Volume 1, Issue 3
Thank You to all Our Veterans!
VMW Salutes You!
“Look Out for Your Buddies” by Joe Morgan
As I sit writing this letter, a conservation I had with a patient on mine that was a WWII Veteran comes to mind. As we talked, he asked me if I belonged to any Veteran Service Organizations (VSO). When I explained that I couldn't relate to the VFW or American Legion and I didn't have time he said "Boy, you better make time". "And don't be like most of the people that join to see what they can do for you". "Just like combat, you do it to look out for your buddies".
So here we are: the future for Veterans is both bright and dark. Dark because our fair-weather friends in the Congress and the Senate have already started attacking our benefits. They won't rest until, like in times past they strip us and the military of the things we fought so hard for. It amazes me that our Representatives, most who have never, served and would have trouble spelling "combat" feel they know what our Military and Veterans really need and deserve. Even though only a small percentage of Servicemembers reach twenty years and qualify for retirement, politicians feel it too good a deal???
The bright future is because since August 2,1990 the inception date of Veterans of Modern Warfare, over 18 million Americans have served our country and are eligible to be members of VMW. If only 10% of these Veterans join VMW, we would be the largest, strongest VSO in our Country's history. That power would allow us to keep the pressure on Washington. Because as that ole door gunner told me..."it's about looking out for your buddies".
So my fellow Veterans, never, never quit. Keep signing up Veterans and always help our "buddies".
It’s About the Warrior!
Red Air: America’s Medevac Failure by Michael Yon
Article Used by Permission
Most of our troops in Afghanistan never see combat. The closest they get might be the occasional rocket attacks on bases. A relatively small number will be in so many fights that the war becomes a jumble. For those who see fighting daily, their mental time markers are often when they or their buddies were hurt or died, or when some other serious event occurred.
The troops in 4-4 Cav have seen a great deal of fighting. Their courage seems bottomless and for two-and-a-half months I was an eyewitness to their professionalism and courage.
This mission would be dangerous. The Female Engagement Team was left behind and the only female Soldier to come was a medic because, as she would tell me, “I’m the badass medic.”
We sat in the morning darkness behind the helicopters waiting for them to start. A few Soldiers were sleeping on the rocks, while others murmured about this or that. A bomb dog looked at me, then plopped her head on the stomach of her handler, leaving her nose pointing to the sky due to the bulk of the handler’s body armor. The air was still and cool at about 0230 when the helicopters cranked engines under the waning gibbous moon. Illumination was enough for an RPG shot on the landing which could take us all down in a ball of fire.
The helium-filled aerostat balloon tugged at its tether in the background, and light years farther in the background was Orion, pointing north. Remarkably, all of the fighting done by 4-4 Cav has occurred within just a few miles of this base.
The CH-47 engines were roaring under the spinning rotors as crew members inspected the aircraft with flashlights looking for any signs of trouble. Thick, hot fumes washed over us as we boarded. Troops filled every seat and all the space on the floor. The helicopters lifted off and soon the wheels touched down on the landing zone in tilled fields. We rushed away from the back ramp and the helicopters flew off into morning darkness leaving us among marijuana fields and the Taliban. The mission into the deadly village of Leyadira had begun.
Through night vision, the Operations Sergeant Major Gregg Larson--a fine NCO--could be seen flipping open his Army compass and checking the azimuth.
Soldiers ahead of us searched for bombs using special gear such as metal detectors and other more secret stuff, but that only works to a point. And it only covers the area where a trooper has used the gear. I don’t trust it. The dogs are okay, but they get blown up, too. Often the first person to find a bomb is far back down the line and he finds it by getting killed. Keeping your distance from the person in front is crucial. Being too close to any other man doubles the chance of both getting hit.
The village of Leyadira was full of booby-traps waiting for us--trip wires, pressure plates, and who knows what else--but we didn’t know that yet. As best I can tell, Specialist Chazray Clark was at least number eighteen down the line. The village was vacant other than the enemy. The commander, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Katona, expected a big fight. The moon was so bright that it cast shadows. We were maybe two hundred meters into Leyadira when the first explosion happened.
BOOM!!! Off to front right there was a tremendous blast. Seconds later, debris began raining down and could be heard coming through the trees on the right. The ANA Soldier looked at me startled (image above) and started to run for cover, but there was none to be found. I just stood still, waiting to be hit because it was better to be still in a place now known to have bombs. We were not in small arms contact. He saw me stand still and he did the same.
Specialist Chazray Clark had stepped on a bomb. Some Afghan Soldiers had strayed off the cleared path and Chazray was following them because they were in front of his section. Sergeant Edward Wooden had been close to Chazray but not wounded. Wooden was proving yet again to be solid under pressure. He had been wounded during a previous mission but now was good to go. Sergeant Carroll was so close to this explosion that he was stone deaf. Chazray was terribly wounded and had been thrown and landed on his face. The platoon was staggered by the blast yet kept their bearing. They were amazingly calm.
In my location, the air was clear, but closer to the blast area the dust was thick. The night vision devices were useless for those in the immediate area of the blast. Sergeant Wooden called out the names of his men in the darkness, taking head count.
Near the detonation, nobody could see each other.
Sergeant Wooden called, “Clark!” Chazray was facedown. One arm and both his legs were gone, and yet this man had the strength and presence to call out from the dust and darkness. Chazray answered, “I’m okay. ” Sergeant Wooden said Chazray’s voice sounded completely normal. Chazray was carrying a good deal of explosives when he stepped on the bomb, including det-cord and caps. Luckily, they didn’t detonate.
Although Chazray had answered that he was okay, everyone here knows that when someone calls out “I’m okay,” the sound of their voice only means they are still alive. Fellow Soldiers located Chazray in the dark, and quickly put on tourniquets and unfolded a stretcher. I was not in the dust-filled area, but I could see brave men come out of it, carrying Chazray back over dangerous ground. I heard Chazray say his arm tourniquet was too tight. He was in great pain. Through night vision I saw an Afghan Soldier rush in to help carry Chazray.
Specialist Chazray was fully conscious and talking the entire time while being medically treated and moved.
The Soldiers took Chazray back to the landing zone where we had just come in.
And waited. Some Afghans slipped off to pray in the dark despite that the surrounding areas were not “cleared.” (The next day during this mission, an ANA Soldier stepped into an uncleared area and was killed instantly.)
Sergeant Carroll was so deaf from the bomb blast that he didn’t seem to hear anything, but he stayed alert and on his job pulling security. At one point, an officer tried to talk with him, and a buddy of his said something like, “Sir, he can’t hear. He’s deaf.” And that’s how it went. When someone wanted to communicate with Sergeant Carroll, they had to grab him and speak loudly in his face.
The medevac was very late. It took us about 20 minutes to get back to the Landing Zone (LZ). Based on my significant experience down here in southern Afghanistan, I know that the helicopter could and should have already been on orbit waiting for us. Chazray was dying but fully conscious and talking the entire time. We waited, and waited. Finally a radio call came that the medevac was “wheels up” from KAF. It was unbelievable to us that the medevac was just taking off from Kandahar Airfield, twenty-five miles away.
The problem was that this was an Army Dustoff medevac, and Army medevacs don’t carry machine guns because they have red crosses emblazoned on the sides and front. When our helicopters sport the red crosses, they can’t carry offensive weapons. This is meaningless anyway because they are accompanied by an Apache attack helicopter, which is fully loaded with a cannon and missiles.
And so while Chazray was dying, his Dustoff medevac was sitting idly on the runway down at Kandahar Airfield. Since there was no available Apache, the Dustoff was not cleared to depart. The Air Force Pedros have no red crosses marking their helicopters. Instead, they have .50-caliber machine guns. The Pedro helicopter teams are parked right there on the same runway and they could have been dispatched, but for some extremely sorry reason the Pedros are not allowed to come into 4-4 Cav battlespace unless there is “red air.” Red air means the weather is too bad for Army helicopters to come. From my experience Dustoffs are not averse to extreme danger, but there are conditions during which they are not allowed to fly during which Pedros will go.
And so the armed Pedros, which could have flown to us in about 13 minutes, sat on the runaway twenty-five miles away, doing nothing. I know first-hand the skill of the Pedros having flown with them in 2009.
Specialist Chazray Clark was dying due to politics, and the Army and Air Force pilots are very angry about this. Chazray’s is not the only such case. Army medevac helicopters fall under the Medical Services Corps, who mark medevacs with red crosses. Officers will tell you face-to-face that the Medical Corps does not want to give up its helicopters because senior officers want their own helicopters to shuttle them from here to there.
It is important to be absolutely clear--this is not about the Dustoff pilots and crews, who are incredibly courageous. They have earned enormous respect. They’ll fly into hell to get on of our wounded troopers. This is about politics getting in the way of saving lives.
Yet despite everyone here knowing we are perpetually short on helicopters in Afghanistan, and while Pedros would have had Chazray to the hospital less than 35 minutes after the blast, Chazray lay dying. There is no doubt in my mind—after seeing Pedros in action many times—that Chazray would have been at the trauma center in less than 35 minutes if the Pedros team had been scrambled. Instead, it took 65 minutes for Chazray to get to the hospital. Chazray was fully conscious when he was finally put on the bird. But he died at Kandahar Airfield. The General in charge of this fiasco needs to be fired.
Unarmed Army medevac helicopters are not even allowed to go into certain combat areas because they may get shot up and have no way of defending themselves. And so if the air is too dangerous due to bullets or bad weather, Air Force Pedros are sent because they fly in all weather and they shoot back with .50-caliber machine guns.
I asked Colonel Patrick Frank, the 4-4 Cav brigade commander, and Lieutenant Colonel Mike Katona, the squadron commander, if they have any discretion about which birds are called. Can we request Pedros instead of Army Dustoff? No. The answer is simple, clear and ultimately disastrous: There is no discretion.
Finally a courageous Dustoff crew lands.
Because of his proximity to the bomb blast, Sergeant Carroll was stone deaf. He was put on the bird with Chazray.
The Apache is orbiting in the darkness.
Chazray is loaded.
Now loaded with the two casualties, the Dustoff medevac heads to Kandahar Airfield. The Dustoff is wheels down at the hospital approximately 65 minutes after the blast. Specialist Chazray Clark died at the hospital while we continued the mission.
This is not the only time that medevacs have been delayed in responding to 4-4 Cav requests, or had to switch landing zones due to heavy enemy fire. If the Pedros were dispatched they would come right in because they can shoot back.
After ten years of war, the Army has had every opportunity to fix this problem. If the Army intended to right this wrong it would have been improved years ago. Clearly, the Army lacks the will to address this issue. We need courageous leadership. This issue should be elevated to the level of the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who needs to shake the Army’s political tree and fix our medevac issue before more troops die.
To view a video of this attack and MEDEVAC, click HERE
To learn more about Michael Yon, please click HERE
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Veterans of Modern Warfare.
Warrior Communications by Brandon Freitas
Just a couple of quick tidbits from the Comm front. First of all, I wanted to thank all of those that contribute on the website posting content worthy of our eyes. Especially the behind the scenes folks of the Membership Team; we are growing and as we solidify our mission, we will reach more and more of the over 18 million Veterans who have served since the First Gulf War. I simply cannot do it alone and the volunteers that we have currently are the crème de la crème! You are all truly amazing!!
We are currently working on our Chapter Locator area of the website. We hope to have it fully populated within the next few months. It takes much time and effort to get this accomplished with a fully volunteer staff. Please bare with us as we push on to excellence! Visit the Chapter Locator HERE.
Remember, anyone who registers at our website will automatically be signed up for all VMW online communications (newsletters, emails, announcements, etc.). Registering to our site not only is the right thing to do to keep you connected, but it helps VMW by bolstering our numbers. You must register at the site in order to become an official member of VMW. After you register at the site, the “Become a Member” link on the homepage will work for you. Visit the home page at www.VMWUSA.org to register to our website and begin receiving online communications.
Also, as stated last time, we are gaining new Chapters and Members on a regular basis and I want to share that with all of our Membership. If you would like to share your chapter story, share how VMW has impacted you as a Member, or why you joined VMW, please drop a shot out to firstname.lastname@example.org, sharing 500-1000 words your perspective, please do so – don’t forget to give a good quality photo of yourself (or your chapter) too! Also, if you have an article you think we should share, please send it to us so we can review. Remember, this web presence is as good as we make it. We sit in the driver’s seat, but you as our membership, definitely navigate!
With that, I’d just ask that you all remember that everyone of us on the National Leadership Team of VMW are volunteers. Nobody collects a salary for the work we perform, so please keep that in mind when a response isn’t as timely as you like. The information email address is also another way to get in touch with us. I monitor this email@example.com address on a daily basis and will forward on to the appropriate point of contact. Keep those fires burning and let’s change the future of our Modern Warriors!
National Leadership Update by Rick Rogers
New to the Board of Directors
Welcome to Dr. Jean Howard, who will serve on the VMW National Board of Directors as the Southwest Regional Director.
A Week with UAW Veterans Committee Representatives
Veterans of Modern Warfare was invited to address the 2011 UAW National Veterans Conference in Black Lake, Michigan at the end of August. Each Local is permitted to have a Veterans Committee and there were over 200 committee members present for a week of training on Veterans issues.
Chaplain Rogers, VMW CFO spoke during the second day of plenary sessions, attended training sessions throughout the week and joined in conducting a Memorial Ceremony with a memorial prayer.
Chaplain Rogers’ remarks addressed the history of Veterans as the driving force behind American productivity after WWII and the corresponding value of Veterans in the work place during our ongoing economic crisis. Veterans bring skills and values from their military experience, but the strongest benefit is the practice military members get at solving problems of innovation and adaptation.
The American Government can do nothing to alleviate the complications of modern economic processes. As soon as Americans invent a product, foreign interests will copy it and undercut American producers. As soon as foreign workers can be trained to produce products like those made in America, American jobs will be outsourced overseas. The only thing that can’t be sent overseas is American ingenuity, American innovation, American creative power.
The American market must embrace our new Veteran population in order to garner the gifts of American Veterans. There is no alternative. But implementation falls to Veterans, because established business has adopted a timid approach to hiring and a timid approach to productivity.
It looks like it is up to us to fix things.
Leader Pelosi Calls Veteran Service Organizations to the Annual Roundtable Preparatory to Veterans Day 2011.
Flanked by a dozen Democrat Congressional Representatives on Wednesday , November 2nd, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi addressed Veteran Service Organization representatives for two hours. Surprisingly, Mrs. Pelosi was able to remain in the room for most of the meeting and professionally directed an exchanged that focused largely on jobs. In a big change from the usual focus on the malfunctions of Department of Veterans Affairs, the secondary issue turned out to be the protection of Veterans and military entitlements from reductions by the Select Committee on Deficit Reduction represented by Mr. Xavier Becerra.
While Mrs. Pelosi kept a disciplined train of conversation going, the unfortunate result was a continued expectation that the Federal Government can get people jobs and a further misguided sense that the Federal Government needed to dismantle America’s Armed Forces in order to balance the budget. The fact that these issues remained at the end of the discussion means that our representatives simply do not understand reality.
Transition Tips & Tales by Tom Wolfe, Career Coach
Several years ago one of my clients asked me if he should expect the same level of camaraderie in a civilian job as he had in the military. My answer was no, and yes.
There is little in the civilian workforce that can approximate the bonding that occurs in the wardroom, ready room, or foxhole. Military personnel in those environments put up with much hardship – long hours, stressful working conditions, danger to personal safety, separation from loved ones, and more. However, because they are all in it together, they get through it. This mutual self-sacrifice, teamwork, and unity of purpose contribute to individual bonding, unit cohesion, and, ultimately, the camaraderie in question.
Other than perhaps the professions of law enforcement, fire fighting, and emergency medicine (notice the common denominator), it would be difficult to find a civilian occupation that approximates the conditions of the foxhole. It follows therefore that finding the military version of camaraderie in a civilian occupation is almost impossible. Some people do get close however and often it is simply a matter of time.
"Hail and Farewell Parties," the Welcome Wagon, personal sponsors, turnover period, contact reliefs – these are examples of the military's effort to ease the transition from one duty station to another. Because of the high frequency of duty station rotation in the service, the system must accommodate these transitions. Getting onboard and up-to-speed quickly contributes to the automatic "welcome to the club" experience that awaits most military personnel when they report to a new duty station. Civilians do not do it that way.
Many military-to-civilian career changers will tell you that although they did not find the camaraderie and esprit de corps initially in their civilian jobs, it did start to develop in the first 12 to 18 months of employment. This delay is due in part to the fact that unlike in the military where acceptance comes quickly, in the civilian sector you have to earn this membership over time. You might also have to take the initiative. Do not expect the Welcome Wagon to pull up in front of your house the first week on the job (if ever) nor should you line up a baby sitter in anticipation of your "Welcome Aboard" party. Those things or their equivalents will come, but it takes time.
The kind of people with whom you work and the corporate culture of the organization will influence the feeling of camaraderie. Take a look at the people in those military foxholes. They share much in the way of values, ethics, commitment, sacrifice, training, reliability, citizenship, and courage. Can the same be said of the civilian workplace? Maybe yes, maybe no.
Is there a lesson here? How about this. As you transition from the military to civilian sector and as you appraise opportunities and offers, in addition to things like money, location, benefits, growth potential, and job satisfaction, perhaps there is one more issue to consider – are these my kind of people?
Please visit Tom Wolfe’s website and learn more about his new book, “Out of Uniform” from Potomac Books. See the summary below:
Realizing or being told that he or she is out of uniform is not a pleasant experience for those serving in the military. Whether it is simply a missing component (hat, belt, insignia, or ribbon) or the unintentional selection of an incorrect uniform-of-the-day, he or she becomes the focus of attention for the wrong reason. However, as uncomfortable as it may be, the damage is minimal and the fix is relatively simple.
For men and women in transition from military to civilian occupations, the phrase out of uniform takes on a new meaning. This time the situation is intentional but the fix is not so simple. A Veteran can take off the uniform and hang it in the closet, but what happens next?
Career transition, job searching, and interviewing are stressful events for almost everyone, but the stress level is typically higher for those leaving the service. Although the task is daunting, civilians have an edge in that they are aware of the opportunities and have previously searched for jobs. That is rarely the case for military personnel. They face the added burden of not only having to identify their options but also of having to determine what they want to do and how to find it. Out of Uniform gives the reader the tools he or she needs to make that determination.
Out of Uniform is an insightful, entertaining, and user-friendly guide to career transition, job hunting and interviewing for current and former military personnel. Not only does it cover the basics—search techniques, networking, interview preparation, resumes, and negotiation—but there is also guidance on additional issues that are often over-looked: specifically, the central themes of self-knowledge, interviewing empathy, and the power of questions.
The author presents the material in eight sections, logically arranged in the same sequence as it occurs in a typical transition. The reader is guided from a discussion of transition readiness, through preparations and interviews, to the launch of a new career. An additional feature is a very useful list of key words, which allows the reader to quickly locate material of a specific type or interest.
In Out of Uniform the technical and “how to” information is emphasized and made memorable through transition tales. In these anecdotes the author shares his personal experience as well as that of several of the thousands of service men and women he personally assisted throughout his recruiting and placement career. From these many success stories and a few false starts he has accumulated a wealth of information. That information is combined with conventional wisdom, some unconventional wisdom, and professional best practices to create a roadmap for a successful military-to-civilian career transition.
The book was recently written up by the Wilmington Star News' book reviewer/feature writer, Ben Steelman: http://books.blogs.starnewsonline.com/author/steelman/.
It also received a great endorsement from Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski: “We owe our military service members so much … This book just might give them that competitive edge. Are you a Veteran? Read it! Know a Veteran? Make sure he or she has a copy!”
© 2011 Tom Wolfe. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
VMW Healthcare Services by Mike Walsh
I never served in combat, so I lack that unique perspective a person gains through experience. Several of my friends, however, served in combat in Viet Nam and were marked forever by their experiences. Two of them served as helicopter door gunners. As you may know, the life expectancy of a door gunner was measured in minutes, not hours or days. Both of them survived the harrowing experience of being shot down. One of them served a single tour and the other served two tours in Viet Nam. Both men raised families and held jobs. Despite the intervening years, both men struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The one individual reentered the military and continued his service until the late 1980s. After that, he held a wide variety of jobs in the aviation industry and the law enforcement industry. Poor health eventually forced him to cease working. The other gentleman has worked for the school system of a large city for years and also does contracting on the side.
These men were linked together by their common experiences during the war and they also suffered similarly from PTSD afterward. Both men suffered depression and flash backs. The one man never sought treatment until the last few years, while the acuity of the other man’s illness, marked by a suicide attempt, caused him to get treatment earlier. Neither man sought help from the Veteran’s Administration for many years. When the first gentleman sought help several years ago, he was declined. He persevered, and eventually after several attempts was able to be declared 100% disabled, though by and large, his disability was due to his physical ailments. The other gentleman has been declined and is currently trying to decide if it is worth the effort to slog through the VA system again.
I’ve learned several lessons from these men. The first lesson is that no matter how tough you think you are, you can be at risk of PTSD. The second lesson is that if you need help, don’t let your pride get in the way. Get the help you need. Remember, you are not the only one suffering. Your family is suffering too. The third lesson is that the VA is a government bureaucracy. It moves ponderously. When you engage the VA be committed to the long haul. Find out about the resources that are out there to help you. Some organizations have Veteran’s Service Officers who are dedicated to helping Veterans such as yourself. Seek the companionship of your brother and sister Veterans who understand your experiences. Don’t give up hope!
Veteran Employment News by Ted Daywalt
Predatory For-Profit Schools
Veteran education prospects have improved greatly with the new Post 9/11 GI Bill. But when one looks at the evidence, the current Post-9/11 GI Bill has truly been usurped by predatory for-profit schools. Note I use the term predatory for-profit schools as not all for-profit schools have engaged in less than ethical behavior. The actions and behaviors of the predatory for-profit schools need to be curtailed and Veterans need to be made aware of how to spot a predatory for-profit school.
I want to be very clear that not all for-profit schools are bad. But those that are bad, are very bad. There are technical, trade, and universities that are for-profit that have done a good job.
To give you an idea of how bad the situation is regarding predatory for-profit schools, the Department of Justice and four states have filed a multibillion-dollar fraud suit against the Education Management Corporation (EMC), the nation’s second-largest for-profit college company, charging that it was not eligible for the $11 billion in state and federal financial aid it had received from July 2003 through June 2011. The suit said that each year EMC falsely certified that it was complying with the law, making it eligible to receive student financial aid. The major class of students that Education Management Corporation has targeted over the years is Veterans. EMC is based in Pittsburgh and is 41% owned by Goldman Sachs. It enrolls about 150,000 students in 105 schools operating under four names: Art Institute, Argosy University, Brown Mackie College and South University. This suit is just the start of the move by many to curtail the predatory for-profit schools.
In another example, an August 2010 GAO undercover investigation report described investigators posing as prospective students applied for admissions at 15 for-profit colleges in 6 states and Washington, D.C. The colleges were selected based on several factors, including those that the Department of Education reported received 89% or more of their revenue from federal student aid. GAO also entered information on four fictitious prospective students into education search Web sites to determine what type of follow-up contact resulted from an inquiry. GAO compared tuition for the 15 for-profit colleges tested with tuition for the same programs at other colleges located in the same geographic areas. The GAO undercover applications at the 15 for-profit colleges found that 4 of the colleges encouraged fraudulent practices and that all 15 engaged in deceptive or otherwise questionable statements to GAO’s undercover applicants. Four undercover applicants were encouraged by college personnel to falsify their financial aid forms to qualify for federal aid! Falsifying applications is a federal offense.
Amazingly, in spite of the findings of the GAO undercover investigation, VA and DoD continue to allow the 15 predatory for-profit schools to enroll active duty, Veterans and spouses. There obviously is no effective oversight of the educational programs at DoD and VA!
If you are enrolled in an online school and are concerned about the school’s accreditation, call the admissions or registrar at a state school and ask if you applied to a graduate school program at the state school, would the school accept the degree from the online school you are attending. If they will not accept it, you may be wasting your GI Bill benefits! The same applies to training programs. Some predatory for-profits will claim the training is accepted by the state licensing authority when in reality, the training is not acceptable.
As has been reported in the press and blogs, many of the predatory for-profit schools and their extensive, well-funded (indirectly with federal dollars from the students) lobbying group argue that Veterans and their educational benefits should be left to “the invisible hand of the free markets.” Others argue that Veterans have the “free choice” to elect an institution that they feel best suits their educational needs. And still others argue that Veterans and Servicemembers “know what is best for them as they are grownups” and the programs “serve those who cannot attend traditional two- and four-year institutions.”
These arguments are specious at best and suggest that Veterans have the knowledge to make informed decisions, that they have a complete understanding of the stratified system of higher education or have access to the knowledge through base and command education counselors. These are false assumptions.
I want to again emphasize that not all for-profit schools are bad. However, active duty and Veterans who are pursuing degrees at schools that commit the above described actions need to know that they are probably wasting their GI Bill benefits when attending a predatory for-profit. The bottom line is that many predatory for-profits see military students as dollar signs in a uniform.
The actions of the predatory for-profit schools need to be stopped. Veterans, the very people who have defended our country and protect our constitutional republic and free market society we enjoy, deserve better. Had DoD and VA provided proper oversight for the funds they were dispensing to the predatory for-profit schools, we would not have these problems and Veterans and their family members would not have been encountering the myriad of problems when trying to get an education.
About the author:
Ted Daywalt is the President of VetJobs, the leading military job board on the Internet. He is a retired Navy Captain and served during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He is a life member of VMW.
Can You Help a Warrior? by Rick Rogers
Please read below:
Mike Woods is a leader in the Gulf War Veteran community. Always has been and always will be out front leading the way.
I remember vividly when Mike interviewed me for the job of Executive Director of the National Gulf War Resource Center.
Mike was always the voice of reason and became the glue that kept the organization together for many years. Mike has a great sense of humor and never ceased to make me laugh during the hard times. He loves and cares for other Veterans , he's done so as long as I've known him often putting his own health care needs to the side in order to help others first.
Now it's time for us to help Mike and Jessica. They deserve our attention and assistance for all the hard work they put into the Veteran advocacy movement.
I'm going to contact the Department of Veterans Affairs and ask that they look into picking up the cost of Mike's care, I'm also reaching out to a service officer to help Jessica with claims and other issues.
Mike said something to me that I think we need to repeat to everyone we talk to. He said that he'd met other Gulf War Veterans who had similar cancers, he noted that they were all too young to develop the types of cancers they had and he reminded me that were 20+ years past the 1991 Gulf War and this is when we would expect cancers to start appearing.
Mike's always been at the cutting edge, reminding us of the exposures of the 1991 Gulf War and the potential health concerns. On behalf of Mike we need to ask the research advisory committee and other standing Gulf War investigation committees to look into increased rates of cancer and determine whether or not Mike's assertion is a scientific reality and a trend the VA must monitor.
All along Mike knew that if we didn't look we wouldn't find, here he is once again leading the way. People may not know it but Mike has always been a mentor to me. There are a small group of men and women that I rely upon to keep me straight and on the right path for success, Mike is one of those people. He's someone who was never afraid to tell me that I was wrong or call bullshit if he saw something he didn't like. If you didn't know Mike you would think he's just a country boy who
didn't know much about anything but once you start talking you quickly realize he has a volume of information not just on Gulf War Veterans, but a whole host of other things that interest him. Religion, politics, books, advocacy, family. Mike is well-versed on many subjects and that's what makes him such a close confidant of mine.
I know this is a sad time right now for everyone but I am going to say for the record that Mike Woods has already left a lasting legacy for this generation and future generations to come. He showed me how to fight the good fight on Capitol Hill, he showed me how to work with people who are difficult, he taught me how to herd cats and also how to fight to overcome injustice.
I'm not writing all this because I'm trying to eulogize Mike. Mike is fighting for his life right now. He's convinced if he can get the help that he needs he can recover. We should all do everything we can to help him meet that goal.
We care about you Mike and we care about you Jessica, keep fighting the good fight. We'll do what we can do on our end to answer the questions that you need answered and to try to get you the resources that you need. As this Veterans Day approaches I'm going to remember Mike Woods in my thoughts and prayers. You have my respect and my admiration for the leadership that you have shown over all of these years to help Veterans of the Gulf War and other generations.
Hang in there Ranger buddy!
Steve Robinson is the Vice President of Prudential Veteran Affairs
A Message from the VMW Membership Team – VMW is now accepting membership dues!
Have you received your membership card? Has your mailing address or other contact information changed? Please contact our Membership Team with any questions or concerns at: firstname.lastname@example.org
**If you are receiving this Newsletter more than one time then you have multiple VMWUSA user accounts. Please contact us at: email@example.com for assistance with identifying your preferred account. You may also adjust the level of communications you receive from VMW by choosing which items to subscribe to on the homepage. Thank you for your support of VMW, your service to Country, and WELCOME HOME!
November is National Family Caregivers Month!
DVA Launches VA for Vets Initiative — HERE
My Health eVet — HERE
Veterans Benefit Booklet — HERE
VMW Video — HERE
If you have any announcements that you’d like posted on our VMW Announcement Board, please email firstname.lastname@example.org today!
Become a member today!
Volunteer with VMW!
A Special Thanks To…
…Brian Dorgan of SumTech Business Solutions in Pullman, Washington who’s also VMW’s IT Manager for all his incredible work on our membership application systems and all the technical support he’s given VMW. Thank you Brian, we truly appreciate all you do for VMW!!
…Sonja Gerard of Oei Graphics in Kirkland, WA who has provided all of the graphics for VMW. Her fabulous sense of design has put VMW on the cutting edge. Thank you Sonja!! VMW wouldn’t look this way without you!
…Medals of America for getting our “Warrior Gear” merchandise line up and running!!
… our friends at Summit Anesthesiology, Inc. for their generous contributions to VMW!!
Advertise with VMW and we’ll place your AD here!
Click HERE to learn more.
~VMW News Team