Leshonda Gill Our Friend

The call came in, and the wagons began to circle. How could it be that our friend, Wounded Warrior Leshonda Gill, was homeless in our nation’s capital? Sgt. Gill, “Shy” to those of who call her friend, bravely served in the U.S. military from 1995 to 2003 as an Army Chemical Operations Specialist.

It was during her deployment in Iraq that an explosion killed eight of the 24 soldiers in her convoy.  Shy was one of the “lucky” ones. “I lost my kidney, my spleen, both my intestines and all but seven of my teeth,” Gill said. She also suffered fractured orbitals in both eyes, as well as a fractured jaw.

Now 35 years old, Shy had bounced around from place to place, and had been without a permanent home for years. But the idea of her now living on the streets of D.C. was unacceptable. Our military members leave the comforts of home and family, and sacrifice so much so that we can live our lives in comfort and freedom. The very least they deserve when they come home is decent housing, affordable healthcare, and a good education *or* a good job.

Within forty-eight hours, Shy was on a plane to Los Angeles. She is turning her life around, and has found a new purpose. She is sharing her moving story of survival with foster children and at-risk youth. She knows that these children are fighting a war of their own, and Sgt. Gill is there to speak to them.  “War is hard and difficult,” Gill said. “But there is a war out on these streets and these kids are in the middle of it.”

By sharing her misfortunes with the children who listened to her speak, the children felt comfortable enough to share their own stories and connect to Sgt.Gill, and to each other.

We see a bright future for Shy. She is currently living in a transitional facility for female vets in Downtown Los Angeles, with an eye to getting a place of her own soon. Although she is still recovering from her injuries and battles with depression, Shy finds strength in the talks she has with kids.  We are proud to call Sgt. Leshonda “Shy” Gill our friend.

Hiring America’s Heroes

Our  Veterans, who have served so bravely in defense of country, deserve every opportunity to attain the American Dream.   Less than one percent of our population serves in the military.  The one percent who serve enable the rest of us to pursue our lives with the knowledge and security that our freedom is protected by these heroes.   They write a blank check for an amount up to and including their lives.  They make incredible sacrifices, as do their families and loved ones.

It is time for America to stand up for our Veterans.  Those who serve make outstanding employees in all occupational areas.  They are disciplined, and have a work ethic second to none.  Veterans are loyal, in good physical condition and know how to focus on the mission.

Not only does hiring Veterans result in adding outstanding employees, it is also the right thing to do. Furthermore, companies can increase their bottom line by taking advantage of the “VOW To Hire Heroes Act” .  Signed into law on November 21, 2011 by President Obama,  this legislation was one of the few acts that was supported by both sides of the aisle.  The VOW To Hire Heroes Act provides significant tax credits for Hiring Veterans and Wounded Warriors.  These credits range from $2,400 to $9,600 per hire.   The amounts increase the longer a Veteran has been out of work and if he *or* she is disabled.

MilitaryConnection.com is committed to connecting transitioning military, veterans and military spouses with outstanding job opportunities in the civilian and government sector.  For the last four years, we have been named a Top 100 Employment Web Site.  Our site provides pages and pages of resources for transitioning military.  We also offer Employers the opportunity to put their hiring message in front of this outstanding audience and repeat it.

MilitaryConnection.com salutes Transition Officers in all services, Veteran Service Officers and Vocational Officers nationwide.  These are the outstanding professionals who help our Veterans find employment. Veterans and transitioning military deserve the best.  The high rate of unemployment among OIF and OEF Veterans is unacceptable.   We challenge Employers to stand up, and Hire America’s Heroes.

Please send us an email if you are interested in learning more about the VOW To Hire Heroes Act, *or* if you want to Hire Veterans.  When the next tour of duty is back home, it’s on MilitaryConnection.com – The Go To Site for Jobs, Education, Benefits and more.

Debbie Gregory
CEO, MilitaryConnection.com

Stop Loss Pay Extended

Dear Servicemembers,

You have earned this benefit averaging $3,500.   File for it or lose it and the deadline is October 21st.


Those Eligible Must Submit a Claim By October 21, 2012

The 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Act established Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP), providing $500 for each month/partial month served in stop loss status. Service members, veterans, and beneficiaries of servicemembers whose service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. 30, 2009 are eligible for RSLSP.

To receive this benefit, those who served under stop loss must submit a claim for the special pay. Throughout the year, the services have been reaching out to servicemembers, veterans and their families through direct mail, veteran service organizations, and the media. But there is still money left to be claimed, and the deadline is approaching. The average benefit is $3,700.


General Procedure

Individuals who meet eligibility criteria should submit an application by October 21, 2012. By law, there is no authorization to make payments on claims that are submitted after the deadline.

Eligible members should visit their specific service’s Web site and submit their application on-line; on-line submission provides a claim number, allows for automated status updates, and provides a means for the military service to contact the applicant.

If eligible members do not have internet access, they should print, complete and sign Department of Defense Form 2944, Claim for Retroactive Stop Loss Payment. Next, choose the appropriate method for submitting the claim form and available supporting documents based on your service specifications. This information can be found on your service’s stop loss Web site.

The following documents are examples of authorized source documents but may not be comprehensive, depending on specific status and service.


Tell a Friend

If you know someone who separated/retired and may be eligible, remind them to submit a claim before the deadline!


Note on Eligibility

Effective Dec. 19, 2009, per the Defense Appropriations Act, stop-lossed servicemembers who voluntarily reenlisted or extended their service, and received a bonus for such reenlistment or extension of service, became ineligible to receive retroactive stop loss special pay. There may be rare circumstances where an individual can be eligible for this pay and have received a bonus. The Department continues to encourage all who believe they may qualify to apply and allow a service counselor to review each individual situation.


Source Documents

  1. DD 214 (8-09), Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and/or DD 215 (8-09), Correction to DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.
  2. Personnel record or enlistment or reenlistment document recording original expiration of service date.
  3. Approved retirement/transfer to the Fleet Reserve memorandum or orders establishing retirement prior to actual date of retirement as stipulated in DD 214 or DD 215.
  4. Approved resignation memorandum or transition orders establishing a separation date prior to actual date of separation as stipulated on DD 214 or DD 215.
  5. Signed documentation or affidavit from knowledgeable officials from the individual’s chain of command acknowledging separation/deployment, etc.
  6. Revocation of retirement or separation orders.


Apply Now for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay

The following service-specific sites provide more information and allow you to begin the RSLSP claim process.


Marine Corps


Air Force


Original Photo (Creative Commons BY) DVIDSHUB via Flickr