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Tongate Named to KCVS Advisory Council

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The KCVS Advisory Council provides guidance and subject-matter expertise to define the mission and advance the goals of the Kentucky Center for Veterans Studies. We are honored to welcome James R. Tongate to our team.

Manuel G. Aviles-Santiago James R. Tongate

Previously, James served as Marsh and McLennan Companies’ Senior HR Military Affairs Program Leader where he created, executed, led and cultivated an unprecedented diverse military veteran talent program. James strategically leveraged key stakeholders, human resource functions, technology, and processes relating to the design, implementation, and integration of diverse human capital dogmas through business actions. He is considered a national subject matter expert in the veteran talent space through consult and engagement in several national panels/forums including the Veteran Jobs Mission, the American Legion and at Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) sponsored events.

Prior to Marsh & McLennan Companies, James served at Humana over 17 years as a successful business leader in various functions to include the HR Program Leader for Humana’s Veteran & Military Spouse Hiring Program. He solidified the national award-winning program through sourcing, innovation, and implementation of outreach strategies recruiting National Guard, Reservists, Military Retirees, Wounded Warriors, Transitioning Veterans and Military Spouses. James’ efforts were crucial to Humana being recognized as a Top 100 Military Friendly® Employer in the US.

Currently, James also proudly serves as the tenth State Command Chief Master Sergeant for the Kentucky National Guard. Chief Tongate is the key advisor to Kentucky’s Adjutant General and his staff on all matters influencing mission readiness, training, promotion, retention, professional development, utilization, health, morale, welfare, and assignment policy affecting the entire enlisted Airmen and their families. Prior to this role, James served as the Human Resource Advisor and was a C-130H Tactical Loadmaster with three combat tours to Afghanistan along with many other global operations earning him four commendation medals. James initially began his service in 1986–1991 with the active-duty US Air Force, then served in the KY Army National Guard as a Military Intelligence Analyst before transferring into the KY Air National Guard in December 1997 where remains today.

James has been married over 24 years with 3 adult children and 2 grandchildren.


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Veterans Studies Alliance Student OrganizationJoin the Veterans Studies Alliance

  Eastern Kentucky University  
  521 Lancaster Ave.   
  Whitlock 431  
  Richmond, KY 40475  
  Phone: (859) 622-3459  

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The Kentucky Center for Veterans Studies hosts academic programming for both veteran and non-veteran students. Learn about EKU support services for veterans and other military-affiliated students by visiting the Office of Military & Veterans AffairsDonate to Operation Veteran SuccessDonate to Operation Veteran Success