Air Force general confirmed as first black chief of a U.S. military service

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General Charles Q. Brown in uniform

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Gen. Charles Q. Brown to be the next Air Force chief of staff, making him the first African American leader of a military service as the Pentagon and the country grapple with a raft of racial issues.

The confirmation also makes Brown the second African American officer to sit on the Joint Chiefs of Staff since Chairman Gen. Colin Powell.

The 98-to-0 vote was a blowout approval for the four-star general. Vice President Mike Pence presided over the historic vote.

President Donald Trump, who nominated Brown in March, hailed the general on Twitter.

“My decision to appoint @usairforce General Charles Brown as the USA’s first-ever African American military service chief has now been approved by the Senate,” Trump said, though the tweet came before the confirmation vote. “A historic day for America! Excited to work even more closely with Gen. Brown, who is a Patriot and Great Leader!”

Brown’s nomination had been in the works for months, yet the vote came amid nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd in police custody. Top Air Force officials led the way in speaking out over the past week and calling for dialogue on racism. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kaleth Wright, the service’s top enlisted leader, became the first senior military official to speak out, and was followed by outgoing Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein.

Brown, who is currently the commander of Pacific Air Forces, delivered an emotional message Friday about his experience as a black airman.

In addition to becoming the first African American service chief, Brown will be the most senior African American Pentagon leader since Powell chaired the Joint Chiefs from 1989 to 1993.

“I’m thinking about how full I am with emotion, not just for George Floyd but for the many African Americans that have suffered the same fate as George Floyd,” Brown said. “I’m thinking about a history of racial issues and my own experiences that didn’t always sing of liberty and equality.

“Without clear-cut answers, I just want to have the wisdom and knowledge to lead during difficult times like these,” Brown said of his nomination to be the service’s top officer. “I want the wisdom and knowledge to lead, participate in and listen to necessary conversations on racism, diversity and inclusion.”

Continue on to Politico 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.

On Thursday, 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.

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

Meet the Active Pearl Harbor Veteran that Just Turned 100

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veteran witha huge grin in a shriners hat waving with U.S. flag in the background

On the morning of December 7, 1941, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Adone “Cal” Calderone had just finished his breakfast aboard the USS West Virginia, when his ship was attacked by eight torpedoes and four bombs from a Japanese air raid.

The 21-year-old soldier was trapped and wounded on the ship from the attacks, taking shrapnel to the face along with other injuries. “The doctors wanted to keep me longer,” Calderone said of his injuries, “I wanted to get back out there.”

Calderone would go on to serve the Navy for a total of six years.

Now a World War II veteran and a survivor of the Pearl Harbor bombings, Calderone resides in Stark County, Ohio, where he just celebrated his 100th birthday.

Calderone enjoys music, driving, staying active, and sharing his experiences from the war. “Dad really gets around,” Calderone’s son, Greg, told Stars and Stripes. “It’s amazing that he’s 100 years old.” Calderone’s 100th birthday officially makes him the oldest known living Pearl Harbor survivor.

“If feels good to be 100,” Calderone said, “It’s so nice, very nice.” Calderone spent the day celebrating with about a dozen of his family members and friends, including his wife of 75 years, Carrie, at a surprise birthday gathering in front of his house.

When asked what the secret was to his 100 years, Calderone gave a smile and reported without hesitation, “Good wine.”

The Combat Patch for the New Frontline

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circular patch with angel's wings with the text CAM at the top that stands for COVID Angel of Mercy

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, medical professionals and healthcare workers have been at the frontlines to treat those effected by the virus.

As more and more medical personnel sacrificed their time and health for others, Army veteran Jacob Neal began to see the situation in a similar way to a battlefield.

Wanting to show his gratitude for those in the medical field, Neal decided to create a patch to honor healthcare workers, similar to the combat patches worn in the military. The patch features a medical professional dressed like an angelic being holding a stethoscope and a caduceus.

Neal has also created an additional patch for medical support staff, such as janitorial staff. Since the release of his patch, Neal has received orders from across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Afghanistan.

Along with the patches, Neal also created a scholarship fund for families of medical professionals who lost their lives in the fight against COVID-19. Half of all the profits made from the patches is donated to the scholarship fund while the other half is used for Neal to order and ship more patches.

“None of this goes to me getting rich,” Neal said of his new business, “I am just trying to tribute to this new set of heroes.”

Veteran Families Carry a Military Sense of Duty into Their Civilian Work

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famility portrait of mom dad and two children smiling

When his son, Mike, served as a surface warfare officer in the U.S. Navy, Mike O’Sullivan Sr., a former Navy P-3 pilot and 1973 United States Naval Academy graduate, used to talk about how important it was that the equipment on ships work well. Now, both naval veterans work at Raytheon, helping to make the tools and systems members of the military depend on today. Their sense of mission is personal, and deeply rooted in their service experience.

“My dad and I both wanted to do our part to make a good company even better,” O’Sullivan Jr. said. “There is a lot of pride for a father to know his son is continuing the personal mission of service.”

The O’Sullivans are in good company. Raytheon employs more than 10,000 veterans, including other multi-generational families who developed their sense of mission in the military and now carry it over to their work for Raytheon.

The younger O’Sullivan currently works as a program manager for the Patriot missile program. He is also the new vice president of communications for the employee group Raytheon Employee Veterans Network, or RAYVETS. O’Sullivan Sr. retired from his position of senior manager, Supply Chain Capture, in 2014.

Following in Their Mother’s Footsteps
Brenda Boorda retired from the Navy as a commander and has now worked at Raytheon for 17 years. A vice president for Mission Assurance, she also serves as the RAYVETS global president.

Her three sons—Aaron, Andrew, and Phillip—have followed in their mother’s footsteps, coming to Raytheon after serving in the military. Aaron and Andrew served in the U.S. Army; Phillip served in the Marine Corps.

“Being in a family steeped with military tradition, service is like a calling,” said Phillip Boorda, who works in Mission Systems & Sensors. “I carry over the mindset of service into the work I do for Raytheon, where I continue to be part of something bigger than myself.”

His mother encouraged her sons to consider Raytheon first when they left the military for civilian careers. She has helped them transition into their new jobs, translating their skills into their work at Raytheon, a service she has performed for many veterans.

Her sense of duty is deeply ingrained. Boorda came from a military family and married into another military family. After college, she joined the Navy, just as her father, who served aboard diesel submarines, had.

“His uniform has always hung proudly in his closet—even until this day,” Boorda said. “His immense pride for his work resonated with me.”
Now she supports other veterans, often face-to-face, sometimes through virtual mentoring, via Raytheon’s partnership with American Corporate Partners and the Society of Women Engineers.

Carrying Service into Community
Along with its work for the veterans at Raytheon, RAYVETS supports veterans’ organizations in local communities. It’s part of the deep commitment Raytheon has made to help members of the military, veterans and their families.

Raytheon received the Platinum Medallion Award from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans medallion program, or HIRE Vets, for its efforts to recruit, employ and retain veterans. It is the only veteran hiring award at the federal level.
Being in a company that employs veterans helps in the transition process to civilian careers, according to Boorda. “Affiliating with others who have shared experiences and goals is a great development experience,” she said.

Sailor Saves Young Man’s Life

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2nd Class Dylan Bryant in Navy Uniform smiling standing on Navy Ship

Every Navy sailor is trained to respond to life-threatening situations, from basic first aid to emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); on the ship out at sea there are no ambulances or fire fighters to call. Each sailor is a first responder, receiving continuous training until it all becomes muscle memory.

On his usual route home on June 3, Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class Dylan Bryant, native of Springfield, Missouri, a recruiter assigned to Navy Talent Acquisition Group Philadelphia, suddenly needed to put the life-saving skills he learned in the Navy to use.

As he was pulling into his apartment complex at Springfield Farms, Bryant noticed an oddly parked vehicle with two men standing near. Like any good motorist assuming it was car troubles, Bryant pulled over and asked if he could offer any assistance.

“I rolled down my window and asked them if everything was okay,” recounted Bryant. “After they both shook their heads ‘no,’ I asked if there was anything I could do to help when one of them looked up and asked me: ‘Do you know CPR?’”

What Bryant didn’t see initially, was a young man, unconscious and breathless, lying on the other side of the vehicle, while his friend, a girl named Kiyana, was trying her best to revive him. In that instant the training, that muscle memory kicked in.

“As soon as I heard ‘Do you know CPR?’ I threw my car in park and ran to the other side of the vehicle,” said Bryant. “I asked her [Kiyana] to step aside and informed her I was CPR qualified, and I would do everything I could to help.”

He continued CPR for 5 or 6 minutes until the local fire department and emergency medical technicians arrived on the scene.

“The entire 5 – 6 minutes seemed like the longest time in my life, as I was trying to keep count of the compressions in my head, and alternating with the breaths,” recalled Bryant. “Later EMTs told me that if I hadn’t performed the CPR when I did, he may not have made it through.”

As EMTs took over, the young man regained consciousness, and Bryant learned his name – Dominique. Bryant doesn’t know what caused the man to become unresponsive, nor which hospital he was taken to, but he feels honored to have been able to render much needed aid and save Dominique’s life.

“Something that Bryant said to me just stuck out, he simply said: ‘I was just in the right place at the right time’,” said Chief Electronics Technician Sean Jenkins, Bryant’s leading chief petty officer at Navy Recruiting Station Hagerstown. “But that’s just the type of person he really is, he wants to make sure that everyone around him is doing well and everyone is ok. I am glad that he was ‘in the right place, at the right time,’ because when you save a life, you are not just saving that one life, you are saving every life that that person has touched.”

NTAG Philadelphia encompasses regions of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia, providing recruiting services from more than 30 talent acquisition sites with the overall goal of attracting the highest quality candidates to ensure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.

Source: Navy Outreach

Healthcare Careers in 2020: An In-Demand Industry

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Confident black doctor in healthcare face mask and gloves

Healthcare careers are part of the fastest growing industry for job growth and development in the United States. This trend is expected to continue over the next decade.

Projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that healthcare jobs are expected to increase by 18 percent from 2016 through 2026. This means that the industry will add about 2.4 million new healthcare jobs.

Why Healthcare?

There are several aspects that lead people to consider an exciting and rewarding career in healthcare. From potential financial reward and a diverse environment to career growth and personal fulfillment, there’s plenty of opportunities available and reasons to enter the field.

Healthcare Industries

Healthcare is a wide-spanning industry encompassing a variety of jobs. The profession is no longer tied to some of the more traditional positions in doctors’ offices or hospitals. In fact, the last two decades have seen an eruption in non-doctor roles. Today, healthcare providers are also needed in less mainstream sectors such as marketing, tech positions and more.

Healthcare Career Shortages in the U.S.

This field will add more employees than any other occupation in the coming years, according to the BLS. This is largely due to the accessibility of healthcare and the aging baby boomer generation.

Most recently, retired doctors, nurses and other medical professionals have been recruited and asked to return work to help provide medical attention to patients infected with Covid-19 virus. The US was projected to face a shortage of doctors before the pandemic hit: The Association of American Medical Colleges had estimated that it could reach 46,900 to 121,900 physicians by 2032. And in rural areas, particularly in states such as Mississippi and Arkansas, doctors were already in short supply. Many states are also projected to face significant nursing shortages in the coming years, particularly California and Texas.

Accordingly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecast that healthcare job opportunities will continue to soar through 2025.

Top 10 Medical Careers in Demand For 2020 and Beyond:

Physicians

Registered Nurses (RN’s)

Physical Therapists

Occupational Therapists

Respiratory Therapists

Home Health Aides

Medical Assistant

Physician Assistant

Healthcare Information Technologist

Pharmacy Technician

An Industry Full of Opportunity

Choosing a lasting, profitable, fulfilling career that you can be satisfied with means choosing a profession in healthcare. Many career benefits of healthcare include improving the lives of others and making a difference. The financial benefits, tremendous growth and high paying careers are limitless. It’s never too late to pursue a career in the medical field.

Source: medbrainmedia.com, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, gmercyu.edu

New Movie Portrays Life of Military Wives

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Group of more than a dozen women standing together on stage clapping their hands while singing

A feel-good celebration from director Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty), Military Wives is inspired by the true story of the first Military Wives Choir.

The film stars Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient, Four Weddings and a Funeral), Sharon Horgan (“Catastrophe,” Game Night), with Jason Flemyng (“Jamestown,” Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), and Greg Wise (Sense and Sensibility, “The Crown”).

Inspired by the popularity of the Military Wives Choir, Military Wives is loosely based on the real story of a small of group of women who banded together and sparked a worldwide movement that now serves more than 2,300 people across the U.K. and in British military bases abroad.

Producer Rory Aitken was introduced to the phenomenon through choirmaster and broadcaster Gareth Malone’s popular BBC television series, “The Choir: Military Wives,” which documented the creation of the second Military Wives Choir in 2011.

“I was unexpectedly moved by it,” says Aitken. “It did what the best movies do. It punched you in the gut. What they did in that documentary was uncover a small section of society that one might never think about, but who actually go through a difficult time in service for the rest of us. And harness the power of music to pull themselves up. It is really extraordinary.”

Producer Ben Pugh was given the documentary by Aitken and immediately felt the material would lend itself to the big screen. “The combination of a real-life struggle of these wives and partners, that is given a voice through the choir, felt completely universal.” he said.

Director Peter Cattaneo admits he came to the project knowing almost nothing about the lives of military families. “I was excited by a concept that would allow me to explore a way of life that has rarely been seen on the big screen, as well as make a film with music and singing at its core,” he recalls.

Two actresses on the set of the movie with one on the piano and the other with hands raised in song
PHOTO-BLEEKER STREET MEDIA

It was essential to the filmmakers that Military Wives accurately portray the daily lives of women whose partners are abroad risking their lives in service to their country. “Our screenwriter Rachel Tunnard met with and communicated with a group of wives to get details and anecdotes about their world,” says Cattaneo. “She had some quite intense and moving exchanges with them that brought a lot of reality into the script.”

As Cattaneo started meeting real military wives, he discovered two rich themes at the heart of the narrative: A fragmented group of people coming together through song, and the idea of women who are expected to “keep calm and carry on” finding their voices. “We got to know some very courageous and candid military wives who shared personal stories that were humbling, sometimes harrowing, and often hilarious,” he says. “I was struck by their honest, down-to-earth humor and I became determined to fill the film with this kind of comedy.”

The women’s satisfaction with the final screenplay became evident, he says, when several asked to appear in the film as extras. “In the scene where all the soldiers are going off to war, we used as many of them as we could. So when you see that scene, remember that those are real military families saying goodbye.

Military Wives movie poster with name of movie ans and two stars of the movie standing back to back smiling“Although the characters and much of the story is fictionalized, every effort was made to honor the huge sacrifices real military families make every day,” says Producer Piers Tempest. “I think the best films have a deep truth in them, and that’s what we felt about this story.

Nobody talks about them, but military wives are—forgive the pun—the unsung heroes of the armed forces.”

Watch the trailer on YouTube!

Available on Hulu, Amazon Prime, Google Play and more.

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