Heroic Southwest Pilot Among First Female Fighter Pilots in Navy

TammiJoShults

Heroic Southwest Pilot Among First Female Fighter Pilots in Navy

By Debbie Gregory.
The Southwest pilot who is being called a hero for landing a crippled Southwest plane was
among the first female fighter pilots to serve in the U.S. Navy.
“We can confirm that Lt. Commander Shults was among the first cohort of women pilots to
transition to tactical aircraft,” the Navy said in a statement.
On April 17th, Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the twin-engine Boeing 737 toward cruising
altitude, generally considered the safest part of a flight, when one of the aircraft's engines blew.
Flying at an altitude of 32,000 feet, shrapnel from the crippled engine smashed a window.
Passenger Jennifer Riordan was partially sucked out of the plane as fellow passengers scrambled
to pull her back in. Unfortunately Riordan died from blunt impact trauma of the head, neck and
torso. Seven other passengers were sent to the hospital with minor injuries.
Her voice remained calm as she communicated with air traffic control in Philadelphia.
"We have a part of the aircraft missing, so we're going to need to slow down a bit," Shults said
from the cockpit. Later, she adds, "They said there's a hole and … and, uh, someone went out."

Shults made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Passengers praised how Shults skillfully
landed the plane, and said that she greeted each passenger after they were safely on the ground.
“This is a true American hero,” Diana McBride Self, a passenger, wrote in a Facebook post. “A
huge thank you for her knowledge, guidance and bravery in a traumatic situation. God bless her
and all the crew.”gh the plane personally to check on us after she landed our crippled airplane. …
We were truly all in amazing hands."
Passenger Alfred Tumlinson said Shults displayed "nerves of steel."
Shults lives outside San Antonio and is married pilot Dean M. Shults.

Earning a Degree While on Active Duty: What You Need to Know

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Working toward a degree while serving on active duty is much different than attending classes on a traditional campus, or even taking online classes from home. Before you take on the challenge of school and active duty, there are some key points to know that will increase your chances of success.

Be Flexible

As you consider your educational options, you might develop a plan that involves taking a certain number of classes each term to finish your degree by a defined date. While planning is imperative, it’s also important to consider the need for a flexible enrollment schedule. Therefore, when weighing your schooling options, consider the following:

Does the school offer flexible scheduling? Can you take all of your classes from a distance, or will you have to spend time on campus? If you are required to spend some time “on the ground,” are there classrooms or branches of the college near your post, or will you have to wait until you have completed your commitment?

How military friendly is the school? Will the college be understanding of the demands on your time and be willing to make accommodations when you need to focus on your military responsibilities? Look for a university that offers accommodations for those who are active duty or veterans, including assistance with military benefits, access to military-specific services including development counselors and academic support.

How will your military experience coordinate with your studies? If you’re taking classes while you are still in active duty, determining the proper amount of transfer credit may be challenging. It is important to evaluate your options and work with your chosen school to determine the best course of action to ensure that you get proper credit for your experience and develop a course plan that accounts for the knowledge gained in the field.

GI Benefits and Military Promotions

Many service members are concerned about their GI Bill benefits should they opt to take courses while on active duty. You do not lose benefits if you earn a degree while serving, and you can use your tuition assistance benefits to pay for courses while you’re in the field. Therefore, you can still use your GI Bill to pay for a graduate degree, to supplement your income while you are in training for a federal job, or to transfer to a spouse or dependent.

Taking courses while on active duty can help you earn military promotions faster. All branches of the military consider civilian education when determining promotions. In the Army, for instance, you can earn up to 100 promotion points by taking classes at 1 point per credit hour. These points can add up, allowing you to move up the ranks and earn more money throughout your military career.

Education is a major priority for the armed services, and you don’t have to wait until after discharge to begin working on your degree. With time management and a flexible approach, you can finish your higher education while you’re on active duty.

More Female Soldiers Graduate Army Ranger School

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The number of female soldiers who have graduated from Army Ranger School has just increased to an even dozen, as the most recent graduates join ground-breakers Army Capt. Kristen Griest, Army Capt. Shaye Haver, and Army Reserve Maj. Lisa Jaste.

Ranger School is one of the toughest training courses for which a Soldier can volunteer.

The Army Ranger course is designed to push soldiers to their mental and physical edge. Participants have limited sleep and food while performing exhausting exercises. The physical fitness test includes 49 push-ups, 59 sit-ups, a five-mile run in 40 minutes, three parachute jumps, and 27 days of mock combat patrols.

The tough standards make sure that only the strong survive, which is why the completion percentage for men is only 40 percent.

The Ranger Course, which was conceived during the Korean War, has changed little since its inception. It has three phases: Benning Phase of Ranger School is designed to assess a Soldier’s physical stamina, mental toughness, and establishes the tactical fundamentals required for follow-on phases of Ranger School; Mountain Phase, which focuses on military mountaineering tasks, mobility training, as well as techniques for employing a platoon for continuous combat patrol operations in a mountainous environment; and Florida Phase,  which focuses on the continued development of the Ranger student’s combat arms functional skills. Students receive instruction on waterborne operations, small boat movements, and stream crossings

Women continue to make great strides in the military. Lt. Col. Megan Brodgen assumed command of the 3rd Special Forces Group support battalion, the first time that role had been filled by a woman.

Currently 170,000 women serve in the Army, with 600 women in infantry and armor jobs.

Joining  Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Hood in Texas as the destination for female officers who completed the training standards for infantry and armor are Fort Campbell in Kentucky and Fort Carson in Colorado.

Article written by: Debbie Gregory.

Profiles of Veterans Running for Office on the Democratic Ticket

congress

By Debbie Gregory.

Veterans who are Democrats are running for Congressional seats in record numbers. And some of them are proving to be competitive in areas previously considered as Republican strong-holds.

While veterans are traditionally considered conservative, here are some veterans running as Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections:

Josh Butner- CA

Josh’s family has a long history of service to America. On his father’s side, their service extends all the way back to the Mexican-American War and on his mother’s side, back to the Civil War. Josh served for 23 years in the United States Navy where he saw multiple combat deployments, most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. Josh first came to San Diego County in 1988 for training to become a Navy SEAL and currently lives on a small ranch in Jamul where he raised his children, one of which is currently serving in the military. Josh continues his service as a Trustee on the Jamul Dulzura School Board.

Jason Crow- CO

Jason served in the Army’s storied 82nd Airborne Division, leading a platoon of paratroopers during the invasion of Iraq. He earned the Bronze Star for his combat actions during the invasion, including fighting at the Battle of As Samawah. He joined the U.S. Army’s elite 75th Ranger Regiment, serving two additional tours – this time in Afghanistan, as part of the Joint Special Operations Task Force. Jason served on the Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs, focusing on veterans homelessness and substance abuse issues.  He also has dedicated hundreds of hours mentoring individual veterans transitioning from military to civilian life.

Dan Feehan- MN

Dan served as an active duty soldier and completed two combat tours of duty as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In Iraq, he searched for roadside bombs and pursued those threatening Americans and Iraqis alike, earning the Bronze Star for Service, the Army Commendation Medal with Valor, and the Ranger Tab. After his military service, worked for the Obama administration, first as a White House Fellow and then as an acting Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon. He worked to ensure that service members were ready to fight, and that they had the tools to lead a quality life as veterans after their service was over.

Roger Dean Huffstetler- VA

Roger Dean is a Marine veteran and entrepreneur. The first in his family to graduate from college, he is committed to ensuring that every American has the chance to work hard, get ahead, and provide a better life for their children.

Dan McCready- NC

Dan is a Marine Corps veteran, business leader, husband, and father. He led 65 Marines in the 2007 Iraq surge, and was honorably discharged as a Captain.

Gina Ortiz Jones- TX

Knowing that many of the opportunities she and her family had were only possible because they were in the United States, from the time she was a young girl Gina knew she wanted to serve and give back. After graduating from Boston University with a BA and MA in Economics, and a BA in East Asian Studies, Gina entered the U.S. Air Force as an intelligence officer, where she deployed to Iraq and served under the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Max Rose- NY

A resident of Staten Island, Max is a Democratic candidate for New York’s 11th congressional district. He is the first post-9/11 combat veteran of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to seek office in New York City. Max is a proud veteran of the U.S. Army. From 2012-2013, he deployed to Afghanistan, where he served as an active duty officer, earning a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and  Combat Infantryman Badge. Max continues his service today in the National Guard as a Infantry Company Commander. He is also Ranger qualified.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Touro University Worldwide- Educating Those Who Serve

 touro updated logo 2018

The GI Bill is one of the most amazing benefits offered to those who serve. By using this benefit, veterans can earn a degree or vocational certificate, get paid while in school, and jump-start their post-military lives.

Touro University Worldwide (TUW) understands the importance of educating our country’s active military students and veterans who are preparing to enter the civilian workforce. To that end, in addition to government funding options, TUW offers discounts to to those who serve, past and present, as well as extending the benefit to their families.

Many Touro academic staff members are also veterans, and since they have walked the walk, they can provide support and guidance through the military aligned students’ academic journeys.

While there are thousands of schools throughout the country that would like to be on the receiving end of the tuition funding that military and veterans bring via the GI Bill, TUW has a tradition of commitment to their military and veteran students.

Make this the year that you get started earning the degree that will give prepare you for an exciting career in business, psychology or health and human services.  Apply the skills and knowledge you acquired in the military to a bachelor’s or master’s degree with in-demand concentrations like: Cybersecurity Management, Global Management, Nonprofit Management, Human Resources Management and many more!

You’ve always risen to the challenge, make this the year that you pursue and complete your degree!

For more information, visit www.tuw.edu

Are Burn Pits To Blame for Terminally Ill Iraq Veterans?

U.S. Army soldiers watch garbage burn in a burn-pit at Forward Operating Base Azzizulah in Maiwand District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, February 4, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Burton (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: MILITARY) - RTR3DCLD

After a decades long battle, National Guard veteran Amie Muller succumbed to pancreatic cancer.  She believed it was a result of deployments to Iraq and exposure to burn pits.

Burn pits produced billowing toxic smoke night and day at an air base in northern Iraq. After returning to Minnesota, she began experiencing health problems usually not seen in a woman of age.  Muller was thirty-six and died nine months after being diagnosed with Stage III pancreatic cancer.

Muller battled to win recognition from the United States government for victims of the burn pits, which have the potential of becoming the Iraq and Afghanistan wars’ equivalent of the Vietnam War’s Agent Orange.

In an interview last August, Muller spoke about the frustrations of a life put on hold. Fatigued from chemotherapy and complications from medical procedures, she also talked about getting the word out about what she believed is the burn pits’ toxic legacy.

“It’s kind of like what you’d imagine what hospice would feel like, where you are just waiting and waiting and you don’t have any energy,” she said. “But I want to make sure other people are getting their voices heard, too.”

The burn pit near her living quarters was one of the most notorious of the more than 230 that were constructed at military bases across Iraq and Afghanistan before their use was restricted in 2009.  Materials including metals, Styrofoam, rubber and medical waste stoked with jet fuel were burned in an open pit daily.

Muller was easily fatigued after returning home and began to wonder whether a host of ailments from migraines to fibromyalgia were connected to her military service at Balad.

According to Muller’s friend Julie Tomaska, who deployed with Muller in 2005 and 2007, Muller  loved animals and people.

“On deployment, she would draw out the misfits, because she was an ear and a shoulder, listening without judgment.”

Tomaska also suffered from chronic fatigue, headaches and digestive problems. Her disability claim with the VA was approved with a diagnosis of “environmental exposures.”

United States Senators Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., introduced bipartisan legislation, the Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act that would create a center of excellence within the VA to better understand the health effects associated with burn pits and to treat veterans who become sick after exposure.

“Amie Muller served this country with distinction, and we owe her our gratitude,” Sen. Klobuchar said in a statement following Muller’s death. “I am going to keep fighting so that these veterans receive the care and support they need.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Army Veteran Blames Shooting on PTSD

Adam Stone

By Debbie Gregory.

A U.S. Army veteran is standing trial on charges that he shot and killed another man following a confrontation at an Anaheim, California park.

Alexander Raymond McMoore was shot in the chest near the park’s basketball courts. He was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he later died.

Adam Jay Stone, 28, of Anaheim, and Ransom Lee Cook, 24, of Westminster were both arrested on suspicion of murder.According to Stone’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Robert Flory, his client suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his military service, including his deployment to Iraq.

Due to the number of witnesses, the two men were quickly apprehended.

Prior to the shooting, Stone had been convicted of several local crimes and spent time in jail, according to Orange County court records.

Last October, Stone pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon, which was not a gun, vandalism that caused more than $400 worth of damage and brandishing a weapon, all misdemeanors. Stone was sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years of probation.

Cook does not appear to have a local criminal record.His charge was later reduced to accessory after the fact.

Cook said that Stone claimed McMoore, a transient with a violent temper, had tried to rip him off, forcing Stone to give him marijuana, and on one occasion, at gunpoint.

Flory has not disputed that his client shot and killed McMoore, .

Stone returned to the park with a gun. Stone believed that McMoore was armed and preparing to pull his weapon when Stone shot him.

If convicted, Stone faces up to 26 years to life in state prison.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Army Veteran Arrested with Massive Weapons Cache Claimed it was for a ‘Classified’ Mission

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By Debbie Gregory.

A 59-year-old Army veteran is facing more than 40 criminal charges and an investigation by state and federal law enforcement officials after he was arrested on March 24th in a Massachusetts hotel with dozens of weapons.

Texas native Francho Bradley told law enforcement that he assembled his arsenal as part of a “classified” mission for an unnamed government agency. But Detective Patrick Connor came to suspect that Bradley was, in fact, planning a mass-casualty event at one of the gun control marches planned for the metro Boston area the following weekend.

Bradley and his common law wife, Adrianne Jennings, were arrested with a cache including several semi-automatic rifles outfitted with suppressors and bump stocks; an AR-15 variant “with a grenade launcher affixed to the bottom”; tactical vests that appeared outfitted with military-style smoke and “flash bang” grenades; and high-capacity magazines.

In a lucky turn of events for law enforcement, but unlucky for the couple, Bradley himself called police saying that his surveillance footage of his hotel room had cut out, and he was worried that someone had broken in to steal a gun he had stored inside.

After their search turned up the massive weapons cache, the police waited for Bradley to arrive. Once he did, the Texas man presented them with a license to carry a handgun in his home state — but “it is not reciprocal in Massachusetts and he is deemed unlicensed,” the police report read.

He also lacked any military or police identification that would enable him to legally carry the weapons, law enforcement alleges.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Homeless Veterans Fastest Growing Segment Is Female Veterans

homeless female

By Debbie Gregory.

When most people picture a veteran, it’s a male. And the same holds true for homeless veterans. But the truth is that the Department of Veterans Affairs has found that female veterans, including those with children, are the fastest-growing share of homeless veterans.

Female veterans are two to four times as likely as their civilian counterparts to experience homelessness.

Most of these women, especially those with kids or histories of trauma, don’t sleep on the streets or find shelter placements. They prefer to couch-surf with friends and relatives, which more often than not, leaves them left out of the homeless count.

Far from being a well-understood phenomenon, most people would be hard-pressed to even include women veterans in the overall picture of veteran homelessness — or recognize their unique risk factors and survival strategies.

Many homeless women veterans were victims of military sexual trauma and feel resentment towards the military and the VA, and as a result do not identify themselves as being a veteran.

According to VA’s National Center for PTSD, data from VA’s military sexual trauma screening program show that about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 100 men respond “yes,” that they experienced sexual trauma or assault while in the military.

Female homeless veterans are nothing like their male veteran counterparts in how and why they experience homelessness. Sadly, women veterans are frequently left out of the picture, intentionally or otherwise. One woman veteran in the series described it as “always being an afterthought,” whenever veterans issues are discussed.

Social health is more important to a woman’s healing process than it is to a man’s. The VA is realizing that and tailoring treatments as necessary.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Helping Teachers Prepare for the Next Mass Shooting

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By Debbie Gregory.

As mass shootings become more common, UAB Hospital, a Level I trauma center hospital located in Birmingham, Alabama is the first hospital in the state to offer Stop the Bleed training in schools.

Launched in October of 2015 by the White House, Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign and a call to action. Stop the Bleed is intended to cultivate grassroots efforts that encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

Taught by medical professionals, many of whom served in the military including trauma surgeons and nurses, the training demonstrates how to apply tourniquets, pressure, and dressing to life-threatening wounds.

Trauma surgeon Dr. Virginia Strickland said school districts initially resisted the tourniquet training, not wanting to face the reality that it might one day happen to them.

After the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, the American College of Surgeons began a campaign to improve access to tourniquets.

Bleeding can cause death in five to eight minutes, and in many situations, first responders would not be able to provide life-saving aid in that amount of time.

Advances made by military medicine and research in hemorrhage control during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have informed the work of this initiative which exemplifies translation of knowledge back to the homeland to the benefit of the general public.

Finding a Basic Bleeding Control (BCon) class is as simple as visiting the official BleedingControl.org website and clicking on the Find a Class button. From there you can filter your search results by location and date.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.