‘Not something you should ever really see’: Veterans reflect on 9/11

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9/11 2001: International Newspapers headlnes

Spc. Bryan Stern was hungover. It was a sunny near-autumn day, but after a night of partying to bid a friend farewell, he didn’t want to be anywhere but bed.

Stationed in Lower Manhattan with the 227th Military Intelligence Company housed at 7 World Trade Center, he was riding the subway to work from Brooklyn, wishing he had stayed home on September 11, 2001.

“I was having a slow, slow morning,” he told Military Times. “I was just kind of in my own little world.”

Struggling, he continued his daily routine, making a much-needed stop at a street cart where he’d order a bagel and coffee each morning.

“My friend, I’m so happy you’re okay,” the cart owner said. Not feeling particularly fine, Stern asked what he meant.

The cart owner pointed up, at the flaming hole in the side of 1 World Trade Center.

Nearly 3,000 miles away at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California, Lt. Amy McGrath was sound asleep when her sister called to tell her to turn on the news. A plane had hit the World Trade Center.

“I hung up and thought to myself that it was probably just a Cessna,” she said.

Unable to reach anyone using his early-era cell phone, Stern made his way to the building, hoping he might be able to assist with whatever had happened. Twenty years after the attack of 9/11, a group of military veterans speak about their experience of that day.

“I figured people needed help,” he said. “I have a lot of medical training, so I made my way down and I was just north of the South Tower, right in between them.”

Then a plane smashed into the second tower.

“I felt it on my face,” he said. “The exit hole of the second tower was right above me. I thought, ‘Holy shit, I’m going to get clobbered with all this debris.”

McGrath turned on her television just in time to see footage of the plane making impact. Her command called and asked her to head to the base.

“I got my flight suit on, put my flight boots on and got in my car,” she said. “Because I lived so close to the gate, I was one of the first air crew on the base that morning.”

Staff Sgt. Stefan Still was stationed at Fort Myer with the Army’s Old Guard, just outside Washington, D.C., and three miles from the Pentagon.

“It was just an absolutely beautiful morning,” he said. “It’s kind of the first morning where the temperature had broken and it first started to feel like fall.”

After PT, while waiting for assignments, he and members of his platoon were listening to the radio when they heard about the crash in New York. They switched a television to CNN.

And then they felt their building shake. Flight 77 had crashed into the Pentagon.

“As I’m opening the door, I can already see the smoke coming up,” he said.

Still instructed his unit to call their loved ones and tell them they were okay. He phoned his wife at the time, who was still sleeping. She screamed as she turned on the TV.

“It’s a very surreal feeling to see F-16s churning and burning above the barracks when you’re underneath combat air patrol for the nation’s capital,” Still said. “It’s not something that you should ever really see.”

Col. Randy Rosin was stationed at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida. While he believed the first plane crash into the side of the North Tower was an accident, when the second tower was struck, he quickly began to piece together exactly what was happening.

“We had all this activity that was going on, this chatter — they called it the ‘big wedding,’” he said. “In August, there was an intelligence assessment that came out, that said that something big is going to happen. But they placed it in Africa not New York.”

When the second plane hit the south tower, he began to realize that perhaps the intel about this large-scale al-Qaida event was correct about everything but the location.

Rosin, who had previously worked on plans for a response to the USS Cole bombing — the al-Qaida suicide attack against the guided missile destroyer on Oct. 12, 2000 in Yemen — recognized that the two attacks could be connected.

“I started to think, ‘Holy shit. This is the big wedding.’”

Stern was injured and bleeding from surface cuts. People were screaming, running in every direction. Medics treated him, and he returned to the base of the towers to continue helping. A few workers in the towers even began jumping, hopelessness spread, and panic ensued.

Then the second tower began to fall.

“I ran north,” Stern said. “My big idea was to get onto the West Side Highway kind of and bolt. There are no words to describe it. I remember thinking I’m going to die, I hope that I’m found, and I hope it’s not too painful.”

He found a car to hide under, and as the plume of debris washed over everything in sight, Stern waited to die. Minutes or maybe hours later, he emerged, with a mouth full of soot, and made his way back towards Ground Zero. Along the way, he spotted a friend.

Wreckage from World Trade Center at ground zero on September 11. (FEMA)

Looking for a bathroom, the pair stumbled across the only building with lights on — 340 West Street, a Bloomberg office with a generator. With permission from a lingering employee, the pair worked to set up a mobile command center to direct survivors stuck in lower Manhattan to safety.

Stern stepped out for a cigarette when he noticed something odd.

“There’s a little city bus stop, and all the glass is gone,” he said. “I looked down and there’s this American flag. It’s all crumpled up and messed up, and had probably been hanging over a building somewhere before.”

He picked it up, hung it over the door of the building, and he and the friend called the Army to connect with survivors in the city.

“Just tell them to look for the flag,” they said.

McGrath, had never flown in combat, but was ordered to board a jet and take it to the edge of the runway, leave the engines running, and await further instruction.

“I played scenarios out in my head,” McGrath said. “[I wondered] ‘Could we escort first?’ We didn’t train for this. We were sort of making it up as we went along in the hopes that we would never have to do the unthinkable.”

Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath flew combat missions in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

The orders she expected were to shoot down any hijacked aircraft on the West Coast headed towards densely populated centers or key buildings — planes that were transporting civilians, American men, women and children.

It never came to that. After several hours, McGrath was relieved, but she knew this assignment was just the beginning of what was to come.

Still’s orders came the next day. His unit was one of several selected for recovery duty at the Pentagon.

“It’s one thing to see that on television,” he said. “But it’s another thing to actually pull up to the site itself. It’s still smoking, it’s still on fire.”

His job was to pull casualties from the wreckage. His unit worked the lower floors. He felt lucky because there the intact bodies were fewer.

“Most of what we were dealing with, we knew was a human at one point,” Still said. “But you could just disassociate yourself from what it was because it was just a foot or a hand you, as opposed to the higher floors. They were dealing with people that died of smoke inhalation.”

For Stern, Sept. 11 was a tipping point in his career and his life. He left the Army and recommissioned with the Navy, working with intelligence and special operations, and dedicated much of the last 20 years to homeland security.

Every day, when he leaves his house, however, he is reminded of that sunny Tuesday. The flag that served as a beacon for survivors at 340 West Street is prominently displayed in his living room. He recently reframed it, and it brought him straight back to lower Manhattan.

“It still smells,” he said. “It smelled like dust and dead people when I took it out of the frame. I had to go take a walk because it still smells like Ground Zero.”

Stern said that for years after 9/11, he was unable to go near construction sites because of the smell of the concrete and the sweat on the workers.

Navy Officer Bryan Stern deployed multiple times after Sept. 11 with Special Operations Forces.

Reminders of the day can be difficult to contextualize for those who served.

“How do you transition back from seeing all of that to going home and seeing your family and seeing your wife and seeing the dog?” Still said. “There was a lot of anger, I think in my heart.”

Still, whose unit didn’t deploy to Afghanistan or Iraq, got out of the Army. He thought about rejoining so that he could be part of a combat unit, but ultimately chose to separate from service after two more years. He keeps in touch with members of the platoon he served with on Sept. 11.

He noted, however, the way that the events that followed the attack altered the fabric of the military changed.

“Everybody that signed up post-9/11, every single one of them knew they were going to war,” Still said. “I don’t know if I would have been the person that would have done that absolutely knowing 100 percent and I’m deploying to Afghanistan or Iraq soon after basic training.”

Reflecting on the last two decades of war, McGrath said the military has made great strides in inclusion and diversity that never would have come if not for 9/11.

“When we deployed to combat, we were the first women to deploy in these roles,” McGrath said. “We were very aware that we were the first, not only from a combat aircrew experience, but also the maintainers and the mechanics that came out. This was really the first time that a combat unit like ours was integrated with women actually doing combat.”

She said the way women stepped up into combat roles during the Global War on Terror is part of the reason why, in 2015, all military occupations across all four branches were opened up to women.

“Our performance in combat was a big part of why no one could make the argument effectively that we should keep these doors closed to women, to all these other jobs,” she said. “I’m not sure that would have happened had it not been for our combat time after 9/11.”

Click here to read the full article on Army Times.

The Power of Adaptive Sports

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U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Andrew Hairston in wheelchair smiling with amputed leg and other leg in a cast

By Kellie Speed

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Andrew Hairston never could have imagined he would lose his left leg here in the States after returning home from being deployed. While the accident certainly changed his life, his impressive outlook has him proving nothing is impossible.

“After I got back from deployment, we were moving into a new house when I was loading a mattress onto the truck and it fell off,” he told U.S. Veterans Magazine in a recent phone interview. “Just as I was picking it back up, someone hit me. When I was hit, I thought the vehicle hit my funny bone which was why my leg was numb.

When they got me into the back of the ambulance, they gave me some meds for the pain. I was upset and hangry at the time because I had just ordered Domino’s. When I heard someone say, ‘left leg amputation,’ that’s when it hit me.”

Despite his injury, the U.S. Virgin Islands native has not only found many reasons to be grateful, but also push himself to incredible limits.

“As a Marine, we go from being active and physical specimens and being the best at everything to being reduced to having a caretaker,” Hairston said. “I had to fight to get back to my old self. When I was injured, I had another reason to be glad I joined the Marine Corps. I had a phone call with my Colonel at the time and I was sent to Walter Reed. They have the best adaptive program in the Department of Defense. When I was there, I told them I wanted to go to the Paralympics.”

Now holding the title of the first para-cyclist in Virgin Islands history and being the only hand cyclist in the Marine Corps to win at the 2022 Warrior Games was “the greatest feeling in my entire Marine Corps career,” he said. “Hearing guys in other branches saying ‘there’s a guy killing it in cycling’ or ‘watch out for that Marine’ was incredible. When I was injured, my physical and occupational therapists told me that even though I lost a leg, they kept reinforcing that I can still do what I did before; I just needed to figure out how to do it now. I was able to prove to myself that I can still be active and take a walk with my wife (a Marine helicopter pilot) or play with my dogs and being able to compete really helped me with my recovery.”

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Andrew Hairston para-cycling in formation with others

Hairston first competed in a four-mile race in Central Park. “It was the first time that I felt like myself,” he said. “As a Marine, we have to win everything, but I came in third place. That gave me the Paralympics bug. I have done a few marathons now in hand cycling and am getting ready to do three more.”

With two gold medals for cycling, a silver medal in archery and silver and bronze awards for track to his credit, Hairston’s continued determination to succeed has reinforced he is still the same specimen he was when he joined the military — just a little bit different now.

Hairston created a nonprofit called Salvage Life with the goal of inspiring others to lead a healthy and active lifestyle with a focus on veteran and disabled communities in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Knowing that people back home are disabled and not able to get the same support that I had here in the states was the reason I started the nonprofit,” he said. “As I continue in my recovery, I was able to host the first adaptive sports clinic in the Virgin Islands just before Warrior Games. I showed guys how to shoot archery and wanted to show people that you can make things work for someone with a disability. After my injury, I said if I can help just one person, it would be a success. I got to help eight people; that’s the best part of it.”

FOX Nation’s 4th Annual Patriot Awards Ceremony Benefitting the American Red Cross is Tonight

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Fox Nation Patriot Awards

By Kellie Speed

FOX Nation is hosting its fourth annual Patriot Awards at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida, tonight. You can catch the patriotic show live at 7 p.m. ET on FOX Nation, and it will also be offered in a repeat presentation on FOX News Channel on Sunday, November 27, at 10 p.m. ET.

Each year, the awards show honors standout Americans who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in support of this great nation. The event gives true American heroes the recognition they deserve.

“It is the awards show that America needs and that America deserves,” said FOX & Friends Weekend co-host and Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran Pete Hegseth, who will return for his fourth year as the emcee.

Hegseth will join FOX News Media personalities Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Jesse Watters, Greg Gutfeld, Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, Brian Kilmeade, Judge Jeanine Pirro, the cast of The Five, Harris Faulkner, Will Cain, Rachel Campos-Duffy, Dan Bongino, John Rich, Mike Rowe, Nancy Grace, Lawrence Jones, Johnny Joey Jones and Abby Hornacek.

This year’s Patriot Awards include the Most Valuable Patriot Award, Heroism Award, Service to Veterans Award and Back the Blue Award. Additionally, The Five (weekdays, 5 p.m. ET), Tucker Carlson Tonight (weekdays, 8 p.m. ET) and Gutfeld! (weekdays, 11 p.m. ET) will present live shows at the venue.

Last year’s Patriot Award recipients included “Most Valuable Patriot” Olympic Gold Medalist Tamyra Mensah-Stock; Award for Heroism recipient Lt. Col. (Ret.), Former Green Beret Scott Mann for his work in Afghanistan with Task Force Pineapple; “Modern Warrior” recipient Army Sergeant First Class John Goudie, and the “Courage” award recipient posthumously awarded to Todd Beamer in United Airlines Flight 93 (accepted by his parents David and Peggy Beamer).

They also paid a humbling tribute to the nation’s 13 fallen heroes killed on August 26, 2021, during the United States withdrawal from Afghanistan – Marine Corps Lance Corporal David L. Espinoza, Marine Corps Sergeant Nicole L. Gee, Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Darin T. Hoover, Army Staff Sergeant Ryan C. Knauss, Marine Corps Corporal Hunter Lopez, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Rylee J. McCollum, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Dylan R. Merola, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Kareem M. Nikoui, Marine Corps Sergeant Johanny Rosario Pichardo, Marine Corps Corporal Humberto A. Sanchez, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Jared M. Schmitz, Navy Hospital Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak and Marine Corps Corporal Daegan W. Page.

Keep an eye out in the next issue of U.S. Veterans Magazine for a full feature on the event.

For more information, be sure to visit nation.foxnews.com

The NMSDC Equity Honors 2023–Applications Now Open

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gold cup winner on bokeh background, 3D illustration

The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) Equity Honors awards are presented to corporate chief officers who have been recognized by their peers as the true leaders at the vanguard of economic equity and minority business integration.

Submit an application for your CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, CMO, CDO, and CPO of the Year. All applications* must be started** by Dec. 20 to be considered.

Submit Application Here!

*Qualified applications submitted for The Equity Honors in 2022 have been cloned for consideration for the 2023 Equity Honors. Simply log into the NMSDC Awards Portal and update your application, then submit. Previous winners of The Equity Honors are ineligible to apply again for a minimum of 3 years.

**We will reopen the applications in March of 2023 to collect 2022 comparative data that will complete the application. All applications that have been started by Dec. 20 will constitute The Equity Honors Nominees for 2023 with nominees highlighted on the Forum website and invited to the 2023 Minority Business Economic Forum.

For more information about NMSDC visit, nmsdc.org

Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference: Elevates Entrepreneurs

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Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference

The Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference is embedded as an annual entrepreneur ecosystem event for transitioning veterans, disabled veterans, National Guard, active and reserve component members and military spouses who are interested in growing the U.S. economy and its employment base while adding value to the communities in which they live and serve.

The October 5‑7 three-day hybrid experience hosted more than 200 attendees from 15 states at the Sheraton Arlington Hotel in Arlington, Texas. This year’s conference included an exclusive and in-depth two-day pre-conference financial statement workshop facilitated by Steve Lefever, founder of ProfitMastery, for 20 selected military-connected business owners. Kimberly Henry, who attended the pre-conference workshop, stated, “the content was challenging, but I have a better understanding of how I need to manage and present my business financials to lenders and pitch competition judges.”

More than 30 conference speakers shared information to increase awareness of entrepreneurial resources, facilitate access to SBA resource partners and access to capital partners, and deliver a memorable experience. Dynamic speakers included SBA Associate Administrator Larry Stubblefield; Andy Williams, former HGTV Flip or Flop Fort Worth star and founder of Rehab Warriors; a lineup of SBA resources partners, including leaders from the Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, the Veterans Business Outreach Center Program and the Women’s Business Center. Existing veteran business owners shared their paths to success through panel discussions. “I attended BBBC19 and learned about franchise opportunities, and now I own two franchises,” said PK Kelley, who presented as part of the franchise panel.

In addition to the NFL Thursday Night Football watch party at TexasLive, the 2022 conference highlights included Melissa Washington presenting a check for $3,500 to Jaquelyn Garrick, who won the Women Veterans Giving Entrepreneur of the Year Award. BidExecs Franchising, LLC (BidExecs), the first and only franchise supporting government contractors to grow their business through robust business development, capture support and proposal solutions partnered with Business Beyond the Battlefield to identify highly qualified veterans to join their network. As such, Archie Smith was awarded a $30,000 BidExecs franchise. “Archie’s knowledge, experience and deep-rooted commitment to serving his local community businesses directly align with BidExecs’ servant leader values,” said Reena Bhatia, CEO of BidExecs, who sat down for a fireside chat at the conference.

“I love the conference. I was able to come in here and [receive] a variety of information about franchising, government contracting, how to get capital…,” said one attendee. Another attendee said, “If you’re just starting out and you want to know how to operate a business, this is the place to be…” Like the attendees, Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference founder Patrick E. Alcorn said, “It was a great experience, and I can’t wait until next October.”

Check out the BBBC22 highlight video!

To find out more, visit bbbc.uta.edu/.

Veterans Day Freebies & Discounts for 2022!

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Veterans Day Freebies and Discounts promo

In honor of Veterans Day, several businesses and organizations have come together to offer their best deals to military personnel and their families.

Take a look at some of the best deals you could use this month!

Unless otherwise stated all discounts will:

  • Apply to military veterans and active-duty servicemembers
  • Be obtainable on November 11th
  • Need a valid military ID or a Veterans Advantage card to obtain

 

 

 

Food and Drink

  • Applebee’s: Free meal from a select menu and a $5 Bounce Back Card to be used for a future visit
  • Big Boy Restaurants: Free meal voucher for a future meal
  • BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse:Free meal from a select menu when you dine-in
  • Bob Evans:Free meal from a select menu
  • Bombshells Restaurant & Bar: Offering free entrees for veterans at all 12 company-owned and franchised locations in Texas on Nov. 11. Other items will be discounted at 20%, and accompanying families will receive a 20% discount on entrees and other items. Note: This free meal doesn’t apply to active duty; but active duty will get a 20% discount. All other days of the year, active duty and other veterans can receive a 20% discount.. Check beforehand what identification can be used for the discount.
  • California Pizza Kitchen: Offering a free nonalcoholic beverage and choice of one entree from a special menu, to active duty and other veterans, on Nov. 11.
  • Chop House: 50% off entrees
  • Coco’s Bakery and Restaurant: Free slice of pie and BOGO free entrée
  • Dunkin’ Donuts: Free donut
  • Golden Corral: Free meal from 5pm to close on November 14th
  • Hawaiian Bros: Free plate lunch from 11am to 11pm. Also applicable to military families and friends.
  • IHOP: Offering free red, white and blueberry pancakes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 11 to active duty and other veterans. Proof of service required.
  • Insomnia Cookies: Free six-pack of cookies with any in-store purchase
  • Krispy Kreme: Offering a free doughnut and a small brewed coffee to active duty and other veterans, on Nov. 11.
  • Little Caesars: Offering free lunch combo at participating locations while supplies last, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Nov. 11, to active duty and other veterans. Features four-slice deep dish pizza with pepperoni, and a 20-ounce Pepsi product. Military ID or DD214 required.
  • McCormick and Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants: 50% off entrees on November 13th. Also applicable to Gold Star parents and Gold Star spouses.
  • Peet’s Coffee: Free drip coffee or tea. Also applicable to military spouses.
  • Red Lobster: Free Shrimp, fries, coleslaw, and other select items for dine-in and to-go orders placed between 11:00am-4:00pm
  • Red Robin: Free Red’s Tavern Double Burger for dine-in
  • Smashburger: One free burger or sandwich
  • Starbucks: Free tall hot brewed or iced coffee. Also applies to military spouses
  • TGI Friday’s: Free lunch for dine-in on November 11th from 11am-2pm from a select menu.
  • Tuscan Brands Restaurants: Offering a free family style meal to veterans and their guest from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 11, at their locations in Boston, Burlington and Newburyport, Massachusetts; and Salem and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. RSVP by calling the restaurant or online at tuscanbrands.com/veteransday. The restaurants include Tuscan Kitchen, Tuscan Sea Grill & Bar and Toscana Italian Chop House & Wine Bar.
  • Wendy’s: Free Breakfast combo order
  • White Castle: Free Combo Meal or Breakfast Combo Meal for dine-in
  • Yard House: Free appetizer when you dine-in

Shopping

Services

  • Crunch Fitness: Free seven-day trial from November 7-13th and discounted membership rates. Also applies to first responders. Free trial also eligible to military families. Other
  • Goodyear Tire: Free inspections on tires, brakes, and batteries. 10% off tires and services. Appointments must be made between November 10th-14th and services can be redeemed through November 17th. Also applicable to first responders.
  • Great Clips: Free haircut or a free haircut card for a future visit. Non-military members who visit on November 11th will be given a free haircut card to give to a veteran or servicemember in their life. These cards must be redeemed before December 9th
  • Hertz: 20% off base rental rate when you book between November 7th-November 11th
  • Jefferson Lines: Free tickets for travel. Must be obtained by November 11th and redeemed by November 23rd.
  • Just Tires: Free inspections on tires, brakes, and batteries. 10% off tires and services. Appointments must be made between November 10th-14th and services can be redeemed through November 17th.
  • La Quinta: 12% off best available rate. 1000 bonus points will be given for stays booked by December 11th and completed by December 12th
  • Magnolia Wash Holdings: Free Car Wash at Magnolia Wash Holdings, Whistle Express, Camel Premium Express, and The Wave Carwash locations
  • Red Roof: 15% off bookings from November 1st to December 30th. Must use code: VP 623095
  • Sports Clips: Free haircut
  • Super 8: 15% off best available rate. 1000 bonus points will be given for stays booked by December 11th and completed by December 12th

Recreation

  • Aquarium of the Pacific: Free admission
  • Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum: Free admission, also applies for three guests of the servicemember
  • Knott’s Berry Farm: Discounted admission for themselves and five guests from November 1st-November 17th and November 18th– December 15th
  • Lindbald Expeditions: 20% off select itineraries for select departures. Bookings must be made by November 30th.
  • Mount Vernon: Free admission
  • National Parks: Free admission
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame: Free admission and parking for the Veterans Day Event and Expo, 20% off for the Hall of Fame store
  • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom: Free Park admission, parking, meal voucher, and swag items on Veteran’s Day. Four family members of the servicemembers are eligible for discounted tickets of $19.99
  • True REST Float Spa: Free 60-minute float therapy session. Available on the 11th of every month. All locations will be exclusively serving service members on Veteran’s Day
  • Winchester Mystery House: 30% off from November 11th – December 31st. Also available to family members
  • World of Coca-Cola: Free admission through November 13th. 50% off 4 additional tickets for friends and family members
  • Zoos: Many Zoos are offering free or heavily discounted admission, including rates for immediate family members. Inquire with your local zoo for details.

Female Marine is Guinness World Champ for burpees per minute

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Nahla Beard attempts the Guinness world record at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Aug. 7, 2021. (Cpl. Mitchell Austin/Marine Corps)

The Marines famously have the reputation of being “first to fight.” But one Marine has earned another, lesser-known, distinction: first woman to complete 27 chest-to-ground burpees in one minute.

Sgt. Nahla Beard, an air traffic control supervisor at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, smashed the Guinness World Record in burpees on Aug. 14, 2021, the service announced last month.

Because of coronavirus restrictions, a Guinness judge could not be in attendance to verify the Marine’s burpees in person. That meant Beard had to record herself and submit a video of her achievement. Base command turned out to watch, and even brought along friends and family, Beard said in a DVIDS story.

Onlookers were not disappointed: Beard broke the record by two burpees, completing an average of one burpee every 2.2 seconds. And she did it more than once.

“I ended up attempting five times on the same day because I wasn’t sure if I did it,” Beard said in the release.

Read the full story on Military Times

A full list of the 196 veterans running for Congress in 2022

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Virginia resident McArthur Myers fills out his ballot at an early voting location in Alexandria, Va., on Sept. 26. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

More than one-third of all congressional races on the ballot this November will feature a veteran, and several could help decide which party wins control of the House and Senate next year.

The 196 veterans who have won major-party primaries represent the largest group of candidates with military experience in a decade. It includes 130 non-incumbents trying to increase the total number of veterans in Congress next year.

The field also features:

  • 17 women veterans running for office;
  • 58 veterans who enlisted after Jan. 1, 2000;
  • 95 veterans with a combat deployment;
  • 90 veterans who served in the Army (the most from any service);
  • 16 races featuring two veterans against each other;
  • 43 states with at least one veteran on the ballot for national office;

Below is a list of all of the candidates with military experience who won major-party primaries this year and will appear on the November ballot. The list was compiled in partnership with the Veterans Campaign.

Read the Full Story on MIlitary Times

Deployed soldier builds anti-drone trainer, wins CENTCOM competition

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Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of Central Command, presents Sgt. Mickey Reeve with a medal for his contest-winning idea in a ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., on Oct. 14, 2022. Reeve received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal for his idea of building a simulator to help soldiers train on defending against drones while deployed. (John Onuoha/U.S. Army)

A deployed Army sergeant built a program that could help troops defend themselves against deadly aerial drones in the Middle East.

Sgt. Mickey Reeve built a prototype training simulator on an 8-year-old laptop in a tent in the middle of the Arabian desert, the infantryman told Stars and Stripes.

His idea made him the winner Friday of U.S. Central Command’s first Innovation Oasis, a Shark Tank-style competition that asked troops to pitch solutions to problems they’re facing.

About 160 troops submitted ideas that included the use of blockchain technology in the military’s supply chain and using Centcom’s badging system to make daily accountability easier.

Read the Full Story on Stars and Stripes

Navy Gold Coast Conference 2022 – Event Wrap Up

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Event floor with large screen and people watching the speaker facing away from the camera - NDIA Gold Coast 2022

This year’s Annual Department of the Navy Gold Coast Conference, held September 6-8, 2022, focused on Thriving as a Department of the Navy Small Business in a World of Global Challenges.”

In its 34th year, the Navy Gold Coast Conference is the nation’s premier Navy-centered small business procurement event and the only procurement event co-sponsored by the Department of the Navy’s (DON) Office of Small Business Programs. The Navy’s primary purpose in co-sponsoring the event with the San Diego Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is to educate, guide and assist businesses in providing vital goods and services to meet government needs, particularly in the Navy and Department of Defense.

Navy Gold Coast Conference event photo of a small business defense contractor at a table with a woman who works for the navy to help grow his businessThis year’s Navy Gold Coast Conference attracted over 1,700 defense industrial base attendees, and almost 250 booths lined the exhibit hall with representatives from government acquisition offices and small, medium and large businesses. Many of these are owned and operated by service-disabled veterans (SDVOSBs) or participants in the federal government’s 8(a) Business Development Program. The federal government’s goal is to award at least 3 percent of all federal contracting dollars to SDVOSBs and 5 percent to disadvantaged businesses each year, and the Navy Gold Coast Conference

This year’s Navy Gold Coast Conference sponsors included Bank of America (Platinum), Unanet and Deltek (Diamond), Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, L3 Harris, BAE Systems, Raytheon Technologies (Gold) and over 40 small business sponsors.

Navy Gold Coast Conference photo of a large group of people standing and talking to each other in the event islesnavyNavyThe Keynote presentation was from the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), the Hon. Carlos Del Toro. Additional presentations included a discussion on Small Business and the Future by the Hon. Isabella Casillas Guzman, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); a briefing on Getting Started in Government Contracting from Mr. Michael Sabellico, Senior Procurement Advisor of the San Diego Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC); and a round table discussion on DON Supply Chain Readiness including Mr. Jimmy Smith (SES), Director, DON Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) and RADM Peter Stamatopoulous, Commander of Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP).

In addition to professional networking and small business matchmaking, a wide variety of issues affecting small business federal contracting were covered, including Exporting, Accounting Requirements, Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR), Mentor Protégé Programs, Racial Equality and Support for Underserved Communities, Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) and How to do Business with the DON and Other Government Agencies

Navy Gold Coast Conference is also the venue for the NDIA San Diego Chapter’s Twice a Citizen Award. This award is given to Reserve Service or National Guard members from the San Diego Area. Nominees demonstrate leadership, self-sacrifice, commitment to service and outstanding overall performance. Nominees must also have provided exceptional professional performance while participating in contingency/support activities outside drill weekends. This year’s winners are Chief Petty Officer Joshua R. Berman, Chief Petty Officer Joseph A. Pisano, Chief Melanie A. Maldonado and Commander Ron Giusso.

Next year’s Gold Coast is scheduled for 26-28 July 2023 in San Diego.

Post Military Life – Reflecting Over a Decade

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Post Military Life  – Much has changed in the world and in our country since our publication was founded. Everywhere we look, times are shifting, and it’s our goal to always be a part of learning from the past to make the future better and brighter for those who have been called to serve. The impact of veterans in their communities is multifold. They bring their skills, expertise, values and work ethic to local business, politics and the community at large. However, they have, unfortunately, not always received the aid and respect that is due to someone who honorably served in our armed forces.

As U.S. Veterans Magazine celebrates 10 years of supporting those who have been called to serve, we asked some of our partners about the difference they’ve seen in the veteran experience over the last decade.

U.S. Veterans Magazine: What do you believe has been the most significant change or benefit to veterans in the last 10 years?

Bobby McDonald, OC Black Chamber of Commerce:

Orange Country Black Chamber of Commerce Member in a White Shirt and Black spotted tie smiling - Post Military LifePhoto Credit: Courtesy of Orange Country Black Chamber of Commerce

“In the year 2012, in the county of Orange, in the State of California, there were over 150,000 veterans living in the county. Orange County was the third largest county in California behind Los Angeles and San Diego and had no outside funding or support other than the Veterans Service Office, which came basically from the California Department of Veterans Affairs, through the County of Orange. The Orange County Veterans Advisory Council (OCVAC) was formed and comprised of members appointed by the OC Board of Supervisors. The board was made up of nine members that were U.S. military veterans with honorable discharges. In 2012, the OCVAC was injected with [a] couple of Vietnam veterans that were of the mindset to make a positive change in the veterans environment and set a course of involvement, awareness, outreach, resource availability and positive outcomes. Armed with the theme ‘Have We Helped A Veteran Today’ and a commitment to help veterans get housing, education, health, employment and legal support, the group set forth to make positive measurable changes with partnerships.”

Keith King, National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC):

Photo Credit: Courtesy of NVBDC

“The inclusion of veteran-owned businesses in the supplier diversity programs of America’s leading corporations is the most significant change of the past 10 years of successful post military life. When veteran businesses were first identified as legal contracting entities in the federal government, many veteran businesses celebrated. But the hype never lived up to the promise. As the National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) was forming in late 2012, it was clear that, if a third-party certification organization could create a certification program for veteran business owners that met corporate supplier diversity standards, the corporations would give certified veterans a chance to compete for contracts. In 2014, when the NVBDC presented its certification program to a group of corporations, they all gave NVBDC their tacit approval. By 2017, when the 28 corporations of the Billion Dollar Roundtable named NVBDC as the only acceptable veteran business certification to use to capture and report their veteran business spend amounts, they created an $80 billion opportunity for our veteran businesses.”

Phil Kowalczyk, President and CEO of Camp Corral:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Camp Corral

A man standing in from of his military service medals - Post Military Life
National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC)

The awareness and understanding of mental health challenges veterans, caregivers and their families are facing has been the most evolving trend over the last decade. Furthermore, the demographics of military and veteran communities continue to change rapidly, especially among caregivers. Camp Corral’s research has indicated that 70 percent of military children perform at least one caregiving task in wounded warrior households. Many of them experience similar emotional health challenges as their adult counterparts and caregiver responsibility can affect a child’s ability to participate in activities non-military children typically pursue. The Biden Administration recognizes these challenges and is dedicating more resources to serving military and veteran families through the ‘Joining Forces’ initiative. Commitments include support for caregiver economic opportunities and respite as well as increasing access to quality behavioral, social and emotional health resources for military and veteran families. These initiatives will be essential post military life  steps in ensuring community providers have the resources they need to provide culturally competent and evidence-based care for both children and adult caregivers of our country’s ill, wounded and fallen military heroes and veterans.”

The Rosie Network:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Rosie Network

“The U.S. offers the most extensive veteran benefits in the world. Despite this, there remain much-needed improvements and one of the most significant is the Mission Act (2019) allowing veterans to seek treatment of the VA. As the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, I watched my mother sacrifice her nursing career to support my father’s 20 years of active-duty service. Living on a single enlisted income meant falling below the poverty line and [into] financial hardship. While military spouses continue to struggle with employment, there has been a significant shift over the past 10 years to address this issue. Today, military and veteran spouses have access to organizations and resources from Military OneSource to those seeking self-employment support from The Rosie Network.”

Patrick Alcorn, UTAVBOC:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of UTAVBOC

“The most significant benefit to veterans over the last 10 years includes the expansion of the Veterans Business Outreach Center program. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Veterans Business Development created this program, specifically, to empower post military Life, veterans and military spouses who are interested in starting and growing their business.”

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Upcoming Events

  1. 2-Week Virtual REBOOT Workshop
    January 9, 2023 - January 19, 2024
  2. City Career Fairs Schedule for 2023
    January 26, 2023 - November 1, 2023
  3. Live Virtual REBOOT Workshop
    February 6, 2023 - February 8, 2023
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    February 8, 2023
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    February 16, 2023 - February 18, 2023