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National Guard and Reserve

Serving in the National Guard & Reserve

Contributed by Alan Rohlfing

 

Full disclosure: I ‘grew up’ in the Reserve Component of the US Armed Forces. The Missouri National Guard, to be specific. It’s what helped shape me into who I am today and had a bearing on how I approached the various positions I held in the Army. And no surprise, it will be the lens through which I write the rest of this post. Consider me a fan of the National Guard and Reserve…

I’m not writing this because there’s a military draft on its way, or that we’re getting ready for an extended conflict in the Middle East…no, I’m writing on this particular subject because the reserve forces of these United States of America are so vital to our national defense that they deserve some attention every now and again.

What kind of forces are we talking about? It’s what some of us refer to as the Seven Seals: Army National Guard, Air National Guard, Army Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, and Air Force Reserve. Some of these part-time forces have been around for quite a while (the oldest is the National Guard, closing in on 400 years), and armories have been a hub in many of our communities for decades. And while many of us are familiar with the similarities, I talk with folks all the time who are surprised when they discover the differences between those components of our military reserve.

Some of those differences are branch-specific; with Army forces, both Guard Soldiers and Army Reserve Soldiers train one weekend per month and two weeks every summer (but there may be opportunities to go on orders for extended periods). Both National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers can be called into full-time service to support Army missions (and not just for combat deployments). The primary distinction, though, is that National Guard Soldiers serve a dual mission…either a State’s Governor or the President of the United States can call up the National Guard, for state emergency duty or a federal mobilization. That’s just what the Army has to offer for potential Citizen-Soldiers…the other branches of service have their own ways of doing business, and their own opportunities. Just know that today, serving in the Guard & Reserve is so much more than one weekend a month & 2 weeks in the summer.

Way back in the mid-1980s, when I joined the local National Guard unit while I was going to college, it was a different fighting force than it is today. While we were proud of our ability to shoot, move, and communicate (yes, I was in a Field Artillery unit), at the local armory it seemed more about the camaraderie and sense of belonging than anything else. But that was pre-Desert Storm, and pre-Global War of Terror. During that decade after the first Gulf War, leading up to 9/11, it felt like our reserve forces were changing…more modern equipment for many of our units, more inclusion by our active duty counterparts. Less about being “in the rear with the gear,” if we were even called up at all. Today, many of our brothers and sisters in the National Guard & Reserve, like their counterparts on active duty, have multiple deployments under their belt while also playing a pivotal role in their local community.

Many of the challenges that traditional members of the reserve component face revolve around their civilian employment…either juggling their co-careers (military service and a civilian occupation) or finding that good civilian job in the first place. I’ve spoken with too many job-seekers over the last decade who feel they’ve dropped out of consideration for an open job when that employer finds out they serve in the Guard or Reserve. I’d like to think that it’s a rare occurrence, not just because it’s less than legal, but because it’s a bad business decision. Folks with military experience bring so much more to an employer’s workforce than those without; I always argue that it more than makes up for the time they may have to spend away on training or on a deployment.

Fortunately, for those that have a civilian job and get called away to serve, there’s USERRA, which is the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (esgr.mil/USERRA/What-is-USERRA). USERRA is a Federal law that establishes rights and responsibilities for uniformed Service members and their civilian employers. USERRA “protects the job rights of individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily leave employment positions to perform service in the uniformed Services, to include certain types of service in the National Disaster Medical System and the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service.”

USERRA’s protections are intended to ensure that persons who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, Reserve, National Guard, or other uniformed Services: (1) are not disadvantaged in their civilian careers because of their service; (2) are promptly reemployed in their civilian jobs upon their return from duty; and (3) are not discriminated against in employment based on past, present, or future military service. Just as important, the law is intended to encourage non-career uniformed service so the United States can enjoy the protection of those Services, staffed by qualified people, while maintaining a balance with the needs of private and public employers who also depend on these same individuals. For more information on this Act and the agency that is its biggest cheerleader, check out Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), at esgr.mil. ESGR is a Department of Defense program established in 1972 “to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment.”

I’m not a recruiter – never have been – but I maintain that it’s a great way to serve, if you’re qualified. And while, certainly, there are challenges with serving and maintaining a co-career in the Guard & Reserve, there are benefits, too. You might be eligible for G.I. Bill benefits, state-level tuition assistance to help pay for college, VA home loans to buy a house, and even health insurance. If you’ve separated from the Service & miss your time in uniform or know someone else that wants to serve, reach out to the local recruiter & see what’s on the table. With some of the Services, you’ll find over 100 different jobs you might be eligible for, from high-tech jobs to practical trade skills or vocations where you get to blow stuff up.

I thought I’d include some quick links here, just in case you want to make a connection (yes, a Military Connection). Keep in mind that these links may change, or the links might stay the same but the options for joining might be different based on the needs of that particular Service. Visit the Army National Guard at https://www.nationalguard.com/; the Air National Guard at https://www.goang.com/; the Army Reserve at https://www.goarmy.com/reserve.html; the Coast Guard Reserve at https://www.gocoastguard.com/reserve-careers; the Navy Reserve at https://www.navy.com/forward; the Marine Corps Reserve at https://www.marforres.marines.mil/; and the Air Force Reserve at https://afreserve.com/.

So, when you come across that ‘weekend warrior’ in your local community, I encourage you to see beyond the uniform. Sure, you can thank her or him for their service, or show your appreciation in other ways; but I hope you consider more consciously the challenges they face, even in times of peace and no deployments. Consider how they juggle the co-careers of military service and a civilian occupation, or how they’ll leave it all behind to deploy when necessary. And if you weren’t already, I hope you’re now a fan of the National Guard and Reserve, too.

Until next time…

MilitaryConnection.com Launches the Veteran Art Connection

MilitaryConnection.com Launches the Veteran Art Connection
For Immediate Release: February 14, 2019
Contact: Kris Galasso
[email protected]
 

  • VeteranArtConnection.com features an online gallery of work created exclusively by Veterans of our Armed Services suffering from PTSD
  • Online Gallery has pieces available for purchase
  • The Veteran artist gets 50% of the sales after production costs and the art therapy organization gets 10%
  • VeteranArtConnection.com turns art therapy into an entrepreneurial method for Veterans

 
MilitaryConnection.com is pleased to announce the launch of Veterans Art Connection, a joint partnership with Visions For Vets, that features an online gallery of art produced by America’s military heroes. The artwork, created by Veterans as a method of therapeutic release, will be featured and available for purchase in an online gallery.
 
Visions for Vets, based in St. Louis, Missouri, is a program designed by a Veteran for other Veterans that utilizes art therapy techniques as a treatment for PTSD, lifelong disabilities or any other issues that have been a result of a soldier’s military service. Prior to now, Visions for Vets has been a safe outlet for self-expression and a critical step in the healing process. Through this partnership with MilitaryConnection.com, Veterans are able to turn the results of their therapy into an entrepreneurial opportunity.
 
Art therapy has been proven to be an effective therapeutic method in the relief and reduction of tension and anxiety. In the instances of our retired servicemen and women, it also provides the opportunity for self-expression, healing and achievement of self-awareness. Many of these Veterans have been on disability and unable to work since leaving active duty. The Veteran Art Connection supplies these men and women with a unique opportunity to heal their invisible wounds through the power of art while establishing a possible revenue stream for their future.
 
MilitaryConnection.com is the “Go-To” site or the one-stop shop for Veterans, active military and their families. The site features a real-time job postings board with new employment opportunities for candidates across the country.In addition to the job postings board, MilitaryConnection.com is loaded with information that has proven helpful for active and retired military, military spouses, families, retirees and more. From writing a competitive resume and cover letter to preparing yourself for the interview; from finding a local place to get your free flu shot to picking an exercise that works best for you, MilitaryConnection.com has your needs covered.
 
MIlitaryConnection.com is the “Go-To” site for Veterans. With offices in Missouri, California and Maryland.

MilitaryConnection.com Under New Ownership

 

 

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MilitaryConnection.com Under New Ownership

Veterans Home Care owners Bonnie and Howard Laiderman are proud to announce the recent acquisition of Militaryconnection.com, a division of Gregory Media, Inc. The acquisition allows Veterans Home Care to offer a greater range of opportunities and broaden their efforts in helping more veterans, active military, and their families.

Both Bonnie Laiderman, founder and CEO of Veterans Home Care and Debbie Gregory, Military Connection founder and Gregory Media CEO established successful businesses by answering a need in the military community. Many active military personnel, veterans and their families fail to access available benefits and opportunities due to a lack of awareness.  

“Eighty-eight percent of our clients who responded to our survey were unaware of the VA’s Aid and Attendance pension until they heard about the VetAssist Program from Veterans Home Care,”
said Ms. Laiderman. Veterans Home Care educates veterans on VA Aid and Attendance eligibility and then offers them home care through their national network of more than 2,800 home care agencies.

“We have been looking for strategic ways to broaden our reach, and Militaryconnection.com was an immediate interest of ours,” said Ms. Laiderman. “It’s a great way for us to expand and connect with active military families as well as veterans and leverage our infrastructure to provide additional value throughout their lives.”

MilitaryConnection.com, launched by Ms. Gregory and Gregory Media, Inc. more than 10 years ago, is one of the most comprehensive online directories of resources and information for military, veterans, and their loved ones. It’s currently ranked #26 on the Top 60 Military Websites And Blogs To Follow in 2018 and also named as one of the Top 100 Employment Web Sites by Weddles LLC.

“After taking the website to heights that I had only previously imagined, I knew that in the right hands, the sky would be the limit,” said Ms. Gregory.  “Bonnie and I are in lock-step as far as giving back all that we can to the military and veteran community. I look forward to working with her throughout the transition and beyond.”

Since 2003, Veterans Home Care has pioneered a unique service model targeted nationwide to 65+ aged veterans or their surviving spouses eligible for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Pension with Aid and Attendance called the VetAssist Program.

 

Ms. Gregory is looking forward to having the time to focus her attention on VAMBOA.org, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association, a non-profit trade association that she founded with over 7,000 members nationally.

 

More Female Soldiers Graduate Army Ranger School

womenrangers

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.

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

cache of weapons

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

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