Borne the Battle

By Department of Veterans Affairs

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Rate for this podcast

Subscribers: 68
Reviews: 2

Dan (W5FJN)
 Sep 25, 2019
Great shows, very helpful information. I just wish they were consistent in length. I usually only have about 30-45 minutes to listen to the show, and 45 minutes is a stretch. When they exceed an hour, I cannot listen to the entire show.

Walters
 Aug 14, 2019
very informative, greatly enjoy

Description

Hosted by Marine Corps Veteran Tanner Iskra, Borne the Battle recognizes each battle, challenge, and sacrifice our Veterans endure during and after their service, as well as spotlighting important resources, offices, and benefits VA offers our Veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not endorse or officially sanction any entities that may be discussed in this podcast, nor any media, products or services they may provide.

Episode Date
BtB Rewind: Marine Veteran, Hollywood Stuntwoman, Leaphy Khim
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This week we revisit the Episode 72 featuring Marine Veteran and Hollywood Stuntwoman, Leaphy Khim. eaphy was born to Cambodian refugee parents and joined the military after Sept 11 as a way to give back to her parents' adopted country. In 2002, she enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. From here, she received intense combat and weapons training through the Corps for more than 6 years. Now, she's pursuing a career in Hollywood as an actress and stuntwoman. 

Jul 26, 2021
BtB Rewind: Marine Veteran and Emmy Award Winning Director of Photography, Cinematographer - Rick Robinson
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Robinson entered the film industry with little more than his Marine Corp background and a drive to succeed. However, he leveraged his experiences, formed connections and learned the Hollywood lingo to land gigs working on some of the biggest films of his time. 

His success even allowed him to eventually tour with the likes of Whitney Houston, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. Overall, with perseverance, some help from his 1956 Corvette, and some luck, Robinson went far in the world of film. 

Jul 19, 2021
BtB Rewind: Marine Veteran Haley Carter, soccer player, coach
2012

This week we revisit the very first interview on Borne the Battle FKA "This Week at VA" - Marine Veteran and Retired professional soccer player, Haley Carter.

Jul 12, 2021
#249: Air Force Veteran Denise Jelinski-Hall, 3rd Senior Enlisted Advisor to the National Guard Bureau
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Denise Jelinski-Hall felt stuck in her small hometown of Little Falls, Minnesota, so she created a new future for herself by joining the Air Force. Years, later, Jelinski-Hall became the highest-ranking enlisted female in United States military history.

On this episode of Borne the Battle, Air National Guard Veteran Denise Jelinski-Halldiscusses her selection as Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, the changing roles of women in the military, and how “gray-area service members” are still entitled to VA benefits.

Jelinski-Hall found her calling with the Air Force but decided to transfer to the Air National Guard after marrying an active-duty Marine. She served three years in the California Air National Guard before transferring to Hawaii. Jelinski-Hall’s 28-year career included 12 years of active service, leadership of the Hawaii National Guard, and a position in the Pentagon advising the Chief of the National Guard Bureau.

In addition to her military service, Jelinski-Hall volunteers with United Through Reading and the Military Child Education Coalition. United Through Reading connects military families through recorded stories. Family members can record themselves reading and the recordings provide story time with that absent family member. Jelinski-Hall served on the board of the Military Child Education Coalition, an organization that supports the schooling of military children through mentorship and other supportive resources.

Jelinski-Hall is currently a military advisor for Veterans United Home Loans, where she educates Veterans about VA home loans and home ownership. She also wrote an autobiography, "From the Prairie to the Pentagon," and contributed to the leadership book "Breaching the Summit," alongside five other former Senior Enlisted Advisors.

In this episode, Jelinski-Hall discusses writing her autobiography, how to respectfully not take 'no' for an answer, and other leadership and life tips.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Mentioned in this episode:

Jul 05, 2021
#248: The Future of Entertainment Tech w/ Air Force Veteran Marti Moore, Vice President - Spectrum Communications
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This week’s episode of Borne the Battle features Air Force Veteran Marti Moore, who discusses her military career and she became group vice president of technology implementation at Spectrum Charter Communications. Moore served 11 years in the Air Force and Air Force Reserve as a systems engineering chief, and developed software for satellite tracking systems at Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado.

In 1995, Moore transitioned to civilian life. She discusses how she was recruited to work in technology through an officer recruiting program at Peterson Air Force Base and how her leadership experience in the military helped her succeed. Moore held various management positions in the media and telecommunications industries, including vice president of technology at Media News Group, and worked as a reservist at the Pentagon. In 2010, she became the vice president of Web Strategy and Customer Experience at Spectrum Charter. She currently leads an agile transformation team with the Engineering and Technology Department as the group vice president of Technology Implementation. Moore talks about how the entertainment experience is changing and how Spectrum is combatting Artificial Intelligence hacking programs.

Additionally, Moore talks about leading the Spectrum Veterans Business Resource Group (BRG) in 2019 as co-chair at Charter, and also talks about the history and mission of BRG. The Veterans BRG serves to help Veterans successfully transition to civilian life, grow their careers, and help businesses become successful. The Veterans group now has over 1,000 employees. Finally, she delves into how BRG offers employees who are also Veterans the opportunity to partake in mentorship, support and professional growth programs.

In this episode, Moore discusses…

  • Her definition of true leadership.
  • How Hiring Our Heroes helps Veterans secure civilian jobs.
  • The valued skills that Veterans bring to the civilian workforce.
  • Why Veterans should apply to Spectrum Charter.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

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Jun 28, 2021
#247: Using Humor and Camaraderie to Prevent Veteran Suicide
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This week’s episode of Borne the Battle features Texas Army National Guard Veteran Cindy McNally and Marine Corps Veteran Nate McDonald, the president and vice president of Irreverent Warriors. McNally and McDonald discuss Irreverent Warriors’ mission to improve mental health and prevent Veteran suicide worldwide by providing a space to build camaraderie at their Silkie Hike events.

McNally is the CEO and president of Irreverent Warriors. She and her family suffered the tragic and unexpected loss of her husband and Marine Corps Veteran, Rand, who took his own life after years of internal struggle. McNally has three children, two of whom followed their parents’ paths to military careers.

McDonald is the COO and vice president of Irreverent Warriors. He served as an intelligence operative for Special Projects, often jumping from team to team and deploying with a variety of units. Because he suffered multiple TBIs during his service, he chose to leave the military when his ability to perform in the field came into question.

McDonald then worked as a consultant with various US government and military organizations. He lost many comrades due to mental health issues, so when the opportunity to help arose, he joined Irreverent Warriors to positively impact the lives of other service men and women.

One of the greatest contributors to Veteran suicide is isolation, something that Irreverent Warriors seeks to combat by bringing Veterans together. Camaraderie is vital to soldiers during their service, and Irreverent Warriors aims to build it in the Veteran community. The Silkie Hikes are only open to Veterans and active-duty service members and happen across the country. This year, the organization is expanding internationally to recognize that Veteran suicide is not unique to the United States but is a worldwide issue.

McNally and McDonald discuss how they found and joined the organization, gained their leadership roles, ways in which VA can help to combat Veteran suicide, and the stunning impact of Irreverent Warriors on Veterans across the nation.

Jun 21, 2021
#246: Songwriting in Nashville with Navy Veteran Jonathan Kingham, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Operation Song
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High military aptitude test scores and high school curiosity earned Jonathan Kingham a place in the Navy that started him on the path toward a career as a singer-songwriter. On this episode of Borne the Battle, Kingham discusses how the Navy helped him enter the Seattle music scene, the evolution and future of the music industry, and how singers and songwriters make a living from music.

A high school friend convinced Kingham to skip class and take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test, starting him on a search for the right branch of the military. He entered basic training on Christmas Eve and progressed to machinist and nuclear power schools before being assigned to the USS Abraham Lincoln.

As a trained pianist, Kingham had to find a more portable alternative to bring on the ship, so he bought himself the guitar that would eventually accompany him to his first performances at open mic nights in San Francisco.

After San Francisco, the Navy took Kingham to Seattle, where he started performing regularly and landed his first paid gigs. He inquired about performing as an opening act for David Wilcox at a music club, The Backstage. His curiosity paid off, and he began to open for a mix of acts after his successful performance with Wilcox. In 2010, Toad the Wet Sprocketasked him to join as a touring member, leading to Kingham playing over 700 live shows with the band.

Kingham is also a writer for Operation Song, a Nashville-based nonprofit that helps Veterans, soldiers and their families process and transform their experiences into music. Operation Song pairs Veterans with songwriters who help put their stories into words and music.

In this episode, Kingham also discusses COVID’s impact on the music industry, the benefits and downfalls of streaming music, and how musical success doesn’t have to mean being a superstar.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Mentioned in this episode:

Jun 14, 2021
#245: Fighting to Repeal DADT w/ Air Force Veteran Josh Seefried
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Air Force Veteran Josh Seefried grew up knowing he wanted to serve in the Air Force. It started when his parents sent him to Space Camp in fifth grade, offering him the experience of a lifetime. The next summer, he participated in Aviation Challenge, getting the chance to fly and engage in aerial combat through a simulator. In seventh grade, he petitioned his congressman to get him into a shadow cadet program at the U.S. Air Force Academy, a program reserved only for high school students.

After high school, the Air Force Academy officially admitted Seefried as a student and he could not be happier. Yet, his enchantment with the Air Force – and the military more generally – soon turned into trauma. Seefried was gay and was blackmailed and exposed while serving under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

In this episode of Borne the Battle, Seefried shares his life’s story, from being blackmailed and outed as gay to becoming one of the nation’s foremost advocates for LGBT active-duty service members. He discusses:

  • When one of his academy teachers found out he was gay and blackmailed him for favors
  • Being outed as gay
  • How his superiors treated him when investigating his blackmail case
  • Using social media to stake out a space for LGBT members of the military to communicate
  • How he helped fellow service members come out after Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed

An early part of Seefried’s strategy to change the military’s culture for its LGBT members included the novel use of social media. At a time when social media platforms like Facebook were still new, Seefried formed online groups that connected thousands of LGBT service members.

Seefried regularly appeared on major broadcasting networks under the pseudonym “JD Smith,” advocating for the LGBT military community. But after President Obama signed the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, Seefried publicly came out.

After years of LGBT advocacy, Seefried left a lasting mark on the military. He entered the Air Force with high hopes and left it a place that he could feel proud of having been a part of.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

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Jun 07, 2021
#244: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier's Unknown History with Army Veteran Gavin McIlvenna
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This week’s Borne the Battle features Army Veteran Gavin McIlvenna, who talks about the selection process of becoming and walking as a tomb guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; he then shares about his own mentors, how he founded the Society of the Honor Guard, shares crazy guard stories and the process of disinterring a Veteran at the tomb.

Roughly 130,000 visitors toured Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day pre-COVID. This year may be different, but it is still an important occasion for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Memorial Day seeks to honor those who have fallen while serving our country, and the Unknown Soldiers are no different.

On November 11, 2021, Arlington National Cemetery will be commemorating the centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The centennial is not only a day to celebrate and remember the burial of the World War One’s Unknown Soldier but to reflect on what the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier means to the nation.

McIlvenna breaks down the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and how the tomb doesn’t represent just one conflict; it represents all conflicts, the significance and purpose behind the upcoming events for centennial and where Americans can find information on these events and projects.

Lastly, McIIvenna talks about the first VA facility to have a never forget me garden, why every American should visit the tomb, and how communities can get involved in the centennial and learn about a unique part of its history and why the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is important to so many gold star families and Veterans.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

  • The Veteran in your life that is no longer with you. 

Additional links:

May 31, 2021
BREAKING: Agent Orange Presumptive Conditions
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VA announced today two major decisions related to presumptive conditions associated with Agent Orange and particulate matter exposures during military service in Southwest Asia.

Agent Orange

VA will begin implementing provisions of the William M. Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (Public Law 116-283), adding three conditions to the list of those presumptively associated with exposure to herbicide agents, more commonly known as Agent Orange. Those conditions are bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and Parkinsonism.

“Many of our Nation’s Veterans have waited a long time for these benefits,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough. “VA will not make them wait any longer. This is absolutely the right thing to do for Veterans and their families.”

VA will apply the provisions of court orders related to Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which may result in an earlier date for entitlement to benefits for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Vietnam War era Veterans and their survivors who previously filed and were denied benefits for one of these three new presumptive conditions will have their cases automatically reviewed without the need to refile a claim. VA will send letters to impacted Veterans and survivors.

Particulate Matter Exposures

The Secretary recently concluded the first iteration of a newly formed internal VA process to review scientific evidence to support rulemaking, resulting in the recommendation to consider creation of new presumptions of service connection for respiratory conditions based on VA’s evaluation of a National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine report and other evidence. VA’s review supports initiation of rulemaking to address the role that particulate matter pollution plays in generating chronic respiratory conditions, which may include asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis for Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during the Persian Gulf War and/or after September 19, 2001, or in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War.

“VA is establishing a holistic approach to determining toxic exposure presumption going forward. We are moving out smartly in initiating action to consider these and other potential new presumptions, grounded in science and in keeping with my authority as Secretary of VA,” said Secretary McDonough.

VA is initiating rulemaking to consider adding respiratory conditions, which may include asthma, sinusitis and rhinitis, to the list of chronic disabilities based on an association with military service in Southwest Asia, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan during the covered periods of conflict. VA will conduct broad outreach efforts to reach impacted Veterans and it encourages them to participate in the rulemaking process.

For more information, visit our website at Airborne Hazards and Burn Pit Exposures – Public Health.

May 27, 2021
#243: Benefits Breakdown, Veterans Legacy Memorial
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With Memorial Day 2021 approaching, VA’s National Cemetery Administration wants to remind people that the Veterans Legacy Memorial, or VLM, website is available as a resource to help pay tribute to Veterans who have passed away. VLM is a public online database memorializing the over 3.7 million Veterans interred in VA national cemeteries. With COVID-19 still present, VLM is an excellent way for people to honor our nation’s Veterans at the comfort of their own home.

Click here for VLM’s website: http://www.va.gov/remember.

In this episode of Borne the Battle, Air Force Veteran and Digital Services Officer for the National Cemetery Administration James LaPaglia talks about why he loves doing his job. He delves into the enhanced features that NCA staff plan to make available on VLM by Memorial Day. Features they plan to reopen include allowing users to submit:

  • Photographs
  • Historical documents
  • Biographical information

VLM will also continue to allow users to leave a tribute on a Veteran’s page. Through a tribute, users can post a thoughtful message for future viewers to read.

And as per usual VLM practice, all submitted content will be reviewed by administrators before being posted. This ensures that all submissions comply with VLM standards and maintains the spirit of the website.

Users can also expect to see a “follow” feature come Memorial Day. With this, users can follow a Veteran’s page and get automatic email updates when new content appears on their profile.

Committed to making sure that no Veteran’s story goes unrecognized, NCA future plans include expanding the VLM database to include Veterans interred at state and tribal VA cemeteries, those managed by the military, private ones and many more.

With online platforms making it easier to honor our nation’s Veterans, LaPaglia said he hopes that this website becomes a place friends, families and strangers can use to share and preserve the stories and memories of those who served our country.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Additional Links:

  • If you have questions regarding VLM, click here to read their FAQ. You can also find VLM Customer Support’s phone and email here.
  • VA national cemeteries are allowing visitors but require adherence to safety measures. Click here to learn more.
  • Memorial Day 2020 ceremonies were not open to the public because of COVID-19 concerns. However, ceremonies were all available virtually and recordings are available here.
  • For eligibility requirements to be buried at a VA national cemetery, click here for more information.
  • VA to readjudicate Veteran and survivor claims for possible herbicide exposure
May 24, 2021
BONUS: COVID Update No. 9, Vaccine Acceptance Successes, Building Trust with the Minority Veteran Community
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Veteran vaccine acceptance comes down to trust and truth, according to VA Office of Health and Equity’s Dr. Ernest Moy. On this bonus episode, Dr. Moy provides updates on Veteran vaccination rates and vaccine acceptance. He speaks on health care disparities, trust and transparency in vaccine trials and VA’s success in vaccinating minority populations.

Dr. Moy began his career over 25 years ago at VA Manhattan during medical school, followed by a residency at VA Philadelphia and a first job at VA Baltimore. He began to study health care disparities at a time when people didn’t believe the disparities existed. Now, Dr. Moy explains how VA and other health care systems address the disparities instead of denying their existence.

Health care disparities exist in areas such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and geographic location. Dr. Moy works to diminish these disparities to make health care more equitable and accessible to all Americans. At VA, he aims to identify high risk populations so VHA can address issues faced by specific populations.

Dr. Moy explains the rationales of Veterans who refuse the vaccine at VA health care centers, which is often a matter of choice, not outright refusal. Veterans are still getting vaccinated, just on their own terms.

In this episode, Dr. Moy explains how VA is more effective than public health care systems at easing the worries of minority populations about the COVID vaccines and why rural Veterans aren’t getting vaccinated as quickly as urban Veterans.

Additional Links:

May 22, 2021
#242: A SEAL Overcoming through Sports w/ Navy Veteran Al Kovach, Paralympian and past President of Paralyzed Veterans of America
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When Navy Veteran Al Kovach woke up after spinal surgery, he asked the nurse if he was still alive. She answered affirmatively, and he immediately began to plan for his future as a paralyzed Veteran.

Kovach, a former Navy SEAL, Paralympian and two-time LA Marathon champion, joins Borne the Battle to discuss his career as a disabled athlete, his time as President of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), and the impact and challenges of PVA.

The SEALs recruited Kovach out of nuclear power school due to his swimming career at Indiana University under legendary swim coach Doc Counsilman.

A parachute jump in 1991 went wrong, ending with Kovach undergoing surgery but never walking again. A member of PVA came to the hospital after he woke up to help him with his paperwork and transition to life as a paralyzed Veteran.

Living as a paralyzed Veteran allowed Kovach to return to competitive sports. He trained and competed in marathons, winning the LA Marathon twice and representing the USA in the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta. He also completed a transcontinental triathlon.

Kovach found a new community within PVA and became actively involved in the VSO. Paralyzed Veterans of America is a congressionally chartered Veteran Service Organization (VSO). There are many Veteran nonprofits, but a Congressional Charter recognizes VSOs that are experts in their field. Congress and VA recognized PVA’s expertise as leaders in medicine and care for paralyzed Veterans. PVA was founded in 1946 when, as Kovach explains, medicine advanced enough to save paralyzed Veterans’ lives.

In this episode, Kovach discusses his athletic career, PVA’s congressional advocacy, and the changes he and other members of the PVA fight to improve quality of life for all disabled Americans.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week: 

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May 17, 2021
#241: Motherhood and Deployments with Air Force Veteran Amanda Huffman, Host of Women of the Military Podcast, Author, Blogger
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In this episode of Borne the Battle, Air Force Veteran Amanda Huffman – a military spouse, blogger and host of the Women of the Military podcast – discusses transitioning from active duty to diaper duty, Veteran women who deploy shortly after becoming mothers and what men should be conscious of about the female military experience.

Huffman’s interest in military service began after the events of September 11, 2001. She realized that enlisting in the military was something that she wanted to do and could do. And after hearing that many of her friends were joining during her freshman year of college, she wanted to learn more about the variety of opportunities within the military and soon decided to enter the ROTC program after graduating from Fresno State.

After serving in the Air Force and being deployed to Afghanistan, Huffman transitioned out the military to become a military spouse while her husband stayed in the military. This allowed her the opportunity to become the mom and provide a more stable environment for her family. While navigating the journey of motherhood, Huffman decided to turn to writing as an outlet and created the blog airmantomom.com to share her personal experiences with being a mom, military spouse, being a woman in the military and to help other military women.

Soon after Huffman started blogging and creating her website, she became the host of Women of the Military podcast that shares the stories of military women and covers a variety of topics. She also shares why she started a Youtube channel called Girl’s Guide to the Military.

Also in this episode, Huffman shares what she learned from her own community about being a women Veteran, what she learned while in the military, how she is trying to change the narrative of military women and why it’s important for women to share their stories.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

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May 10, 2021
#240: Benefits Breakdown: Home Interest Rate Reduction Loans (IRRRL)
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Home interest rates are at historic lows and VA home loans offer lower rates than any other type of home loan. Navy Veteran John Bell, deputy director of VA's Loan Guaranty Service, joins Borne the Battle to break down VA’s Interest Rate Reduction and Refinance Loan (IRRRL), mortgage refinancing, VA home loans and how these benefits help Veterans stay in their homes.

Bell, a Gulf War Veteran, began his career in the mortgage industry working in the private sector. Before starting with VA, Bell most recently served as Vice President of VA Real Estate Management at Bank of America. He held other senior leadership positions at large lending institutions where he designed a portfolio retention strategy that is now an industry-leading model.

Bell started with VA in 2010. Before taking his current position, he served as the assistant director for Loan Policy and Valuation in VA's Loan Guaranty Service, where he helped reduce timelines for determining eligibility from 14 days to less than 48 hours.

Bell builds on his appearance in Borne the Battle's #150: Benefits Breakdown – 75th Anniversary of the VA Home Loan Program episode to answer key questions about VA home loans, refinancing, the current mortgage market and IRRRLs. He says VA Home Loan Guaranty services want to be the voice of the Veteran and aims to help Veterans buy and stay in the home of their dreams.

This episode answers these questions:

  • How quickly can a Veteran receive their certificate of eligibility for a VA Home Loan?
  • What are the pandemic and CARES Act doing to the mortgage market?
  • Why are Veterans receiving mailers about Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loans (IRRRLs) and what are IRRRLs?
  • How do IRRRLs work and where do you start when seeking refinancing?
  • Why use IRRRLs now? What might be delaying an IRRRL right now?
  • How often can you refinance your mortgage?
  • What are important questions to ask your lender?
  • What fees are negotiable when closing on refinancing? What third party fees are involved?
  • Does VA require you to escrow?
  • What is the best way to shop for an effective rate and how do you avoid predatory lending?

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Mentioned in this episode:

May 03, 2021
#239: Future of Team Rubicon with Marine Veteran Jake Wood, Former Sniper, Veterans Coalition for Vaccinations
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This week's episode of Borne the Battle features Marine Corps Veteran and entrepreneur Jake Wood, co-founder of Team Rubicon.

Wood's post-military story began on January 12, 2010, when a devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake ravaged Haiti, killing and injuring hundreds of thousands and displacing over a million people. Several thousands of miles away, in Los Angeles, the recently separated Iraq and Afghanistan combat Veteran was waiting for his graduate school admissions results and turned on the television. Seeing the crisis in Haiti unfold, Wood thought that it would be a waste to not put his military training to use by helping with the humanitarian relief efforts. He called eight Veterans to join him, and together, they headed off to Haiti. It was during their service in Haiti that Wood and his group came up with the ideas that led to the creation of Team Rubicon.

Under Wood’s leadership, Team Rubicon went from an 8-person idea to an acclaimed nonprofit with over 140,000 volunteers across America. The organization has deployed 790+ operations to provide humanitarian relief for disasters around the world. Most recently, Team Rubicon spearheaded a partnership with five other Veterans’ organizations to help Veterans leverage their unique skills and experiences to help with the American vaccination effort.

And though Team Rubicon is thriving under his leadership, Wood announced his intention to step down as the organization’s CEO in March 2021. He argues that “organizations, if they are not evolving, they are slowly dying.” Hoping for new hands and fresh ideas to keep Team Rubicon running, Wood picked his COO, Art delaCruz, to be Team Rubicon’s next CEO.

With his organization in trusted hands, Wood plans to focus on his other interests. Most recently, he found joy in writing and published his well-received book, “Once a Warrior,” a story of his life’s journey written to inspire other Veterans to discover their purpose after taking the uniform off.

From the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to humanitarian frontlines, Wood has navigated some of the world’s most complex environments. Don't miss out on his story by listening to this episode of Borne the Battle.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

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Apr 26, 2021
#238: Mental Health for ANY Veteran w/ Army Veteran Dr. Anneke Vandenbroek
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In this episode of Borne the Battle, Army Veteran Dr. Anneke Vandenbroek, a board-certified clinical psychologist, discusses changes in treating Veterans in times of COVID, cognitive behavioral therapy, the importance of mental healthcare and how any Veteran, regardless of discharge status, can receive cost-free mental health care at any Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic in the country.

Dr. Vandenbroek joined the Army during her doctoral program when she received the Health Professions Scholarship. She had little idea of the variety of jobs and opportunities that awaited her in the military. After graduating from Nova Southeastern University with her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, she was later stationed in Hawaii.

After serving at Tripler Army Medical Center, Dr. Vandenbroek retired from the military and transitioned to a similar civilian position within the Department of Defense, which allowed her to maintain a career while her husband was still in the military. She continued to pivot within her career as her military family dynamic continued to change throughout the years.

A final move to Maryland resulted in Dr. Vandenbroek taking a position at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Her work at Walter Reed differed from the pre-9/11 years she spent at Tripler, bringing challenging new injuries, experiences and complications during her 10 years at the medical center.

Dr. Vandenbroek left Walter Reed in 2017 and is currently the director of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals. Although this particular clinic serves the DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia region, The Cohen Veterans Network partners with many different organizations to run clinics that serve everyone regardless of their discharge status or benefit status. There are 20 Cohen Clinics nationwide that serve children as young as four years old, active duty service members, family members and caregivers. By the end of 2021, the Cohen Veterans Network plans to have 25 operational clinics. In the interview, Dr. Vandenbroek said that Cohen Clinics receive many referrals from VA facilities.

Also in this episode, Dr. Vandenbroek discusses what cognitive behavioral therapy is and how it works, the increase in need for mental health care during the COVID-19 pandemic, the rewards of helping Veterans improve their quality of life through mental health care and how good communication skills can help Veteran families.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Mentioned in this episode:

Apr 19, 2021
#237: Sustainable Employment for Veterans and Military Spouses w/ RADM Dan Kloeppel
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On this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Navy Veteran Dan Kloeppel shares the story of his military career and how he later became an airline pilot who founded two nonprofit organizations. He formed the latter alongside his wife, Deb, to help Veterans and military spouses with job placement.

In service, Kloeppel was a naval aviator. He discusses his 36 years in the Navy and Navy Reserve. After transitioning out of the military and retiring from a career as a pilot, he and his wife founded two non-profit organizations called Corporate America Supports You and Military Spouse Corporate Career Network.

Kloeppel breaks down why their two non-profits are serving two sectors of the Veteran and military communities and shares how transitioning service members, Veterans, military spouses and Veteran caregivers can successfully land a job through the job placement process. He then details how this population has the necessary skillset to succeed in corporate America.

The non-profits have successfully grown, becoming networks that includes vetjobs.org. Since 2010, these nonprofit networks have helped over 120,000 Veterans and military spouses secure careers with an average salary of $70,000. Kloeppel also shares advice for how Veteran nonprofit organizations just starting can market themselves and build credibility to achieve funding. Lastly, Kloeppel shares his knowledge on how his non-profit job boards differ from popular job placement companies.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

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Apr 12, 2021
#236: Treating PTSD w/o Pharmaceuticals w/ Navy SEAL Veteran Mikal Vega, Actor, Producer, Director, Yoga Teacher
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Mikal Vega is an accomplished actor, Kundalini Yoga teacher and founder of the nonprofit, Vital Warrior. In this episode of Borne the Battle, Vega discusses his struggle with military transition, finding treatment for his PTSD, discovering alternative therapies, and founding a nonprofit with the goal of sharing what he has learned.

Vega served 22 years in the Navy as an EOD specialist and SEAL. He found his purpose as a shield for people who couldn’t protect themselves. During a mission, an IED hit his vehicle and the damage from the blast resulted in severe cervical trauma. That trauma changed the course of Vega’s life.

Only later did he realize the extent of his injuries when he began to struggle in his civilian life and personal relationships. Instead of crumbling under the weight of injury and PTSD, Vega channeled his recovery successes into helping other Veterans and their families. Vital Warrior is a non-profit organization and therapeutic system designed to help Veterans and their families to destress, heal and gain strength from their experiences without the aid of prescription drugs. His goal? Putting a brick and mortar Vital Warrior studio outside every military base.

When Vega transitioned to civilian life and dealt with post-traumatic stress, he took up the practice of Kundalini Yoga. Now, he shares the practice and other techniques that helped him to heal with his clients. Vital Warrior takes a discipline-oriented and regimented approach to yoga practice, which Vega teaches in Venice, CA, where he offers free classes to Veterans. Vega empowers his students to reject the victim mindset and take responsibility for their health.

In this episode, Vega discusses:

  • His experience with injury and a path to healing.
  • The reasons he left the military after 22 years.
  • How he got to where he is now.
  • His Hollywood career as an actor, director and producer.
  • Directing motion-capture filming for Activision during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

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Apr 05, 2021
#235: VA Secretary Denis McDonough
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On Feb. 8, 2021, Denis McDonough was confirmed by the Senate to be the United States’ 11th Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He heads into the job with a rich background filled with experience navigating the government’s complex bureaucracy. Being a veteran of Capitol Hill, he aims to leverage his knowledge to better serve our nation’s military Veterans.

In this episode of Borne the Battle, McDonough touches on topics important to many Veterans:

While being VA Secretary is a new position for McDonough, he has taken steps to bridge the gaps in his knowledge by renewing a tradition that he followed as White House chief of staff. He reached out to as many former VA Secretaries he could to ask them for advice. In the interview, McDonough said the conversations have served him well so far and he intends to maintain these relationships moving forward.

And while McDonough is not a Veteran, he contacted multiple Veterans during his first weeks as secretary to solicit their advice and general thoughts on the state of VA. In doing so, McDonough said he has learned valuable information on what issues are important to Veterans and has used those discussions to shape his priorities.

Being a lifelong civil servant, McDonough enters his new position with a vast wealth of knowledge about navigating the federal government to achieve goals. Whether he successfully leverages his extensive experience from Capitol Hill to effectively serve America’s Veterans – he says that will ultimately be decided by you.

In addition to listening to full episodes on your favorite podcatcher, you can also catch Borne the Battle interviews on YouTube.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Mar 29, 2021
#234: Nurses in Vietnam w/ Army Veteran Diane Carlson Evans
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Army Veteran Diane Carlson Evans, founder of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation, joined Borne the Battle to discuss her decision to become a nurse, time serving in Vietnam as a combat nurse, decision to re-enlist after working in a civilian hospital and her fight for a women’s memorial on the National Mall.

Growing up on a farm in Minnesota, Evans always knew she wanted to be a nurse. After her second oldest brother was drafted, she had no doubt that she would go to Vietnam herself. So she went to Minneapolis, found an Army Nurse Recruiter and asked how she, too, could go to Vietnam.

Evans enlisted and served in Vietnam from 1968-69 as a trauma nurse in the surgical and burn wards at Vung Tau and later as head nurse in a surgical unit at Pleiku. She treated wounded soldiers and civilians, many of whom came straight from the worst of the fighting.

When she came home, Evans worked in a civilian hospital for three weeks. She wasn’t allowed to do many of the procedures that had been part of her everyday duties in Vietnam and she felt stifled. She left the position when she realized she wasn’t suited to work with those who couldn’t understand her experience.

In 1984, Evans incorporated the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project as a non-profit organization after visiting the Vietnam War Memorial and realizing that women weren’t visible. In fact, there weren't any memorials for women Veterans in the nation's capital and, when she brought it up, faced great opposition from those who felt the idea was misguided and unnecessary. It then became her goal to bring visibility to the service and sacrifice of the women who served in Vietnam.

After nearly 10 years of Congressional and federal hearings, the project gained enough support to receive approval for a statue. On November 11, 1993, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial was dedicated as part of the larger Vietnam War Memorial.

Today, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation continues to identify the women who served, document their needs, and facilitate research to address those needs and to educate visitors about the service of women during the Vietnam War.

 
In this episode, Evans shares:

  • Her path to nursing and Vietnam.
  • Stories from her time serving as a combat nurse in Vietnam.
  • Her return home and reenlistment.
  • The treatment of Vietnam Veterans.
  • The story behind and fight for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Mentioned in this Episode:

Mar 22, 2021
#233: Honoring Vietnam Veterans with MG Peter Aylward
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This week’s Borne the Battle episode features Army Veteran Major General Peter Aylward (Ret.). He discusses his military career, mentors, how he became the national director of the Vietnam War Commemoration and how the program adapted its events during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 29, 2021, National Vietnam War Veterans Day will be celebrating its 4th anniversary. The commemoration was authorized by Congress and established by the Department of Defense to reach out and provide a long overdue thank you to Vietnam Veterans who did not receive a proper welcome after they returned home.

Today, there are over 6.2 million living Vietnam Era Veterans who earned our nation’s gratitude. Maj. Gen. Aylward breaks down the history and mission of the program and how others can contribute and become a Vietnam 50th War Commemorative partner.

The commemoration gives a lapel pin to every living Vietnam Era Veteran, as well as their next of kin. The pin is a token of appreciation to all who served and sacrificed for their country. So far, the program has reached and recognized over 3 million Vietnam Veterans.

Lastly, Aylward, talks about how the commemoration provides a sense of healing and reconciliation to all Vietnam Era Veterans and how the commemoration measures success.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week

Mentioned in this Episode:

Mar 15, 2021
#232: "Buenas Noches Capitán Mamá," Air Force Veteran Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Publisher, Author, Global Marketer
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This week's Borne the Battle features Air Force Veteran Graciela Tiscareno-Sato, who discusses her efforts in overcoming the adversity of a stereotypical workforce, and breaking barriers while transitioning to become the founder of a niche publishing, marketing and communications firm. She is also the author of bilingual children and entrepreneurship books.

Tiscareno-Sato joined the Air Force on the advice of her high school counselor’s husband to apply for a ROTC Scholarship. After school, she completed Undergraduate Navigator Training at Mather Air Force Base (AFB) in Sacramento and then graduated near the top of her class – as the only woman in the class. She then trained in the KC-135R refueling tanker at Castle AFB in California before reporting to the 43rd Air Refueling Squadron at Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington.

On her first deployment was to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, she was a member of one of the first few aircrews to patrol and enforce the Southern NO FLY Zone in Southern Iraq after the conclusion of Operation Desert Storm. She and her crew earned the air medal. This happened 10 months before Congress lifted the Combat Exclusion Law that barred women from being assigned to combat duties.

In the podcast, Tisacareno-Sato tells the story of how this Air Medal almost didn't happen for her crew because of this technicality.

During her military career, she visited four continents and flew for thousands of hours. As an instructor, she taught GPS and navigation systems. She also learned how to work in a cross-cultural environment, which set her up for a future in global marketing.

After her service, Tiscareno-Sato pursued and secured a position at Siemens as a global marketer. She is also the author of an Amazon bestselling bilingual children's book, Good Night Captain Mama/Buenas Noches Capitán Mamá, the first bilingual children's book about why mommies serve in the military.

This ground-breaking book was honored at the American Library Association National Convention (2014 International Latino Book Awards)  in the category of "Best Educational Children's Book - Bilingual." Since then, the book has won awards in competitions among military writers, independent publishers and The Writer’s Digest Magazine.

In this episode, Tiscareno-Sato discusses:

  • The importance of mentorship.
  • Her military career that took her across the globe and inspired a love for travel and culture.
  • Life as one of the first females to fly combat missions for the Air Force.
  • Transition tips from her experience as an airman and civilian teacher.
  • The journey to founding the Gracefully Global Group.
  • The importance of personal branding.
  • “Book Birthing.”
  • Writing tips and the best ways to publish a book.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Mentioned in this episode:

Mar 08, 2021
#231: Combat Wounded to CEO w/ Army Veteran Dawn Halfaker
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Army Veteran Dawn Halfaker never expected she would be be in the military. She was a guard on her high school basketball team when the NCAA sponsored her trip to visit West Point, one of the schools recruiting her. Hesitant but with nothing to lose, she accepted the trip. She soon fell in love with the school and her thereby set the course of her future career.

Halfaker graduated from West Point in 2001, and since then, she has gone on to accomplish many great things. In this episode of Borne the Battle, she spoke on a few of her many accomplishments:

  • Overcoming adversity despite suffering a permanent injury while serving in Iraq
  • Serving as a military liaison to the House Armed Services Committee
  • Working for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency at a time when the agency developed groundbreaking new technologies
  • Bringing an important woman’s perspective to the Wounded Warrior Project as its board’s chairwoman
  • Being part of a VA committee that fundamentally reshaped how VA provides care for its wounded Veterans

One of the most notable achievements Halfaker discussed was how she built up her own business and turned it into one that now has over 600 employees. She had no experience running a business before, facing a difficult journey. However, she met like-minded people similarly committed toward creating innovative solutions to modernize the government and went from there.

With a life full of civic, business and personal accomplishments, Halfaker is a champion of change. In 2014, VA recognized her as a Woman Veteran of Change.

And in 2020, Halfaker was listed as among Washington’s Top 10 Health Executives to Watch.

She overcame one of the biggest hurdles of her life after an injury in Iraq and created success for herself. She lives her company’s vision: “Continue to Serve.”

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Additional Links

Mar 01, 2021
#230: Benefits Breakdown, Veterans Readiness and Employment Program (VR&E)
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This week’s Borne the Battle is a Benefits Breakdown, exploring the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) service and chatting with its Executive Director and Navy Veteran William Streitberger.

In the Navy for nine years, Streitberger served in intelligence, recruiting and career counseling. Since then, he has dedicated almost 20 years of his career to VR&E, a service that he, himself, used. Following the loss of his job in 2001, Streitberger leaned on the support of VR&E, which at the time was called the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VocRehab).

He was appointed executive director of Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) service in September 2018. As executive director, Streitberger is responsible for overseeing the delivery of VR&E services to Veterans with service-connected disabilities and service members who're in the process of transitioning from the military to prepare for, find and maintain suitable careers, or obtain independence in their daily living.

VR&E is not "another GI Bill," and it's actually separate from the GI Bill. VR&E is an employment service that administers Title 38 Chapter 31 benefits to Veterans with a minimum 10% disability. Eligibility differs from entitlement.

Eligibility

  • Veterans with a service-connected disability of 10% or greater.
  • Must not have surpassed 12 years from date of discharge or first notification of VA-rated disability.

Entitlement

  • Disability must be directly causing a barrier to employment.
  • Veterans will then be assessed for interests and capabilities to help find a new career field that will not worsen disability.

Recently, the program has greatly expanded in the last few years. In 2020, VR&E hired 100 more counselors and it plans to do the same in 2021. Since March 1, 2020, VR&E has used VA Video Connect for over 100,000 appointments in an effort to increase accessibility.

In this episode, Streitberger discusses:

  • What VR&E does.
  • Who can apply for the service.
  • What the benefits entail.
  • How to apply for the program.
  • How VR&E benefits differ from and can be used in tandem with GI Bill benefits.

More information can be found at the VR&E home page or by calling 1-800-827-1000.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Additional Links:

Feb 22, 2021
#229: Automation Manufacturing w/ Air Force Veteran Jackson Henderson
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On this episode of Borne the Battle, Air Force Veteran Jackson Henderson shares his transition story and becoming an Electrical Maintenance Technician.

Henderson was influenced by two of his friends to join the military, and he would soon develop relevant technical skills that he would carry with him to his future careers. He discusses serving his entire enlistment in Minot, North Dakota, the importance of maintaining friendships while serving in the military and transitioning into civilian life.

Recently, Henderson left the Air Force, and landing a job was not an easy task. He shares about searching for and applying to various jobs, talks about how he was invited to attend the Rockwell Automation Academy of Advanced Manufacturing Program, and emphasizes the importance of putting your name out there through various websites that help Veterans find jobs.

What is the Rockwell AAM program? Henderson details the available course opportunities within the program and offers advice to transitioning service members on how they can find employment opportunities through the program, emphasizing the importance of trade schools and their value.

Henderson then talks about how he found his current job through the AAM program, what it’s like working in the manufacturing sector, the future of automation, and how a Veteran who does not have technical experience can gain experience to improve their job prospects.

Finally, he offers advice to transitioning service members on they can find employment opportunities.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Additional Links

Feb 15, 2021
#228: LtGen Walter Gaskin, 19th Deputy Chair of the NATO Military Committee
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This week's episode of Borne the Battle features retired Marine Corps Veteran Lieutenant General Walter Gaskin, the first Black American to command a Marine Division and the 19th Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee. Gaskin discusses the challenges in overcoming adversity, stereotypes and biases in the international military community.

Inspired by a cousin who fought in Vietnam – and who was celebrated as a hero by his family and friends – Gaskin joined his high school’s ROTC program to pursue a military path through college. He deferred his draft to finish school and, later, earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Oklahoma.

Gaskin served as the Commanding General of the 2d Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, NC, from June 2006 until July 2008. In addition to this role, he concurrently served as the Commanding General of II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) during its year-long deployment to Al Anbar Province, Iraq, as well as the Commanding General of Multinational Forces-West.

Early in his career, Gaskin was one of only a handful of Black Americans in his division. He faced initial prejudice but eventually earned respect. Gaskin was one of the few representatives of the Black community in the Marine Corps, and in leadership positions for much of his career. His character was the example for others to see beyond skin color and was emblematic of the need for talent-based appointment and judgement.

Gaskin would later serve as the 19th Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, from May 2009 to August 2013. In that role, he also served as Acting Chairman of the NATO Military Committee from November 2011 to January 2012, making him only the second American to ever hold the billet.

In the podcast interview, Gaskin described how the international community wasn’t used to seeing Black Americans in high-ranking positions and that he strove to normalize the presence of people of color in positions of command. Performance, not color, is what matters most.

Gaskin currently serves as North Carolina’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

In this episode, Gaskin also discusses:

  • His retirement and transition into civilian life.
  • His experiences as the CEO of a defense contractor.
  • Advice for Veterans interested in government contracting.
  • His hardest job and the pressure he felt as a representative of his community.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Mentioned in this episode:

Feb 08, 2021
BtB Rewind: Navy Veteran Debra Russell
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In addition to revisiting Navy Veteran Debra Russell's interview, this week's Borne the Battle Rewind shares information about, future Fisher House locations, rural COVID vaccines and how caregivers can receive the vaccine through VA.

*Interview originally aired 3/17/2017

This week’s podcast features Navy Veteran Debra Russell. Debra joined the military in 1984 and served until 1997. She worked in supply early on and went on to work on the staff for an Admiral.  She was “med-boarded” after a running accident and was separated from the military. Around that same time, she was dealing with a sexual assault she experienced with a superior. Debra opens up regarding her service, her transition, and how she uses art and photography for therapy.

Covered in the Episode:

  • Why Debra joined the military
  • Her experience in the Navy
  • Being sexually assaulted by a superior
  • Overcoming an emotional crisis
  • Using her local Vet Center
  • Why she enjoys photography
  • Being a part of the women veterans art exhibit
  • Resources for women Veterans

#BtBattle Veteran of the Day: 

Feb 01, 2021
#227: New York Times Bestselling Author John Del Vechicco, Army Veteran, Historian, Hiker
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John Del Vecchioattended Lafayette College in the late 1960s, a time when tensions over U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War was high. Anti-war protests emerged all around him and popular media figures constantly spoke of the war in negative terms. He even had professors who refused to teach in protest of the war. Yet, Del Vecchio remained skeptical about how bad things really were in Vietnam. On Nov. 4, 1969, he got his chance to see the Vietnam War for himself.

In this episode of Borne the Battle, Del Vecchio shares how he went from being a combat correspondent to a very accomplished author. Some of the topics covered include:

  • His experience training at The Defense Information School.
  • The hurdles he had to go through to get his orders changed and be sent to Vietnam.
  • His unique experience serving as a combat correspondent with the 101st Airborne Division.
  • The act of heroism that earned him a Bronze Star Medal with a “V”.
  • His experiences after returning from Vietnam.
  • How he got his first book published and what he thinks today's aspiring authors need to do to find success.

Having experienced the Vietnam War firsthand, Del Vecchio has prioritized what he calls "setting the Vietnam War’s record straight." In 1972, Del Vecchio began writing his first book, “13th Valley,” hoping to leave a factual account of the Vietnam War available for future historians and Veterans. The last thing he expected was to write one of the best books on the Vietnam War and to receive acclaim from Vietnam Veterans around the world.

When not fighting against Vietnam War misinformation, Del Vecchio likes to be one with nature. He is an avid hiker who enjoys discussing contemporary American culture alongside stunning photos of nature on his blog.

With a life full of unique and diverse experiences, Del Vecchio’s interview has something interesting for listeners from any walk of life.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Additional Links:

Jan 25, 2021
BONUS: COVID Update No. 8, Home Loan Forbearance Protections Amid COVID-19
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If you have a federally backed loan (VA, FHA, USDA, etc) and are having difficulty paying your mortgage due to the coronavirus pandemic, deadlines are approaching to apply for CARES Act forbearance or foreclosure assistance. Listen to this Borne the Battle bonus episode. It answers many questions about forbearances and gives information on how to apply.
Jan 20, 2021
#226: Marine Corp Veteran Scott Stump, President and CEO, National Desert Storm Memorial Association
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This week’s Borne the Battle episode features Marine Corps Veteran Scott Stump, who discusses his military career to becoming President and CEO of the National Desert Storm Memorial Association.

 

Stump became intrigued with joining the military while in college and soon decided to follow in the footsteps of several family members who served before him. Stump discusses serving 4 1/2 years in the Marine Corps Reserve, being activated for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, learning valuable lessons in the military, and transitioning into civilian life.

While on active duty, Stump was so dedicated to finish his college degree that he would complete assignments right in the fighting hole. In the episode, he shares an interesting story about the conversation he had with the dean of his school on a field phone while serving overseas. Stump also provides a surprising fact about how Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield reshaped the relationship between the American public and those who serve in the military. Later on, Stump talks about how the air campaign's effectiveness helped save his life and many American soldiers' lives in Desert Storm also referred to as the 100-hour ground war.

Also, Stump discusses how he got the idea for building the memorial in 2010, after actively serving in Kuwait for six months and working in business for many years. He would soon begin devoting his time to lead the project and in its 11th year, became the CEO and president. He shares the importance of selecting the right board members for the project, honoring Desert Storm Veterans with a memorial, and the process for getting the memorial approved and funded.

The memorial is set to break ground this year and will be near the Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall. Stump explains that the goal of the memorial is to encourage visitors to educate themselves about the events of Desert Storm and Desert Shield, support the nearly 700,000 Desert Storm Veterans and honor the men and women who sacrificed their lives in service to their country.

Finally, Stump shares advice on how Veteran volunteers can become actively involved in the project, how larger Veteran Service Organizations have been major contributors in its funding, and how potential donors can have public recognition on-site at the memorial.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:


Additional Links:


 
 

Jan 18, 2021
#225: Jack Carr, Navy Veteran, Former SEAL / Sniper, New York Times Bestselling Author
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This week's Borne the Battle episode features Navy Veteran and New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr. He discusses his dreams of becoming a Navy SEAL and author. Through his enthusiasm for reading and on military-science novels, Carr's dreams became a reality.

Carr's two career goals were inspired by two people. The first person was his grandfather, a Marine who fought and died during World War II. The second person was his mother, a librarian who instilled in him a love of reading. It was this love that helped him on his path to reading about and eventually joining Navy SEAL teams.

During his Navy SEAL career, Carr led special operations teams as a team leader, platoon commander, troop commander, task unit commander, operations officer and executive officer. In the interview, he shares how his military experience and travels allowed him to develop and share realistic stories for his novels.

Additionally, he shares his mindset about his military transition, tips for entering the publishing world and how combining all his previous experiences led him to publish three political thrillers. His fourth novel is scheduled to be released in April.

In addition, he supports Veterans through his own unique merchandise, where 100% of the profits go to Veteran-related charities. He is also an ambassador for the Rescue 22 Foundation. A SEAL teammate who trained a service dog for Jack's special needs child introduced him to the foundation.

Finally, he shared the story and business behind Chris Pratt optioning his book for an upcoming series on Amazon Prime.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Mentioned in this Episode:

Jan 11, 2021
Meritorious Segments - Tanner's Top 10 of 2020
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As we say hello to 2021, we look back and see who made the list for Tanner's Top 10 of 2020.

Jan 04, 2021
Most Downloaded Benefits Breakdowns of 2020
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Every five weeks Borne the Battle goes internal and breaks down a VA benefit, program, or office. These are the most downloaded Benefits Breakdown episodes of 2020. 

Dec 28, 2020
Top 8 Most Downloaded Interviews of 2020
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Snippets of Borne the Battle's most downloaded interviews of 2020. The list may surprise you.

Dec 21, 2020
#224: Benefits Breakdown: Speech Language Pathology Programs
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Vietnam War Navy Veteran Dave Hume suffered a major stroke while admitted to James Haley Veterans’ Hospital on Feb. 2, 2017. Nurses and doctors rushed to Hume’s side and managed to stabilize his condition. But when the doctors came the next morning to check his condition, Hume realized that he could not speak.

After his stroke, Hume was diagnosed with Global Aphasia, a communication disorder which impairs a patient’s ability to process language. Unable to express any words or ideas, Hume thought his life was over. Yet, three days after his stroke, he met the person who would prove him wrong.

On this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Navy Veteran and stroke survivor Dave Hume shares the journey of how he went from only expressing three words after his stroke to writing his own blog and becoming a motivational speaker. Pathologist Karyn Pingel, who joins him on this episode, is at the center of his rehabilitative journey.

Pingel works closely with Hume to help him relearn how to speak and read. Under her guidance, Hume has made impressive progress. He actively writes a blog and talks to doctors and medical students interested in speech therapy.

The two developed a close relationship and Hume happily calls Pingel a close friend. Even with COVID-19 keeping them apart, Pingel utilizes VA Telehealth Services to continue Hume’s therapy routine.

Pingel notes that any Veteran enrolled for healthcare with the Veterans Health Administration is eligible to receive VA speech language pathology services if they need help in any of the following areas:

  • Speech
  • Language
  • Swallowing
  • Voice
  • Cognitive-communication disorders

Hume and Pingel hope his story will inspire other Veterans eligible for pathology services to begin talking with their primary or specialty care providers to get a referral.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Additional Links:

Dec 14, 2020
#223: Tom and Jen Satterly, All Secure Foundation
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US Army and Delta Force Veteran Tom Satterly and his spouse Jen Satterly are the co-founders and co-CEOs of All Secure Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on helping Special Operations soldiers, Veterans and their significant others who are struggling on the home front from the effects of war.

Tom served in the Army for 25 years, including 20 years in Delta Force. He served in the Battle of Mogadishu – which was portrayed in the 2001 Oscar-winning film, Black Hawk Down – and Operation Red Dawn, which led to the capture of Saddam Hussein. December 13 marks the 17th anniversary of Operation Red Dawn.

Jen is an award-winning photographer and filmmaker who spent three years embedded with an elite Special Operations training company as director of film and photography. She became a Certified Health Coach in the course of her research into Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

When Tom retired from military service, he felt like a burden to society. Early on in Tom and Jen's relationship, he was on the verge of ending his life. Then he received a text from Jen. That text snapped him back to reality, saving his life.

Tom's mental health struggles resulted in court-mandated therapy. In therapy, he discovered the root of his issues: Post Traumatic Stress. Relieved to have something to focus on treating, the Satterlys began a journey toward healing themselves, as well as other couples suffering from the effects of war.

The Satterlys’ experience with PTS pushed them to establish the All Secure Foundation (ASF) in 2017, which helps warrior couples heal from trauma caused by disconnection and war. They decided to bring their passion for service to the Special Operations community by supporting their fellow warrior families at home.

The ASF seeks to foster understanding of trauma and PTS as natural, biological responses to war that cannot be willed away. If the warrior is the only one who receives help, the home will still have issues; therefore, they offer support and treatment for spouses who suffer secondary PTS. The foundation offers retreats and therapy to aid warrior couples through learning, practice and community.

In this episode, the Satterlys discuss Tom’s unique military career, Jen’s filmmaking career, writing a book as an untrained writer, their journey with PTS, and the founding of the All Secure Foundation.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Mentioned in this episode:

Dec 07, 2020
#222: Providing Support to Incarcerated Veterans w/ Army Reserve Veteran Ja'net Bishop Ed.D
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Army Reservist and National Guard Veteran, Ja'net Bishop Ed.D, shares how the sudden loss of her husband compelled her to reflect on what the next transition in her life would be, and how she transformed her pain into purpose and became a volunteer with the American Red Cross. She breaks down the This is Freedom resiliency training workshop and how she helps Veteran inmates in Ridgeville, South Carolina. Bishop shares how these Veterans open up and trust her in order to accept help. She continues to work as a volunteer, to help guide incarcerated Veterans toward a successful and purposeful civilian life.

The American Red Cross resiliency training program for inmate Veterans is unique. Bishop shares advice to individuals and volunteers interested in implementing the same program and how they can begin the process of helping inmate Veterans navigate their lives as civilians.

Starting out as the oldest and only girl in her family, Bishop joined the military to blaze a trail for herself and develop leadership skills. She discusses her experience of serving 18 years in the Army Reserve and National Guard, being activated in support of Operation Desert Storm, and transitioning into civilian life.

After the military, Bishop had the opportunity to earn her Master of Education degree in guidance and counseling from Campbell University. She shares why she became inspired to work in community and mental health counseling and how she was recruited to work in the school system—forever changing her life.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week

  • Marine Corps Veteran Bill Woods

Additional Links

Nov 30, 2020
#221: Managing Megatron's Social Media w/ USAF Veteran Mark Harper, President/CMO of We Are The Mighty
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Air Force Veteran Mark Harper found his niche as a content creator for combat camera. After leaving service, he leveraged his military experience for a career in the entertainment industry. He now leads a media company that publishes military stories.

The son of a green beret, Harper earned his undergraduate degree and commission through Air Force ROTC at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. The 9/11 attacks prompted his deployment to Iraq as part of a communication squadron. In 2004, his animations, cartoons and videos received recognition, and he was referred to and joined combat camera. For most of his Air Force career, Captain Harper was the video flight commander for the 1st Combat Camera Squadron.

In combat camera, Harper led combat-ready documentary teams that showed the world a glimpse into military operations, contingencies, exercises, weapons tests, and humanitarian relief operations. He used his position and leadership to teach Air Force commanders how useful media is for missions and how it can change and even save lives. Additionally, he led teams of trained visual information professionals in global deployments to provide the Department of Defense (DoD) footage of wartime and peacetime activities.

Due to a 2007 reduction of forces, Harper left the Air Force and headed to Los Angeles to look for work in Hollywood.

Although he entered the entertainment industry at an inopportune time, Harper persevered. He eventually found work at companies like Paramount and Technicolor before moving into entrepreneurship, where he co-founded Audeze LLCand landed $4 million in startup costs in a pitch to Atlantic Records.

After leaving Audeze, Harper met with David Gale, who offered him a position as a content producer for a new media company that focuses on telling the military’s story. Instead of accepting, he decided to give his own personal pitch on his skills, experience, and accomplishments to rebrand himself for a better job – and it worked. Gale offered Harper a co-founder title with We Are the Mighty.

We Are the Mighty is a multi-platform media brand dedicated exclusively to creating genuine and impactful content for the armed services community. As the company moves into 2021, Harper hopes to expand the company’s current intellectual property and move into longer form content.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Mentioned in this Episode:

Nov 23, 2020
#220: Benefits Breakdown, Blue Water Navy Veterans Act of 2019
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While serving as an electrics technician aboard USS Davis during the Vietnam War, Blue Water Navy (BWN) Veteran John Burns said he never felt like his life was in danger. He appreciated the experience because he was able to visit parts of the world he had never seen before. The last thing he expected was to have been exposed to Agent Orange while off the coast of Vietnam.

In this episode of Borne the Battle, two Veterans from two very different generations come to talk about the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. Burns, a Vietnam War Veteran spoke about:

  • His unanticipated participation in the Vietnam War
  • The symptoms he had after Agent Orange exposure
  • His experience filing a BWN claim
  • How the BWN Act benefits improved his life

David Eckert, an Iraq War Veteran and lead policy analyst for VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities, also joined this episode. Eckert leveraged his background working with the BWN Act to share:

Burns never regretted serving in Vietnam. Nor does Burns believe he suffered too badly from Agent Orange.  However, he still encouraged all Navy Veterans who believed they were exposed to the chemical in Vietnam to apply for benefits. He argued BWN Veterans deserve the compensation and that the application process was easy enough to justify simply trying.

Eckert and Burns emphasized BWN Vietnam Veterans should try and submit a claim even if they submitted a claim before the BWN Act passed, never filed one or received a denial but want to try filing again. In some cases, their surviving family members may also be eligible for benefits. There are countless ways to file a claim:

Though from two different generations of the U.S. Armed Forces, Burns and Eckert said they hope BWN Vietnam Veterans will file a claim and get the compensation they deserve.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Mentioned in this Episode:

Nov 16, 2020
#219: Marine Corps Birthday w/ Chad Robichaux, Bellator/Strikeforce MMA Fighter, Mighty Oaks Foundation
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This week’s Marine Corps Birthday episode of Borne the Battle features Marine Corps Veteran, former police officer, MMA champion, bestselling author and founder of the Mighty Oaks Foundation, Chad Robichaux. He turned his passion and greatest struggles into a foundation that helps his fellow Veterans who suffer from PTSD.

Robichaux grew up in a dysfunctional home and turned to the Marine Corps to escape it. By 15, he was living alone. He entered the Corps without graduating high school and earned his GED while he served. As a Force Recon Marine, he served eight deployments in Afghanistan as part of a Joint Special Operations Command Task Force. Now, he is a board-certified pastoral counselor with an MBA.

When PTSD ended his military career, Robichaux fell back on his skills as a martial artist. He fought in Strikeforce and Bellator, won HDNet’s Legacy FC belt and became a world champion MMA fighter. However, his fighting career consumed him, worsening his PTSD and delivering a reckoning to face his serious issues.

At the height of his MMA career, Robichaux was on the verge of suicide. After realizing that he needed a holistic approach to self-care instead of drowning himself in fights, he made the choice to seek help from his wife and found support in faith. Now, he strives to help other Veterans discover the strength of a multifaceted approach to treating PTSD before they become statistics.
In this episode, Robichaux discusses:

  • His life-altering experience as a police officer.
  • His struggles with PTSD, self-esteem, and family issues during and after his military service.
  • His MMA career and how it helped and harmed him.
  • How family, faith, martial arts and counseling help him in his daily battle with PTSD.
  • What the Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs are and how they help soldiers and Veterans learn to take care of their minds, bodies, souls, and spirits.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Mentioned in this Episode:

Nov 09, 2020
#218: David Muir, Easterseals, Veteran Staffing Network
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Army Veteran David Muir is the Senior Vice President of the Veterans Staffing Network, a social enterprise project of Easterseals DC, MD and VA.

Muir was sold on joining the Army National Guard the moment his friend’s sergeant showed him a video of soldiers rappelling out of helicopters. He was just 17-years old when he joined the Virginia Army National Guard through the Split Training Option program in 1989. He served as an infantryman and M-60 gunner while studying to be a teacher.

Following his service, Muir worked in staffing and went to a Department of Labor Transition Assistance Program (TAP) Employment Workshop in 2009, where he discovered that the program needed updating. In 2011, he won the bid to revamp the TAP curriculum.

After he finished the TAP redesign, Muir joined a nonprofit organization named Easterseals. The organization was looking for someone to start a new program called the Veterans Staffing Network.

The Veterans Staffing Network was created to catch the people who fell through the cracks of other programs. Because it is a nonprofit, the organization offers courses and coaching that help build job seeking skills at no cost to the participant.

In this episode, Muir discusses:

  • His journey from infantryman to life skills teacher.
  • America’s need for better job search skills.
  • Civilian versus Veteran perspectives on life.
  • How the Veteran Staffing Network empowers Veterans and their families to get their own jobs.
  • Additional Veteran programs within Easterseals.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

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Nov 02, 2020
#217: Bigfoot and UFOs w/ Jennifer Marshall, Navy Veteran, Host of CW's Mysteries Decoded
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This is not your typical episode of Borne the Battle. It’s a Halloween Special with returning guest and Navy Veteran, Jennifer Marshall. Marshall is an actress and a trained private investigator. In “Mysteries Decoded,” an ongoing paranormal series on the CW television network, she gets to put those skills to work on paranormal activity, like vampires, Bigfoot, Area 51, The Mothman and many others.


In the podcast, Marshall shares some of her theories on Bigfoot, based on her interviews with academics and observations while spending time in British Columbia.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MYSTERIES DECODED

Marshall switches to talking about temporarily shutting the show down, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and how being flexible in switching to Zoom interviews allowed her team to be creative in making episode updates.

Later, she shares her personal investigations into Area 51, as well as other alien evidence that marries up to new revelations from the government, in reference to recently confirmed naval UAP (AKA UFO) footage.

Marshall then reveals her laundry list of dream mystery investigations, including other paranormal mysteries over international waters; the Australian Bigfoot, Yowie; a Titanic conspiracy, and the haunted Waverly Sanitarium in the United Kingdom. Eventually, she would like produce a true crime program that delves into military true crime cases and mysteries.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Day:

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Oct 26, 2020
BONUS: COVID-19 Update No. 7: Clinical Trials and Emergency Care
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Doctors Molly Klote and Chad Kessler join this bonus episode of Borne the Battle to discuss the various ways VA is helping with the national effort to combat COVID-19. The two doctors are fighting it in very different, but equally important ways.

Dr. Klote, VA’s director of Office Research Protections, Policy, and Education, oversees all the research VA conducts, including many of the vaccine trials for COVID-19. She goes into specifics on the following topics:

  • In what ways VA is helping with developing a vaccine
  • Types of treatments the public might expect to be used to treat COVID-19
  • What happens when a vaccine is approved by the FDA

Dr. Klote also calls for anyone able to participate in a COVID-19 clinical trial to think about signing up. She particularly encourages Black and Hispanic populations to volunteer. A strong minority turnout to vaccine trials ensures the vaccine gets the broadest exposure possible, increasing the likelihood that a finalized product can be successfully used among all groups of people to treat COVID-19.

Dr. Kessler fights against COVID-19 through the emergency department. As VA’s national director for Emergency Care, he oversees 141 emergency departments and urgent care centers. He goes in depth about the successful procedure emergency departments adopted to sort COVID-19 patients and mitigate the possibility of transmission.

During the earlier months of the pandemic, Dr. Kessler noticed VA medical centers across the country needed to quickly communicate with one another about successful treatments and therapeutics.

He solved the communication problem in a unique way. He began hosting livestreams in a series he called COVID in 20. The series was a resounding success among frontline workers and medical staff. Dr. Kessler also talked about the different strategies he used to add a bit of fun and humanity to his livestreams because he knew how stressed frontline workers were.

Though coming from different parts of the pandemic battle, the two doctors stressed the importance of getting a flu shot. In the episode, they explain how a flu shot would not only protect the recipient, but also help them along with their COVID-19 work.

Additional Links:

Oct 21, 2020
#216: Mentoring the Post-Military Journey w/ Air Force Veteran David Tenenbaum, Director of Heroes Linked
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This week's Borne the Battle features Air Force Veteran David Tenenbaum, the creator of Honor Media and Heroes Linked.

From a young age, Tenenbaum wanted to help others in need. Inspired by his father, a Holocaust survivor liberated by US forces, he grew up with the stories of seeing good people standing against great injustice. Like the men who freed his father, he wanted to follow in their footsteps, to do good for others.

His journey began in 2001, at Officer Candidate School a month before 9/11.

Tenenbaum served in the Air Force for six years as an Aircraft Instructor Navigator, leading stateside and overseas operations for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft. He left the service during a downsizing period to begin a new journey, but the Great Recession made it a rough transition.

Moving to Los Angeles, Tenenbaum pursued a new profession direction: media production. He created Honor Media, a nonprofit that supports other Veteran nonprofits with media production, distribution, photography and social media support. He is also the director of Heroes Linked, an online platform that pairs Veterans with mentors to help them get to the next step in their post-military journey.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

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Oct 19, 2020
#215: Benefits Breakdown, Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program
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According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience intimate partner violence (IPV) during their lifetime. Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries are at an even greater risk for IPV. Yet, both victims and perpetrators of IPV oftentimes don't seek help. They are instead motivated by feelings of shame, guilt, embarrassment, or fear to keep quiet and accept the violence around them.

Dr. LeAnn Bruce, National Program Manager for the Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program (IPVAP), joins this week’s episode of Borne the Battle to share why no one should ever feel ashamed to seek IPV support and describes what services VA offers to help Veterans in need. Among the issues Dr. Bruce discussed include:

With COVID-19 and natural disasters disrupting lives across the country, promoting IPV awareness will be more crucial than ever during this October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Moments of crisis or long periods of isolation can amplify violence in relationship conflicts or abusive situations. IPVAP coordinators remain ready at every VA Medical Center to guide any Veteran or their partner in the right direction.

VHA also encourages everyone to make the White Ribbon VA Pledge to stop violence against others. In acknowledging the ways violence and harassment can manifest, the world can become a safer place for everyone.

If in need of 24/7 support, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 (SAFE) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.

Additional Links:

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

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Oct 12, 2020
#214: WWE Superstar and Marine Veteran Stephen Kupryk
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This week’s Borne the Battle features Marine Veteran Stephen Kupryk, also known as the WWE Smackdown superstar and Forgotten Sons member, Steve Cutler. In this episode, Kupryk talks about how his participation in high school athletics and the influence of 9/11 took him down a road which would ultimately land him in the country’s premier wrestling promotion.

As a Marine infantryman, Kupryk was assigned to the Second Battalion, Eighth Marine Regiment and deployed twice to Helmand province in Afghanistan. He talks about finding inspiration and thanking those who mentored him while serving from 2007 through 2011.

Kupryk spoke of using VA's GI Bill benefits to attend Rowan University, where a chance encounter with a WWE contact at a local bar would set him upon a career of WWE superstardom, including the early days when he trained at the Monster Factory Wrestling School before being called up in 2013 to the WWE’s NXT division. He also talks about forming the The Forgotten Sons, which Stephen takes a nuanced approach to by using military symbolism and his experiences to flesh out his character's role and persona.

The team attained instant success and it helped Kupryk break into the SmackDown roster with a win over the then-Smackdown tag-team champions, The New Day.

Kupryk also shares his enthusiasm behind WWE’s collaboration with Hire Heroes USA, an organization which aims to help Veterans and their families secure lifelong careers. As for his return to the ring, everyone stand by - targets will appear. 

Oct 05, 2020
#213: Healing through Poetry w/ Army Veteran Erika Land, War Poet
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This week's Borne the Battle features Army Veteran Erika Land, who shares the story of how she changed her suicide letter into “War Song.


Before 9/11, Erika joined the Army as a pharmacy technician. Her job was to dispense medications in the emergency department. At work, she experienced pain, sorrow, anger, anxiety, depression and helplessness. After leaving service, she believed the only way out from feeling those emotions was to take her life – until she found poetry.

VA’s Art Therapy Program allowed Land to express herself. She wrote about the trials and tribulations she experienced while being deployed to Iraq. But in Poetry, Land felt she could speak from the soul, to express to others on the same path that they, too, could find healing. "Poetry is the window into the soul and a reflection of life," she says, in the podcast.

After service is when Land realized she wasn't alone. As she found poetry, she found passion for life and began touring and making arrangements for theaters and venues to market her shows. On Borne the Battle, she talks about how her performances not only allowed her to heal, but how it enabled her to connect with others to answer the deep questions she never asked herself.

PTSD Hotline Phone Number

855-698-4677

National Suicide Prevention Hotline Phone Number

1-800-273-8255

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Additional Links

 

Sep 28, 2020
#212: Fighting to End Veteran Suicide with the Press of a Button w/ Marine Veteran Aaron Quinonez, CEO of Operation Pop Smoke
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For many Veterans, readjusting to civilian life after leaving the military can be difficult. That's what Aaron Quinonez found when he left the Marine Corps, as he soon faced divorce, homelessness and the inability to secure a long-term job. Over time, his mental health steadily deteriorated as PTSD ravaged his mind. For Quinonez, life seemed to always get worse, and on one July 4th afternoon, he parked in an empty lot, pulled out his SIG Sauer and prepared to end his life.

In this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Quinonez shares his journey from being on the brink of committing suicide to becoming an entrepreneur, sharing how he developed new programs and technologies to help Veterans suffering from PTSD and suicidal thoughts.

Quinonez credits his faith as the reason for much of his climbing back up, out of despair. He talks about attending church and being surrounded by supportive people who embraced him. He felt called to help, and was encouraged by church-mates, to build housing for a family in Mexico. Quinonez was so inspired by the experience that he founded the organization, Q Missions, to bring Veterans together to construct buildings around the world.

Quinonez also describes the arduous journey he took to launch his most recent project, Operation Pop Smoke, a mobile app which aims to prevent Veteran suicide. The app also brings a sense of military camaraderie to those who've transitioned into civilian life.

In 2019, VA reported an average of 17 Veterans die from suicide each day. Borne the Battle (BtB) stands by Veterans grappling with mental health challenges. As part of this September’s Suicide Prevention Month, BtB hopes Quinonez’s story sparks a conversation that inspires people to support Veterans suffering from emotional distress.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

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Sep 21, 2020
#211: Benefits Breakdown, Debt Management Center
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This week's episode of Borne the Battle is a Benefits Breakdown on the VA Debt Management Center (DMC). It features DMC's National Finance Director Joe Schimitt and DMC Director of Operations Jason Hoge. Schmitt and Hoge explain how the DMC helps Veterans with financial relief, how the debt repayment process works, and how the DMC actually assists Veterans by helping to improve their financial planning.

Schmitt and Hoge explain the DMC mission, how it guides Veterans' debt repayments, and some recent changes. Those changes include:

  • Technology updates.
  • An oath for employees must take to serve the Veterans in their care.
  • Required 13.5 week debt counselors training.


Schimitt, a former Marine, advocates for “compassionate service.” That mission not only comes from his military service, but also from a personal history of having to repay medical debt. His son was diagnosed with Craniosynostosis. The needed surgery, cranial vault remodeling, corrected his son's head shape, enabling the brain, skull, and head to grow. But the treatment put him in serious debt, and one that helps him empathize with those in similar binds.

DMC UPDATES

Due to the pandemic, Hurricane Laura and the recent wildfires there have recent changes to DMC's operations, including financial relief options:

  • VA has suspended all actions on Veteran debts under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department.
  • VA has suspended collection action and repayment terms on existing VA debts, as the Veteran prefers.

For benefit-based debts, Veterans can contact the VA Debt Management Center at 1-800-827-0648 to make debt repayment arrangements.

For health care debts, Veterans can contact the Health Resource Center at 1-888-827-4817 to make debt repayment arrangements.

For more info on the DMC, visit https://www.va.gov/debtman/.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

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Sep 14, 2020
#210: Tony Temerario, 9/11 Responder, Green Beret, AT&T Executive
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This week's episode of Borne the Battle features Army Veteran Tony Temerario, who was also a 9/11 responder and a current AT&T executive.

Temerario's parents were both WWII Navy combat Veterans. They served in the Pacific and in Operation Neptune during the Normandy D-Day Invasion in 1944. Temerario grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and was so influenced by service that he joined the military, too. In the podcast, he talks candidly about his experiences in the military and on scene at the Pentagon after 9/11, including re-establishing communication networks for first responders and, later that night, the emotions of seeing the flag draped over the side of the Pentagon walls.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE STORY OF GETTING THE 2ND FLAG DELIVERED TO THE PENTAGON

It wasn't long after the attacks that Temerario deployed with his Army National Guard Special Forces Unit. His actions at the Pentagon and overseas earned him several Army and civilian honors, including an Army Meritorious Service Medal and three State of Maryland General Assembly Official Citations for Honor, Valor, and Bravery.

Now, Temerario is the Director/Client Executive for AT&T’s Mobility IoT platform. A result of the challenges he experienced on 9/11 at the Pentagon led to the creation of FirstNet, a public-private partnership with AT&T. FirstNet was developed as a nationwide, low-band frequency network that prioritizes voice and data to first responder networks. It offers priority connectivity for emergency voice and data services during catastrophic events without interference or blockage.

Outside of work, Temerario is an ambassador for Carry The Load, which "provides an active way for Americans to connect with the sacrifices made daily by military Veterans, active service members, first responders and their families." As a Carry the Load ambassador, he is also an active member in its Patriot Program, Carry The Flag, which aims to inspire patriotism to a new generation of kids.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

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Borne The Battle #162: Air Force Veteran John Baxter, 9/11 responder
 • Borne The Battle 143: Stephen Holley – Navy SEAL Veteran, Naval Academy Quarterback, Carry The Load Co-founder and CEO
 • Borne The Battle #161: Marine Veteran Todd Boeding, Carry the Load
 • Borne the Battle #186: Hallie Johnston, Black Hawk Pilot, Carry the Load Board Member
 • VA partnering with Carry The Load to Honor Fallen Heroes

Sep 07, 2020
#209: Simplifying Online Identity w/ Blake Hall, Army Veteran, Founder and CEO of ID.me
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This week, Army Veteran Blake Hall, who shared how and why he joined the Army, what life was like after transitioning, and how he founded ID.me.

Hall's decision to join the Army after September 11th felt to him like a right of passage. He wanted to be the one to lead the fight. He talks about that event as a shift for service members, and what it meant for the community, before discussing a 15-month deployment as a platoon leader and fighting the Iraqi insurgency. Blake received the Bronze Star with Valor for actions in leading his men during a fight against insurgents.

Hall also talks transitioning out of the military, and how he came to found and lead ID.me to make ID verification and logging a more efficient process. He mentions the hassles that Veterans without ID cards face when applying for various benefits. With ID.me, Veterans can be verified through a secure process without meeting in-person or providing physical identification.

Later, Hall discusses entrepreneurship within the public and government arena, as well as that finding the perfect way to enter the marketplace is key. He talks building credibility, and shares what a lot of entrepreneurs forget to do when pitching their ideas to investors.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

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Aug 31, 2020
#208: Medal of Honor Recipient Florent Groberg
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Army Veteran Florent Groberg received the Medal of Honor in 2015 for his selfless actions during the War in Afghanistan, where he rushed a suicide bomber to protect 28 coalition and Afghan National Army personnel.

Groberg knew he wanted to join the military when his uncle joined the Algerian army to fight the Armed Islamic Group, a terrorist organization that was eventually responsible for his uncle's grisly death. Groberg’s family moved to the United States when he was 12, and Groberg’s resolve to join the military was strengthened after the September 11 attacks. However, in order to join the Army, he had to renounce his French citizenship.

On August 8, 2012, Groberg was responsible for protecting a group of personnel including two brigade commanders, three battalion commanders, an Afghan general, two GS-15 State Department individuals, and two majors with his element of six other soldiers. During the advance to a provincial governor’s compound, the patrol was attacked, and Groberg tackled a suicide bomber to distance the attacker from his personnel. The bomb detonated, severely injuring Groberg, but preventing more deaths from the patrol.

Groberg is grateful to VA and the Wounded Warriors Project for helping him during his recovery. In 2015, he transitioned out of the military, and later that year was awarded the Medal of Honor.

After transitioning, Groberg worked with LinkedIn and Boeing, providing leadership as well as advocating for Veterans in the workforce. He currently works at Microsoft and is a motivational speaker for Keppler Speakers. He also wrote an autobiography, Eight Seconds of Courage.

Groberg is also a member of Warriors Ethos, an organization which provides Veterans with the resources and networks to transition into a successful civilian career.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

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Aug 24, 2020
BtB Rewind: Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Duke and USA Basketball, Army Veteran
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This week we go back in time and revisit, Duke and USA Basketball legend, Coach K's interview on Borne the Battle. 

Aug 17, 2020
#207: Using AI to Align Veterans to Careers Opportunities w/ Marine Recon Veteran Alex Calfee
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This week's episode of Borne the Battle features Marine Corps Veteran Alex Calfree, the co-founder of OpLign, a website that uses personal profiles of job seekers to connect them to employers and open up new career paths. Unlike most job-hunting websites which use keyword searches to connect job-seekers to employers, OpLign attributes its success to artificial intelligence that matches users’ complete profile to the employment opportunities that will allow them to succeed.

After a few years of college, Calfree enlisted in the Marine Corps as an infantryman. He traveled between many different units before becoming a reconnaissance Marine, a job he described as “very cerebral” due to the demanding and required navigation and communication skills.

After transitioning out of the military, Calfree earned an undergraduate degree and Master of Business Administration from Ohio State University with assistance from other Veterans and military members on campus.

In 2017, Calfree co-founded OpLign, an artificial intelligence-powered software application that connects job seekers to employers through a personal profile of education, experience, and skills. Calfree claims that OpLign’s “two-way mechanism of exchange” avoids the pitfalls of a static system of job postings and resumes.

According to Calfree, OpLign aims to work with companies that are Veteran-friendly. Many Veterans transitioning out of the military face challenges in the civilian job market due to their lack of experience, especially during the current employment crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic. Calfree hopes that OpLign can help those Veterans find opportunities and employment by showing employers how much value Veterans have to offer.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

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Aug 10, 2020
#206: VFW Talk w/ Army Veteran Terrence Hayes, VFW's National Director of Communications
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Army Veteran Terrence Hayes is the director of communications and public affairs for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He has worked in public affairs for over 20 years, as a soldier and civilian alike. 

Hayes never saw an Army recruiter until the day he decided to call one and ask about the jobs that were available in the military. He ended up joining and reported for basic training only a few months after graduating high school. With his excellence in English, he decided to work in public affairs for the Army.

At the beginning of his service Hayes intended to serve only five years and then enter the workforce. He ended up serving for two decades. He credits the Army with teaching him the importance of putting others before oneself and how selflessness in a leader encourages dedication in the entire team.

After spending some time teaching at the Noncommissioned Officer’s Academy at Fort Meade, Maryland, and working as a media relations specialist at VA, Hayes became the director of communications and public affairs for VFW. He oversees everything that the VFW does that involves communicating with the public.

In this episode, listeners will learn of little known benefits, VFW's importance as a voice for the Veteran community, how the VFW serves the interests of Veterans when it comes to legislation, why the VFW is important for Veterans of all backgrounds and how the VFW supports those who support it.


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Aug 03, 2020
#205: Benefits Breakdown, Alaska Native Veterans Program of 2019
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This week's episode of Borne the Battle features one of its largest panels to date, as representatives from VA and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) break down the details of the Alaska Native Veterans Program of 2019. 

This episode features:

  • Program manager Paul Krabacher (BLM).
  • Acting Chief, Adjudication Services Section, Native Allotment Lead Candy Grimes (BLM).
  • Land Transfer Resolution Specialist and Acting Native Liasion Ralph Eluska (BLM).
  • Deputy Communications Director and Marine Corps Veteran Eric Tausch (BLM).
  • Tribal Government Relations Specialist for the Continental/Midwest/North Atlantic Regions and Marine Corps Veteran Peter Vicaire (VA).

The Alaska Native Veterans Program of 2019 allows Alaska Native Veterans who served in the Vietnam era, or an heir of theirs, to claim between 2.5 and 160 acres of land in Alaska. The BLM website hosts information about the program, including contact information, proposed rules for the program, a link to available lands, answers to frequently asked questions, and video from virtual public meetings about the program.

How to Ensure You Receive your Application

Potentially eligible Veterans should update their contact information with the Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) Realty Tribal Service Provider and with BLM.

  • BIA Enrollment Verification: (907) 271-4506
  • BIA Realty: (800) 645-8465
  • BLM Native Allotment Section: (907) 271-5998

Potentially eligible Veterans should also request a copy of their DD-214 from the Alaska Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, US Department of Veteran Affairs. Your local VA office or Veteran Service Organization can provide assistance.

How to Ensure the Program Works for You

Potentially eligible Veterans can coordinate a personal representative appointed by an Alaska State Court, or contact the Alaska Legal Services Corporation, for help coordinating a personal representative.

Potentially eligible Veterans should also read the draft proposed rules for the program. There is a 30-day window for public commenting that ends on August 10, 2020.

Use the interactive map of available lands for the program from the BLM website. You can claim and save a plot selection as a .pdf and turn it in with your claim. The map will be updated regularly as more lands become available and allotments are made. (This is an image of the interactive map; please click the link to go to the BLM website to use the interactive map.)

Help Spread the Word

VA, BLM and BIA need every Veteran’s help to spread the word about the program. In order to reach the estimated 2,200 eligible Veterans or their heirs, the program needs its contact information to be as up-to-date as possible. Veterans and non-Veterans can use this PDF flyer to spread the news and ensure that every Alaska Native Veteran who has earned their land will receive it.

BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

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Jul 27, 2020
#204 Military.com Staff Writer and Air Force Veteran Blake Stilwell
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Blake Stilwell shares his story of starting his career as a combat photographer and eventually becoming a professional writer for Military.com.

Stilwell had only spent a year in the Air Force when he became the youngest and for a time lowest-ranking member of the 1st Combat Camera Squadron. Despite early challenges, he was grateful for the opportunity to learn from his friends and mentors. He said they taught him how to take his work seriously while also having fun. He still considers it one of his best jobs.

After nearly six years in the Air Force, Stilwell left to enroll at Syracuse University, using his GI Bill to graduate from the Television, Radio, and Film program. He used the skills he had learned in the Air Force and at Syracuse in various enterprises, including covering the 2008 Beijing Olympics and working at The White House Communications Agency.


Stilwell eventually returned to Syracuse to study International and Public Relations, and spent some time at the Near East Foundation. In 2015, he was recruited by a friend to become a writer at We Are the Mighty, where he wrote thousands of articles and hosted a podcast with friends. Later in 2019 he became a professional staff writer for Military.com, where he continues to write today alongside other freelance work.


In this episode, Stilwell discusses…

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Jul 20, 2020
#203 The (Serial) Hiking (Army) Veteran, Erik Schlimmer
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Army Veteran Erik Schlimmer has camped over 1,000 nights, climbed over 2,000 summits and hiked over 15,000 miles. In 2010 he hiked the entire Trans Adirondack Route – which spans over 230 miles – over just a few weeks. Schlimmer believes that hiking is one of the best ways for anyone – Veteran or otherwise – to improve their health and their happiness.

After completing two years of military service and four years of college, Schlimmer chose to spend his twenties and thirties enjoying nature by working the hiking trails of the Northeastern United States. He worked seasonally as a trail-builder, ranger, and expedition leader, living simply and spending all his free time hiking. He currently works as a therapist, helping others to return the favor for all who have helped him in the past.

After transitioning to civilian life, Schlimmer longed for the camaraderie he experienced in the Army. But he also loved the freedom and sense of personal accountability he found when being alone in nature.

It was his love of the Adirondacks that inspired him to found the Friends of the Trans Adirondack Route. His LLC works to ensure the Adirondacks remain free and open to the public, and promotes helping other people complete the trek themselves. He also founded his own publishing house, Beechwood Books, to publish his own books and materials on the Adirondacks.

Schlimmer funds his expeditions and raises money for Huts for Vets, an organization he works with that offers free hiking and camping trips for Veterans who have suffered trauma.

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Jul 13, 2020
#202: Bring Every Dad Home w/ Marine Veteran Ben Killoy, Host of Military Veteran Dad Podcast
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Many male Veterans find it difficult to address the challenges of being a husband and a father, during and after their military service. Marine Corps Veteran Ben Killoy was one of these Veterans. He created the Military Veteran Dad Podcast to help men like himself come home “both physically and mentally to their marriage and their family.”

Killoy became interested in the Marines after meeting a recruiter in 2002. He was in the Marine Corps from 2002 to 2007 and served as a generator mechanic stationed in Okinawa, Japan. According to Killoy, his time as a Marine mechanic taught him the value of taking pride in his work. He said he carried that lesson with him in his transition to civilian life.

Killoy struggled with the challenges of being a father. He found online communities of other men going through the same struggle. He spent years learning to blog, write, and connect with other people. Killoy then founded his Military Veteran Dad Podcast in 2018. He shares stories and helps Veteran fathers be more present for their families.

The podcast is not only for Veteran fathers. Killoy features military spouses as well as anyone who has overcome a challenge and learned something from it that he thinks is important for his audience. Killoy said he understands the importance of the father to the household. He said the conversation itself helps people connect to one another and open up opportunities for themselves.

Helping others

Killoy’s favorite Veteran nonprofit is Angels of America’s Fallen, which is dedicated to providing extracurricular activities and positive role models to the children of fallen Veterans.


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Jul 06, 2020
#201: Benefits Breakdown, CARES Act Funding to VA Homeless Programs
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Congress has provided $300 million through the CARES Act this year to help the VA address the problems faced by homeless and at-risk veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic. John Kuhn, National Director of the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, explains on this episode how the VA is using that funding to support veterans and their families.

The Supportive Services for Veterans Families, or SSVF, was founded in 2011 to help veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The SSVF transfers its funds to nonprofit organizations that are close to their communities, and these grantees ensure that money is directed to wherever it is needed most. The SSVF provides money for rent to veterans who have homes but are struggling and helps veterans and their families who are homeless to find housing.

CLICK HERE FOR THE 2020 SSVF PROVIDER LIST

While the SSVF is dedicated to helping veterans and their families find long-term housing, the Grant and Per Diem Program focuses on helping veterans and families find housing in the short term. The GPD provides funds to programs that provide housing and important services to veterans in need. The Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program helps to connect veterans and their families with shelter and provides a higher level of care than SSVF.


Those who are interested in donating to help address the crisis of veteran homeless can call their local VA medical center or visit the VA Voluntary Service to make an e-donation.

1-877-424-3838 is the 24-hour phone number for veterans who must access the VA medical center for assistance.


#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Additional Links:

Jun 29, 2020
#200: AEW Wrestler Big Swole, AKA Air Force Veteran Aerial Johnson
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This 200th episode of Borne the Battle features Air Force Veteran Aerial Johnson, better known by her wrestling name “Big Swole,” Aerial shares her time in the military and how she transitioned into civilian life to eventually became a professional wrestler.

Johnson joined the Air Force in 2008 to be a fire truck mechanic. She was stationed at the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina. On April 3, 2008, on a day she and her family would come to call her “second birthday,” Johnson was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease after being told she had half an hour to live. She survived a round of emergency surgery and was told that she would never be able to have children or engage in high-impact sports. However, Johnson didn't let her diagnosis stop her from doing what she wanted to do. When her Crohn’s disease worsened, she had to leave Air Force in 2010 but she didn't stop to pursue other dreams.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CROHN’S DISEASE

Hull returned to her hometown of Clearwater, Florida, where she started interacting with a local community of professional wrestlers. She became an independent wrestler herself, and after a few years she signed with All Elite Wrestling and has appeared on both AEW Dark and AEW Dynamite.

In this episode, Hull discusses how she overcame the struggles of Crohn’s disease and embraced the lessons she learned in the military to develop the “Swole mentality” of giving everything her all. She is a reminder to people everywhere that with discipline, anything is possible.

Jun 22, 2020
#199: A COVID Nurse's Story w/ Army Veteran Joshua Strickland, Lead Singer, Bayou Bandits
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Army Veteran Josh Strickland is a family man, the lead singer of the Phoenix-based band the Bayou Bandits, and a registered nurse who has worked through the COVID-19 pandemic in some of the hardest-hit areas of the United States.

Music has always been a part of Strickland’s life. When he was growing up in Walker, La., he sang in his church’s choir, and his father and brother were both singers. After his service, Strickland played music at a saloon in Scottsdale, Ariz., and eventually founded his own band with his friends, Jeremy Magid, Paul Williams and Stevie Belcastro.

The Bayou Bandits had been preparing for a tour when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Strickland started working as a travel nurse with COVID-19 patients in New Jersey in early March, before eventually returning to Phoenix to continue respond to local outbreaks in Arizona.

Strickland has also worked with nonprofits focused on helping Veterans, such as the Southern Arizona Musicians for Healing, which uses music to raise awareness and funds for Veterans and others struggling with mental health issues. He is also a founding member of the Veterans IV Veterans Motorcycle Association, which helps Veterans going through crises and provides for them in times of need.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Additional Links:

Jun 15, 2020
#198: Transition Talk w/ Marine Corps Veteran Beau Higgins, Amazon Military Affairs
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On this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Marine Corps Veteran Beau Higgins shares his story of how he transitioned out of the military and started working for Amazon, helping veterans and families of veterans find meaningful employment.

Higgins retired from the Marine Corps after 25 years of service in 2014. When he did, Veteran unemployment was higher than the national average. Things started to change when various companies dedicated themselves to hiring more veterans and military spouses.

In 2016, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made a pledge to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses by 2021. Higgins joined Amazon, where he started by helping recruit candidates for important positions. Now he leads the talent division pillar of Amazon’s Military Affairs team.

In this episode, Higgins shares his thoughts on his service and how it has impacted him. He also talks about how his family has supported him, how he ended up working for Amazon, and how he remains connected to Veteran community through his work and life.

Higgins is also involved with the Travis Manion Foundation, a nonprofit named after a Marine officer that served under him. The foundation is dedicated to empowering Veterans and military families to serve their communities and promote the ideals of service and character.

Jun 08, 2020
#197: COVID Business Survival w/ Army Veteran Luke Wade
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“Fun, freedom, and community” is the motto of KC Crew, an adult sports and events company founded by Army Veteran and KC Crew Founder Luke Wade.

After serving in the National Guard, Wade founded KC Crew. Centered in Kansas City, the group helps his community stay active and connected.

Since its beginning, KC Crew focused on the idea of finding a place for people to play sports. Wade was able to create a community around people’s love for sports and events which also helped to revitalized the city.

However, with the onset of COVID-19, staying true to KC Crew’s motto and goal seemed to be impossible. The COVID-19 pandemic effectively shut down any gathering of more than 10 people.

In this podcast episode, Wade discussed how he was able to take immediate action to adjust his business model after hearing about Kansas City’s shutdown. With the help of his wife and team, Wade found new ways for KC Crew to stay active. He emphasized how KC Crew focuses on giving people a needed social experience even if places are physically shutdown. While KC Crew can’t operate as normal, they still provide social experiences through online events such as their Virtual Bingo and Virtual Trivia events.

Every day, Wade and his team are looking for new, creative ways to engage people while they stay at home. They also provided a list of top 10 things to do during quarantine. Most event clubs and companies can’t open or function as normal. Wade and the KC Crew have worked hard to provide new ways to keep people and communities active and connected during this pandemic.


#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Additional Links:

Jun 01, 2020
#196: Tips and Changes to VA Home Loan w/ Navy Veteran Bryan Bergjans
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On this week's episode, Borne The Battle featured Navy Veteran Bryan Bergjans. He spoke about what he does with Caliber Home Loans and how he was able to become the National Director of Military and VA lending. He also discussed bridging the educational gap between the VA Home Loan Benefit and future military and veteran homeowners, and realtors.

Bryan Bergjans uses different platforms to educate and provide information to service members, Veterans and eligible spouses about the VA Home Loan Benefit.

These include Home Owner Heroes and Military Spouse Mondays which are published on YouTube through the Mortgage News Network.The shows also provide information and answer questions for mortgage professionals. He discusses some of the major opportunities and debunks common misconceptions. Bergjans also shares unknown facts that are in place through the VA Home Loan Benefit.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO BORNE THE BATTLE #150: VA HOME LOAN PROGRAM

VA helps service members, Veterans or eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. As part of VA's mission to serve Veterans, VA provides a home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs. These help buy, build, repair, retain or adapt a home for personal occupancy.

VA Home Loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies. VA guarantees a portion of the loan, enabling the lender to provide the service members, Veterans or eligible surviving spouses with more favorable terms.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

  • Army Veteran Steven Jerome Copley

Additional Links:

May 25, 2020
#195: TEDx w/ Prince Taylor, Navy Veteran, Deputy Director, VA Voluntary Service
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Navy Veteran Prince Taylor believes that military service develops perseverance and discipline—traits that are useful for Veterans even after they the military.

But transitioning out of the Navy wasn't easy for Taylor. This week's episode of Borne the Battle is a discussion with Taylor about his journey from multiple entry level jobs into dead-end companies, into VA's human resources system, to organizing TEDx Veterans Affairs.

Taylor's transition struggle is one that many Veterans can relate to, but he stresses that the situations he faced allowed him to develop skills to be quick on his feet and to think outside the box – just like in the Navy. Fortunately, he found VA and a direct career path that broadened his military skills.

Now, after a decade in VA's HR, Taylor serves as the Deputy Director for VA's Voluntary Services, and is a great example of a successful military-to-civilian transition for Veterans employed by VA. Highlighting Veterans' stories – their bravery, struggles and redemption – remains his top accomplishment.

With TEDx Veterans Affairs, he continues bridge the civilian/military divide. On this episode of Borne the Battle, Taylor shares his insights into:

  • Resources he used to obtain a college education
  • How and why he was able to transition into civilian life
  • What it's like to be a Deputy Director

NEW VA "VETS FIRST" PODCAST

In addition, hosts Levi Sowers and Brandon Rea give a quick overview of their new "Vets First Podcast." The Vets First podcast is a research-based podcast that focuses on the VA healthcare system and its patients. Instead of being just another research podcast, the Vets First podcast was created with a primary focus on the Veterans and their stories.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

May 18, 2020
UPDATE: COVID-19 / Coronavirus No. 6
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COVID-19 update on VA benefits (GI Bill, Home Loan, etc.) featuring the Undersecretary of the Veterans Benefits Administration, Dr. Paul Lawrence, as he breaks down recent changes in veterans' benefits. 

May 16, 2020
#194: Amazon and USA Today Best Selling Author, Marine Veteran G. Michael Hopf
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As a big reader, G. Michael Hopf had a great desire to explore the world and have adventures.

However, a near death experience led him to reconsider his career. With help from his father, Hopf found a new direction working as a private security detailer.

During all of these adventures, he was always dabbling in writing. From journaling to short stories, Hopf kept in touch with his love of telling stories.

After just dabbling with writing and self-publishing an illustrated children’s book, Hopf was inspired to try writing a novel. He decided to stop being a dabbler and make writing his job.

Working on a novel while still working was not easy, but Hopf found the process fun and interesting. But in the end, all the effort had been worth it when his book suddenly hit peak sales.

Noticing the success of Hopf’s novel, Amazon offered a pre-order option for a second novel. This sequel hit best-seller on Amazon as soon as the pre-orders were opened. This event led him to get signed by the largest publisher in the world: Penguin Random House.

Hopf shared advice to Veterans and civilians alike on how to become an author:
• Stop dabbling and just write
• Don’t be too analytical
• Don’t be afraid to self-publish
• Celebrate when you finish your draft

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT G. MICHAEL HOPF

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Additional Links:

May 11, 2020
#193: Talking Team RWB w/ Army Veteran Mike Erwin
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Through founding Team Red White and Blue, Army Veteran Mike Erwin discovered that he didn’t have to be in the military to serve the nation. There are many different ways to serve our nation.

 
Erwin’s mission as a social entrepreneur is to build non-profits that help make communities and our country better.

 

The goal of Team Red White and Blue is to enrich Veterans by helping them have 

  • Better physical and mental health
  • Stronger relationships
  • A sense of purpose

Veterans can sign up for Team Red White and Blue through the app. In the app, they can search for any physical activity they are interested in and see what events are nearby. The app also encourages Veterans to improve their physical health through different challenges throughout the year.

Deciding to focus on other projects, Erwin took a several-years hiatus from his executive director position at Team RWB. In that time, he co-wrote and published Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude. When he wasn't writing, he founded the Positivity Project, a non-profit organization that teaches youth the power of positive relationships; he also co-founded the Father Vincent Capodanno High School before returning to Team RWB’s executive director role in 2019.

 

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TEAM RED WHITE AND BLUE 

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Additional Links:

May 04, 2020
#192: Emergency Relief w/ LTG Raymond Mason
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While most people do their best to be independent, sometimes life gets in the way. It's in these difficult moments when even strong, independent people reach out for help.

This is what LTG (ret.) Raymond V. Mason learned from key mentors and leaders throughout his 35 years in the Army. Mason led the 82nd Airborne as the Support Commanding Officer, and also served in Grenada. Later, Mason served as the Deputy Chief of Staff, for HQ, US Army G-4 during his last tour on active duty.

In this episode of Borne the Battle, LTG Mason talks about his belief that receiving help in times of struggle is a sign of great strength. LTG Mason continues to carry on this truth as he serves as the Director of the Army Emergency Relief (AER), sharing how qualified Veterans can access financial support in hard times.

In this podcast, Mason shares AER’s support and resources:

  • Support during disasters
  • Scholarships for secondary education
  • Assistance during childcare
  • And far more EXCLUSIVE content


Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Additional links:

Apr 27, 2020
#191: Analyzing Human Behavior w/ Marine Scout Sniper, Brian Marren
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Profiling has often been given a negative perspective. In this episode of Borne the Battle, Marine Corps Veteran Brian Marren explains how Human Behavior Pattern Recognition and Analysis is a scientific form of human behavior profiling, and how it's not based on race or religion but rather on how all humans behave.

The world today seems far smaller and connected than the decades before it, bringing about stronger trade and increased diversity. However, a more integrated world has inevitably led to a greater need for security and safety.

As a former Marine Scout Sniper, Marren believes that both the military and civilians need to be prepared psychologically for any situation. His master’s degree in Applied Pyschology--and Marine Corps background--have proved pivotal in developing his passions.

Today, Marren focuses most of his efforts at Arcadia Cognerati, where he helps people learn how to recognize danger and then act on it.

In this podcast, Marren discusses the following topics:

  • Mentors that gave taught him discipline and leadership
  • Friendships that will last a lifetime
  • Behind-the-scenes testimonies of Arcadia Cognerati

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BRIAN MARREN

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HUMAN BEHAVIOR PATTERN RECOGNITION AND ANALYSIS

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Additional Links:



Apr 20, 2020
#190: Benefits Breakdown, Debt Management Center, COVID-19 Relief for Veterans
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This week's Borne the Battle podcast breaks down how the VA Debt Management Center is executing the president's directive to suspend or extend all VA Debt Collection due to coronavirus, or COVID-19.

Joseph Schmitt is director of VA's Debt Management Center and Jason Hoge is director of operations. The recently answered questions virtually from the House Veterans Affairs Committee Disability and Mortuary Affairs Subcommittee. The focus was how Veterans are getting debt management relief from VA due to COVID-19. Much of the questions focused on how Veterans receive communication from VA.

VA announced April 3 a number of actions to provide Veterans with financial, benefits and claims help amid VA's COVID-19 response.

The financial relief actions include the following until further notice:

  • Suspending all actions on Veteran debts under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department.
  • Suspending collection action or extending repayment terms on preexisting VA debts, as the Veteran prefers.

For benefit debts, Veterans can contact the VA Debt Management Center at 1-800-827-0648 to make arrangements.

For health care debts, Veterans can contact the Health Resource Center at 1-888-827-4817 to make arrangements.

The benefits and claims relief actions include giving Veterans the option to submit their paperwork late for the following actions:

  • perfecting claims
  • challenging adverse decisions
  • submitting Notices of Disagreement
  • submitting Substantive Appeals
  • responding to Supplemental Statements of the Case

Veterans requesting claim extensions can simply submit them with any late-filed paperwork and Veterans do not have to proactively request an extension in advance. For added convenience, VA will also accept typed/digital signatures instead of wet signatures on its forms. Those with questions can call 1-800-827-1000.

In Addition

For Veterans who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and need immediate action on their appeals, as opposed to a filing extension, the Board of Veterans' Appeals will Advance their appeal on Docket (AOD). Click here to find out how to file for AOD and what documentation is required.


Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Apr 13, 2020
UPDATE: COVID-19 / Coronavirus No. 5
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Two new VA coronavirus websites are online. Update on the Wheelchair and Golden Age Games. VA suspends veteran debt collection. Update on COVID-19 support from New Jersey Medical Center. Interview with Army Veteran Chad Butters, who early on, transformed his Pennslyvania distillery into a hand sanitizer production facility.

Apr 08, 2020
#189: Operation Abilene w/ Phil Hall and Fred Navarro
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While they only knew him for one day, Army Veterans Phil Hall and Fred Navarro remember the man that sacrificed his life for them and their fellow brothers in Vietnam. They both signed statements of recommendation to upgrade Airman William H. Pitsenbarger’s Air Force Cross to the Medal of Honor. In December 2000, 32 years after the Battle of Xa Cam My, Phil and Fred were able to attend Pitsenbarger’s Medal of Honor ceremony. The film, The Last Full Measure, is based on both battles that Phil and Fred faced, both in Vietnam and in DC.
Apr 06, 2020
UPDATE: COVID-19 / Coronavirus No. 4
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Updates on SBA loans for affected small businesses, where you can find Veteran Health Administrations COVID-19 Response plan and FAQs, VA's medical support to New York City, where mobile vet centers are currently being deployed to, and an interview with two of the mobilized on-the-ground Vet Center directors currently operating in New York City and New Orleans.
Apr 01, 2020
#188: Justin Nassiri: Navy Veteran, Entrepreneur, Host of Beyond the Uniform Podcast
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Most, if not all veterans, are forced to ask this important question before retiring and entering into civilian life: What am I to do for my career? 

 

Many feel as if they are too late to pursue their goals or get their dream job. Justin Nassiri, a Navy veteran, thinks otherwise. 

 

On this episode of Borne the Battle, featured guest Justin Nassiri shares his backstory and insight into how he was able to transition into civilian life and achieve his dreams. As a  Stanford MBA alumnus, a disciplined entrepreneur, and a successful consultant, Nassiri has much wisdom to impart.

In this podcast, Jackson shares about the following topics:

·      Key mentors during his time in service

·      Indispensable life experiences that guided him to his early and continued success 

·      Stories of veterans just like you who were able to make it to the top

·      Practical advice for those looking to get started on their career

 

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT JUSTIN NASSIRI (please make a heading font)

 

Additional links: (Please make a heading font)

 

·      https://beyondtheuniform.org

·      https://storybox.io

 

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

·      Army Veteran Charles Coolidge

Mar 30, 2020
UPDATE: COVID-19 / Coronavirus No. 3
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Included in this episode: 

  • GI Bill Changes 
  • National Cemetery Information 
  • Update on rehiring retired VA medical staff 
  • VA Home Loan assistance website 
Mar 25, 2020
#187: First Women to Command a Naval Ship w/ Darlene Iskra
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This week's episode of Borne the Battle features Navy Veteran Darlene Iskra, the first woman to command a ship for the Navy.

Despite her groundbreaking status, Iskra's initial goal in the Navy was not to be the first woman to command a ship. She just wanted to a career that was commensurate with her male counterparts. But her career includes many highlights of various roles for women in the military.

 

One of Iskra's achievements includes being one of the first female diving officers in the Navy. She had no idea that she would become one of the first three female diving officers, thanks to her strong swimming skills.

 

Throughout her career, Iskra helped women find their place in the military free from stereotyping. In 2003, she helped staff and pass legislation on Capitol Hill for the Smith-Cantwell Amendment. This amendment forbade the DoD to require women service members to wear an abaya in Saudi Arabia.

 

Today, Iskra acts as an ambassador for the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. The memorial serves to honor the women who sacrificed their lives fighting for America.

The memorial is at the entrance to Arlington Cemetery, and it aims to inform the public about the American women who have served this country. The memorial provides women Veterans' oral and written history throughout the years.

Darlene Iskra pushes to help women do what they are passionate about and find equality while serving their country.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week

Additional Links:

Mar 23, 2020
UPDATE: COVID-19 / Coronavirus No. 2
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An in-depth breakdown of VA Public Health's coronavirus website and a message from the chairman of the board of veterans appeals.

Link: www.va.gov/coronavirus

Mar 18, 2020
#186: Women in Choppers w/ Army Veteran Hallie Johnston
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This week's episode of Borne The Battle features Army Veteran Hallie Johnston, who shared some insight into her military career as a black hawk helicopter pilot, her transition to civilian life, and her purpose for joining and becoming a board member at Carry the Load.

Carry the Load was founded by two Navy SEAL Veteran, Steven Holley and Clint Bruce. Carry the Load is a nonprofit organization that teaches ordinary Americans about the honor and sacrifices made by our nation's service members and first responders. Its goal is to show Americans what Memorial day is all about and why it's important.

Carry the Load drives awareness, continuum of care and education as its three main pillars. Being a nonprofit organization that helps other nonprofit organizations, Carry the Load has raised $25 million for Veterans, first responders and their families.

Each year, it hosts relays, marches and service events across the country to remember, honor and serve those who have served. For more details about participating in Carry the Load's upcoming events, please visit the Carry the Load website.

  • West Coast- Seattle, WA April 23, 2020
  • East Coast – West Point, NY April 27, 2020
  • Mid-West-Minneapolis, MN May 1, 2020
  • Mountain States- Minot, ND May 12, 2020

*Editors Note: Due to coronavirus pandemic, this year Carry the Load will operate the 2020 National Relay and Rallies as virtual events. 

For more information go to carrytheload.org/MemorialMay


#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Additional Links:

Mar 16, 2020
UPDATE: COVID-19 / Coronavirus
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A quick update on VA's responses to COVID-19 / coronavirus pandemic and where to find information as it gets released. 

Mar 12, 2020
#185: Benefits Breakdown, Burn Pit Registry
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This week’s Benefits Breakdown features Army Veterans Vincent Mitchell and Dr. Eric Shuping. They discussed the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry and how Veterans can sign up.

In 2014, Congress required the Department of Defense and VA find a way to record and offer help to service members and Veterans who have health concerns related to airborne hazards and open burn pits. The registry officially began in June 2014.

There are two main parts of the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry:

  • Online Survey
  • Appointment (Free Exam)

To be eligible for being a part of the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, you must be a Veteran or service member who served in the following areas:

  • Iraq
  • Afghanistan
  • Kuwait
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Bahrain
  • Djibouti
  • Gulf of Aden
  • Gulf of Oman
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Waters of Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, and Red Sea

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HELPING THE REGISTRY

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP

For registry help, please call at 1-877-470-5947.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Additional Links:



Mar 09, 2020
#184: Honoring Vietnam Veterans w/ Army Veteran MG James T. Jackson
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National Vietnam War Veterans Day is fast approaching (March 29). Army Veteran Major General James T. Jackson (Ret.) is the national director of the Vietnam War Commemoration. Directed by Congress and executed by Department of Defense, the commemoration’s goal is to reach out and thank those–our Vietnam Veterans–that never got a proper welcome home.

Currently, there are over 6.2 million living Vietnam Era Veterans. They deserve a proper thank you for raising their right hand. On this episode of Borne the Battle, Major General James T. Jackson shares the vision and mission behind the efforts of this program and how you can help participate.

Lapel pin
The commemoration seeks to give a lapel pin to each Vietnam Veteran. This small token of appreciation has meant a lot to so many.

Later, Jackson talks about mentors, his time in service, different resources to help Vietnam Veterans, and the stories of healing and reconciliation he has seen as a result.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Day:

Additional Links:

Mar 02, 2020
#183: 9/11 NYPD Officer to Acting w/ Marine Veteran Hiram Murray
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Marines Veteran Hiram Murray is a film military advisor and actor in LA. Murray discusses his journey from NYPD police officer on 9/11 to the USMC, to the LAPD and how those experiences led him to his current roles in Hollywood.
Feb 24, 2020
#182: Talking Sauce w/ Air Force Veteran Charlynda Scales
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This episode of Borne the Battle features Air Force Veteran Charlynda Scales. She is a TEDx Speaker, Seasoned Brand Ambassador, and Girl Scout Gold Award Winner, and an entrepreneur. She is a veteran who started a business with a piece of paper willed to her from her grandfather and a $25,000 initial investment.

Her grandfather, Charlie Ferrell Jr, was also an Air Force Veteran. He used to make a special sauce for friends and family. Grandpa Charlie was also Charlynda's "silver dollar salute" shortly before he passed away. Eight years later, Charlynda was handed the recipe as a gift from her late grandfather. Starting out with no business experience, she turned grandpa's sauce into a sustained legacy for her family. It is called MuttSauce because her grandfather's callsign in the Korean War was "Mutt" because he could blend in anywhere. Mutt Sauce has received many entrepreneurial awards and recently launched on Amazon.

This episode covers:

  • The relationship between Charlynda and her grandfather
  • A discussion of life, family, and legacy
  • Enterprising in today's manufacturing world
  • The future of MuttSauce

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week

Additional Links:

Feb 17, 2020
#181: The 2020 State of VA
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very year after the president’s “State of the Union” speech, the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs gives he VA’s “State of VA.” Normally it is where the Secretary will proclaim the department’s successes from the previous year and outlines their priorities in the coming year.

This year, Secretary Robert Wilkies touted:

  • A 16% increase in the female veteran community who enrolled in VA services since becoming secretary.
  • Leading the White House’s PREVENTS Task Force.
  • Cutting 8,000 VA employees in 2019 who did not meet the secretary’s performance standards.

The Secretary’s priorities for the upcoming year include:

  • MISSION ACT: Expanding caregiver benefitsto those that served before 1975.
  • Suicide Prevention: Help charities, nonprofits, local and nongovernmental organizations find the 60% of the “20 veterans a day” who have no contact with VA.
  • Roll out the Electronic Health Record: Providing a paperless healthcare transition from DoD to VA.
  • Continue to develop and lead in medical research and development.
  • Create the first hospital that will fully employ the power of 5G technology.

CLICK HERE FOR A MORE DETAILED LIST FROM THE ADDRESS

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran Greg Gadson

Feb 10, 2020
#180: Benefits Breakdown - Board of Veterans Appeals with Cheryl Mason
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This week’s Borne the Battle begins where episode #169 left off, featuring guest Cheryl Mason, Chairman of the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA).

In this Benefits Breakdown, Chairman Mason talks about the third lane of Appeals Modernization. Where the first two lanes allow Veterans to appeal their compensation claim decision to a claims adjudicator, the third lane allows Veterans to appeal a compensation claim decision directly to the Board.

More importantly, Chairman Mason addresses many questions Veterans ask:

  • Which lane is right for you?
  • What are the differences between each lane?
  • How long will each take?
  • Should you work with a VSO?
  • How do you monitor the progress?

Chairman Mason oversees the Board’s 1100 personnel, its budget, and ensures the Board conducts hearings, decides appeals for Veterans and their families, and ensures a Veteran’s voice is heard.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Roy N. Scow


Additional Links:

Feb 03, 2020
#179: Benefits Breakdowns, Meritorious Segments - 2019
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What does the VA Home Loan Program, the VA Office of Faith and Opportunity, the VA Assistive Technology Program, Vet Centers, Appeals Modernization Office and VA’s diabetes training and self-management have in common? They were all featured as benefits breakdown episodes on Borne the Battle in 2019.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week: Air Force Pararescueman Veteran John Pighini

Additional Links:
- https://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/
- https://www.va.gov/cfbnpartnerships/WelcomeMessage.asp
- https://www.prosthetics.va.gov/AssistiveTechnology/index.asp
- https://www.vetcenter.va.gov/
- https://benefits.va.gov/benefits/appeals.asp
- https://www.nutrition.va.gov/Diabetes.asp

Jan 27, 2020
#178: Meritorious Segments - 2019
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If you've never heard an episode of Borne the Battle, this is a great place to start. Marine Veteran Tanner Iskra shares some meritorious segments from 2019. Segments include soundbites from NC farmer Valroy Williams, actress Jennifer Marshall, Postal Inspector Carroll Harris, Carry the Load's CEO Veteran Stephen Holley, Professional Wrestler Jan Ohrstrom, Pearl Harbor survivor William Bonelli, Camp Valor Outdoors' Denise Loring and Dan Duitsman, PopSmoke Media's Daniel Sharp, SecDef's Flight Surgeon and 9/11 first responder Dr. John Baxter, NASCAR Driver Jesse Iwuji, Wreaths Across America's Chairman Wayne Hanson and Actor Dale Dye.

Jan 20, 2020
#177: Panel - The State of Military Film
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1917” and “The Last Full Measure” will soon be coming to a theater near you. These military movies have been carefully crafted to capture an authentic look at life in the military. Fortunately, many military films and TV shows have been carefully crafted with the help of Veterans like Dale Dye, Travis Wade, Jennifer Marshall, and Hiram Murray. They came on Borne the Battle to discuss the business of making military films in the current Marvel and Call of Duty era.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT LAST FULL MEASURE

According to the panel, Hollywood often looks to Veterans for military advising, but only recently has it begun to see the benefits of casting Veterans as actors. The panel discusses professionally balancing the two roles on set.

Additionally, the panel talks how difficult it is to make military films. From getting the right actors at the right time to placating Hollywood execs. In the panel, Dye mentions why it is worth it to “herd cats” on set.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT NO BETTER PLACE TO DIE

Finally, the panel lays bare that these films need the support of Veterans. In the current superhero climate, Veteran support of military films and TV series are what show Hollywood that these types of films have a large audience that wants to see these stories.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TANGO DOWN

Jan 13, 2020
*Bonus - "THE NEXT MISSION, Marine Veterans who are Changing the World" Presented by the Military Times
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IT’S A BONUS for subscribers - A Merry Christmas episode! A panel of three Marine Veterans making a difference in their new respective fields. Sam Meek, CEO of SANDBOXX, Martha MacPhee, Director of Special Projects for Susan Davis International and Richard Cardona, Video Content Strategist. Panel was conducted at the Modern Day Marine Expo and was presented by the Military Times.

Dec 25, 2019
#176: Congressional Recommendations on Military, National and Public Service w/ Veterans Shawn Skelly and Ed Allard
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Should every American Citizen serve in the military? Should women be required to register for the selective service (draft)? What should the future of the Selective Service look like? Navy Veteran Shawn Skelly and Marine Corps Veteran Ed Allard are commissioners for the Commission on National, Military and Public Service. Their mission is to recommend answers to these and many more questions, to Congress by March of 2020. Shawn and Ed came on Borne the Battle to discuss the two years of data that the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service has gathered to answer those and many other questions.

Some of the goals of the National Commission are:

  • Reviewing the military selective service process.
  • Listening to the public to learn from those who serve.
  • Igniting a national conversation about service.
  • Developing recommendations that will encourage every American to be inspired and eager to serve.

According to their interim report, the Commission has learned:

  • Americans value service.
  • Americans are willing to consider a wide variety of options to encourage or require service.
  • Some Americans are aware of the details of the Selective Service System - while many are not.

Some Barriers to Service include:

  • Military Service is a responsibility borne by few.
  • National Service is America's best-kept secret
  • Public Service personnel practices need an overhaul
  • Civic knowledge is critical for our democracy, but too few Americans receive high quality education.

CLICK HERETO READ THE ENTIRE REPORT COMPLETE WITH WHAT THE COMMISSION IS CONSIDERING AS RECOMMENDATIONS

Finally, the commissioners came on Borne the Battle to let listeners know that they can provide input.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW - DEADLINE IS DEC 31, 2019

ADDITIONAL LINKS

#BtBattle Veteran of the Day

  • All Battle of the Bulge Veterans
Dec 18, 2019
#175: Benefits Breakdown - Diabetes Education and Self Management
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It isn’t easy when you have diabetes. Did you check your blood sugar? Are you exercising and keeping a good diet? Do you have your insulin handy?

Mary Julius, a program manager for the diabetes self-management education and training at Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, wants to help educate Veterans and their families about how to self-manage diabetes.

Julius broke down the differences between Type I and Type II diabetes.

  • Persons with Type I diabetes produce little or no insulin.
  • Persons with Type II diabetes make insulin but there is a resistance to the insulin.

According to Julius, diabetes awareness and education are increasingly important for Veterans and their families; “25% of Veterans receiving VA care have been diagnosed with diabetes.” Without awareness and education, people diagnosed with diabetes put their health at risk. Thus, Veterans who have been diagnosed with diabetes should work closely with their primary provider, but, she emphasizes, Veterans and their family also need the tools and education to apply self-management techniques.

Finally, Julius shares how VA has been working on creating a virtual medical learning center for Veterans and their families to learn more about diabetes and related topics. Veterans and their families can access this learning site at VAVMC.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DIABETES

Additional Links: 

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week

Dec 11, 2019
#174 Wreaths Across America w/ Army Veteran Wayne Hanson
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WAA is a national campaign that coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at over 1,700 national cemeteries, culminating at Arlington National Cemetery. The three-fold purpose of WAA aims to remember fallen U.S Veterans, honor those who currently serve, and teach children the value of freedom. Here, Hanson explains WAA’s humble beginnings and its rise into the national organization that it is today.

This week’s Borne the Battle features Wayne Hanson, the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Wreaths Across America (WAA).

In this episode, Hanson discusses his time in the Army and the socio-political atmosphere of when he returned from Vietnam. He talks about transition and his gradual involvement at WAA. Lastly, he shares the four words from a stranger that kept him motivated to work even to this day.

For more information on Wreaths Across America, or for info on how to volunteer, visit the WAA website.

Dec 04, 2019
#173 On the Firing Line with Marine Veteran Dan Duitsman
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Camp Valor Outdoors’ shooting teams compete in professional matches all over the country. Marine Veteran Dan Duitsman is Camp Valor Outdoors’ Shooting Sports Program Director. His role is to get disabled veterans into competitive shooting – no matter the disability. 

While in the Marine Corps, Dan worked in security forces, counterintelligence and the infantry. Prior to his role at Camp Valor Outdoors, he was a weapons instructor with the U.S. State Department. In this episode he talked about his career, his transition, the recreational-therapeutic benefits of the shooting and how to get involved in Camp Valor Outdoors’ shooting program. Additional Links: 

Nov 27, 2019
#172 Lakota Warrior and Vietnam Veteran Dr. Robert Primeaux
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Native American Vietnam Veteran Robert Primeaux shared his journey from a Lakota reservation to the Army, to Hollywood.

As a young man, Primeaux was eager to get off the reservation and see the world. To leave, he decided to join the Army. He trained in Fort Lewis and Fort Knox before joining the 101st Airborne Division and sent off to Vietnam.

In 1972, Primeaux returned to the United States. His younger brother had been killed in a car accident, leaving Primeaux as the sole male survivor of his family.

However, he did not stay in the Army long. A car accident of his own put him in a coma for three weeks. After he recovered, he was discharged.

Primeaux then lived on his grandmother’s ranch while he recovered from his injuries. To help with his recovery, he began to self-rehab by working with the horses on the ranch. His love for horses gave him the opportunity to go to school through a rodeo scholarship from the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA).

Between school and living on his family ranch, Primeaux met Michael Apted on the set of Thunderheart in South Dakota. Through this meeting, he landed a stunt role on Thunderheart and become eligible for access to the Union of the Screen Actors Guild.

Later, Robert moved to LA to begin his film career where he landed roles in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and a more prominent role in Rough Riders. This role as Indian Bob was special to Primeaux because the director John Milius specifically created it with him in mind.

Recently, Robert has been advocating for fallen service-members to be enshrines in the NFL Hall of Fame.

Throughout his life, through thick and thin, Primeaux credited the Four Cardinal Lakota Virtues for helping him recover from the Vietnam War and his car accident.

From childhood, Lakota Warriors were taught these four virtues. Primeaux stated that warriors who were taught the true meaning of these virtues learn to treat their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. #BtBattle Veteran of the Week: 

For more information, find this Borne the Battle episode blog at blogs.va.gov

Nov 20, 2019
#171: Seven Summits w/ Benjamin Breckheimer
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Benjamin Breckheimer was a teenager when he watched 9/11 unfold. Like many other young Americans, the images spurred him into action. Right after high school, he enlisted in the Army as an operating room specialist.

The operating room is where Breckheimer served his comrades and met his closest mentor. As fate would have it, Breckheimer would end up on the operating table himself. Breckheimer received serious damages to his body after an improvised explosive device went off under the Stryker he was driving.

The road to recovery was a long one. Hopeless and angry at the world, Breckheimer’s life spiraled out of control to the point of suicidal thoughts. However, with the help of his family, mentor, and a strong support network, Breckheimer was able to get back on his feet.

To get better physically and also to challenge himself and others, Breckheimer started climbing. As time went on, his ascents grew to higher altitudes. To free himself from weight of the past , Breckheimer threw his problems off some of the highest peaks in the world. He is currently on track to be the first ever wounded combat veteran to climb the  Seven Summits.

Breckheimer is now partnered with American300. American300 subject matter resiliency experts spend quality time with service members, offering not only their personal stories, but a knowing ear and shoulder heavy in experience. Working with military leadership, American300 tours place mentors in areas of operation repeatedly over the span of several years.  Each return visit features different mentors who shed a light on making the impossible…possible. Additional Links: 

Nov 13, 2019
#170: Dale Dye, Marine Corps Birthday Episode
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When watching a movie, it’s easy to think that everything is real and true and lifelike. It's no surprise that that isn't always the case, especially with military movies. That's how Marine Veteran Dale Dye got involved. He wanted to tell Hollywood the right way to portray the military on screen.

Dye’s journey to becoming a military technical advisor started when he was a young man. He often overheard his father's inspiring World War II stories. He enlisted in the Marines after seeing a Marines poster.

In service, Dye became a combat correspondent and he often documented battles and life in the Marines during the Vietnam War. It was this experience that he later drew on to advise Hollywood film directors on how to accurately portray the military. His love for the military inspired him to influence the next generation through films, books, and even video games, so he created Warriors Inc. to provide Hollywood with technical advisors for all things military related.

As Dye discussed his experiences, he covered the following topics:

  • His military career in the Marines during the Vietnam War where he received three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with a Combat “V.”
  • His military consultant business Warriors Inc.
  • His 141 credits in film, television and video games.
  • His new projects.
  • His books and publishing company Warriors Publishing.
  • His struggle and treatment of his  PTSD.

He emphasized the importance of not only having knowledge about what you are getting into but also knowing that there are people who have gone through the same thing as you that want to help support you.

Dye recently finished the film The Last Full Measure which will hit theaters in early 2020, and his directorial debut, No Better Place to Die, was recently announced. Additional Helpful Links: 

Nov 06, 2019
#169: Benefits Breakdown - Appeals Modernization
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Executive Director of the Veterans Benefits Administration’s (VBA) Appeals Management Office (AMO) and Army Veteran  David McLenachen talks about the appeals modernization process.

McLenachen briefly discussed his service in the Army with counterintelligence. He later left the Army to pursue a career in law. He worked as law clerk for a federal judge before he eventually came to work at the VA.

Before becoming executive director of the VBA’s AMO, McLenachen acted as deputy under secretary for disability assistance. While in this position, he began helping the VBA improve their appeals system in order to better assist Veterans.

The Appeals Modernization Act took effect Feb. 19, 2019. Congress created the act in 2017 to help solve problems VBA had with appeals and claims. The act created three new ways to help Veterans submit appeals and get their results at a quicker pace:

  • Higher-level review
  • Supplemental claim
  • Board of Veterans’ Appeals

McLenachen and the VBA continue to strive to find ways to improve the appeals process. You can reach them through  Ask a Question on the Veterans Affairs website. Additional Helpful Links: 

Oct 30, 2019
#168: Coaching NCAA Lacrosse with Marine Veteran Chris Burke and Mitchell Shafer
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This week's Borne the Battle podcast features Marine Corps Veteran Chris Burke and the youngest head coach in NCAA Lacrosse, Mitch Shafer.

Burke discussed his service in the Marines, including his injury and recovery from an IED explosion in Afghanistan. However, Burke's real story begins on what he did after serving in Afghanistan.

When Burke left service, he went back to school, where he planned on joining the lacrosse program in hopes of playing with his younger brother. But his plans didn’t go the way he had hoped. Instead, he found a new sense of purpose, one that reminded him of the camaraderie that he experienced in the Marines. In time, that new sense of purpose led to Burke accepting the position of defensive coordinator at Maryville University. CHRIS IS THE SECOND VETERAN NCAA COACH TO BE ON BORNE THE BATTLE: 

 CLICK HERE FOR THE #BTBATTLE EPISODE WITH DUKE'S COACH KRZYZEWSKI 

Now, at Maryville, with Shafer's help, Burke uses his Marine Corps leadership experience to to mentor and coach his college lacrosse players for more than just on the field. From visiting local  VA hospitals to sending care packages overseas, Burke and Shafer lead the lacrosse team in bridging the military-civilian divide. Additional Links: 

Oct 23, 2019
#167: Paging Dr. Albert Weed, Green Beret Medic, Army Medical Officer, VA Surgeon
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This week's Borne the Battle podcast features Dr. Albert Weed, whose career has taken him from enlisted Green Beret Army medic to an Army medical officer to VA surgeon. Weed discussed his name, and how his family’s military background and medical experiences led him to, among other things, peacekeeping in Egypt, swimming in Saddam Hussein's pool, and receiving four different DD-214s.

Weed traces his journey's beginnings from high school and later to Special Forces training, where he volunteered to work as a medic. It was during this training when he realized the medical field was where he wanted to be. He was inspired to become an Army medical doctor while doing his clinical. He had just finished a late shift helping labor and deliveries and was planning to take a nap when he was called to the operating room to help. After the operation, Weed went out for a run instead of taking his nap. In that moment, he realized he wanted to pursue a medical career.

Listen as Weed recounts his experiences in the military and medical fields and his current work serving Veterans as a surgeon with the Salem VA Medical Center. Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week: 

 

Oct 16, 2019
#166: Navy to NASCAR w/ Jesse Iwuji
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Sometimes, all it takes is a whiteboard and a marker to jump-start a dream into reality. This week’s Borne the Battle features guest Jesse Iwuji, whose creative and hardworking mindset led him to overcome great challenges and become a NASCAR driver.


Growing up, Iwuji excelled at both track and football. His high school accomplishments led him to the Naval Academy's football team where he played safety. He graduated from the academy in 2010. After seven years active duty, Jesse transitioned to the Navy Reserve.

After his football career ended, Iwuji found competitiveness in racing. However, he was at a disadvantage compared to his peers who started racing at a very early age: Iwuji started in his mid 20’s. He lacked sponsorship and he wasn’t born into a racing family. Despite this, his determination and led him to a variety of open doors. He funded the first part of his NASCAR K&N racing career through a variety of ways to include starting his own business. Currently he is racing in the  NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

 View this post on Instagram 


Talladega Superspeedway, here we come😁! 🏁 @rbr_teams #NASCAR #NavyToNASCAR


A post shared by  Jesse Iwuji (@jesse_iwuji) on Oct 8, 2019 at 11:10am PDT


Today, Iwuji represents sponsors from several different organizations, which many help Veterans. He uses racing as a platform to advocate for Veterans' rights and he shares his passion in Veteran communities and schools. To Jesse, nothing is impossible if you have vision and hard work behind it.

 Additional Links 

 J.D. Meador II

Oct 09, 2019
#165: The Battle of Mogadishu w/ Army Ranger Veteran, Jeff Struecker
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This week’s Borne the Battle episode features guest Jeff Struecker, who discusses his life as a soldier, pastor, and author.

In 1987, Struecker enlisted in the army when he was 18. He excelled, serving in the 75th Ranger Regiment, and he played a pivotal role in the  Battle of Mogadishu. He also won the 1996 Best Ranger Competition and was also recognized in 1998 as the U.S Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Noncommisioned Officer of the Year.

After his time as a Ranger, Struecker received a commission as a chaplain in April 2000. He continued to serve as a chaplain for the next 11 years, eventually retiring in January 2011 after having served multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

After leaving service, Struecker became a pastor, and in his free time, he has participated in numerous films, written books and speaks to a variety of audiences about his faith and his time in service. Additional Links: 

Oct 02, 2019
#164: Benefits Breakdown - VA Vet Centers
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2019 marks the 40th Anniversary of  VA's Vet Centers. They started as outreach for Vietnam Veterans who did not utilize the VA as much as WWII Veterans.

This week’s interview is Pennsylvania National Guard Veteran Michael Fisher who is the Senior Readjustment Counselor. He leads and has direct oversight of over 300 Vet Centers, 80  Mobile Vet Centers and the  Vet Center Call Center. We broke it all down - how vet centers started, their differences between them and VA Medical Centers, their services and who is eligible. 

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week: 

Sep 25, 2019
#163: Helping Reunite Veteran Families w/ Nathan Goncalves - Army Veteran, Equal Justice Works Fellow
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On this week’s episode, Borne the Battle features guest Nathan Goncalves, who shares his story of struggle and perseverance.

While Goncalves didn’t have the intrinsic calling to join the military, he enlisted at 23, seeking reform and discipline. It was in the Army that Goncalves sharpened his focus and developed lifelong friendships and mentors. Rough transition 

However, Goncalves' transition back to civilian life was not easy. In fact, it turned out to be some of his lowest valleys--involving addiction, PTSD, and anger management.

But things started to change when Goncalves heard he was going to be a father. In this episode, he discusses how an intense work ethic allowed him to achieve a bachelor’s degree at UCLA in less than three years.

Goncalves applied to UCLA’s Law school to study corporate law. He was accepted, but a bitter divorce hampered those plans. Through his own experiences, Goncalves realized there was no advocacy for situations like his own. So he sacrificed a potentially lucrative corporate law career and switched to family law to offer services to homeless and low-income Veterans.

Goncalves is now hosted by Harriet BuHai Center for Family Law and sponsored in house by Equal Justice Works. He continues to fight for family integration for homeless and low-income Veterans as they transition back into the civilian communities.

 Listen to the full episode 

HERE Additional Links: 

 

Sep 18, 2019
Bonus Episode! - Mel Brooks, Adrian Cronauer, 2019 Military Influencer Conference Roundup
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For months, I’ve been promising a special bonus podcast episode for when Born the Battle received its 100th rating and/or review on iTunes.

We did it! But, before we get to Mel Brooks and the late Adrian Cronauer. 

In five months, our listenership has increased 500%. You’ve allowed more Veterans, VA employees and civilians to hear these amazing stories and to take advantage of all the benefit breakdowns in our archives.

Thank You.

Sep 17, 2019
#162: September 11th with Dr. John Baxter - Air Force Veteran, 9/11 First Responder, SecDef's Flight Surgeon
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On September 11, 2001, Air Force flight surgeon John Baxter showed up to work at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, to a full load of patients and completing physicals--just like any other day.

Halfway through his morning while getting his next patient, he saw that a civilian airliner had flown into one of the World Trade Center towers.

While with the patient, Baxter said he noticed the background noise in the Pentagon changed. It seemed quieter than usual. Then, he heard shouts. He opened his door and saw people running and shouting, and smoke in the hallway.

At first, Baxter didn't know if there was an explosion, a fire or some other event. Despite the unknowns, he assembled his team of flight surgeons, a nurse and medical technicians. They grabbed medical kits and traveled as a group. Their emergency plan was to meet up with other medics at the Pentagon's DiLorenzo Clinic.

Then they heard the news: there were casualties in corridor 5.

Baxter's team ran to the spot. They found Army Veteran Brian Birdwell, who was in excruciating pain from burns. It was a situation that Baxter was unexpectedly prepared for: Months earlier, in an emergency exercise, the flight clinic trained for the same scenario that unfolded on 9/11: a plane crashing into the Pentagon.

John Baxter still serves at the Pentagon, though now as a civilian flight surgeon. For this week's Born the Battle Podcast, Baxter details his story of 9/11 and the days that followed. #BtBattle Veteran of the Week: 

Sep 11, 2019
#161: Todd Boeding – Marine Veteran, Carry the Load
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On this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Tanner Iskra interviews guest Todd Boeding, who shares his past, present and future as a Marine Corps Veteran, as well as his involvement honoring Veterans through Carry the Load.

Born and raised in Texas, Boeding was always known to take unorthodox paths in life. He dabbled in college, left for the Marine Corps seeking structure and discipline, and eventually returned to finish up his degree at The University of Texas at Dallas.

Since leaving the Marine Corps in 2003, Boeding discussed the hardest part of the transition back to civilian life: finding a sense of belonging. Boeding was able to find his purpose of being part of something bigger through Carry the Load.

Carry the Load offers opportunities to learn how to care again and to do it in a way that meaningfully impacts the families who lost their loved ones. Currently, Carry the Load is partnering with the National Cemetery Association on September 11th to help maintain the dignity of cemeteries.

If you would like to learn more or want to help in this movement, click on this link: www.carrytheload.org/NCA. #BtBattle Veteran of the Week: 

Sep 04, 2019
#160: Benefits Breakdown – Assistive Technology Program
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 In episode 157, we spoke with Army Veteran Ursula Draper about her role in the development of an Assistive Technology (AT) program. In this week's Benefits Breakdown, we take a deeper dive into how this program works and who is able to access it.

The AT program will sound familiar to those who know Darwin’s Theory of Adaptation. The adaptation theory--also known as survival theory, or survival of the fittest--is an organism’s ability to adapt to changes in its environment and adjust accordingly. The Assistive Technology program helps Veterans to do just that.

The AT program, which began in 2008, aims to improve the lives of disabled Veterans by allowing them to maintain independence by completing everyday tasks. It helps Veterans with computer use and accessibility, voice activated technologies, drive control for wheelchairs, and even giving them the ability to turn lights on and off.

VA created four main hubs for instructing those granted into the program: Minneapolis, MN; Tampa, Fl; Richmond, VA; and Palo Alto, CA. In this episode we look at: 

  • How the program started.
  • How a Veteran can apply to the program.
  • Some Examples of the technology being developed.

Enjoy. #BtBattle Veteran of the Week: 

Aug 28, 2019
#159: Curtez Riggs – Army Veteran, Entrepreneur, Military Influencer Conference
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School. Military. Streets. In 1996, Curtez Riggs graduated high school and those were his options in Flint, Michigan. By that time, the auto industry that built “Buick City” had moved away. As a kid, Curtez picked up bottles, turned in cans and always had a side gig to bring in extra money. When it came time to make the decision, Curtez figured the Army was the best way to start his future.

His entrepreneurship did not stop when he joined the Army. Curtez continuously started businesses outside of his day job as a career recruiter. In this episode, you will hear how Curtez prepared for his military transition - years before he ended his active service.

Currently, Curtez is the CEO of the Military Influencer Conference (MIC). Started in 2016, the conference is a community of entrepreneurs, influencers, creatives, executives, and leaders who are connected to the military community. Curtez said he sees the conference as a mentorship and connection hub for future and current military Veterans looking to make the military transition with an entrepreneurial mindset. This year’s conference is in Washington, D.C., Sept. 8-10. Starting in 2020, the conference will be placed in a different region each year.

The conference has certain tracks attendees can follow:

  • “Going Live” – Podcasters and Video
  • Real Estate
  • Founders and Innovators
  • Social Impact
  • Content Creators
  • Empower – Milspouse Track
  • Workshops
  • Mighty Talks#BtBattle Veteran of the Week 
  • Air Force and Army Veteran Erin McLyman

Enjoy the episode. Additional Links: 

Aug 21, 2019
#158: David Gowel – Army Veteran, RallyPoint CEO
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This week’s Borne the Battle interview is with Army Iraq War Veteran, David Gowel, a West Point and Ranger School graduate who later became an assistant professor at MIT’s ROTC program. David is currently the CEO of RallyPoint, a military-themed social media network. Which begs the question: just how does a former armor platoon leader become the CEO for a social media company? And, with a crowded social landscape that includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat and others, why would anyone join yet another social media network?

This week’s guest lays out his case. In the interview, he also shares tips and pointers for expanding your own social media network.

Prior to becoming RallyPoint’s CEO, David and his wife started their own company that helped other companies leverage social media tools to improve their business models. For LinkedIn specifically, David would consult on how to network on the platform without “harassing people.” This experience led him to also write the book, “The Power in a Link: Open Doors, Close Deals and Change the Way You Do Business Using LinkedIn.

RallyPoint is a social media network that caters to the active duty and Veteran experience. In the interview, David explains how partnering with VA’s Veteran Experience Office has enabled RallyPoint to organize discussions and “Command Post” messages around VA's Veteran’s Journey Map, which portrays the life stage moments--and VA experiences--that Veterans typically experience.

Currently there are 1.7 million RallyPoint members, many of whom, in addition to active duty and Veterans, are family members, caregivers, civilian recruiters, and VA and DoD civilians.

 Enjoy the episode. Additional Links: 

Aug 14, 2019
#157: Ursula Draper – Army Veteran, Occupational Therapist, Assistive Technology Professional
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Since some veterans have multiple traumas, known as polytrauma, VA dedicates resources to help Veterans with very complex issues.

This week's Borne the Battle interview is with Army Veteran Ursula Draper, who developed the VA  Assistive Technology Program in 2010.

Draper, an Army Veteran, spent six years working as an ophthalmic technician at Martin Army Hospital at Fort Benning, Georgia. Using her GI Bill, Ursula received her bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy from East Carolina University. She then operated her own private practice in Orlando, Florida, for over 20 years, specializing in Sensory Integration and pediatrics. Wanting to give back to the Veterans, she then pursued a career in the Veterans Health Administration working with spinal cord injuries. In 2009, she began working at the Veterans Administration, specializing in spinal cord injury and traumatic brain Injuries.

The Assistive Technology program tries to meet Veteran needs. The program finds adaptive ways for Veterans to access their environment, such as turning on lights or accessing computers. Specific areas of AT intervention include:

Enjoy.

Aug 07, 2019
#156: Daniel Sharp – Marine Veteran, CEO PopSmoke Media, Smokepit Podcast Host
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If you have a Facebook or Instagram account, you either follow this week's guest or have seen his work shared on your social media feed. This week’s Borne The Battle episode interview is with Marine Veteran Daniel Sharp, the Chief Executive Officer of PopSmoke Media and podcast host of The Smokepit.

Sharp talks about his transition from the Marine Corps after 11 years of service as an infantryman to starting his own media company, to developing his podcast. We also go into his personal relationship with his local VA Medical Center. He said his experience with Veterans Affairs started out difficult, but he worked to hold himself accountable to identify solutions and make sure the care worked for him. Sharp also talks about the stress of combat and the support network that can help mitigate those stresses.

Currently, his podcast has listeners in 55 different countries. Additional Links to this week’s Episode: 

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the  Apollo 11 Moon Landing

  • Navy Veteran Neil Armstrong
  • Air Force Veteran Michael Collins
  • Air Force Veteran Buzz Aldrin
Jul 31, 2019
#155: Gary Profit – Army Veteran, WalMart Military Programs
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Back in  episode 43, Gary gave his original testimony on Borne the Battle.

This week’s Borne The Battle episode provides an update from the Senior Director of Military Programs at Walmart on the hiring initiatives through the company and the Walmart Foundation donating $1 million to Hire Heroes USA.

Profit worked as a defense contractor before hearing of the Walmart opportunity through a retiree network contact. He met with Walmart officials and became the first person to serve in his role—a role that has now spanned a decade. He plans on retiring by the end of this year.

Initially, Walmart wanted to hire 100,000 Veterans through its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, but later doubled the commitment to 250,000 by the end of 2020. To date, Walmart has hired more than 226,000 Veterans since Memorial Day 2013.

Walmart is also trying to help with the disproportionate unemployment of military spouses, giving hiring preference to spouses who seek employment at Walmart or Sam’s Club through the Military Spouse Career Connection, which started Nov. 12, 2018.

Hire Heroes USA empowers U.S. military members, veterans and military spouses to succeed in the civilian workforce.

Additional Links to this week’s Episode:

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Jul 24, 2019
#154: Benefits Breakdown – VA Center of Faith and Opportunity Initiative
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The VA Center of Faith’s and Opportunity Initiative’s mission is “engage, inform and educate faith-based, nonprofit and community/neighborhood organizations in VA programs to better serve the needs of Veterans, their families, survivors, caregivers and other beneficiaries.” Basically, VA understands that sometimes, faith is the best way to reach a Veteran. Therefore, VA set up a resource for local clergy so they can be the one to tell the Veteran what is available to them.

The current leader spearheading this initiative is the acting director of VA Center of Faith and Opportunity Initiative, Conrad Washington. In this episode he breaks down how your local clergy can get involved with the program. Through partnerships, resources and outreach events, the Center of Faith currently have multiple ways for faith-based leaders to get involved.

In addition, he breaks down his own career. Conrad is a former Marine Corps administrator and drill instructor. After leaving service, Conrad went from a security guard to specializing in security education as an Information Security Specialist for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency – in the same building. Currently in seminary school, he explains how his career combined with his faith eventually landed him in the VA Secretary’s Office and into his current role as the acting director for the VA Center of Faith and Opportunity Initiative.

Enjoy.

Additional Links to this week’s Episode:

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Jul 17, 2019
#153: Perry Firoz - Air Force Veteran, CEO Epic Music LA
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Perry Firoz is smart. Not just  Air Force smart, but “can I copy off your paper,” smart.

Perry degrees include:

  • Master’s Degree, Operations Research – Advanced Mathematical Applications, George Mason
  • Bachelor of Applied Science – Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, Wichita State University
  • Bachelor of Science, Music Performance, Theory, Composition, University of Nebraska

He was an  Analytical Scientist for the Air Force. A lot of this episode is trying to figure out what an analytical scientist does, and I think we have it figured out. His entire job was to figure out how to make the Air Force more efficient. Where another service (ahem, Marine Corps) would contract a solution, the Air Force paid Perry to figure out how to fix logjams in career progression education systems.

Since he left active duty, Perry has continued military analytical research for the Rand Corporation. He is also taking what he has learned to become an entrepreneur. Returning to his first love, music, Perry moved out to Los Angeles and started Epic Music LA. Epic Music LA is a music licensing company. They work with experienced composers to create a library that films and television shows, post-production companies, sports/news media, public relations and advertising agencies can license. They have recently signed deals with CBS, MLB and NHL Networks.

Enjoy.

Additional Links for this Episode:

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week

National Guard Veteran  Dr. Richard Pinsker

Jul 10, 2019
#152: Denise Loring - Army Veteran, Camp Valor Outdoors, World Class Competitive Marksman
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There have been many studies that show that  nature can be therapeutic for many reasons:

  • Stress reduction
  • Finding Meaning and Purpose
  • Develops heightened awareness
  • Promotes physical activity
  • A “Natural High”

In  episode 138, Sean Ricks mentioned a nonprofit called Camp Valor Outdoors. It’s a nonprofit that helps ill, injured and wounded active duty, veterans and their family members. They do this by taking them on fishing, hunting, shooting, archery, four-wheeling and camping. They believe that “healing in the great outdoors…and connecting with fellow warriors is therapeutic and essential to healing.” Nobody is paid on staff and each dollar is spent on the programs that they host.

Although the nonprofit operates out of Kingsville, MO, Camp Valor’s  competitive shooting program is located nearby DC in Fairfax. When I found that out, we linked up and I went to shooting clinic and a couple of matches to see what they are all about.

This week we interviewed Camp Valor Outdoors’ Chief Operating Officer, Army Veteran retired Colonel Denise Loring. She is a world class competitive shooter, having shot in a CMP and NRA Nationals, USA Olympic Trials (Air Rifle), and World Championships. We talked about Camp Valor's mission, Denise being recruited to the Army specifically for shooting, what else she did in her 29+ year career, her transition out, and how she came to find a home with Camp Valor Outdoors.

Enjoy.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Army Veteran Charlie Challelea

Additional Links to this Episode:

Jul 03, 2019
#151: WWII Weekend Part II - Walter Stitt and Victor Marulli
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This week we’re revisiting Reading, PA’s WWII Weekend. For three days (June 7-9) the MidAtlantic Air Museum brought in WWII Veterans, reenactors and a full air show.

READ AND LISTEN TO  PART ONE

This week we share two more WWII Veteran’s stories that the gentlemen were gracious enough to share over the weekend.

Walter Stitt was a part of General Patton’s 3rd Armored Division. As an M4 Sherman Tank Gun Loader, he saw time in Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland Campaigns and he was one of the first tanks to cross the Siegfried Line – receiving a Purple Heart in the process. Later Walter became a pastor and gave the closing remarks to the final 3rd Armored Division Association’s reunion in 2010.

Victor Maurelli is a WWII and Korean War Veteran. He was a Navy Frogman from the early 1940s to 1955. During WWII, Victor served in Guam, Philippines and during the Battle of Midway. Frogmen were underwater demolition-men and are the forefathers to the current Navy SEAL teams. Frogmen were responsible for diving underwater and destroying defensive barriers before an amphibious landing. Frogmen served in both the European and Pacific Theatres. During WWII Weekend, Victor spent some time with Borne the Battle and shared some of his incredible stories.

Enjoy both of these unique stories.

Additional Links for this episode:

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Army and Korean War Veteran  Dale Quick

Jun 26, 2019
#150: Benefits Breakdown – VA Home Loan Program
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On June 22, VA will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the G.I. Bill. In honor of this historic event, Army Veteran Maxine Henry and Air Force Veteran Mark Connors of the VA’s Loan Guaranty Service team sat down with Borne the Battle to discuss one of the best and most popular Veteran benefits--the VA home loan entitlement. 

The VA home loan guaranty has several advantages for Veteran borrowers:

  • Veterans using the VA home loan are generally not required to have a downpayment.
  • Veterans using the VA home loan also aren’t required to carry any mortgage insurance, which saves borrowers hundreds of dollars on their monthly mortgage payments.
  • Veterans using the VA home loan benefit enjoy limited closing costs.
  • VA home loans have very competitive interest rates.
  • Veterans aren’t charged any prepayment penalty if they are able to pay off their mortgage earlier than required while using the VA loan.
  • VA provides assistance to help Veterans retain their homes during periods of temporary financial difficulty.
  • The VA home loan benefit can be used multiple times throughout the Veteran’s life.Additional Links: 
  • https://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/contact_rlc_info.asp
  • https://www.consumerfinance.gov/#BtBattle Veteran of the Week: 
  • Army Veteran  Arthur Lorelli
Jun 19, 2019
#149: WWII Weekend Part I - Pearl Harbor Survivors Richard Schimmel and William Bonelli
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It was WWII Weekend in Reading, PA. For three days, the MidAtlantic Air Museum brings WWII Veterans, reenactors and a full air show to their community. You can step back in time to every major theatre, visit friendly and enemy camps, hear 1940s music, and even see an FDR impersonator. 

More importantly, WWII Days include an impressive VIP guest list. Over twenty-five WWII Veterans attend every year and recount their experiences. This year included two living survivors of Pearl Harbor. 

 Richard (Dick) Schimmel was one of the first soldiers to ever be a radar tech. He enlisted in 1940 and was shipped out to Hawaii to form new formed Signal Aircraft Warning unit. He wasn’t on duty but was stationed on Pearl Harbor during the attack. When he realized the island was under attack, he ran to his post.

 William Bonelli was an enlisted B-17 and B-29 mechanic at Hickam Field when the attacks occurred. In 1944, he got his opportunity to fly the “Flying Fortress” as a pilot, flying 30 missions over Italy (21 as squadron leader) and receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions.

Enjoy both of these unique accounts of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Additional Links: 

Jun 12, 2019
75th Anniversary of D-Day
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Quick Bonus episode reflecting on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings. Features General Dwight D. Eisenhower's speech to the troops of the eve of the operation. 

Jun 06, 2019
#148: Army Veteran David Lucier, Green Beret Medic, Vietnam Special Forces, Security Contractor, Veteran Advocate
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David talks about becoming a Green Beret, being attached to a MIKE Force in Vietnam, being a security contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan as a 55-60 year old man, and helping advocate to reform Arizona's university system to work friendlier with the GI Bill and the VA system.

Additional Links:

#BtB Veteran of the Week:

Jun 05, 2019
#147: Marine Veteran Brett D’Alessandro and Alexa Modero: Backpacks for Life
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One couple, Marine Veteran Brett D’Alessandro and his partner, Alexa Modero, have made it their mission to help those Veterans that find themselves with nothing but a backpack. In fact, with the nonprofit, Backpacks for Life the first thing they are doing is literally improving the backpacks that rest on homeless Veterans shoulders.

After deploying to Afghanistan in 2014 and exiting his Marine Reserve contract, Brett started experiencing the same problems many Veterans face after deployment. After serving honorably as a turret gunner in country, he found himself without purpose. He was filling the emptiness with unhealthy habits. However, after randomly providing a homeless Veteran with a backpack that allowed the Veteran’s child to have a pack for school, Brett again found a call to serve those that were in need. Upon learning this, his long-time girlfriend Alexa, began supporting his new purpose. Together they founded the nonprofit Backpacks for Life.

They have since patented their very own pack that is created specifically with the homeless veteran in mind. The Bowery Pack features the old sea-bag opening, a stainless cable closing and an iso mat. Their goal is to go to a one-for-one sale model. For each Bowery Pack sold, they can give one to a homeless Veteran.

However, Brett and Alexa believe that the pack is only the first step to getting off the streets. Their overall mission “is to provide Veterans with resources that they have trouble providing for themselves…at the same time fostering self-reliance while assisting Veterans through their hardships…”

Additionally, we talked about how Brett and Alexa met, Brett’s deployment, and how they can afford to make the Bowery Pack in the United States.

Enjoy.

Additional Links to this Episode:

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week

Army Veteran Bill Hayes

May 29, 2019
#146: Dave Coker: Army Veteran, President of Fisher House Foundation
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Fisher houses are a vital part of helping Veterans heal. If there is an open room in a Fisher House next to a VA or military medical facility, a family can join in their Veteran’s recovery at no lodging cost. Today,  two new Fisher houses opened at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, New York City. These two new homes will join the 70+ Fisher Houses currently in operation around the world. By the end of the year, the Fisher House Network will be able to provide for over 1,000 families at any given time.

To mark today’s event, today’s interview is the current President of the Fisher House Foundation, Army Veteran David Coker.

We talked about:

  • His family’s extensive military service
  • His personal service as an Army medical officer
  • His transition in the 90s how he came to be the very first employee of the Fisher House Foundation.
  • The unique way that the foundation got its name.

Enjoy.

FOR INFO ON LOCAL MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONIES CLICK HERE

#BtB Veteran of the Week:

Army Veteran  Todd Cornell

Additional Links for this Episode:

https://maketheconnection.net/mhm

https://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/purchaseco_loan_fee.asp

https://www.cem.va.gov/cem/ceremony/2019_Memorial_Day.asp

www.carrytheload.org

May 22, 2019
#145: Jan Ohrstrom: Army Veteran, Professional Wrestler, Documentary Producer, VA Employee
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Not only is Army Veteran Jan a wrestler, he’s a producer of the documentary “Valhalla Club.” The feature documents how three wrestlers, including Jan, formed a wrestling stable based on collectively fighting their PTSD through wrestling.

Recently, Jan and his stablemates were featured on the first episode Comedy Central’s new show, “Klepper.” 

Additionally, Jan is a VA employee. We talked about his role in the Office of Business Process Integration.

Additional Links:

https://bit.ly/2DucCtZ

https://bit.ly/2V2gJs3

https://bit.ly/2WchKKw

 https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/59350/march-memorial-day-va-carry-load-honor-fallen/

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week

Marine Veteran Edgar Huff

 

May 15, 2019
#144: Joseph Pennington - Navy Seabee Veteran, AllState Director of Military Affairs
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For Borne the Battle, we have a small team of interns that transcribe previous episodes so those with hearing loss can still read our episodes. It is finals week for many universities around the country and we will be soon losing that important cog of our team. 

So, before our interns left for the year, I wanted to reward them with their own episode. We had our intern, aspiring podcaster Zach Wheeler, go and get another interview.

Back in episode 130, Zach interviewed  Robert Freedman, his professor from Johns Hopkins University. For his “final” we challenged him to go find an interview off his campus. From there, he took the ball, ran with it, and interviewed Joseph Pennington, a former Navy Seabee and the current Director of Military Programs for AllState.

 FUN FACT: ALLSTATE WAS STARTED BY A VETERAN

Joseph talks about how his grandfather, a WWII Veteran, inspired him to raise his right hand. He also talks about his transition, his experience in building military programs for various companies, and how that experience led him to his current role at AllState.

Enjoy.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Marine Veteran  Megan McClung

Additional Links for this Episode:

 

May 08, 2019
#143: Stephen Holley - Navy SEAL Veteran, Naval Academy Quarterback, CEO of Carry The Load
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For the next month, the VA’s National Cemetery Administration is partnering with Carry The Load and this week’s guest, Stephen Holley, is the CEO and co-founder of the nonprofit, Carry the Load. In addition, he is a former quarterback at the Naval Academy and a former Navy Seal.

In addition to talking about Carry The Load, we dive into his four deployments in five years, his transition and what Memorial Day means to him. 

Enjoy.

Additional Links to This Episode:

https://www.va.gov/PAINMANAGEMENT/Opioid_Safety/index.asp

https://www.va.gov/HEALTHPARTNERSHIPS/index.asp

http://www.carrytheload.org

https://bit.ly/2VwziUn

https://bit.ly/2DucCtZ

https://bit.ly/2V2gJs3

https://bit.ly/2WchKKw

https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/59350/march-memorial-day-va-carry-load-honor-fallen/

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/59517/veteranoftheday-navy-veteran-marc-alan-lee/

 

May 01, 2019
#142: Carroll Harris - Marine Veteran, Postal Inspector, Marine Corps Historian
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FBI, CIA, AFT…USPIS? It’s not an alphabet agency that is often brought up in conversation around DC Beltway. However, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service was founded almost 100 years prior to the FBI and almost 150 years before the CIA. Their mission is to “support and protect the U.S. Postal Service, its employees, infrastructure, and customers by enforcing the laws that defend the nation's mail system from illegal or dangerous use.”

Today’s guest is a current U.S. Postal Inspector and Marine Veteran Carroll Harris. He is the first guest to reach out to ask to be on the show, so he can get information out to Veterans. Operation Protect Veterans is an effort by the Postal Inspection Service to prevent crimes and scams within the mail system that are targeting the Veteran population.

In addition, Carroll is a historian in the Marine Corps Reserve. He is attached to the Marine Corps History Division and is tasked with going on deployments to record Marine Corps history in times of conflict. In the episode, he covers how he was “drafted” into the history division in Kuwait, right before the Marine Corps crossed the Kuwaiti-Iraqi border during 2003’s Operation Enduring Freedom.

Additional Links to This Episode:

https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/

https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/radDocs/OPV.html

https://bit.ly/2DucCtZ

https://bit.ly/2W3Rkum

https://bit.ly/2VlZelB

Mission Act Links:

https://bit.ly/2D8czDE

https://bit.ly/2IDLZXH

https://bit.ly/2Zw2uKw

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran Ellen Ainsworth

https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/58675/veteranoftheday-ellen-ainsworth/

Apr 24, 2019
#141: BourBiz - Military Veteran/MilSpouse Networking Event
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Bonus episode! This episode is an experiment of a sorts. I attended a Veteran/ military spouse networking event called BourBiz. It was held this last Thursday by The Veteran Success Resource Group at the MGM, National Harbor, Maryland.

I was told about this event by future guests, Brett D’Allesandro and Alexa Modero the founders of the non profit, Backpacks For Life. They were part of a veteran-owned-business pitch competition that was going to be held at the event. Placing 2nd, they were awarded $15,000. 

Again, this was last Thursday and I didn’t know about it until the day prior. Within 24 hours I was hooked up with a booth. So with little time to plan, I brought my gear and figured to catch something. I set up, did two interviews -  and I didn’t think I captured anything. It was loud and they were having a live auction right next to me. So, I shut down my operation and just took the whole thing in. However, when I went home, I learned that the quality wasn’t too bad. So, what you're going to hear is what I was able to capture. If you would like to hear more episodes like this (with more content) please reach out to me at podcast@va.gov.

Enjoy.

Additional Links:

bourbiz.com

https://www.roa.org/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/us-army-soldier-for-life/

 

Apr 22, 2019
#140: Danny Chung – Marine Veteran, Microsoft Chief of Staff of Military Affairs
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Danny Chung is an positive example of a Veteran that found a way to give back to the transitioning active-duty community. 

Danny’s team is trying to do is fill a gap in the civilian workforce. At any given time, there are over 500,000 open jobs in the computer industry. The current education system is producing only 49,000 computer science majors a year. Danny’s goal is to fill the gap with a portion of the 250,000 service-members that leave active duty every year.

One solution is the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA). It is an 18-week course that active duty can take on base towards the end of their service. They offer training in high demand fields like cloud development, cloud administration, cybersecurity, databases and business intelligence administration. In addition, graduates are guaranteed an interview with Microsoft or an industry partner. There are currently 15 military bases that offer the MSSA.

Currently, Danny’s biggest drive is to help military spouses find gainful employment in the technology industry. The Military Spouse Technology Academy is an effort by Danny’s team to combat the military spouse 18% unemployment and 53% underemployment rates.

In addition, we talk about his service, difficulties transitioning during the Great Recession, and his feelings on artificial intelligence taking over the planet.

Enjoy.

#BTBattle Veteran of the Week:

Army Air Corps Veteran Dick Cole

https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/37196/veteranoftheday-army-air-corps-veteran-richard-dick-cole/

ADDITIONAL LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE:

military.microsoft.com

https://www.hiringourheroes.org/

https://www.troops2transport.com/

https://worldwide.erau.edu/microsoft-software-systems-academy/

https://www.stmartin.edu/academics/programs-schools/hal-and-inge-marcus-school-engineering/areas-of-study/microsoft-software-and-systems-academy

Apr 17, 2019
#139: Jennifer Marshall – Navy Veteran, Actress (Stranger Things, Hawaii Five-0)
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Navy Veteran Jennifer Marshall joins us on the show. Since transitioning from active duty, she’s been hustling out in Hollywood.

She’s a veteran of some movies and shows you may have seen:

“Stranger Things”

“Hawaii Five-0”

“A Dog’s Way Home”

“Timeless”

“Game Shakers”

Most notably, she’s an actress, but she also hosts red carpets, hosts shows, models and volunteers for various causes in and around the area.

Jennifer talks about why she joined the Navy and why she had to exit earlier than she anticipated. She also talks about her husband’s transition and trying to bridge the military-civilian divide. She also shared how the military community in Hollywood helped her gain her sea-legs as she started on this new journey.

Finally, we discussed how a military mindset can help you achieve your goals, the misadventures of motion capture for her first (and probably last) video game, and current volunteer projects that she is passionate about. Enjoy.

Additional Links For This Episode:

https://www.hollywoodpost43.org/

https://vmeconnect.org/

https://www.pinupsforvets.com/

https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/fgib/VetTec.asp

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week is  Air Force Veteran William Andrews:

 https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/58577/veteranoftheday-air-force-veteran-william-francis-andrews/

 

Apr 10, 2019
#138: Sean Ricks – Navy Veteran, CEO of Ricks Roasters Coffee Company
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There are many veteran entrepreneurs in the coffee industry. Today we focus on a local roaster in the Northern Virginia area that is making waves in the coffee industry. 

In this episode, Sean talks about his unique military career. Starting out as a merchant marine and as a reservist, Sean explains how he switched between a couple of different occupational specialties before coming onto active duty as a Naval Intelligence Officer.

We also break down Sean’s transition from the Navy, and how he started a business on active duty and turned it into a $500,000 revenue-generating business within six years.  

Enjoy

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week

Marine Corps’ Veteran and soon-to-be WWE Hall of Famer Brian James is this week’s Veteran of the Week.

Additional Links for this Episode:

http://www.campvaloroutdoors.org/

Apr 03, 2019
#137: John Buckley II – Army Veteran, Koch Industries, Veteran Advocate, Wichita Kansas
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I love finding Veterans who are out there working to bridge the military-civilian divide. This week’s guest is continuing to serve by connecting Veterans to communities as the military relations manager at the second largest private company in the United States.  

While in the Army, John Buckley, II was an infantry commander for soldiers in combat and peacekeeping operations. In addition, he directed two of the Army’s top schools. Commissioning as a 2nd lt. in the reserves at the age of 19, John began serving in the Kansas Army National Guard, eventually earning a regular army commission. He is a graduate of the Infantry Basic and Advanced Courses, the Army Command and General Staff College, the School of Advanced Military Studies, the Armed Forces Staff College and the Army War College, receiving a special degree in national security policy. John also holds a master’s in military arts and sciences and a master’s in military science. 

Today, John teaches transition courses, gives presentations, writes about the military career transition, and continues to mentor current and former military service-members.

Furthermore, John is involved in the local Veteran community of Wichita, KS as the:

Co-chair of the Wichita Community Veteran Engagement Board

Board member of the Veteran Providers' Coalition of Sedgwick County

Currently, the boards' current focus is on Veteran unemployment and homelessness. Their future goals are to create a Veteran-friendly medical transportation system.

John is also a board member of the non-profit, Passageways. They battle Veteran homelessness within and around the city of Wichita. For their Phase II, Passageways is looking to develop a 30 home community focusing on providing homes for the local female veteran community and their families.

Hope you enjoy this week's episode.

Additional Links for Week's Episode:

https://bit.ly/2usvnJ9

https://bit.ly/2FzlBeG

https://bit.ly/2vtH4Q6

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week: https://bit.ly/2Tw1fXE

Mar 27, 2019
#136: Valroy Williams – Army / Navy Veteran, Queens NY Submariner to NC Farmer
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How does a Navy submariner from Hollis, Queens, NY, become a farmer in North Carolina? That is exactly what Valroy Williams did after over 30 years of dedication between the Navy and Army. 

In this episode we talked about his service, how he learned to farm and the camaraderie of the Veteran farmers in North Carolina.

Links For More Info:

https://bit.ly/2TMSfCk

https://bit.ly/2UIP9vo

https://bit.ly/2CoRTqU

https://bit.ly/2Teb8sI

https://bit.ly/2uhqrGV

 

Mar 20, 2019
#135: Rick Robinson - Marine Veteran, Emmy Award Winning Director of Photography and Cinematographer
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Tanner’s first guest is Emmy award winning director of photography and cinematographer, Rick Robinson, who was a huge influence on Tanner’s career.  In this episode, Rick shares his experiences on his deployments, drops knowledge on how he broke into Hollywood without knowing a soul, lets us in on how teaching film changed his life’s pursuits and tells us how he ended up in the South Pacific for over seven years. Rick also shares his journey back to the Marine Corps, and how he currently spends his time developing the next crops of military visual information specialists.

______________________________________________________

In the episode: 

Appeals Modernization

Rick Robinson's:

IMDB

Instagram

IndustryJump

Mar 13, 2019
#134: Tanner Iskra – Marine Veteran, new host of Borne the Battle
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This episode is a humbling one for me. Episode 134 is the last episode I will produce as the host of Borne the Battle. I launched the podcast in 2016 under the title "This Week at VA," renamed it Borne The Battle about a year later, and have interviewed an impressive set of Veterans and their loved ones. However, while I may be moving on from the podcast, the podcast is remaining and will be hosted by a newer member of my team, Tanner Iskra.

Tanner Iskra is a United States Marine Corps Veteran who served as an intel analyst in OIF III and later as a combat videographer/photographer. During his military career he deployed to OIF III as well as Romania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Spain as part of the Black Sea Rotational Force. After leaving active duty, Tanner was a Senior Post Production Editor with NASCAR Productions. Tanner is a graduate of the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Media Studies and holds a Certificate in Military Motion Media from the Newhouse School of Journalism at Syracuse University. Joining the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in October 2018, Tanner is a video producer with the Digital Media Engagement team focusing on producing, editing and shooting content that tells the Veteran’s story.

Tanner joins the show so we may learn about his service, his creativity, and his vision for the podcast moving forward.

Feb 27, 2019
#133: Joel Chaverri – Marine Veteran, Vet Center Director
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Vet Centers are one of VA's most valuable and crucial resources. Vet Centers are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional readjustment counseling to eligible Veterans, active duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve components, and their families. Readjustment counseling is offered to make a successful transition from military to civilian life or after a traumatic event experienced in the military. Individual, group, marriage and family counseling is offered in addition to referral and connection to other VA or community benefits and services. Vet Center counselors and outreach staff, many of whom are Veterans themselves, are experienced and prepared to discuss the tragedies of war, loss, grief and transition after trauma.

While I was in Dallas, visited the Vet Center in Arlington, TX and sat down with Vet Center Director Joel Chaverri for an interview. Joel tells us about his time in the Marine Corps, his path to becoming a social worker, and what everyone needs to know about how Vet Centers serve Veterans and their families.

Feb 08, 2019
#132: Brent Thompson – Navy Veteran, Head Brewer at Texas Ale Project
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Since I joined VA in April 2016, we have avoided alcohol themed content in our production. However, with so many Veterans involved in the industry through craft beer, distilling, wineries, and more, I decided it was time to feature a Veteran inside the industry. Brent Thompson is a Navy Veteran and Head Brewer at Texas Ale Project in the City of Dallas. I originally visited his establishment as part of the Military Influencers Conference. When I returned to Dallas a year later, I knew I wanted to interview him about going from Navy to co-founding a successful brewery.

Brent sat down with me in his tap room to record our interview. Over his shoulder I could see a tap handle designed in digital camouflage that read "Good to Go," the name of his pale ale. Though subtle, signals like that are evidence of a culture transcending one's life, bringing vernacular from the past into the present.

Brent spoke to me about his decision to enlist in the Navy, the major influence his father had on him, and the journey he's been on founding a successful brewery.

Jan 31, 2019
#131: Ozzy Ramirez – Army Veteran, Actor
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Back in October I interviewed Ozzy Ramirez, an Army Veteran that is pursuing an acting career in Hollywood. Ozzy's interview got buried in a swarm of interviews conducted in that time span and I just discovered it again last week. When I went back to listen to it, I remembered how great of an interview it was and how valuable it is for us to hear stories like his.

Ozzy joins Borne the Battle to discuss his time in the military, which allowed him to not only help support his family, but also become a U.S. citizen, and his bold decision to head to Hollywood in pursuit of the silver screen. You can see Ozzy's full body of work on his page at IMDB.

Jan 23, 2019
#130: Robert Freedman – Army Veteran, Professor
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This week we have a unique episode. One of my interns, Zach Wheeler, conducted an interview with one of his professors at Johns Hopkins University. Zach is a sophomore and is studying International Studies. His professor, Robert O. Freedman, is an adjunct professor at Zach's university. Mr. Freedman served during the Vietnam War and joins Borne the Battle to discuss a great leader he had in the military, his philosophy on giving your country two years of service, and his career in academia which includes time at West Point.

Jan 16, 2019
#129: Student Veteran of the Year, Air Force Veteran Alexandria Sawin
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Our week of podcasts focused on student Veterans is coming to a close. On Monday, we spoke with Student Veterans of America president Jared Lyon. Then, Tuesday through Thursday we had a conversation with three groups of Student Veteran of the Year finalists. Today, we feature the 2018 Student Veteran of the Year, Alexandria Sawin. Alex is the president of the UNLV Rebel Veterans Organization at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She speaks with us about her service in the Air Force, becoming a leader in her community, organizing a ruck march across the state of Nevada, and her best practices in her student Veteran chapter.

Jan 11, 2019
#128: Student Veteran of the Year finalists Angela Peacock, Kyle Venable and Carlos Caro
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Today, we continue our discussions with Student Veterans of America’s Student Veteran of the Year finalists. This episode features Angela Peacock, Kyle Venable, and Carlos Caro. We learn about their chapter’s success in 2018, their philosophy on outreach, and how to include other military personnel on campus.

Jan 10, 2019
#127: Student Veteran of the Year finalists Chanel Powell and Tyler Freeman
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Today, we continue our discussions with Student Veterans of America's Student Veteran of the Year finalists. This episode features Chanel Powell and Tyler Freeman. We learn about their chapter's success in 2018, their philosophy on outreach, and how to include other military personnel on campus.

About Chanel:

Chanel is a paralegal specialist in the New York Army National Guard for the past 3 years and continues to serve. She deployed with the 1156th Engineer Company to Kuwait and Iraq in 2016-2017. Promptly after returning home from deployment she started her first semester at the University at Buffalo just last spring. During her first semester she was elected SVA chapter President and the following semester they became nationally recognized within the Student Veterans of America, making their chapter one of the newest. Her plan is to continue her education in law school a little over a year from now.

About Tyler:

Tyler was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and joined the United States Marine Corps in 2008.  He was stationed in the Carolinas shortly thereafter with military occupations primarily involving helicopter squadrons as an Aviation Maintenance Supervisor and a CH-53E Helicopter Crew Member.

After 5 ½ years of service and three deployments (2 to Northeast Africa and 1 to Afghanistan), Tyler received an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps in April of 2014 to pursue undergraduate studies at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While enrolled, he held a concurrent full-time position at Ameriprise Financial in various operations and project management roles. He completed a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Magna Cum Laude) at UNC Greensboro in December, 2017. Tyler then relocated to Atlanta after he was accepted to Emory University’s Goizueta Business School & Emory Law School, where he began the full-time MBA/JM Dual Degree program in August 2018.

Jan 09, 2019
#126: Student Veteran of the Year finalists David Cote, Katherine Pratt, and Wesley Wilson
2016

Each year, Student Veterans of America selects a "Student Veteran of the Year." They receive hundreds of submissions for consideration and narrow the field down to ten finalists. Year after year, these ten finalists prove to be exceptional individuals. I had the opportunity to sit down with the finalists this year and talk to them about the success they've had with their respective chapters and on their campuses. Today's group of student Veterans include David Cote, Katherina Pratt, and Wesley Wilson.

Jan 08, 2019
#125: Jared Lyon - President of SVA's interview from #NatCon2019
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I just returned from the 2019 Student Veterans of America (SVA) National Conference (NatCon). It was my fourth conference in five years. I've been to two as a student Veteran, and two on behalf of VA. Each year this gathering proves to be more powerful than the last. SVA saw a 30% attendance boost since last year's conference, hosting more than 2,300 student Veterans and stakeholders. The three-day event featured keynotes from Secretary Robert Wilkie, Medal of Honor recipient Ryan Pitts, and President of SVA, Jared Lyon.

Jared has been on the podcast a few times in the past, including a sit-down I had with him at last year's NatCon. Each time he speaks with us, he has the same passion and excitement about the success of student Veterans as he did the time before.

In this year's interview, that we recorded at NatCon 2019, Jared shares what it means for SVA to be "left of bang," tells us about the amazing group of Student Veteran of the Year finalists, and what SVA's priority in 2019.

Jan 07, 2019
#124: Nick Armstrong – Army Veteran, Senior Director of Research and Policy at IVMF
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The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University is a key contributor in the support of Veteran entrepreneurs and research on transitioning Veterans. In the past, we have spoken with IVMF's Director, Mike Haynie, and their Manager for Managing Director for Programs and Services, Jim McDonough. This week, we talk with Nicholas Armstrong, IVMF's Senior Director for Research and Policy.

Nick began his career as an Army field artillery officer upon graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2000. In the Army, he served seven years on active duty, including nearly three years deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia with the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), during which he received two Bronze Star Medals and the Combat Action Badge, among other commendations. In addition, Nick served as a speechwriter to the commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum, NY, as well as aide-de-camp to the division’s deputy commanding general. Nick is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Airborne, Air Assault, and Ranger Schools.

Serving in his current role since 2014, Nick developed and leads a multi-disciplinary team comprised of social, behavioral, and data scientists, student analysts, and an extended network of affiliated scholars and experts. He manages a broad portfolio of sponsored research, program measurement, and evaluation efforts to inform the social, economic, wellness, and related policy concerns of the nation’s veterans and their families. In addition, Nick is responsible for the IVMF’s data analytics, quality, and decision support activities that guide the Institute’s operations to serve, annually, more than 20,000 veterans and family members nationwide and abroad.

Nick joins Borne the Battle to discuss his experience in the Army, his efforts at IVMF, and some key research from the institute that provides essential information on transitioning Veterans.

Dec 19, 2018
#123: William Daniels – Army Veteran, Actor
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Every once in a while I'm pleasantly surprised to discover that someone famous is a Veteran. A couple months ago, a story came out about William Daniels when he fended off an intruder in his house. When I saw his age, I wondered if he served in World War II. Sure enough, I learned that he spent a couple years in Italy shortly after the bomb dropped in Hiroshima. So, naturally, I wanted to speak to him about his service and invited him to join me on Borne the Battle.

Many of you probably recognize him as the voice of KITT on Knight Rider, Dr. Craig on St. Elsewhere, and, the role he's most commonly recognized for, Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World.

Mr. Daniels and his wife Bonnie joined me for a short phone interview to share his experiences as a drafted soldier in World War II, using the G.I. Bill to attend Northwestern University, being a recognized actor, and how important his relationship with Bonnie has been through it all.

Dec 05, 2018
#122: Sarah Verardo – Caregiver, CEO of Independence Fund
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To round of National Caregivers Month, we feature Sarah Verardo. Sarah is the CEO of Independence Fund and a caregiver for her husband, an Army Veteran. Sarah also authored the children's book, Hero at Home.

Founded in 2007, The Independence Fund is committed to empowering our nation’s catastrophically wounded, injured, or ill Veterans to overcome physical, mental, and emotional wounds incurred in the line of duty. We are dedicated to improving the lives of both our Veterans and their families. Through our Mobility, Caregiver, Adaptive Sports, Advocacy, and Family programs, The Independence Fund strives to bridge the gap of unmet needs for Veterans and their caregivers.

Sarah also recently announced Independence Fund's new program, Operation Resiliency. The program will team with VA to host suicide prevention reunion retreats with the Veterans of high suicide rate military units.

Sarah joins this week's podcast to discuss her experience as her husband's caregiver and her efforts at Independence Fund.

Nov 28, 2018
#121 Veterans Legacy Program: Terence Patrick Halligan
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Today's podcast features a Veteran spotlighted by NCA's Veterans Legacy Program.

Kenneth Holliday, who joined us on episode 106, joins us today for the unofficial debut of Veterans Legacy Program podcast. Today, he tells us about Terrence Halligan.

Terence Patrick Halligan was born in Northern Ireland on April 3, 1922. He is an Army Air Corps Veteran of World War II. During a combat mission over Italy, his plane was shot down and Halligan was never found.

Visit cem.va.gov/legacy for more or follow @VANatCemeteries on Twitter.

Nov 23, 2018
#120: Liz Rotenberry – Caregiver, Elizabeth Dole Foundation Fellows Programs Coordinator
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Everyone needs a break from time to time. Borne the Battle - and, more importantly, its host - decided to take a short break from production. It's been a month since our last episode was published, but I was still recording interviews in that span of time. A couple of the interviews I did were with caregivers. With November being National Caregivers Month, and with this week being Thanksgiving, I decided to bring the podcast back to full form with two episodes featuring caregivers. Not only to spotlight their efforts, but to show our gratitude for the role they play in Veterans' lives.

First up is Liz Rotenberry. Liz joined me at VA Central Office after the Elizabeth Dole Foundation showed interest in collaborating on a podcast. I didn't know much about Liz before we started the interview, but by the end of it I felt I had just recorded one of the more valuable interviews in the podcast's two year history.

Liz, is a military caregiver for her husband, a Marine Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom & Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran. As an Elizabeth Dole Fellow Alumna, Liz works to advocate not only for herself and her family, but for all Military and Veteran Caregivers. Liz joined the Elizabeth Dole Foundation as their Caregiver Community Program Coordinator and is now the Foundation’s Fellows Program Coordinator.

Prior to becoming a military caregiver, Liz graduated from the University of Delaware with a BAS in Art and Art History. Liz worked in the architectural field as a designer for schools, medical, offices to government and military facilities, including the test sites on Proving Grounds in Arizona. The work Liz experienced with the Proving Grounds in Arizona provided an eye opening experience to what our Military train for in real life theater every day. Liz is honored to have been a part of the training and implementation of the Joint Experimentation Range Complex. It is important for Liz to represent not only the Veteran but especially the Caregiver.

Liz and I talk about being a military spouse during her husband's service and how she experienced transition when her husband separated from the military. That, plus plenty of insight on her role as a caregiver.

Nov 21, 2018
#119: Elliott McKenzie – Marine Veteran, R&B artist
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After a short break, Borne the Battle is back. This week we bring on Marine Veteran Elliott McKenzie.

After returning home from a deployment to Ramadi, Iraq, Elliott started showing signs of having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). By 2008, his symptoms were spiraling out of control. He had severe anger, depression, anxiety, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and hyper awareness. It was severely affecting his life and the lives of those around him. By 2009, his PTSD was so bad that he ended up homeless. After sleeping in his car for a period of time, he applied to a veteran's homeless facility in Long Beach, CA.

Elliott soon after got connected with VA and began his long road to recovery. That road to recovery included creating music, which he used as a coping mechanism and as a way to express himself.

He joins us on this week's podcast to discuss his time in the Marines, the difficulties of his transition, and how his music career has been so powerful in his recovery.

Oct 10, 2018
#118: 'Back to School' round table featuring Jared Lyon, EJ Delpero, and Kirsten Battocchio
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September means back to school, even for Veterans. Being a student Veteran on campus is a unique experience. Student Veterans are typically older than traditional students, they have more life experience, and they can even have families at home. One resource available for student Veterans on campus is student Veterans group, often an official club with officials and board members. These groups can be great places for Veterans to gain friends, have a community, and get connected with more resources on campus.

This week's podcast celebrates going back to school. Our three panelists discuss their experiences and what they've learned as best practices for Veterans themselves and the clubs they're a part of.

I'm joined by the President of Student Veterans of America, Jared Lyon, the president of Mason Veteran Patriots at George Mason University, EJ Delpero, and last year's Student Veteran of the Year Finalist, Kirsten Battocchio. EJ and Kirsten bring their own perspectives and Jared compliments with SVA's guidance and insight.

Sep 19, 2018
#117: James McDonough – Army Veteran, IVMF's Managing Director for Programs and Services
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About 30 episodes ago, we spoke with Michael Haynie, the Founder & Executive Director for the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. The IVMF is higher education’s first interdisciplinary academic institute, singularly focused on advancing the lives of the nation’s military veterans and their families. This episode, we hear from Mike's colleague, James McDonough, managing director of programs and services for IVMF.   James tells us about his service in the Army, a great leader he served under, and the decision to begin transition out of the military so he could care for family. Then, we learn about two powerful programs worked on at IVMF: AmericaServes and Onward to Opportunity. AmericaServes is the country’s first coordinated system of public, private, and non-profit organizations working together to serve Veterans, transitioning service-members, and their families. Onward to Opportunity is a free, comprehensive career training, certification and employment program designed to launch you into your next career with over 30 industry-recognized career tracks and courses.   IVMF is a highly respected organization in the Veteran community, and James does a great job adding on to what we originally learned from Mike. Enjoy!
Aug 29, 2018
#116: Petey Ace – Marine Veteran, Hip Hop Artist
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Music is a great way to communicate one's feelings and cope with experiences. Veterans have been using music in these same ways as a way to come to terms with some feelings they have and to tell their audience their story.

Petey Ace is a Marine Corps Veteran and a hip hop artists based out of Los Angeles. He joins Borne the Battle to talk about a recent song he did to express those feelings, and how he has joined a group of Veterans that are using basic camaraderie to reconnect with fellow Veterans. We also talk about his time in the Marine Corps and his thoughts on fatherhood.

 

Aug 22, 2018
#115: JJ Pinter - Army Veteran, Executive Director of Team RWB
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Back in December of 2016, we featured Army Veteran Blayne Smith on the podcast. At the time, he was Executive Director of Team RWB. That was episode 11. He has since moved on to the GORUCK team, and here on episode 115, we are featuring he successor, and good friend, JJ Pinter. JJ is also an Army Veteran who joined shortly before September 11.

JJ will share his story of military service and tell us about the wonderful soldiers he served with, but the real value in this interview comes from his insight as Team RWB's second official employee. He's been with Team RWB for quite some time and in the Veteran space even longer. He shares his perspective on serving Veterans' post-military needs, measuring the impact his organization is making on Veteran, how his staff focuses on their mission, and other valuable thoughts that only someone in his position can have.

About JJ:

JJ Pinter is the Executive Director of Team Red, White, and Blue. As Team RWB’s 2nd employee, he has played a key role the development, growth, and operation of the organization. JJ works closely with board members, staff, and volunteer leaders to ensure the delivery of excellent programs that deliver impact. He provides strategic guidance in addition to building and managing critical partnerships.

JJ is a West Point graduate and combat veteran, serving as a Field Artillery officer. After his military service, he held both leadership and analytical positions in the construction, defense and medical industries. He currently resides outside Louisville, KY with his wife and 3 kids, where he loves to coach youth sports and be outdoors with his family.

 

Aug 01, 2018
#114: Bennie Adkins – Army Veteran, Medal of Honor recipient
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I've been podcasting for more than five years. I look forward to each interview, because I love hearing new perspectives and unique stories of life and service. There are some interviews that truly get me excited, like this week's with Medal of Honor recipient Bennie Adkins. Bennie was in Washington, D.C. for the MLB All Star Game and to do some media for his new book A Tiger Among Us. While he was in town, he swung by VA Central Office for an interview to be featured on Borne the Battle.

Bennie's Medal of Honor citation has more action in it than most war movies. He was in battle for 38 hours and was escaping for another 48. In that time frame, he sustained 18 wounds. He fought the North Vietnamese with mortars, machine guns, recoilless rifles, small arms, and hand grenades. There is no type of Veteran that deserves the designation "hero" more than patriots like Bennie Adkins.

Bennie talks to us about joining the military after leaving college, the days in Vietnam that led to his award, and the importance of taking care of Veterans after their tour of duty.

 

Jul 24, 2018
#113: Dan Cnossen – Navy Veteran, Paralympic Gold Medalist
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I met Dan Cnossen on the red carpet at the Team USA awards back in April. I spoke to him about the opportunity to represent the United States in a different uniform and his experience with adaptive sports. Hour later, he was named 2018 Male Paralympic Athlete of the Games.

Dan was nice enough to agree to a podcast interview, and connected with me a few weeks ago to record. We talked about everything from his time in the Navy to accepting that his injury meant leaving the service to becoming a gold medalist.

About Dan:

Lt. Cmdr. Dan Cnossen was serving as the platoon commander for SEAL Team One in Afghanistan in September 2009 when he stepped on an IED (improvised explosive device) and was wounded in the explosion. The accident caused Cnossen to lose both his legs just above the knee. Cnossen went through rehabilitation, first at the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center, and later at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he learned to walk with his new prosthetics. Cnossen was awarded both a Bronze Star with Valor from the Secretary of the Navy for his service in combat.

Jul 18, 2018
#112: Adam Storck – Army Veteran, Denali Summit
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A five-member mountaineering team of U.S. military, Veterans, and a physician from non-profit U.S. Expeditions and Explorations (USX) summited North America’s highest peak, Denali, Alaska, during a scientific research expedition to benefit the study of high altitude cardiology, May 14 to June 5, 2018.

USX is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that enables the military and Veteran communities to impact STEM fields by conducting adventurous, scientific research across the globe. During USX’s Denali expedition, its team members wore Cardiac Insight, Inc.’s Cardea SOLO™ wireless electrocardiogram sensors to capture cardiology data and detect cardiac arrhythmias at high altitude.

One of the members of the mountaineering team that went up Denali was Army Veteran Adam Storck. He is Head of Devices for M-KOPA Solar, overseeing new product development, delivery, and testing. Storck is from Seattle and resides in London and Nairobi, Kenya. He is a graduate of Garfield High School, Seattle (2005), UNC-Chapel Hill (2009), and Oxford University (2016). Adam is also a Veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan (2010-2011, 2013).

Adam joins Borne the Battle to talk about his experience climbing to the summit of Denali and the incredible work he is doing in Nairobi. He is another example of how Veterans go on to do amazing things following their military service.

Jul 11, 2018
#111 Benefits Breakdown – VetChange App
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Drinking can be a concern for many people. Veterans can fall into behavior of using alcohol to cope with emotional distress following a deployment or transition out of the military. For some, the volume drinking turns from moderate to heavy, and the body starts to show signs of wear.

VA created VetChange to help Veterans monitor their drinking and take control. VetChange is a free, confidential online program to help Veterans cut back or stop drinking, and learn to manage PTSD symptoms without using alcohol. Based on scientific research, VetChange helps you build skills to better manage your drinking and other problems Veterans can experience after deployment, including symptoms of PTSD. Set your own goals. Learn at your own pace. Check your own progress over time and adjust your personal plan for change — with VetChange, you're in the driver's seat.

Monica Roy, who is the Program Manager for Substance Substance Abuse Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program and Outpatient Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program at VA Boston Healthcare System's Jamaica Plain Campus. She served as a subject matter expert for the development of the VetChange App. She joins us on this episode to explain how VetChange came to be and how it benefits Veterans.

Jul 02, 2018
#110: David Zurfluh – Air Force Veteran, National President of Paralyzed Veterans of America
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When I was visiting my then-girlfriend in Columbus a few years ago, we realized her apartment complex was not outfitted to accommodate a wheelchair. There was handicap parking, but unless you were on the ground floor, that person would not be able to access your apartment. That realization made me notice more instances of this in our communities, and I've become sympathetic to the challenges that brings to persons in wheelchairs.

I've also seen the technology that has improved the lives of those with permanent injuries. Rory Cooper was on the podcast a while back talking about his research and the breakthroughs he's making. Pictures from a recent golf event showed paralyzed Veterans using a chair that helped them stand upright so they could properly swing a golf club.

So, we have a society that's still behind on accommodations, and we have technology that is making breakthroughs for the people it serves. Where does that put us overall and what is the experience of injured Veterans when looking through those two lenses? I sat down with David Zurfluh, the National President of Paralyzed Veterans of America. David talks to us about his time in the Air Force, his accident and injury, the evolution of accommodations, and how his organization serves Veterans.

Jun 27, 2018
#109: GI Bill 74th Anniversary w/ Barrett Bogue & Lauren Augustine of SVA
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Education is one of the most valuable things a person can have. Following World War II, the original GI Bill helped provide Veterans returning from war the opportunity to pursue a college degree. Since its inception, the GI Bill has gone through a few iterations, including the most recent Post 9/11 GI Bill receiving the Forever GI Bill enhancement.

The GI Bill celebrates its 74th anniversary this month. To join the celebration of this wonderful benefit's 75th year, I invited a couple members of Student Veterans of America to join me in a discussion of the history of the GI Bill, its evolution, and its latest iteration. With me for this week's episode is Marine Veteran Barrett Bogue, SVA's Vice President for Public Relations and Public Engagement and Army Veteran Lauren Augustine, Vice President of Government Affairs. Both of them have experience working in higher education and had a close view of what it took to pass the Forever GI Bill.

Jun 21, 2018
#108: Sally Roberts - Army Veteran, Wrestle Like a Girl
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One of my favorite parts of podcasting in the Veteran space is learning about what Veterans are doing in their communities and their industries. This week we hear from Army Veteran Sally Roberts, founder of Wrestle Like a Girl.

Sally was a resident at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center for eight years during which time she was a 3-time national champion, 2003 World Cup Champion, 2003 & 2005 World Bronze Medalist and a 2008 Olympic Alternate. She served six years in the Army as a Special Operations soldier where she volunteered for deployment to Afghanistan. She was also a member of the Army’s prestigious World Class Athlete Program and represented both the U.S. Army and Team USA in elite athletic competitions.

Sally joins the podcast to share her experience in the Army and her efforts with Wrestle Like a Girl, advocating for girls and women across the United States to be afforded opportunities to participate in wrestling.

Jun 13, 2018
#107: Jason & Emily McCarthy – Army Veteran & MilSpouse, GORUCK CEO & Chief of Staff
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A couple weeks ago, GORUCK hosted an event in Washington D.C. called the Star Course 50-Miler. More than 700 participants wondered around Washington visiting way-points in attempt to walk 50 miles in 20 hours. The idea originates from an executive order handed down by Teddy Roosevelt to his military. Hours before the event, Jason and Emily McCarthy, CEO and Chief of Staff of GORUCK, swung by VA's central office to record a podcast with me.

GORUCK is a company that makes rucksacks and hosts events for community rucking led by a cadre of special forces experts. Rucking is the activity of walking with weight on your back. In this week's podcast, the married couple share Jason's experience as Army special forces, Emily's experience as a military spouse, their separation, their re-connection, and how all of that led to the creation of GORUCK. 

Jun 06, 2018
#106: Kenneth Holliday – Army Veteran, Veterans Legacy Program
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Continuing the theme of memorializing those that have served our country and passed, we're going to talk more about the Veterans Legacy Program. Last week, Bryce Carpenter laid the ground work last week by explaining the creation and development of the program, as well as the impact it has as an educational tool. This week we talk with Kenneth Holliday, who works with the Veterans Legacy Program at the National Cemetery Administration. He is also a proud Army Veteran, having served in the Infantry with deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ken shares his experience of service, his transition out, how he first got involved with the Veterans Legacy Program, and how his experience has been with the program since joining VA. He also shares some unique stories that he's discovered through his research, as well as some of the challenges that come with creating content for Veterans who have passed.

May 30, 2018
#105 Benefits Breakdown – Veterans Legacy Program
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I hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day. However you recognize the holiday, I hope you take a moment to remember those that paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

In theme with Memorial Day, we'll be looking at the Veterans Legacy Program on this week's podcasts.

The Veterans Legacy Program (VLP) is National Cemetery's Administration's educational outreach initiative. Their mission is to memorialize our nation's Veterans through sharing their stories of service and sacrifice. They partner with universities, schools, teachers, professors, and students of all levels to research Veterans interred in NCA cemeteries and how they contributed to their country as service members, and how they contributed to their community as Veterans.

First, on a Benefits Breakdown edition of the show, I bring on Bryce Carpenter, Educational Outreach Programs Manager for NCA and a proud Army veteran. Bryce will tell us about the inception of the program, the value it brings to our community, how schools are using it for education, and how it has impacted him as a Veteran.

May 28, 2018
#104: Wendy Tenhula – Director of Innovation and Collaboration for the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
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Hopefully, you watched our panel discussion on mental health or listened to the audio on Monday's podcast. Today's episode is an extension of that conversation. Coming out of that YouTube Live event, there were a number of things I wanted to ask that just didn't fit into our program. So, the following day, I met with Dr. Wendy Tenhula to learn more about her role at VA, the progress we've seen in Veterans seeking treatment for mental health issues, and the value Make the Connection has for our Veterans who want to learn more.

 

May 23, 2018
#103 Benefits Breakdown - Make the Connection
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May is Mental Health Month and one of VA's leading resources for mental health, Make the Connection, kicked off the month with a YouTube Live event. The event was a panel discussion about Veterans and mental health.

I was honored to host the event, and was joined by Marine Veteran Moses Maddox and Dr. Wendy Tenhula, VA’s Director of Innovation and Collaboration for the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

I decided to pull the audio from the event and include it on a Benefits Breakdown episode. Moses shares a lot about getting treatment at VA and Dr. Tenhula explains how Veterans can use services at VA for information and mental health care. As a group, we went in-depth on the importance of mental health care and how Veterans and their family members can be prepared to respond to a disconcerting situation.

May 21, 2018
#102: Jennifer MacDonald – Army Veteran, Director of Clinical Innovations and Education, VHA Connected Care
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Tele-health has been a priority at VA and we've made great strides in the care we can offer Veterans. From video conferencing between physician and patient to our mobile app "Annie." I've personally used mobile apps and digital platforms to connect with my therapist. The convenience helps preserve the valuable resource of time and the comfort allows patients to receive the care they need with less stress on their daily lives. VA's efforts in using technology to reach and care for Veterans has been grouped under our Office of Connected Care.

The Office of Connected Care focuses on improving health care through technology by engaging Veterans and care teams outside of traditional health care visits. By bringing together VA digital health technologies under one umbrella, the Office of Connected Care is enhancing health care coordination across VA and supporting Veterans’ participation in their own care.

This week I talk with Dr. Jennifer MacDonald, Director of Clinical Innovations and Education, VHA Connected Care. She shares her time in the military, becoming a doctor, and how VA is using technology to care for Veterans at a distance. We'll cover My HealtheVet, VA Telehealth Services, VA Mobile, and more.

May 16, 2018
#101: Raymond Kaloplastos – Army Veteran, Mobile Vet Center
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We're wrapping up Public Service Recognition Week and I think a nice bookend to the week is to talk with someone that serves Veterans through his public service. Raymond Kaloplastos is known as "Ray from VA" around his community in San Antonio. I spoke with him at the Student Veterans of America National Convention back in January. He was there with a mobile Vet Center to provide any counseling services Veterans may need while attending the event.

Ray is an Army Veteran and will talk to us about his lengthy time in service, his retirement, how he got started with VA and the value that Mobile Vet Centers bring our communities, including disaster response.

May 11, 2018
#100: Bruce Silverglade - Army Veteran, Owner of Gleason's Gym
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This is a big milestone for us. 100 episodes of Borne the Battle. We've spoken to Veterans from all branches (even one Coast Guard Veteran) and learned about so many industries. The stories have been interesting and learning about their current vocations has been inspiring.

Episode 100 is going to feature Bruce Silverglade, an Army Veteran that served during the Vietnam War. We'll learn about his service, his transition, how he became owner of Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, and about a cool program he started that allows Veterans to train at his gym for free. Then, we'll hear from other characters involved in this program including the VA employee that helped organize it, the trainer that works with these Veterans, and the Veterans that are benefiting from such a unique program.

To see and learn more about this program, check out our YouTube for a video we recently produced for the latest episode of The American Veteran, showing these Veterans in action at Gleason's Gym.

May 09, 2018
#99: Benefits Breakdown - Community Engagement, Homeless Programs
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VA is very active in addressing and attempting to prevent Veteran homelessness. We hold a "no wrong door" policy, which allows Veterans to touch base with any point of contact at VA with confidence they will be guided to our resources and services to assist them. The longer I work here, and the more I speak with fellow employees, the more I realize this matter is important to everyone here, whether or not they're directly involved.

In December, I brought on my colleague to discuss VA's approach to communicating homeless resources to Veterans and their communities. This week, I speak with Anthony Love, Director of Community Engagement for VHA's Homeless Programs. He and I discuss how VA delivers these resources, benefits, and services to Veterans that are homeless or at-risk for homelessness. Anthony helps us understand what it means to be at-risk for homelessness and how communities are ending Veteran homelessness.

May 07, 2018
#98: Nick Karnaze – Marine Veteran; Owner of Stubble & 'Stache
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After a successful round table on women Veterans topics, I was excited to do another one. I decided to curate a round table of Veteran entrepreneurs, but had a couple guests back out and was forced to postpone. Fortunately, one of my invited guests was still available and interested in doing a one-on-one interview. Nick Karnaze is a Marine Veteran having served as an officer with the Marine Raiders. After getting out the military, he started a business in international development. The business did not succeed as hoped. Then, after growing a beard in honor of a fallen friend, Nick was inspired to start his current business, Stubble & 'Stache.

Nick and I discuss the journey of entrepreneurship, his process for troubleshooting, his routines, and how he handles productivity.

May 02, 2018
#97: Tim Kolzcak – Army Veteran; The Veterans Project
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Tim Kolzcak asked his dad what the plan was for college. After learning there was no money available for his education, he had to choose between going into debt or joining the military. So, he enlisted in the Army. After his tour, which involved deployments in support of OIF/OEF, he continued his education. With the recommendation and encouragement of a professor, he began a photographic essay titled The Veterans Project. Now, Tim tells the stories of Veterans through these photos.

Tim is going to share his journey in the Army and exploring the idea of his project. Also, Tim joins us for a conversation about storytelling in the Veteran space, and what Veterans should keep in mind as they collaborate within the community and attempt to motivate others through their own story.

Apr 25, 2018
#96: Alphi Quitevis – Marine Veteran; Meditation Practice
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Alternative healing and mental health awareness is becoming more important and more popular. One thing Veterans are trying out is meditation. Meditation can be defined as a practice where an individual focuses their mind on a particular object, thought or activity to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. Like many Veterans, I have tried mediation and enjoy it, but I struggle with regular practice.

When I first exited the military, I got involved with a brand called Veteran Empire which was led by my friend Alfred "Alphi" Quitevis. Alphi was hustling with school, a business, and a busy social life. He noticed it started catching up with him and he put it all aside to explore the world and himself. During this exploration, he studied and practiced meditation. Now, he's an expert on the subject with plenty of insight to offer.

I watched Alphi go through this transition and followed him along his journey. I knew he'd be the right guy to discuss meditation and how it can apply to Veterans. He's going to talk to us about his time in the Corps, becoming too busy, becoming less busy, and finding meditation.

Apr 18, 2018
#95: Rob Jones – Marine Veteran; Month of Marathons
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I've never run a marathon. I'm definitely one of those people that say, "I'd like to run one someday," but the truth is I probably won't. Rob Jones, a Marine Veteran who has two fewer legs than I do, ran 31 marathons in just as many days. His journey started in England, and then he hopped across the pond for a 30 for 30 marathons to days adventure. His journey wrapped up on Veterans Day 2017 as he finished his last marathon at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C..

Now, Rob hosts a podcast called Use the Weight and uses his recovery from injury as inspiration to others.

Rob joins us this week to talk about his service in the Marine Corps, the logistics of doing 31 marathons in 31 days, and where he may be going from here with his next mission.

Guest: @RobJonesJourney

Host: @TimothyJLawson

VA: @DeptVetAffairs

Apr 11, 2018
#94: Benefits Breakdown – Smoke Quitline
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I smoked for nearly ten years. I picked up the habit when I was 18 or 19 years old, and didn't truly quit until my late 20s. Like many smokers, I tried a number of different philosophies to kick the habit. It was easier to quit when I left the military, but it was still a challenge. Even years after I quit, I still get cravings occasionally, especially if I'm around other smokers.

Like any personal challenge, a support system is always key to success. I wish I had known about VA's Smoking Quitline when I decided to quit. One call to the quitline can get you set up with a counselor to talk about the importance of quitting, help you set up a plan, and schedule follow up calls to check in on your progress.

To get you more familiar with this service provided by VA, I spoke with a cessation counselor about what you need to know about the experience of using our Smoking Quitline.

Apr 09, 2018
#93: Robert Blackman - Marine Veteran; President and CEO, Marine Corps Heritage Foundation
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Washington D.C. is full of amazing museums. The National Mall is lined with preserved history and remembrance. However, one of the best locations in the area for military history, the Marine Corps Museum, is an hour south in Quantico, Virginia. The Marine Corps Museum is beautifully built, meant to resemble the flag staff of the famous Iwo Jima flag raising photo. Inside, guests can learn about about Marine Corps' inception at Tun Tavern and its involvement in America's conflicts since then.

The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation is responsible for the development and upkeep of the museum, preserving and promulgating the history, traditions and culture of the Marine Corps and educating all Americans in its virtues. Our guest on this week's podcast, retired Lieutenant General Robert Blackman is the President of the foundation.

Robert shares his experience in the Marine Corps, the importance of preserving military history, and his role at the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation.

About Robert Blackman:

Lieutenant General Blackman was commissioned as Marine Corps officer upon graduation from Cornell University in June 1970. Toward the end of a long successful career, Lieutenant General Blackman served as the Commanding General, III Marine Expeditionary Force; Commander, Marine Corps Bases, Japan; and Commander, Marine Forces Japan from 2003 to 2005. He then assumed command of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command; U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Europe; U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South; U.S. Marine Corps Bases, Atlantic; U.S. Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic; and U.S. Fleet Marine Force, Europe, until his retirement in 2007. After leaving active service, Lieutenant General Blackman worked with Marine Corps’ Marine Air-Ground Task Force Staff Training Program. He was named President and CEO of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation in 2011.

Apr 04, 2018
#92: Women Veterans round table featuring Lauren Augustine, Joy Ilem, & Sarah Maples
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We have some bonus content for you. I sat down with three amazing Veterans to help wrap up our focus on Women Veterans this month. Lauren Augustine from Student Veterans of America, Joy Ilem from Disabled American Veterans, and Sarah Maples from Veterans of Foreign Wars joined me to discuss women Veterans they admire, women Veterans issues from the perspective of their respective organizations, and the growth of women Veterans as icons and leaders in the Veteran community.

Lauren Augustine is SVA's Director of Policy, advocating for student Veterans as it comes to policy affecting their pursuit of education. Joy Ilem is DAV's National Legislative Director. She directs the advancement of DAV’s public policy objectives to promote and defend reasonable and responsible legislation to assist disabled Veterans and their families nationwide, while guarding current Veteran’s benefits and services from legislative erosion. Sarah Maples just wrapped up her time at VFW as Director for National Security and Foreign Affairs where she developed, implemented, and promoted the VFW's national security and foreign affairs policy priorities.

Mar 30, 2018
#91 Sarah Holzhalb – Coast Guard Veteran, Athlete and Team RWB Relationships Manager
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This week's podcast marks our fourth and last installment in the series featuring women from the Women Veterans Athlete Initiative put on by the Center for Women Veterans. Today, we feature Sarah Holzalb, a Coast Guard Veteran and Relationships Manager for Team RWB.

Sarah Holzhalb entered the US Coast Guard Commissioned Corps as a deck watch officer in 2002, serving for 5 years. While grieving the suicides of two shipmates, she decided to train for her first marathon. The long training hours proved therapeutic, and her running club provided a new tribe to replace the shipmates she’d left behind.

Sarah talks to us about serving in the Coast Guard, her approach to marathons, the value she sees in Team RWB, and more.

Mar 28, 2018
#90 Candice Caesar – Army Veteran, Athlete and Team RWB member
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This is the third installment of our series spotlighting women from the Women Veteran Athletes Initiative put on by the Center for Women Veterans. Featured on this week's episode is Army Veteran Candice Caesar.

Candice Caesar joined the US Army as a personnel actions specialist, excited to serve her country. A vehicle accident left her traumatized, paralyzed, and medically retired. She vowed to run again one day, and throughout her transition and recovery, she leaned on physical training to keep her going.

She's run a number of different races and events across the country, and is trying to race in 50 out of 50 states. She also aspires to do a half marathon on all seven continents. Candice talks to us about her eagerness to be a soldier, the car accident that left her injured, and how Team RWB and physical fitness have benefited her.

Mar 21, 2018
#89 Mila Dimal – Navy Veteran, Athlete and Team RWB chapter leader
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Mila Dimal served as an aviation mechanic in the US Navy and Navy Reserves, retiring after 20 years of service.  Her passion is being the best mother, friend, and employee possible, and she credits sports and physical activities with helping her meet her goals, and setting a great example for her children.

Mar 14, 2018
#88 Bernardine Donato – Navy & Air Force Veteran, Athlete and Team RWB leader
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Bernardine "Bernie" Donato is a Navy and Air Force Veteran that lives life to the fullest and on her own terms. She is a cancer survivor and lives with two autoimmune disorders; one which affects her joints and the other her muscles. Yet, she's an athlete, a leader for the Team RWB Durham chapter, and an artist.

Bernie is the first interview in a set of four to help us celebrate Women's History Month and the Center for Women Veterans' Women Veteran Athletes Initiative. “The Women Veteran Athletes Initiative will highlight the strength, diversity and resilience of women who served our country,” said VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin. She has seen a woman's role in the military develop over her lifetime and seen the growing recognition that women Veterans are finally receiving.

She joins Borne the Battle to tell us about her service in the military, supporting her community, staying active, and how she needs to retire from retirement.

Mar 07, 2018
#87 Randy Reeves – Navy & Air Force Veteran, Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs
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Many of us have a passion for serving Veterans. For some, it's a true calling. That's what I saw in this week's guest, Randy Reeves, when we were conducting our interview.

Randy C. Reeves was nominated by President Donald J. Trump to serve as the 6th Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs and was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 8, 2017. National Cemetery Administration has received exceptional marks in the past, and Under Secretary Reeves is committed to building on that.

About Under Secretary Reeves:

As Under Secretary, he leads 135 national cemeteries in providing dignified burial services for Veterans and eligible family members. His responsibilities include maintaining the cemeteries as national shrines; design and construction activities related to the establishment of new national cemeteries; overseeing memorial programs to honor the service of Veterans, including the provision of headstones, markers, medallions and Presidential Memorial Certificates; and administering federal grants to help states, territories and tribal governments establish Veterans cemeteries.

He shares stories from his time in the service, his transition out of the military, losing a close friend and how that keeps him inspired to serve Veterans.

Feb 28, 2018
#86 Steven Weintraub – Marine Veteran, Chief Strategy Officer for Vet Tix
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It's interesting how long one can be aware of something before finally checking it out. I heard about Vet Tix a few years ago and appreciated the concept, but never looked into them. Finally, after interviewing their Chief Strategy Officer, Steven Weintraub, I decided to enroll and see what it was about. Through their system, I got tickets to a cool event at a local venue, and it only cost me a transaction fee. That's incredible.

Vet Tix started ten years ago and was inspired by Navy Veteran Michael Focareto when he attended the Super Bowl and noticed some unused seats. He wondered if unused seats at events could be distributed and donated to service members and Veterans interested in attending. Vet Tix was born.

Now, there are more than 720,000 users and at the time of this writing, they have nearly 1,000 events nationwide that Veterans can attend. The system is straight forward: -Tickets are donated to Vet Tix. -Normal events are open and first come first served. -High demand events are distributed through a lottery system. -The more you use Vet Tix, the more opportunities you have to submit into a lottery.

This system is beneficial for all involved. Ticket holders that cannot attend the event have a tax-deductible donation they can make, because Vet Tix is a 501(c)3, and they're assured their tickets will not go unused. Venues benefit because it helps get people to the event. End users benefits by getting tickets to events for little to no cost to them.

Steven Weintraub joins us to explain the ins and outs of Vet Tix, his role in the organization, and his service to our country in the Marine Corps.

Feb 21, 2018
#85 Michael Haynie – Air Force Veteran; Vice Chancellor at Syracuse University
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This week's interview is with Michael Haynie. Michael is an Air Force Veteran, Vice Chancellor at Syracuse University, and Director of Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). He is also a professor of entrepreneurship.

IVMF is widely respected in the Veteran space and continues to grow each year. IVMF is higher education’s first interdisciplinary academic institute, singularly focused on advancing the lives of the nation’s military veterans and their families.

Syracuse University has made student Veterans a priority and have graduated many top performing Veterans including Student Veteran of America's Jared Lyon.

Michael provides us a great insight into his military career, his tenure at Syracuse, Veterans in higher education, and Veteran entrepreneurship.

Feb 14, 2018
#84 John Preston – Marine Veteran, musician
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Suicide prevention and Veteran suicide is an important topic for us all. Secretary Shulkin and VA continue to make it a priority. Personally, I've been talking to people about this topic for several years, to include sharing my own suicide attempt. Whenever I get the opportunity to talk to a Veteran about mental and emotional health, I do not take the occasion for granted.

I was wandering a social event at the Military Influencers Conference when I met John Preston. John is a Marine Corps Veteran that is pursuing a career in music. He has struggled with PTSD, alcohol dependency, and suicidal behavior. His music is inspired by his emotional struggles, the passing of his father, his brother's suicide, and other events in his life.

John was nice enough to join me for an interview and shared his life from joining the military to where his career is now. This is a powerful episode and one you'll definitely want to listen to.

Feb 07, 2018
#83: Benefits Breakdown – VA Welcome Kit
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VA recently released a Welcome Kit that can guide Veterans to which benefits they may qualify for. What makes this product unique and refreshing is the guidance is based on the Veteran's stage of life. The road map starts with the moment you join the United States military and goes all the way to a Veteran's later years.

You can read about the release of the Welcome Kit and download a digital copy.

On today's Benefits Breakdown segment, Barbara Morton from the Veterans Experience Office explains the value the welcome kit has, how Veterans can receive a copy, and how Veterans can use it.

Feb 05, 2018
#82 Josh Elledge – Navy Veteran, consumer expert & entrepreneur
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Back in October, I attended the Military Influencers Conference. While there, I met dozens of awesome and unique Veterans. During a social event, I was introduced to Josh Elledge. Josh is an expert on saving money and getting upgrades. He told me about a technique he uses with hotels that almost always produces a room upgrade. I was fascinated by his insight and his passion for what he knew.

When I returned home I followed up with my new contacts and did a little research on them. That's when I learned Josh had an initiative called upendPR. Between the savings and the public relations knowledge, I knew Josh could bring some unique insight to the podcast that few can. I hit him up and he happily agreed to an interview.

Josh tells us about his service in the Navy as a journalist stationed at Pearl Harbor. We learn about his transition and attending college. Then, he gives us the backstory on how he became a consumer expert and gives us some tips on how we can save on our grocery bill. All that, plus some professional PR talk.

Feb 01, 2018
#81: Benefits Breakdown – Center for Women Veterans
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Women Veterans make up the fastest growing segment of the Veteran population, and VA is committed to providing them with the best health care. This week's Benefits Breakdown features Kayla Williams, the Director of the Center for Women Veterans.

Kayla is an Army Veteran herself and was a military spouse when her husband was serving. She sat down with me to discuss the mission of CWV and the care and resources VA provides for our women Veterans.

For more information on CWV and health care for women, you can all the Women Veterans Call Center at 1-855-VA-WOMEN.

Jan 29, 2018
#80 George W. Casey, Jr. – 36th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army
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The past couple months have been amazing with so many great Veterans agreeing to be featured and doing interviews. Sometimes, when I get a stash of interviews recorded, I forget how good some of them are until I go back to edit them. That's the case with my interview with General George Casey (ret). We recorded the interview at Student Veterans of America's #NatCon2018 during a busy day of interviews with Student Veteran of the Year finalist interviews, and I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to the interview a couple weeks later.

General George W. Casey, Jr. is one of the most accomplished soldiers in U.S. history and an authority on strategic leadership. As the 36th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from April 2007 to 2011, General Casey led what is arguably the world’s largest and most complex organization — 1.1 million people strong, with a $200+ billion annual budget — during one of the most extraordinary periods in military and global political history. He is widely credited with restoring balance to the war-weary U.S. Army, modernizing and leading the transformation necessary to defend our nation in the 21st Century, and ensuring the current force deployed in the war on terror was the best this country has ever fielded.

Currently serving as a Distinguished Senior Lecturer of Leadership at the Samuel Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University and lecturing internationally on leadership to the leaders of national and multinational corporations (e.g., Coca-Cola, Caterpillar, Amazon, TDAmeritrade and General Electric) and at other business schools (e.g., Columbia, Yale and the Universities of Denver and North Carolina). He is also Chairman of USO Board of Governors and serving on Georgetown Board of Directors.

George tells us about his 41 years in the Army, why he joined, his close friends in the service and his continued service to Veterans and students.

Jan 24, 2018
#79 Danielle Corazza - Army Veteran, National Outreach Coordinator, Center for Women Veterans
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Before 2017 ended, I sat down with Army Veteran Danielle Corazza for an interview. At the time, Danielle had been selected for a position at our Center for Women Veterans but had not yet started. Danielle has since started her role as National Outreach Coordinator for CWV. You can follow news and announcements out of the CWV on their web page.

Danielle Corazza is a lifelong member of the military community (both parents served on active duty in the Marine Corps and Navy), she entered onto active duty service with the US Army at the age of 17, completing her 3 year term of service as an E-4P (Specialist) and transferring into the Army National Guard for an additional two years. Due to service-related medical conditions, she left the National Guard to pursue her education when her disability rating was awarded. She availed herself of Vocational Rehabilitation services and the Montgomery GI Bill in order to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources and Business Administration from Strayer University, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts, adding a certificate from Georgetown University in Nonprofit Executive Management in 2014.

Danielle and I talked about her service in the military, being a VA patient, being a caregiver, entrepreneurship, and much more.

Jan 17, 2018
#78 Chris Rolph - Air Force Veteran, Student Veteran of the Year
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"Someone has to be the best." That's what my Gunny told me when my colleague received slightly better marks than I did when I was at MALS-26 on MCAS New River. In a competitive field, someone has to be named the best. I imagine the committee at Student Veterans of America had a difficult time choosing their Student Veteran of the Year.

Of the ten finalists, many of them founded their SVA chapter. Some of them helped get a space at their campus designated for Veterans. All of them have faced some sort of adversity and overcame that for the success the see now. Student Veterans of America’s Student Veteran of the Year is someone who exemplifies the qualities of a servant leader. Student Veteran of the Year is a current SVA chapter executive with a demonstrated record of significantly improving their chapter, campus, and community over the past academic year. Student Veteran of the Year personifies SVA’s mission of supporting yesterday’s warriors, today’s scholars, and tomorrow’s leaders, with evident respect from their colleagues. Student Veteran of the Year is the public face and representative of the 1.1 million student veterans in higher education.

In the end, someone has to be the best. Air Force Veteran Chris Rolph of Queens University of Charlotte has been named the Student Veteran of the Year.

36 hours before the announcement, Chris and I sat down to talk about his service in the Air Force, a close friend of his, the challenges and accomplishments he's seen on campus, and much more.

Jan 13, 2018
#77: Randy Dexter – Student Veteran of the Year finalist
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Today, we speak with Randy Dexter. Randy is an Army Veteran and just received his bachelor's from University of Nevada in Las Vegas. He just started his pursuit of his master's degree.

Randy shares stories from his service, recovering from his deployment and struggling transition, how the Las Vegas shooting impacted his community, how he got his service dog, and how his Veterans group is making an impact with local government.

Jan 12, 2018
#76: Jessica Kirksey & Luke Opyd – Student Veteran of the Year finalists
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Each year Student Veterans of America choose an exceptional student Veteran as Student Veteran of the Year. This year, they narrowed it down to ten finalists, announcing the winner at the end of their national conference.

This week, we are spotlighting 7-8 of this year’s finalists, including the person that was awarded Student Veteran of the Year. Tuesday, we spoke to two exceptional Veterans, Aaron and Kirsten. Yesterday, we featured Gretchen and Jessica. Today, we chat with Jessica Kirksey from Our Lady of the Lake University and Luke Opyd from Cornell. Both give us their military stories, serving as chapter leaders, and thoughts on outreach on campus.

Jan 11, 2018
#75: Gretchen Klingler & Jessica Nelson – Student Veteran of the Year finalists
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Each year Student Veterans of America choose an exceptional student Veteran as Student Veteran of the Year. This year, they narrowed it down to ten finalists, announcing the winner at the end of their national conference.

This week, we are spotlighting 7-8 of this year’s finalists, including the person that was awarded Student Veteran of the Year. Yesterday, we spoke to two exceptional Veterans, Aaron and Kirsten. Today, we learn from an Air Force Veteran and a Marine Veteran, Gretchen Klingler and Jessica Nelson. Each will tell us about military service, leading a Veterans group on campus, and best practices for campus outreach.

Jan 10, 2018
#74: Aaron Slatton & Kirsten Battocchio - Student Veteran of the Year finalists
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Each year Student Veterans of America choose an exceptional student Veteran as Student Veteran of the Year. This year, they narrowed it down to ten finalists, announcing the winner at the end of their national conference.

Student Veterans of America’s Student Veteran of the Year is someone who exemplifies the qualities of a servant leader. Student Veteran of the Year is a current SVA chapter executive with a demonstrated record of significantly improving their chapter, campus, and community over the past academic year. Student Veteran of the Year personifies SVA’s mission of supporting yesterday’s warriors, today’s scholars, and tomorrow’s leaders, with evident respect from their colleagues. Student Veteran of the Year is the public face and representative of the 1.1 million student veterans in higher education. We spoke with last year's receipient, Kate Tillotson earlier last year.

This week, we are spotlighting 7-8 of this year's finalists, including the person that was awarded Student Veteran of the Year. Today, we learn from two Marine Veterans, Aaron Slatton and Kirsten Battocchio. Each will tell us about military service, leading a Veterans group on campus, and best practices for campus outreach.

Jan 09, 2018
#73: Jared Lyon – Navy Veteran, SVA President
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If you've been following our Twitter or Instagram accounts, you've been seeing some stories and images from Student Veterans of America's National Conference. It's a place where thousands of student Veterans and their supporters convene to make the experience of achieving higher education more fulfilling for Veterans. During the conference I had the opportunity to sit down with SVA's President Jared Lyon.

Jared was on the show about a year ago where we went through the routine questions and talked about the Veteran experience on campus.

This go-around, we talked about recent metrics showing Veterans' success in higher education, how SVA chapters can keep the momentum going after the conference, and how people can support their local student Veterans.

Jan 08, 2018
#72: Leaphy Khim – Marine Veteran, actress/stuntwoman
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I was first introduced to Leaphy Khim through Got Your 6. She had shared her experiences at their Storytellers event in Los Angeles. Leaphy was born to Cambodian refugee parents and joined the military after Sept 11 as a way to give back to her parents' adopted country.

Leaphy Khim is a first generation Cambodian American who was born and raised in south Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As the youngest daughter in a family of 5 (3 brothers and 1 sister), she was constantly trying to prove to everyone that she can keep up and stand out. Leaphy had always develop a knack for doing things above and beyond the normal and sometimes the impossible. This is one of the reason why in 2002, she enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. From here, she received intense combat and weapons training through the Corps for more than 6 years. Now, she's pursuing a career in Hollywood as an actress and stuntwoman. She even has a producer credit.

Entertainment is an industry that many Veterans venture into but is rarely spoken about when we talk about post-military careers and what Veterans are doing today. Leaphy gives us some insight to that experience.

Jan 03, 2018
#71: Billy Hurley III - Navy Veteran, professional golfer
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We've featured a handful of Veterans from professional sports on this podcast including an NFL player, an NCAA coach, and an NWSL goalie. This week we add a golfer to that list. Navy Veteran Billy Hurley is the only military Veteran currently listed on the PGA tour.

Hurley is a 2004 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Quantitative Economics. He also was named Academic All-American.

He was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy in 2004, rising to the rank of Lieutenant. After his graduation from the academy, he was assigned to the USS Gettysburg, a guided-missile cruiser based in Mayport, Florida, where he was a combat electronic division officer and on the USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

He had an extended deployment in the Persian Gulf, where he held the position of guided missile destroyer's force protection assistant.

He left the Navy to pursue a career in golf and has successfully made it onto the PGA tour. Billy will talk to us about his military service, pursuing golf, and how his military career has contributed to his success as a golfer.

Dec 27, 2017
#70: Bonnie Carroll - Air Force Veteran, Founder of TAPS President and Founder
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The second part of VA's motto calls on us to care for the widows and orphans of those that have "borne the battle." Earlier this year, we had Ashlynne Haycock on during our round-table podcast talking about the Forever GI Bill, and she talked about how a crucial element of the new bill was to benefit survivors. This week, we bring on Bonnie Carroll, the president and founder of the Transition Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).

Bonnie Carroll founded Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) following the death of her husband in an Army C-12 plane crash on November 12, 1992. TAPS is the leading national Military Service Organization providing compassionate care, casework assistance, and 24/7/365 emotional support for all those impacted by the death of a military loved one. She is a Veteran of the Air National Guard and a 2015 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Bonnie and I talk about her military service, losing her husband, founding TAPS, dealing with grief, and how survivors can get assistance and peer-to-peer support through TAPS.

Dec 20, 2017
#69: Boyd Renner – Navy Veteran, Everence
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A couple months ago I attended the Military Influencer Conference. There were a lot of great creators and entrepreneurs there, but one group of people  stood out to me. I met a few people representing a product called Everence. Everence is a patented technology that allows you to add DNA from a loved one into any new or existing tattoo.

I know tattoos are a common thing in the military and Veteran community, and I had my own curiosity, led me to inviting a member of their team onto Borne the Battle to talk about it.

Boyd Renner, one of the co-founders of Everence, served in the Navy for 28 years. He served at SEAL Team Two for four years and served over 23 years at Naval Special Warfare Development Group. 

He's going to talk to us about his time as a Navy SEAL, his transition out of the military, and the unique product Everence.

Dec 13, 2017
#68: Benefits Breakdown – Veterans Crisis Line
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I promote the Veterans Crisis Line whenever I can. It is a very important resource to be aware of and I try to remind people however I can. I've used the line to help a friend in need. I encourage everyone to put the number in their phone.

1-800-273-8255 and Press 1

So, in this episode of Borne the Battle, I decided to spotlight the Veterans Crisis Line. In the future, I hope to talk to someone that works there to get their perspective as well. For this week, I explain the different ways you can contact the VCL and the following frequently asked questions:

What happens if I don't press 1?

Can I use the Veterans Crisis Line even if I'm already receiving care from VA?

What mental health services are available from VA?

Do I have to give my name or share personal information when I call the Veterans Crisis Line?

If I share personal information, will it be kept confidential?

Dec 11, 2017
#67: Sterling Cale - Navy Veteran, Pearl Harbor survivor
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Last year I had the honor to visit Pearl Harbor for the 75th Commemoration of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. The ceremony was sobering, as a naval ship lined with sailors passed by the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. The honor and recognition given to those that lost their lives on December 7, 1941 was echoed by each person in attendance at the official ceremony.

However, the most powerful moments of my trip were not at any of the events or ceremonies. They were when I joined my colleague to interview a handful of Pearl Harbor survivors. We had the pleasure of talking with Alfred "Uncle Al Rodriguez, Everett Hyland, and, today's feature interview, Sterling Cale.

Sterling served in the Navy as a pharmacist's mate and was stationed at Pearl Harbor during the attack. Sterling shares his perspective during the attack, how he responded, and his role in recovering bodies afterwards. His story is profound and one we're honored to have heard straight from him.

Dec 06, 2017
#66: Benefits Breakdown - Homeless Veterans Outreach and Communications
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Veteran homelessness is an issue that is very concerning in our community. VA is committed to aiding those that are homeless or at risk for homelessness. That second part is so important to remember. If a Veteran is experiencing family or financial issues that may lead to them being without stable housing, they should approach VA to get connected with the resources they need. We have a "no wrong door" policy. That means no matter how you contact VA about being homeless or at risk for it, that person will get you connected with the people you need to talk to.

Many communities around the nation have proudly announced that they have effectively ended Veteran homelessness in their area. That doesn't mean that there are no homeless Veterans at any given time. It means that they are prepared and have systems in place to aid any Veteran identified as homeless or at-risk for homelessness and get them back into stable housing.

I decided to speak with my colleague at the Homeless Veterans Outreach and Communications Office. He shares with us the ways VA communicates with Veterans regarding homelessness, the challenges in reaching Veterans, and how VA approaches that outreach.

Dec 04, 2017
#65: Dr. David Shulkin – Secretary of Veterans Affairs
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A few weeks ago we released episode 1103 of The American Veteran, a compilation of videos and stories from around our community. Included in that episode was an interview we recently conducted with Secretary Shulkin about improvements around VA, modernizing the processes, and announcements being made.

I wanted to make sure you all heard this interview, so I decided to make it this week's feature interview. My colleague, Melissa Heintz, sat down with Secretary Shulkin to discuss where VA is 8 months into his watch.

Nov 29, 2017
#64: Benefits Breakdown - Office of Tribal Government Relations
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Native Americans serve our country at a high rate compared to other demographics. Many of us are familiar with the Navajo Code Talkers, who were key to our victory in World War II. As we round off Native American Heritage Month, I wanted to spotlight VA's efforts to deliver benefits to Native Veterans and work with their tribes.

The Office of Tribal Government Relations (OTGR) works to strengthen and build closer relations between the VA, tribal governments and other key federal, state, private and non-profit partners in an effort to effectively and respectfully serve Veterans across Indian Country. This work is done in the spirit of government to government consultation and collaboration, respectful of the special relationship that exists between the United States and tribal governments.

I sat down with my colleague, Stephanie Birdwell, who is the Director of OTGR. She talks with us about how her office works with tribal governments, how these partnerships help deliver benefits to Native Veterans, and the nuances of these benefits as it relates to Native Veterans (such as VA home loan for property on tribal land).

Nov 27, 2017
#63: Nate Boyer – Army Veteran, Community Leader
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Covered in Episode 63:

  • Happy Thanksgiving!
  • Interview with Army Veteran Nate Boyer
    • Why Nate joined the Army and became a Green Beret
    • Transitioning out of the military and going to college at University of Texas
    • His involvement with Waterboys, building wells for clean water overseas
    • The Merging Veterans & Players initiative
    • Disaster response with Team Rubicon
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Air Force Veteran Edgar A. Grabhorn
Nov 22, 2017
#62: Alex Rucshner – Navy Veteran, Keys to Progress
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Navy Veteran Alex Rucshner joins Borne the Battle to tell us about Progressive Insurance's program "Keys to Success" where they help out Veterans in need by gifting them a car. Listen in to learn about this amazing initiative!

Nov 15, 2017
#61: Benefits Breakdown - Social media across VA
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This week's Benefits Breakdown explains how to find your local facility on social media and how following them can help you discover news and developments coming from that medical center.

Nov 13, 2017
Have a fun and safe Veterans Day!
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To all of our Veterans out there: Thank you for your service. This is your day. Enjoy it however you see fit.

Nov 11, 2017
#60: Craig Grossi – Marine Veteran, Author of "Craig and Fred"
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Happy Birthday, Marines! Today's episode features Marine Veteran Craig Grossi, who met his best friend, Fred, in Afghanistan and figured out a way to get him back to the United States. This story is a fun and heart felt one and I know you're going to love it.

Covered in Episode 60:

  • Veterans Day coverage
  • Interview with Marine Veteran Craig Grossi
    • Why Craig joined the Marine Corps
    • Deploying to Afghanistan and meeting Fred
    • Figuring out a way to get Fred home
    • His book "Craig and Fred"
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Marine Corps Veteran Robert Carlos Pahcheka
  • Marine Corps Hymn sung by Navajo Code talker
Nov 10, 2017
#59: Mika J. Cross – Army Veteran, Veterans' Employment and Training Service
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Mika currently leads the Strategic Communications team at the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS). She brings years of experience in public service and continued service to Veterans. She joins the podcast to discuss her service in the Army, her transition to civilian life, and resources for Veterans to be aware of at the Department of Labor.

Covered in Episode 59:

  • Employment resources from the Department of Labor
  • Interview with Army Veteran Mika Cross
    • Why she joined the US Army
    • Her decision to get out
    • Experience during transition
    • Resources provided by Department of Labor
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Army Veteran Richard Rothweiler
Nov 09, 2017
#58: Phil Klay – Marine Veteran, Author of "Redeployment"
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Today we bring you a Storytellers alum Phil Klay. Klay’s New York Times-bestselling short story collection won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2014. His book  Redeployment also received the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s James Webb award for fiction. He spoke at Storytellers in 2014 and our discussion with him gets into the art of storytelling, and the benefits of expressing yourself through words, whether or not you end up delivering or publishing them.

Covered in Episode 58:

  • Got Your 6 StorytellersX events
  • Interview with Marine Veteran Phil Klay
    • Why he joined the Marine Corps
    • Deploying to Iraq
    • Deciding to separate from the military and his transition
    • The value and power of storytelling
    • His routine for writing
    • His recommended books from Veteran authors
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Army Veteran Charles Norman Shay
Nov 08, 2017
#57: Sebastian Junger – Journalist, author of "Tribe"
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Sebastian Junger, award winning journalist and author of "Tribe," is the first non-Veteran who isn't the Secretary, to be on the podcast. I believe he makes a great fit with his experience in conflict zones and his longtime relationship with the military community. Junger is going to share his thoughts on storytelling and the importance of sharing your military experience with your community.

Nov 07, 2017
#56: Benefits Breakdown - Explore.VA.gov
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The newly branded podcast is here! Borne the Battle is the same great content but simply under a different name. This first episode is an introduction to a new program we'll be publishing in this feed called Benefits Breakdown. Each Monday, I will focus on one resource, office, or benefits at VA that Veterans should be aware of and better understand.

Today's topic is Explore.VA.gov. Learn how to use the site, the Benefits Navigator, and other elements on the web page. Be sure to share with a Veteran!

Nov 06, 2017
#55: Kevin Leverence – Marine Veteran, VA health care user
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When we first launched the podcast, initial response questioned whether or not our audience would hear from Veterans that have had trouble with VA. A few of my guests in the past have alluded to challenges with VA health care, but I wanted to to dig a little deeper and talk with someone that has a wide range of experiences with VA. Kevin Leverence and I have known each other for a few years after he first appeared on my podcast 1, 2, Many: Veteran Suicide. I followed up with him earlier this year asking if he'd be willing to share his experiences on This Week at VA and he generously agreed. Kevin did not have a good introduction to VA and it took a few frustrating iterations before he finally broke through some sticking points and found the help he was looking for. Kevin is going to share stories from joining the military and his military service, his transition out of the Marine Corps, frustrations with VA, and finally getting the care he needed. Lots of great talk about patient advocates, Vet Centers, different types of therapy, and much more.

Covered in Episode 55:

  • How to follow us during next week's events
  • Interview with Marine Veteran Kevin Leverence
    • Why he joined the military
    • A story from his time in
    • His transition out and the challenges he faced
    • The day that first turned him off of VA
    • The value in patient advocates
    • How Vet Centers are great resources for Veterans
    • Types of therapy he has used
    • Getting comfortable with VA and getting the care he needs
  • Finding your patient advocate
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Navy Veteran Tony Roberti
Nov 01, 2017
#54: Melissa Castillo – Navy Veteran, Dallas County Veterans Service Officer
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A couple weeks ago we published a special episode with the Center for Minority Veterans to feature a panel that was originally scheduled for the Women Veterans Summit. One panel member was missing from that episode, so I brought Melissa Castillo on to interview her as our featured guest. Melissa talks to us about her military service, working for VA, and her experience as a woman minority Veteran.

About Melissa Castillo:

Ms. Melissa Castillo enlisted in the US Navy. She completed basic training and Torpedoman’s Mate “A” School at the Naval Air Station, Orlando, FL. Her duty station included on board the USS Simon Lake (AS-33) in La Maddalena, Sardinia, Italy; Naval Submarine Base, New London, CT; and Naval Operational Support Center, San Antonio, TX.

Ms. Castillo has over 10 years of experience in VA benefits. She is accredited by Texas Veterans Commission and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) as a Veterans Service Officer.

Covered in Episode 53:

    • Call 855-QUIT-VET to get a plan to quit smoking
    • Interview Navy Veteran Melissa Castillo  
      • Why she joined the Navy
      • Her decision to get out
      • Her experience as a Hispanic woman Veteran
      • Her work as a Veterans Service Officer in Dallas County
    • Center for Minority Veterans
    • #VeteranOfTheDay Philiip Iyotte
Oct 25, 2017
#53: Alejandro Villanueva – Army Veteran, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle
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One great thing about podcasting is the ability to think, "hey, I want to talk to that person," and then taking action to make it happen. When I learned that Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva is a former Army Ranger, I knew I wanted to talk with him. Al was nice enough to make time for This Week at VA and spoke to us about his experience in the military, transitioning to the NFL, and being a Veteran in a high-exposure arena.

About Alejandro:

Alejandro attended SHAPE American High School (Casteau, Belgium) and after graduating from West Point, he spent 2010-13 serving as an Army officer and served three tours in Afghanistan. He earned numerous honors for his service, including the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, the Ranger Tab, the Parachutist Badge, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman’s Badge and Expert Infantryman’s Badge. He is the son of Ignacio and Mati Villanuev. His father was a Lieutenant Commander in the Spanish Navy and also worked for NATO throughout Europe.

Covered in Episode 53:

  • Where to find the VA podcast
  • Interview Army Veteran Alejandro Villanueva  
    • His decision to attend West Point
    • A story from his deployments
    • Transitioning from military to NFL
    • How he almost didn't get signed
    • Comparing an NFL team to a military unit
    • Being a military Veteran in the high-exposure NFL
  • Volunteering at VA
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Coast Guard Veteran Donald Dewar
Oct 18, 2017
#52: VA's Center for Minority Veterans panel discussion
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The  2017 National Women Veterans Summit put on by VA's Center for Women Veterans (CWV) was cut short due to Hurricane Harvey. The CWV has been developing ways to deliver information from the summit and I've collaborated with them to produce a podcast, with support of the Center for Minority Veterans, on minority women Veterans. Barbara Ward, the Director for CMV, lead a panel with Teresita Smith, Juanita Mullen, and Ginger Miller. They discuss

About Center for Minority Veterans:

The Center for Minority Veterans is the Department of Veterans Affairs model for inter-and intra-agency co-operation, to ensure all veterans receive equal service regardless of race, origin, religion, or gender. We are process improvement-oriented and both internal and external customer-centric. We assist VA in executing its mission in the most equitable, efficient and humane way possible. Dignity and an acceptable quality of life are the products we seek to deliver to ALL veterans no matter what their circumstance. We will grace our mission execution with gratitude to the men and women we now serve who in turn served our Nation so well.

Covered in Episode 52: 

Oct 13, 2017
#51: Mike Krzyzewski – Army Veteran, Duke Basketball Coach
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I've published more than 500 podcast episodes in my podcast career. A couple times a year, there's usually an exciting interview, one that feels like a badge of honor. This week's episode of This Week at VA features the epitome of those interviews. Thanks to a colleague and the great folks at Duke, I had the opportunity to interview Mike Krzyzewski, coach of the men's basketball team at Duke University. As many of you know, Coach K has won multiple NCAA championship titles and is considered a legend in the sport. What many people may not know, is that he is a West Point graduate and a former Army officer. Coach K talks to us about his decision to go to West Point, transitioning from military to college coaching, developing young players, and his experience in the Army.

About Coach Mike Krzyzewski (before his career at Duke):

Coach K's disciplined, mentally tough teams can be seen as an extension of his own upbringing. Krzyzewski went to West Point and enrolled in the U.S. Military Academy to receive a quality education, play basketball and become an officer in the Army. From 1969-74, Krzyzewski served his country, directing service teams for three years and serving a two-year stint as head coach at the U.S. Military Academy Prep School in Belvoir, Va. In 1974, he resigned from the Army having attained the rank of Captain. When Coach K was just 26, Knight, his former coach at Army, offered him a graduate assistant-ship at Indiana University. That 1975 squad posted an 18-0 mark in the Big Ten and a 31-1 overall record. Prior to his arrival at Duke in 1980, Krzyzewski spent five years building the program at his alma mater in West Point. He led the Cadets to one NIT berth, one ECAC playoff appearance and an overall record of 73-59.

Covered in Episode 51:

  • Nominating a #VeteranOfTheDay
  • Interview with Navy Veteran Kevin Quarles  
    • His decision to attend West Point
    • A story from his experience in the Army
    • Comparing developing young players to mentoring soldiers
    • How military service made him a better coach
    • Transitioning from military life to coaching life
  • VA Adaptive Sports
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Army Veteran Francis Brown Wai
Oct 06, 2017
#50: Timothy Lawson - Marine Veteran, Podcast Host
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I knew I wanted to do something unique or cool for episode number 50. I've decided to flip the microphone and let someone else ask me the questions I typically ask my guests. My colleague Melissa Heintz stepped in to host and asked me about my service in the Marine Corps, my transition into civilian life, working with podcasts, and working at VA.

About Tim:

Timothy has been a member of VA’s Digital Media Engagement team since April 2016. His scope includes blog writing, video production, and launching VA’s first ever podcast. He graduated from American University’s School of Communications in 2016 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. Tim is a Marine Corps Veteran having served as a Marine Security Guard and was posted at embassies in Algiers, Algeria; Moscow, Russia; and Lima, Peru.

Covered in Episode 50:

Sep 29, 2017
#49: Forever GI Bill round table w/ TAPS, Got Your 6 & SVA
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The wonderful people over at Got Your 6 emailed me one day asking if I wanted to do a round table podcast talking about the Forever GI Bill. I was in right away. The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 AKA the Forever GI Bill works to improve education benefits for Veterans, their dependents, and their survivors. On the panel we have Ashlynne Haycock from TAPS, Lauren Augustine from Got Your 6, and William Hubbard from SVA. The three of them are going to tell me all about the development and execution of this bill.

Covered in Episode 49:

  • This week's social media events for Suicide Prevention Month
  • Round table discussion with Ashlynne Haycock, Lauren Augustine, and Will Hubbard  
    • Why the Forever GI Bill is valuable
    • What it does for Veterans
    • Each of their roles in getting it passed
    • Their experience collaborating with Capitol Hill
    • When and how the bill will be implemented
  • Education Call Center
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Air Force Veteran Beck H. Gee
Sep 22, 2017
#48: Kevin Quarles - Navy Veteran, Operation Stand Down Tennessee
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While I was in Nashville last month, I visited an organization called Operation Stand Down Tennessee (OSDTN). OSDTN assists Veterans and their families so they can be self-sustaining  and better connected to the community. I sat down with Kevin Quarles, a Navy Veteran and staff member at OSDTN, to learn about his service, the value that OSDTN brings to its community, and his personal efforts with the organization.

Covered in Episode 48:

Sep 15, 2017
#NeverForget: Five Veterans share impact 9/11 had on military & community
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On September 11, 2001, four planes crashed on the east coast. Two planes flew into the World Trade Center. One plane skipped off of the ground before hitting the Pentagon. The last plane crashed in an open field in Pennsylvania. Thousands were killed or hurt. Millions were impacted.

 One question we often ask each other is "Where were you on September 11? For some of us, that moment was a day in the military. I think its interesting to see how much the world has changed after that tragic day. So, I curated a set of audio clips from the podcast where guests comment on where they were on 9/11 or how the military around them changed due to the attacks.

Featured audio from:

  • Jared Lyon
  • Kayla Williams
  • John Lee Dumas
  • Skye Marshall
  • Blayne Smith

However, at the end of the day, Patriots Day is about remembrance. The story that sticks out to me from the podcast regarding 9/11 came from Army Veteran Dee McWilliams, who briefly shared how the attack at the Pentagon directly affected her.

We will never forget those that lost. We will never lose our gratitude for those that responded to save others that day. And we will always remember to appreciate those that decided to serve and protect our freedom, inspired by that tragic day.

I hope you all had safe Patriots Day and found your own personal way to remember.

Sep 11, 2017
#47: Charlie Smith - Marine Veteran, Lipscomb University student
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I was recently down in Nashville and scouted some Veterans to interview. A friend introduced me to Charlie Smith, the president of the Veterans group at Lipscomb University. Charlie and I weren't able to sit down for an interview while I was there, but recently connected for a Skype call where we talk about his journey in the Marine Corps, his aspirations for getting commissioned, being a student Veteran and leading his group on campus.

Covered in Episode 47: 

  • VA's social media outreach platforms
  • Interview with Marine Veteran Charlie Smith  
    • Why he decided to join the Marines
    • Lessons he learned in bootcamp
    • His transition out, and how he chose Lipscomb
    • Being a student Veteran
    • Leading his group on campus
  • Make The Connection
  • #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Joseph Angelo Calabria
Sep 08, 2017
#46: Doc Todd – Navy Veteran, Rapper
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When I first started podcasting in the Veteran space, often spoke with creatives: authors, artists, musicians, etc. I learned there are a lot of Veterans in the hip hop community. It makes sense. Hip hop is about expression and a lot of emcees use the medium to share personal experiences. Doc Todd is not exception. He's been praised by many national outlets for his music that addresses the difficulties of coming back from conflict and transitioning from the military.

About Doc Todd:

Doc was born George Michael Todd Jr. on February 16, 1985, and raised in the city of Memphis. While study wasn’t his strong suit, he fell in love with writing in high school – that is, writing lyrics for his band, not writing homework assignments. After completing high school in 2003, Doc worked a number of different jobs in the restaurant industry, which was a natural fit given his passion for customer service and uncanny sales ability. However, after several successful years in the business he wanted more from life. Doc set his focus on self-improvement and meaningful growth, and in the fall of 2007 he enlisted in the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman.

After his military service (which did not include civilian transition training), Doc moved to Atlanta and worked at restaurants and a premier hospital, while he pursed his college education on the G.I. Bill. Doc graduated from Georgia State University magna cum laude with an undergraduate degree in studying Economics & Public Policy in 2014. He then joined Northwestern Mutual where he began to build a financial management practice, before pursuing this veteran project.

Covered in Episode 46:

  • VA's response to Hurricane Harvey and information Veterans need regarding benefits
  • More of Secretary Shulkin's remarks at the American Legion Convention in Reno
  • Interview with Navy Veteran Doc Todd  
    • Why he decided to join the Navy
    • Deploying and being medevac'd
    • His difficult coping with being forced away from his unit.
    • Pursuing music
    • How his music helps him and his fellow Veterans cope
  • Veteran's Crisis Line
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Army Corps Veteran Alice Evamae Ewing Phillips
Sep 01, 2017
#45: Rory Cooper – Army Veteran, VA Research Engineer
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I first met Rory Cooper at the VA Medical Center in Pittsburgh. He was showcasing a number of products he helped research and develop. I called upon him to join me on the podcast when I saw he was a top 12 finalist for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America People's Choice Award. He's also nominated in the science and environment category. Rory is going to talk to us about his service in the Army, his spinal cord injury, accommodations for people using wheelchairs, and his research that is benefiting those with similar disabilities.

About Rory:

Rory Cooper, PhD, founder and senior researcher at the University of Pittsburgh Human Engineering Research Labs (HERL), is a world-renowned expert in wheeled mobility and the pioneer in wheelchair selection and configuration. Dr. Cooper is developing technology to increase the independence of people with spinal cord injury or disease (SCI/D) and equipping them with the skills necessary to operate new technology.

Dr. Cooper founded HERL at the University of Pittsburgh in 1994. Today, HERL conducts more than 74 clinical studies in eight customized labs with 50 staff members, who include engineers, physicians, therapists, research specialists and rehab medical interns. HERL’s mission is to continuously improve the mobility and function of disabled patients through advanced engineering in clinical research and medical rehabilitation.

Covered in Episode 43:

  • Secretary Shulkin's remarks at the American Legion Convention in Reno
  • Interview with Army Veteran Rory Cooper  
    • Rory's decision to join the Army
    • His experience in the military
    • His spinal cord injury.
    • Life as a handicapped person
    • The world's accommodations (and lack of) for persons in wheelchairs
    • His award nominated research
  • Explore VA
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Army Veteran James Buckland
Aug 25, 2017
#44: Mark Rockefeller – Air Force Veteran, Street Shares CEO
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In the Veteran community, there are people you hear of and hear about over and over but never meet or engage with. Mark Rockefeller was on my radar for years. I heard about Street Shares, the company he co-founded, when they first started. I never had the opportunity to interview him for my former programs, so he made the short list when we launched This Week at VA. Just a couple weeks ago, I finally got the opportunity to talk with him. I visited Street Share's cozy space in Reston, VA and talked with him about serving in the Air Force, being an entrepreneur, Veteran owned businesses, and much more.

About Mark:

Mark began his career as a military officer, and later as an attorney. Following service in Iraq, Mark worked briefly on a pro bono micro-finance project in Africa before joining the prominent global financial services law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP. His law practice focused on securities, financial restructuring, and international investment disputes. Inspired by his experience in Africa and a desire to reinvigorate small businesses in the United States (particularly veteran-owned small businesses), Mark left the law firm in 2013 to co-found StreetShares. He holds a B.S. in Finance, and advanced degrees in Finance and Law. Mark provides strategic leadership and vision to StreetShares and ensures our talented team has what it needs to serve our customers. Mark's favorite American Main Street is Main Street, Breckenridge, CO.

Covered in Episode 43:

Aug 18, 2017
#43: Gary Profit – Army Veteran, Walmart Military Programs
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This week's featured interview is with retired Army General Gary Profit. Gary is the Senior Director of Military Programs at Walmart. Walmart is a leading employer for Veterans and their spouses. Gary connected with us to talk about Walmart's initiatives to improve the experience of their Veteran employees, the importance of employing Veterans, his service in the Army, and more.

About Gary:

After more than 31 years of U.S. Army service, Brigadier General Gary M Profit retired on February 28, 2006, and, until October 2008, he was Director of Human Capital Management Solutions; International Programs; and Department of Defense Business Transformation Agency Programs, Civilian and Homeland Security Solutions, General Dynamics Information Technology, in which capacities he led a premier provider of lifecycle human capital management technology/service solutions and international technology transfer/export control service solutions for federal agencies and strategic communications service solutions at DOD BTA, respectively.   He is currently Senior Director of Military Programs, Walmart, where he directs a synchronized enterprise strategy and complementary implementing programs to attract, recruit, and hire; grow and develop; and retain talent from military community constituencies and leads a collaborative team of military employment brand, reputational interests, and consumer brand professionals focused on veterans and military families for the leading global retailer.

Covered in Episode 43:

Aug 11, 2017
#42: Brian Stann – Marine Veteran, Hire Heroes USA
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I remember watching Brian Stann fight in the UFC, thinking it was so cool to see a Marine in the octagon. Now, I think its even cooler to see a decorated Veteran taking a leadership position that allows him to influence the lives of so many other Veterans and spouses. Brian is the CEO of Hire Heroes USA. They do amazing work with Veterans looking for employment and career advancements. They proudly claim more than 50% success rate for all users that register on their website. That's amazing considering how many visitors come to the site "just to check it out." Hire Heroes USA is positively affecting our economy and the Veteran community with the services they offer. Brian even offers his opinion on the upcoming Mayweather/McGregor fight.

About Brian:

Brian Stann is President and Chief Executive Officer of Hire Heroes USA, a decorated Marine, and a nationally recognized analyst for the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).A Naval Academy football player and graduate, he served two deployments with 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM and was awarded the Silver Star, the nation’s third highest award for valor, for his actions near the Al-Romana Bridge during Operation MATADOR in May 2005. Stann took over as President and CEO of Hire Heroes USA, which is headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., in 2008 and has grown the nonprofit organization to a total of seven offices across the country. Under his leadership, Hire Heroes USA has built a national reputation of excellence and is recognized as a best-in-class veteran service organization by the USO, Call of Duty Endowment and the George W. Bush Institute.

Covered in Episode 42:

Aug 04, 2017
#41: Justin Brown – Navy Veteran, HillVets
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I've known Justin Brown for a couple years now and one thing I've always admired about him is how many people know who he is and know of his efforts. Justin founded HillVets with the intent to bring more Veterans to Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.. Justin believes Veterans can contribute greatly to our government and that they should take advantage of those opportunities. Just swung by our central office and chatted with us about service, transition, HillVets, and more.

About Justin:

Justin Brown is a senior staffer on Capitol Hill with more than a decade of Veterans’ focused experience and advocacy. He has been fighting on behalf of Veterans and their families, trying to increase educational and employment opportunities, while expanding access to benefits and healthcare. Justin began his commitment to public service at the age of 17 when he enlisted in the United States Navy. There, he completed one deployment in support of Operation Southern Watch and two deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Following Justin’s service, he attended the University of Utah, graduating with dual bachelor’s degrees in three years. He became active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) where he served as the youngest All-American District Commander and Department Chief of Staff in its history.

Covered in Episode 40:

Jul 28, 2017
#40: Marc Burgess – Navy Veteran, DAV National Adjutant
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VA works with many Veteran Service Organization to serve our Veterans. One of those longstanding partnerships has been Disabled American Veterans, an organization that has been around since World War I. DAV helps Veterans navigate the VA system, primarily by assisting with claims. They also provide a network and community for Veterans to thrive in. This week's featured guest is with DAV's National Adjutant, Marc Burgess.

About Marc:

J. Marc Burgess, a veteran of the Persian Gulf War, was appointed National Adjutant of the1.3 million-member DAV, on June 1, 2013. As DAV’s senior staff official, National Adjutant Burgess serves as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer and leads the 650-member DAV staff, managing all operations of the organization of wartime injured and ill veterans, one of America’s largest charitable institutions.   Mr. Burgess served in the U.S. Navy from October 1987 through October 1992, when he was medically discharged. His service included crew member and plank-owner aboard the USS Normandy. He joined DAV before his discharge from the Navy and is a life member of Chapter 19 in Cold Spring,Ky.  

Covered in Episode 40:

Jul 21, 2017
#39: Travis Mills – Army Veteran, Travis Mills Foundation
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It's always humbling to speak with a combat Veteran and even more inspiring to speak with one like this week's guest, Travis Mills. Travis joins the podcast this week to talk about his service, his injuries, his foundation, being a motivational speaker, and being a "re-calibrated warrior."

Covered in Episode 39:

  • Marine Veteran breaks world record to fight stigma
  • Interview with Army Veteran Travis Mills  
    • Why he decided to join the Army
    • Three deployments to Afghanistan
    • Sustaining his injuries and recovering from them
    • Meeting the President
    • His efforts through his foundation and as a speaker
  • VA's most important resource: Veterans Crisis Line
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Army Veteran George Pappas
Jul 14, 2017
#38: Darren Sherrard – Army Veteran, VA Careers
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I'm sure everyone enjoyed bathing in the glory of our nation's freedom as we celebrated our Independence Day this week. I hope everyone's holiday was safe and joyful. This week's podcast features Darren Sherrard. Darren is an Army Veteran that served two decades and is now putting his skills to work for VA. He serves as VA's Associate Director for Recruitment Marketing. Darren helps drive the initiative that is VA Careers and helps communicate the value in working for VA to its potential employees.

Covered in Episode 38:

  • State Department VIP fellowship
  • Interview with Army Veteran Darren Sherrard  
    • Why he decided to join the Army
    • Learning how to be a good leader
    • Transitioning after 20 years of military service
    • Getting his job with VA
    • The value in working for VA and his approach to recruiting
  • Use VA Careers to find your opportunity at VA
  • #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Samuel V. Wilson
Jul 07, 2017
#37: Steve Goggins – Army Veteran, Powerlifter & coach
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One of my favorite things about podcasting is learning about different parts of life and new concepts. Last week we learned about the positive effects roleplaying games have on Veterans, and this week we will learn about powerlifting. Enter: Steve Goggins.

About Steve:

Steve served in the US Army from September of 1983, until May of 1990. While in the Army, he served in the 82nd Airborne and was a member of the Armed Forces Powerlifting Team. He has competed in powerlifting for over 25 years and was the first powerlifter to squat 1100 pounds. he has won many titles since he started powerlifting as a teenager.

Covered in Episode 37:

  • Office of Enterprise Support Services
  • Interview with Army Veteran Steve Goggins  
    • Why he decided to join the Army
    • Being a member of Armed Forces Powerlifting Team
    • Transitioning out to pursue a new career
    • The life of a powerlifter and coach
    • His experience using VA for health care
  • Reporting your experience to your patient advocate
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Army Veteran David Major
Jun 30, 2017
#36: Josh Heath – Army Veteran, Reach-Out Roleplaying Games
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Episode 36 brings us Joshua Heath. Josh served in the Army from 2006 to 2011 as a 91J Quartermaster and Chemical Equipment Repairer. While he was in, he ran a Dungeons and Dragons game for MWR while in Iraq, helping soldiers destress and escape. Now, he uses his company Reach Out Roleplaying Games to help connect people and create communities through gaming. Josh is going to talk to us about the benefits of playing RPGs and the effects he's seen in Veterans.

Covered in Episode 36:

  • Women Veterans Summit
  • Interview with Army Veteran Josh Heath  
    • Why he decided to join the Army
    • Playing Dungeons and Dragons with soldiers
    • His use of the G.I. Bill
    • How role playing games benefit Veterans
  • Finding or advertising resources at your VAMC
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Marine Corps Veteran Russell Pool
Jun 23, 2017
#35: Jeremy Paris – Army Veteran, Veteran Artist Program
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This week's podcast features Army Veteran Jeremy Paris. Jeremy served in the '90s in personnel. He is currently with Veteran Artist Program and hosts the Veteran Resource Podcast. He helped coordinate the 2017 Women Veteran Art Exhibit in collaboration with VA's Center for Women Veterans.

About Jeremy:

Jeremy Paris was born in Buffalo, NY and joined the US Army immediately after graduating from high school.  After ten years as a Personnel Administration Sergeant he left the military to become a government contractor performing computer support to the Department of Defense.  Although the initial plan was to be a contractor for two years and then split, he spent the next 16 years supporting the same customer within different rolls.   Jeremy has been on the staff of Veteran Artist Program (VAP), a non-profit Veteran Service Organization since 2010.  While at an event in Washington DC with VAP Jeremy shook hands with people representing so many veteran-focused organizations that he was blown away.  It was the realization that most veterans had no idea that these organizations existed that prompted Jeremy to start this podcast.  The new mission of the Veteran Resource Podcast is that every single one of the 20,000 veterans transitioning out of the military each month will have the opportunity to learn about the veteran organizations that are available to them.

Covered in Episode 35:

Jun 16, 2017
#34: VA's Electronic Health Record system announcement
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This week's podcast focuses on the announcement made by Secretary Shulkin on Monday. The Department of Veterans Affairs will be adopting the same electronic health record system used by the Department of Defense. The podcast features audio from SECVA at the White House press briefing. He provides remarks on the announcement originally made at VA's central office earlier that day, followed by questions from the media.

Covered in Episode 33:

Jun 09, 2017
#33: Henry Huntley – Retired Army General, VA Acting Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
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I hope everyone had a safe and solaced Memorial Day. I had the opportunity to meet with hundreds of Veterans and other members of our community at Sunday's Rolling Thunder demonstration. It was humbling hearing riders talk about their fallen comrades and whom they were riding for. It's moments like those that keep me grateful for our nation's service members and Veterans.

This week's podcast features retired Army Brigadier General Henry Huntley. Henry I are colleagues in the Office of Public Affairs at VA's central office. Each time I speak with Henry, my respect for him grows. Henry had a long, decorated career in the Army before coming over to VA. He's going to talk to us about his time in the service, his transition out, and how VA fulfills his post-military service to Veterans.

Covered in Episode 33:

  • Rolling Thunder 2017
  • Interview with Army Veteran Henry Huntley  
    • Why he decided to join the Army
    • Stories from his decades of service
    • Transitioning back to civilian life
    • Working at VA
  • Finding your career at VA
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Marine Veteran Philip Paul Clark
Jun 02, 2017
#32: Kate Tillotson - Marine Veteran, Student Veteran of the Year
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Each year, at their national convention, Student Veterans of America announces a Student Veteran of the Year. This award is competitive and quite prestigious as the Veterans considered have impressive resumes as service members and as student Veterans. 2017's Student Veteran of the Year is Kate Tillotson, a Marine Veteran currently attending University of Tulsa.

Kate served in the Marine Corps for four years as a Radio Operator. After she got out, she began pursuing higher education. Now, she's the president of her Veterans group on campus. Kate talks to us about growing and developing her SVA chapter to be one of the most active groups on campus.

Covered in Episode 32:

  • Recap of #VeteranChat on Twitter and Life Insurance chat on Got Your 6
  • Interview with Marine Veteran Kate Tillotson  
    • Why she joined the Marine Corps
    • Her experience in the Marines
    • Going from military to student life
    • Challenges of being a student Veteran
    • Growing and developing her SVA chapter on campus
  • Finding your campus' SVA chapter or student Veterans group
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Marine Veteran Robert Consulmagno
May 26, 2017
#31: Meritorious Segments Volume 2
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Episode 31 of This Week at VA is another "best of" type episode. This volume of Meritorious Segments includes soundbites from AMVETS National Director Joe Chenelly, Team Rubicon Chief Operations Officer Art delaCruz, and Team RWB Executive Director Blayne Smith.

Even if you've heard each episode, I know you'll appreciate hearing these stories and sentiments again.

Covered in episode 31:

  •  Blayne Smith talks about value of Team RWB
  • Joe Chenelly describes AMVETS' service to Veterans

  • Art delaCruz explains his role at Team Rubicon and why the organization is so powerful
May 19, 2017
#30: Meritorious Segments Volume 1
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We are 30 episodes into the podcast and I'm going to do something a little different with this one. This is going to be a "best of" episode. I pulled four clips from our more popular interviews to feature in what I'm calling "meritorious segments."

Even if you've heard each episode, I know you'll appreciate hearing these stories and sentiments again.

Covered in episode 30:

  •  Kayla Williams on deploying to Iraq
  • Jared Lyon on the value that student Veterans bring to a campus

  • John Lee Dumas about why he chooses VA in Puerto Rico

  • Bill Rausch about his feelings regarding his Bronze Star and being proud of his service
May 12, 2017
#29: Bob Wright – Army Veteran, Prostate Cancer Survivor
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I was introduced to Bob Wright by an organization named Us Too. Us Too is an organization that supports and advocates for men at all stages of prostate cancer. Bob is an Army Veteran having served in Vietnam. He is going to talk to us about his time in the military, discovering he had cancer, and become a support group leader for men.

Bob served as a Battalion Surgeon`s Assistant as First Lieutenant Medical Service Corps with 101st Airborne Division. He was in Vietnam from 1969-1970. During his time in service, his efforts were recognized with a Combat Medical Badge, Bronze Star , Vietnam Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and National Defense Service Medal.

Covered in Episode 29:

  • How to submit questions to podcast
  • Interview with Army Veteran Bob Wright  
    • Why she joined the Army
    • His experience in Vietnam and the Army
    • Discovering he had cancer
    • Defeating cancer
    • Becoming a support group leader
  • VA research on cancer
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Army Veteran Carl Woida
May 05, 2017
#28: Skye Marshall – Air Force Veteran, Actor
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When you're active in the Veteran community, you tend to hear names repeated in conversation and mentioned on social media. Recently, one of those names is Skye Marshall. I saw Skye in Got Your 6's #shesbadass campaign and knew she'd make a great feature on the podcast. Skye talks with us about serving in the Air Force, following her dreams to Hollywood, working with Al Pacino, and more.

About Skye:

At the age of 19, Skye enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at Nellis AFB, Las Vegas, NV. In Las Vegas, she heeded her true calling when she beat more than 8,000 college students from across the U.S. to be apart of the principal cast in the New Line Cinema feature film "The Real Cancun." Skye made her national movie theater debut Spring 2003. Although the film offered her many opportunities to fulfill her ultimate dream of being a full-time actress, Skye was determined to finish her goal of earning a college degree.   Skye graduated with honors in May 2007 earning a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Media & Theatre (CMT Program) from Northeastern IL University. Following her graduation, Skye moved to New York City. While working corporate during the day, in the evenings she attended acting training at Stella Adler Studio along with dance classes at The Broadway Dance Center to fine tune her skills and better prepare herself for the big move from NYC to LA October 2009.

Covered in Episode 28:

Apr 28, 2017
#27: Dee McWilliams – Army Veteran, WIMSA President
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The Women In Military Service For America Memorial (WIMSA), is the only major national memorial honoring all women who have defended America throughout history. It sits at the end of the road as you approach the gates of Arlington Nation Cemetery near Washington D.C. Today's podcast features Army Veteran Dee McWilliams, the current president of WIMSA. Dee talks to us about her 29 years in the Army, retirement, serving as WIMSA president and the significance of the women's memorial.

About Dee:

MG Dee Ann McWilliams retired from the Army in 2003, later joining the Office of the Director of National Intelligence where she served until 2010 as Director of the Lessons Learned Center.

MG McWilliams holds degrees from Lon Morris College, Stephen F. Austin University where she was named a distinguished alumnus, Texas Woman’s University, and the National War College.

IIn 2007, MG McWilliams joined the board of directors for the Women In Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, assuming the position of Vice Chair in 2014. She formerly served as President of the Army Women’s Foundation, a Director on the Army Historical Foundation Board, and on the Lon Morris College Board of Trustees.

She was the 2013 recipient of the American Veterans Center Lillian K. Keil Award for outstanding contribution to women’s service in the United States military and was named a Trailblazer by Women Veterans Interactive.

Covered in Episode 27:

Apr 21, 2017
#26: Doug McCormick – Army Veteran, Financial Expert
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My interview this week is with Army Veteran Doug McCormick. I've been very fortunate in the past couple months and have received a lot of opportunities for interviews. My cup has run over, and finally, after sitting on it for six to eight weeks, I finally have opportunity to release my interview with Doug. We talk about a few important topics, to include Veteran community, entrepreneurship and money.

Note: We are not providing any financial advice and VA does not official endorse Doug’s guidance on money, but we did invite him onto the podcast because it is an important topic and respect him as a subject matter expert. If you have any questions or want to explore the ideas Doug brings, consult your family’s financial adviser or contact Doug directly using the contact information he provided.

About Doug:

Before joining HCI Equity, Doug worked in the Investment Banking Division of Morgan Stanley & Co., where he was involved in the completion of numerous mergers and acquisitions and acquisition-related financing transactions. Doug previously served as a Captain in the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry Division, receiving numerous awards for performance and achievement. Doug serves as a board member of Team Red White and Blue and Bunker Labs, both veterans service organizations, and is a Henry Crown Fellow.

Covered in Episode 26:

Apr 14, 2017
#25: Kevin Jamison - Marine Veteran, Veterans Community Project