MAJ. GEN. JUAN G. AYALA USMC (RETIRED)
DIRector Of MILITARY AFFAIRS
Mr. Ayala retired as a Major General in the United States Marine Corps after 36 years of service. He comes to the City of San Antonio with a proven record of success in leading people and commanding large, complex organizations. Prior to his retirement, he commanded all 24 Marine Corps installations worldwide and was selected to lead the Department of Defense’s 2015 Warrior Games assisting the nation’s wounded, ill and injured warriors in their recuperative efforts. His service includes 4 combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, to include a year as a Senior Advisor, embedded with the 1st Iraqi Army Division.
Past assignments include: Coordinating humanitarian assistance programs in 50 countries throughout Africa, Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Baltic’s, and the former Soviet Union, Chief of Staff at United States Southern Command leading a staff in the implementation of U.S. national security objectives in 31 countries throughout Central/South America, and the Caribbean to include detainee operations in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, leading a Marine Logistics Group that supported combat operations throughout Iraq, and humanitarian relief operations during the Haiti Earthquake of 2010, supporting Haitian/Cuban refugee operations in Cuba, and supporting law enforcement’s counterdrug efforts along the U.S. Southwest Border.
Mr. Ayala received an MBA from Campbell University, a Masters Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas at El Paso. A native of El Paso, Texas, Mr. Ayala’s personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with “V” Combat Distinguishing Device, the Bronze Star Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon. He received the 2007 Excellence in Military Service Award from the League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
Karen Rolirad USAF (RETIRED)
Deputy Director of Military Affairs
Karen Rolirad is the Deputy Director, Office of Military Affairs for the City of San Antonio. In this capacity, she serves as the City’s military liaison to Joint Base San Antonio and the military community. Karen supports the approximate 250,000 veterans who call San Antonio and its surrounding communities home. Partnering with the Mayor’s Commission on Veteran Affairs, she facilitates the provision of veteran-related services to ensure that every veteran receives the support they deserve. Working closely with local, state and federal government agencies, the business community and academia, she works tireless to ensure the greater San Antonio region is aware of, and addresses, military and veteran issues of common concern.
Prior to joining the City in 2016, Karen retired from the United States Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel with 23+ years of honorable service. She has proven success in leading people and managing complex organizations. As a senior Intelligence Officer, she commanded the 315 Training Squadron, Goodfellow AFB, Tx. Throughout her career, she supported global aviation, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, cyber/intelligence, and planning, programming and budgeting at all levels of command, to include at the national strategic level.
Karen is a veteran of the Global War on Terrorism and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan. She spent a majority of her military career deployed overseas in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. She is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Combat Readiness Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, and the NATO Medal.
Karen graduated from the United States Air Force Academy, Class of 1993 earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in English and holds three Masters Degrees: Engineering Systems, St. Mary’s University, Texas (Distinguished Graduate); Strategic Studies at the Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama and Strategic Intelligence at the Joint Military Intelligence College, Washington D.C (Distinguished Graduate). She is a graduate of the United States Air Force Weapons School, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Karen is a native of San Antonio and comes from an Air Force Family. She is the Vice President of Scholarships and Grants for the Armed Forces Electronics Communications Association, on the Advisory Board for the UTSA Center for Military Families, and a member of the University of San Antonio’s College of Sciences Advancement Council. She sponsors the Alamo Region Women are FIRST, Women and Wine and Leader to Leader organizations. Karen is a graduate of the San Antonio’s Hispanic Chamber’s 2016 Alexander Biseno Leadership Development Program.