Ilario Pantano

Asst Secretary/Director of N.C. Veterans Affairs, Ilario Pantano

US Marine Corps

US Marine Corps

Mr. Ilario Pantano joined DOA in September as the new Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Mr. Pantano enlisted in U.S. Marine Corps at age 17 and fought in the First Gulf War (1991). He went on to become a sergeant and lead an elite Scout/Sniper team in support of UN Peacekeeping Operations in ex-Yugolsavia. He earned his B.A. in Business in three years, at night, while working as a commodity (electricity) trader for Goldman Sachs by day. He went on to start interactive media businesses until he witnessed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

As the World Trade Center collapsed, a building where Pantano had worked (4 WTC) was destroyed as were many of his colleagues. Mr. Pantano instantly worked to rejoin the Marines and after seeking age waivers, he earned a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 32. He led a platoon of Infantry Marines in the first fight for Falluja, Iraq in 2004. After receiving an honorable discharge, Mr. Pantano continued serving his community as a Sheriff’s Deputy, business consultant, a Red Cross Volunteer (Katrina) and a veterans advocate. He has produced books, films and speeches to raise money for veterans charities and also been a candidate the US Congress in North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District.

Mr. Pantano has provided military commentary on Fox News, CNN, and MSBNC. His numerous articles, profiles and interviews have appeared in American Legion Magazine, The Wall Street Journal,, Soldier of Fortune, and TIME. His first book, Warlord: Broken by War Saved by Grace, details his experiences in Iraq and his spiritual salvation through Christ. His second book is on the American Revolutionary War in the South and will be released in 2014. He is a competitive shooter and an IronMan Triathlete. His greatest achievements are his two wonderful sons and his marriage to his beautiful wife Jill.

Mr. Pantano’s is looking forward to working with all of the dedicated personnel in the Office of Veterans Affairs to make North Carolina the most veteran friendly state in America. He seeks to embody his life’s verse, John 15:13: “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

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