Military Connection: Former Army Sergeant Sentenced for Taking Bribes

Sgt Sentenced

On January 9, 2015, a former Army first sergeant and his father were both sentenced for conspiring to launder bribes received in Afghanistan.

Between 2008-2009, Jimmy Dennis was a first sergeant with the U.S. Army, serving as a paying agent in the Humanitarian Aid Yard at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. Dennis worked to procure supplies from local Afghan contractors, to be used as part of the Commander’s Emergency Response Program for urgent humanitarian relief requirements throughout Afghanistan.

According to the FBI, soon after Dennis began working as a paying agent, an Afghan interpreter offered him a $10,000 bribe to add specific Afghan contractors to the list of eligible contractors. Dennis accepted the bribe money, and later, accepted additional payments from a second interpreter for a similar deal. Dennis estimated that he personally received about $250,000 in bribes. He claims he sent the money home to his wife, his father, Jerry Dennis, and his friend, Army Veteran James Pittman, who agreed to help launder the cash through his landscaping business.

The younger Mr. Dennis would send the money home secreted inside packages and gifts, including a secret compartment on a hope chest and stashed inside toy trucks. The cash was given to Pittman, who would disperse it back to Jimmy and Jerry Dennis via payroll checks from his company.

It is believed that the co-conspirators were caught when they began buying motorcycles and making large payments on vehicle loans.

The case was investigated by the FBI, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the Army Criminal Investigative Division, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigation.  Jimmy Dennis and Pittman both plead guilty to the charges of conspiring to launder bribes in May 2014.

On September 8, 2014, Pittman was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, and ordered to forfeit $25,000.Jerry Dennis was sentenced to six months house arrest, two years of probation, and forfeiture of $110,000.Jimmy Dennis was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison, and was ordered to forfeit $115,000.

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: Former Army Sergeant Sentenced for Taking Bribes: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Gov. Brown Appoints New CalVet Secretary

Calvet Secretary

On January 9, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Debbie Endsley as acting secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet).  Endsley will be replacing Peter J. Gravett, who is retiring after four years in the position.

Endsley is the daughter of a Veteran, and the wife of a U.S. Marine. She served as a consultant for the California Department of Parks and Recreation in 2012, and for the CalHR Project from 2011 to 2012. Endsley was also a director at the California Department of Personnel Administration from 2009 to 2011, where she also served in several other positions from 1998 to 2011, including chief deputy director and chief of the benefits division.

Gravett, a retired Major General, has more than 40 years of combined military service in the U.S. Army and the California Army National Guard. He was the first African-American to become a division commander in its 225 year existence. Gravett served as commanding general of the 40th Infantry Division from 1999-2002. He retired from the National Guard in 2002.

Gravett also worked for more than 22 years with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). He was awarded the LAPD’s Medal of Valor for saving the life of a teenage boy who had been attacked by a mob outside the L.A. Coliseum.

Governor Brown appointed Gravett to his cabinet as Secretary of CalVet on April 29, 2011. Gravett’s retirement comes after four years of exceptional service to California’s community of nearly two million Veterans and their families.

On January 13, 2015, Endsley was sworn in by Gravett during a ceremony at CalVet’s Sacramento headquarters.

We at Military Connection would like to thank General Gravett for his years of stalwart leadership, and we wish him well in his retirement. We would also like to congratulate Mrs. Endsley on her appointment, and look forward to her tenure of leadership for the Veterans of California. We also look forward to a continued relationship between Calvet and Military Connection.

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 Comnection: Gov. Brown Appoints New CalVet Secretary: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Veteran Employment Report: By Debbie Gregory

Veteran jobs

Back in 2011, a group of employers banded together and vowed to collectively hire 100,000 military Veterans by 2020. The coalition began with eleven companies, bent on hiring Veterans, and calling their initiative the 100,000 Jobs Mission. But the undertaking rapidly grew into a widespread national alliance, expanding to 170 employers. As of September 30, 2014, the coalition of employers that make up 100,000 Jobs Mission have combined to hire 190,046 Veterans, smashing its initial goal.

In 2014, the RAND Corporation published a Veteran employment report titled “Veteran Employment: Lessons from the 100,000 Jobs Mission.” The report was based on data collected from 26 member companies of the coalition, spanning a diverse range of industries.

The report was intended to provide 100,000 Jobs Mission members and government organizations with informative data on best-practice methods for recruiting and retaining Veteran employees, However, there is a wealth of additional information in the report that Veterans can use to help land civilian employment through the 100,000 Jobs Mission.

The report recommends that Veteran job seekers not waste their time and energy attending any and every job fair until they get hired. Instead, Veterans are encouraged to focus their energy on only attending job fairs that allow them to submit their resume to potential employers before the job fair. These job fairs are more like interview fairs, where the employer can notify candidates of their interest ahead of time, and make arrangements to interview them.

Veteran job seekers are also encouraged to research and seek out job-placement/temp agency companies that are Veteran friendly and positioned to help link Veterans to companies that are hiring.

The RAND Veteran employment report also suggests that one key aspect for Veteran job seekers in finding civilian employment is the ability to convey their skills and experience to their prospective employers. Some ways that Veterans can learn to better translate their skills and experience is by taking advantage of the technical training opportunities that are made available to them when they are preparing to separate from the military. There are also resources available once they have separated.

The report also repeatedly stresses that coalition companies and Veterans should link up with each other through programs such as the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Employment Center, state Veterans affairs offices, state and county employment offices, and local and national Veteran non-profit organizations.

MilitaryConnection.com would also like Veterans to know about the resources and information that can be found on our Jobs Page at: localhost/mc/jobsoverview

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: Veteran Employment Report: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Navy Working on Advanced Radar System

AMDR

The U.S. Navy is in the process of developing its next-generation radar system, intended to integrate onto new Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers (DDGs) by 2023.

The Navy’s Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) system is reputed to be more than thirty times more sensitive than current radars configured on existing destroyers. Navy officials claim that AMDR can detect a target half the size from twice as far away as the AN/SPY-1D radar that current DDGs are equipped with. This capacity will enable destroyers to engage more ballistic missiles simultaneously, and enjoy the advantage of being able to detect targets from further away.

The AMDR platform is being developed by Raytheon. In October, 2013, the company was awarded an engineering and manufacturing development contract for AMDR, worth more than $385,000,000. In December, 2014, Raytheon and the Navy successfully completed an AMDR hardware critical design review, which locked down the hardware design for all components for the AMDR.

The AMDR system is comprised of two primary radars and a radar suite controller. The two primary radars are the S-band and X-band sensors. The S-band radar provides volume search, tracking, and missile defense. The X-band radar provides horizon search, precision tracking, missile communication and illumination of targets. The two radars will work together to provide DDGs with radar navigation, missile guidance and other functions, including periscope detection. The AMDR may also be capable of carrying out electronic attacks.

Hardware for the AMDR was selected, in part, so that the system can be easily repaired with replaceable parts, fewer circuit boards, and cheaper components than previous radars. The AMDR is designed to rely heavily on software innovations, rather than the need to replace parts.

Construction and integration of the first AMDR systems is slated to begin by 2016. The new radars are expected to be implemented on and integrated with the Arleigh Burke-class Flight III technologies.

Flight I of the Arleigh Burke-class DDGs were those ships with hull numbers 51 (starting with the U.S.S Arleigh Burke DDG-51) through 71, launched between 1989 and 1996. Flight II of the Arleigh Burke-class DDGs consists of six different variants, beginning with DDG-72, the U.S.S. Mahan through DDG-118, the U.S.S. Daniel Inouye, which is still under contract to be constructed, and even up to five more Flight IIA variants that have been awarded contracts, but have yet to be laid down or named. The Navy currently plans to commission as many as 22 Flight III destroyers.

The AMDR system is expected to be operational and ready for combat missions on the first completed Flight III Arleigh Burke destroyers by 2023.

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 Working on Advanced Radar System: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Lincoln Awards Honor Those Who Support Vets

Lincoln Awards

On March 4, 1865, at the close of his second inaugural address, President Abraham Lincoln said:

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

Lincoln’s words provided the basis to which many government agencies and Veteran Service Organizations would frame the services provided to those who had served. And it was because of these words, and their significance in the years since they were spoken, that the Friars Club created an award designed to recognize individuals and corporations that support Veterans and their families– and named it the Lincoln Award.

According to information found on www.theLincolnAwards.org, the awards are specifically designed to recognize “outstanding achievement and excellence in providing opportunities and support to our nation’s Veterans and military families.”

There are ten categories for the awards. The following are the 2015 winners, the category in which they received the award, and a brief description as to why they are being recognized:

Justin Constantine: Veteran: Constantine is a Marine Corps Veteran who was severely wounded in Iraq when a sniper shot him in the head, and now advocates and raises funds for Veterans in distress.

Ken Fisher: Citizen: Fisher is the CEO of the Fisher House Foundation, which provides housing for families of hospitalized military personnel and Veterans.

Jackie Garrick: Public Service: Garrick is a Veteran and social worker who has advocated for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dean Kamen: Medical & Science: Kamen is the inventor of the Segway and the “Star Wars” inspired bionic arm. Kamen is being recognized for his contribution to advances in prosthetics for Veteran amputees.

Britnee Kinard: Caregiver: Kinard is a caregiver for her Veteran husband, and also assists other Veterans and disabled children with the costs of owning service animals.

Bruce Springsteen: Entertainer: For decades “The Boss” has been playing concerts and participating in fundraising events that benefit the military and Veteran communities.

Kayla Williams: Artistic: Williams is an Army Veteran who is being recognized for portraying Veterans through her writing. Her books include: “Love My Rifle More than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army” (2006) and ‘Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love & Recovery in the Aftermath of War” (2014)

Dick Young: Standard Bearer: A retired Navy Admiral, Young, 82, is being recognized for his lifetime of exemplary selfless service in the Navy and as a volunteer.

Team Rubicon: Non-Profit Citizen: Team Rubicon is being recognized for providing opportunities and services to Veterans.

Walmart: Corporate Citizen:  Walmart is being recognized due to a hiring initiative that helped 100,000 Veterans and 150,000 Veteran family and military family members obtain employment within their corporation.

The awards show was filmed on January 7, 2015 at the Kennedy Center, as part of a large event called: “The Lincoln Awards: A Concert for Veterans and the Military Family.” The show will be broadcasted on PBS in May.

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: Lincoln Awards Honor Those Who Support Vets: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Should US Stay in Afghanistan? By Debbie Gregory

US in Afghanistan

Combat operations may have concluded for American forces in Afghanistan, but that does not necessarily mean that the war is over.

On December 28, 2014, an end of mission ceremony was held in Afghanistan’s capital city, Kabul. International Security Force (ISAF) commander, U.S. Army General John Campbell, saw the end of the 13-year long Operation Enduring Freedom, and will now lead the ISAF in its initiation of Operation Resolute Support.

Last year, leading up to the change of operation, the U.S. began rapidly moving personnel and supplies out of Afghanistan. In February, 2014, the U.S. had approximately 34,000 service members on the ground in Afghanistan. At the time of the December 28thceremony, there were 10,600 Americans on the ground. The drawdown also saw the number of U.S. controlled bases go from 87 to 25. The number of U.S. military vehicles went from 17,800 to 5,168 in the same timeframe. The ISAF estimates that 38,410,000 pounds of air cargo were moved by fixed and rotary wing aircraft, in support of the drawdown, between February 1stand December 30th, 2014.

Under the current U.S. drawdown strategy, the plan is to leave roughly 13,000 ISAF troops, consisting of 10,600 U.S. service members and approximately 2,000 NATO personnel on the ground in Afghanistan. These troops will train and advise the army and police forces, as well as conduct counter-terrorism operations. The American force size is scheduled to trim down to 5,500 by the end of 2015, with all U.S. forces scheduled to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2016.

But as Operation Resolute Support begins, there are leaders from both the U.S. and Afghanistan who believe that the drawdown plan should remain fluid.

General Campbell is reported to have said the following on “60 Minutes:”

“There is a lot more talk, from  many of the senior leaders I deal with, on the Afghan Security Forces, about Iraq and Syria and what’s going on, and saying, ‘Hey, the coalition left Iraq, and a couple years later, look what happened. Don’t let that happen to us here in Afghanistan,’ ”

On January 4, 2015, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani told “60 Minutes” that there may come a time when he and President Obama will need to revisit the strategy and deadline for U.S. force withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“If both parties, or, in this case, multiple partners, have done their best to achieve the objectives and progress is very real, then there should be willingness to re-examine a deadline,” Ghani said in the “60 Minutes” interview.

But one of the most perceptive remarks that most Americans should take notice of came from Supreme Allied Commander-Europe, General Philip Breedlove in an article for “Stars and Stripes.”

“All of us as commanders have reminded our senior leadership … the war in Afghanistan has not ended, (just) the combat mission for NATO.”

Americans should not be surprised when news stories report more U.S. casualties in Afghanistan, despite the declared end to NATO’s combat mission. And the frequency of these reports and the quantity of casualties that they report could help measure if Afghanistan’s future will mirror what we are currently seeing in Iraq, just a few short years after the drawdown there.

We at Military connection would like to hear your feedback: Should the U.S. maintain its current drawdown strategy in Afghanistan? Or alter it in some way? Send your feedback to info@MilitaryConnection.com

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: Should US Stay in Afghanistan? By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Zero8hundred: Pioneering Veteran Assistance

Zero8hundred

Each year, more than 15,000 Sailors and Marines stationed in and near San Diego separate from active duty military service. With over half of these men and women remaining in the area, San Diego County boasts the third largest population of Veterans in the nation. With so many Veterans concentrated in one area, competition for jobs and Veteran resources in such a relatively small community can be tough. Veterans need all the assistance they can get to maintain an edge in the job market, even over other Veterans. The good news is that a new community collaboration called “Zero8hundred” has begun assisting San Diego area Veterans to transition into civilian jobs.

The name Zero8hundred is the spelled out way of saying the military time of 0800, and can be attributed to a few concepts that the organization wishes to represent. The time 0800 or 8:00 a.m. is the time of day when many civilian professionals arrive at work. This reference is intended to recognize the ambitions of professional employment that many Veterans aspire to. Also, according to Zero8hundred’s Executive Director, Sean Mahoney, a retired Coast Guard Captain (O-6), Zero8hundred’s name also pays homage to the daily military tradition that occurs every day on base at 0800– morning colors, when the U.S. flag is raised, and service members stop what they’re doing to salute the raising of the flag. Mahoney hopes that his organization will reflect that daily observance by the community, stopping what they’re doing, and honoring Veterans.

The stated mission of the Zero8hundred organization is to “proactively link transitioning military families to a broad range of resources and opportunities in the community, helping them successfully transition to civilian life.”

In order to achieve their mission, Zero8hundred asks Veterans to subscribe to their site. Once their free account is activated, service members, Veterans and their family members have access to a wealth of resources through Zero8hundred, which include Basic Needs, Education & Jobs, Physical & Mental Health, and Social/Personal Connections.

Zero8hundred also assigns its subscribers with “navigators.”  These men and women are all interns from the University of Southern California’s social work master’s program. Navigators track exiting service members, beginning as far out as six months before their discharge from active duty, and touch base with their Veterans at three month intervals, for one full year after separation from service.

The purpose of Zero8hundred is to give Veterans their best chance to be successful in every aspect of their civilian lives, whether it is through benefits information, education advice, counseling for PTSD or substance abuse, or even helping them locate emergency financial grants.

It is the hope of Zero8hundred leaders that they will become a national model for effectively connecting transitioning military families to a broad array of community resources, all of which will ease their transition into the civilian sectors of their communities.

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: Zero8hundred: Pioneering Veteran Assistance: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Military Command’s Social Media Accounts Hacked

Centcom hack

It is not uncommon for anyone with an email or social media account to have one or more of their accounts get “hacked.”  Usually, a hack involves some malicious person posting or sending private messages from the compromised account, in order to try to obtain sensitive personal information or access to accounts. This deceitful tactic is commonly referred to as “phishing.”

If you’re lucky, a hacked account is just a nuisance. Common remedies range from changing passwords to closing the account and re-friending or re-connecting with your contacts. This week, the U.S. military experienced a hack of two of their social media accounts, and the results were more than just an annoyance.

The U.S. military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) is the theater level command center for all military operations in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. This means that CENTCOM personnel have been responsible for coordinating and planning all combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. CENTCOM has been planning and ordering airstrikes against the Islamic State (also referred to ISIS or ISIL) in Iraq since August, and in Syria since September.

On Monday, January 12, 2015, social media accounts belonging to CENTCOM were hacked by a group that calls itself the Cyber Caliphate, which has claimed allegiance to the Islamic State. At approximately 12:30 Eastern time, a Twitter account belonging to CENTCOM began posting (tweeting) rogue comments. The account’s profile image was changed to display the name “CyberCaliphate” with an image that looked like an Islamic State militant, and the phrase “i love you isis [sic].” One tweet made from the hacked account said “AMERICAN SOLDIERS, WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK. ISIS.”

A Youtube account belonging to CENTCOM was also hacked. Two Islamic State propaganda films were posted on the account before Youtube shut the account down.

Another tweet was accompanied by a photo of two females in uniform in an office with computers, one of whom was attempting to control what looks like a goat. The tweet attached to the photo said, “ISIS is already here, we are in your PCs, in each military base.”

While the hacked accounts and the threats that the hackers promised are disturbing, the public should not be too concerned at this point. No classified materials were compromised and no military networks were breached. The hack does not mean that military networks are in any danger, it just drives home what most of us already knew– social media sites aren’t always safe.

While the Islamic State can view the hack as a victory of sorts, their cyberattack has gained them nothing. CENTCOM’s Twitter and Youtube accounts were back up in a matter of hours.

An investigation is underway to attempt to locate where the hack originated from.

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: Military Command’s Social Media Accounts Hacked: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: States With Highest Life Expectancy

Retirement-Next-Exit

Volunteering for America’s military provides service members with the opportunity to travel around the world, starting with our own great and beautiful country. When military members separate from active duty, often times they settle down in entirely different locations from where they originated or were stationed.

This is especially true for military retirees. With fifty states to choose from, there are so many factors that can be used to determine where Veterans will want to liveout their civilian years. Perhaps this compilation of states,listing the highest life expectancy, can be used to determine where you’ll want to settle down and collect your military retirement checks:

Utah has a life expectancy of 80.2 years. Its poverty rate of 12.7% is the fourteenth lowest in the country, and its obesity rate of 24.1% is fourth lowest. Utah is also home to world famous national parks, ski resorts and golf courses, so it can accommodate nearly every outdoorsman, no matter what their sport or hobby is.

New Jersey is tied for the eighth highest life expectancy at 80.3 years. Its poverty rate of 11.4% is the eighth lowest in the country and its obesity rate is twelfth lowest, at 26.3%.New Jersey has a large number of medical professionals living in the state, with 83 dentists and 143 general practitioners for every 100,000 residents. Whether your preference is historical sites, outdoor recreation or city living, the Garden State has it all.

New Hampshire also has a life expectancy of 80.3 years. The “Granite State” has the lowest poverty rate in the nation, at 8.7%, and its obesity rate is at 26.7% (16th lowest). The state’s motto of “Live Free or Die” is in line with many military Veterans’ way of thinking. The heavily forested lands make for a beautiful and peaceful location to “live free.”

Vermont was tied for the fifth highest life expectancy rate at 80.5 years. Its obesity rate was seventh lowest at 24.7%, and its poverty rate of 12.3% was thirteenth lowest in the nation. The “Green Mountain State” offers plenty of outdoor activities, yearround, and is a renowned ski and snowboard destination.

New York is also tied for the fifth highest life expectancy rate at 80.5 years. Whether you “want to wake up in a city that doesn’t sleep,” or are looking for more rural country in the eastern part of the state, New York, truly, has the best of both worlds.

Massachusetts is also tied for the fifth highest life expectancy rate at 80.5 years. The state’s obesity rate was the third lowest in the country at 23.6%, and its poverty rate was eleventh lowest at 11.9%. The “Bay State” had the nation’s highest concentration of general practitioners and dentists of any state, with 200.8 MD’s and 85.6 dentists for every 100,000 people.

California had the third highest life expectancy of any state at 80.8 years. Whether you’re wanting to live near beaches, mountains, deserts, forests or farmland, big cities, suburbs or rural areas, California has got it all.

Minnesota has the second highest life expectancy in the nation at 81.1 years. Plus the obesity rate is the tenth lowest at 25.5%, and the poverty rate is seventh lowest at 11.2%. There is year-round adventure to be had in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” including hunting, fishing, hiking, boating and many more outdoor activities.

Hawaii had the highest life expectancy in the country at 81.3 years. It also had the fifth lowest poverty rate at 10.8% and the second lowest obesity rate at 21.8%. Plain and simple Hawaii is paradise. There is plenty of beautiful scenery, with beaches, waterfalls, mountains and tropical plant life. The only problem with living in paradise is not having as equally beautiful places to vacation to.

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: States With Highest Life Expectancy: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill Back in Senate

Clay Hunt

For the second time in just over a month, legislation titled “The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act” has been overwhelmingly passed in the House and is once again on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

In December, 2014, the Clay Hunt SAV Act H.R. 5059 unanimously passed in the House and was sent to the Senate, only to be blocked by out-going Oklahoma Senator, Dr. Tom Coburn. Coburn, who retired after the conclusion of Congress’ final 2014 session,  has been blamed for single-handedly vanquishing the bill. But there are those who believe that the retiring senator, without voters to answer to for re-election, merely took a hit for others in the Senate.

On January 12, 2015, the Clay Hunt SAV Act, named for a Marine Veteran who committed suicide in 2011, was again unanimously passed in the House, this time as H.R. 203. The Clay Hunt SAV Act 2015 is virtually unchanged from its predecessor, which failed in the Senate less than one month ago.

The act, championed by Veteran groups such as the American Legion, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is viewed as legislation that would reduce the number of military and Veteran suicides, and improve access to quality mental healthcare for Veterans.

The $22 million legislation calls for an annual review of established DOD and VA suicide prevention programs in order to streamline the most effective practices. The bill also facilitates the VA’s partnering with mental health nonprofits, creates a website to consolidate the VA’s newly combined mental health resources, and expands established peer support networks. The Clay Hunt SAV Act  also allows the VA to recruit and retain psychiatrists by offering a student loan repayment incentive, up to $120,000, for mental health specialists that go to work for the VA.

With Dr. Coburn no longer in the Senate, supporters of the bill believe that the Clay Hunt SAV Act will pass this time around. Something must be done to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, the high rate of military and Veteran suicides, which have been estimated as high as 22 per day. Will others in this year’s Senate share Dr. Coburn’s sentiment on the legislation and its cost versus potential to effect change? We’ll just have to wait and watch the drama on Capitol Hill unfold.

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: Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill Back in Senate: By Debbie Gregory