A Strategic Partnership Gets Veterans in Film Production

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Tyler Perry, winner of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, poses in the press room during the Oscars

Since relocating to the former Fort McPherson Army base in Atlanta in 2015, Tyler Perry Studios has become an even-greater force in the entertainment and commercial production industry, promising enormous employment potential for military veterans in Georgia.

“Cooperation with this powerful studio at the center of Atlanta’s burgeoning place in motion picture, television and commercial production is huge for Vets2Set and provokes us to launch a major recruiting effort in the South,” reports David Cohen, president and co-founder of Vets2Set. “When employers enrolled in our organization search our database to staff a production, we want them to find production assistants matching their every need from Covid Compliance Officers to disciplined and well-trained veterans familiar with electronics, flying drones, driving trucks, security and construction, among other skills. The majority of our veterans live in New York and California, but the opportunities in the South are tremendous now thanks to Tyler Perry.”

Cohen hopes to recruit new candidates in the Atlanta area in part through cooperation with Vetlanta, an organization providing veterans with business networking services.

Chief Operating Officer of Tyler Perry Studios, Robert Boyd II and President of Original Programming, Angi Bones, spoke with Cohen to discuss how Vets2Set operates and within a few days, the studio was signed up and ready to hire.

Tyler Perry Studios occupies 330 acres in the city of Atlanta, offering 12 state-of-the-art sound studios and a large backlot with prepared sets for a baseball field, farmhouse, prison yard, bank and the White House, among others. Creative options are endless, and the opportunity for career development for veterans is extensive. Cooperation with Vets2Set is a logical extension of Tyler Perry’s commitments and successes as a writer, actor, producer, director and philanthropist. Tyler Perry Studios joins more than 200 other employers working with Vets2Set to launch military veterans in civilian careers in production. Other cooperating producers include Walt Disney Television, Warner Brothers, MLB Network, NBCUniversal, RSA Films, Shutterstock Studios and advertising agencies, including BBDO Atlanta.

When staffing a shoot, cooperating producers have access to the contact details and skills profiles of hundreds of military veterans around the country. The Vets2Set database can be searched by zip code, state, city and skills. Producers then hire military veterans to fill already budgeted positions the same way they would hire any other production assistants. The contact between employer and veteran is direct. As a not-for-profit organization, Vets2Set takes no fees for developing and promoting use of its database but rather runs entirely on volunteer labor and donations from corporate sponsors and private donors.

Military veterans and media employers can enroll in this veteran employment program at vets2set.org. For further information contact pbernabeo@vets2set.org.

Source: Vets2Set

Armed Forces Bank and U.S. Army Working Together to Employ Veterans

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Armed Forces Bank (AFB), a full-service military bank committed to serving those who serve since 1907, today announces a new partnership with the U.S. Army Partnership for Your Success (PaYS) Program. Working together with PaYS, Armed Forces Bank will guarantee soldiers an interview and possible employment after serving in the Army.

The PaYs program is a strategic partnership between the U.S. Army and a cross section of corporations and public sector agencies. The program provides America’s soldiers with an opportunity to serve their country while they prepare for their futures. PaYS partners promise soldiers five job interviews, job mentoring, and the potential for employment as they return to civilian life.

To celebrate this partnership, Armed Forces Bank will hold a ceremonial signing on Thursday, August 18, at 3 p.m. at the Fort Leavenworth branch (320 Kansas Ave). Members of the media are invited to attend, but advance clearance is required. Key U.S. Army and Armed Forces Bank representatives will be on hand for the ceremony, which will include the singing of the national anthem, remarks by 1st Lieutenant Caleb Plug from the U.S. Army, a plaque presentation, flag salute and refreshments.

U.S. Army Captain Micah Robbins will be signing the Memorandum of Agreement along with Jodi Vickery, EVP and Director of Military Consumer Lending for AFB. U.S. Army General Robert Arter, former Board Member for Armed Forces Bank and retired Commanding General of the Sixth United States Army, will also be in attendance. General Arter’s military awards and decorations are extensive. They include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal, and the Purple Heart.

The Fort Leavenworth ceremony location is significant, as it is the oldest active U.S. Army post west of the Mississippi River. Established in 1827, the military base has devoted more than 190 years of service to the nation.

“Our partnership with PaYS is a natural extension of our longstanding commitment to support the distinct needs of military service members and their families,” said Paul Holewinski, President & CEO of Armed Forces Bank. “We’re honored to join forces with the U.S. Army to connect soldiers with the business community, as they return to civilian life.”

Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 service members exit the military, often with uncertainty about transitioning into the civilian workforce and without a defined career path. Soldiers who participate in the PaYS program gain valuable leadership, professional and technical skills, as well as experience and confidence, as they pursue career opportunities. In addition, service members gain access to employment possibilities with organizations that understand the value of their military service. In turn, PaYS provides employers with a pool of highly skilled, motivated and responsible candidates from which they can fill their personnel needs. The PaYS partnership provides a win-win situation for all.

Armed Forces Bank also is proud to work alongside U.S. Army Recruiters, Army National Guard Recruiters and local ROTC programs through PaYS to send the message of staying in school, setting goals, choosing appropriate friendships, leading a values focused life and staying off drugs. Granting employment interviews gives AFB the opportunity to mentor soldiers and newly commissioned officers on resume/interview skills and building better qualifications as they transition to private employment. Often, this will be the soldier’s first experience with interviewing in the private sector.

Armed Forces Bank’s Longstanding Military Commitment

With its headquarters in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Armed Forces Bank has been dedicated to serving military service members and their families for more than 115 years. Approximately 75% of AFB associates have some type of military affiliation either by spouse, retired themselves or their children. AFB, and its sister bank, Academy Bank, currently employ 22 veterans of the armed forces and 57 spouses of active or retired members of the armed forces.

AFB’s dedication to the military includes many leadership initiatives and awards:

  • AFB is a founding partner of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership. MSEP connects military spouses with hundreds of partner-employers committed to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses for long-term, portable careers with advancement opportunities.
  • AFB is a leader within the S. Army’s Training with Industry (TWI) program, a yearlong training program with AFB for one Officer and one Non-Commissioned Officer in the Army Finance and Comptroller Corps. The TWI program is designed to take selected officers out of the military environment and expose them to the latest commercial business practices, organizational structures and cultures, technology development processes and corporate management techniques.
  • For each of the last eight years, AFB also has earned the “Military Saves Designation of Savings Excellence” by the Association of Military Banks. The program helps service members and their families save money, reduce debt, and build wealth.
  • AFB was named “Distinguished Bank of the Year” for 10 of the last 11 years by at least one branch of the military. Nominated by the Command Leadership at military installations around the country, the award recognizes AFB’s leadership in serving military service members and their families with a vast array of banking services, installation support and financial education. In 2019 and 2020, the Department of the Army and Navy recognized AFB. In 2021, AFB received 13 nominations from the Army, Navy and Air Force with the award ceremony to be conducted at the end of August 2022.
  • AFB was named the official financial services partner for A Million Thanks, a national organization that collects and distributes letters of support and thanks directly to active duty, reserve and veteran military men and women around the world.

“As a spouse of a 20-year Army veteran, I understand the importance of stepping up and providing service members with an interview and the potential for employment,” said Jodi Vickery, EVP and Director of Military Consumer Lending for AFB. “Transitioning from the military is not easy and our partnership with PaYS is an important way to actively express our gratitude for the many sacrifices military men and women endure.”

Armed Forces Bank offers a variety of exciting career paths in the fast-growing banking and financial services industry. Serving both active and retired military, as well as civilian clients around the world, AFB values former service members as employees. AFB provides a wide variety of training, development and mentorship programs for veterans across the company.

“The best way to honor a service member is to hire one,” adds Tom McLean, SVP and Regional Military Executive for Armed Forces Bank. “We thank our Armed Forces for protecting our freedoms. There’s no place else where people can dream such big dreams and reach their goals. Our business and our country will only improve by employing more military veterans.”

About Armed Forces Bank

Armed Forces Bank (AFB), founded and headquartered in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is a full-service military bank committed to serving those who serve since 1907. With 23 locations, Armed Forces Bank has more on-installation locations than any military bank in the country. Armed Forces Bank provides affordable, personal and convenient banking and financial services to both active and retired military, as well as civilian clients in all 50 states and around the world. AFB has $1.2 billion in assets and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dickinson Financial Corporation, a $3.5 billion bank holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. AFB’s sister bank, Academy Bank, is a full-service community bank with over 70 branch locations in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri. For more, visit www.afbank.com. Member FDIC.

About the Partnership for Your Success (PaYS) Program

The Partnership for Your Success (PaYS) Program is a strategic partnership between the U.S. Army and a cross section of corporations and public sector agencies. The Program provides America’s soldiers with an opportunity to serve their country while they prepare for their future. For more, visit https://www.armypays.com

Gary Sinise: Positive About Service

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Gary Sinise collage of his phots

By Brady Rhoades

When the inaugural issue of U.S. Veterans Magazine hit the stands — and the internet — Gary Sinise was on the cover.

He’s back, and for good reason.

Sinise, best known as Lt. Dan in the movie Forrest Gump, has devoted his life to serving veterans.

What’s the author of the New York Times best-selling Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service have to say 10 years down the road?

“I’ve been honored to be featured, and it’s an honor and a pleasure to be featured again,” he said. “I did not serve. One way I can serve is by shining a light on those who do serve. U.S. Veterans Magazine does that.”

The 67-year-old husband and father of three has been busy for the past couple of years. He continues supporting veterans through the Gary Sinise Foundation, and the Illinois native moved from California to Nashville, Tenn.

“I was looking for a change, and there are so many veterans groups from that part of the country,” he said, adding that his foundation — which supports veterans and their families by building homes for wounded warriors (as part of its R.I.S.E. program), hosting day-long festivals at military medical bases and serving meals to deploying troops — is in its 11th year. “We’re poised and positive to do so much of service to the men and women of our military.”

He said he’s looking forward to Veterans Day and a salute to veterans ceremony at the National World War II museum in New Orleans, La. That week, he’ll be giving away another house to a wounded veteran, as well.

When Forrest Gump first played in theaters in 1994, Lt. Dan — Gump’s no-nonsense platoon leader in Vietnam — resonated with veterans, especially those who served in Vietnam. One oft-cited scene, which critics have called a classic in American film, involves Lt. Dan climbing to the top of the mast on Gump’s shrimping boat during a lashing storm, shaking his fist and hollering at God.

“Never once did he think that either one was going to happen, that he was going to lose his legs and also suffer PTSD and tremendous guilt,” Sinise said. “This is not an uncommon thing, and then he isolates, drowning himself in alcohol and drugs.

“That scene is an absolute metaphor for wrestling those demons… That was the story of many Vietnam veterans.

“And he wins. It’s the story of a Vietnam vet that we hadn’t seen before.”

Lt. Dan Band performs at an Invincible Spirit Festival providing respite from medical treatments for wounded warriors and their family members
The Lt. Dan Band performs at an Invincible Spirit Festival providing respite from medical treatments for wounded warriors and their family members. (Courtesy of Gary Sinise Foundation)

After the storm, Lt. Dan is seen floating on his back in the calm waters of Bayou La Batre. Later, at Gump’s wedding, he shows up with what Gump calls “magic legs.” Lt. Dan has received prosthetics. He is newly married and clearly sober and happy.

Sinise, a rock and roller from the Chicago area (he’s a lifelong Bears and Cubs fan), didn’t anticipate the attention that would come his way.

But it did, and quickly.

It was a pivot point in Sinise’s life. He said he was so deeply moved that he felt compelled to turn his emotions into action.

Around the turn of the new century, that’s what he did. One strategy he employed was to introduce himself as Lt. Dan when trying to make inroads with organizations.

“They’d patch me right through,” he joked in an earlier interview.

In time, the bass player formed the Lt. Dan Band, which has put on more than 500 concerts for veterans who get to revel for a few hours in the 13-member group’s covers of Adele, Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars, Charlie Daniels and others.

Said one Marine, who asked to remain anonymous for privacy reasons: “Upon returning from my first tour in Afghanistan, the loss of more brothers than I’d like to remember was taking its toll. I saw a poster that the Lt. Dan Band was performing in my area and decided to attend. I like to believe that one show kept me from doing the unthinkable. Thank you for all you do.”

Sinise’s work on behalf of the military is described in detail in Grateful American, which includes, Sinise said, “hilarious things about my childhood.”

Mostly, it’s about his transformation.

Gary Sinise with Christian Brown during a RISE home visit
Gary Sinise with Christian Brown during a RISE home visit (Courtesy of Gary Sinise Foundation)

“The book continues to sell three years later,” he said. “It’s an interesting journey from self to service.”

None other than Clint Eastwood said about the 254-pager: “The book is called Grateful American, and I promise you after you read it, you will be grateful for what Gary has accomplished and contributed to our country.”

Forrest Gump won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (Robert Zemeckis) and Best Actor (Tom Hanks). Hanks and Sinise went on to team up in two other classics, Apollo 13 and The Green Mile.

“We hit it off,” Sinise said.

Hanks has joined Sinise on several occasions in efforts to benefit veterans.

“Tom’s been a good supporter of mine and what I’m trying to do,” Sinise said.

Sinise has also starred in Of Mice and Men (which he directed), Reindeer Games, Snake Eyes, Ransom, Mission to Mars, The Stand and Impostor.

In 2004, he began his first regular television series with the crime drama CSI: New York, in which he played Detective Mac Taylor. He was credited as a producer from season two onward and wrote the storyline of an episode.

In 2008, he was the narrator for the Discovery Channel’s miniseries, When We Left Earth.

Sinise was the executive producer — along with David Scantling — of the Iraq War documentary Brothers at War. The film features an American military family and the experiences of three brothers.

In 2009, Sinise narrated the highly acclaimed World War II in HD on the History Channel. In 2010, he narrated the World War II documentary, Missions That Changed the War on the Military Channel.

He has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and with the Presidential Citizen Medal — given to him by President George W. Bush for helping the military and Iraqi children.

Mona Lisa Faris and Gary Sinise standing together smiling for camera
U.S. Veterans Magazine’s publisher Mona Lisa Faris catches up with Gary Sinise at Sky Ball Foundation benefit.

But for all his fame and accolades, Sinise is that rare celebrity whose off-screen work might turn out to be his greatest legacy.

His foundation faced a major challenge when the United States withdrew from Afghanistan in 2021, ending the longest war in American history.

“That was a tragic withdrawal,” he said. “To watch the Taliban raise their flag was difficult for our military members to watch… We found ourselves reaching out to a lot of Afghanistan veterans and letting them know they have our support.”

The impact of Sinise’s foundation (garysinisefoundation.org) on the lives of veterans, first responders and their families is evident in the math.

To date, the foundation has built, modified or retrofitted 77 homes for severely-wounded heroes, dished out 771,144 meals to the nation’s defenders, donated 12,020 pieces of essential equipment to the military and first responders and provided supportive experiences and resources to 11,181 children of fallen servicemen and women.

“It is upon us to give back to our heroes to ensure they have the tools and resources to deal with their physical and invisible wounds,” he said. “It’s up to us to give them comfort. To give them support. To give them hope. I believe while we can never do enough for our nation’s defenders and the families who sacrifice alongside them, we can always do a little more.”

From Military to the Workforce: Building Your Resume

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Resumes provide a historical snapshot of your experience, knowledge and skills. Recruiters should be able to review your resume and understand the work you have done, the length of your experience and your capabilities within a matter of minutes.

Resumes should encapsulate your experience as briefly as possible. Quantifying your experience can make them easier for recruiters to understand.

What’s in a resume? All good resumes include some standard information:

  • Contact information
  • Work experience
  • List of technical skills
  • Education
  • Job-related training
  • Languages
  • Affiliations
  • Professional publications
  • Honors and awards
  • Veterans’ preference
  • Level of clearance held

Contact Information

The first section of a cover letter should include your contact information, such as your name, address, preferred phone number and personal email address.

Work Experience

Your most recent experience should be listed first, and the rest of your experience should be listed in reverse chronological order. Experience typically includes the company or agency you worked for, the position you held, the dates you worked there and highlights of your responsibilities.

Unless you have not been working for very long, you have no reason to detail the jobs you held early in your career. Focus on your most recent and relevant positions.

Highlight any accomplishments or results of your work that will be relevant to the position, such as those that:

  • Required extra effort
  • You completed independently
  • Demonstrated expertise
  • Received recognition

These should emphasize results you produced, dollars generated or saved, percentage improvements in performance, the extent to which you exceeded goals in the past or organizational turnarounds you created.

List of Technical Skills

Technical skills can vary widely from methodologies to software or hardware. Technical skills do not often require explanation and can be listed by name; however, you must qualify your experience with each so that recruiters know your level of understanding of these skills. For example, a recruiter that is interested in process improvement will know about Six Sigma (a business management and process improvement methodology), so you will not have to explain it, but if you listed that, you should state what level belt you are and how long you have been practicing. The same rule applies to word processing and programming tools or hardware, such as servers.

Education

Your education information should only include pertinent facts such as:

  • Name of the institution where you earned your highest degree
  • City and state of the institution
  • Date you graduated or received the degree
  • Specific degree earned
  • Minors or double majors

If you attended college or a technical school but did not receive a degree, you should state how long you attended and your field of study. However, you must be clear that you did not receive a degree. If you did not attend college or a vocational school, you would include information about your high school education or GED. List your most recent degree first. If you are still enrolled in an institution, list it. Do not forget to include the anticipated date of graduation and the degree expected.

Job-Related Training

You have most likely received a significant amount of job-related training through the military. Provide details on the training and courses that you took throughout your career. List only the training that has enhanced your experience and skills, which will be of immense value in your new position. If the course title is not descriptive or is unfamiliar, summarize or briefly describe the course to potential resume evaluators. Don’t assume the resume evaluator will understand the terms in your resume. If there is any doubt, convey the meaning.

Languages

If you include languages on your resume, state your level of fluency (such as novice, intermediate or advanced). Do not overstate your level of proficiency. If your fluency is very limited, it is probably not worth listing the language.

Affiliations

Your professional affiliations can relate your past work and your current job profile if you are working in the same field. On a resume, they inform recruiters that you have a professional interest beyond your day-to-day job.

Emphasize current contributions and provide some details to explain your abilities within precise areas. It is recommended that you not include any political affiliations since hiring managers or an agency may fail to judge you enthusiastically. If you decide to include them anyway, be tactful in describing your involvement.

If you have a lot of affiliations on your resume, recruiters may view you as an overachiever. Consider including only the most relevant ones or splitting them into career-related and community-related categories.

Professional Publications

List your publications in reverse chronological order. Only list those publications that relate directly to your career goal or the position you are applying for. Potential employers may attempt to track down your publication, so make sure the titles and your authorship are verifiable before including them.

References

Be prepared to provide references if requested. References are typically people who can verify your employment and vouch for your performance. A potential employer always thinks that a provided resume is up-to-date. If your references are not up-to-date when the resume is reviewed, your out-of-date list may harm your credibility or frustrate your recruiter.

Honors and Awards

Awards can tell a potential employer that previous employers or other organizations valued your accomplishments. The fact that you or your team received formal recognition for your efforts is a good indicator of your skills and work ethic.

Additional Information

Any information that does not fit in the other resume subject areas but is worth highlighting for a recruiter because of its relevance to the position or because it helps you stand out as a qualified candidate can go in this catch-all area.

Source: VA for Vets

Miles Teller: The Mile-High Act

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Actor Miles Teller arrives at the LA Special Screening of Amazon's

By Brady Rhoades

Miles Teller did a deep dive into war and its consequences in the 2017 movie, Thank You for Your Service. However, his most recent project: facing the challenges of Tom Cruise’s bootcamp, including grueling physical workouts, flying in F-18 Super Hornets and withstanding G-force? A different animal.

Teller, 35, plays Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw in Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the 1986 blockbuster Top Gun. Top Gun: Maverick centers on Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell with 30-plus years of service. Maverick is put in charge of training a group of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission under the orders of his fellow naval aviator, friend and former rival, Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), who is the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Rooster, the son of Maverick’s late best friend “Goose,” is one of the trainees.

The film stars Cruise, Teller, Jon Hamm and Jennifer Connelly, among others. “Good morning, aviators,” Teller tweeted on March 29, along with the film’s trailer.

Cruise might be 36 years older than when he jetted across big screens in the original Top Gun, but he’s as driven as ever, according to Teller and other costars.

Teller told reporters he was transformed into a “mini-Tom.” “You’re not just going into the gym and lifting some weights,” Teller told reporters. “We did flight training for three months before we started filming… We got put through the wringer.”

Teller is uniquely driven in his own way, due in part to the near miracle that he’s alive.

In 2007, the then-20-year-old was in a car crash — as a passenger — that hurtled him through a window and onto a road. The experience has not stopped the star from pursuing his passions with V-8 force. In that way, he’s not unlike his film father Goose, who in the original film responded to Maverick’s “I feel the need” with the now iconic phrase, “The need for speed!”

Post-military resumes: Tips for service members entering civilian workforce

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resume tips for military veterans transitioning into civilian life

By Cortney Moore, FOXBusiness

Veterans who are nearing their final deployment or have exited the military are likely in need of employment.

Many military ranks and jobs are transferable to civilian positions, but at times it can be hard to translate that service into terms recruiters understand. Here are six quick tips career experts recommend for veterans transitioning into the non-military workforce.

Knowing how to translate veterans’ skills and achievements into the civilian world is essential, according to Kimiko Ebata, a military transition specialist and founder of Ki Coaching, a career consulting service based in New York City.

“Service members should start this process by reviewing the civilian-friendly explanation of their Military Occupation Code (MOC) that is outlined on the website for their particular branch of service,” Ebata told FOX Business. “When reviewing this explanation, service members should pay special attention to the civilian-friendly descriptions that are used for their military occupation, as these will be the terms that will be most relevant to them with their civilian applications.”

She added that military performance reviews could help veterans when they’re first compiling their list of skills, which might include held positions or notes about secondary duties.

Whether a veteran has a specific industry in mind or would like to explore their options, having an appropriate resume with relevant experience could be the key to a callback.

Click here to read more on FOXBusiness.com

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ breaks longtime Memorial Day weekend record with $156-million opening

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Top Gun Maverick soars into Memorial Day with highest opening ever.

By Tracy Brown, Los Angeles Times

“Top Gun: Maverick” soared to the highest-ever Memorial Day weekend opening by raking in an impressive $156 million at the domestic box office in its first four days of release.

The updated estimates from measurement firm Comscore released Monday pushes Paramount’s highly anticipated “Top Gun” sequel past the previous record-setting Memorial Day total set by Disney’s 2007 “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.” The third film in the “Pirates” franchise earned $153 million over the extended holiday weekend.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski, “Top Gun: Maverick” sees Tom Cruise return as his iconic Navy pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell 36 years after he first charmed audiences in the original “Top Gun.” This time around, Cruise’s Maverick is sent back to the Top Gun program as an instructor charged with training the next generation of elite fighter pilots.

In his review, Times film critic Justin Chang described the film as “ridiculous and often ridiculously entertaining.” “As a rare big-budget Hollywood movie about men and women who fly without capes, it has a lot riding on it,” Chang wrote of the film. “Once set for a summer 2020 release but delayed almost two years by the pandemic, it arrives bearing the hopes and dreams of a tentatively resurgent industry that could use a non-Marvel theatrical hit.”

Variety reported that approximately 55% of the movie’s audiences were 35 years or older, indicating appeal to demographics that have been most reluctant to return to theaters.

“Top Gun: Maverick” has smashed early box-office expectations, which predicted the sequel would earn $130 million over the four-day weekend. The film also marks Cruise’s biggest domestic launch ever. Overall, “Maverick’s” estimated global box office haul is $252.7 million for its opening weekend.

Click here to read the full story from the Los Angeles Times.

Coast Guard Admiral to Become First Female Service Chief, Shattering Another Glass Ceiling

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Linda L. Fagan becomes first female service chief in the coast guard.

By John Ismay, The New York Times

Adm. Linda L. Fagan will shatter one of the last glass ceilings in the military on Wednesday when she takes the oath as commandant of the Coast Guard and becomes the first female officer to lead a branch of the American armed forces.

Admiral Fagan, who was previously the service’s second in command, graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1985, in just the sixth class that included women. She steadily rose through the ranks, serving at sea on an icebreaker, and ashore as a marine safety officer.

It was not until much later in her career that she thought becoming commandant might even be possible.

“A lot of people would say, ‘Oh yeah, I knew she was going to be an admiral,’ but I didn’t think about it,” Admiral Fagan recalled. “Even when I was first selected as an admiral you don’t think about it, and then all of a sudden you look around and you go, ‘Oh yeah, all right, I guess this is possible.’ ”

When I look up in the organization, at least just a couple years ago there was not a ton of diversity,” Admiral Fagan said in an interview. “Even still we don’t have the diversity we need at the senior leadership ranks. But as I look back, it’s all there and coming — certainly for women, and we still need to increase our number of underrepresented minority males.”

She will be the 27th commandant of the service, which traces its roots back to the creation of the Revenue Cutter Service shortly after the Revolutionary War, and merged with the U.S. Life-Saving Service to become the Coast Guard in 1915.

At Coast Guard headquarters in Washington last week, Admiral Fagan noted the historic significance of her achievement as she walked through a hall filled with portraits of her predecessors. She paused in front of a painting of Adm. Owen W. Siler, the 15th commandant of the service, in the 1970s.

Click here to read more on the New York Times

Young ‘Top Gun’ fan grows up to become Jacksonville pilot, airport director.

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Top Gun Fans becomes pilot 36 years after first movie release

By Renata Di Gregorio, Fire Coast News

Here’s a guess for what you may have done this weekend: go to the movies!

The new “Top Gun” hit theaters, 36 years since the first one. That means it was 36 years ago that some little kids were watching and now some of those kids are adults working in aviation.

Matt Bocchino was a young boy when he watched the first “Top Gun” movie and got inspired. Now he’s the one in the sky.

“I don’t think my mom knew that I saw it at that age,” Bocchino laughed.

After that, the path, or you could say the runway, was laid out for Bocchino’s future.

“‘Top Gun’ was definitely a huge part of my reason for getting into the aviation industry,” he said.

Now Bocchino is a pilot and the director of Cecil Airport and Spaceport.

The action, the adrenaline, the airplanes, the loud noises, which is kind of how I ended up at Cecil,” Bocchino said. “A lot of stuff you see in the movie there happens out here.”

In 2019 Tom Cruise’s fighter jet from the movie was at Cecil Airport and Spaceport.

“It flew into Cecil and then Boeing converted it into a Blue Angel,” Bocchino said.

Now decades after “Top Gun” debuted, the kid with the popcorn has become the man in aviator sunglasses flying the plane.

“It’s freedom,” said Bocchino. “There’s a famous saying, ‘a mile of runway will take you anywhere.'”

The first stop: to the movies.

If the original movie helped inspire Bocchino to become a pilot, could Hollywood help the pilot shortage?

“Partially because of this movie, I wanted to be in the military or fly for a living or both,” Bocchino said. “I’m Type 1 diabetic so that’s how we ended up in this path.”

Click here to read more on firecoastnews.com

Top Gun Then And Now

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By Danielle Jackola, Editor U.S. Veterans Magazine

As we countdown the days to the long-awaited release of Top Gun: Maverick on Friday, May 27 in time for Memorial Day weekend, we reflect on the film’s origin story. U.S. Veterans Magazine sat down with the ‘Godfather of Top Gun,’ Dan Pedersen as he shared the history of the program, why it’s creation came at a pivotal time and how it has impacted our nation’s approach to dogfighting.

Read more about the Top Gun program, Dan Pedersen and the eight other Airmen who brought this unparalleled program to fruition before you sit in theaters with popcorn in hand to be swept away by the cinematographic delights of Top Gun: Maverick.

The actors who brought this tale to life attended a premiere on the USS Midway in San Diego, Calif. on May 4 in celebration of the film and the rich history of the Top Gun program.

Photo caption above picture: Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, Danny Ramirez, Jay Ellis, Lyliana Wray, Bashir Salahuddin, Miles Teller, Charles Parnell, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Connelly, Jake Picking, Tom Cruise, Lewis Pullman, Jean Louisa Kelly, Greg Tarzan Davis, Kara Wang, Raymond Lee, Jack Schumacher and Manny Jacinto attend the Global Premiere of Top Gun: Maverick on May 04, 2022, in San Diego, Calif. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

Top Gun USVM May Issue 2022 cover story collage of images

We all look forward to viewing Top Gun: Maverick and honoring the Airmen who made it all possible with their dedication to service as elite fighters.

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Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. Multiple Hire GI Hiring Events During June-December!
    June 21, 2022 - December 8, 2022
  4. Commercial UAV Expo Americas
    September 6, 2022 - September 8, 2022
  5. Department of the Navy Gold Coast Small Business Procurement Event
    September 6, 2022 - September 8, 2022