Commander Galanti Continues Legacy Of Service To Virginia

Monterey, VA – Retired Navy Commander Paul Galanti is currently Commissioner of Veterans Services for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He has had a long and distinguished record of service to the country and his adopted home state of Virginia. His exposure to a life of service began when he was just a few years old as a result of the many moves his family made as part of his father’s job as an aviation engineer for the Army.

Mr. Galanti still has a remarkable memory of those many childhood moves, sometimes spending only half a year in a particular school. And the locations were not just in the United States – he also spent time in Japan, France, and Turkey. He can clearly recall the day, as an eight year old, when he decided that he wanted to be a pilot.

“I wanted to fly” says Galanti. “What got me was Captain Chuck Yeager flying the top secret WP-80 Shooting Star. For a long time I thought it was going to be [the US] Air Force, and then I discovered the real varsity’ is landing jets on an aircraft carrier, so I decided I wanted to do that. The astronauts, they remember some of their space shots – they’ll never forget their first night aircraft carrier take off and landing.”

Following his return from Vietnam in 1973 and a period of rehabilitation at Portsmouth Naval Hospital, Commander Galanti was assigned to the Richmond Naval Recruiting Office. That office went on to set recruiting records through the 1970’s. In July 1979 he was assigned 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.

Commander Galanti retired from the Navy in 1983 to take the position of Executive Director of the Virginia Pharmaceutical Association. He spent nine years in that position before becoming the Chief Executive Officer of the Medical Society of Virginia. Then in July 1998, he became the Executive Director of the Science Museum of Virginia Foundation.

He was later appointed Virginia Chairman for John McCain’s presidential campaign. In his current position as Commissioner for Veterans Services he is responsible for approving over 2000 classes at Virginia universities and technical schools for VA benefits. Commander Galanti goes on to describe other veterans services administered by his office.

“We have two cemeteries and the third one will open up in January” he says “one in Amelia and one in Suffolk. The one in Radford will open in January. Virginia Veterans care centers in Salem,that was the first one, it has about 250 residents and a staff of about 300. The newer one is in Richmond, [and] is state of the art.”

Governor McDonnell made a commitment to the state’s veterans programs recently.

“He said his number one goal is to make Virginia the most Veteran friendly state in the country” says Galanti. “We have a lot of Veterans, we’re number four per capita now, projected to be number one in about 10 years.”

On September 18, 2010, which is National POW-MIA Recognition Day, the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond held the grand opening of the Paul and Phyllis Galanti Education Center, a 10 million dollar facility that includes a 200-seat multipurpose room, a 70-seat theater, a research library, a large conference room, and an 800-seat outdoor amphitheater.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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