Bonnie Carroll is a 2015 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She is a military veteran, the surviving spouse of the Brigadier General Tom Carroll, a former staffer in the Reagan and Bush White Houses, and the President and Founder of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), the leading national Military Service Organization providing compassionate care, casework assistance, and 24/7/365 emotional support for all those impacted by the death of a military loved one. Carroll founded TAPS following the death of her husband in an Army C-12 plane crash on Nov. 12, 1992.
Carroll served in Baghdad, Iraq, as the Deputy Senior Advisor for Programs in the Ministry of Communications. In that capacity, she managed the execution of a quarter-billion dollars in U.S. supplemental funds for the reconstruction of the telecommunications capability in Iraq, the modernization of the postal service, and creation of the Iraq Communications and Media Commission. She continues to work with Iraqi surviving families facing traumatic loss.
Before going to Iraq, Carroll was appointed to be the White House Liaison for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in Washington, D.C. Prior to this appointment, she served as director of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and ensured the development of programs to aid families coping with a traumatic loss in the military.
Carroll retired as a Major in the Air Force Reserve following 30 years of service, where her career included service as Chief, Casualty Operations, HQ USAF. Her last assignment was on the HQ USAF National Security and Emergency Preparedness staff in the Pentagon. Prior to joining the USAFR, Major Carroll served 16 years in the Air National Guard as a Transportation Officer, Logistics Officer, and Executive Officer.
Carroll holds a degree in Public Administration and Political Science from American University and a degree in Equine Science from Springfield College. She has completed Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government's Executive Leadership Program on International Conflict Resolution, and is a graduate of several military service schools, including the USAF Logistics Officer Course, Squadron Officers School, Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, Academy of Military Science (Distinguished Graduate), and USAF Basic Training (Honor Graduate).
Carroll has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Death Education and Counseling, the Department of Defense Military Family Readiness Council, the VA Advisory Committee on Disability Compensation, and she is past co-chair of the Department of Defense Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide by Members of the Armed Forces. She currently serves on the Defense Health Board and the Board of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.