President Donald Trump is nominating Uniontown native Dr. Mark Esper to be the next secretary of the Army.
A Laurel Highlands High School graduate and Army veteran who served in Iraq and the Pentagon, Esper, 53, of Fairfax, Virginia, is vice president for government affairs for the Raytheon Company.
Polly Reagan Esper, of Uniontown, said of her son’s nomination, “How very proud I am. He’s a good man and very humble.’’
Noting Esper is in the Laurel Highlands Hall of Fame, Dr. Jesse Wallace III, superintendent, said, "We are very proud of his accomplishments, and we wish him the best in his endeavors as we are proud of all our graduates.''
Esper graduated with honors in 1982 from Laurel Highlands High School where he earned varsity letters in football, basketball and track. He was inducted into the Laurel Highlands Hall of Fame in 2013.
Esper attended the U.S. Military Academy and graduated from West Point in 1986 as a dean’s list student and recipient of the MacArthur Award for Leadership.
He served in various leadership positions in the 101st Airborne Division and deployed with the Screaming Eagles in the 1990-91 Gulf War. For his actions as part of a battalion that defeated the Iraqi Army, Esper was awarded a Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and various service medals.
He commanded an Airborne Rifle Company in Europe, served as an Army Fellow at the Pentagon and completed his master’s degree at Harvard University.
Esper left active duty in 1996 to become chief of staff at The Heritage Foundation. He served more than 10 years in the Army Reserves before retiring as a lieutenant colonel.
Esper served in the Pentagon from 2002-04 as a deputy assistant secretary of defense.
In 2006, Esper worked as executive vice president at the Aerospace Industries Association.
In 2007, he served as national policy director for Fred Thompson in his run for the GOP presidential nomination.
Esper earned a doctorate at George Washington University and taught graduate courses at a local university.
He became an executive vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2008 and took his current position with Raytheon in 2010.
Esper and his wife, Leah, have been married 27 years and have three children.
The Senate must confirm Esper’s nomination. Trump’s two other selections for Army secretary dropped out.