Paul E. Galanti
Paul Galanti was a prisoner of war for nearly seven years in North Vietnam's infamous Hanoi Hilton complex. He not only maintained his sanity, he has managed, since his return in February 1973, to excel in several different fields. He maintains a positive attitude despite having been deprived of "what should have been some of the best years of my life."
"Not so," says Galanti, "the best years are here, now"!
In 2002, Paul was appointed as the Director of National Services Officers for the American Ex-Prisoners of War and currently is National Director as well as a service & legislative officer for that organization. He writes a monthly column for American Ex-POWs' excellent monthly American Ex-POW Bulletin. In 2003, he was appointed by Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Anthony J. Principi to serve on the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Former POWs. Galanti was named to serve on the Board of Virginia's new Department of Veterans' Services by Governor Mark Warner. He was reappointed by Governor Tim Kaine and elected Chairman of the Board of Veterans Services in 2006.
Background: Paul Galanti was raised in a service family in many states, Japan, France, Turkey and Germany. He graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1962 and then immediately entered Navy jet flight training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. Upon completion of advanced flight training at NAS Beeville, Texas in November 1963, he was chosen to be a flight instructor in Pensacola.
In November 1964, he was assigned to Navy Light Jet Attack Squadron 216 (VA-216) based aboard the carrier, USS Hancock, which departed for Southeast Asia in November 1965. Galanti flew 97 combat missions in his A-4C Skyhawk before being shot down and captured on June 17, 1966. He remained a prisoner of war of the North Vietnamese for nearly seven years and was released on February 12, 1973.
Following a rehabilitation period at the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia, he was assigned to the Navy Recruiting District in Richmond, Virginia as its Executive Officer. He received his Master of Commerce degree from the University of Richmond in May 1976 following successful completion of the night school program. He was then assigned by the Navy to be the Commanding Officer of the Richmond Recruiting District which set new records during his tenure as the chief recruiter in Virginia.
In July 1979 he was reassigned to the U.S. Naval Academy in the Office of the Commandant as a Battalion Officer where he was responsible for the military and leadership training of 750 academy midshipmen. Additionally, he was assigned as the faculty advisor to the Brigade of Midshipmen Drum & Bugle Corps, the Lucky Bag (the largest collegiate yearbook in the United States) and the Midshipmen Honor Committee.
After retiring from the Navy, he became, in 1983, the first non-pharmacist
Executive Director of the Virginia Pharmaceutical Association in its 100 year history. During his nearly nine years as Virginia pharmacy's chief
executive officer, he was responsible for many innovations including the
total computerization of all association activities. He was the Medical
Society of Virginia's CEO for nearly six years. In July 1998, he became the Executive Director of the Science Museum of Virginia Foundation after having been a longtime member of the Foundation's Board. Galanti was inducted into the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame in November 2005.
in 2010, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell appointed Galanti as the Commissioner of Veterans Services for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Governor McDonnell recently appointed him to the Board of Visitors of the Virginia Military Institute.
The Paul and Phyllis Galanti Education Center of the Virginia War Memorial opened in September 2010. It has become an inspirational meeting place and tourist attraction with record-breaking attendance.
For several years, he was in charge of marketing and external affairs for Eye-Q, LLC, a web application developer.
He is the author and webmaster of the Nam-POW (Vietnam POWs) web site which can be accessed at:
Galanti's military decorations include the Silver Star, Two Legions of Merit for combat, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze Star for combat, nine Air Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal for combat and two Purple Hearts.
Paul Galanti is currently active in the Families of the Wounded Fund, a wonderful group that raises funds for the primary next of kin for our Iraq and Afghanistan wounded soldiers. Galanti states, "It's the most rewarding thing I think I've ever done." Click on this link to see the FOTWF website:
Additional Information: Galanti was featured on the cover of Life (October 20, 1967) and Newsweek (February 26, 1973). He was featured in a six page motivational article by Selling Power in its May/June 1995 issue and chosen as one of the twelve outstanding motivators in the United States by that national sales journal in May 1996. He is a recipient of the Liberty Bell Award, the Outstanding Virginian Award and numerous other awards and citations for civic service. He is Past President of the Science Museum of Virginia Foundation, Past President of Nam-POWs, the national Vietnam POW Fraternity, a River Rat, POW Coordinator for the Skyhawk Association and an Elder at First Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia. Additionally, he was President of his class at Annapolis.
In the 2000 and 2008 presidential election cycles, he campaigned tirelessly for his friend and fellow Vietnam POW, Arizona Senator John McCain.
Recognized for his speaking ability (Paul has been described as "The Attitude Adjuster"), Galanti's inspirational message has been delivered to more than 1,300 groups ranging from school children to groups of physicians.