Petty Officer Takes Marines to the Fight aboard U.S. Navy Warship

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Petty Officer Kevin Taylor aboard Navy warship

Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Taylor, a native of La Habra, California, was inspired to join the Navy to follow in family members’ footsteps. “My dad, the majority of my uncles and my grandfather all served in the military,” Taylor said.

Now, three years later, Taylor serves aboard one of the Navy’s amphibious ships at Naval Base San Diego.

“For the most part it’s really nice,” Taylor said. “It’s nice to be able to rely on shipmates for help and to help them as well.”

Taylor, a 2016 graduate of La Habra High School, is a interior communications electrician aboard USS Essex, one of four Wasp-class amphibious assault ships in the Navy, homeported in San Diego.

“We do the electrical work for the alarms,” Taylor said. “We maintain all shipboard alarms, warning and indicating systems and certain flight systems.”

Taylor credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in La Habra.

“I learned that nothing comes easy,” said Taylor.

Essex is designed to deliver U.S. Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts. Designed to be versatile, the ship has the option of simultaneously using helicopters, Harrier jets, and Landing Craft Air Cushioned (LCAC), as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations.

Because of their inherent capabilities, these ships have been and will continue to be called upon to support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice.

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard Essex. More than 1,000 men and women make up the ship’s crew, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly, from handling weaponry to maintaining the engines. An additional 1,200 Marines can be embarked.

“Serving with the Marines gives you a different aspect of the military and seeing how different branches operate versus the Navy,” said Taylor.

Serving in the Navy means Taylor is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Taylor is most proud of being selected as Junior Sailor of the Quarter and being promoted to third class petty officer.

“It’s something that you have to work for, to study and learn and to always be accepting of constructive criticism,” said Taylor.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Taylor and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy is a sense of pride knowing that you’re doing something for the country and giving back to people,” said Taylor.

Source: Navy Office of Community Outreach

Army Sergeant Seeks Help to Bring Two Rescue Dogs Back to America

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Army Sergeant in uniform playing outside in a dirt area with her two dogsdogs

Being stationed overseas when you are in the military can leave you longing for home. One of the great things that happen to soldiers is when they are able to befriend a stray dog.

Sergeant Corina Kimball knows all too well the joy that it brings while she is there. But she also knows the heartache of having to leave them behind when it comes time to returning to the U.S., which has made her desperate to get them back home with her. She’s turned to Paws of War, because they have helped many soldiers relocate their dogs when it was time to head back to the states.

“We know how important these relationships are to our soldiers and how the dogs help them get through challenging times,” explains Robert Misseri, co-founder of Paws of War. “We also know how important it is that they get to bring the dogs home with them. We make it our mission to ensure that it happens, but we can’t do it alone. We need the public to help contribute to this mission if we are to be successful with it.”

Kimball, who has now made it back home to the US, is eagerly waiting for her dogs to join her. While stationed overseas, she found two stray dogs who would roam around, struggling to survive. They were malnourished and afraid of people. Over time, they came to trust her, and the three of them formed a strong bond. She fell in love with the two dogs, which she named Cinnamon and Pepper, bonding and finding companionship with them.

The remote Army base where Kimball was stationed is located in area of the world that can be dangerous for stray dogs. She knows that by leaving the dogs behind they are being put in a dangerous situation and their future will be bleak. She is desperate to have the two dogs make their way from overseas to her home, where they can live out the rest of their life in a loving family.

“Timing is crucial in a situation like this,” added Misseri. “Without Sgt. Kimball there to care for Cinnamon and Pepper the dogs are in a dangerous situation. Together, we can make bringing the dogs back to Montana a reality for this soldier.”

While relocating a dog from overseas to the USA is possible, it’s not easy and it’s not cheap. Paws of War works with other local animal organizations to ensure the mission takes place and that the dog is legally and safely brought to live with the soldier they are helping. Those who would like to make a donation to help relocate the dogs can log online:

pawsofwar.networkforgood.com/projects/online/campaign.

Paws of War rescues dogs, provides them with proper training, and then pairs them with veterans, all free of charge. They also help soldiers bring their dog back to America after serving overseas. Those who would like to learn more about supporting Paws of War and its mission can go online to: pawsofwar.org.

About Paws of War

Paws of War is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides assistance to military members and their pets. To learn more about Paws of War and the programs provided or to make a donation visit its site at: pawsofwar.org.

VA Recruits Military Spouses for Careers Serving Veterans

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As a military spouse, you’re qualified, educated and ready to serve. You have a unique perspective and understanding of what it means to care for our nation’s heroes.

The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs values this experience and knows you bring so much more to the table.

That’s why the VA has partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) program. The career program connects military spouses with more than 390 affiliated employers who have committed to recruit, hire, promote and retain military in jobs everywhere.

“VA is thrilled to help DOD and military installations engage military spouses in conversations about career opportunities caring for our nation’s veterans,” said Tracey Therit, Chief Human Capital Officer at the Office of Human Resources and Administration/Operations, Security and Preparedness.

“We are using every method—communications, job feeds, social networking and more—to provide information on the federal hiring process and links to real opportunities at VA.”

Finding Opportunities to Grow

How are MSEP and VA making sure you get the chance to apply for a meaningful and rewarding career?

On USAJobs, we tag VA jobs ideal for military spouses. We highlight key information—remote work opportunities, flexible work schedules, child care and health benefits—on our job announcements.

For positions covered under Title 5 hiring authority, we use noncompetitive procedures approved by the Office of Personnel Management. That means when you apply to become a VA accountant, police officer or human resource specialist and meet the minimum qualifications, you’re hired.

We also work with DoD to identify spouses with health care experience or training as a physician, nurse, social worker or occupational therapist. These VHA-administered positions do not require application through USAJobs.

Choose VA  

A career with VA is meaningful and mission-driven—and our total rewards benefits package consistently edges out those offered by the private sector. To learn more on how military spouses can benefit from choosing a VA career:

Source:  va.gov

Ways to Boost Your Confidence While Transitioning

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Man using smart phone to search online for companies hiring

Transitioning from military service to a civilian career comes with a host of emotions—excitement, hope and perhaps some uncertainty, especially in the wait for job offers.

As you establish your “new normal” and move into a new civilian career at VA or with another employer, maintaining a self-care routine can make that shift easier.

Here are seven ways to boost your confidence as you transition from military to civilian employment.

1. Check in with your friends
During your military career, you built a support system of contacts, and some of them may have already transitioned to a civilian career. Get talking! Opening up about your experiences solicits stories from other service members who made the move. Gain confidence knowing that you are not alone and learn strategies and tactics from others.

2. Keep an exercise routine
In general, physical activity is great for our health. But in times of transition, it’s even more important to care for your physical and mental health. Exercise boosts your mood and gets you out of the house. Consider trying out a new sport or fitness class. Need to join a gym? Check out your local YMCA, which may partner with the area VA facility to offer special services and rates for veterans.

3. Attend military transition classes
The U.S. Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP) offers military transition classes at every military installation, online and at other locations such as VA offices. TAP classes begin during your last year of service—after you have an identified separation plan. The program includes group classes particular to each service branch, briefings from VA and other agencies with veteran programs, and job and transition counselors.

4. Find a mentor
We all benefit from hearing stories from folks who have paved the way ahead of us. A mentor is a great resource in any job search, and especially for service members transitioning to civilian careers. Find someone who shares your values and have a clear idea of what you want to get out of the relationship. If you don’t have an ideal candidate in your network, search online for veteran mentor matching programs like Veterati (https://www.veterati.com/).

5. Seek out VA services
VA has you covered! We know the value of hiring veterans and have many programs available to transitioning military service members. VA works with DoD to create TAP classes and briefings. VA for Vets aids transitioning members seeking post-service jobs. And through VA Careers, veterans can identify themselves in the application process and get support from VA throughout the hiring process.

6. Leverage online resources.
There’s a multitude of online resources available to transitioning service members. You can find trainings, job boards, employers who specialize in hiring veterans, mentoring resources and online chat help. VA Careers’ Transitioning Military Personnel page and TAP are good places to start.

7. Volunteer your time.
If job offers don’t come right away, giving back is a great way to make new connections and establish yourself in the community. Volunteer in a field that’s similar to your chosen career path to get experience and build your resume.

Source: Department of Veteran Affairs

RedWhiteandCool Program Draws Vets into Refrigeration Industry

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Five RedWhiteandColl founders stand in line together smiling

The Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA) and Smithfield Foods, Inc. are pleased to announce RedWhiteandCool, an initiative focused on recruiting, training and hiring transitioning military veterans into the natural refrigeration industry as refrigeration technicians.

“There is a shortage of skilled labor in our country, and the commercial and natural refrigeration industry is not exempt,” said Lois Stirewalt of RETA. “There are currently more than 40,000 jobs open nationally for refrigeration technicians. At the same time, many veterans remain unemployed once they transition to civilian live. RedWhiteandCool is taking action to address this very issue.”

The RedWhiteandCool program will work hand in hand with the Department of Defense and transitioning military personnel, family members and veterans to recruit them into the commercial refrigeration industry. The partnership, administered by RETA’s non-profit arm— RETA-Training Institute (RETA-TI)—in conjunction with the Department of Defense SkillBridge program, is the organization’s newest Career Skills Program (CSP).

Transitioning military veterans met with program staff during an information session in February to learn more about the training program and refrigeration industry. Participants will receive certification testing at the end of the program and have the opportunity to interview for a career with Smithfield Foods as part of the company’s veteran hiring initiative.

“Supporting the men and women who have served our country is core to who we are as an American company,” said Keira Lombardo, executive vice president of corporate affairs and compliance for Smithfield Foods and president of the Smithfield Foundation. “We owe a debt of gratitude to our veterans; this training and transition program is just one way we demonstrate our appreciation.”

For more information, please visit: www.RETA.com and/or www.smithfieldfoods.com

Photo:
Bruce Owens, Director, Infrastructure Engineering (Smithfield Foods); Clarence Scott, Talent Acquisition Specialist (Smithfield Foods); Lois Stirewalt (RETA); Jim Barron (RETA executive director); Troy Vandenberg, Military Talent Acquisition Manager (Smithfield Foods)

Marine Corps Marathon canceled for first time in 45-year history because of pandemic

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large group of Marine Corps marathon runners

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed yet another event for long-distance running enthusiasts.

The Marine Corps Marathon, with its picturesque course that takes runners through some of the most historic parts of Arlington, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., will not be held in person in 2020 for the first time in its 45-year history. The main event had been scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 25.

“We explored various approaches to safely execute a live event and held numerous meetings with Marine Corps leadership, local government and public health officials,” said Rick Nealis, director of the Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO) in a statement. “We understand this is disappointing news for many, but we could no longer envision a way to gather together in compliance with safety guidelines.”

Race organizers will instead offer participants opportunities to register and complete distances for certification via the Marine Marathon website.

“Health and safety are our top priorities during this challenging time,” said Libby Garvey, Arlington County Board Chair. “The Marine Corps Marathon is a treasured event and tradition in our community that Arlingtonians look forward to each year. As we celebrate the race’s 45th anniversary this year, we will be enthusiastically and virtually cheering on each runner. We can’t wait to welcome these dedicated athletes and fans back to Arlington in person in 2021.”

Continue on to USA Today to read the complete article.

Navy Announces First Black Female Tactical Aircraft Pilot in 110 Years of Aviation

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Lt. Madeline Swegle standing in front of NAVY aircraft in uniform smiling

Lt. Madeline Swegle is soaring to new heights in the U.S. Navy as she will soon become the service’s first Black female fighter pilot.

UPDATE:

The US Navy’s first Black female tactical aircraft pilot, Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle, received her “wings of gold” on Friday, marking a historic milestone for naval aviation.

Swegle was named a naval aviator and awarded her gold naval aviator wings with 25 classmates during a small ceremony at Naval Air Station Kingsville in Texas, according to the Navy.

“I’m excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet,” Swegle said. “It would’ve been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it’s encouraging to other people.”

Recently, the Chief of Naval Air Training congratulated Swegle on Twitter for “completing the Tactical Air (Strike) aviator syllabus,” praising her with a “BZ,” meaning Bravo Zulu or well done.

“Swegle is the @USNavy’s first known Black female TACAIR pilot and will receive her Wings of Gold later this month. HOOYAH!” the tweet read.

Along with the message, the post included two pictures of Swegle wearing her pilot’s uniform.

In one of the images, Swegle smiles next to a T-45C Goshawk training aircraft and in another photo, she is seen exiting the plane after completing her undergraduate syllabus.

According to military newspaper Stars and Stripes, the Virginia native graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

Swegle is currently assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron 21 in Kingsville, Texas, and will be awarded her wings of gold during a ceremony on July 31, according to the Navy.

Rear Adm. Paula D. Dunn, the Navy’s vice chief of information, also applauded Swegle on social media, writing that she is “very proud” of the graduate. “Go forth and kick butt,” she wrote.

Swegle’s sister shared the post on Twitter, writing, “Just my older sister being a boss everyday of her life.”

“Proud of her doesn’t even cover it,” her sibling added.

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

Marine Corps veteran catches 3-year-old dropped from burning building

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U.S. Marine Phillip Blanks sitting in a car smiling

Catching a child who was dropped from a burning building was just Phillip Blanks doing his job.

The U.S. Marine Corps veteran and former football player at Kalamazoo Central High School doesn’t want special recognition for helping save a 3-year-old boy from an apartment fire in Phoenix, Arizona. Blanks, a body guard today, said protecting others is just part of his job.

Blanks credits his training as a Marine and security officer and instincts for his reaction.

“Ultimately, this is my job,” Blanks said. “It was all fast, it was a blur. It was tunnel vision as I was running. I didn’t see anything but the baby.”

Blanks, 28, caught the young boy who was dropped from an apartment balcony Friday, July 3.

According to ABC15 in Arizona, the boy and an 8-year-old girl were both taken to the hospital with injuries. The children’s mother died in the fire, ABC15 said.

Blanks was captured on video helping to save the boy’s life.

The video was shared by WWMT’s Andy Pepper.

The Kalamazoo native served four years in the military after completing one year at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Blanks said in an interview with MLive. Prior to college, he played four years as a wide receiver and linebacker at Kalamazoo Central.

He moved to Arizona about a year ago and currently works in executive protection, or as a body guard, he said. He was at a friend’s apartment for a workout Friday morning when he heard people yelling outside and he jumped into action, Blanks said.

“I wasn’t able to grab my shoes,” Blank said. “I ran down the stairs barefoot…” and then he started looking to see who needed help.

“As I was running, I see the baby getting ready to be tossed out of the patio,” Blanks said. “Next thing you know, he’s helicoptering in the air and I catch him.”

Blanks said the child’s foot was injured in the fall but that his head and major organs were protected.

Continue on to Stars and Stripes to read the complete article.

5 Ways Veterans Can Leverage Facebook to Grow their Career or Business

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By Payton Iheme, U.S. Public Policy Manager, Facebook

Each year, an estimated 200,000 service members return to civilian life and for some, this brings uncertainty to what’s next in their career, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

However, these service men and women continue to contribute to their country, even when they return, albeit in a different way.

I have spent more than 15 years on active duty and continue to serve—from being an officer in the Army’s Special Operations Command and a White House Senior Policy Advisor to currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army National Guard. In addition, as the co-owner of a home remodeling business, I know firsthand how important it is to have the right tools and support, whether it’s in the military or as a veteran small business owner.

Everyday Facebook serves as a platform for veterans to find and be a part of groups that help them build community. In fact, more than 900,000 people in the US participate in more than 2,000 groups for military members, veterans and their spouses on Facebook.

As a proud supporter of the military-veteran community, Facebook has also made it easier for veterans transitioning into civilian life to find career opportunities and draw on their unique skills to start their entrepreneurial journey.

That’s why we recently announced the launch of the Military and Veterans Hub to provide an all-encompassing resource for veterans to continue to build their community, find job opportunities and enhance their digital skills through Facebook to grow a business or a career.

Facebook also partnered with SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer expert business mentors, to provide business education and mentoring to military members, veterans and their families who want to become entrepreneurs.

I utilized SCORE’s resources during my transition into civilian life and it helped me not only build on my experience and skills to find a new career, but it also gave me the confidence to start something new. I’m particularly thrilled about our partnership with SCORE and the opportunities it will unlock for fellow veterans.

Whether you want to build a business or a career, here are five ways military members, spouses and veterans can use Facebook’s Military and Veteran Hub to their advantage:

  1. Connect with a mentor from a cohort of SCORE’s experienced business mentors, who are also U.S. veterans themselves, through the Mentor Match program.
  1. Access our veteran-focused educational toolkit for launching a business that includes steps

for developing a business plan.

  1. Attend a veteran-focused interactive workshop to receive guidance on starting a business.

We’ll be working with ten local SCORE chapters to bring these in-person workshops to cities that we’ve determined to have a high concentration of military members and veterans.

  1. Find employment opportunities through the Facebook Jobs Tool. Frank Diaz, an Army veteran and owner of Tin Hut BBQ, uses the Facebook Jobs Tool, for example, to source employees at his mobile restaurant with an objective to hire discharged veterans in need of work and mentorship.
  1. Test out the Facebook Military Skills Translator, designed to help people find careers on Facebook relevant to their military experience. As the Public Policy Manager at Facebook, I’m proud to be a part of a company that values my experience and allows me to use my military skills to make an impact on the business.

Facebook’s Military and Veteran Hub make it easier for military spouses and the military community to find and access Facebook’s resources, tools, events and groups. For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/boost/milvethub?path=milvethub

Payton Iheme (Facebook US Public Policy) focuses on policy issues on a range of topics, but works closely on issues related to the Internet, digital economy/small business, counter terrorism, cybersecurity, data privacy, and partnerships. Previously, she served as the Senior Policy Advisor for Communication Technology at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She holds honor degrees from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in Government Policy from the George Washington University. Iheme currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army National Guard.

FATHER SOLDIER SON—WATCH THE TRAILER!

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FATHER SOLDIER SON promo poster featuring three side views of a child, teen and father in uniform

Duty. Country. Family. From The New York Times comes a documentary 10 years in the making. FATHER SOLDIER SON releases globally on Netflix this month.

This intimate documentary from The New York Times follows a former platoon sergeant and his two young sons over almost a decade, chronicling his return home after a serious combat injury in Afghanistan.

Originating as part of a 2010 project on a battalion’s yearlong deployment, reporters-turned-filmmakers Catrin Einhorn and Leslye Davis stuck with the story to trace the longterm effects of military service on a family.

At once a verité portrait of ordinary people living in the shadow of active duty and a longitudinal survey of the intergenerational cycles of military service, FATHER SOLDIER SON is a profound and deeply personal exploration of the meaning of sacrifice, purpose, duty and American manhood in the aftermath of war.

FATHER SOLDIER SON releases globally on Netflix July 17.

Directed and Produced by:
Leslye Davis & Catrin Einhorn

WATCH THE TRAILER!

2020 NCOA Military Vanguard Award Recipients

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NCOA seal-and logo

The Military Vanguard Award of the Non Commissioned Officers Association is awarded annually to a single member from each of the Armed Services who has distinguished himself or herself through acts of heroism.

The selection is done through a rigorous nominating and screening process within each of the military services.

These awards commemorate and honor an enlisted Medal of Honor recipient from each branch of service.

As it says on Military service is based on a sense of duty, on the assumption that the common good is more important than the individual.

The actions meriting the receipt of the 2020 NCOA Military Vanguard Awards personify the spirit and intent of this most prestigious recognition.

 
 
Recipients of NCOA’s 2020 Military Vanguard Awards were announced via a Zoom Meeting on June 24.

Read the accounts of the heroic actions of our 2020 Military Vanguard Award recipients:

SSG BENJAMIN J. ROBERTS – US ARMY https://ncoausa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/VG-Story-USA.pdf
US ARMY Vanguard Award

 
 
SSGT SAMUEL S. MULLINS – US MARINES https://ncoausa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/VG-Story-USMC.pdf
US MARINE Vanguard Award
 
 
SO1 MARK T. PALMER – US NAVY https://ncoausa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/VG-Story-USN.pdf

 
 
CMSGT JAMES M. TRAFICANTE – US AIR FORCE https://ncoausa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/VG-Story-USAF.pdf
US AIR FORCE Vanguard Award
 
 
EM2 DANIEL M. PETERS – US COAST GUARD https://ncoausa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/VG-Story-USCG-1.pdf
US CG Vanguard Award

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*Please be sure to check event websites for latest updates on postponements or cancellations due to COVID-19 precautions.

Upcoming Events

  1. Women in Federal Law Enforcement Leadership Training
    August 3, 2020 - August 6, 2020
  2. SkyBall XVIII By Airpower Foundation
    August 21, 2020 - August 22, 2020
  3. 2020 American Society for Health Care Human Resources Association Event
    August 22, 2020 - August 25, 2020
  4. Seventh Annual Warrior Community Integration Symposium
    August 25, 2020 - August 27, 2020
  5. Navy Gold Coast Small Business Procurement Event
    August 31, 2020 - September 2, 2020