Former Military Leaders Sell Expertise at Firm in Demand

By Fred Bayles Ap National | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), November 26, 1995 | Go to article overview

Former Military Leaders Sell Expertise at Firm in Demand


Fred Bayles Ap National, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Frederick Kroesen used to command the U.S. Army in Europe. Huntington Hardisty once commanded U.S. forces in the Pacific. Carl Vuono was Army chief of staff during the Persian Gulf War.

Today, they and others like them are part of a company with a hot commodity to sell to the post-Cold War world: U.S. military expertise.

Their company, Military Professional Resources Inc., is unique among the dozens of U.S. firms that sell military know-how. The others consist mostly of retired majors and colonels. But Military Professional Resources Inc. is a Who's Who for a generation of officers who rose through the ranks during the Cold War, led the troops in Vietnam and built an all-volunteer military force of historic ability.

"We like to think of ourselves as the guys who, after Vietnam, rebuilt the U.S. Army," says spokesman Ed Soyster, West Point '57, an artillery officer in Vietnam and head of the Defense Intelligence Agency who retired in 1991 as a three-star general.

The company has offered seminars on Desert Storm in Sweden and in China, sent a team of trainers to Liberia and worked with an eastern European country Soyster declines to identify. Another customer is the Croatian Defense Ministry. Recent military victories by the Croatian forces raised questions about the role the company may have played in a conflict in which the United States has remained officially neutral. Military Professional Resources insists that it taught the Croats only mundane aspects of leadership and the army's role in a democracy. A Big Company

Vernon Lewis, an artilleryman with three combat tours in two wars, started the company in 1987 with seven retired generals. Today, he is president with 150 employees and $7.2 million in earnings last year.

Other key figures in the firm:

Carl Stiner, a member of the board of directors, saw combat in two wars. He led the Joint Special Operations Command, and personally helped in the 1985 capture of the Achille Lauro hijackers in 1985, facing down Egyptian commandos to negotiate the terrorists' surrender.

Maxwell Thurman, a board member, was known as "Maxatollah," for his demanding presence as head of the U.S. Southern Command during the Panama invasion. He is a brilliant tactician who helped develop modern warfare doctrine. As head of the Army's Recruiting Command, he originated the "Be All You Can Be" campaign.

Kroesen, the board chairman, is a veteran of three wars. He retired in 1983 after serving as commander of U.S. forces in Europe. He survived a rocket-grenade attack on his armored limousine by German terrorists.

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Former Military Leaders Sell Expertise at Firm in Demand
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