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

Helping Teachers Prepare for the Next Mass Shooting

stop the bleed

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.

Captain Marvel Will Draw On Danvers’ Military Service, but Also Mourns Loss of Consultant

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By Debbie Gregory.

Captain Marvel is the name of several fictional superheroes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Most of these versions exist in Marvel’s main shared universe, known as the Marvel Universe.

On March 26, Marvel Studios announced that production on Captain Marvel has officially begun. In the upcoming film, Brie Larson plays the seventh Captain Marvel, Air Force fighter pilot Col. Carol Danvers.

Set in the 1990s, Captain Marvel follows Danvers as she goes from fighter pilot to living weapon, beginning prior to Danvers gaining her super powers of flight, incredible feats of strength, speed, agility, and the ability to absorb and redirect energy as she sees fit. After attaining the powers, she became Captain Marvel.

Preparation for her role included Larson taking flight in an F-16. Offering her expertise was Lt. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt, the commander of the 57th Wing, the Air Force’s first female fighter pilot.

The film is expected to  lean heavily on Danvers’ military service, from the head of security at a secret DoD missile base to a leader, strategist, and tactician to rival the likes of both Iron Man and Captain America.

Thunderbird pilot Air Force Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, who worked as a consultant on the film, was recently killed while performing a set of training maneuvers at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

Marvel Studios tweeted, ““We lost a friend yesterday. Marvel Studios is saddened to hear of the loss of Air Force Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, who we were lucky to get to know during his time as a consultant on Captain Marvel.

Captain Marvel is scheduled to be released in 2019.

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

Fat Leonard’ Scandal Influences Pentagon’s pick to lead Joint Chiefs

Fat Leonard

By Debbie Gregory.

When it came time for the Pentagon to chose a new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of their top choices turned out to be tainted rattled by the “Fat Leonard” scandal.

Leonard Glenn Francis, known as “Fat Leonard” because of his size, has admitted to bribing Navy officials with more than $500,000 in cash, prostitutes and more.  He wanted classified information to help his Singapore-based company retain lucrative contracts to resupply Navy vessels in the Pacific, as it had done for more than a quarter-century.

Francis confessed to swindling the Navy out of $35 million and bribing scores of officers.

Francis confided to federal agents in early 2015 that he had paid for opulent dinners and other favors for Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, then-commander of U.S. military forces in the Pacific. Locklear was one of four contenders to head the Joint Chiefs.

While the Justice Department decided to not press charges, and despite being cleared of wrongdoing by the Navy, his association with the 350-pound contractor helped sink Locklear’s chances to lead the Joint Chiefs.

The Navy has declined to disclose how many people it has kicked out of the service for taking bribes or gifts from Francis.

Locklear last served as the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command from March 9, 2012, to May 27, 2015. Prior to that, he served as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe – U.S. Naval Forces Africa and NATO’s Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples. Prior to that, he served as Director, Navy Staff from July 2009 to October 2010. He retired from the Navy on July 1, 2015, after 39 years of service.

President Barack Obama nominated Gen. Joseph Dunford to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on May 5, 2015. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and took over from Army General Martin Dempsey on September 25, 2015, and officially took office on October 1, 2015.

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.

Operation Cold Steel II Prepares Reserve Soldiers for War

cold steel

By Debbie Gregory.

The Army Reserve is preparing 10,000 soldiers for major war with intensive training on machine guns and automatic grenade launchers.

Called Operation Cold Steel II, the first iteration spanned two months, from Oct. 12 to Dec. 15, 2017, at Fort Hunter Liggett, CA. During that time, the 79th Theater Support Command (TSC), hosted Task Force Coyote, training approximately 2,000 Soldiers on crew-served weapons including the M2 machine gun, M249 light machine gun, M240B machine gun and Mark 19 40 mm grenade machine gun. Soldiers in this iteration focused on ground qualification, expending more than 1.2 million rounds of ammunition.

The second iteration took place at Fort McCoy, WI, on Feb. 19, 2018. The third iteration began shortly after on March 1 at at Fort Knox, KY.

“Cold Steel benefits the (troop list unit Soldiers) by training them and giving them an experience that they most likely have never had in the Army Reserve or even in the history of the Army Reserve,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Freddy Trejo, Task Force Triad senior enlisted advisor, Operation Cold Steel II. “We’re putting weapons in their hands, getting them qualified, increasing their confidence as Army Reserve Soldiers and we are sending crews back to units completely qualified and trained.”

In addition to crew-served weapons qualification, an estimated 250 Soldiers are training as Vehicle Crew Evaluators. Newly-trained Army Reserve Master Gunner Common Core graduates are teaming with seasoned active-component Master Gunners to build the bench enabling units in the Army Reserve to conduct gunnery autonomously at the unit level.

The live-fire exercises are also a valuable opportunity for Army Reserve sergeants — the noncommissioned backbone of the force — to take charge of training again, after years of centralized, top-down preparation for Afghanistan and Iraq.

The soldiers will train and qualify on MK-19, M240B, M2 and M249 platforms mounted to various military vehicles, including Humvees, Medium Tactical Vehicles, Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks, and Heavy Equipment Transports.

“Operation Cold Steel is designed to train Soldiers on a way to effectively acquire and engage targets on a mounted platform. This is something that has not been trained on in the Army Reserve in a while other than during (pre-mobilization),” said Staff Sgt. David Jenkins, operations noncommissioned officer, Task Force Cold Steel II.

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 to Redesign Basic Training Due to Low Recruit Discipline

basic123

By Debbie Gregory.

The US Army’s Basic Combat Training (BCT) will soon receive an overhaul intended to build more discipline fighting force.

By early summer, the Army’s BCT will be implemented in an attempt to instill strict discipline and pride. But that doesn’t mean that there won’t still be a heavy focus on physical fitness, battlefield first aid skills, marksmanship and communications.

The program addresses the trend of new soldiers who demonstrate a lack of obedience, a poor work ethic, and general carelessness with their uniforms and equipment.

“What leaders have observed in general is they believe that there is too much of a sense of entitlement, questioning of lawful orders, not listening to instruction, too much of a buddy mentality with NCOs and officers and a lot of tardiness being late to formation and duties,” said Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, commanding General of the U.S. Army Center of Initial Military Training. “These are trends that they see as increasing that they think are part of the discipline aspect that is missing and that they would like to see in the trainees that become soldiers that come to them as their first unit of assignment.”

The problem with recruits who enter their military service thinking it’s just like any other job is that without the right attitudes, they can get killed – even in training. They can’t be lazy. They can’t ignore lawful orders.

The physical fitness requirements for the course have been increased. They’ll have to qualify with firearms that just have iron sights instead of optics. Their combative training hours are increased to 33 instead of the former 22.

The new BCT has three new exercises called “Hammer, Anvil, Forge.” The Forge (FTX) concludes the training. It will be an 81 hour field training exercise that includes night infiltration, medical evaluation training, ethical decision making, resupply missions, march and shoot, communication and more.

“If you succeed in making it through the 81-hour FTX … then what will happen is you will earn the right to become a soldier. You will earn your beret, you will earn a ‘soldier for life’ certificate, you will get your National Defense Service Medal and your uniform will look exactly like a United States Army soldier.” Maj Gen Frost

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.

Trump Wants to Use Military to Secure Border

border wall

By Debbie Gregory.

President Donald Trump wants to deploy members of the military to secure the U.S.-Mexico border until his promised border wall is built.

No time frame for the deployment has been announced.

Trump has promised to build a “big, beautiful wall” on the border since early in his campaign, claiming it will help secure the border. But Congress has yet to pass any meaningful funding for the wall’s construction, and federal law prohibits the use of active duty service members for law enforcement inside the U.S., unless specifically authorized by Congress.

Some 6,000 National Guard troops were deployed to the border in 2006, under president George W Bush. The troops did not participate in any law enforcement activity, but helped with surveillance and administrative tasks.

“We’re going to be doing things militarily. Until we can have a wall and proper security, we’re going to be guarding our border with the military,” Trump said, calling the move a “big step.”

In addition to mobilizing the National Guard, Trump and senior officials agreed on the need to pressure Congress to urgently pass legislation to close legal loopholes exploited by criminal trafficking, narco-terrorist and smuggling organizations

Among the new measures the administration is pursuing: ending special safeguards that prevent the immediate deportation of children arrested at the border and traveling alone. Currently, unaccompanied children from countries that don’t border the U.S. are turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services and undergo often lengthy deportation proceedings before an immigration judge instead of being immediately deported.

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.

DoD Overpayment Error Puts Pendleton Civilian Police in a Tough Position

clawback

By Debbie Gregory.

Nearly 100 civilian police officers hired to augment military police on U.S. military bases in San Diego County are being asked by the federal government to pay back tens of thousands of dollars in wages after it was discovered the federal government had made an error in determining their pay scale.

Sixty civilian police officers at the Provost Marshal’s Office at Camp Pendleton and 33 civilian police officers at Naval Station Fallbrook were informed that to an accounting error, they will have to pay back the money.

The officers were paid on the wrong pay scale from 2008 to 2016.

On March 14, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) Office began sending letters to officers notifying them of how much money they need to repay for the overpayment going back a decade.

Individual debts range from $12,000 to $80,000. The average overpayment was $3,500 annually, according to Robert Richey, president of the police officer’s union, the National Federation of Federal Employees.

Those involved have three options: Pay the money back, request a payment plan, or submit a waiver for the entire amount – but there is no guarantee the waiver will be granted.

Base officials at Camp Pendleton held town halls to help police officers understand what happened and how to move forward.

“We understand this is challenging for our police officers and poses a substantial burden on those who provide a critical service to meet the Navy’s security requirements,” a Navy spokesperson said. “Navy Region Southwest is committed to helping the officers through this process and continues to help mitigate the situation to the greatest degree possible.”

Carl Redding, a spokesman for the Marine base, said “We stand in full support of our police officers and understand how indebtedness can impact their welfare and morale.” He added, “Our civilian police officers provide such an added benefit for base security and we are grateful for all their hard work and dedication.”

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.

Deportation Fears for More Military Families

dhs

By Debbie Gregory.

With a number of military spouses facing deportation, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he would need to look into whether there may be additional protections for them.

While Mattis said he had reached an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that active duty forces, Reserve, Guard and honorably discharged veterans who are under the government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would be protected from deportation (as long as they didn’t have any standing court orders or serious felony convictions) it is not known whether those protections would be extended to their spouses.

“I’ll have to check on that and get back to you,” Mattis said.

Numerous military families, both active duty and veteran, are concerned about their undocumented spouses or dependents facing possible deportation.

The last thing deployed service members need to be thinking about is the deportation of their spouses while they are away. To that end, spouses of active-duty troops or veterans have been eligible for “Parole in Place,” or PIP, a relief that allows spouses, children and parents of active duty, National Guard and Reserve troops and veterans who entered the U.S. illegally to remain in the country and pursue a green card.

The law was put in place in 2007 to come to the aid of Yaderlin Hiraldo, the wife of Army Sgt. Alex Jimenez. Hiraldo entered the U.S. illegally, and Jimenez was killed in Iraq before they could complete her green card request.

In 2006, the couple was granted a deferment of immigration proceedings until Spc. Jimenez returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq. However in June of that year, the government announced its intent to deport Hiraldo, despite the fact that her husband was declared missing along with two other soldiers. The case quickly received national attention and the involvement of influential U.S. Senators John Kerry and the late Ted Kennedy.

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.

Delta Force Soldier on Raid Against ISIS Killed In Syria

dunbar

By Debbie Gregory.

Master Sgt. Jonathan Dunbar, 36, of Austin, Texas, was killed near Manbij, Syria on March 30th by an improvised explosive device.

A member of the Army’s elite Delta Force, Dunbar was on a mission to kill or capture a member of the Islamic State terrorist group.

In recent weeks, Manbij has seen an assassination attempt against a senior Kurdish official on the highway outside the town and a number of small explosions. Authorities imposed a curfew after 11 p.m., and in recent days barred motorcycles from moving around the town after sunset.

Few details about the mission on which Dunbar and a British soldier were killed have been released so far.

Dunbar’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (third award), the Army Commendation Medal (fourth award), the Army Achievement Medal (sixth award), the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, the Iraq Campaign Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, the Ranger Tab, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Pathfinder Badge, the Military Freefall Jumpmaster Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.

Dunbar is the fourth American service member to die in Syria since the U.S. began attacking Islamic State group militants there in September 2014, according to the Pentagon’s Defense Casualty Analysis System.

The others were Air Force Staff Sgt. Austin Bieren, whose death was specifically labeled by the Pentagon as noncombat related; Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott C. Dayton, who was killed by an improved explosive device; and Army Spc. Etienne J. Murphy, who died in a vehicle rollover.

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.