College Leadership

Meet the Valley Forge Leadership Team

Our leadership team is committed to making Valley Forge one of the premier institutes for forming young men and women into the leaders of tomorrow.

 

The College

Want to go to a college that not only opens academic doors for your next steps, but also builds strength and friendships that will never fail?

Leadership at the College

  • Col Stuart B. Helgeson, USMCR (Ret)
    Col Stuart B. Helgeson, USMCR (Ret)
    President
  • LTC Brett A. Gambacorta
    LTC Brett A. Gambacorta
    Professor of Military Science (PMS)
  • Dr. Robert Smith
    Dr. Robert Smith
    Associate Dean of Academics and Chief Academic Officer, Valley Forge Military College
  • Jesse Phillips Ed.D.
    Jesse Phillips Ed.D.
    Associate Dean of Students, Valley Forge Military College

 

Col Stuart B. Helgeson, USMCR (Ret)
President

Colonel Helgeson attended Penn State University where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics.  At Penn State, he played Varsity Lacrosse and later walked on to the football team as a receiver on the 1986 National Championship and 1987 Citrus Bowl Teams. Upon graduation, Col Helgeson was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Following The Basic School, and subsequently the Infantry Officer’s Course, Col Helgeson reported for duty with 1st Battalion 2D Marines, 2D Marine Division, stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC.  During his tour, he served with Company A as a Rifle Platoon Commander.  He participated in Exercise Alpine Warrior, and later was deployed for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Upon his return in 1991, he was selected to be the 2D Marine Regiment’s Scout Platoon Commander.

In October 1991, then 1st Lieutenant Helgeson was selected for duty with 2D Force Reconnaissance Company, 2D SRIG, II MEF. As a platoon commander at 2D Force Reconnaissance Company, he participated in operation Victor Square and was deployed as the Detachment and Platoon Commander with the 22nd MEU (SOC) where he participated in operation Provide Promise and Deny Flight (former Yugoslavia) and Continue Hope (Somalia).  Upon return from Deployment in 1994, he received orders to The Basic School.

Upon reporting to The Basic School, Colonel Helgeson was assigned as the primary patrolling instructor.  In 1995, he was assigned as an instructor at the Infantry Officer Course.  In August 1997, upon completion of his duties at the Infantry Officer course, he attended Amphibious Warfare School in Quantico, VA, from where he graduated in May 1998.

In June 1998, Colonel Helgeson was assigned as the Head Coach for the Sprint Football team at the United States Naval Academy. While assigned to the Naval Academy, then Major Helgeson was also assigned duties as a leadership instructor, Marine Corps Capstone Class instructor, OIC of the Physical remedial program and member of the Marine Corps Selection team. In June of 1999, Major Helgeson and three other Marines Biked and Ran across America to raise money for the Children’s Hopes and Dreams foundation, completing the ride and run in 27 days.

In August 2000, Colonel Helgeson left active duty for civilian employment with MBNA Bank in Wilmington, DE and transferred to the IRR. In 2004, he joined the Selected Marine Corps Reserve and took command of Co B 6th Engineer Support Battalion in Wilmington, DE. During this time, he completed the Command and Staff College. In May of 2005, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and in October of 2005 was assigned to The Marine Emergency Planning and Liaison Officer Program (MEPLO), whose team covered the Mid-Atlantic and National Command Region of the United States.

In 2009, LtCol Helgeson joined 4th Reconnaissance Battalion as the Executive Officer and then assumed Battalion Command. LtCol Helgeson and Marines from 4th Reconnaissance Battalion participated in Exercise Commando Raj with The British Royal Marines and 2nd Royal Ghurka Battalion in Brunei and the South China Sea.  In 2010 Lieutenant Colonel Helgeson was mobilized and transferred to Marine Corps Special Operation Command (MARSOC) and deployed to Afghanistan assigned to Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command – Afghanistan (CFSOCC-A), where he performed the duties as Director of Special Operations Plans and Liaison Element for RC-W. In August 2010, after returning from Operation Enduring Freedom, then Lieutenant Colonel Helgeson help create the MARSOC G-9 Recruiting, Assessment & Selection Branch where he was responsible for recruiting and screening Marines for duty with MARSOC. Upon completion of his mobilization in October 2011, Colonel Helgeson began working in business development for Sechan Electronics, Inc., a defense electronics manufacturing service provider based in Lititz, PA.

In January, 2013, while employed at Sechan Electronics, Colonel Helgeson was promoted and transferred to MAGTF Staff Training Program Reserve IMA Detachment in Quantico VA.  In July 2013, he was mobilized to support II MEF FWD as the Special Operations Coordinator (SOCORD) for RC-SW, Helmand & Nimroz providences. After returning from Operation Enduring Freedom in February 2014, Colonel Helgeson returned to his role at Sechan Electronics.

In April 2015, Colonel Helgeson joined Marine Forces Europe/Africa, in Stuttgart, Germany Reserve IMA Detachment where he assumed duties as the Deputy G-5.   A year later, Colonel Helgeson was selected to his present billet to be the Regional Coordinator, Reserve Support Program Region 3, the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

LTC Brett A. Gambacorta
Professor of Military Science (PMS)

LTC Brett A. Gambacorta was commissioned in 2003 from Towson University, assigned to the Armor Branch, and completed the Armor Officer Basic Course in May of 2004.

He was first assigned as a reconnaissance platoon leader in A Troop, 1/2 Cavalry Regiment at Fort Polk, Louisiana. He then served as a reconnaissance platoon leader and troop executive officer in 4/2 Cavalry Regiment at Fort Lewis, Washington. His next leadership assignments were Commander, A Troop 8-1 Cavalry Regiment and Headquarters Troop 8-1 Cavalry Regiment at Fort Lewis, Washington. He then served as the Operations Officer (S3) for 6-9 Cavalry Squadron at Fort Hood, Texas and the Operations Officer (S3) of the 174th Infantry Brigade at Fort Dix, New Jersey.

His other assignments include: Task Force Operations Officer, Task Force Zabul, Afghanistan. Brigade Planner, 5-2 Stryker Brigade. Battle Major, III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas.

LTC Gambacorta is a graduate of the Armor Officer Basic Course, The Maneuver Officer Advanced Course, and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He is also a graduate of the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leaders Course, the Cavalry Leaders course, and Airborne School. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Towson University and a Master of Arts in Adult Education from Kansas State University.

LTC Gambacorta’s military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star with one oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Army Commendation Medal with “V” device and three oak leave clusters, the Combat Action Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.

LTC Gambacorta was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in June 2019 and is currently assigned as the Professor of Military Science (PMS) at Valley Forge Military College in Wayne, PA.

Dr. Robert Smith
Associate Dean of Academics and Chief Academic Officer, Valley Forge Military College
Jesse Phillips Ed.D.
Associate Dean of Students, Valley Forge Military College