|Occupation||Officer in the United States Army|
|Known for||Political advocacy
Founder and co-chair of VoteVets.org
Jon Soltz served as a United States Army officer in the Iraq War and is chairman and co-founder of the 220,000 member VoteVets.org. In 2011, he took a one-year leave of absence from VoteVets, while deployed as part of Operation New Dawn (Iraq). Also, as a member of the U.S. Army, he served in both the Kosovo Campaign (2000) and later in Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003). Soltz was an outspoken critic of Operation Iraqi Freedom and its execution.
Military service and background
He was commissioned in 1999 from the University of Pittsburgh Army ROTC and attended the Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Following his graduation he was stationed in Germany from 1999–2003. Between June and December 2000, he served as a Tank Platoon Leader in the Kosovo War. Between May and September 2003, he served as a Captain during Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he worked deployed logistics convoys with the 1st Armored Division. In 2005, he trained soldiers for combat at Fort Dix in New Jersey. He took a leave of absence from VoteVets.org in Jan 2011, to deploy as part of Operation New Dawn (Iraq), but stated he expects to be back in 2012, to resume his position as Chairman. Until that time, Ashwin Madia, an Iraq War Veteran, and one time candidate for Congress has assumed the role of Interim Chairman. On December 12, 2011, Soltz returned as Chairman of VoteVets.org after completing his deployment to Iraq. Soltz was one of the last American troops to leave the country.
Soltz volunteered for the John Kerry presidential campaign in 2004. Regarding his personal political views, Soltz told The Washington Post in 2007 that "I'm a conservative" and that he opposed the Iraq War troop surge of 2007 because "I don't think 20,000 more troops is Democratic, I don't think 20,000 troops is Republican. I think it's stupid."
He has been a frequent contributor to numerous shows, including Countdown with Keith Olbermann and the Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC. He has been interviewed by the Associated Press, Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Time magazine, Newsweek. He has appeared on NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, ABC News, Nightline, Air America Radio, The Ed Schultz Show, and The Bill Press Show.
Remarks about Republicans
In his role as chairman of VoteVets.org, Soltz called President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney "draft dodgers" in a news conference on Capitol Hill. He also accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of "aiding the enemy."
- "About Us: VoteVets.org Board of Advisors". VoteVets.org. Archived from the original on October 20, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-14.
- Terkel, Amanda (2011-12-12). "VoteVets Gears Up For 2012 Election As Chair Jon Soltz Returns From Iraq". Huffington Post.
- Layton, Lyndsey; Jonathan Weisman (February 8, 2007). "Veterans Group Speaks Out on War". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-10-14.
- Layton, Lyndsey; Weisman, Jonathan (2007-02-08). "Veterans Group Speaks Out on War". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-11-18.