John Lira graduated from the Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program in October 2015. He grew up in San Antonio, Texas and enlisted into the U.S. Marine Corps in 1998. During his enlistment, John served as a satellite communications operator in Okinawa, Japan and Camp Pendleton, California. In 2003, he was among the first combat forces to deploy to Kuwait and cross into Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After leaving active duty, John joined the Marine reserves and in 2005 returned to Iraq for a second deployment as an intelligence analyst with 4th Reconnaissance Battalion. John’s career in the Marine Corps spanned eleven years before receiving an honorable discharge in 2010.
John has earned an associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies from San Antonio College and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). While a student at UTSA, John was selected to two competitive fellowships—the Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship at Princeton University and the Bill Archer Fellowship in Washington DC. The two fellowships inspired John to pursue career a graduate degree in public policy. In May 2015, John completed a Masters of Science degree in Public Policy and Management from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University. John currently works as the Veterans and Military Families Fellow at the Corporation for National and Community Service plans to continue working on veterans and international affairs-related policy issues.