The Air Force this month demonstrated an exoskeleton it hopes will allow aerial porters to load cargo onto aircraft with fewer injuries and less fatigue.
The Forge System exoskeleton is designed to augment the leg strength of aerial porters, who are in charge of managing and loading passengers and cargo on and off mobility aircraft, with pneumatically-powered leg braces and a backpack.
“Women veterans are a strong group of people. They worked hard, deployed, raised families and sacrificed their time, energy and selves to earn their ranks, titles and places in history books that have not yet been written.
Women have great instincts and deserve a seat at every table, in every boardroom, at every town hall meeting and at any discussion where decisions need to be made. Women have always been an integral part of society and [the] future of the world. It’s time that women are put out front to receive the recognition of all the decades of hard work that has been put in to establish a legacy in the armed forces.” -retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Carla Perez, USMC
Let’s meet one of these esteemed women, 28-year USMC veteran retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Carla Perez. MGySgt Perez began her career in the Marines on May 17, 1993, and retired on December 31, 2021. Her service included three deployments: Bosnia in 1996, Iraq in 2008-2009 and Afghanistan in 2010-2011. She was stationed in many places around the globe, including 29 Palms, California; Iwakuni, Japan; Camp Pendleton, California; Vancouver, Washington; Marine Corps Air Station, Mira Mar in San Diego and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Although Perez was raised in a family of veterans, the military was not initially in her plans. She graduated high school and went on to college at the University of Montana but returned home to Oregon when she didn’t have the funds to continue her studies. There, she worked a few odd jobs until a recruiter found her and offered her the opportunity to join the Marine Corps. You can say the rest is history!
While serving in the Marines, Perez found that women progressed in the Marine Corps in both rank and job opportunities at a fair rate. She never felt as though being a woman held her back. Previously closed jobs in the combat arms MOS had opened, and women were assigned to traditionally male units. Early in that transition, women were doing combat supporting jobs, admin, supply
In 2008 for one year as their Logistics/Supply Chief. The unit was assigned a Civil Affairs mission. There were only a handful of women assigned to that battalion for the duration of that deployment.
Transitions can be difficult. Moving from a career in the military to civilian life is one of those challenging transitions. I asked Perez how she prepared for her retirement. She had been thinking about the transition for a few years before submitting papers to retire and felt as prepared as she could be. Perez is a few college courses shy of a BS in Criminal Justice and initially thought about returning to school at the beginning of her transition. Throughout her time in the Marine Corps, she worked in the Supply/Logistics field and felt that her resume would make her a strong candidate in either of those fields. She knew she had more to give beyond the last 29 years of her life as a Marine, and she was excited to see what opportunities awaited her.
Initially, she took a few months off to spend time with her family and relax. Everyone should take time off from the rigorous schedule the military requires of its service members to just exhale. She highly recommends this approach! In February 2022, she was given the opportunity to work for Liberty Military Housing. She currently holds the position of Director of Military Affairs, Southwest Marines, Housing. Her region encompasses Camp Pendleton, 29 Palms, Yuma, Colville and Kansas City — a few locations where she was stationed during her career.
I asked her how her military career prepared her for her current role in her civilian career. She responded, “Being a Marine and being a person of service was something I am very good at. I am flexible yet mission-oriented. I like to get things done and take care of people. This job is the perfect fit for me. My job responsibilities are very closely tied to the military and taking care of military families. I bridge the gap between our government housing partner and Liberty Military Housing. I am honored to be able to continue to be so closely connected to Marines and military families that live aboard our installations.”
I inquired about the advice she would give someone considering a career in the military or someone preparing to transition to the civilian sector. Perez replied, “Choosing a career in the USMC is like no other job in the world. Hard work will always be rewarded and not go unnoticed. Being a Marine is a tough job that comes with a lot of responsibility. Upholding and honoring traditions of all the men and women that have gone before us is something that sets Marines apart. There are very few Marines and even fewer female Marines — expect to work just as hard as all of those around you, if not harder, both men and women. There are so many intangible traits and feelings that make Marines who they are that cannot be explained — experiences and a sense of pride that cannot be compared to anything else. Being a good leader takes time and work. More energy and personal time spent away from your daily duties are what it takes to go the distance in the USMC. Working hard and staying focused is the best advice I can give.
”Perez continues, “Think ahead about your transition out of the USMC. A few years in advance, have a mental picture of what you want your life after to look like. Take the necessary steps to prepare to depart. It will have to be a fluid plan until you make your final decision. Be flexible and keep an open mind. You will have so much to offer the world, more than you can just write on a paper or summarize on a resume. You will have all the tools you need to make the move, don’t be afraid; just have a plan with a few options.
”And that, my friends, is proof that the long-standing slogan, “Once a Marine, Always a Marine,” is as true today as it was when Marine Corps Master Sergeant Paul Woyshner first shouted it. I enjoyed my time with MGySgt Perez and appreciated her insight into navigating the transition after a career in service to our country.
Celeb Elvis Presley was far from the only person of fame to have served in the U.S. military. In fact, several people who are known for their accomplishments in other fields got their start in the armed forces. Meet some of the other well-known veterans throughout history that you may not be aware of:
The Apollo 11 Team
Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins comprised the historic Apollo 11 Team that successfully landed and walked on the moon in 1969. While they will always be remembered as the first men to go to the moon, all three of them served in the military. Armstrong served as a Navy pilot and saw action in the Korean War, Aldrin was among the top of his class at West Point before serving in Korea with the Air Force and Collins was a member of some of the most prestigious flight programs as a fighter pilot for the Air Force. All three men used their experiences from the military to eventually become astronauts with NASA, leading to the first-ever moon mission that marked their names in history.
At the ripe age of 18, before his musical career took off, Johnny Cash was a staff sergeant for the U.S. Air Force. Serving from 1950-1954, Cash was assigned to the 12th Radio Squadron Mobile of the U.S. Air Force Security Service at Landsberg, West Germany where he worked as a morse code operator intercepting Soviet Army transmissions. In fact, Cash was officially the first American to know about Stalin’s death when he decoded a message while monitoring Soviet Morse Code chatter in 1953. Cash was then tasked to tell the critical information to his superiors. Cash began his musical journey during his time in the military, having formed his first band during service: The Landsberg Barbarians. After his service and into his thriving musical legacy, Cash continued to show his appreciation for his roots by participating in concerts and events designed to support our nation’s troops.
Bea Arthur and Betty White
Long before they were your favorite Golden Girls, Bea Arthur and Betty White served in the U.S. military. At just 20 years old, Bea Arthur enlisted with the Marine Corps’ Women’s Reservists, becoming one of the first people to do so. She served as a typist at Marine Headquarters
in Washington, D.C. and later transferred to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to become a driver and dispatcher. Arthur was honorably discharged at the end of the war in 1945 with the title of staff sergeant. White served with the American Women’s Voluntary Services; an organization dedicated to providing support to the war effort. She also worked as a PX truck driver delivering military supplies to the barracks in the Hollywood Hills and regularly attended farewell dances for departing troops hosted to boost troop morale.
One of the most beloved figures in the veteran community, Chuck Norris wouldn’t be who he is today if it wasn’t for his service in the Air Force. In 1958, after graduating high school, Norris became an Air Policeman and was stationed at Osan Air Base in South Korea. It was there that Norris began studying martial arts and earned his first black belt in Tang Soo Do. Once Norris was discharged from service in 1962, he went on to participate in martial arts competitions, became the World Middleweight Karate Champion from 1968 to 1974 and launched his acting career. Though it’s been 60 years since Norris was discharged from the Air Force, he still dedicates his projects, time and money to veterans’ efforts. He has worked with organizations such as the USO and the Veterans Administration National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans and was the spokesperson for the U.S. Veterans Administration. He received the Veteran of the Year award from the Air Force in 2001 and was even made an honorary Marine in 2007.
Everyone knows Harriet Tubman and her brilliant work with the Underground Railroad, but many people often forget her military history. After escaping slavery and rescuing over 70 other slaves working for the Underground Railroad, Tubman worked with Colonel James Montgomery and the Union Army as a nurse and spy. Her work consisted of tending to the wounds of soldiers and escaped slaves, but mostly entailed gaining intel on the Confederate soldiers for the Union Army. Tubman created a spy ring in South Carolina, paid informants for intel that would be useful to the Union Army and was one of the leaders that helped to plan and execute the Combahee Ferry Raid. The raid successfully caught Confederate soldiers off guard, allowing a group of Black Union Army soldiers to free more than 700 slaves. Her contributions made her the first woman in American history to lead a military assault.
Before her career as a senator for the state of Illinois, Tammy Duckworth was a combat veteran of the Iraq War. Joining the Army Reserves in 1990 and transferring to the National Guard in 1996, Duckworth served as a helicopter pilot while stationed in Iraq. In 2004, her helicopter was hit by a rocketpropelled grenade resulting in the loss of both of her legs and limited mobility in her right arm. Despite being the first female double amputee of that particular war, Duckworth obtained a medical waiver that allowed her to continue her service in the National Guard for another 10 years. She retired in 2014 at the rank of lieutenant colonel. Duckworth has worked relentlessly to advocate for the needs and wellbeing of the veteran community. With her high ranking position with the Department of Veterans Affairs and her status as a U.S. senator, Duckworth has created government-sponsored programs to help veterans with PTSD, advocated for the needs of women and Native American veterans, created initiatives to bring an end to veteran homelessness and helped pass the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Before Clint Eastwood was an actor, musician, director and your favorite gun-slinging cowboy, he served in the U.S. Army. In fact, without Eastwood’s Army service, he may have never become the iconic figure he is today. Before he got the chance to enroll in college, Eastwood was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. He served as a lifeguard and swim instructor at Fort Ord in California where he met future co-stars Martin Milner and David Janssen. Upon discharge from the Army, Eastwood used his GI Bill benefits to study drama at L.A. City College and soon after landed his contract with Universal Studios. The rest is history.
James Earl Jones
An iconic actor with a distinctive voice, James Earl Jones is best known for his work throughout Hollywood and as the voice of one of Hollywood’s most notorious sci-fi villains, Darth Vader. But before he ventured into the world of Hollywood, Jones served with the Army during the Korean War. A member of the University of Michigan’s Reserve Officer Training Corps, Jones was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army and assigned to Headquarters Company, 38th Regimental Combat Team. Jones served his first and only assignment at the former Camp Hale, where he helped establish a cold weather training command. His battalion became a training unit and Jones was promoted to first lieutenant before being discharged soon after. He went on to begin his acting career straight out of the service at the Ramsdell Theater in Michigan and has since made significant contributions to the world of the arts.
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.
Quickly identifying and treating serious wounds is an age-old problem that’s killed countless soldiers, but it could see a solution in new technology that uses embedded sensors to detect, alert and one day treat injuries.
The Smart Shirt for Wound Detection has been tested by soldiers, airmen and special operations forces recently and could be ready for fielding in the next year, Legionarius chief operating officer and co-founder Dr. Alexander Gruentzig told Army Times.
The shirt was on display at the annual Association of the U.S. Army Meeting and Exposition Monday as one of the recent xTechSearch competition winners.
The government program solicits technology solutions to solve big Army problems and winners receive small business innovation grants to further their research.
“They can detect any kind of wound. The garment detects any type of penetration, anything that can cause massive hemorrhaging,” Gruentzig explained Monday. “We’re trying to decrease the time from injury to point of treatment.”
But the truth is, no one keeps detailed data on what’s stopping America’s youth from signing up. Experts and senior military leaders point to the perennial factors of competition from the private sector and a dwindling number of young Americans both qualified and interested in military service. But what they don’t have much information on is why that propensity is going down, and whether the country is undergoing an ideological shift in attitude toward military service.
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.
But experts warn that the larger pool will not necessarily lead to an increase in the number of veterans in office, since many of the hopefuls are in districts that significantly favor their opponents’ party.
To create products that serve increasingly diverse customers and solve a wider range of social problems, technology companies need women engineers. However, only 25 percent of math and computer science jobs in the United States are filled by women, and one-third of women in the U.S. and China quit these jobs mid-career due to factors like social isolation, a lack of access to creative technical roles and difficulty advancing to leadership positions.
At Bloomberg, we’ve established a company culture that supports gender equality in a multitude of ways – from company-wide Diversity & Inclusion business plans to a newly expanded family leave policy. But we know that’s not enough. In recent years, we’ve adopted a system-wide approach to increasing the number of women in technical roles, taking steps to remove barriers to advancement both inside our organization and beyond Bloomberg, supporting female talent from middle school through mid-career.
While the number of women in technical jobs at Bloomberg is growing, we’re committed to making progress faster and completing all the steps needed to solve the equation. Here are some of the ways we’re tackling this important deficit – and making quantifiable change.
Bloomberg supports organizations that help increase women’s participation in STEM and financial technology, exposing students to various career options through Bloomberg Startup and encouraging our female engineers to engage with the next generation of talent.
Collaboration, creativity, and a love of problem-solving drew Chelsea Ohh to the field of engineering. Now she works at Bloomberg as a software engineer team lead, helping to provide critical information to financial decision makers across the globe.
Women engineers can sharpen their technical skills through open courses, on-site training sessions, and business hackathons held throughout the year. Bloomberg is committed to inspiring our female employees, eliminating barriers like impostor syndrome, and encouraging them to pursue opportunities in engineering.
Community & allies
To strengthen its network of female engineers, global BWIT (Bloomberg Women in Technology) chapters organize more than 150 events, mentoring sessions, and meet-ups a year. The community also engages male allies and advocates, sharing strategies to help them support their female colleagues.
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.
This year’sNavy Gold Coast Conferenceattracted 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.
navyNavyThe 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, includingExporting, 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.
If you’re a military spouse looking to expand your career options and further your education, you have a plethora of resources available to help your journey from grants to scholarships and everything in between.
Military spouses are eligible for several benefits while pursuing a postsecondary degree or advancing their career goals. The programs, grants and scholarships listed below will help pay for a college degree or a vocational training certificate of your choice.
Military Services Education Assistance Programs
Each branch of the military offers education assistance programs for their service members and dependents. Here are some examples:
Coast Guard Mutual Assistance Supplemental Education Grants:The CGMA Supplemental Education Grant Program offers financial assistance to service members and eligible family members by reimbursing certain costs associated with seeking a college degree, a vocational and technical training certificate or a General Equivalency Diploma, not covered by Coast Guard Tuition Assistance or similar programs.
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Education Assistance Program:The NMCRS Education Assistance Program offers interest-free loans and grants ranging from $500 to $3,000 per academic year to spouses of active-duty and retired service members for undergraduate programs at an accredited two- or four-year institution.
Army Emergency Relief Spouse Education Assistance Program:The Army’s Spouse Education Assistance Program is a need-based scholarship program that assists Army spouses in obtaining their first undergraduate degree. They may receive assistance for up to four academic years of full-time study or eight academic years of part-time study if they meet the eligibility criteria.
There are plenty of scholarships and grants available to military spouses awarded by nonprofit and federal agencies, such as:
My Career Advancement Account Scholarship Program, or MyCAA: The My Career Advancement Account Scholarship is a workforce development program that provides eligible military spouses with up to $4,000 in financial assistance for licenses, certifications or associate degrees to pursue an occupation or career field.
ThanksUSA Special Military Spouse Scholarships: The Purdue University Global/ThanksUSA Scholarship awards a full tuition scholarship for an eligible military spouse for an online undergraduate degree program at Purdue University Global. The Linda J. Romeo/ThanksUSA scholarship grants $4,000 to a female military spouse residing in the Washington, D.C., area attending Northern Virginia Community College.
Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship Program: Sponsored by the National Military Family Association, this program grants scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,000 to spouses of active duty, retired and reserve/Guard members to pursue post-secondary or graduate degrees and professional training programs.
Veterans Affairs Programs
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers programs that help cover the cost of tuition not only for service members and veterans, but also for their dependents, such as:
The GI Bill®: service members may transfer all 36 months or the portion of unused Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits to a spouse or child as long as the request is completed while serving as an active member of the military.
The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship: a grant available for children and spouses of service members who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001.
The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program: education aid to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition or dependents of veterans who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition.
Other Financial Aid
Federal student aid: Visit the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid to explore different possibilities of financial aid.
State aid: Many states are ready to help with merit and need-based grants, loans and scholarships.
Private scholarships: You can find funds for school from private and nonprofit organizations — typically need- or merit-based with a specific qualifier.
Military Spouse Preference Program
With the help of the Military Spouse Preference program, you could be eligible for certain preferences when applying for Department of Defense civilian jobs, including civil service careers overseas.
Contact the human resources office at your duty station or visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS (installations.militaryonesource.mil) to apply for the Priority Placement Program for military spouses.
Resources for Transferring Professional Licenses
The Defense-State Liaison Office, from the Department of Defense, has worked to streamline state licensing procedures to make it easier for military spouses to find a job. These streamlined procedures still require the military spouse to apply for a license, so there may be some delays and costs involved.
Depending on your work, some occupations have established interstate compacts, which can help further reduce or eliminate the relicensing process, if your new state has approved the compact.
You can apply for up to $1,000 from your service branch in licensure and certification costs resulting from relocations or military moves within the United States or OCONUS to stateside.
If the process turns out to be lengthy or costly, you may be eligible for unemployment compensation. Your state’s employment office can offer more details.
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