Commencement Keynote Speaker: Colonel Wendell B. Leimbach Jr. ’88, United States Marine Corps

"Whatever our chosen profession may be, it is the sum total of our experiences and education that provide us the knowledge and wisdom to succeed. Friends provided me much more than a fantastic basic education.The ‘Friends Experience’ provided me a perspective to SEE the people, and world around me, that few others share." Colonel Wendell B. Leimbach Jr. '88, United States Marine Corps

Friends School is honored to welcome alumnus Colonel Wendell B. Leimbach Jr. ’88, United States Marine Corps, as the keynote commencement speaker on June 14, 2022. 

At Friends School we value service to others. Colonel Leimbach, known as Wel to his friends, has embodied this value throughout his exceptional career in the Marines. With varied leadership roles, he’s been responsible for the health and well-being of hundreds of fellow soldiers and their families. Today, more than ever before, his commitment to service upholds another Quaker value - promoting non-lethal means to bring about peace.   

Col Leimbach is currently the Director of the Joint Intermediate Force Capabilities Office (JIFCO). In this position he advocates for mainstreaming Intermediate Force Capabilities (IFC), which includes Non-Lethal Weapons, across the US Military and with our NATO Partners and Allies. He has increased the awareness of novel cutting edge technologies with senior military and civilian leadership around the world to highlight the need for tools, other than lethality, to solve challenges posed by our adversaries. IFC’s are uniquely suited to dealing with disputes that fall below the level of armed conflict, and help to prevent civilian casualties and the destruction of critical infrastructure, both of which extend hostilities unnecessarily.

Scarlet and Gray runs deep in Col Leimbach’s family - his mom, Sally Huff Leimbach ‘64, his aunt Susan Huff Schmitt ‘60, his uncle John Huff ‘66, and his sister Lindsay Leimbach ‘84 - are all alumni. Though not officially an alumnus, his father Wendell has for many years served on the board of the McKimm Center, which was the original downtown location for the School, and has advocated for a close connection between the two organizations through faculty and student partnerships. We look forward to Col Leimbach’s keynote address and to welcoming his entire family back to campus for graduation in June. 

More about Colonel Leimbach:

Col Leimbach was born and raised in Baltimore, MD, and graduated from Friends School in 1988. After Friends, he earned a BS in Computer and Information Sciences and a minor in History from University of Delaware in 1992.  He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in July 1992 after completing Officer Candidate School.  He was assigned as a Tank Officer and attended the Armor Officer Basic Course at Ft. Knox, KY in 1993.

As a lieutenant he served as a Tank Officer with the 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division in Camp Lejeune, NC, from 1993-1997.  While there he served as the 2nd Platoon Commander, C Company and subsequently as the TOW Platoon Commander, H&S Company.

In 1997 then Capt Leimbach was assigned to his first tour with Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) in Quantico, VA as a project officer for the Program Manager for Tank Systems.  Subsequently, in 1999 Capt Leimbach was sent to the Army Armor Captain’s Career Course (ACCC) at Ft. Knox, and then back to 2nd Tank Battalion at Camp Lejeune.  While at 2nd Tank Battalion Capt Leimbach served as the D Company Commander and assistant operations officer, and as the H&S Company Commander.

From 2002-2004 Maj Leimbach was a student at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, CA where he received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a focus in Systems Acquisition Management.  Upon graduation he was reassigned to MCSC and took on responsibilities as the Individual Armor and Load Bearing Team Leader for the Program Manager for Infantry Combat Equipment. While serving in that billet Maj Leimbach was selected as an Acquisition Professional Officer (8061) in the first year that the MOS was competitively offered.

In 2006 Maj Leimbach was transferred to PM Tank Systems where he served as the M1A1 Project Officer and then as acting Program Manager.  In 2007 he was selected to serve as the Program Manager for Tank Systems where he contributed to the fielding of the programmable 120mm Multi-Purpose High Explosive (MP-HE) main gun ammunition. In August of 2010 LtCol Leimbach was reassigned to the office of the Program Manager, Advanced Amphibious Assault, Program Executive Officer Land Systems where he served as the Deputy Director for the Marine Personnel Carrier Program until June of 2012.

From June 2012 to June 2013 LtCol Leimbach served as a Secretary of Defense Corporate Fellow.   During that time he worked as a member of industry with Accenture Federal Services in Washington, DC.  In 2013 he was selected to be the DPM AAA, Stafford, VA where has served supporting the sustainment of the Marine Corps’ legacy Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV) fleet and the ACAT IC Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) program.  Col Leimbach was promoted to his current rank in September 2014.  From mid-2017 to June 2018 he served as the Program Manager for AAA where he led that organization through a successful MS C for the ACAT IC ACV 1.1 Program.  Col Leimbach was assigned as the Director of the Joint Intermediate Force Capabilities Office (JIFCO) in October 2018 where he continues to serve to this date.

Col Leimbach’s personal awards include the Army Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, Andrew J. Higgins Award for Acquisition Innovation and Excellence and the United States Cavalry and Armor Association Order of Saint George Bronze Medallion.  He resides in Fredericksburg, VA with his wife and two children.

We look forward to welcoming all families, friends, and alumni to celebrate Commencement on June 14 at 7:30 PM on the Middle School lawn.  No tickets required.