In this episode of Borne the Battle, Air Force Veteran Amanda Huffman – a military spouse, blogger and host of the Women of the Military podcast – discusses transitioning from active duty to diaper duty, Veteran women who deploy shortly after becoming mothers and what men should be conscious of about the female military experience.
Huffman’s interest in military service began after the events of September 11, 2001. She realized that enlisting in the military was something that she wanted to do and could do. And after hearing that many of her friends were joining during her freshman year of college, she wanted to learn more about the variety of opportunities within the military and soon decided to enter the ROTC program after graduating from Fresno State.
After serving in the Air Force and being deployed to Afghanistan, Huffman transitioned out the military to become a military spouse while her husband stayed in the military. This allowed her the opportunity to become the mom and provide a more stable environment for her family. While navigating the journey of motherhood, Huffman decided to turn to writing as an outlet and created the blog airmantomom.com to share her personal experiences with being a mom, military spouse, being a woman in the military and to help other military women.
Soon after Huffman started blogging and creating her website, she became the host of Women of the Military podcast that shares the stories of military women and covers a variety of topics. She also shares why she started a Youtube channel called Girl’s Guide to the Military.
Also in this episode, Huffman shares what she learned from her own community about being a women Veteran, what she learned while in the military, how she is trying to change the narrative of military women and why it’s important for women to share their stories.
Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Marine Veteran Romus “RV” Burgin.Mentioned in this episode:Borne the Battle #232: Air Force Veteran Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Children’s Book Author and Publisher.Borne the Battle #202: Marine Corps Veteran Ben Killoy, Host of the Military Veteran Dad Podcast.VA.gov site becomes central login for accessing benefits.VA’s 1 Step Today campaign promotes Veteran mental wellness.Veteran eligibility and access to VA home loans expanded.Enrollment now available for accelerated program to prepare Veterans for high-demand careers.
Home interest rates are at historic lows and VA home loans offer lower rates than any other type of home loan. Navy Veteran John Bell, deputy director of VA's Loan Guaranty Service, joins Borne the Battle to break down VA’s Interest Rate Reduction and Refinance Loan (IRRRL), mortgage refinancing, VA home loans and how these benefits help Veterans stay in their homes.
Bell, a Gulf War Veteran, began his career in the mortgage industry working in the private sector. Before starting with VA, Bell most recently served as Vice President of VA Real Estate Management at Bank of America. He held other senior leadership positions at large lending institutions where he designed a portfolio retention strategy that is now an industry-leading model.Bell started with VA in 2010. Before taking his current position, he served as the assistant director for Loan Policy and Valuation in VA's Loan Guaranty Service, where he helped reduce timelines for determining eligibility from 14 days to less than 48 hours.
Bell builds on his appearance in Borne the Battle's #150: Benefits Breakdown – 75th Anniversary of the VA Home Loan Program episode to answer key questions about VA home loans, refinancing, the current mortgage market and IRRRLs. He says VA Home Loan Guaranty services want to be the voice of the Veteran and aims to help Veterans buy and stay in the home of their dreams.
This episode answers these questions:How quickly can a Veteran receive their certificate of eligibility for a VA Home Loan?What are the pandemic and CARES Act doing to the mortgage market?Why are Veterans receiving mailers about Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loans (IRRRLs) and what are IRRRLs?How do IRRRLs work and where do you start when seeking refinancing?Why use IRRRLs now? What might be delaying an IRRRL right now?How often can you refinance your mortgage?What are important questions to ask your lender?What fees are negotiable when closing on refinancing? What third party fees are involved?Does VA require you to escrow?What is the best way to shop for an effective rate and how do you avoid predatory lending?Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Roger WeltMentioned in this episode:Borne the Battle #196: Navy Veteran Bryan Bergjans, Senior VP, National Director of Military Lending.Borne The Battle #150: Benefits Breakdown, VA Home Loan ProgramVHA observes 75 years, 1 billion hours of volunteerismConsumer Financial Protection Bureau.Borne the Battle Bonus Episode: Home Loan Forbearance Protections Extended.CFPB - Help for homeowners and renters during the national coronavirus emergency.Better Business Bureau.VA Home Loans: Lender Statistics.VA Loan Lenders - MilitaryBenefits.Desert Storm 30 Anniversary Blogs.
This week's episode of Borne the Battle features Marine Corps Veteran and entrepreneur Jake Wood, co-founder of Team Rubicon.
Wood's post-military story began on January 12, 2010, when a devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake ravaged Haiti, killing and injuring hundreds of thousands and displacing over a million people. Several thousands of miles away, in Los Angeles, the recently separated Iraq and Afghanistan combat Veteran was waiting for his graduate school admissions results and turned on the television. Seeing the crisis in Haiti unfold, Wood thought that it would be a waste to not put his military training to use by helping with the humanitarian relief efforts. He called eight Veterans to join him, and together, they headed off to Haiti. It was during their service in Haiti that Wood and his group came up with the ideas that led to the creation of Team Rubicon.
Under Wood’s leadership, Team Rubicon went from an 8-person idea to an acclaimed nonprofit with over 140,000 volunteers across America. The organization has deployed 790+ operations to provide humanitarian relief for disasters around the world. Most recently, Team Rubicon spearheaded a partnership with five other Veterans’ organizations to help Veterans leverage their unique skills and experiences to help with the American vaccination effort.
And though Team Rubicon is thriving under his leadership, Wood announced his intention to step down as the organization’s CEO in March 2021. He argues that “organizations, if they are not evolving, they are slowly dying.” Hoping for new hands and fresh ideas to keep Team Rubicon running, Wood picked his COO, Art delaCruz, to be Team Rubicon’s next CEO.
With his organization in trusted hands, Wood plans to focus on his other interests. Most recently, he found joy in writing and published his well-received book, “Once a Warrior,” a story of his life’s journey written to inspire other Veterans to discover their purpose after taking the uniform off.
From the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to humanitarian frontlines, Wood has navigated some of the world’s most complex environments. Don't miss out on his story by listening to this episode of Borne the Battle.
Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran “Cap’n Jim” McMahan.Additional Links:Veterans get new chance to serve on vaccination campaignWood’s successor for CEO at Team Rubicon, Art delaCruz, was interviewed by Borne the Battle in 2017. Click here to learn more about delaCruz and his life’s story.Wood mentioned that the VA Home Loan Guaranty allowed him to buy a home that he “had no right to afford.” Check out this BtB episode to learn more about how a VA Home Loan might benefit you.
In this episode of Borne the Battle, Army Veteran Dr. Anneke Vandenbroek, a board-certified clinical psychologist, discusses changes in treating Veterans in times of COVID, cognitive behavioral therapy, the importance of mental healthcare and how any Veteran, regardless of discharge status, can receive cost-free mental health care at any Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic in the country.
Dr. Vandenbroek joined the Army during her doctoral program when she received the Health Professions Scholarship. She had little idea of the variety of jobs and opportunities that awaited her in the military. After graduating from Nova Southeastern University with her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, she was later stationed in Hawaii.
After serving at Tripler Army Medical Center, Dr. Vandenbroek retired from the military and transitioned to a similar civilian position within the Department of Defense, which allowed her to maintain a career while her husband was still in the military. She continued to pivot within her career as her military family dynamic continued to change throughout the years.
A final move to Maryland resulted in Dr. Vandenbroek taking a position at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Her work at Walter Reed differed from the pre-9/11 years she spent at Tripler, bringing challenging new injuries, experiences and complications during her 10 years at the medical center.
Dr. Vandenbroek left Walter Reed in 2017 and is currently the director of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals. Although this particular clinic serves the DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia region, The Cohen Veterans Network partners with many different organizations to run clinics that serve everyone regardless of their discharge status or benefit status. There are 20 Cohen Clinics nationwide that serve children as young as four years old, active duty service members, family members and caregivers. By the end of 2021, the Cohen Veterans Network plans to have 25 operational clinics. In the interview, Dr. Vandenbroek said that Cohen Clinics receive many referrals from VA facilities.
Also in this episode, Dr. Vandenbroek discusses what cognitive behavioral therapy is and how it works, the increase in need for mental health care during the COVID-19 pandemic, the rewards of helping Veterans improve their quality of life through mental health care and how good communication skills can help Veteran families.
Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Air Force Veteran Gerald McilmoyleMentioned in this episode:Borne the Battle #218: David Muir, Easterseals’ Veteran Staffing NetworkBorne the Battle #164: Benefits Breakdown, VA Vet CentersBorne the Battle #235: VA Secretary Denis McDonoughVA PTSD Resources – National Center for PTSDVA Research on Prolonged Exposure TherapyVeteran finds cognitive processing therapy “very difficult…but the reward is significant” – VAntage PointA safe place: One Veteran’s experience with prolonged exposure therapy – Vantage Point
On this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Navy Veteran Dan Kloeppel shares the story of his military career and how he later became an airline pilot who founded two nonprofit organizations. He formed the latter alongside his wife, Deb, to help Veterans and military spouses with job placement.
In service, Kloeppel was a naval aviator. He discusses his 36 years in the Navy and Navy Reserve. After transitioning out of the military and retiring from a career as a pilot, he and his wife founded two non-profit organizations called Corporate America Supports You and Military Spouse Corporate Career Network.
Kloeppel breaks down why their two non-profits are serving two sectors of the Veteran and military communities and shares how transitioning service members, Veterans, military spouses and Veteran caregivers can successfully land a job through the job placement process. He then details how this population has the necessary skillset to succeed in corporate America.
The non-profits have successfully grown, becoming networks that includes vetjobs.org. Since 2010, these nonprofit networks have helped over 120,000 Veterans and military spouses secure careers with an average salary of $70,000. Kloeppel also shares advice for how Veteran nonprofit organizations just starting can market themselves and build credibility to achieve funding. Lastly, Kloeppel shares his knowledge on how his non-profit job boards differ from popular job placement companies.
Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Lauran GloverAdditional Links:VA extends debt relief for VeteransDirect Employers AssociationVA provides free support to help Veterans heal from military sexual trauma Military Spouse Jobs Launches New Arm-Me Up™ CampaignVA seeks feedback to guide new suicide prevention grant program
Mikal Vega is an accomplished actor, Kundalini Yoga teacher and founder of the nonprofit, Vital Warrior. In this episode of Borne the Battle, Vega discusses his struggle with military transition, finding treatment for his PTSD, discovering alternative therapies, and founding a nonprofit with the goal of sharing what he has learned.
Vega served 22 years in the Navy as an EOD specialist and SEAL. He found his purpose as a shield for people who couldn’t protect themselves. During a mission, an IED hit his vehicle and the damage from the blast resulted in severe cervical trauma. That trauma changed the course of Vega’s life.
Only later did he realize the extent of his injuries when he began to struggle in his civilian life and personal relationships. Instead of crumbling under the weight of injury and PTSD, Vega channeled his recovery successes into helping other Veterans and their families. Vital Warrior is a non-profit organization and therapeutic system designed to help Veterans and their families to destress, heal and gain strength from their experiences without the aid of prescription drugs. His goal? Putting a brick and mortar Vital Warrior studio outside every military base.
When Vega transitioned to civilian life and dealt with post-traumatic stress, he took up the practice of Kundalini Yoga. Now, he shares the practice and other techniques that helped him to heal with his clients. Vital Warrior takes a discipline-oriented and regimented approach to yoga practice, which Vega teaches in Venice, CA, where he offers free classes to Veterans. Vega empowers his students to reject the victim mindset and take responsibility for their health.
In this episode, Vega discusses:His experience with injury and a path to healing.The reasons he left the military after 22 years.How he got to where he is now.His Hollywood career as an actor, director and producer.Directing motion-capture filming for Activision during the COVID-19 pandemic.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Phillip Edward Bonner.Mentioned in this episode:Borne the Battle Episode #140: Danny Chung, Marine Veteran, Microsoft Chief of Staff of Military Affairs.Borne the Battle #221: Air Force Veteran Mark Harper, President and CMO, We Are the Mighty.The Hurt Locker: Grocery Scene.Motion capture directing for Call of Duty franchise.SAVE LIVES Act allows VA to soon provide COVID-19 vaccinations to all Veterans, their spouses and caregiversVA strengthens PTSD claims process training
On Feb. 8, 2021, Denis McDonough was confirmed by the Senate to be the United States’ 11th Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He heads into the job with a rich background filled with experience navigating the government’s complex bureaucracy. Being a veteran of Capitol Hill, he aims to leverage his knowledge to better serve our nation’s military Veterans.
In this episode of Borne the Battle, McDonough touches on topics important to many Veterans:His vision for Community Care.His priorities when improving the VA health care system.Ensuring every Veteran gets a COVID vaccine in a timely fashion.Making sure rural Veterans can consistently and reliably access VA health care services.Maximizing VA mental health services to best benefit Veterans in need.Transitioning VA records from paper to electronic.While being VA Secretary is a new position for McDonough, he has taken steps to bridge the gaps in his knowledge by renewing a tradition that he followed as White House chief of staff. He reached out to as many former VA Secretaries he could to ask them for advice. In the interview, McDonough said the conversations have served him well so far and he intends to maintain these relationships moving forward.
And while McDonough is not a Veteran, he contacted multiple Veterans during his first weeks as secretary to solicit their advice and general thoughts on the state of VA. In doing so, McDonough said he has learned valuable information on what issues are important to Veterans and has used those discussions to shape his priorities.
Being a lifelong civil servant, McDonough enters his new position with a vast wealth of knowledge about navigating the federal government to achieve goals. Whether he successfully leverages his extensive experience from Capitol Hill to effectively serve America’s Veterans – he says that will ultimately be decided by you.
In addition to listening to full episodes on your favorite podcatcher, you can also catch Borne the Battle interviews on YouTube.
Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Justice Eileen Moore.Mentioned in this Episode:VA allocates $1B to aid State Veterans Homes amid COVID-19 pandemic.GI Bill platform soon to be a click away, offering students easier access.Annual VA Center for Women Veterans campaign highlights trailblazers.E.A.C.H. Coaching Tool Web App.Strategic review of Electronic Health Record Modernization program.VA, American Red Cross team up to provide virtual social engagement for Veterans during COVID-19 pandemic.Additional Links:Despite only being a month-and-a-half in office, McDonough has generated a lot of buzz here on Vantage Point. Check out the archives to see what he has been doing. In highlighting the importance of mental health resource access, McDonough said that “we are not a collection of symptoms, we are people with stories and with hard earned stories.” Check out VA’s My Life, My Story series to hear the stories that many Veterans have to share.
Army Veteran Diane Carlson Evans, founder of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation, joined Borne the Battle to discuss her decision to become a nurse, time serving in Vietnam as a combat nurse, decision to re-enlist after working in a civilian hospital and her fight for a women’s memorial on the National Mall.
Growing up on a farm in Minnesota, Evans always knew she wanted to be a nurse. After her second oldest brother was drafted, she had no doubt that she would go to Vietnam herself. So she went to Minneapolis, found an Army Nurse Recruiter and asked how she, too, could go to Vietnam.
Evans enlisted and served in Vietnam from 1968-69 as a trauma nurse in the surgical and burn wards at Vung Tau and later as head nurse in a surgical unit at Pleiku. She treated wounded soldiers and civilians, many of whom came straight from the worst of the fighting.
When she came home, Evans worked in a civilian hospital for three weeks. She wasn’t allowed to do many of the procedures that had been part of her everyday duties in Vietnam and she felt stifled. She left the position when she realized she wasn’t suited to work with those who couldn’t understand her experience.
In 1984, Evans incorporated the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project as a non-profit organization after visiting the Vietnam War Memorial and realizing that women weren’t visible. In fact, there weren't any memorials for women Veterans in the nation's capital and, when she brought it up, faced great opposition from those who felt the idea was misguided and unnecessary. It then became her goal to bring visibility to the service and sacrifice of the women who served in Vietnam.
After nearly 10 years of Congressional and federal hearings, the project gained enough support to receive approval for a statue. On November 11, 1993, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial was dedicated as part of the larger Vietnam War Memorial.
Today, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation continues to identify the women who served, document their needs, and facilitate research to address those needs and to educate visitors about the service of women during the Vietnam War.
In this episode, Evans shares:Her path to nursing and Vietnam.Stories from her time serving as a combat nurse in Vietnam.Her return home and reenlistment.The treatment of Vietnam Veterans.The story behind and fight for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Marine Veteran Barbara DulinskyMentioned in this Episode:Borne the Battle Episode #232: Air Force Veteran Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Children’s Book Author and Publisher.Borne the Battle Episode #226: Marine Corps Veteran Scott Stump, President and CEO, National Desert Storm Memorial Association.More information on the Vietnam War Memorial.PBS Video on the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.VA releases COVID Coach mobile app in SpanishFDA grants VA first ever compassionate use for 3D-printed hearing deviceAmerican Rescue Plan provides Veterans COVID-19 protections and monetary aidRural Arizona latest VA, American Legion telehealth access point
This week’s Borne the Battle episode features Army Veteran Major General Peter Aylward (Ret.). He discusses his military career, mentors, how he became the national director of the Vietnam War Commemoration and how the program adapted its events during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 29, 2021, National Vietnam War Veterans Day will be celebrating its 4th anniversary. The commemoration was authorized by Congress and established by the Department of Defense to reach out and provide a long overdue thank you to Vietnam Veterans who did not receive a proper welcome after they returned home.
Today, there are over 6.2 million living Vietnam Era Veterans who earned our nation’s gratitude. Maj. Gen. Aylward breaks down the history and mission of the program and how others can contribute and become a Vietnam 50th War Commemorative partner.
The commemoration gives a lapel pin to every living Vietnam Era Veteran, as well as their next of kin. The pin is a token of appreciation to all who served and sacrificed for their country. So far, the program has reached and recognized over 3 million Vietnam Veterans.
Lastly, Aylward, talks about how the commemoration provides a sense of healing and reconciliation to all Vietnam Era Veterans and how the commemoration measures success.
#BtBattle Veteran of the WeekArmy Veteran and MoH Recipient Joe Hooper.Mentioned in this Episode:Vietnam 50th War CommemorationNational Vietnam War Veterans DayVA receives Janssen COVID-19 vaccineStay informed about getting a COVID-19 vaccineWomen Veterans can access on-demand Women’s Health Transition TrainingM28C.V.A.1 Educational. Vocational, and Special Rehabilitation Services Manual
This week's Borne the Battle features Air Force Veteran Graciela Tiscareno-Sato, who discusses her efforts in overcoming the adversity of a stereotypical workforce, and breaking barriers while transitioning to become the founder of a niche publishing, marketing and communications firm. She is also the author of bilingual children and entrepreneurship books.
Tiscareno-Sato joined the Air Force on the advice of her high school counselor’s husband to apply for a ROTC Scholarship. After school, she completed Undergraduate Navigator Training at Mather Air Force Base (AFB) in Sacramento and then graduated near the top of her class – as the only woman in the class. She then trained in the KC-135R refueling tanker at Castle AFB in California before reporting to the 43rd Air Refueling Squadron at Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington.
On her first deployment was to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, she was a member of one of the first few aircrews to patrol and enforce the Southern NO FLY Zone in Southern Iraq after the conclusion of Operation Desert Storm. She and her crew earned the air medal. This happened 10 months before Congress lifted the Combat Exclusion Law that barred women from being assigned to combat duties.
In the podcast, Tisacareno-Sato tells the story of how this Air Medal almost didn't happen for her crew because of this technicality.
During her military career, she visited four continents and flew for thousands of hours. As an instructor, she taught GPS and navigation systems. She also learned how to work in a cross-cultural environment, which set her up for a future in global marketing.
After her service, Tiscareno-Sato pursued and secured a position at Siemens as a global marketer. She is also the author of an Amazon bestselling bilingual children's book, Good Night Captain Mama/Buenas Noches Capitán Mamá, the first bilingual children's book about why mommies serve in the military.
This ground-breaking book was honored at the American Library Association National Convention (2014 International Latino Book Awards) in the category of "Best Educational Children's Book - Bilingual." Since then, the book has won awards in competitions among military writers, independent publishers and The Writer’s Digest Magazine.
In this episode, Tiscareno-Sato discusses:The importance of mentorship.Her military career that took her across the globe and inspired a love for travel and culture.Life as one of the first females to fly combat missions for the Air Force.Transition tips from her experience as an airman and civilian teacher.The journey to founding the Gracefully Global Group.The importance of personal branding.“Book Birthing.”Writing tips and the best ways to publish a book.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Navy Veteran Wendy B. LawrenceMentioned in this episode:Borne the Battle #226: Marine Corps Veteran Scott Stump, President and CEO, National Desert Storm Memorial Association.Borne the Battle #7: Kayla Williams – Army Veteran, Director of Center for Women Veterans.Operation Southern Watch.Lifting of aviation combat exclusion.Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship. Premium reductions coming to enrollees of Veterans’ Group Life Insurance
Army Veteran Dawn Halfaker never expected she would be be in the military. She was a guard on her high school basketball team when the NCAA sponsored her trip to visit West Point, one of the schools recruiting her. Hesitant but with nothing to lose, she accepted the trip. She soon fell in love with the school and her thereby set the course of her future career.
Halfaker graduated from West Point in 2001, and since then, she has gone on to accomplish many great things. In this episode of Borne the Battle, she spoke on a few of her many accomplishments:Overcoming adversity despite suffering a permanent injury while serving in IraqServing as a military liaison to the House Armed Services CommitteeWorking for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency at a time when the agency developed groundbreaking new technologiesBringing an important woman’s perspective to the Wounded Warrior Project as its board’s chairwomanBeing part of a VA committee that fundamentally reshaped how VA provides care for its wounded VeteransOne of the most notable achievements Halfaker discussed was how she built up her own business and turned it into one that now has over 600 employees. She had no experience running a business before, facing a difficult journey. However, she met like-minded people similarly committed toward creating innovative solutions to modernize the government and went from there.
With a life full of civic, business and personal accomplishments, Halfaker is a champion of change. In 2014, VA recognized her as a Woman Veteran of Change.
And in 2020, Halfaker was listed as among Washington’s Top 10 Health Executives to Watch.She overcame one of the biggest hurdles of her life after an injury in Iraq and created success for herself. She lives her company’s vision: “Continue to Serve.”
#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Centra “Cece” MazyckAdditional LinksVA updates rating criteria for musculoskeletal and muscle injuriesAt West Point, Dawn Halfaker was Mike Erwin’s squad leader. Erwin is also an entrepreneur. Listen to his Borne the Battle interview.This Iraq Veteran Lost Her Arm--but Found New Purpose as an EntrepreneurRecent Department of Veterans Affairs COVID-19 Response testimony on Capitol Hill
This week’s Borne the Battle is a Benefits Breakdown, exploring the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) service and chatting with its Executive Director and Navy Veteran William Streitberger.
In the Navy for nine years, Streitberger served in intelligence, recruiting and career counseling. Since then, he has dedicated almost 20 years of his career to VR&E, a service that he, himself, used. Following the loss of his job in 2001, Streitberger leaned on the support of VR&E, which at the time was called the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VocRehab).
He was appointed executive director of Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) service in September 2018. As executive director, Streitberger is responsible for overseeing the delivery of VR&E services to Veterans with service-connected disabilities and service members who're in the process of transitioning from the military to prepare for, find and maintain suitable careers, or obtain independence in their daily living.
VR&E is not "another GI Bill," and it's actually separate from the GI Bill. VR&E is an employment service that administers Title 38 Chapter 31 benefits to Veterans with a minimum 10% disability. Eligibility differs from entitlement.
EligibilityVeterans with a service-connected disability of 10% or greater.Must not have surpassed 12 years from date of discharge or first notification of VA-rated disability.EntitlementDisability must be directly causing a barrier to employment.Veterans will then be assessed for interests and capabilities to help find a new career field that will not worsen disability.Recently, the program has greatly expanded in the last few years. In 2020, VR&E hired 100 more counselors and it plans to do the same in 2021. Since March 1, 2020, VR&E has used VA Video Connect for over 100,000 appointments in an effort to increase accessibility.
In this episode, Streitberger discusses:What VR&E does.Who can apply for the service.What the benefits entail.How to apply for the program.How VR&E benefits differ from and can be used in tandem with GI Bill benefits.More information can be found at the VR&E home page or by calling 1-800-827-1000.
#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Matt NymanAdditional Links:An additional 200,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses were delivered to administer to Veterans, employees VA extends existing moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures and extends loan forbearance opportunitiesVA, VFW open telehealth access point in rural PennsylvaniaVA reaches milestone vaccinating its 1 millionth Veteran
On this episode of Borne the Battle, Air Force Veteran Jackson Henderson shares his transition story and becoming an Electrical Maintenance Technician.
Henderson was influenced by two of his friends to join the military, and he would soon develop relevant technical skills that he would carry with him to his future careers. He discusses serving his entire enlistment in Minot, North Dakota, the importance of maintaining friendships while serving in the military and transitioning into civilian life.
Recently, Henderson left the Air Force, and landing a job was not an easy task. He shares about searching for and applying to various jobs, talks about how he was invited to attend the Rockwell Automation Academy of Advanced Manufacturing Program, and emphasizes the importance of putting your name out there through various websites that help Veterans find jobs.
What is the Rockwell AAM program? Henderson details the available course opportunities within the program and offers advice to transitioning service members on how they can find employment opportunities through the program, emphasizing the importance of trade schools and their value.
Henderson then talks about how he found his current job through the AAM program, what it’s like working in the manufacturing sector, the future of automation, and how a Veteran who does not have technical experience can gain experience to improve their job prospects.
Finally, he offers advice to transitioning service members on they can find employment opportunities.
#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Henry JohnsonAdditional LinksVirtForceVeterans Trainee Program - Experis Rockwell and ManpowerGroup collaborate to train veterans for high-tech jobsRockwell Automation Looks to Veterans as the Future IoT WorkforceVA administers 1 million COVID-19 doses, publishes facility vaccination numbersVA advances medical research for minority Veterans with new genomic toolVA offers millions in grant funding for adaptive sports to support disabled Veterans
This week's episode of Borne the Battle features retired Marine Corps Veteran Lieutenant General Walter Gaskin, the first Black American to command a Marine Division and the 19th Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee. Gaskin discusses the challenges in overcoming adversity, stereotypes and biases in the international military community.
Inspired by a cousin who fought in Vietnam – and who was celebrated as a hero by his family and friends – Gaskin joined his high school’s ROTC program to pursue a military path through college. He deferred his draft to finish school and, later, earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Oklahoma.
Gaskin served as the Commanding General of the 2d Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, NC, from June 2006 until July 2008. In addition to this role, he concurrently served as the Commanding General of II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) during its year-long deployment to Al Anbar Province, Iraq, as well as the Commanding General of Multinational Forces-West.Early in his career, Gaskin was one of only a handful of Black Americans in his division. He faced initial prejudice but eventually earned respect. Gaskin was one of the few representatives of the Black community in the Marine Corps, and in leadership positions for much of his career. His character was the example for others to see beyond skin color and was emblematic of the need for talent-based appointment and judgement.
Gaskin would later serve as the 19th Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, from May 2009 to August 2013. In that role, he also served as Acting Chairman of the NATO Military Committee from November 2011 to January 2012, making him only the second American to ever hold the billet.
In the podcast interview, Gaskin described how the international community wasn’t used to seeing Black Americans in high-ranking positions and that he strove to normalize the presence of people of color in positions of command. Performance, not color, is what matters most.
Gaskin currently serves as North Carolina’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
In this episode, Gaskin also discusses:His retirement and transition into civilian life.His experiences as the CEO of a defense contractor.Advice for Veterans interested in government contracting.His hardest job and the pressure he felt as a representative of his community.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Navy Veteran Jesse L. BrownMentioned in this episode:Borne the Battle Benefits BreakdownsHope for the Warriors
In addition to revisiting Navy Veteran Debra Russell's interview, this week's Borne the Battle Rewind shares information about, future Fisher House locations, rural COVID vaccines and how caregivers can receive the vaccine through VA.
*Interview originally aired 3/17/2017
This week’s podcast features Navy Veteran Debra Russell. Debra joined the military in 1984 and served until 1997. She worked in supply early on and went on to work on the staff for an Admiral. She was “med-boarded” after a running accident and was separated from the military. Around that same time, she was dealing with a sexual assault she experienced with a superior. Debra opens up regarding her service, her transition, and how she uses art and photography for therapy.
Covered in the Episode:Why Debra joined the militaryHer experience in the NavyBeing sexually assaulted by a superiorOvercoming an emotional crisisUsing her local Vet CenterWhy she enjoys photographyBeing a part of the women veterans art exhibitResources for women Veterans#BtBattle Veteran of the Day: Army Veteran Curtis Owens
John Del Vecchioattended Lafayette College in the late 1960s, a time when tensions over U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War was high. Anti-war protests emerged all around him and popular media figures constantly spoke of the war in negative terms. He even had professors who refused to teach in protest of the war. Yet, Del Vecchio remained skeptical about how bad things really were in Vietnam. On Nov. 4, 1969, he got his chance to see the Vietnam War for himself.
In this episode of Borne the Battle, Del Vecchio shares how he went from being a combat correspondent to a very accomplished author. Some of the topics covered include:His experience training at The Defense Information School.The hurdles he had to go through to get his orders changed and be sent to Vietnam.His unique experience serving as a combat correspondent with the 101st Airborne Division.The act of heroism that earned him a Bronze Star Medal with a “V”.His experiences after returning from Vietnam.How he got his first book published and what he thinks today's aspiring authors need to do to find success.Having experienced the Vietnam War firsthand, Del Vecchio has prioritized what he calls "setting the Vietnam War’s record straight." In 1972, Del Vecchio began writing his first book, “13th Valley,” hoping to leave a factual account of the Vietnam War available for future historians and Veterans. The last thing he expected was to write one of the best books on the Vietnam War and to receive acclaim from Vietnam Veterans around the world.
When not fighting against Vietnam War misinformation, Del Vecchio likes to be one with nature. He is an avid hiker who enjoys discussing contemporary American culture alongside stunning photos of nature on his blog.With a life full of unique and diverse experiences, Del Vecchio’s interview has something interesting for listeners from any walk of life.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Marie Rossi Additional Links:Borne the Battle Ep. 170: Dale DyeBorne the Battle Ep. 203: Erik Schlimmer, Serial HikerVietnam Veterans for Factual History, the nonprofit Del Vecchio works with to combat Vietnam War misinformation
If you have a federally backed loan (VA, FHA, USDA, etc) and are having difficulty paying your mortgage due to the coronavirus pandemic, deadlines are approaching to apply for CARES Act forbearance or foreclosure assistance. Listen to this Borne the Battle bonus episode. It answers many questions about forbearances and gives information on how to apply.
This week’s Borne the Battle episode features Marine Corps Veteran Scott Stump, who discusses his military career to becoming President and CEO of the National Desert Storm Memorial Association. Stump became intrigued with joining the military while in college and soon decided to follow in the footsteps of several family members who served before him. Stump discusses serving 4 1/2 years in the Marine Corps Reserve, being activated for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, learning valuable lessons in the military, and transitioning into civilian life.
While on active duty, Stump was so dedicated to finish his college degree that he would complete assignments right in the fighting hole. In the episode, he shares an interesting story about the conversation he had with the dean of his school on a field phone while serving overseas. Stump also provides a surprising fact about how Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield reshaped the relationship between the American public and those who serve in the military. Later on, Stump talks about how the air campaign's effectiveness helped save his life and many American soldiers' lives in Desert Storm also referred to as the 100-hour ground war.
Also, Stump discusses how he got the idea for building the memorial in 2010, after actively serving in Kuwait for six months and working in business for many years. He would soon begin devoting his time to lead the project and in its 11th year, became the CEO and president. He shares the importance of selecting the right board members for the project, honoring Desert Storm Veterans with a memorial, and the process for getting the memorial approved and funded.
The memorial is set to break ground this year and will be near the Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall. Stump explains that the goal of the memorial is to encourage visitors to educate themselves about the events of Desert Storm and Desert Shield, support the nearly 700,000 Desert Storm Veterans and honor the men and women who sacrificed their lives in service to their country.
Finally, Stump shares advice on how Veteran volunteers can become actively involved in the project, how larger Veteran Service Organizations have been major contributors in its funding, and how potential donors can have public recognition on-site at the memorial.
Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Marine Corps Veteran General Walter Boomer
Additional Links:VA expands access to telehealth services during COVID-19 pandemic for older, rural, and homeless VeteransVA, Fitbit help support Veteran health and wellness during COVID-19 pandemicOp-Ed by Scott Stumphttps://wlos.com/news/local/asheville-man-heads-up-efforts-to-build-desert-storm-memorialhttps://www.militarytimes.com/news/2020/02/26/desert-storm-memorial-receives-10-million-pledge-from-kuwait/https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=62216https://www.military.com/history/operation-desert-storm-6-things-know
This week's Borne the Battle episode features Navy Veteran and New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr. He discusses his dreams of becoming a Navy SEAL and author. Through his enthusiasm for reading and on military-science novels, Carr's dreams became a reality.
Carr's two career goals were inspired by two people. The first person was his grandfather, a Marine who fought and died during World War II. The second person was his mother, a librarian who instilled in him a love of reading. It was this love that helped him on his path to reading about and eventually joining Navy SEAL teams.
During his Navy SEAL career, Carr led special operations teams as a team leader, platoon commander, troop commander, task unit commander, operations officer and executive officer. In the interview, he shares how his military experience and travels allowed him to develop and share realistic stories for his novels.
Additionally, he shares his mindset about his military transition, tips for entering the publishing world and how combining all his previous experiences led him to publish three political thrillers. His fourth novel is scheduled to be released in April.
In addition, he supports Veterans through his own unique merchandise, where 100% of the profits go to Veteran-related charities. He is also an ambassador for the Rescue 22 Foundation. A SEAL teammate who trained a service dog for Jack's special needs child introduced him to the foundation.
Finally, he shared the story and business behind Chris Pratt optioning his book for an upcoming series on Amazon Prime.
Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:All Desert Storm and Desert Shield VeteransMentioned in this Episode:VA updates welcome kit for Veterans and familiesVA resumes overpayment notifications while continuing relief options for VeteransVA administers over 146,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to date
As we say hello to 2021, we look back and see who made the list for Tanner's Top 10 of 2020.