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Military Connection: Nick Lachey’s “Military Connection”

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By Debbie Gregory.

Nick Lachey and the USO have joined forces with the Almay Simply American Experience, and they’re taking it on the road. The Experience bus will be packed with Almay makeup goodies while they travel cross-country to the people, places and occasions that best exemplify the American spirit. There’s even a kissing booth and makeovers! While this is a lot of fun and games, the Experience is meant to raise both awareness and funds for the USO, especially for the women of the U.S. military.

After the kickoff event in New York, the bus traveled to Charlotte, NC for Memorial Day weekend. The rest of the schedule includes stops in Nashville, TN June 11th -14th, Baltimore, MD on the 4th of July, Chicago, IL on July 11th, Kansas City, KS on July 17th-18th, Columbus, OH on August 1st – 2nd, St Paul, MN on August 29th-30th, Dallas, TX on September 26th-27th, Fort Hood, TX on September 29th, and Austin, TX on October 3rd.

In a recent interview, Lachey said, “ … always make sure to thank our service men and service women. Too many of us take for granted what they do and the sacrifices they’re making, so I always make an attempt. Any time I see someone in an airport or on the street, I’ll thank them for their service.”

Lachey is no stranger to entertaining the troops, having a number of USO show under his belt. He even entertained on an aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean. Lachey’s wife, Vanessa Minnillo, was born at USAF Clark Regional Medical Center. Her father served in the Air Force, so patriotism comes easily to her as well.

In addition to his great work with the USO, Lachey also advocates for children and humanitarian causes through his work with organizations such as VH-1 Save The Music, Feeding America and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.  He is also founded the Nick Lachey Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping children, families and communities in need throughout the United States.

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: Nick Lachey’s “Military Connection”: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: USO Honors Admiral Winnefeld: By Debbie Gregory

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On December 4, 2014, the USO of Metropolitan New York held their 53rd Armed Forces Gala and Gold Medal Dinner. As part of the evening’s festivities, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff  Navy Adm. James A. “Sandy” Winnefeld Jr. and his wife, Mary, were honored with the USO’s Distinguished Service Award.

This was the first time a military leader and his spouse were awarded this particular honor, which is normally reserved for philanthropists and charitable organizations. The Winnefelds said that they were honored to accept an award from an organization they admire and respect.

“We should be awarding [members of the USO] for the things that you do each and every day,” Adm. Winnefeld said.

During his acceptance speech, Adm. Winnefeld recognized the military family members in the audience, particularly Gold Star mothers, those who had lost a child in service to their country. He also referred to the military as a family business.

The second-highest recognized member of the U.S. military also singled out his wife for her decades of work on behalf of the military community.

“I’m fairly certain we are here tonight primarily because of her,” Adm. Winnefeldsaid.

Mary Winnefeld has been helping military families for 30 years. She has volunteered her time in support of the families of deployed sailors, often cooking meals at Fisher House, or just providing comfort to those families. To this day, Mrs. Winnefeld remains a strong advocate for hiring Veterans and securing benefits for wounded warriors and their caregivers.

The admiral told attendees a story about how his wife once went “undercover” at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center as “Aunt Mary” to see firsthand how wounded service members and their families were being treated. Her findings and follow up efforts resulted in numerous improvements.

“She has a heart of gold, and I’m so very proud of her,” Adm. Winnefeld said.

The admiral and his wife graciously thanked the USO for all they do around the country. They reminded gala attendees to remember the U.S. service members, “in every time zone across the globe, who are hot, tired and dirty, who are sailors standing the watch on a ship’s bridge or in an engine room, or soldiers or Marines gearing up to go outside the wire, or airmen getting an airplane ready to launch out at some remote desert airfield.”

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: USO Honors Admiral Winnefeld: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection Remembers Robin Williams: By Debbie Gregory

071217-N-0696M-653Since his death on August 11, 2014, tributes to Robin Williams have flooded in. While the actor/comedian is often remembered for his tremendous talent and larger than life personality, the military community remembers Williams as a friend.

Robin Williams has been likened to the Bob Hope of the Iraq and Afghanistan generation of U.S. service members. Out of respect to the iconic Hope, Williams would humbly deny the distinction. But his own reputation for entertaining this generation of service members at U.S.O. shows in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Bahrain and at military bases across the globe is well known.

One of the most memorable moments from Williams’ U.S.O. lore occurred at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait on December 6, 2007. Williams was mid-show, entertaining the service members there, when a sound was heard, a sound that anyone who has served in the military responds to immediately, but one that most civilians aren’t familiar with: the sound of the bugle playing “Retreat” at sunset. On the Youtube video of the event, Williams can be seen actually saying “Uh-oh!” not knowing what was happening, as the entire audience to face the music behind them. Williams stood patiently and removed his cap, waiting for the bugle to stop playing before he continued. When the bugle stopped and the service members returned their attention to Williams, he genuinely asked what had just happened, and made fun of the moment, especially his ignorance of the custom. That was the genius of Williams. He took those deployed service members’ minds off of their deployments and made them laugh.

Several ranking officers, U.S.O. organizers and enlisted personnel have shared stories about Williams spending his entire time on military installations with the service members, getting to know them on an individual basis. Williams was even known to make it a priority to visit the on-duty personnel who weren’t able to make it to the show. While on a military base, Williams was notorious for shaking every hand and posing for every picture. Williams wanted the service members to know that he was there for them.

And when he returned home from the U.S.O. shows, Williams wanted to make sure that the American people knew that the service members were there for them, raising awareness and funding for military and Veteran organizations.

Robin Williams’ suicide came as a shock to the military community that loved and admired him. Many have eulogized Williams, but perhaps the truest words came from the commander-in-chief:

“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind,” President Obama said. “He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.”

He will be missed.

Military Connection Remembers Robin Williams:   By Debbie Gregory