Biography for Colonel (Ret.) Anthony A. Wood
United States Marine Corps
Inspirational Speaker and Leadership Consultant
A Decorated Combat Leader:
Colonel Anthony A. Wood enjoyed a distinguished career of over thirty years in the Marine Corps and has continued to make contributions to his country as a business leader and inspirational speaker since his retirement from the Marine Corps in 1998. In the course of his career he has been uniquely honored. At the time of his retirement as a Marine in June 1998, he was the only Colonel or Captain in any of the armed services to have twice been decorated with the nation's second highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal. His additional decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with Combat V, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal (multiple awards), the Humanitarian Assistance Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon (multiple awards).
In 1968 he served his first tour in Viet Nam as a platoon commander and advisor to the Korean Marine Corps Blue Dragon Brigade. In his second tour in Viet Nam in 1974-75, he commanded a joint contingent executing clandestine missions to resolve MIA cases in Laos, Cambodia, and Viet Nam. In January 1975, as North Vietnamese forces closed on Saigon, Major General Homer Smith, USA, the Defense Attache in Saigon, had then Captain Wood transferred to the Defense Attache Office where has was directed to join the newly formed Special Planning Group with the mission of secretly developing a plan for the evacuation of Saigon. In the course of that operation he worked with a group of over 100 American civilian volunteers who assumed great risk to remain without protection and evacuate over 5000 persons from the collapsing capital to the safety of waiting Marine helicopters. Theirs is the inspirational story which Colonel Wood has told to audiences around the nation as a message extolling the extraordinary strength of spirit and courage of the American citizen.
An Agent of Change:
Colonel Wood has commanded both infantry and reconnaissance units and acted as an agent of change as the Marine Corps sought to adjust to a changing world. On assignment to Marine Corps Headquarters he served as the principal author in developing the US Navy and Marine Corps “Maritime Prepositioning Concept”, and then supervised the implementation of a national strategic response capability based on forward positioning three squadrons of specially configured ships filled with the supplies and equipment to support Marine Brigades.
While serving as Chief of Staff for Marine Forces in the Pacific, Col Wood was dispatched to Russia in 1993 where, over a three-week period of negotiations, he successfully concluded a major tension reduction agreement and multi-year exercise program with the Russian General Staff, the Commander Russian Pacific Fleet in Vladivostok, and the Commander, Russian Far East Military District, in Kharbovsk on the Chinese border. Designed to relax tensions and reduce the risk of nuclear incidents in the Pacific Theater, the agreement has since been extended.
Colonel Wood’s last Marine Corps billet was as founder and first Commanding Officer of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory from 1995-1998. Unique in its concept-based approach as well as its projection of a very different and non-traditional post-cold war future, the laboratory spearheaded the four-year series of Marine Corps Sea Dragon experiments designed to recast military capabilities in a mold appropriate to emerging counter terrorist requirements.
Senior Executive and Inspirational Speaker:
Following retirement from the Marine Corps, Colonel Wood joined the CAD Research Center at California Polytechnic State University in 1998 as Director for Applied Research. At the same time he assumed the position of Vice President/COO/and partner in CDM Technologies Inc., an advanced software development company. In his twelve year tenure at CDM Colonel Wood designed a series of intelligent decision support systems to improve the speed and accuracy of decisions for the United States Joint Staff and other military services as well as civilian firms. Colonel Wood continued as partner and COO with CDM until January 2010 when the Boeing Company purchased the firm. Following Boeing's purchase of CDM he has accepted inspirational speaking engagements and led leadership discussions and workshops around the country. He continues to serve in a variety of capacities on boards and as a consultant on decision making.
Above all an American Citizen!