Military Connection: Gold Star Fathers Act: By Debbie Gregory

gold starOn September 10, 2014, the U.S. Senate passed legislation which gives the fathers of service members who were killed in action or permanently and totally disabled the same hiring preferences for federal employment that has already been granted to mothers of the fallen and widowed spouses who remain unmarried.

Mothers of service members killed in action have historically been called “Gold Star Mothers.” During World War I, women began wearing blue stars around their left arm to display their pride for their deployed family member. Most women wore their blue stars for husbands and sons. Over the course of the war, the women petitioned to be able to sew a gold star over their blue star after their loved one was killed in action.

A non-profit organization was eventually founded by these women. “Gold Star Mothers” have rightfully earned the sympathy, respect and consideration of the nation. There’s a Gold Star Mother’s Day, celebrated on September 28th.

The Gold Star Fathers Act of 2014 was introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown, who is a senior member of the Senate’s Committee on Veterans Affairs.Sen. Brown got the idea for the legislation after meeting Scott N. Warner, whose son Heath, a U.S. Marine, was killed in Iraq. Warner wrote “Gold Star Father” as a way to deal with the struggle of coming to terms with his loss, and how he and his family coped with and overcame this tragedy.

The legislation is heading to the House, where a similar proposal was introduced last year, and has since won the support of the American Gold Star Mothers Inc.

The total number of American deaths from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is close to 7,000. The significance of this gesture should show resounding support for both gold star parents.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Gold Star Fathers Act: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Obama Says No to 3rd Iraq War: By Debbie Gregory

ISISOn Wednesday, September 10, 2014, President Obama addressed the nation regarding his intent on how to handle the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

ISIS has declared a separate Islamic state in lands that the terrorist organization has seized from the sovereignty of Iraq and Syria. In 2014 alone, ISIS has already taken over nearly one-third of Iraq’s territory.

As of August 7th of this year, the president has authorized airstrikes against ISIS forces that have been carried out by U.S. military manned and unmanned aircraft. The airstrikes have offered much needed support for Iraqi defense and Kurdish forces fighting ISIS on the ground. The support has even helped them take back the captured Mosul Dam from ISIS control.

Members of Congress and the American public have asked what the long-term goals and strategy are, and the president has responded.In a recent press conference, President Obama stated his intention to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS.  The president said that the U.S. will lead a coalition committed to eliminating ISIS by expanding airstrikes into Iraq and Syria.

The speech came one day after the White House asked Congress to approve $500 million to train and equip Syrian rebels in order for them to fight ISIS on the ground. Many lawmakers and many more Veterans are concerned with arming and equipping another group in the region. The U.S. has an unfortunate history of  our own weapons being used against us when either the arms are confiscated by our enemies, or by having a fighting force that we equipped turn against us.

Many voices in Washington have expressed that they don’t see airstrikes as being enough to completely stop or eliminate ISIS. This has many Americans, including legislators, divided as to whether our military should get more involved, or stay out of the fight all together.

Americans, in the capital and around the country, were hoping for a more definitive answer in terms of a strategy for dealing with ISIS. But at least the biggest question has been answered, for now. The president has ruled out sending American ground forces to their third war in Iraq in 25 years.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard &amp,amp,amp, Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Obama Says No to 3rd Iraq War: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Army Vet’s Movie Deal: By Debbie Gregory

Army Vet Movie

Former Army Sgt. Daniel Rodriguez story is being made into a major motion picture, and what a story it is!

Sgt. Rodriguez earned a Bronze Star with a “V” for valor, and a Purple Heart for his actions during the Battle of Kamdesh in Afghanistan. If his gallantry and survival through war weren’t noteworthy enough, Rodriguez is currently a player on the Clemson University Football team.

Like many Veterans, Sgt. Rodriguez’s pathway to success was not a straight, paved road. Rodriquez had to battle depression during his first few years as a Veteran before he found his way.

Rodriguez wrote a book about overcoming his post-military obstacles, and his journey from an Army uniform to a Clemson Tigers’ uniform. The book is titled “Rise: A Soldier, a Dream and a Promise Kept” and it will be available starting October 7, 2014.

TriStar Productions won the bidding war to make Rodriguez’s story into a movie.

Both in printed form and on the big screen, Rodriguez hopes that his story will inspire and motivate other Veterans to find their way to success after leaving the military.

Rodriguez is scheduled to graduate in December, and hopefully he and his college teammates will play in a late December or early January bowl game. After that, the Army Veteran is headed to Hollywood to assist on the production of the movie.

Veterans are used to taking cues and pointers from those who came before them. Any Veteran or service member struggling to find their way in life after they take off their Military uniform are encouraged to read Rodriguez’s book, or see the upcoming movie.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Army Vet’s Movie Deal: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: NAVY and USMC Need more Women! By Debbie Gregory

SECNAVUnhappy with the amount of women serving in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus plans to take action to increase female recruitment.

According to the SECNAV, women currently make up approximately 18% of Navy personnel and only 8% of Marine Corps personnel. Mabus said that he didn’t have a specific number in mind, but that these percentages were too low.

There are approximately 200,000 women currently serving in the entire active duty military. At that number, women make up about 15% of the total force. Since 2001, more than 280,000 women have deployed in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mabus spoke of the importance of having a diverse force as the reason for bringing more women to the service when he said, “The more diverse input you have into something, the better the organization is.”

The SECNAV said that the Department of the Navy is developing a series of measures, some that it can adopt on its own, and some that would require congressional approval.

Mabus indirectly cited his desire to increase female recruitment for the implementation of unisex enlisted uniforms. For years, female sailors wore a separate dress uniform from the male sailors’ iconic dress blue uniform, commonly referred to as “cracker jacks.” Females used to wear a blouse and blazer instead of cracker jacks. Female sailors were also required to wear separate headgear than males, for both their dress white and dress blue uniforms. Women had to buy and maintain a more expensive, heavier and less comfortable combination cover, instead of the men’s traditional white cap.

Many traditionalists have criticized the uniform change, saying that the Navy was putting women in men’s uniforms. But the SECNAV defended the move when he said:

“We”re not moving to put women in men”s uniforms. We”re moving to the term ‘uniform’,” Mabus said. “We don”t want to segregate women or anybody else in any way in the military.”

Based on a January, 2013 decision by then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, each branch of the U.S. Military has until January 2016 to assess which jobs are open to women to allow them to serve in combat.

So far, around 80,000 of an estimated 250,000 additional jobs have already been opened to women as result of Panetta’s order.

Women interested in careers in the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps should follow the respective links from the MilitaryConnection.com homepage.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: NAVY and USMC Need more Women! By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: VA to Integrate Web Systems: By Debbie Gregory

VA websitesThis week, the U.S. Department of Veterans (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald unveiled plans to launch a digital services team within the VA.

The VA secretary claims that the VA holds too many separate websites, which all require separate ID’s and passwords. Mr. McDonald’s sentiments are that this is confusing for Veterans, and counter-productive to providing timely information and benefits to the Veteran community. At a press conference on September 8, 2014, Secretary McDonald criticized the flaws in the current set of VA systems, and announced his plan to create a new, one-login system.

“Right now, if you go to any Veterans Affairs website, you”ll find that there are 14 different websites that require a different username and a different password for veterans to access the VA,” Secretary McDonald said. “That”s just flat wrong.  We”ve got to make it easier for the veteran to access the VA through one website, one username, one password.”

Currently, the VA has entirely separate websites and logins for its different administrations and separate benefits offerings. The programs are run independently from one another, and their websites reflect the divergence. Many Veterans have complained about getting tangled in the web (www) while searching and applying for VA benefits.

To improve the process, the VA intends to recruit and hire “the nation”s top technologists to partner with us in building and delivering world-class, cost-effective digital services to our Veterans.”

Along with the digital services team, McDonald also said that the VA needs to create a centralized information technology system.

“I think we all agree it”s better to have one IT system across the department than to have Balkanized IT systems,” McDonald said.

Additionally, the VA secretary also called for a geographic reorganization of the department’s benefits and burial operations.

“If you looked at the structure of VA, you would find that we have nine different geographic maps for how we”re organized geographically,” McDonald said. “Every part of the VA has a different geographic map, a different hierarchical structure.  We”re going to be looking at: How do we reorganize the VA so that when the veteran looks at the VA, the veteran knows how to connect and how to get things done.  We are too complicated from the veteran”s standpoint.”

The move away from a paper and snail mail system in favor of online applications and programs has improved the expediency of claims by leaps and bounds. Now that the systems are fully in place, it makes sense for Secretary McDonald to update those systems in order to create the most comprehensive and efficient system for our nation’s Veterans.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: VA to Integrate Web Systems: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Lost Pilot Presumed Dead: By Debbie Gregory

Lt. Nathan PoloskiAirdales across the U.S. Navy are mourning the loss of their own after two F/A-18C jets from the U.S.S. Carl Vinson (CVN-70) collided over the Pacific Ocean, near Wake Island. The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group left San Diego in August for a nine and a half month deployment.

The collision happened on September 12, 2014, just seven miles from the carrier. Both aircraft and pilots were from Carrier Air Wing 17, which is based out of Naval Air Station Lemoore in California.

One of the pilots was recovered by rescue approximately 45 minutes after the crash by helicopters that were deployed from the Carl Vinson.

The guided missile destroyers USS Gridley (DDG-101), USS Sterett (DDG-104) and USS Dewey (DDG-105), and the guided missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) all participated in the search for the other pilot. After a 36-hour search turned up no sight of him,  the missing pilot was presumed dead.

The lost pilot has been identified as 26 year old Lt. Nathan Poloski of Lake Arrowhead, California. Poloski was a 2009 graduate of the Naval Academy. Reports say that Poloski dreamed of being a naval aviator since his mother took him to see the iconic Blue Angels when he was child. After achieving his dream of becoming a Navy Flyer, Lt. Poloski planned to fulfill his second dream of going to medical school and becoming a doctor.

The cause of the collision is under investigation.

The staff at Military Connection would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Lt. Poloski, as well as to the men and women of Carrier Air Wing 17, and the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Lost Pilot Presumed Dead: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: House Bill Calls for War: By Debbie Gregory

Bills on ISISTwo separate bills were introduced in Congress that address authorizing military actions against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The House bill was presented by Rep. Frank Wolf (Va.) and calls for authorizing the use of military force against international terrorist organizationswhile encouraging close coordination with NATO and regional allies on any action. These organizations include ISIS, al Qaeda and al Qaeda affiliates al Nusra, Ansar al Sharia, al Shabaab and Boko Haram. This bill, if passed as is, would not forbid the use of American ground forces, and does not include a time limit for actions. In a statement on his website, Wolf says that his bill would “send a clear message to the international community that the United States intends to work with allies to confront and defeat this increasingly dangerous challenge.”

Wolf’s “Authorization for the Use of Military Force” would be the firstapproved by Congress since the 2001 and 2002 legislation that authorized the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Senate bill on the issue was introduced by Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.). This bill would give the president congressional authority to order further airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but limits the authority to three years. Nelson’s bill also bars the president from deploying ground forces in the region.

President Obama has authorized more than 140 airstrikes in Iraq against ISIS, beginning on August 7th. The president said that the strikes were intended to protect U.S. personnel and property as ISIS forces were advancing toward the U.S Consulate in Erbil, the Kurdish regional capital in Iraq.

The airstrikes were also utilized to help Iraqi forces recapture and maintain control of the Mosul Dam from ISIS fighters. Officials said that ISIS could use the dam to cut off electricity and water to much of Iraq, or to flood Baghdad.

Over this past weekend, the president also authorized strikes during a humanitarian airdrop of supplies to the Shiite Turkmen in Amerli and to help Iraqi forces hold the Haditha Dam.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: House Bill Calls for War: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: MOH to be Posthumously Awarded: By Debbie Gregory

SP4 SloatOn September 15, 2014, President Obama will posthumously award the Medal of Honor to Specialist Four Donald P. Sloat from Coweta, Oklahoma.

Sloat enlisted in the Army on March 19, 1969. After training, he was sent to Vietnam is September of that same year. Sloat served as an M60 Machine Gunner with 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, American Division.

On the morning of January 17, 1970, during combat operations, SP4 Sloat performed above and beyond the call of duty to save the lives of his comrades. Sloat’s squad was conducting a patrol in the Que Son Valley. As the squad moved up a small hill in file formation, the lead soldier tripped a wire attached to a hand grenade booby-trap, set up by enemy forces. The grenade rolled down the hill toward Sloat.

At that moment, Sloat could have easy sought cover and preserved his own life. But instead, Sloat chose to save the lives of his fellow soldiers. After initially attempting to pick up and throw the grenade away from his unit, Sloat realized that detonation was imminent. He knew that the two or three soldiers closest to him would be killed or seriously injured if he couldn”t shield them from the blast. Sloat chose to draw the grenade to his body, shielding his squad members from the blast, and saving their lives.

SP4 Sloat lost his life that day.  His decision to lay down his life in order to save his comrades epitomized the term “committing the ultimate sacrifice.”

Normally, nominations for the Medal of Honor have to be submitted within three years of the act that justified the nation’s highest military honor. A statuary time waiver was approved by Congress in 2013 to award SP4 Sloat and his family the recognition that his sacrifice warrants.

It has been reported that Sloat’s brother, Dr. William Sloat of Enid, Oklahoma, will accept the Medal of Honor from President Obama on his brother’s behalf. The ceremony will be held on September 15, 2014 at the White House.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: MOH to be Posthumously Awarded: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: New Co-op for Veteran Businesses: By Joe Silva

networking

Great news for Veteran entrepreneurs! The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is partnering with Brazzlebox to provide more service to Veteran owned businesses.

VAMBOA, your non-profit trade association, was founded by Military Connection CEO Debbie Gregory. Just as Military Connection brings a wealth of information to military Veterans, VAMBOA provides information, networking opportunities, mentoring, education, promoting small businesses owned by Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and military Business Owners.

Brazzlebox is a social media website designed to connect and promote small and home-based businesses. Brazzlebox allows small owners to create profiles and setup their own custom outreach, based not only on their geographic location, but also by their industry. Brazzlebox is establishing a network of support for these businesses.

Founder and CEO Glen Zinszer came up with the idea for Brazzlebox through his own experience as an entrepreneur. Zinszer has owned and operated an insurance firm and a retail store. Brazzlebox is intended to bring small business owners together in order to share ideas and support each other.

Brazzlebox is set to officially launch on September 18, 2014. This resource has been highly anticipated by small business owners from all industries and demographics for some time.

As a team, VAMBOA and Brazzlebox will provide Veteran small business owners with useful information for starting, maintaining and expanding their companies. By joining forces, VAMBOA members can use Brazzlebox to create a network of Veteran small business owners so that they can share knowledge, experience regarding their common needs, concerns and goals.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: New Co-op for Veteran Businesses: By Joe Silva

Military Connection: Vietnam Veteran to get M.O.H. By Debbie Gregory

VV MOHThe Medal of Honor will be presented to retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins from Opelika, Alabama, during a ceremony at the White House on September 15, 2014.

Adkins is receiving the nation’s highest Military honor for actions performed 48 years ago, during a battle in the A Shau Valley in Vietnam. At the time, Adkins was a Sergeant First Class serving as an Intelligence Sergeant with Detachment A-102, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces at Camp A Shau, in the Republic of Vietnam.

During a 38 hour period, March 9-12, 1966, Adkins suffered 18 separate wounds when the camp was attacked. At the start of the attack, Adkins braved enemy fire to man a mortar position in order to help defend the camp. Adkins also put himself at risk multiple times to help wounded soldiers, and to move casualties to an airstrip. On multiple occasions, Adkins left the safety of the camp’s walls to retrieve much needed supplies, each time putting himself at risk from hostile fire.

During the enemy’s main assault, Adkins again manned a mortar. After the first two hours of the battle, Adkins was the only American still firing a mortar. Despite enemy mortar rounds landing several direct hits on the position, wounding Adkins multiple times, he fired the mortar until he was out of ammunition.Adkins then manned a recoiless rifle and concentrated fire on the Viet Cong who were infiltrating the perimeter of the camp.

Adkins and the remaining small group of soldiers took up position at the camp’s communications bunker. From the bunker, Adkins defended that position with small arms. He even made an extremely dangerous excursion to get more ammunition.

When Adkins and the remainder of the camp’s soldier were finally given the order to evacuate the position, they destroyed all classified materials in the bunker, and retreated for a helicopter rescue.

Intent on leaving no man behind, Adkins carried a wounded soldier, causing Adkins and a small band of soldier to miss their pick-up. After their fierce battle, Adkins and his comrades evaded the enemy for an additional 48 hours in the jungle, before being rescued.

During the 38 hour battle and 48 hour evasion, the actions of then-Sergeant First Class Adkins went above and beyond the call of duty. It has been estimated that the soldier single handedly killed 135-175 enemy combatants, while sustaining of his own, and saving dozens of lives.

Adkins, now 80, will be joined by his wife and four of the soldiers that served with him in the Shau Valley, as he received the nation’s highest military honor.

Adkins served 22 years in the Army, from 1956-1978. Not only did this brave soldier survive his ordeal, but he continued to serve. He even went back to Vietnam for another tour of duty. Adkins served three tours in Vietnam 1963, 1965-66, and 1971.

Military Connection would like to congratulate retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins on his Medal of Honor.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Vietnam Veteran to get M.O.H. By Debbie Gregory