traumatic injuries  ans has many family members who have served in the armed forces.  Mary's dad was an MIA and a POW in WW II.  Mary strongly believes  that those who served their county should not have to fear coming home.  For the past 3 years, Mary has been working with USASOA  in leading and operating our annual BBQ FOR OUR HEROES program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.  Learn more about  this amazing  monthly program  by visiting our PROGRAMS AND SERVICES page. 

We are extremely grateful to have such a committed and dedicated volunteer as Mary,  "As many of our service members return home they are faced with such issues as lack of health care, loss of job or home and of course too many come home with physical or emotional issues, and too many are homeless.  This is UNACCEPTABLE to me. These men and women are fighting for OUR freedom. I am committed to doing whatever I can to see these issues resolved."  Mary and so many of our outstanding staff and volunteer are having a direct and meaningful impact on the overall quality of life for our ill, injured and wounded veterans.