The National WWII Museum Turns 20 and Commemorates D-Day

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A photo of the National WWII Museum's Building

On June 6, 2020, The National WWII Museum will celebrate its 20th birthday and commemorate the 76th anniversary of D-Day.

To honor both events, the museum will be open to visitors, but to adhere to social distancing guidelines, they will hold all of the day’s activities online.

The day will be filled with an array of digital events such as  a social media scavenger hunt, educational talks, and a screening of a new documentary that will go over the museum’s history. For those wishing to attend the museum physically, the museum will be open at normal business hours.

Click here for the museum’s Facebook page where all of the live events will be taking place.

Check out what events will be transpiring within the next few days:

Live D-Day Veteran Conversation: Friday, June 5 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (CT)

The Museum’s mission is built upon its collection of oral histories–these are the people we’re committed to remembering, and getting to share their accounts with our audience puts a deeply personal spin on the Museum experience. Join Curator of Oral History Joey Balfour as he discusses the Normandy landings with a veteran who experienced the invasion firsthand. Dr. Hal Baumgarten D-Day Commemoration Ceremony Saturday, June 6 11:00 a.m. (CT) Presented in memory of D-Day veteran and Museum friend Dr. Harold “Hal” Baumgarten, this commemoration ceremony will mark the 76th anniversary of the D-Day invasion with a solemn remembrance of the events of June 6, 1944, and conclude with a moment of silence. The Dr. Hal Baumgarten D-Day Commemoration Endowment, made possible by the generous gift of Karen and Leopold Sher, ensures that Dr. Baumgarten’s legacy will live on in perpetuity and helps the Museum fulfill its mission to educate future generations about the events of World War II and its lasting impact.

Celebrating 20 Years: The National WWII Museum Saturday, June 6 at 1:00 p.m. (CT)

Boysie Bollinger, longtime Museum Trustee and one of the its biggest champions, together with the Museum’s Founding President & CEO Emeritus Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, PhD, and current President & CEO Stephen Watson, will reminisce about what it was like to be a part of the grand opening festivities on June 6, 2000; how WWII history has become a larger part of the nation’s fabric, spurring the expansion of The National WWII Museum; and the Museum’s continued transformation into one of the premier cultural and educational institutions in the world. D-Day at The National WWII Museum

Saturday, June 6 from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (CT)

The National WWII Museum will be open to the public for normal business hours on our 20th anniversary. Special features for the day include independent family activities, a Social Media Scavenger Hunt, and the premiere of a short documentary celebrating the Museum’s 20th anniversary. Purchase your tickets here!

How to Prepare for Higher Education

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Notebook, diploma and pencils on white table image for military education

Perhaps you’ve decided to pick up some valuable knowledge. Maybe you’re leaving the service and need to re-create yourself. No matter why you’re pursuing higher education, you need a game plan—a course of action to get you from today to that moment you walk across the stage, holding your diploma in hand. Here are some practical steps to take.

Step one: Contact the Voluntary Education Program

Before you get buried in college brochures, speak with an education professional through the Voluntary Education Program. An education professional can help guide you through the planning and paying for your education, as well as eligibility requirements. Find the right contact information below depending on your service:


Step two: Choose a college

Deciding which college to attend is much easier when you have the right information. As a service member, you have access to useful resources such as the College Navigator, a free online tool from the National Center for Education Statistics. The College Navigator provides information on more than 7,000 postsecondary education institutions, so you can compare schools’ tuition, financial aid, accreditation information, graduation and retention rates and more.

TA DECIDE is another helpful tool for comparing schools and programs. Designed for participants of the Department of Defense Military Tuition Assistance Program, it provides education costs and outcomes, as well as information about other military students who are participating in the tuition assistance program.
Step three: Take your college admission exams

Get ready for some studying even before college begins. Most colleges and universities require admission exams with your application, such as the SAT Reasoning Test, the SAT Subject Tests, the American College Testing (ACT) Readiness Assessment, Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and the General Education Development Test.
The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support, or DANTES, can help you prepare for enrollment and cover the cost of some academic tests. DANTES also offers college prep resources that can help you prepare for these admission exams, sharpen study skills, and identify your interests and aptitudes in choosing an area of study or career path. Visit DANTES to learn more or to contact a counselor.


Step four: Convert your military experience to college credit

The tests you endured in combat can count just as much as quizzes in a classroom. The Joint Services Transcript converts your military experience into civilian college credit, providing documented evidence to colleges and universities of professional military education, training and occupation experiences. The Joint Services Transcript is a collaborative transcript program that replaces previous transcript programs, making it easier for colleges to read and recommend credits.
Step five: Understand your financing options

As a service member, you have several options that can help fund your schooling—so that you can concentrate on studying, not paying the bills. The education consultants at Military OneSource can help you identify grants and other kinds of assistance for which you are eligible. Here is a sampling of programs and loans available:

  • Military tuition assistance—provided by each service branch, offering up to $4,500 of assistance per fiscal year
  • Montgomery GI Bill® and MGIB Tuition Top-Up Programs—funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Tax credits and deductions—such as the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit
  • Federal grants and loans—such as the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Perkins Loans, Stafford Loans and Federal Supplemental Education Opportunities Grant.

You’re just a few steps away from achieving your education goals. Remember to reach out to your network of support, including Military OneSource education consultants. You may also want to contact an education professional through your service’s Voluntary Education Program.

Source: militaryonesource.mil

Rolling Stone And Philip Morris International Celebrate Veterans With Rolling Stone Salute To Service

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Rolling Stone promo for Salute to Service event

Kicking off this Veterans Day, November 11, Rolling Stone is proud to pay tribute to our veterans and troops with Rolling Stone Salute To Service, presented by Philip Morris International.

This three-part panel and performance series celebrating Veterans will include deep discussions on the progress that has been made to more inclusively support them, and performances by top artists in support of Veterans and their service.

Each of the three conversations, brought to viewers through a virtual screening experience, will be moderated by Rolling Stone’s Jamil Smith, Jerry Portwood and Joseph Hudak and include exclusive appearances from today’s top talent and representatives from top Veterans associations.

Participating talent includes Trace Adkins, Lea DeLaria, Justin Moore, S.G. Goodman, and Michael Ray. Participating Veterans organization representatives includes Julz Carey (AVER) Joe Chenelly (AMVETS), Donna Brock (U.S. Army Women’s Foundation), Ken Falke (Boulder Crest), Justin Brown (The Nimitz Group), Margaret Harrell, PhD (Bob Woodruff Foundation) and more…

To register for the events and for more information, visit rollingstonesalutetoservice.com.

Conversations will include:
• Salute to Minority Veterans (November 11, 12pm PT/3pm ET)
o Moderated by Rolling Stone editor Jamil Smith, this conversation will focus on the increasing number of women, minorities and LGBTQ Veterans and their experience and the mirrored experiences of minority talent and their personal journeys.
o Talent includes: Jamil Smith, Lea DeLaria, Julz Carey (AVER), Donna Brock (U.S. Army Women’s Foundation)
• Veteran Mental Health Awareness (November 19, 12pm PT/3pm ET)
o Led by Rolling Stone editor Jerry Portwood, this roundtable will discuss the need for increased awareness and response to veteran mental health as well as the role this conversation takes in the national dialogue on mental health.
o Talent includes: Jerry Portwood, Justin Moore, Michael Ray, Ken Falke (Boulder Crest), Justin Brown (The Nimitz Group)
• Veteran Advocacy and Support (December 1, 12pm PT/3pm ET)
o Facilitated by Rolling Stone editor Joseph Hudak, tune in to hear a lively discussion regarding modern day Veteran support, the current Veteran experience in America as well as personal stories from guests on their involvement in the cause. Sign up here (link) to attend these meaningful discussions around today’s service-member experience.
o Talent includes: Joseph Hudak, Trace Adkins, Joe Chenelly (AMVETS), and Margaret C. Harrell, PhD (Bob Woodruff Foundation)

5 Important Facts About Veterans Day

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Veterans Day is a well-known American holiday, but there are also a few misconceptions about it — like how it’s spelled or whom exactly it celebrates.

To clear some of that up, here are the important facts you should know.

Veterans Day does NOT have an apostrophe.

A lot of people think it’s “Veteran’s Day” or “Veterans’ Day,” but they’re wrong. The holiday is not a day that “belongs” to one veteran or multiple veterans, which is what an apostrophe implies. It’s a day for honoring all veterans—so no apostrophe needed.

Veterans Day is NOT the Same as Memorial Day.

A lot of Americans get this confused, and we’ll be honest—it can be a little annoying to all of the living veterans out there.

Memorial Day is a time to remember those who gave their lives for our country, particularly in battle or from wounds they suffered in battle. Veterans Day honors all of those who have served the country in war or peace—dead or alive—although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices.

It was originally called Armistice Day, commemorating the end of World War I.

World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, the fighting ended about seven months before that when the Allies and Germany put into effect an armistice on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, was largely considered the end of “the war to end all wars” and dubbed Armistice Day. In 1926, Congress officially recognized it as the end of the war, and in 1938, it became an official holiday, primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I.

But then World War II and the Korean War happened, so on June 1, 1954, at the urging of veterans service organizations, Congress amended the commemoration yet again by changing the word “armistice” to “veterans” so the day would honor American veterans of all wars.

For a while, Veterans Day’s date was changed, too, and it confused everybody.

Congress signed the Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968 to ensure that a few federal holidays—Veterans Day included—would be celebrated on a Monday. Officials hoped

President Dwight D. Eisenhower signing the bill with several male onlookers
President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs HR7786, June 1, 1954. This ceremony changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day

it would spur travel and other family activities over a long weekend, which would stimulate the economy.

For some inexplicable reason, the bill set Veterans Day commemorations for the fourth Monday of every October.

On Oct. 25, 1971, the first Veterans Day under this new bill was held. We’re not sure why it took three years to implement, but not surprisingly, there was a lot of confusion about the change, and many states were unhappy, choosing to continue to recognize the day as they previously had—in November.

Within a few years, it became pretty apparent that most U.S. citizens wanted to celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 11, since it was a matter of historic and patriotic significance. So, on Sept. 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed another law (Public Law 94-97), which returned the annual observance to its original date starting in 1978.

Other countries celebrate it, too, in their own ways.

World War I was a multinational effort, so it makes sense that our allies also wanted to celebrate their veterans on Nov. 11. The name of the day and the types of commemorations differ, however.

Canada and Australia both call Nov. 11 “Remembrance Day.” Canada’s observance is pretty similar to our own, except many of its citizens wear red poppy flowers to honor their war dead. In Australia, the day is more akin to our Memorial Day.

Great Britain calls it “Remembrance Day,” too, but observes it on the Sunday closest to Nov. 11 with parades, services and two minutes of silence in London to honor those who lost their lives in war.

Source: defense.gov

5 Ways to Squeeze Every Dime Out of Your GI Bill Benefits

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By Ron Kness

Having 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits is an earned entitlement valued by veterans that many civilians would do anything to get their hands on. It is one reward we receive for the hardships endured while serving.

However, without careful and deliberate management, this benefit can end up wasted or not used to its full potential.

To assist you in the best use of your Post 9/11 GI Bill, consider the five ways mentioned below and apply the ones pertinent to you to get the most out of your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits post-secondary education benefits.

 

MONTGOMERY GI BILL (MGIB) VS. POST 9/11 GI BILL BENEFITS

Since 2009, more and more veterans have both of these GI Bills. And while it is easy to gravitate toward using the Post 9/11 GI Bill because in most cases it pays more, your education goal can be a factor that can determine which one you should use first. Under the current VA rules, veterans must give up their MGIB if using their Post 9/11, so they only get 36 months total in eligibility.

However, by using all 36 months of their MGIB first, they can get an additional 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. This can be useful if pursing an advanced degree, as it provides an additional year of entitlement that in most cases will pay for half of an advanced degree.

Recently, the courts ruled that the VA could not force veterans to give up their MGIB to use their Post 9/11. If the decision stands, veterans would be able to use their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits first and then use 12 months of their MGIB. The part that would remain unchanged though is that both GI Bills could not be used at the same time.

HYBRID VS. ONLINE

Online-only students using their Post 9/11 GI Bill receive half of the amount that students taking classes on campus receive in Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA). However, by taking just one class at a local campus, and the rest of your classes online, you can get the full housing allowance. The key of course to make this work is your resident class must credit toward your degree plan.

YELLOW RIBBON PROGRAM

While the Post 9/11 GI Bill pays full tuition and fees for veterans at the 100 percent tier attending a public school, it only pays $25,162.14 per year, if going to a private school. With some schools charging over twice this amount, it can leave a considerable unpaid balance. This must be paid by the student using scholarships, grants, student loans, personal funds, or some combination thereof.

But if the school is part of the VA’s Yellow Ribbon Program, the school can pay up to 50 percent of the unpaid amount with the VA paying an equal amount. Do the math, and it is easy to see that reduces the unpaid amount to zero. You can check here to see if your school is part of the Yellow Ribbon Program and the specifics of their program.

EDITH NOURSE ROGERS STEM SCHOLARSHIP

One of the changes brought about by the Forever GI Bill was to set up a scholarship for veteran students majoring in one of the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering or math. Typically, these degree fields require more than four years to complete, and in the past, most STEM student ran out of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits before finishing their degree. But with the shortage of STEM qualified people, this scholarship is an incentive for students to finish that last year of school without the worry of how they are going to pay for it. It is on a first-come, first-serve basis, but if selected, it pays for an additional year of school up to $30,000.

THE TWO-YEAR SCHOOL ADVANTAGE

If an advanced degree is in your education plan, another way to maximize your GI Bill benefits is to take your first two years of post-secondary education at a junior or community college and pay for it out-of-pocket. Typically, these schools are less expensive than four-year universities or colleges.

Doing it this way leaves your 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement intact and can be used to pay for the last two years of your bachelor’s degree and two years to finish a master’s degree with little to no out-of-pocket costs.

GI BIL BENEFITS – VALUABLE TOOL FOR VETERANS

There you have it—five ways to squeeze every dime out of your hard-earned GI Bill benefits. Use them wisely because once they are gone, they are gone forever. They are too valuable to waste!

Source: clearancejobs.com

Veterans Day Freebies and Discounts for 2020!

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Veterans Day is to honor those who have fought for our country and businesses across the nation are offering special deals and discounts to show their support on Veterans Day.

Whether you are celebrating at home or in a socially distanced matter, here are some incredible opportunities you won’t want to miss.

All offers will be for both active duty military and veterans unless otherwise stated.

Be sure to check each restaurant’s website for details like military qualifications, restaurant participation, COVID restrictions and more.

 

 

Food and Drink

  • Applebee’s: One free meal from a select menu for dine-in customers
  • BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery: One free meal valued up to $14.95
  • Bob Evans: One free meal from a select menu
  • Buffalo Wild Wings: Veterans and active military who dine-in with Buffalo Wild Wings can receive a free order of boneless wings and a side of fries.
  • Calhoun’s: One free meal
  • California Pizza Kitchen: One free meal from a select menu, provide proof of military service or come in uniform.
  • Chili’s: One free meal with military ID.
  • Coco’s Restaurant and Bakery: One free slice of pie, plus a special buy one get one free special for any entree
  • Cracker Barrel: One free slice of double fudge Coca-Cola cake with a meal purchase. Discounts will additionally be available in Cracker Barrel stores through the month of November.
  • Denny’s: One free “Build your own Grand Slam” from 5am-noon, must show proof of service.
  • Dunkin Donuts: One free donut, no purchase necessary.
  • Famous Dave’s: One free two meat combo
  • Golden Corral: During the month of November, Golden Corral are offering free meal cards to active and veteran military personnel that can be used for a lunch or dinner through May 31, 2021.
  • Juice it Up: One free 20oz classic smoothie
  • Kolache Factory: One free kolache and one free coffee of any size with military ID
  • Little Cesar’s Pizza: One free lunch combo from 11am-2pm
  • Logan’s Roadhouse: One free meal from 3:00pm-6:00pm
  • Macaroni Grill: One free “Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs and Spaghetti” with military ID
  • O’ Charley’s Restaurant and Bar: One free meal from a select menu. O’Charley’s also has a 10% discount for active-duty military and veterans that runs all year long.
  • Red Lobster: One free appetizer or dessert
  • Starbucks: One free coffee, also eligible to military spouses.
  • Texas Roadhouse BBQ: From 11am-2pm, Veterans and active-duty military can receive a free lunch with a food voucher. Vouchers will be distributed in the parking lot of Texas Roadhouse BBQ before dining.
  • Wendy’s: Free small breakfast combo
  • Yard House:One complimentary appetizer

Recreation

Shopping

Services

 

 

How Does an MBA Benefit a Military Career?

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When most people think of the military, business school is the furthest thing from their minds. Granted, the entertainment industry commonly showcases career paths like military lawyers or special law enforcement agents, though we rarely get a glimpse of former or active military working in the business sector.

Business has always had a strong pull for service members, but this phenomenon tends to fly under the pop culture radar. For real people—not characters on a TV show—pursuing an advanced business degree in addition to serving their country is both financially and personally rewarding.

The Military Advantage

While the military does not provide much business training, it does instill qualities in its personnel that businesses seek. Due to the similar skill sets in both fields, an MBA for military personnel is a natural choice. Contrary to popular perception, strong leadership in the military does not rely on rigid orders. Ed Robinson, veteran special ops team leader, points to a different skill set: Discerning what motivates soldiers. For that reason, Robinson sees military leadership skills as not only comparable to business skills but perhaps even better. Speaking to The Economist, he says “The military is simply better than business at getting people to do what you want them to do.”

Kyle Bate, former U.S. Air Force Deputy Commander, agrees that an MBA for military personnel is a natural fit. Veterans or active military looking to pursue a career in business after their service have the right experience for the field. He points to leadership, problem-solving, communication, teamwork and critical thinking skills as “highly desirable in both an MBA program and also corporate America.”
The MBA Advantage

Even though it may be easier for veterans to find time to earn an MBA than it is for active-duty personnel, there are options to help those on active duty. Some soldiers have found that online MBA programs offer the best fit for their lifestyles while serving. Flexible class schedules and accelerated programs allow soldiers to manage their time more effectively and study when it is convenient.

Both veterans and active military can benefit from earning an MBA. Beyond the skill set they share with business professionals, military personnel also have a financial advantage: The GI Bill. The University of West Florida, for example, offers discounted tuition prices for active duty military, veterans, spouses and dependents of military personnel. Earning an advanced degree without accruing student debt motivates an increasing number of military personnel to enhance their career paths with an MBA.

Source: getonline.uwf.edu

COVID-19 Impacts to Transition Assistance Program and Yellow Ribbon Program Events

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The Department of Defense Military-Civilian Transition Office is closely monitoring impacts to the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) and Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP) events as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus.

COVID-19 continues to spread and is an increasing Force Health Protection (FHP) threat in areas where DoD personnel live and work.

The Defense Department issued instructions to the armed services and department heads on how to respond to implications of COVID-19. The memo signed by the official performing the duties of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (OUSD P&R) outlines a wide range of options to commanders and directors for decision-making in light of this situation.

The Defense Department is a worldwide organization and the virus outbreak is in different stages in different parts of the globe.

“This outbreak is dynamic and manifests differently by location, setting, population and individual,” a memo on force health protection from personnel and readiness says. “As a result, responses to (coronavirus) will need to be flexible, tailored and incremental.”

While the DoD continues to follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s lead, additional military specific measures are authorized by current policy when needed to mitigate risk to U.S. forces stationed around the world and to protect service members, DoD civilian employees and contractor personnel, and family members.

Impacts to the Transition Assistance Program:

The rescheduling of TAP events due to COVID-19 are service-specific, at the discretion and decision of commanders, and based off of framework guidance issued by OUSD P&R.

TAP is a service-executed program and final decisions on TAP events are up to commanders. However, MCTO recommends the following:

  • Reduce TAP class size and follow CDC guidance on large gatherings & social distancing.
  • Move TAP events to a virtual platform, such as the Defense Collaboration Service, hosted the Defense Information Systems Agency.

“We understand the impact COVID-19 has on the community as a whole and the unique challenges it presents in regard to TAP service delivery,” said Tamre Newton, director of MCTO. “The guidance issued by OUSD P&R gives commanders the flexibility to ensure the health and wellbeing of transitioning service members, their families, and caregivers while still ensuring they receive the resources and transition support they require for a successful transition to civilian life.”

Impacts to the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program:

In replacement of in-person events, YRRP is working to release an online event tool, available to the Reserve Component (RC) at www.YellowRibbon.mil. The tool is designed to provide deployment-cycle support to National Guard and Reserve service members and their families in situations in which they are unable to attend in-person events.

“While this tool is not a replacement for in-person events, it is meant to be a fallback for situations when there is simply no other alternative,” said Peter Toelle, chief of YRRP.

Service members and their families, resource providers and community partners who are registered to attend upcoming in-person YRRP events will receive status updates through their RC representative. Registered attendees can also contact their event point of contact by accessing the confirmation link provided at the time of registration.

“YRRP’s mission doesn’t change if in-person events are temporarily restricted,” said Toelle. “National Guard and Reserve service members continue to mobilize, so we will continue to provide support throughout the deployment-cycle regardless of the format.”

Source:  defense.gov

Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Student Veterans of America announce 2020 Patriot Scholarship Recipients

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Raytheon Missiles & Defense, in partnership with Student Veterans of America (SVA), today awarded two $10,000 scholarships to student veterans honoring those who served in the U.S. Army.

The Raytheon Technologies Patriot Scholarship, named for the company’s Patriot Air and Missile Defense System, is designed to help returning soldiers achieve educational goals that lead to success in their civilian lives. The scholarships are awarded to Army student veterans pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree at an accredited university and require applicants to demonstrate leadership and commitment to their communities.

The 2020 scholarship recipients are:

  • Arturo Garcia, a graduate student at California State University, Northridge pursuing a degree in Logistics & Supply Chain Management; and
  • Karisa Myers, a graduate student at The Ohio State University pursuing an MBA.

“We’re proud to continue our partnership with Raytheon Missiles & Defense, empowering student veterans to lead and live their best lives,” said Jared Lyon, national president and CEO of Student Veterans of America. “Arturo and Karisa have demonstrated academic perseverance as they pursue their graduate degrees and a commitment to their communities through their involvement with their SVA Chapters.”

“We want to help position Army student veterans for future success by providing accessible educational opportunities that lead to meaningful careers and lifelong learning,” said Tom Laliberty, vice president of Land Warfare & Air Defense, a business area of Raytheon Missiles & Defense.

Raytheon Technologies and SVA joined forces in November 2012 to help provide military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to achieve their greatest potential in higher education. Such empowerment helps our nation’s veterans find success in their post-service lives and helps to develop a generation of professionals who already understand the importance of leadership, discipline, and perseverance.

About Student Veterans of America

With a mission focused on empowering student veterans, SVA is committed to providing an educational experience that goes beyond the classroom. Through a dedicated network of more than 1,500 on-campus chapters in all 50 states and three countries overseas representing more than 750,000 student veterans, SVA aims to inspire yesterday’s warriors by connecting student veterans and military-affiliated students with a community of like-minded chapter leaders. Every day these passionate leaders work to provide the necessary resources, network support, and advocacy to ensure student veterans can effectively connect, expand their skills, and ultimately achieve their greatest potential.

The Different Ways Military Service Can Pay for Your Education

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The cost of higher education and the thought of taking on student debt can be overwhelming at times. Perhaps you don’t think college is right for you now and want to wait.

Whatever the case may be, the military has options to make college affordable—whenever you choose to attend. In addition to unique training and skills you gain as a service member, the military offers several ways to ease the cost of college with tuition assistance, ROTC, scholarships and other educational programs.

Committing to military service while in college

ROTC scholarships: The Reserve Officer Training Corps program is offered by each branch at various colleges and universities across the nation. While attending a school of your choice enrolled in an ROTC program, you will learn leadership, special skills and participate in the military and college experiences. The ROTC program has several options whether you’re straight out of high school, already attending college or prior enlisted. In exchange for a scholarship, there is a service commitment after graduation.

Military service academies: Each branch of the military has a four-year college that offers full scholarships to its students. While in a service academy, you will be held to high academic and physical fitness standards. The application process is extremely competitive and a lengthy process. Applicants must be between ages 17 and 22 and unmarried with no children. After graduation, cadets and midshipmen go on to serve as commissioned officers in the military.

Tuition assistance and other education options while serving

College Loan Repayment Program: There are various benefits available to those who join the military after graduating from college. Qualified candidates could fast track to officer training and apply for the College Loan Repayment Program and more. The military could pay off a portion or all your loans in exchange for a service commitment. This offer is not always available and is contingent on several factors like the type of job you take in the military and the amount of your loans. Keep in mind that not every branch offers this program. A local recruiter can provide specific details on how the program works.

Tuition assistance: As an active-duty service member, you may find time in your schedule to attend school part-time. Each branch offers tuition assistance to help pay for college classes that are $250 or less per semester hour. Tuition assistance can be used for undergraduate and graduate programs as well as several other programs. This program assists greatly in relieving the costs of college. While it may not be able to fully cover college costs, the Top-Up Program allows you to use funds from a GI Bill to cover the remaining costs.

GI Bills: The Department of Veterans Affairs offers several programs to assist both active duty and veterans with the cost of education. The GI Bills are two of the most well-known programs.

National Guard/reserves: Joining the National Guard or reserves allows you to serve in the military part-time and receive education benefits, such as tuition assistance in certain branches and the GI Bill.

Credential program: While serving in the military, you have the ability to receive credentials in a professional field to help you plan for civilian employment after separation or retirement. The Credentialing Opportunities On-Line program offers vouchers to help pay the exam fees of a credentialing organization.

Education options after military service

Post-9/11 GI Bill: When you serve at least 90 days of active-duty service after Sept. 10, 2001 and receive an honorable discharge, you can use the Post-9/11 GI Bill. With this benefit, you can receive up to 100 percent of tuition and fees covered, a yearly book stipend and a monthly housing allowance. As a bonus, if you’re a veteran at the 100 percent benefit level, you may also be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program. This program, available at military friendly colleges, covers any tuition or fees that may not have been covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Montgomery GI Bill: This education benefit requires you to have served at least two years on active duty and have a high school diploma or GED. Unlike the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery only covers tuition and fees, and you have up to 10 years after discharge to use the benefit.

Source: militaryonesource.mil

Wounded Army Corporal Inspires Boston’s Wounded Vet Run

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Vincent Mannion-Brodeur in his army uniform on the field

By Kellie Speed

When Jeff and Maura Brodeur received the devastating call that would change their life forever— that their only son had been critically injured in Iraq and may not make it—they never could have imagined how far he would come today.

U.S. Army Private Vincent Mannion-Brodeur was just 19 when he was deployed to Iraq where he served as a Parachute Infantryman in the B-2-505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division and Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Honor Guard.

On March 11, 2007, the Massachusetts native was checking a house for insurgents when an improvised explosive device detonated, killing his sergeant and leaving him with deep shrapnel wounds that ravaged his upper torso. In addition, his left arm was nearly blown off and he sustained a traumatic brain injury that required the removal of his cranium and part of his frontal lobe.

As a courageous recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, Vincent, who retired as a corporal, became the inspiration behind Boston’s Wounded Vet Run, a motorcycle run that honors wounded veterans of New England.

“Ten years ago, Vincent was the first recipient of the Boston Wounded Vet Run, which was used to supplement a VA Special Adaptive Housing Grant he earned that took two years of paperwork to complete,” said Jeff Brodeur, Vincent’s father and an Army veteran himself, adding that Vincent will be honored once again this year at the tenth annual Boston’s Wounded Vet Run being held in September.

Vincent Mannion-Brodeur holding an award
Vincent Mannion-Brodeur holding an award

“He was in a wheelchair at the time so we used that money to put in new stairs and a new walkway. We used the funds raised to make modifications for accessibility to the outside of our home. It’s really nice to have him being honored again on the run 10 years later because it all started with Vincent and Andy (Biggio) who is the founder.”

Since Boston’s initial event a decade ago, the motorcycle runs have increased in popularity, now becoming available in major cities nationwide raising money to provide assistance to severely wounded veterans like Vincent to improve their quality of life. All proceeds from the runs go directly to veterans to assist with housing modifications or mobility and transportation needs, including wheelchairs and cars, along with other basic requirements.

After surviving a yearlong coma, lengthy hospital stays, 47 surgeries and years of rehabilitation to relearn the simplest of tasks—from walking and talking to eating and showering—Vincent and his family have become an inspiration. Overcoming all odds after being told he might never be able to walk or talk again, Vincent, who can often be found smiling, saying, “God bless America,” still faces lifelong daily challenges but that hasn’t broken his fun-loving spirit.

His parents, who are both veterans, fought successfully to become the first on the East Coast—and one of the first families in the nation—to have their son transferred to a private medical facility to continue his care, paving the way for many other wounded soldiers.

Vincent Mannion-Brodeur holding an award with his doctor
Vincent Mannion-Brodeur holding an award with his doctor

The Veterans Administration initially wanted to transfer Vincent to its Tampa trauma facility but his parents were concerned over the level of care he would receive. “Boston has some of the best hospitals in the nation and we won approval for Vincent to receive private care for his severe TBI at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital instead of having to go to a Veterans Administration facility,” said Jeff, an Army veteran and also the National President of the Korean War Veteran’s Association. “The polytrauma hospitals back then didn’t offer the specialized care that we knew Boston could provide.”

Their steadfast determination in finding the best care and rehabilitation for their son paved the way for the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, authorizing the Veterans Administration to, “establish a wide range of new services to support certain caregivers of eligible Post 9/11 Veterans.” The additional benefits offered to families of veterans now include a monthly stipend, health care coverage, and travel expenses (including lodging and per diem) while accompanying veterans undergoing care, respite care and mental health services and counseling.

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