Borne the Battle

Borne the Battle

By Department of Veterans Affairs

Borne the Battle recognizes each battle, challenge, and sacrifice our Veterans endure during and after their service, as well as spotlighting important resources, offices, and benefits VA offers our Veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not endorse or officially sanction any entities that may be discussed in this podcast, nor any media, products or services they may provide.


The Lung Precision Oncology Program (LPOP)

In this compelling episode, we welcome Dr. Holt, a board-certified Pulmonary and Critical Care physician, associate professor at the University of Miami, and a key member of the Miami VA Healthcare System. Dr. Holt leads a highly successful lung cancer screening program, showcasing his commitment to veteran care through early detection and advanced treatment methods.Key Highlights:Lung Precision Oncology Program (LPOP) Overview: Dr. Holt dives into the core mission of LPOP – identifying and examining lung tumors in their earliest stages, crucial for effective treatment. With lung cancer being a significant threat to veterans, LPOP's targeted approach is a game-changer in cancer care.Innovative Diagnostic Techniques: Discover how navigational bronchoscopy and CT scans are transforming lung cancer detection, offering non-invasive, precise tumor mapping. These technologies enable personalized treatments tailored to the patient's specific needs and the molecular profile of the tumor.Advancing Lung Cancer Treatment: Learn about the latest advancements in lung cancer therapy, focusing on targeted treatments with fewer side effects. Dr. Holt emphasizes the importance of early screening and the role of LPOP in driving scientific research and medical breakthroughs.Nationwide Impact of LPOP: Explore how LPOP, with its network of hubs across the country, is making advanced lung cancer screening and treatment accessible to veterans nationwide, contributing significantly to cancer research.Veteran Involvement and Advocacy: Understand how veterans are at the heart of LPOP, not only benefiting from cutting-edge treatments but also participating in the progress of scientific research.Resources and Events: Visit Lung Cancer Kilts Research Cures for more information on lung cancer advocacy and research.The Great American Smokeout: A reminder of the importance of smoking cessation in preventing lung cancer and supporting overall health.Tune in to this episode for an in-depth look at how Dr. Holt and the LPOP initiative are reshaping lung cancer care for veterans, offering hope and cutting-edge treatment options.
14/11/231h 2m

Empowering Veterans with the VA Health and Benefits App

On this week's episode of Borne the Battle, host Pablo Meza spoke with Rachel Han from VA's mobile app team, who shared how VA is using apps as a digital bridge connecting Veterans to VA's benefits and services.
27/05/2324m 3s

One Number, Countless Benefits: How 800-MYVA411 Simplifies VA Access

On this episode of Borne the Battle, we dive into the VA's efforts to make it easier for veterans to access the programs, services, and benefits they've earned. We learn about the VA's phone number, 800-MYVA411, and how it's the organization's "voice front door" to connect veterans with the right person or program. We hear a heartwarming story of a veteran who received assistance from a customer service representative and patient advocate to access the voucher program for the homeless. Our urges listeners who are veterans or have family members who are veterans to enroll in the VA healthcare system and use MYVA411 as a starting point for information and eligibility questions. Overall, this episode highlights the various services and programs offered by the VA and the efforts being made to improve accessibility and assistance for veterans.
16/05/2340m 58s

Revolutionary Rehabilitation: The National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic

In this episode, we talk with Jason Strickland, director of communications for The National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic. In this week-long event, veterans from 42 different states and 80 VA medical centers or clinics participate in activities such as skiing, fly fishing, rock climbing, and even sled hockey. Participants have a variety of disabilities, including profound disabilities, vision impairment, spinal cord injuries, amputations, and traumatic brain injuries. Organizers work with DAV to bring in sponsors who are committed to serving the veteran community, especially those suffering from disabilities.Additionally, we discuss how the staff and volunteers work tirelessly throughout the year to create this event. In addition to serving breakfast, repairing wheelchairs and instructing skiers, there are several volunteer opportunities available. We discuss the competitive nature of the application process for becoming a volunteer, as well as the importance of registering as early as possible.Follow their journey on social media with the handles @Sports4Vets and at
02/05/2335m 1s

National Disabled Veterans Golf Clinic: Empowering Veterans Through Adaptive Golf Programs

In this episode of the Borne the Battle Podcast, we're connecting Nick Beelner the Director of the National Disabled Veterans Golf Clinic, an adaptive golf program focused on empowering disabled veterans from coast to coast. We'll discuss the tailored golf lessons, user-friendly equipment, and entertaining activities they offer, as well as the sense of camaraderie and personal growth experienced by participants. Join us as we uncover the power of connection, teamwork, and triumphing over challenges with the remarkable individuals at the National Disabled Veterans Golf Clinic.  How To Apply For VA Health Care | Veterans - National Disabled Veterans Golf Clinic
17/04/2341m 33s

#280: Benefits Breakdown, Precision Medicine w/ Million Veteran Program

This week’s Borne the Battle – a benefits breakdown – features the Million Veteran Program (MVP), which is a national, voluntary research program to learn about how genes, lifestyle and military exposures affect health and illness and improve health care for Veterans.Sumitra Muralidhar, Ph.D. is the program director under VA's Office of Research and Development. Dr. Sumitra is motivated to help Veterans by overseeing the policy and infrastructure development for the collection and use of samples and genetic, clinical, lifestyle and military exposure data from one million Veterans. Since the program’s inception in 2011, 870,000 Veterans have enrolled and partnered with MVP.The Million Veteran Program is the world’s largest health care system-based research program on genetics, lifestyle, military exposure and health, with the goal of providing precision health care to Veterans and the population at large. Dr. Sumitra provides overall direction and management of the national program across sixty-plus VA medical centers, more than 70 community-based outpatient clinics; she also oversees operational leadership, coordination, implementation and oversight of all aspects of the program’s development and implementation, including policy development, fiscal management, regulatory affairs, public relations and scientific direction.Precision medicine is an innovative approach that has the potential to cure cancers, wipe out rare diseases, and improve the overall health of Veterans and even the general public. It’s changing the way we think about health care. With MVP, VA hopes to provide an invaluable tool for scientists to use in order to advance research and tailor disease prevention and treatment by taking into account the differences in an individual’s clinical, lifestyle and genetic information.In this episode of Borne the Battle, Dr. Sumitra answers these questions and more:What motivates her to help Veterans at VA?Why should Veterans enroll in the Million Veteran Program?Why should Veteran’s trust MVP with their genetic information?What studies are coming out of the program?What is the overall purpose of MVP?How VA can keep this genetic data safe through cloud databases?How can Veterans sign up and participate in MVP?Dr. Sumitra encourages Veterans from all backgrounds, races and ethnicities to sign up for the program, so it can really make a difference. It’s a legacy program, and it can revolutionize how health care is delivered for all other Veterans and even the general public.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Ismael MedinaAdditional Links:VA genetics program aims to increase mental health treatments for Veterans;Million Veteran Program – 10 years, 850,000 Veterans and one dream to revolutionize health care;VA’s Million Veterans Program seeks to enroll more women Veterans;VA's Million Veteran Program Publications through December 2021;We Need Volunteers;You Can Now Join VA's Million Veterans Program Online.VA publishes Interim Final Rule for Legal Services for Veterans Grant Program
06/06/2244m 5s

#279 Memorial Day w/ MG (ret.) Charles Swannack, Speedway MotorSports’ VP of Armed Forces Affairs

Retired Army Major General Charles (Chuck) Swannack, Jr. served in various command and staff positions during his thirty-plus years in the Army. He commanded the 82nd Airborne Division from October 2002 to May 2004, served as a brigade commander during Operation Uphold Democracy, was a battalion commander during Operation Nimrod Dancer and served in many more roles.Despite his impressive military service, Swannack argues that his contributions pale in comparison to the ones made by service members who lost their lives while in the line of duty. As a civilian, he helps Veterans and military families honor those who have fallen.In this Memorial Day Borne the Battle episode, Swannack discusses his eventful military career and then talks about how he does his part to honor the fallen.Swannack touches on his work with Speedway Motorsports (SMI) as executive director for SpeedwayChildren’s Charities. Through this non-profit fundraising organization, he works with local groups to help children facing challenging circumstances overcome obstacles standing in the way of their success.As SMI’s Vice President for Armed Forces Affairs, he also leads Speedway Motorsport’s “Welcome Home Patriots” initiative, designed to close the gap between the military and civilian community.Swannack further speaks about the Coca-Cola 600, a motorsport event that he looks forward to every year. Slated for the Sunday of every Memorial Day weekend, this race centers entirely around honoring the fallen. Listen to the podcast episode to learn more about why Swannack cannot help but shed tears at the Coca-Cola 600 every year.FOR A VIDEO RECAP OF THE 2021 COCA-COLA 600, CLICK HERE Swannack also serves as president of the Patriot Military Family Foundation. The foundation provides various forms of Veteran and military family support, including housing assistance, scholarships for children of Veterans, post-traumatic stress treatment assistance and much more.Swannack fundamentally believes that all Americans should live a life worthy of those who gave their lives for our freedom. He contends that fallen service members died so that members of the military and civilian community can be afforded the same opportunities to enjoy a fulfilling life. And he hopes that after this Memorial Day weekend, we can come out as a less divided nation and one that can promote our shared interests.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Every Veteran who has given their life for our country.Additional Links:PBS’ National Memorial Day Concert airs on PBS Sunday from 8:00 – 9:30 p.m. ET. For more information about the event and alternative ways of viewing it, click here.Coca-Cola 600 schedule here.VA launches $20 million innovation challenge to reduce Veteran suicide.After two years without gatherings, VA National Cemeteries to host public Memorial Day ceremonies.VA implements COVID-19 health protection levels enhancing Veteran, visitor and employee safety at medical facilities.
30/05/2253m 20s

#278 Recovering After Loss w/ MG (ret.) Mark Graham, US Army, Vets4Warriors, Father

Major General (retired) Mark Graham lost his two sons, Jeffrey and Kevin, less than a year apart from one another. Their deaths came unexpectedly and rocked the course of his life forever. For him, happiness will never be the same. And yet, he still finds joy in his life through helping Veterans triumph in their darkest moments.On this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Graham takes listeners on a riveting journey through his life. He described how personal loss, depression, mental health, family, grief, healing, perseverance and his service to the nation all intersected to shape him into the person he is today.Graham dedicated a substantial part of his life after his sons’ deaths to combat the stigma surrounding mental health. When he parented his sons, he felt that he severely underestimated the seriousness of depression. But he now iterates that mental health is real and a serious concern. Along with his wife, Carol, Graham established the Jeff and Kevin Graham Memorial Fund, among other organizations and funds, to collect donations that support the prevention of suicide and the study of depression.And because of his experiences, Graham is currently the director of Vets4Warriors, a nonprofit that runs a 24/7 confidential peer support network for struggling Veterans, active-duty service members, national guard, reservists, and families of any of these groups. This program hires Veterans and trains them to help guide Veterans or those in the military community who may be going through a difficult time in the right direction by connecting them with resources or just being a place to lend an open ear. The service is completely free and confidential.Call 1-855-838-8255 to get in touch with a Vets4Warriors peerThe Vets4Warriors program collaborates closely with the Veterans Crisis Line, which provides pointed assistance for Veterans in crisis.Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 to get in touch with a Veteran Crisis Line responderPBS’s 2022 National Memorial Day Concert will feature Graham and his wife sharing their story and how they hope to motivate those that are struggling to get help.Graham wants everyone who hears his story to seek assistance if suffering from poor mental health or depression. He recognizes that the first step of reaching out for help can be hard. But Graham also argues that there are people who want to help, people like himself who know what going through a traumatic time in life is like. He and his team at Vets4Warriors are ready to help.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Jeremiah Thomas WittmanAdditional Links:Distance should never be an impediment to getting support. The VA MISSION Act of 2020 improves access to community care. Learn more about the Act here.Borne the Battle episode 212 features Aaron Quinonez and his app Operation Pop Smoke. The app helps Veterans build their post-service squad to help one provide support for one another.Statement from Secretaries Fudge, McDonough, Vilsack and Yellen on continued efforts to connect homeowners to pandemic relief.
23/05/221h 1m

BtB Rewind: Nate Boyer, Army Veteran, Green Beret, Seattle Seahawk, Community Organizer

This week we revisit Army Green Beret Veteran and 37 year old NFL rookie Nate Boyer’s interview.
16/05/2235m 24s

#277 Rising Through Two Transitions with Army Veteran Olivia Nunn, Communications Director, Podcast Host

Olivia Nunn knew from a young age that she would join the Army one day; her father had been a combat engineer. She planned to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, but low test scores in math prevented her admission. Nunn’s parents supported her decision to join the military, but they insisted that she receive an education and become an officer, so she enrolled at Radford University in Virginia and joined the school’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program.After college, Nunn wanted to become an armor officer and be part of a tank crew, but when she joined the Army in 2001, women weren’t allowed to fill certain roles in the military. Instead, she spent a decade as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Officer in the Chemical Corps and served multiple tours of duty in Iraq before moving into public affairs. For several years, she helped to produce the Army’s Soldier for Life podcast and eventually hosted the program.“It looks easy, it looks glamorous,” Nunn says of podcasting, “but the truth is there’s a lot of work that goes into it.” Nunn spent a total of 20 years in the Army and recently retired. Afterward, she became a communications consultant and a beauty queen. “Your identity is wrapped up in your uniform,” Nunn says, “whether you do it for two years or 20 years.” While she was still on active duty, Nunn suffered a mental health crisis and contemplated suicide. In this episode of Borne the Battle, she opens up about her experience and talks about how she found the help she needed, the challenges of transitioning from soldier to civilian and the need for better mental health resources for military personnel.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Barney F. HajiroEXTRA LINKSOfficial Army Soldier for Life site – 
09/05/221h 11m

#276 Navy Veteran Ken Harbaugh, Nonprofit Entrepreneur, Podcast Host

Navy Veteran Ken Harbaugh grew up in a family of military pilots but never really thought about joining the military himself. However, in a moment of clarity while studying abroad during his junior year of college, he changed course. That led to him commissioning in the Navy and becoming a fighter pilot leading combat reconnaissance missions.After serving nine years, Harbaugh left the Navy and later enrolled at Yale University to study law. But the transition to civilian life was not easy for him. In this episode, he talks about what it was like adjusting and processing his emotions after leaving the military.Harbaugh discusses how his transition – and a trip to the Bethesda Naval Hospital – inspired him to co-found The Mission Continues, a nonprofit organization. He also talks about his progress to help Veterans transition back to civilian life and assist those with mental health issues.Harbaugh is a nonprofit entrepreneur who has been in leadership roles for many Veteran nonprofit organizations, such as The Mission Continues, ServiceNation and Team Rubicon. He talks about why he continues to serve in Veteran nonprofits.Lastly, Harbaugh talks about why he decided to work in media and how he became the host for multiple podcasts, such as Burn the Boats and Medal of Honor at Evergreen Podcasts. He also delves into how he formed partnerships with various podcast networks and what steps Veterans can take to start a new podcast.In this episode, Harbaugh also talks about:What he learned from his experiences in the military.Earning his law degree from Yale Law School.His time as a human rights researcher in Afghanistan.Working as a consultant for multiple Fortune 500 companies.Running for public office and how Veterans can become active in politics.Why it’s important to continue serving after the uniform comes off.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran Thomas Ferrell AllisonAdditional Links:Borne the Battle #239: Marine Corps Veteran Jake Wood, Entrepreneur, Co-founder of Team Rubicon.Borne the Battle #264: Veteran Roundtable – Afghanistan Withdrawal / Evacuation.Clay Hunt Act complements VA’s ongoing commitment to mental health.Veteran suicide prevention.Redevelopment of VA Greater Los Angeles West L.A. Campus represents proof of concept for the nation as a way forward in tackling homelessness VA establishes presumptive service connection for rare respiratory cancers for certain VeteransVA encourages volunteers to “Carry The Load” for an American hero during trek across countryVA expands reimbursement agreement program to Urban Indian Organizations
02/05/2258m 19s

#275 Benefits Breakdown, Office of Harassment and Assault Prevention

This week’s Borne the Battle–a benefits breakdown—features the Office of Harassment and Assault Prevention. The office’s goal is simple: All those who visit a VA facility should be treated with dignity and respect.However, recognizing how harassment or assault can manifest and what you can do to combat it may be less simple.Lelia Jackson, Marine Corp Veteran and director of the Office of Harassment and Assault, joins this week’s episode of Borne the Battle to discuss some difficult and even uncomfortable topics related to sexual harassment and assault. Topics include:Listening to some first-hand accounts of Veterans being sexually harassed or assaulted to show how hostile situations can manifest and how the victim feels in the moment.The cultural and generational influences that limit how some Veterans understand sexual harassment and assault and how to help them expand their worldviews.The different ways Veterans can combat sexual harassment and assault.Jackson firmly believes that the path to eliminating sexual harassment and assault in VA facilities necessitates having these tough conversations. Research indicates that 25.2% of women Veterans who routinely use VA primary care clinics reported facing inappropriate or unwarranted comments by male Veterans on VA grounds. And there are likely many more unreported cases and unaccounted instances where male Veterans face sexual harassment and assault. The path to elimination requires education.One way Jackson’s office educates Veterans is through their comprehensive Bystander Intervention Training for Veterans. The engaging 30-minute training teaches participants how to recognize hostile situations, the many ways of responding to them and how to get help.Jackson’s office also promotes the White Ribbon VA pledge. For her, the VA pledge is special because it recognizes that sexual harassment, sexual assault and domestic violence affect people of all genders.Importantly, every Veteran should report every instance of sexual harassment and assault they face. If you are a Veteran who has been sexually harassed or assaulted at a VA medical facility, contact one of the following for assistance:VA Police.Patient Advocate.Your Primary Care Provider.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Air Force Veteran Rosemary Hogan LucianoAdditional Links:Jackson’s office partnered with the VA Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program to combat the rise of domestic violence seen over the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out our podcast episode with that program here.April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and VA, as it is year-round, is ready to offer mental health support and services. Learn more here.VA issues Notice of Funding Opportunity for Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program
25/04/2250m 40s

BtB Rewind: Benefits Breakdown, Burn Pit Registry

Are you one of the 3 million Veterans eligible to join VA’s Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry (AHOBPR)? If you were exposed to toxic materials during your service and are worried about how it might affect you, joining the AHOBPR allows you to report your exposure and discuss your concerns with a health care professional after a free, voluntary medical exam. The information you provide will contribute to research that may help other Veterans in the future. To learn if you are eligible and how to sign up, tune in to this week’s special rewind episode of Borne the Battle.
18/04/2241m 9s

BtB Rewind: William "Mr. Feeny" Daniels, WWII Veteran, Actor, President of Screen Actors Guild

Before he was Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World or KITT on Knight Rider, William Daniels was a soldier in the U.S. Army. Daniels was drafted into the Army near the end of World War II and later used his GI Bill benefits to attend college and study acting. Tune in to this week’s special rewind episode of Borne the Battle to hear Daniels talk about being the first person in his family to attend college, meeting the pope, and using the skills he learned in the military to be successful after service. 
11/04/2229m 51s

BtB Rewind: Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Duke and USA Basketball, Army Veteran, 13 Final Fours

In honor of Coach K's record breaking 13th and final - Final Four appearance - this week we go back in time and revisit his Borne the Battle interview.
04/04/2222m 15s

#274 Veteran Treatment Courts w/ Army Veteran Fred Bourjaily, National Commander, Combat Infantry Badge Association

Six. That was the number of black bags Army Veteran Frederick Bourjaily and his comrades carried back to base after completing his first operation control assignment while serving in the Vietnam War. And though the experience happened over half-a-century ago, that memory lingers deeply in Bourjaily’s mind today.Bourjaily shares this story precisely because he wants others to hear it. He wants today’s young service members and military prospects to understand what war is like and to be prepared for all its brutality. He also wants Veterans who may be coping with their own traumas to know that they will never be alone.In this episode of Borne the Battle, Bourjaily shares what his war time experience was like while also being a father, and some ways he continues to help the Veteran community today as the national commander of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association. More than just being a group that brings together Veterans who received the Combat Infantryman Badge, Bourjaily leads the group agitating for military-oriented legislative reform in political arenas.Bourjaily was also a mentor with the Genesee County, Michigan Veterans Treatment Court.These Veteran-oriented courts – which regularly coordinate with VA – help many Veterans who commit non-violent offenses avoid falling into a cycle of trouble with the law. And Bourjaily helped Veterans who participated in this program follow a strict but manageable plan to get their lives back on track and get their crimes expunged from their record.Bourjaily struggled to readjust to civilian life because of the images he saw while serving. But he argues that the help he received from Veteran support groups, including the services provided by VA, helped him tremendously. He hopes that other Veterans will take the step to reach out for help as he did. Veterans like him are ready to assist.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Navy Veteran Kimberly MitchellAdditional Links:Want an idea of what treatment court is like? Check out this blog post featuring a day in the Milwaukee Veterans Treatment Court, here.Click herefor a complete list of Treatment Court related blog posts.For additional Veteran specific resources, check out the VA resources page, here.Treating Veterans with lingering “Long COVID”
28/03/2258m 47s

#273 Proudly She Served, Navy and Combat Pilot Veteran, Linda Maloney

At age 17, Linda Maloney knew that she wanted more. Her parents were divorced and couldn't afford to send her to college. Looking to take control of her life, she joined the Navy.“I think when you grow up in a difficult situation, obviously you want better for yourself, you know?” Maloney asked. “And I just wanted to impact my own life.”In the Navy, Maloney served as both an air traffic controller and a public affairs officer. She wanted to be a pilot – and had been fascinated by flight since her childhood – but postings for naval aviators were rare, with only a handful available each year. Her fortune changed in 1987, when one of that year’s flight school candidates dropped out, allowing Maloney to take that person's place. She graduated as a Naval flight officer in 1988 and spent the next 16 years as a U.S. Navy pilot. After the military’s Combat Exclusion Policy was lifted in 1993, Maloney became one of the first women pilots in the armed forces to serve in a combat role.On this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Maloney discusses her two decades of military service, including the combat exclusion laws she faced in the Navy, the value of maintaining personal relationships and the experience of ejecting over the Atlantic Ocean following an aircraft malfunction.After retiring from the Navy in 2004, Maloney became an author, public speaker and entrepreneur, and now serves as the project director of “Proudly She Served.” This project highlights and honors the service of women Veterans by depicting them in a collection of 12 hand-painted portraits that are both published in a printed book as well as exhibited to the public.“It was an amazing opportunity, I wouldn’t change it for anything,” Maloney said of her Navy career. “I could never repay the military for the opportunities that it gave to me.”Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Navy Veteran Katherine LeahyAdditional Links: Borne the Battle #187: Darlene Iskra: First Woman to Command a Ship in the NavyBorne the Battle 232: Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, USAF Veteran, Children's Book Author, Global MarketerVA releases Asset and Infrastructure Review report 
21/03/221h 11m

#272 Bad Robot Productions, NFTs and Wushu w/ Navy Veteran Andrew Bliss

Navy Veteran Andrew Bliss always wanted to work in the video production industry, but his journey wasn't straightforward. Before serving in the military, Bliss was an accomplished professional martial artist with over 10 years of experience coaching and mentoring students. Working as a martial artist eventually led him to the military.In the interview, Bliss talks about serving six years as a Navy broadcast journalist in Combat Camera at the Pentagon and his time directing and producing a feature film while on active duty in Italy before leaving the service.After creating a comfortable life for himself as a civilian, Bliss made the uncomfortable decision to sell all of his belongings, buy a motorcycle and make the long journey across America to the west coast. Bliss talks about why he chose not to take a differnet path to pursue his dream of working in the entertainment industry.Bliss discusses how he leapt from doing freelance and independent work to fulfilling his dream of working for a major entertainment company like Bad Robot Productions. He also talks about content creation, his current position, and how the framework he learned in the military helps him stay focused and grounded while working in Hollywood.Finally, he explains how important it is for Veterans to get involved with Veteran networking organizations, such as Veterans in Media & Entertainment, if they are interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.In this episode, Bliss also talks about:What he learned from his experiences in the military.Earning a degree in Interactive Design at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.The principles that have guided him during his military career and throughout civilian life.The fundamentals to being a part of any industry.Why it’s important for Veterans to have insatiable curiosity and the courage to pursue their dreams.His view of NFTs and the future of cryptocurrency.Borne the Battle Veteran of the WeekArmy Air Corps Veteran Gail "The Candy Bomber" HalvorsenAdditional Links:Borne the Battle #217: Jennifer Marshall – Navy Veteran, Host of CW’s Mysteries Decoded.VA will propose adding rare cancers to the presumed service-connected list as related to military environmental exposureVA supports women Veteran entrepreneurs in how to obtain government contracts VA publishes Interim Final Rule for Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant ProgramVeteran communities receive latest resources for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis 
14/03/221h 45m

#271 Preserving Little Known History w/ Army Veteran Tim McCoy

Tim McCoy was born in Fort Jackson, S.C. and grew up in a military environment. He eventually joined the military and gave almost 26 years of service until a health condition forced him out. Despite his abrupt departure, he continues to involve himself with the military community in his capacity as a historian focusing on giving a voice to the lesser known and often forgotten figures in American military history.McCoy lived a unique life compared to most Americans. He was a military brat whose service ended suddenly because of factors beyond his control. In this episode of Borne the Battle, he shares some details of his own life’s history:What it was like to adjust to new schools and environments as a military brat.How he coped with not being able to see his father for long periods of time as a kid.How his father inspired him to enlist in the military.The way he struggled to adjust to civilian life – “When you’re a warrior, it’s hard for you to admit that something’s wrong with you.”How he eventually found his place of belonging and purpose after being out of the military.But beyond just retelling his own past, McCoy loves studying America’s military past as well. As a historian who aspires to open his own military museum one day, he possesses a wealth of knowledge in military history. Here are some of the many historical facts McCoy mentioned in this episode that you may not have known or thought about:The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, an all-Black women battalion that ensured mail reached U.S. soldiers in the frontlines during World War II.“The Golden Thirteen” – the first 13 African American sailors who became commissioned and warrant officers in the U.S. Navy during World War II.A World War II destroyer escort and submarine attacking vessel, the USS Mason, which had a majority African American crew.The fact that Hawaiians participated in the American Civil War.In 2021, McCoy was the featured in PBS’s National Memorial Day Concert highlighting the 2nd Ranger Company, the Army’s only elite and all-Black Ranger company and served during the Korean War.From when he was born to today – all 57 years of it and counting – the military has been an integral part of McCoy’s life. Today he is committed to giving back by helping tell the stories of other Veterans who have not yet been heard.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran Marcia AndersonAdditional Links:McCoy’s nonprofit, Winged Warrior Inc., is running the Winged Warrior Project, aiming to “document the development, employment and deployment of Airborne Operations from its inception to present.”VA asks for public input on Veterans outdoor recreation experience
28/02/221h 4m

#270 Benefits Breakdown: VA Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization

This week’s Borne the Battle – a benefits breakdown – features the Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). They are an internal accountability office that protects and advocates for Veteran-owned businesses. They also work to ensure that Veteran entrepreneurs can compete and be selected for a fair amount of contract opportunities.Air Force Veteran Michelle Gardner-Ince is the director of the Women Veteran-Owned Small Business Initiative (WVOSBI), a directorate under OSDBU at VA. Gardner-Ince is motivated to help women Veteran entrepreneurs get opportunities, access and education to achieve their business goals. Since WVOSBI’s inception in 2019, it has provided women Veterans with networking and collaborative opportunities with Federal agencies and private-sector corporations.In this episode of Borne the Battle, Gardner-Ince answers these questions and more:What motivates her to help Veterans at VA?What is classified as a small business?What are the eligibility requirements for being certified as a Veteran-owned small business?How can a Veteran-owned small business become a Certified Veteran Enterprise (CVE)?How can Veteran-Owned small businesses avoid common mistakes when breaking into federal contracting?For Veterans who need help verifying their small business, OSDBU partnered with Procurement Technical Assistant Centers (PTACS), which helps to ensure that Veteran-owned small businesses can compete successfully in the government marketplace.Additionally, OSDBU helps Veterans understand the process of bidding on federal contracts through its Direct Access Program and Strategic Outreach and Communications office.But before contacting OSDBU, Gardner-Ince recommends that Veterans first reach out to the U.S. Small Business Administration's Veteran Business Outreach Center for assistance.OSDBU provides various services and programs that are ready to help Veteran-owned small businesses take the next steps to secure a federal contract. However, not enough women Veteran entrepreneurs know that these programs exist. Gardner-Ince aims to close the gap by reaching out to and helping Women Veteran-owned businesses by providing them with opportunities to understand the system and improve their business goals.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Marine Corps Veteran William McDowellAdditional Links:Borne the Battle #231: Army Veteran Dawn Halfaker, Combat Wounded Amputee, CEO of Halfaker and AssociatesWVOSB Resources.VA Women Veteran-Owned Small Business Initiative.Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA).VA COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan program updates.Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program.Veterans pave way forward through STEM and small businesses.Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization Vets First Verification Program.2.5 Million Small Businesses Are Owned by American Military Vets.VA proposes updates to disability rating schedules for respiratory, auditory and mental disorders body systems
21/02/221h 5m

#269 Airman to 4-Star General w/ Air Force Veteran Larry O. Spencer

With 44 years of service under his belt, Air Force Veteran, four-star general and former Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force Larry Spencer decided that he earned a well-deserved break and retired on a Friday in 2015. But that very following Monday, he went right back to work, promoting aerospace education in his new role as president of the Air Force Association.Did Spencer regret going straight back into work after retiring and does he recommend it to others? You might be surprised by his answer and what he recommends Veterans do instead.While Spencer commanded at all levels of the military and was the second-highest military member of the Air Force, he claimed that his favorite experience remains his first command post as a squadron commander. It might be a low-level command job, but Spencer explains why he found it to be the most rewarding of all his leadership experiences.Spencer also specializes in financial management and is a well-respected comptroller in the Air Force community. He wrote extensively on how money is used during times of war. In his latest book, The Green Eyeshades of War, he analyzes the complex policies, negotiations and procedures that are involved in financing a war.In recognition of his service to the nation, the Air Force created the General Larry O. Spencer Innovation Award in 2015. This award honors Airmen who made significant contributions to saving Air Force financial and manpower resources through innovation.Today, he is on the board of directors for Whirlpool Corporation and president of the Armed Forces Benefit Association and 5Star Life Insurance Company. He has lived a rich life thus far and shares much of his experiences and wisdom on this episode of Borne the Battle.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Alwyn C. CasheAdditional Links:In addition to writing The Green Eyeshades of War, Spencer also wrote on his upbringing and the journey that he took to reach the heights he did in his book Dark Horse.VA, HUD and community partners conduct annual homeless census.VA funding available to create technology helping eligible service members and Veterans adapt their homes.
14/02/221h 7m

#268 Active Duty Operational Support Orders and Red Carpet Interviews w/ Marine Veteran Elysa Acosta-Millan

Elysa Acosta-Millan was inspired by her brother to join the armed forces. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in the weeks following 9/11, and Acosta-Millan saw the positive effect that military service had on his personality. That, combined with an increasing desire for change in her personal life, led Acosta-Millan to consider a career in the Corps.Acosta-Millan spent more than seven years on active duty in the Marine Corps and now serves as a reservist working in public affairs. She is studying at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication on the campus of Arizona State University, and has also competed in beauty pageants, winning her first title in 2011.Join us on this week’s episode of Borne the Battle as Acosta-Millan discusses her experiences in the service, including how she and her brother were both posted to the same duty station in Japan, the importance of being professional and why she decided to become a journalist. She also talks about taking advantage of Active Duty for Operational Support (ADOS), a program common to several branches of the military that allows reservists to serve in temporary postings while receiving all the benefits of of active-duty, including time accumulated toward retirement.Acosta-Millan began working as a show host shortly before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which prevented her from conducting in-person interviews. Instead, she interviews subjects online, reaching out to them through email and social media. She invests a great deal of time and effort into researching and setting up each interview. At this stage of her career, in order to expand her portfolio, any expenses she incurs (wardrobe, editing, renting studio space, etc.) has to be paid for out of her own pocket – a subject she says is “just part of the job.” However, Elysa is determined reach her goals, both professionally and personally using the perseverance she learned in the military.
07/02/2258m 26s

#267 Founding Father of the Marine Corps Combat Hunter Program, Army Veteran Greg Williams, Human Pattern Recognition Specialist

This week’s Borne the Battle features Army Veteran Greg Williams, who has over 30 years of experience  training the skills and techniques used to identify specific human behavior patterns. Over that time, he's instructed every Tier One military force in the United States, as well as various international organizations.After serving six years in the Army, Williams transitioned to civilian life, working as an urban law enforcement professional. He discusses the specific skills and abilities he acquired while on the force and the limitations he faced while on duty.In the episode, Williams talks about progressing from police work to training the Human Behavior Pattern Recognition Analysis technique. He breaks down the definition of human behavior pattern recognition, how it can be used to predict danger, what it takes to gain expertise in human behavior pattern recognition and the factors that influence behavior.Williams decided to transfer the skills and abilities he learned to develop the world-renowned USMC's highly successful and lifesaving Combat Hunter Program. He delves into the program's history, its recruitment process, the high-profile endorsement he received, and what Marines can learn while taking the course. He talks about how human behavior is the foundation of many important programs. As a human behavior pattern recognition specialist, he explains how humans are the best part of the job – and the most challenging.Later, he explains why gas stations are the most dangerous places in the world and the importance of using critical thinking when stopping for a fuel up. Williams also shares advice on how Veterans can start a career in human behavior pattern recognition.In this episode:His mentors and the lessons he learned while in the military.The human pattern behavior recognition podcast he co-hosts.Why it’s important to listen to Veterans' personal stories and how to get involved in community programs for Veterans.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Navy Veteran Leah RosettiAdditional Links:Borne the Battle #191: Brian Marren, Human Behavior Pattern Recognition ExpertS. Marine Corps Combat Hunter ProgramThe Combat Hunter Program and Securing the VictoryThe Evolution of Combat HunterThreatened by lone-wolf attacks, Marines must become true human huntersA Situational Awareness Discussion Guide: “Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life”VA amplifies access to home, community-based services for eligible Veterans OPM affirms $15 minimum wage for federal civilian employees
31/01/221h 25m

#266 The Origins of Drone / Unmanned Warfare

With over two decades of experience, Mark Cooter and Alec Bierbauer have been called the “Wright Brothers” of the U.S. drone warfare program. They were the ones – in January 2000 – who were tasked with finding terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. They had nine months to carry out their mission.This week’s episode of Borne the Battle explores the history of drone warfare, which dates back to the 1990s, when drones were used as relatively simple, short-range surveillance tools.Here, Cooter and Bierbauer discuss how their team located bin Laden a full year before the events of 9/11 (and why they couldn’t take action against him), how weapons were first added to drones, and the ways in which drone technology has evolved over the last 20 years. They also talk about the psychological stress endured by today's drone operators and caution against minimizing the combat trauma faced by pilots and support crews.“It could very easily be perceived as a video game,” said Bierbauer in the podcast, “and it’s not.”U.S. rules of engagement hold that military forces could only attack an enemy target if they had “eyes on” – that is, if the target was under direct observation. Political considerations also meant that American troops could not be stationed in a friendly “host” country. Further complicating matters, manned spy planes could not be deployed unless they were also supported by search and rescue personnel, in case the aircraft was shot down. Using unmanned drones provided a solution to all of these problems: They didn’t require the presence of troops on the ground and could monitor targets from a distance without any risk to a pilot or crew.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Wendall Robert CramAdditional Links:VA, Civil Air Patrol chaplain corps to support families of Veterans at national cemeteriesMost recent VA Secretary press conferenceVA delays electronic health record implementation date due to COVID-19 surge in Ohio
24/01/221h 24m

#265 Benefits Breakdown: SSVF Program

SSVF is a program administered by VA to rapidly rehouse Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. National director of the SSVF program, John Kuhn, joins this episode of Borne the Battle to speak on the following:How the SSVF operates and what resources eligible Veterans can receive from utilizing it (2:18)An overview of the requirements organizations must meet before becoming a SSVF provider (5:02)How a local nonprofit can become a SSVF partner (6:04) Additional VA resources available for Veterans needing eviction protections, homelessness avoidance, and rapid rehousing resources (8:00)And unlike many VA-backed programs, enrolling into SSVF does not require any interaction with VA. Instead, an eligible Veteran simply needs to call or email their county’s SSVF partnered nonprofit or consumer cooperative to start receiving SSVF assistance. OPEN THIS EXCEL FILE TO FIND YOUR 2022 SSVF PROVIDERThe SSVF Program Office also provides its Shallow Subsidy service. The Shallow Subsidy provides rental assistance to low-income and extremely low-income Veterans who are enrolled in SSVF Rapid Rehousing or Homeless Prevention projects. And the Shallow Subsidy service is designed to incentivize recipients to raise their income by fixing the money they receive for two years. That means SSVF recipients can increase their income or benefits without the fear of losing their subsidies. For Veterans experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness and where SSVF assistance is not sufficient, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program will be able to help. Check out this Borne the Battle episode featuring HUD-VASH national director Meghan Deal for more details.   Additionally, the U.S. Treasury Department also has funds available to assist households unable to pay rent or utilities through its Emergency Rental Assistance Program.There is a variety of services and programs ready to help Veterans and their families overcome homelessness. However, not enough people know that these programs exist. SSVF aims to close that gap by connecting Veterans with housing support experts in their local communities. These people who can provide relevant and specialized support to meet any eligible Veteran’s needs.Of course, they need your help spreading the word about their program as well.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Lawrence BrooksAdditional information:Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are encouraged to contact National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for assistance. They can also visit their closest VA medical center without calling in advance.VA seeks feedback to guide new copayment waiver program for Veterans at risk for suicideVA health records now display gender identityVA designates flexible funding to support homeless Veterans
17/01/2232m 58s

#264 Veteran RoundTable: Afghanistan Withdrawal / Evacuation

Approximately four months have passed since the Afghanistan withdrawal. Since then, Veterans across the country have grappled with figuring out what it means to them. For some Veterans, these last four months could have felt like a painful slog. For others, it could have felt like a chaotic blur that whizzed right on by.We know that every Veteran will process the withdrawal from Afghanistan differently.This episode of Borne the Battle features four intrepid Afghanistan Veterans who discuss how they processed their own emotions as the Afghanistan withdrawal unfolded while reflecting on their service. The four Veterans are:Marine Veteran Stephen Kupryk served two tours in Afghanistan and now wrestles professionally under the name Steve Maclin.Air Force Veteran Amanda Huffman served in Afghanistan as a civil engineer before transitioning out of the military. She now hosts her own podcast addressing real issues women face while in the military, called Women of the Military Podcast.Marine Veteran Daniel Sharp served 11 years in the military and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He now runs his own media company to bring laughter to troops worldwide, and hosts his own podcast named The Smoke Pit.Marine Veteran Zachary Bell served two tours to Afghanistan and now dedicates a substantial part of his life assisting service members, Veterans, first responders and their families with his project, Veteran With A Sign.During and after the withdrawal, Kupryk thought about what he would have done differently. Huffman experienced the withdrawal with a therapist by her side. Sharp thought about the war in Afghanistan within its broader historical context, while Bell coped by using humor.In the end, no Veteran should ever have to feel alone. If this Borne the Battle roundtable resonated with you, please consider parsing through your own experience with fellow Veterans. To learn more about group counseling services, talk to a representative at your local Vet Center.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Air Force Veteran Jamie FoxAdditional Links:If you are a Veteran in crisis and need Veteran-oriented help, contact: 1-800-273-8255.Check out VA’s four-part series on how Afghanistan Veterans can get help through VA with the following links:How Afghanistan Veterans can reconcile their serviceHow Afghanistan Veterans can learn from Vietnam VeteransHow spouses, caregivers can support Veterans with PTSDResources for PTSDVA and Indian Health Service broaden scope to serve American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans VA statement on GPO printing and mailing delayVA advances Electronic Health Record Modernization programFor Veterans who need assistance due to the Afghanistan withdrawal, consider calling The Independence Fund call center
06/12/2155m 57s

BtB Rewind: VA Vet Centers

Original Air Date - 9/25/20192019 marks the 40th Anniversary of  VA's Vet Centers. They started as outreach for Vietnam Veterans who did not utilize the VA as much as WWII Veterans.This week’s interview is Pennsylvania National Guard Veteran Michael Fisher who is the Senior Readjustment Counselor. He leads and has direct oversight of over 300 Vet Centers, 80  Mobile Vet Centers and the  Vet Center Call Center. We broke it all down - how vet centers started, their differences between them and VA Medical Centers, their services and who is eligible. Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran Bernadette Agnes Payla Miller
29/11/2154m 24s

BtB Rewind: Alaska Native American Veterans Land Allotment Program of 2019

Original Air Date -7/27/2021This week's episode of Borne the Battle features one of its largest panels to date, as representatives from VA and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) break down the details of the Alaska Native Veterans Program of 2019. This episode features:Program manager Paul Krabacher (BLM).Acting Chief, Adjudication Services Section, Native Allotment Lead Candy Grimes (BLM).Land Transfer Resolution Specialist and Acting Native Liasion Ralph Eluska (BLM).Deputy Communications Director and Marine Corps Veteran Eric Tausch (BLM).Tribal Government Relations Specialist for the Continental/Midwest/North Atlantic Regions and Marine Corps Veteran Peter Vicaire (VA).The Alaska Native Veterans Program of 2019 allows Alaska Native Veterans who served in the Vietnam era, or an heir of theirs, to claim between 2.5 and 160 acres of land in Alaska. The BLM website hosts information about the program, including contact information, proposed rules for the program, a link to available lands, answers to frequently asked questions, and video from virtual public meetings about the program.How to Ensure You Receive your ApplicationPotentially eligible Veterans should update their contact information with the Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) Realty Tribal Service Provider and with BLM.BIA Enrollment Verification: (907) 271-4506BIA Realty: (800) 645-8465BLM Native Allotment Section: (907) 271-5998Potentially eligible Veterans should also request a copy of their DD-214 from the Alaska Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, US Department of Veteran Affairs. Your local VA office or Veteran Service Organization can provide assistance.How to Ensure the Program Works for YouPotentially eligible Veterans can coordinate a personal representative appointed by an Alaska State Court, or contact the Alaska Legal Services Corporation, for help coordinating a personal representative.Potentially eligible Veterans should also read the draft proposed rules for the program. There is a 30-day window for public commenting that ends on August 10, 2020.Use the interactive map of available lands for the program from the BLM website. You can claim and save a plot selection as a .pdf and turn it in with your claim. The map will be updated regularly as more lands become available and allotments are made. (This is an image of the interactive map; please click the link to go to the BLM website to use the interactive map.)Help Spread the WordVA, BLM and BIA need every Veteran’s help to spread the word about the program. In order to reach the estimated 2,200 eligible Veterans or their heirs, the program needs its contact information to be as up-to-date as possible. Veterans and non-Veterans can use this PDF flyer to spread the news and ensure that every Alaska Native Veteran who has earned their land will receive it.BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Jefferson E. Keel
22/11/2155m 19s

BtB Rewind: Lakota Warrior and Vietnam Veteran Dr. Robert Primeaux

Originally Aired - 11/20/2019: Native American Vietnam Veteran Robert Primeaux shared his journey from a Lakota reservation to the Army, to Hollywood.As a young man, Primeaux was eager to get off the reservation and see the world. To leave, he decided to join the Army. He trained in Fort Lewis and Fort Knox before joining the 101st Airborne Division and sent off to Vietnam.In 1972, Primeaux returned to the United States. His younger brother had been killed in a car accident, leaving Primeaux as the sole male survivor of his family.However, he did not stay in the Army long. A car accident of his own put him in a coma for three weeks. After he recovered, he was discharged.Primeaux then lived on his grandmother’s ranch while he recovered from his injuries. To help with his recovery, he began to self-rehab by working with the horses on the ranch. His love for horses gave him the opportunity to go to school through a rodeo scholarship from the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA).Between school and living on his family ranch, Primeaux met Michael Apted on the set of Thunderheart in South Dakota. Through this meeting, he landed a stunt role on Thunderheart and become eligible for access to the Union of the Screen Actors Guild.Later, Robert moved to LA to begin his film career where he landed roles in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and a more prominent role in Rough Riders. This role as Indian Bob was special to Primeaux because the director John Milius specifically created it with him in mind.Recently, Robert has been advocating for fallen service-members to be enshrines in the NFL Hall of Fame.Throughout his life, through thick and thin, Primeaux credited the Four Cardinal Lakota Virtues for helping him recover from the Vietnam War and his car accident.From childhood, Lakota Warriors were taught these four virtues. Primeaux stated that warriors who were taught the true meaning of these virtues learn to treat their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Air Corps Veteran Gus Palmer Sr. 
15/11/2152m 58s

#263: Marine Corps Birthday Episode, Kelly "Murph" Murphy, CBS Tough as Nails Winner, Model for Ariat International

When Marine Corps Veteran Kelly Murphy began an Instagram account to document his workouts, he never dreamed that it would lead him to becoming the winner of CBS’ "Tough as Nails" competition show. He left the set $200,000 dollars richer and the owner of a brand-new Ford F-150.In this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Murphy talks about life in the Marines, helping student Veterans find their place in civilian life and winning season one of the CBS competition show Tough as Nails.Murphy also works for the University of Central Missouri. He helps with outreach and recruitment for the university as well as mentors and helps student Veterans with their transition to civilian life.Murphy reflects on his own difficulties with transitioning to civilian life and advises Veterans currently separating from the military: “Go find your tribe to hang out with; go find your fellow Veterans, because it’ll help you.”Though he is retired from the Marine Corps, Murphy continues to maintain his physical strength and fitness. When the Instagram account he created to document his workouts gained a following, he was approached by the casting director of Tough as Nails. Of his time on the show, Murphy says: “It brought me back… to my Marine Corps days. The show kind of made me feel like my old self again.”Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week: Marine Veteran Gregory “Pappy” BoyingtonAdditional Links:Murphy’s Tough as Nails BioGI Bill Benefits Information
08/11/211h 13m

#262: Discovering Your Warrior Spirit with Air Force Veteran DJ Vanas

If there is anyone who knows what it means to be a warrior, it is Air Force Veteran D.J. Eagle Bear Vanas. D.J. Vanas travels around the country speaking at conventions packed with audience members, giving motivational presentations that teach people how to find their unique warrior spirit.You might be wondering, what exactly is the warrior spirit? Tribal nations, Fortune 500 companies, the military, and even the White House on two occasions have hired Vanas to answer that question. This episode of Borne the Battle offers the opportunity to hear him describe what exactly it means to embody the warrior spirit.Modern American culture often over romanticizes the warrior role and makes it out to be something unrealistic. Vanas brings the term back down to earth and emphasizes the beauty of imperfection, especially the warrior’s ability to learn and grow from mistakes.Leading by example, in this episode of Borne the Battle, Vanas talks about his life’s highs and lows:The life changing moment he learned of his appointment to the U.S. Air Force AcademyStruggling to learn how to take responsibility when starting out in the AcademyServing as the Academy’s youngest Chief of Minority EnrollmentGrappling with managing his military duties while also building up his speaking businessDeveloping a network and building the momentum he needed to reach the professional height he is at todayVanas sympathizes with the challenges that many face when leaving the military. Part of embodying the warrior spirit entails being flexible and leveraging the many skills we honed while in the military to build our new tribe, and then using those skills to make our communities a better and brighter place.To learn more about the warrior spirit, PBS hosted a program featuring Vanas teaching audiences how to tap into their slumbering warrior spirit.Being a warrior does not mean facing life’s struggles alone. It is okay to feel overwhelmed and it is okay to not always know the answer. We might not be bulletproof, but as Vanas argues, being a warrior means rising over and over again and to keep moving forward one step at a time.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Dennis Wolfe.Additional Links:Check out our interview with fellow Lakota Warrior Billy Mills, a Marine Corps Veteran and 1964 Olympic Gold Medalist. His path to Olympic Gold was never certain but he certainly never quit.Lakota Warrior and Vietnam Veteran Dr. Robert Primeaux bounced back after suffering a terrible car accident while serving. He kept moving forward and achieved his dream of being an actor.VA expands offering of COVID-19 booster vaccinesVA extends presumptive period for Persian Gulf War Veterans
01/11/211h 9m

#261: BJJ Evangelist, Meme Generator and Professional Educator, Marine Veteran Tim Davis

At first glance, Tim Davis was not an ideal candidate for the Marine Corps. Although he had wanted to join the Marines since grade school, Davis was unathletic, overweight and had a shoulder problem that would require surgery before he could qualify for service.“I was a big nerd,” Davis laughed. “I was functionally fat in the Marine Corps.”Davis was sworn into the Marines a week before the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Over the course of a 15-year career in the Corps, he deployed nine times, engaged in anti-terrorism operations in Southeast Asia, and collaborated with military forces from around the world.Today, Davis is working toward a doctorate in adult education and teaches ethics to the next generation of Marine Corps leaders. He’s also a minor internet celebrity, having appeared in a couple of Marine memes that went viral.In this week's episode of Borne the Battle, Tim Davis talks about the life lessons he learned in the Corps, making the transition from soldier to civilian, how his experiences in the military helped him prepare for a career as a teacher, and the difference between teaching adults and children. He also discusses the benefits of studying jiu-jitsu and how it helps to heal both body and mind.How does he do it? “Remain calm,” Davis said. “Find the humor in the situation.”Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Marine Veteran John ReyesAdditional Links: Veterans Jiu-JitsuVA prepares to get ahead of surge in backlogged claims VA stands up commission to recommend new Veterans Health Administration Under Secretary 
25/10/211h 40m

#260: Benefits Breakdown, VA Mobile Apps

This week's Borne the Battle – a benefits breakdown – features VA Mobile Mental Health Apps, which provides free tools and information to support and help Veterans manage PTSD-related symptoms and stress, learn mindfulness practices, aim to reduce suicide risk and strengthen parenting skills. The apps were designed to meet the needs of Veterans; they are free, easy to download, and are available via VA App Store, Google Play and Apple App Store.According to the 2021 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, some hopeful data shows that 399 fewer Veterans died from suicide in 2019 than in 2018, reflecting the lowest raw count of Veteran suicides since 2007.Navy and OIF Veteran Tim Avery, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist and readjustment counselor at the Peninsula Vet Center. These statistics are the reason why Avery’s work is so vital. In this episode of Borne the Battle, Avery answers these questions and more:How are the apps developed?How can Veterans access these apps via VA App Store/Google Play/App Store?How have these apps helped Veterans?What training is required to use these apps effectively?The VA Mobile Mental Health Apps are available to and beneficial for all family members of Veterans as well. Avery delves into how apps such as Couples Coach and PTSD Family Coach provide a great source of information that can help enhance communication and improve relationships.Having access to effective mental health care resources is important to improving quality of life after service. If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran who is experiencing a mental health crisis, call VA’s Veterans Crisis Line for immediate assistance. People like Avery are working for and alongside VA, and are committed to providing mental health care for all Veterans and their families, 24/7, and are ready to help at a moment’s notice.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Navy Veteran Michael Edwin ThorntonAdditional Links:Borne the Battle #247: Irreverent WarriorsVA Mobile Mental Health Apps PlaylistNational Center for PTSD AppsDigital Safety Plan YouTube introductionVet Centers (Readjustment Counselling Services)Tech into Care siteMillions in adaptive sports grants help disabled Veterans with rehabilitation goals VA improves quality of care for Veterans diagnosed with ALS
18/10/2146m 48s

#259: Counterfeit Pills w/ DEA Agent and Navy Veteran Bill Czopek

When Bill Czopek decided to transfer to the Naval Academy, he knew that he wanted the structure and support of a military career. Through persistence and dedication, he was accepted. Little did he know, that experience would lead him to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).In this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Special Agent Bill Czopek discusses his time in the Navy, his experience in the DEA, and some things Veterans should be concerned about when it comes to counterfeit pills and the illegal drug trade.In the Navy, Czopek served as a Surface Warfare Officer. He became a “jack of all trades” and learned versatility in this role. His first-ever “drug bust” happened off the coast of North Africa, where his ship intercepted a dhow (fishing boat) smuggling two tons of hashish.After his service, Czopeck turned his eyes toward serving his country in a civilian role, today as a DEA officer, and and he talks the state of drug trafficking in America, including:DEA foreign officesCounterfeit pillsThe drug trafficking supply chainOnline drug salesHow Veterans and other citizens can protect themselves from the effects of drug traffickingHe also gives advice for other Veterans planning on applying to federal agencies after their service.Want to know more about counterfeit pills, an issue that directly affects Veterans receiving medical care? Among other details in the podcast, Czopeck shared:Counterfeit pills containing fentanyl can look exactly like legitimate prescription pills.According to the DEA, the number of counterfeit pills in circulation has increased 430% since 2019.According to the FDA, consumers should ensure their pill and drug packing look normal before taking any medication.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army and Air Force Veteran William Bonelli Additional Links resumes overpayment notifications, medical copayment collections while continuing to offer Veterans expansive debt relief options Veterans Legacy Memorial expands to include VA-grant funded state, territorial and tribal Veterans cemeteriesVA embarks on process to design new model to deliver seamless integrated care
11/10/211h 18m

#258: 100 Year Old WWII Army/Air Force Veteran Fannie Griffin McClendon, "Six Triple Eight"

In 1945, warehouses in Birmingham, England, were brimming with unsent postal mail intended for U.S. soldiers at the frontlines. At the same time, African American organizations pressed the War Department to create more opportunities for African American Women’s Army Corps members to serve. Tackling two issues at once, the War Department started recruiting African American women and formed the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion. The job was expected to take six months. The "Six Triple Eight" did it in three.Retired Air Force Major Fannie Griffin McClendon was one of these women to take up the monumental task of ensuring soldiers on the frontlines received mail sent to them by their loved ones, regardless of rain, sleet, “buzz bombs,” racism, and sexism. Indeed, throughout her time in the 6888th Battalion and later as a commander with Strategic Air Command, she faced and overcame many instances of racism and sexism thrown at her. This ranged from men who refused to serve under her because she was a woman. Focusing on her vital duties to the country, McClendon knocked down barriers and shattered glass ceilings at every corner of her military career.Even as a centenarian, McClendon remembered stories from her days in the military like the back of her hand. Stories she discussed in this episode of Borne the Battle include:What life was like for her while serving abroad in Europe during WWIIThe casualties the 6888th suffered while in FranceBecoming a commander in the Air ForceSurrounded by the stench and sight of death, soldiers on the frontlines depended on members of the 6888th, like McClendon, to deliver them letters written by their loved ones back home. Despite the importance of their role, the 6888th, like many other segregated units from WWII, received little recognition after the war.The 6888th only recently started gaining popular recognition, with a documentary on it released in 2019.In 2021, the Senate passed the “Six Triple Eight” Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2021, an act awarding congressional gold medals to members of the 6888th for their “pioneering military service, devotion to duty, and contributions to the morale of personnel stationed in the European theater.”While formal recognition for her service was long overdue, McClendon seemed not to mind too much. Rather, she focused on the many opportunities the military gave her and the spectacular life it allowed her to live.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week: Marine Veteran Zane JonesAdditional Links:Even at the age of 100, McClendon went out of her way to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Click here to learn how you can get vaccinated through the VA.To read more about the 6888th Veterans, check out the 6888th’s website.practical resources for transitioning service members VA stands ready to offer COVID-19 booster vaccinesVA request for information on proposed rule change published in Federal Register on character of discharge VA, National Support Network teach Veterans how to fight cybercrime
04/10/2155m 44s

#257: Army Veteran Vincent "Rocco" Vargas, Entrepreneur, Entertainer, Actor on Mayans MC on FX

If you know of Black Rifle Coffee Company or watch Mayans MC on FX, you may already know this week’s Borne the Battle guest – Army Veteran, entrepreneur, actor and overall entertainer Vincent Vargas.It was a windy road that led him to this point in his life. Too many wild parties got him kicked out of college and ended his childhood dream of playing professional baseball. At 20, as a young father who was no longer playing ball or attending school, Vargas felt like a disappointment to his family.In 2003, during the invasion of Baghdad at the outbreak of the Iraq War, Vargas watched a televised newscast in which a Marine helped to topple a statue of dictator Saddam Hussein. News reporters interviewed the Marine’s family, who emotionally expressed their pride in his service.The next day, Vargas went to a military recruiting office to enlist. He later served in both Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army Ranger, became a drill sergeant, and after serving, even joined the U.S. Border Patrol.In this week's episode of Borne the Battle, Vincent Vargas discusses his many transitions between sports, military and civilian lives, getting into acting, his time on the Drinkin' Bros podcast, and the founding of Beteran, his Veteran-focused clothing line that emphasizes empowerment and positivity rather than the prevailing Veteran narratives of depression, alcoholism, and suicide.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran Ricardo BarrazaAlso Mentioned in this Episode: pilot program to improve affordable dental care access for VeteransProgram of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers to provide an additional year for eligibility and reassessment of certain participants
27/09/211h 38m

#256: Primetime Emmy Award Winning Foley Artist and Marine Veteran David Bonilla

David Bonilla grew up in El Monte, California, where, as a child, he had the opportunity to be involved with a few film projects. Through his mother’s connections, he gained both experience in the film industry and an interest in filming and directing. He initially had no plans to join the military, but when a recruiter offered to buy him lunch, his life found a new direction.Bonilla discusses his deployments overseas to Baghdad and his position as part of the logistics team during the Gulf War. There, he experienced what it was really like to be in the field and understand what a near death experience was like.After completing his service and later a college degree, Bonilla landed a position at Solar City, a company under Elon Musk. While working at Solar City, Bonilla’s assistant noticed how he was struggling with panic attacks and helped guide him to VA. This led him to VR&E, where he found purpose and goals in life.Now finished with his military path, Bonilla returned to his early love of the film industry and began studying audio by using his GI Bill benefits. He started working as a foley artist, eventually winning an Emmy for his work on Disney’s Eleanor of Avalor.In this episode, Bonilla discusses:His experiences in the militaryWorking in the film industryWorking for RaytheonHis time at a company under Elon MuskHis projects as a sound engineer, including Disney’s Eleanor of AvalorBorne the Battle Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran Jose LopezAdditional Links: VA enhances geriatric emergency care for older VeteransVA annual report shows decrease in Veteran suicidesVA assembles Sexual Assault and Harassment Prevention Workgroup
20/09/211h 40m

BtB Rewind: September 11th with Dr. John Baxter - Air Force Veteran, 9/11 First Responder, SecDef's Flight Surgeon

On September 11, 2001, Air Force flight surgeon John Baxter showed up to work at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, to a full load of patients and completing physicals–just like any other day.Halfway through his morning while getting his next patient, he saw that a civilian airliner had flown into one of the World Trade Center towers.While with the patient, Baxter said he noticed the background noise in the Pentagon changed. It seemed quieter than usual. Then, he heard shouts. He opened his door and saw people running and shouting, and smoke in the hallway.At first, Baxter didn’t know if there was an explosion, a fire or some other event. Despite the unknowns, he assembled his team of flight surgeons, a nurse and medical technicians. They grabbed medical kits and traveled as a group. Their emergency plan was to meet up with other medics at the Pentagon’s DiLorenzo Clinic.Then they heard the news: there were casualties in corridor 5.Baxter’s team ran to the spot. They found Army Veteran Brian Birdwell, who was in excruciating pain from burns. It was a situation that Baxter was unexpectedly prepared for: Months earlier, in an emergency exercise, the flight clinic trained for the same scenario that unfolded on 9/11: a plane crashing into the Pentagon.John Baxter still serves at the Pentagon, though now as a civilian flight surgeon. For this week’s Born the Battle Podcast, Baxter details his story of 9/11 and the days that followed.(Originally casted 9/11/2019)#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran and 9/11 victim Max BeilkeAdditional Links:
11/09/2157m 57s

#255: Benefits Breakdown, HUD-VASH Program

This episode of Borne the Battle – a benefits breakdown – features HUD-VASH, a collaborative program between HUD and VA that provides support to help homeless Veterans and their families – and those at risk of becoming homeless – to find and sustain permanent housing.Veterans Matter is one of the many nonprofits which work alongside and enhance HUD-VASH’s ability to reduce homelessness among Veterans.According to the 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, there were 37,252 homeless Veterans in 2020, and 15,204 of those Veterans were unsheltered.For Meghan Deal, national director of the HUD-VASH Program, and Ken Leslie, a former homeless man and founder of Veterans Matter, these troubling statistics are an indication of the importance of their work. In this episode of Borne the Battle, Deal and Leslie answer these questions and more:What motivates them to help Veterans despite not being Veterans themselves?What does help from HUD-VASH and nonprofits like Veterans Matter look like?What makes a Veteran eligible for HUD-VASH assistance?What makes a Veteran “homeless?”How can people get involved with helping homeless Veterans in their community?If you are a Veteran who is homeless or at risk of homelessness, call 1-877-424-3838 for immediate assistance.The HUD-VASH program also has resources geared specifically for the Native American Veteran population. For tribes that are interested in providing rental assistance and supportive services to Native American Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, read up on Tribal HUD-VASH and considering submitting an application.Having access to safe and adequate housing is a human right. If you know a Veteran who is homeless or at imminent risk of being homeless, encourage them to call VA for assistance. There are people working for and alongside VA, like Deal and Leslie, who are committed to rooting out homelessness and are standing by ready to help.Borne the Battle Veterans of the Week:Marine Veteran Darin T. Hoover of Salt Lake City UtahMarine Veteran Johanny Rosario Pichardo of Lawrence MassachusettsMarine Veteran Nicole Gee of Sacramento, CaliforniaMarine Veteran Hunter Lopez of Indio, CaliforniaMarine Veteran Daegan Page of Omaha, NebraskaMarine Veteran Humberto Sanchez of Logansport IndianaMarine Veteran David Espinoza of Rio Bravo, TexasMarine Veteran Jared Schmitz of St. Charles, MissouriMarine Veteran Rylee McCollum of Jackson, WyomingMarine Veteran Dylan Merola of Rancho Cucamonga, CaliforniaMarine Veteran Kareem Nikoui of Norco, CaliforniaNavy Veteran Maxton Soviak of Berlin Heights, OhioArmy Veteran Ryan Knauss of Corryton, TennesseeAdditional Links:Check out the Borne the Battle episode on Supportive Services for Veteran Families, another VA program helping tackle Veteran homelessness in its own way.The VA recently announced its Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology Grants to enhance Veterans’ abilities to live comfortably in specially adapted homes.VA expands rental support, increasing housing options for Veterans
06/09/2150m 34s

#254: Elder Scrolls Online QA Testing w/ Army Veteran Tommy Davis, Zenimax Media

On this episode of Borne the Battle, Army Veteran Tommy Davis shares his story about deploying to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and Afghanistan, then later working in the video game industry.Tommy always enjoyed playing video games, but his journey to working in the video game industry was not straightforward. After taking some courses at a community college, he still felt uncertain about the future and what he wanted to do. He spoke with a recruiter and enlisted in the Army.After serving seven years in the Army, Davis transitioned to civilian life and enrolled in George Washington University. He discusses connecting with fellow Veterans on campus and serving as president of GW Veterans. They are a chapter of Student Veterans of America, who focus on issues regarding Veterans and education.Next, Davis talks about becoming interested in and doing extensive research about the video gaming industry after earning his bachelor’s degree. He discusses how he convinced himself to apply to his dream job after being encouraged by his family and friends. His determination led to him applying to and accepting a position with ZeniMax Media as a video game quality assurance tester working on The Elder Scrolls Online.Later, he delves into how the framework he learned in the military helps him stay focused while working in web development. He talks about the Veteran community affiliation within Zenimax Online Studios. That community helps recruit Veterans and helps them with civilian integration.Finally, he provides advice for Veterans interested in joining the gaming industry and developing specific skillsets by attending the Microsoft Software and Assistance Academy.In this episode, Davis talks about:What he learned from his experiences in the military.His post-military education at George Washington University.Various positions available to Veterans at Zenimax Online Studios.Career advice to transitioning service members and how they can gain valuable specific industry training.How important it is for Veterans to get involved with Veteran service organizations, such as Team Rubicon and Wounded Warrior Project.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Air Force Veteran Patrick Peter CaruanaAdditional Links:Borne The Battle 140: Danny Chung – Marine Veteran, Chief of Staff, Microsoft Military AffairsVA spotlights special benefits for elderly wartime Veteran populationVA grants improve transitional housing, prevent Veteran homelessness 
30/08/211h 13m

#253: Sabotaging WW3 with Army Green Beret James Stejskal, Detachment A, Author, CIA Operations Officer

Army Veteran James Stejskal spent nine years in West Berlin during the Cold War, serving in a clandestine and small special forces unit known as Detachment A. His mission bordered on the impossible, tasked with being ready to cross into East Germany and sabotage the Soviet army at a moment’s notice in case the Soviet Union ever decided to launch an invasion.He spent 23 years in service with special forces and 13 years operating under the CIA. Stejskal lived a life brimming with unique experiences. A few of the stories he shared on this episode of Borne the Battle include how he:Fought to get a role in the Army Special Forces after initially serving with the 82nd Airborne Division.Was prepared to blow up Soviet trains and destroy Soviet railway networks if West Berlin was invaded.Nearly had to amputate his leg after being in a vehicle that rolled over an old Soviet tank mine, but had it saved by an orthopedic surgeon with an ingenious idea. For nearly half a century, information pertaining to Detachment A remained classified and hidden from the public eye. The government only declassified information about this unit in 2014. With a story virtually absent from the history books, Stejskal is determined to keep Detachment A’s legacy from being forgotten.One of Stejskal’s most notable books on Detachment A is “Special Forces Berlin.”Though Stejskal is a professional historian, he also enjoys writing fiction. Adept at writing in a variety of styles, Stejskal has written a diverse selection of books, ranging from historical fiction to professionally researched historical narratives.For decades, Stejskal had to keep his lips sealed about Detachment A because it was classified information. Now with it declassified, he wants everyone to know its story. Hear what Stejskal could not talk about for years by listening to this episode of Borne the Battle.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Tom RiceAdditional links:Stejskal gave his opinion on the state of publishing in the age of digital media from the perspective of being an author. Hear Navy Veteran and singer-songwriter Jonathan Kingham share his perspective on the future of the music industry in Borne the Battle #246 Many credit the tactics used by Detachment A as being the basis for today’s special operations and law enforcement tactics.VA expands mandate for COVID-19 vaccines among VHA employeesAfghanistan: How Veterans can learn from Vietnam Veterans
23/08/211h 15m

BONUS: On Afghanistan

Links to programs and resources mentioned in this episode:Veterans Crisis Line: call 1-800-273-8255, then PRESS 1 or visit Veterans Call Center: 1-855-829-6636 (M-F 8AM - 10PM & SAT 8AM - 6:30PM ET)
17/08/218m 59s

#252: Surviving the Mob and Hue City w/ Marine Veteran John Ligato

In 1954, the United States became actively involved in the Vietnam War. John Ligato followed suit and joined the Marine Corps to serve his country after receiving a draft notice in 1966.Ligato breaks down his experience during the Battle of Hue City from an operational view. He discusses what he calls the three missing days in Marine Corps history due to the nature of the battle, and how he pushed for 13 years to get the medals that his team rightfully deserved. He was awarded three Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam in addition to other valor awards.After being wounded, Ligato transitioned to civilian life, went to school, earning Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.Ligato discusses working for the The ARC of the United States (ARC), which helps severely handicapped children and adults, and then joining the FBI. There, he got involved in undercover work, spending a total of eight years working undercover in various locations in the 70s-90s. He also talks about working as a pilot with the FBI and spending much of his latter career in diplomatic training missions in various locations around the world. His efforts and time working with the FBI resulted in him receiving the Directors Award and Attorney General’s Award for investigative excellence.In this episode, Ligato talks:Becoming an adjunct college professor and teaching counter-terrorism and international security at Campbell University.Writing several books and providing advice to aspiring professional authors.Appearing in several movies.How Veterans can become involved in Veteran Service Organizations, such as Hope for the Warriors and Semper Fi Fund.
16/08/211h 22m

#251: Benefits Breakdown - VA's Community Care Program

VA's Office of Community Care (OCC) aims to place the choice of provider in the hands of eligible Veterans and assist them in finding the best options for their care.On this episode of Borne the Battle, Dr. Elizabeth Brill, chief medical officer at OCC, breaks down the process of determining eligibility, making appointments and receiving care through community care.Types of care available under Community Care include:General careUrgent careEmergency careForeign medical careHome, health and hospice careIndian Health ServicesIn Vitro Fertilization (IVF)State Veterans HomesFlu shotsCLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT AVAILABLE TYPES OF CAREEligibility depends on the individual Veteran’s needs and circumstances. For example, travel distance from a VHA facility is now calculated by drive time, not mileage, and Veterans living over 30 minutes from a VHA facility are eligible for community care.The other eligibility categories include:Needing a service that VA doesn’t provide.Not having a full-service VA in the state or territory in which you live.When VA cannot schedule appointments in a timely manner.When available VA care isn’t meeting quality care standards.It is also possible for Veterans to receive Community Care authorization at the recommendation of their VA doctor, even if they don’t meet any of the eligibility criteria.CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION FOR FAMILY MEMBERS AND DEPENDENTSOnce Veterans are approved to receive care in their community, VA will make the necessary appointments or assist the Veteran in making the appointment.Dr. Brill also provides instructions for providers to apply to become Community Care Network providers for VA. If a Veteran wants to be seen by a provider that isn't in the Community Care Network, they can ask that provider to follow the instructions to care for Veterans under VA benefits instead of private insurance. Providers can also receive CCN provider status without a Veteran’s request to better serve the Veterans in their community by making themselves available under VA benefits.CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO BECOME A VA COMMUNITY PROVIDERBorne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Mike TarpleyAdditional Links:Provider and Facility locatorVA Community Care Network CCN – Extended informational videoBorne the Battle BONUS: COVID Update #7: Clinical Trials and Emergency Department ProceduresOnline scheduling – manage community care appointments online at the click of a button – VAntage PointVA MISSION Act: Answers to top questions about community care appointments – VAntage PointVA to start processing disability claims for certain conditions related to particulate matterVA clinical breakthrough study shows effective male UTI treatments in just seven days
09/08/2129m 55s

#250: Billy Mills - Olympic Gold Medalist, Marine Veteran, Lakota Warrior

One day, while in his university dormitory in the late 1950s, Billy Mills opened a window and set a chair against it. He then got up on the chair and mentally prepared himself to jump. As he stood, he thought about his difficult upbringing as an orphan and the racism he faced, even as an NCAA All-American runner. He simply wanted to leave all his troubles behind.Suddenly, Mills felt a jolt of energy moving beneath his skin. That was when he heard “an unspoken word,” a sound that sounded like it was from his father’s voice. It was from that experience that Mills found his dream to heal his broken soul, a dream to win Olympic gold.Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills speaks about his life’s story on this episode of Borne the Battle. He talks about his life’s many highs and lows. He also gives a detailed description of the thoughts running through his head as he ran the 10,000m in 1964. Topics in this episode also include:His time as a Marine Corps officer.How his Lakota virtues and values intersected with his military service.How he trained for the Olympics.How he almost backed out of going to the Olympics,Why he felt guilty about his military service.How he is helping the next generation of Native American youth to achieve their dreams.Why he speaks on tour around the world, even at the age of 83.A message he wants his fellow Veterans to hear.The odds were stacked against Mills when he prepared to run the 10,000m in 1964. He faced Australian runner Ronald Clarke, a multiple world-record setter and favorite to win gold at the 1964 Olympics in the distances. Additionally, Mills, being borderline type 2 diabetic, went low blood sugar just 20 minutes before the race. With the U.S. never having won gold in the 10,000m, it seemed as if even history was against Billy Mills.And yet, Mills won gold, set a world record, and is still the only American to ever win gold in the 10k event.
02/08/211h 27m

BtB Rewind: Marine Veteran, Hollywood Stuntwoman, Leaphy Khim

This week we revisit the Episode 72 featuring Marine Veteran and Hollywood Stuntwoman, Leaphy Khim. eaphy was born to Cambodian refugee parents and joined the military after Sept 11 as a way to give back to her parents' adopted country. In 2002, she enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. From here, she received intense combat and weapons training through the Corps for more than 6 years. Now, she's pursuing a career in Hollywood as an actress and stuntwoman. 
26/07/2134m 24s

BtB Rewind: Marine Veteran and Emmy Award Winning Director of Photography, Cinematographer - Rick Robinson

Robinson entered the film industry with little more than his Marine Corp background and a drive to succeed. However, he leveraged his experiences, formed connections and learned the Hollywood lingo to land gigs working on some of the biggest films of his time. His success even allowed him to eventually tour with the likes of Whitney Houston, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. Overall, with perseverance, some help from his 1956 Corvette, and some luck, Robinson went far in the world of film. 
19/07/211h 15m

BtB Rewind: Marine Veteran Haley Carter, soccer player, coach

This week we revisit the very first interview on Borne the Battle FKA "This Week at VA" - Marine Veteran and Retired professional soccer player, Haley Carter.
12/07/2133m 32s

#249: Air Force Veteran Denise Jelinski-Hall, 3rd Senior Enlisted Advisor to the National Guard Bureau

Denise Jelinski-Hall felt stuck in her small hometown of Little Falls, Minnesota, so she created a new future for herself by joining the Air Force. Years, later, Jelinski-Hall became the highest-ranking enlisted female in United States military history.On this episode of Borne the Battle, Air National Guard Veteran Denise Jelinski-Halldiscusses her selection as Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, the changing roles of women in the military, and how “gray-area service members” are still entitled to VA benefits.Jelinski-Hall found her calling with the Air Force but decided to transfer to the Air National Guard after marrying an active-duty Marine. She served three years in the California Air National Guard before transferring to Hawaii. Jelinski-Hall’s 28-year career included 12 years of active service, leadership of the Hawaii National Guard, and a position in the Pentagon advising the Chief of the National Guard Bureau.In addition to her military service, Jelinski-Hall volunteers with United Through Reading and the Military Child Education Coalition. United Through Reading connects military families through recorded stories. Family members can record themselves reading and the recordings provide story time with that absent family member. Jelinski-Hall served on the board of the Military Child Education Coalition, an organization that supports the schooling of military children through mentorship and other supportive resources.Jelinski-Hall is currently a military advisor for Veterans United Home Loans, where she educates Veterans about VA home loans and home ownership. She also wrote an autobiography, "From the Prairie to the Pentagon," and contributed to the leadership book "Breaching the Summit," alongside five other former Senior Enlisted Advisors.In this episode, Jelinski-Hall discusses writing her autobiography, how to respectfully not take 'no' for an answer, and other leadership and life tips.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Pedro MunozMentioned in this episode:Borne the Battle #187: Darlene Iskra, GroundbreakerBorne the Battle #150: Benefits Breakdown – 75th Anniversary of the VA Home Loan ProgramBorne the Battle #240: Benefits Breakdown – Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL)The Summit 6United Through Reading offer free books and mobile app for Veterans, military – VAntage PointVA Secretary Denis McDonough statement on department’s extension of moratoriums on foreclosures and evictions, as well as new mortgage repayment assistance to help stabilize vulnerable households VA expands “PRIDE In All Who Served” program for LGBTQ+ Veterans
05/07/211h 38m

#248: The Future of Entertainment Tech w/ Air Force Veteran Marti Moore, Vice President - Spectrum Communications

This week’s episode of Borne the Battle features Air Force Veteran Marti Moore, who discusses her military career and she became group vice president of technology implementation at Spectrum Charter Communications. Moore served 11 years in the Air Force and Air Force Reserve as a systems engineering chief, and developed software for satellite tracking systems at Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado.In 1995, Moore transitioned to civilian life. She discusses how she was recruited to work in technology through an officer recruiting program at Peterson Air Force Base and how her leadership experience in the military helped her succeed. Moore held various management positions in the media and telecommunications industries, including vice president of technology at Media News Group, and worked as a reservist at the Pentagon. In 2010, she became the vice president of Web Strategy and Customer Experience at Spectrum Charter. She currently leads an agile transformation team with the Engineering and Technology Department as the group vice president of Technology Implementation. Moore talks about how the entertainment experience is changing and how Spectrum is combatting Artificial Intelligence hacking programs.Additionally, Moore talks about leading the Spectrum Veterans Business Resource Group (BRG) in 2019 as co-chair at Charter, and also talks about the history and mission of BRG. The Veterans BRG serves to help Veterans successfully transition to civilian life, grow their careers, and help businesses become successful. The Veterans group now has over 1,000 employees. Finally, she delves into how BRG offers employees who are also Veterans the opportunity to partake in mentorship, support and professional growth programs.In this episode, Moore discusses…Her definition of true leadership.How Hiring Our Heroes helps Veterans secure civilian jobs.The valued skills that Veterans bring to the civilian workforce.Why Veterans should apply to Spectrum Charter.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Francis CunninghamAdditional Links:Borne the Battle #207: Marine Recon Veteran Alex Calfee, Co-Founder of OpLign.Borne the Battle #218: David Muir, Easterseals’ Veteran Staffing Network.Borne the Battle #198: Marine Corps Veteran Beau Higgins, Amazon Military Affairs.’s Continued Commitment to Military Veterans.VA responds with record number of Fourth Mission assignments to assist America during pandemic.
28/06/2156m 31s

#247: Using Humor and Camaraderie to Prevent Veteran Suicide w/ Irreverent Warriors

This week’s episode of Borne the Battle features Texas Army National Guard Veteran Cindy McNally and Marine Corps Veteran Nate McDonald, the president and vice president of Irreverent Warriors. McNally and McDonald discuss Irreverent Warriors’ mission to improve mental health and prevent Veteran suicide worldwide by providing a space to build camaraderie at their Silkie Hike events.McNally is the CEO and president of Irreverent Warriors. She and her family suffered the tragic and unexpected loss of her husband and Marine Corps Veteran, Rand, who took his own life after years of internal struggle. McNally has three children, two of whom followed their parents’ paths to military careers.McDonald is the COO and vice president of Irreverent Warriors. He served as an intelligence operative for Special Projects, often jumping from team to team and deploying with a variety of units. Because he suffered multiple TBIs during his service, he chose to leave the military when his ability to perform in the field came into question.McDonald then worked as a consultant with various US government and military organizations. He lost many comrades due to mental health issues, so when the opportunity to help arose, he joined Irreverent Warriors to positively impact the lives of other service men and women.One of the greatest contributors to Veteran suicide is isolation, something that Irreverent Warriors seeks to combat by bringing Veterans together. Camaraderie is vital to soldiers during their service, and Irreverent Warriors aims to build it in the Veteran community. The Silkie Hikes are only open to Veterans and active-duty service members and happen across the country. This year, the organization is expanding internationally to recognize that Veteran suicide is not unique to the United States but is a worldwide issue.McNally and McDonald discuss how they found and joined the organization, gained their leadership roles, ways in which VA can help to combat Veteran suicide, and the stunning impact of Irreverent Warriors on Veterans across the nation.
21/06/211h 21m

#246: Songwriting in Nashville with Navy Veteran Jonathan Kingham, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Operation Song

High military aptitude test scores and high school curiosity earned Jonathan Kingham a place in the Navy that started him on the path toward a career as a singer-songwriter. On this episode of Borne the Battle, Kingham discusses how the Navy helped him enter the Seattle music scene, the evolution and future of the music industry, and how singers and songwriters make a living from music.A high school friend convinced Kingham to skip class and take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test, starting him on a search for the right branch of the military. He entered basic training on Christmas Eve and progressed to machinist and nuclear power schools before being assigned to the USS Abraham Lincoln.As a trained pianist, Kingham had to find a more portable alternative to bring on the ship, so he bought himself the guitar that would eventually accompany him to his first performances at open mic nights in San Francisco.After San Francisco, the Navy took Kingham to Seattle, where he started performing regularly and landed his first paid gigs. He inquired about performing as an opening act for David Wilcox at a music club, The Backstage. His curiosity paid off, and he began to open for a mix of acts after his successful performance with Wilcox. In 2010, Toad the Wet Sprocketasked him to join as a touring member, leading to Kingham playing over 700 live shows with the band.Kingham is also a writer for Operation Song, a Nashville-based nonprofit that helps Veterans, soldiers and their families process and transform their experiences into music. Operation Song pairs Veterans with songwriters who help put their stories into words and music.In this episode, Kingham also discusses COVID’s impact on the music industry, the benefits and downfalls of streaming music, and how musical success doesn’t have to mean being a superstar.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Navy Veteran Harvey MilkMentioned in this episode:Borne the Battle #199: Army Veteran Josh Strickland, Lead Singer of the Bayou BanditsBorne the Battle #153: Perry Firoz – Air Force Veteran, CEO Epic Music LA, Analytical ScientistWhy we stop discovering music around age 30 – Business InsiderOperation Song Archives – VAntage Point BlogsBreathe by Clifton Pierce and Jonathan Kingham – Operation SongMobius delivers first of 50 IBots to VA to determine how machines may help Veterans VA's Rapid Naloxone Initiative provides free Opioid Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution to Veteran patients
14/06/211h 38m

#245: Fighting to Repeal DADT w/ Air Force Veteran Josh Seefried

Air Force Veteran Josh Seefried grew up knowing he wanted to serve in the Air Force. It started when his parents sent him to Space Camp in fifth grade, offering him the experience of a lifetime. The next summer, he participated in Aviation Challenge, getting the chance to fly and engage in aerial combat through a simulator. In seventh grade, he petitioned his congressman to get him into a shadow cadet program at the U.S. Air Force Academy, a program reserved only for high school students.After high school, the Air Force Academy officially admitted Seefried as a student and he could not be happier. Yet, his enchantment with the Air Force – and the military more generally – soon turned into trauma. Seefried was gay and was blackmailed and exposed while serving under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.In this episode of Borne the Battle, Seefried shares his life’s story, from being blackmailed and outed as gay to becoming one of the nation’s foremost advocates for LGBT active-duty service members. He discusses:When one of his academy teachers found out he was gay and blackmailed him for favorsBeing outed as gayHow his superiors treated him when investigating his blackmail caseUsing social media to stake out a space for LGBT members of the military to communicateHow he helped fellow service members come out after Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealedAn early part of Seefried’s strategy to change the military’s culture for its LGBT members included the novel use of social media. At a time when social media platforms like Facebook were still new, Seefried formed online groups that connected thousands of LGBT service members.Seefried regularly appeared on major broadcasting networks under the pseudonym “JD Smith,” advocating for the LGBT military community. But after President Obama signed the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, Seefried publicly came out.After years of LGBT advocacy, Seefried left a lasting mark on the military. He entered the Air Force with high hopes and left it a place that he could feel proud of having been a part of.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Melissa MargainAdditional Links:Seefried published Our Time: Breaking the Silence of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell in 2012, a book assembling the voices of men and women who served under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.VA recognizes the existing diversity inherent to its population, including the LGBT community. That is why it offers service members targeted benefits designed for those connected with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.VA Patient Care Services provides a range of healthcare services that the LGBT Veteran community can take advantage of.VA schedules stakeholder listening sessions to guide future of VA health careSeefried published Our Time: Breaking the Silence of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell in 2012, a book assembling the voices of men and women who served under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.VA recognizes the existing diversity inherent to its population, including the LGBT community. That is why it offers service members targeted benefits designed for those connected with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.VA Patient Care Services provides a range of healthcare services that the LGBT Veteran community can take advantage of.VA schedules stakeholder listening sessions to guide future of VA health care
07/06/2153m 11s

#244: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier's Unknown History with Army Veteran Gavin McIlvenna

This week’s Borne the Battle features Army Veteran Gavin McIlvenna, who talks about the selection process of becoming and walking as a tomb guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; he then shares about his own mentors, how he founded the Society of the Honor Guard, shares crazy guard stories and the process of disinterring a Veteran at the tomb.Roughly 130,000 visitors toured Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day pre-COVID. This year may be different, but it is still an important occasion for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Memorial Day seeks to honor those who have fallen while serving our country, and the Unknown Soldiers are no different.On November 11, 2021, Arlington National Cemetery will be commemorating the centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The centennial is not only a day to celebrate and remember the burial of the World War One’s Unknown Soldier but to reflect on what the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier means to the nation.McIlvenna breaks down the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and how the tomb doesn’t represent just one conflict; it represents all conflicts, the significance and purpose behind the upcoming events for centennial and where Americans can find information on these events and projects.Lastly, McIIvenna talks about the first VA facility to have a never forget me garden, why every American should visit the tomb, and how communities can get involved in the centennial and learn about a unique part of its history and why the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is important to so many gold star families and Veterans.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:The Veteran in your life that is no longer with you. Additional links:VA to readjudicate Veteran and survivor claims for possible herbicide exposureVA expands COVID-19 vaccinations to adolescents under SAVE LIVES Act the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, DAR Members and Chapters Encouraged to Plan Now for 2021 ObservanceWhat you need to know about the Tomb of the Unknown SoldierTomb of the Unknown Soldier Marks 100 Years
31/05/211h 9m

BREAKING: Agent Orange Presumptive Conditions

VA announced today two major decisions related to presumptive conditions associated with Agent Orange and particulate matter exposures during military service in Southwest Asia.Agent OrangeVA will begin implementing provisions of the William M. Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (Public Law 116-283), adding three conditions to the list of those presumptively associated with exposure to herbicide agents, more commonly known as Agent Orange. Those conditions are bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and Parkinsonism.“Many of our Nation’s Veterans have waited a long time for these benefits,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough. “VA will not make them wait any longer. This is absolutely the right thing to do for Veterans and their families.”VA will apply the provisions of court orders related to Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which may result in an earlier date for entitlement to benefits for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Vietnam War era Veterans and their survivors who previously filed and were denied benefits for one of these three new presumptive conditions will have their cases automatically reviewed without the need to refile a claim. VA will send letters to impacted Veterans and survivors.Particulate Matter ExposuresThe Secretary recently concluded the first iteration of a newly formed internal VA process to review scientific evidence to support rulemaking, resulting in the recommendation to consider creation of new presumptions of service connection for respiratory conditions based on VA’s evaluation of a National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine report and other evidence. VA’s review supports initiation of rulemaking to address the role that particulate matter pollution plays in generating chronic respiratory conditions, which may include asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis for Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during the Persian Gulf War and/or after September 19, 2001, or in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War.“VA is establishing a holistic approach to determining toxic exposure presumption going forward. We are moving out smartly in initiating action to consider these and other potential new presumptions, grounded in science and in keeping with my authority as Secretary of VA,” said Secretary McDonough.VA is initiating rulemaking to consider adding respiratory conditions, which may include asthma, sinusitis and rhinitis, to the list of chronic disabilities based on an association with military service in Southwest Asia, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan during the covered periods of conflict. VA will conduct broad outreach efforts to reach impacted Veterans and it encourages them to participate in the rulemaking process.For more information, visit our website at Airborne Hazards and Burn Pit Exposures – Public Health.
27/05/213m 32s

#243: Benefits Breakdown, Veterans Legacy Memorial

With Memorial Day 2021 approaching, VA’s National Cemetery Administration wants to remind people that the Veterans Legacy Memorial, or VLM, website is available as a resource to help pay tribute to Veterans who have passed away. VLM is a public online database memorializing the over 3.7 million Veterans interred in VA national cemeteries. With COVID-19 still present, VLM is an excellent way for people to honor our nation’s Veterans at the comfort of their own home.Click here for VLM’s website: this episode of Borne the Battle, Air Force Veteran and Digital Services Officer for the National Cemetery Administration James LaPaglia talks about why he loves doing his job. He delves into the enhanced features that NCA staff plan to make available on VLM by Memorial Day. Features they plan to reopen include allowing users to submit:PhotographsHistorical documentsBiographical informationVLM will also continue to allow users to leave a tribute on a Veteran’s page. Through a tribute, users can post a thoughtful message for future viewers to read.And as per usual VLM practice, all submitted content will be reviewed by administrators before being posted. This ensures that all submissions comply with VLM standards and maintains the spirit of the website.Users can also expect to see a “follow” feature come Memorial Day. With this, users can follow a Veteran’s page and get automatic email updates when new content appears on their profile.Committed to making sure that no Veteran’s story goes unrecognized, NCA future plans include expanding the VLM database to include Veterans interred at state and tribal VA cemeteries, those managed by the military, private ones and many more.With online platforms making it easier to honor our nation’s Veterans, LaPaglia said he hopes that this website becomes a place friends, families and strangers can use to share and preserve the stories and memories of those who served our country.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Peter Conover Hains (Civil War Veteran who served in WWI)Additional Links:If you have questions regarding VLM, click here to read their FAQ. You can also find VLM Customer Support’s phone and email here.VA national cemeteries are allowing visitors but require adherence to safety measures. Click here to learn more.Memorial Day 2020 ceremonies were not open to the public because of COVID-19 concerns. However, ceremonies were all available virtually and recordings are available here.For eligibility requirements to be buried at a VA national cemetery, click here for more information.VA to readjudicate Veteran and survivor claims for possible herbicide exposure
24/05/2150m 28s

BONUS: COVID Update No. 9, Vaccine Acceptance Successes, Building Trust with the Minority Veteran Community

Veteran vaccine acceptance comes down to trust and truth, according to VA Office of Health and Equity’s Dr. Ernest Moy. On this bonus episode, Dr. Moy provides updates on Veteran vaccination rates and vaccine acceptance. He speaks on health care disparities, trust and transparency in vaccine trials and VA’s success in vaccinating minority populations.Dr. Moy began his career over 25 years ago at VA Manhattan during medical school, followed by a residency at VA Philadelphia and a first job at VA Baltimore. He began to study health care disparities at a time when people didn’t believe the disparities existed. Now, Dr. Moy explains how VA and other health care systems address the disparities instead of denying their existence.Health care disparities exist in areas such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and geographic location. Dr. Moy works to diminish these disparities to make health care more equitable and accessible to all Americans. At VA, he aims to identify high risk populations so VHA can address issues faced by specific populations.Dr. Moy explains the rationales of Veterans who refuse the vaccine at VA health care centers, which is often a matter of choice, not outright refusal. Veterans are still getting vaccinated, just on their own terms.In this episode, Dr. Moy explains how VA is more effective than public health care systems at easing the worries of minority populations about the COVID vaccines and why rural Veterans aren’t getting vaccinated as quickly as urban Veterans.Additional Links:Information about COVID-19 vaccines at VA.Sign up to get a COVID-19 vaccine at VA.Borne the Battle BONUS: COVID Update #7: Clinical Trials and Emergency Department Procedures.
22/05/2127m 32s

#242: A SEAL Overcoming through Sports w/ Navy Veteran Al Kovach, Paralympian and past President of Paralyzed Veterans of America

When Navy Veteran Al Kovach woke up after spinal surgery, he asked the nurse if he was still alive. She answered affirmatively, and he immediately began to plan for his future as a paralyzed Veteran.Kovach, a former Navy SEAL, Paralympian and two-time LA Marathon champion, joins Borne the Battle to discuss his career as a disabled athlete, his time as President of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), and the impact and challenges of PVA.The SEALs recruited Kovach out of nuclear power school due to his swimming career at Indiana University under legendary swim coach Doc Counsilman.A parachute jump in 1991 went wrong, ending with Kovach undergoing surgery but never walking again. A member of PVA came to the hospital after he woke up to help him with his paperwork and transition to life as a paralyzed Veteran.Living as a paralyzed Veteran allowed Kovach to return to competitive sports. He trained and competed in marathons, winning the LA Marathon twice and representing the USA in the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta. He also completed a transcontinental triathlon.Kovach found a new community within PVA and became actively involved in the VSO. Paralyzed Veterans of America is a congressionally chartered Veteran Service Organization (VSO). There are many Veteran nonprofits, but a Congressional Charter recognizes VSOs that are experts in their field. Congress and VA recognized PVA’s expertise as leaders in medicine and care for paralyzed Veterans. PVA was founded in 1946 when, as Kovach explains, medicine advanced enough to save paralyzed Veterans’ lives.In this episode, Kovach discusses his athletic career, PVA’s congressional advocacy, and the changes he and other members of the PVA fight to improve quality of life for all disabled Americans.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran Ben KurokiAdditional Links:Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.Borne The Battle #160: Benefits Breakdown – Assistive Technology Program.Borne The Battle #157: Ursula Draper, Army Veteran, Occupational Therapist, Assistive Technology Professional.Former Navy SEALAl Kovach: Lessons I Learned From My Military Experience about How To Survive And Thrive During A Time Of Crisis.Veteran eligibility and access to VA home loans expandedVA launches Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance ProgramVA and SBA jointly support restaurant recovery Join ‘Fans in the Stands’ to virtually cheer on Veteran athletesVA accepting walk-ins for COVID-19 vaccinations nationwideVA releases report detailing efforts to address COVID-19 pandemicVA stands up commission to recommend new Under Secretary for Benefits 
17/05/211h 21m

#241: Motherhood and Deployments with Air Force Veteran Amanda Huffman, Host of Women of the Military Podcast, Author, Blogger

In this episode of Borne the Battle, Air Force Veteran Amanda Huffman – a military spouse, blogger and host of the Women of the Military podcast – discusses transitioning from active duty to diaper duty, Veteran women who deploy shortly after becoming mothers and what men should be conscious of about the female military experience.Huffman’s interest in military service began after the events of September 11, 2001. She realized that enlisting in the military was something that she wanted to do and could do. And after hearing that many of her friends were joining during her freshman year of college, she wanted to learn more about the variety of opportunities within the military and soon decided to enter the ROTC program after graduating from Fresno State.After serving in the Air Force and being deployed to Afghanistan, Huffman transitioned out the military to become a military spouse while her husband stayed in the military. This allowed her the opportunity to become the mom and provide a more stable environment for her family. While navigating the journey of motherhood, Huffman decided to turn to writing as an outlet and created the blog to share her personal experiences with being a mom, military spouse, being a woman in the military and to help other military women.Soon after Huffman started blogging and creating her website, she became the host of Women of the Military podcast that shares the stories of military women and covers a variety of topics. She also shares why she started a Youtube channel called Girl’s Guide to the Military.Also in this episode, Huffman shares what she learned from her own community about being a women Veteran, what she learned while in the military, how she is trying to change the narrative of military women and why it’s important for women to share their stories.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Marine Veteran Romus “RV” Burgin.Mentioned in this episode:Borne the Battle #232: Air Force Veteran Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Children’s Book Author and Publisher.Borne the Battle #202: Marine Corps Veteran Ben Killoy, Host of the Military Veteran Dad site becomes central login for accessing benefits.VA’s 1 Step Today campaign promotes Veteran mental wellness.Veteran eligibility and access to VA home loans expanded.Enrollment now available for accelerated program to prepare Veterans for high-demand careers.
10/05/2154m 3s

#240: Benefits Breakdown: Home Interest Rate Reduction Loans (IRRRL)

Home interest rates are at historic lows and VA home loans offer lower rates than any other type of home loan. Navy Veteran John Bell, deputy director of VA's Loan Guaranty Service, joins Borne the Battle to break down VA’s Interest Rate Reduction and Refinance Loan (IRRRL), mortgage refinancing, VA home loans and how these benefits help Veterans stay in their homes.Bell, a Gulf War Veteran, began his career in the mortgage industry working in the private sector. Before starting with VA, Bell most recently served as Vice President of VA Real Estate Management at Bank of America. He held other senior leadership positions at large lending institutions where he designed a portfolio retention strategy that is now an industry-leading model.Bell started with VA in 2010. Before taking his current position, he served as the assistant director for Loan Policy and Valuation in VA's Loan Guaranty Service, where he helped reduce timelines for determining eligibility from 14 days to less than 48 hours.Bell builds on his appearance in Borne the Battle's #150: Benefits Breakdown – 75th Anniversary of the VA Home Loan Program episode to answer key questions about VA home loans, refinancing, the current mortgage market and IRRRLs. He says VA Home Loan Guaranty services want to be the voice of the Veteran and aims to help Veterans buy and stay in the home of their dreams.This episode answers these questions:How quickly can a Veteran receive their certificate of eligibility for a VA Home Loan?What are the pandemic and CARES Act doing to the mortgage market?Why are Veterans receiving mailers about Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loans (IRRRLs) and what are IRRRLs?How do IRRRLs work and where do you start when seeking refinancing?Why use IRRRLs now? What might be delaying an IRRRL right now?How often can you refinance your mortgage?What are important questions to ask your lender?What fees are negotiable when closing on refinancing? What third party fees are involved?Does VA require you to escrow?What is the best way to shop for an effective rate and how do you avoid predatory lending?Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Roger WeltMentioned in this episode:Borne the Battle #196: Navy Veteran Bryan Bergjans, Senior VP, National Director of Military Lending.Borne The Battle #150: Benefits Breakdown, VA Home Loan ProgramVHA observes 75 years, 1 billion hours of volunteerismConsumer Financial Protection Bureau.Borne the Battle Bonus Episode: Home Loan Forbearance Protections Extended.CFPB - Help for homeowners and renters during the national coronavirus emergency.Better Business Bureau.VA Home Loans: Lender Statistics.VA Loan Lenders - MilitaryBenefits.Desert Storm 30 Anniversary Blogs.
03/05/2157m 18s

#239: Future of Team Rubicon with Marine Veteran Jake Wood, Former Sniper, Veterans Coalition for Vaccinations

This week's episode of Borne the Battle features Marine Corps Veteran and entrepreneur Jake Wood, co-founder of Team Rubicon.Wood's post-military story began on January 12, 2010, when a devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake ravaged Haiti, killing and injuring hundreds of thousands and displacing over a million people. Several thousands of miles away, in Los Angeles, the recently separated Iraq and Afghanistan combat Veteran was waiting for his graduate school admissions results and turned on the television. Seeing the crisis in Haiti unfold, Wood thought that it would be a waste to not put his military training to use by helping with the humanitarian relief efforts. He called eight Veterans to join him, and together, they headed off to Haiti. It was during their service in Haiti that Wood and his group came up with the ideas that led to the creation of Team Rubicon.Under Wood’s leadership, Team Rubicon went from an 8-person idea to an acclaimed nonprofit with over 140,000 volunteers across America. The organization has deployed 790+ operations to provide humanitarian relief for disasters around the world. Most recently, Team Rubicon spearheaded a partnership with five other Veterans’ organizations to help Veterans leverage their unique skills and experiences to help with the American vaccination effort.And though Team Rubicon is thriving under his leadership, Wood announced his intention to step down as the organization’s CEO in March 2021. He argues that “organizations, if they are not evolving, they are slowly dying.” Hoping for new hands and fresh ideas to keep Team Rubicon running, Wood picked his COO, Art delaCruz, to be Team Rubicon’s next CEO.With his organization in trusted hands, Wood plans to focus on his other interests. Most recently, he found joy in writing and published his well-received book, “Once a Warrior,” a story of his life’s journey written to inspire other Veterans to discover their purpose after taking the uniform off.From the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to humanitarian frontlines, Wood has navigated some of the world’s most complex environments. Don't miss out on his story by listening to this episode of Borne the Battle.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran “Cap’n Jim” McMahan.Additional Links:Veterans get new chance to serve on vaccination campaignWood’s successor for CEO at Team Rubicon, Art delaCruz, was interviewed by Borne the Battle in 2017. Click here to learn more about delaCruz and his life’s story.Wood mentioned that the VA Home Loan Guaranty allowed him to buy a home that he “had no right to afford.” Check out this BtB episode to learn more about how a VA Home Loan might benefit you.
26/04/211h 5m

#238: Mental Health for ANY Veteran w/ Army Veteran Dr. Anneke Vandenbroek

In this episode of Borne the Battle, Army Veteran Dr. Anneke Vandenbroek, a board-certified clinical psychologist, discusses changes in treating Veterans in times of COVID, cognitive behavioral therapy, the importance of mental healthcare and how any Veteran, regardless of discharge status, can receive cost-free mental health care at any Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic in the country.Dr. Vandenbroek joined the Army during her doctoral program when she received the Health Professions Scholarship. She had little idea of the variety of jobs and opportunities that awaited her in the military. After graduating from Nova Southeastern University with her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, she was later stationed in Hawaii.After serving at Tripler Army Medical Center, Dr. Vandenbroek retired from the military and transitioned to a similar civilian position within the Department of Defense, which allowed her to maintain a career while her husband was still in the military. She continued to pivot within her career as her military family dynamic continued to change throughout the years.A final move to Maryland resulted in Dr. Vandenbroek taking a position at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Her work at Walter Reed differed from the pre-9/11 years she spent at Tripler, bringing challenging new injuries, experiences and complications during her 10 years at the medical center.Dr. Vandenbroek left Walter Reed in 2017 and is currently the director of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals. Although this particular clinic serves the DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia region, The Cohen Veterans Network partners with many different organizations to run clinics that serve everyone regardless of their discharge status or benefit status. There are 20 Cohen Clinics nationwide that serve children as young as four years old, active duty service members, family members and caregivers. By the end of 2021, the Cohen Veterans Network plans to have 25 operational clinics. In the interview, Dr. Vandenbroek said that Cohen Clinics receive many referrals from VA facilities.Also in this episode, Dr. Vandenbroek discusses what cognitive behavioral therapy is and how it works, the increase in need for mental health care during the COVID-19 pandemic, the rewards of helping Veterans improve their quality of life through mental health care and how good communication skills can help Veteran families.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Air Force Veteran Gerald McilmoyleMentioned in this episode:Borne the Battle #218: David Muir, Easterseals’ Veteran Staffing NetworkBorne the Battle #164: Benefits Breakdown, VA Vet CentersBorne the Battle #235: VA Secretary Denis McDonoughVA PTSD Resources – National Center for PTSDVA Research on Prolonged Exposure TherapyVeteran finds cognitive processing therapy “very difficult…but the reward is significant” – VAntage PointA safe place: One Veteran’s experience with prolonged exposure therapy – Vantage Point

#237: Sustainable Employment for Veterans and Military Spouses w/ RADM Dan Kloeppel

On this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Navy Veteran Dan Kloeppel shares the story of his military career and how he later became an airline pilot who founded two nonprofit organizations. He formed the latter alongside his wife, Deb, to help Veterans and military spouses with job placement.In service, Kloeppel was a naval aviator. He discusses his 36 years in the Navy and Navy Reserve. After transitioning out of the military and retiring from a career as a pilot, he and his wife founded two non-profit organizations called Corporate America Supports You and Military Spouse Corporate Career Network.Kloeppel breaks down why their two non-profits are serving two sectors of the Veteran and military communities and shares how transitioning service members, Veterans, military spouses and Veteran caregivers can successfully land a job through the job placement process. He then details how this population has the necessary skillset to succeed in corporate America.The non-profits have successfully grown, becoming networks that includes Since 2010, these nonprofit networks have helped over 120,000 Veterans and military spouses secure careers with an average salary of $70,000. Kloeppel also shares advice for how Veteran nonprofit organizations just starting can market themselves and build credibility to achieve funding. Lastly, Kloeppel shares his knowledge on how his non-profit job boards differ from popular job placement companies.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Lauran GloverAdditional Links:VA extends debt relief for VeteransDirect Employers AssociationVA provides free support to help Veterans heal from military sexual trauma Military Spouse Jobs Launches New Arm-Me Up™ CampaignVA seeks feedback to guide new suicide prevention grant program
12/04/211h 8m

#236: Treating PTSD w/o Pharmaceuticals w/ Navy SEAL Veteran Mikal Vega, Actor, Producer, Director, Yoga Teacher

Mikal Vega is an accomplished actor, Kundalini Yoga teacher and founder of the nonprofit, Vital Warrior. In this episode of Borne the Battle, Vega discusses his struggle with military transition, finding treatment for his PTSD, discovering alternative therapies, and founding a nonprofit with the goal of sharing what he has learned.Vega served 22 years in the Navy as an EOD specialist and SEAL. He found his purpose as a shield for people who couldn’t protect themselves. During a mission, an IED hit his vehicle and the damage from the blast resulted in severe cervical trauma. That trauma changed the course of Vega’s life.Only later did he realize the extent of his injuries when he began to struggle in his civilian life and personal relationships. Instead of crumbling under the weight of injury and PTSD, Vega channeled his recovery successes into helping other Veterans and their families. Vital Warrior is a non-profit organization and therapeutic system designed to help Veterans and their families to destress, heal and gain strength from their experiences without the aid of prescription drugs. His goal? Putting a brick and mortar Vital Warrior studio outside every military base.When Vega transitioned to civilian life and dealt with post-traumatic stress, he took up the practice of Kundalini Yoga. Now, he shares the practice and other techniques that helped him to heal with his clients. Vital Warrior takes a discipline-oriented and regimented approach to yoga practice, which Vega teaches in Venice, CA, where he offers free classes to Veterans. Vega empowers his students to reject the victim mindset and take responsibility for their health.In this episode, Vega discusses:His experience with injury and a path to healing.The reasons he left the military after 22 years.How he got to where he is now.His Hollywood career as an actor, director and producer.Directing motion-capture filming for Activision during the COVID-19 pandemic.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Phillip Edward Bonner.Mentioned in this episode:Borne the Battle Episode #140: Danny Chung, Marine Veteran, Microsoft Chief of Staff of Military Affairs.Borne the Battle #221: Air Force Veteran Mark Harper, President and CMO, We Are the Mighty.The Hurt Locker: Grocery Scene.Motion capture directing for Call of Duty franchise.SAVE LIVES Act allows VA to soon provide COVID-19 vaccinations to all Veterans, their spouses and caregiversVA strengthens PTSD claims process training
05/04/211h 35m

#235: VA Secretary Denis McDonough

On Feb. 8, 2021, Denis McDonough was confirmed by the Senate to be the United States’ 11th Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He heads into the job with a rich background filled with experience navigating the government’s complex bureaucracy. Being a veteran of Capitol Hill, he aims to leverage his knowledge to better serve our nation’s military Veterans.In this episode of Borne the Battle, McDonough touches on topics important to many Veterans:His vision for Community Care.His priorities when improving the VA health care system.Ensuring every Veteran gets a COVID vaccine in a timely fashion.Making sure rural Veterans can consistently and reliably access VA health care services.Maximizing VA mental health services to best benefit Veterans in need.Transitioning VA records from paper to electronic.While being VA Secretary is a new position for McDonough, he has taken steps to bridge the gaps in his knowledge by renewing a tradition that he followed as White House chief of staff. He reached out to as many former VA Secretaries he could to ask them for advice. In the interview, McDonough said the conversations have served him well so far and he intends to maintain these relationships moving forward.And while McDonough is not a Veteran, he contacted multiple Veterans during his first weeks as secretary to solicit their advice and general thoughts on the state of VA. In doing so, McDonough said he has learned valuable information on what issues are important to Veterans and has used those discussions to shape his priorities.Being a lifelong civil servant, McDonough enters his new position with a vast wealth of knowledge about navigating the federal government to achieve goals. Whether he successfully leverages his extensive experience from Capitol Hill to effectively serve America’s Veterans – he says that will ultimately be decided by you.In addition to listening to full episodes on your favorite podcatcher, you can also catch Borne the Battle interviews on YouTube.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Justice Eileen Moore.Mentioned in this Episode:VA allocates $1B to aid State Veterans Homes amid COVID-19 pandemic.GI Bill platform soon to be a click away, offering students easier access.Annual VA Center for Women Veterans campaign highlights trailblazers.E.A.C.H. Coaching Tool Web App.Strategic review of Electronic Health Record Modernization program.VA, American Red Cross team up to provide virtual social engagement for Veterans during COVID-19 pandemic.Additional Links:Despite only being a month-and-a-half in office, McDonough has generated a lot of buzz here on Vantage Point. Check out the archives to see what he has been doing. In highlighting the importance of mental health resource access, McDonough said that “we are not a collection of symptoms, we are people with stories and with hard earned stories.” Check out VA’s My Life, My Story series to hear the stories that many Veterans have to share.
29/03/211h 2m

#234: Nurses in Vietnam w/ Army Veteran Diane Carlson Evans

Army Veteran Diane Carlson Evans, founder of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation, joined Borne the Battle to discuss her decision to become a nurse, time serving in Vietnam as a combat nurse, decision to re-enlist after working in a civilian hospital and her fight for a women’s memorial on the National Mall.Growing up on a farm in Minnesota, Evans always knew she wanted to be a nurse. After her second oldest brother was drafted, she had no doubt that she would go to Vietnam herself. So she went to Minneapolis, found an Army Nurse Recruiter and asked how she, too, could go to Vietnam.Evans enlisted and served in Vietnam from 1968-69 as a trauma nurse in the surgical and burn wards at Vung Tau and later as head nurse in a surgical unit at Pleiku. She treated wounded soldiers and civilians, many of whom came straight from the worst of the fighting.When she came home, Evans worked in a civilian hospital for three weeks. She wasn’t allowed to do many of the procedures that had been part of her everyday duties in Vietnam and she felt stifled. She left the position when she realized she wasn’t suited to work with those who couldn’t understand her experience.In 1984, Evans incorporated the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project as a non-profit organization after visiting the Vietnam War Memorial and realizing that women weren’t visible. In fact, there weren't any memorials for women Veterans in the nation's capital and, when she brought it up, faced great opposition from those who felt the idea was misguided and unnecessary. It then became her goal to bring visibility to the service and sacrifice of the women who served in Vietnam.After nearly 10 years of Congressional and federal hearings, the project gained enough support to receive approval for a statue. On November 11, 1993, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial was dedicated as part of the larger Vietnam War Memorial.Today, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation continues to identify the women who served, document their needs, and facilitate research to address those needs and to educate visitors about the service of women during the Vietnam War. In this episode, Evans shares:Her path to nursing and Vietnam.Stories from her time serving as a combat nurse in Vietnam.Her return home and reenlistment.The treatment of Vietnam Veterans.The story behind and fight for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Marine Veteran Barbara DulinskyMentioned in this Episode:Borne the Battle Episode #232: Air Force Veteran Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Children’s Book Author and Publisher.Borne the Battle Episode #226: Marine Corps Veteran Scott Stump, President and CEO, National Desert Storm Memorial Association.More information on the Vietnam War Memorial.PBS Video on the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.VA releases COVID Coach mobile app in SpanishFDA grants VA first ever compassionate use for 3D-printed hearing deviceAmerican Rescue Plan provides Veterans COVID-19 protections and monetary aidRural Arizona latest VA, American Legion telehealth access point
22/03/211h 32m

#233: Honoring Vietnam Veterans with MG Peter Aylward

This week’s Borne the Battle episode features Army Veteran Major General Peter Aylward (Ret.). He discusses his military career, mentors, how he became the national director of the Vietnam War Commemoration and how the program adapted its events during the COVID-19 pandemic.On March 29, 2021, National Vietnam War Veterans Day will be celebrating its 4th anniversary. The commemoration was authorized by Congress and established by the Department of Defense to reach out and provide a long overdue thank you to Vietnam Veterans who did not receive a proper welcome after they returned home.Today, there are over 6.2 million living Vietnam Era Veterans who earned our nation’s gratitude. Maj. Gen. Aylward breaks down the history and mission of the program and how others can contribute and become a Vietnam 50th War Commemorative partner.The commemoration gives a lapel pin to every living Vietnam Era Veteran, as well as their next of kin. The pin is a token of appreciation to all who served and sacrificed for their country. So far, the program has reached and recognized over 3 million Vietnam Veterans.Lastly, Aylward, talks about how the commemoration provides a sense of healing and reconciliation to all Vietnam Era Veterans and how the commemoration measures success.#BtBattle Veteran of the WeekArmy Veteran and MoH Recipient Joe Hooper.Mentioned in this Episode:Vietnam 50th War CommemorationNational Vietnam War Veterans DayVA receives Janssen COVID-19 vaccineStay informed about getting a COVID-19 vaccineWomen Veterans can access on-demand Women’s Health Transition TrainingM28C.V.A.1 Educational. Vocational, and Special Rehabilitation Services Manual
15/03/211h 10m

#232: "Buenas Noches Capitán Mamá," Air Force Veteran Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Publisher, Author, Global Marketer

This week's Borne the Battle features Air Force Veteran Graciela Tiscareno-Sato, who discusses her efforts in overcoming the adversity of a stereotypical workforce, and breaking barriers while transitioning to become the founder of a niche publishing, marketing and communications firm. She is also the author of bilingual children and entrepreneurship books.Tiscareno-Sato joined the Air Force on the advice of her high school counselor’s husband to apply for a ROTC Scholarship. After school, she completed Undergraduate Navigator Training at Mather Air Force Base (AFB) in Sacramento and then graduated near the top of her class – as the only woman in the class. She then trained in the KC-135R refueling tanker at Castle AFB in California before reporting to the 43rd Air Refueling Squadron at Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington.On her first deployment was to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, she was a member of one of the first few aircrews to patrol and enforce the Southern NO FLY Zone in Southern Iraq after the conclusion of Operation Desert Storm. She and her crew earned the air medal. This happened 10 months before Congress lifted the Combat Exclusion Law that barred women from being assigned to combat duties.In the podcast, Tisacareno-Sato tells the story of how this Air Medal almost didn't happen for her crew because of this technicality.During her military career, she visited four continents and flew for thousands of hours. As an instructor, she taught GPS and navigation systems. She also learned how to work in a cross-cultural environment, which set her up for a future in global marketing.After her service, Tiscareno-Sato pursued and secured a position at Siemens as a global marketer. She is also the author of an Amazon bestselling bilingual children's book, Good Night Captain Mama/Buenas Noches Capitán Mamá, the first bilingual children's book about why mommies serve in the military.This ground-breaking book was honored at the American Library Association National Convention (2014 International Latino Book Awards)  in the category of "Best Educational Children's Book - Bilingual." Since then, the book has won awards in competitions among military writers, independent publishers and The Writer’s Digest Magazine.In this episode, Tiscareno-Sato discusses:The importance of mentorship.Her military career that took her across the globe and inspired a love for travel and culture.Life as one of the first females to fly combat missions for the Air Force.Transition tips from her experience as an airman and civilian teacher.The journey to founding the Gracefully Global Group.The importance of personal branding.“Book Birthing.”Writing tips and the best ways to publish a book.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Navy Veteran Wendy B. LawrenceMentioned in this episode:Borne the Battle #226: Marine Corps Veteran Scott Stump, President and CEO, National Desert Storm Memorial Association.Borne the Battle #7: Kayla Williams – Army Veteran, Director of Center for Women Veterans.Operation Southern Watch.Lifting of aviation combat exclusion.Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship. Premium reductions coming to enrollees of Veterans’ Group Life Insurance
08/03/212h 10m

#231: Combat Wounded to CEO w/ Army Veteran Dawn Halfaker

Army Veteran Dawn Halfaker never expected she would be be in the military. She was a guard on her high school basketball team when the NCAA sponsored her trip to visit West Point, one of the schools recruiting her. Hesitant but with nothing to lose, she accepted the trip. She soon fell in love with the school and her thereby set the course of her future career.Halfaker graduated from West Point in 2001, and since then, she has gone on to accomplish many great things. In this episode of Borne the Battle, she spoke on a few of her many accomplishments:Overcoming adversity despite suffering a permanent injury while serving in IraqServing as a military liaison to the House Armed Services CommitteeWorking for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency at a time when the agency developed groundbreaking new technologiesBringing an important woman’s perspective to the Wounded Warrior Project as its board’s chairwomanBeing part of a VA committee that fundamentally reshaped how VA provides care for its wounded VeteransOne of the most notable achievements Halfaker discussed was how she built up her own business and turned it into one that now has over 600 employees. She had no experience running a business before, facing a difficult journey. However, she met like-minded people similarly committed toward creating innovative solutions to modernize the government and went from there.With a life full of civic, business and personal accomplishments, Halfaker is a champion of change. In 2014, VA recognized her as a Woman Veteran of Change.And in 2020, Halfaker was listed as among Washington’s Top 10 Health Executives to Watch.She overcame one of the biggest hurdles of her life after an injury in Iraq and created success for herself. She lives her company’s vision: “Continue to Serve.”#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Centra “Cece” MazyckAdditional LinksVA updates rating criteria for musculoskeletal and muscle injuriesAt West Point, Dawn Halfaker was Mike Erwin’s squad leader. Erwin is also an entrepreneur. Listen to his Borne the Battle interview.This Iraq Veteran Lost Her Arm--but Found New Purpose as an EntrepreneurRecent Department of Veterans Affairs COVID-19 Response testimony on Capitol Hill
01/03/2159m 33s

#230: Benefits Breakdown, Veterans Readiness and Employment Program (VR&E)

This week’s Borne the Battle is a Benefits Breakdown, exploring the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) service and chatting with its Executive Director and Navy Veteran William Streitberger.In the Navy for nine years, Streitberger served in intelligence, recruiting and career counseling. Since then, he has dedicated almost 20 years of his career to VR&E, a service that he, himself, used. Following the loss of his job in 2001, Streitberger leaned on the support of VR&E, which at the time was called the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VocRehab).He was appointed executive director of Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) service in September 2018. As executive director, Streitberger is responsible for overseeing the delivery of VR&E services to Veterans with service-connected disabilities and service members who're in the process of transitioning from the military to prepare for, find and maintain suitable careers, or obtain independence in their daily living.VR&E is not "another GI Bill," and it's actually separate from the GI Bill. VR&E is an employment service that administers Title 38 Chapter 31 benefits to Veterans with a minimum 10% disability. Eligibility differs from entitlement.EligibilityVeterans with a service-connected disability of 10% or greater.Must not have surpassed 12 years from date of discharge or first notification of VA-rated disability.EntitlementDisability must be directly causing a barrier to employment.Veterans will then be assessed for interests and capabilities to help find a new career field that will not worsen disability.Recently, the program has greatly expanded in the last few years. In 2020, VR&E hired 100 more counselors and it plans to do the same in 2021. Since March 1, 2020, VR&E has used VA Video Connect for over 100,000 appointments in an effort to increase accessibility.In this episode, Streitberger discusses:What VR&E does.Who can apply for the service.What the benefits entail.How to apply for the program.How VR&E benefits differ from and can be used in tandem with GI Bill benefits.More information can be found at the VR&E home page or by calling 1-800-827-1000.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Matt NymanAdditional Links:An additional 200,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses were delivered to administer to Veterans, employees VA extends existing moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures and extends loan forbearance opportunitiesVA, VFW open telehealth access point in rural PennsylvaniaVA reaches milestone vaccinating its 1 millionth Veteran
22/02/2153m 17s

#229: Automation Manufacturing w/ Air Force Veteran Jackson Henderson

On this episode of Borne the Battle, Air Force Veteran Jackson Henderson shares his transition story and becoming an Electrical Maintenance Technician.Henderson was influenced by two of his friends to join the military, and he would soon develop relevant technical skills that he would carry with him to his future careers. He discusses serving his entire enlistment in Minot, North Dakota, the importance of maintaining friendships while serving in the military and transitioning into civilian life.Recently, Henderson left the Air Force, and landing a job was not an easy task. He shares about searching for and applying to various jobs, talks about how he was invited to attend the Rockwell Automation Academy of Advanced Manufacturing Program, and emphasizes the importance of putting your name out there through various websites that help Veterans find jobs.What is the Rockwell AAM program? Henderson details the available course opportunities within the program and offers advice to transitioning service members on how they can find employment opportunities through the program, emphasizing the importance of trade schools and their value.Henderson then talks about how he found his current job through the AAM program, what it’s like working in the manufacturing sector, the future of automation, and how a Veteran who does not have technical experience can gain experience to improve their job prospects.Finally, he offers advice to transitioning service members on they can find employment opportunities.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Henry JohnsonAdditional LinksVirtForceVeterans Trainee Program - Experis Rockwell and ManpowerGroup collaborate to train veterans for high-tech jobsRockwell Automation Looks to Veterans as the Future IoT WorkforceVA administers 1 million COVID-19 doses, publishes facility vaccination numbersVA advances medical research for minority Veterans with new genomic toolVA offers millions in grant funding for adaptive sports to support disabled Veterans
15/02/2154m 32s

#228: LtGen Walter Gaskin, 19th Deputy Chair of the NATO Military Committee

This week's episode of Borne the Battle features retired Marine Corps Veteran Lieutenant General Walter Gaskin, the first Black American to command a Marine Division and the 19th Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee. Gaskin discusses the challenges in overcoming adversity, stereotypes and biases in the international military community.Inspired by a cousin who fought in Vietnam – and who was celebrated as a hero by his family and friends – Gaskin joined his high school’s ROTC program to pursue a military path through college. He deferred his draft to finish school and, later, earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Oklahoma.Gaskin served as the Commanding General of the 2d Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, NC, from June 2006 until July 2008. In addition to this role, he concurrently served as the Commanding General of II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) during its year-long deployment to Al Anbar Province, Iraq, as well as the Commanding General of Multinational Forces-West.Early in his career, Gaskin was one of only a handful of Black Americans in his division. He faced initial prejudice but eventually earned respect. Gaskin was one of the few representatives of the Black community in the Marine Corps, and in leadership positions for much of his career. His character was the example for others to see beyond skin color and was emblematic of the need for talent-based appointment and judgement.Gaskin would later serve as the 19th Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, from May 2009 to August 2013. In that role, he also served as Acting Chairman of the NATO Military Committee from November 2011 to January 2012, making him only the second American to ever hold the billet.In the podcast interview, Gaskin described how the international community wasn’t used to seeing Black Americans in high-ranking positions and that he strove to normalize the presence of people of color in positions of command. Performance, not color, is what matters most.Gaskin currently serves as North Carolina’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs.In this episode, Gaskin also discusses:His retirement and transition into civilian life.His experiences as the CEO of a defense contractor.Advice for Veterans interested in government contracting.His hardest job and the pressure he felt as a representative of his community.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Navy Veteran Jesse L. BrownMentioned in this episode:Borne the Battle Benefits BreakdownsHope for the Warriors
08/02/211h 33m

BtB Rewind: Navy Veteran Debra Russell

In addition to revisiting Navy Veteran Debra Russell's interview, this week's Borne the Battle Rewind shares information about, future Fisher House locations, rural COVID vaccines and how caregivers can receive the vaccine through VA.*Interview originally aired 3/17/2017This week’s podcast features Navy Veteran Debra Russell. Debra joined the military in 1984 and served until 1997. She worked in supply early on and went on to work on the staff for an Admiral.  She was “med-boarded” after a running accident and was separated from the military. Around that same time, she was dealing with a sexual assault she experienced with a superior. Debra opens up regarding her service, her transition, and how she uses art and photography for therapy.Covered in the Episode:Why Debra joined the militaryHer experience in the NavyBeing sexually assaulted by a superiorOvercoming an emotional crisisUsing her local Vet CenterWhy she enjoys photographyBeing a part of the women veterans art exhibitResources for women Veterans#BtBattle Veteran of the Day: Army Veteran Curtis Owens
01/02/2142m 10s

#227: New York Times Bestselling Author John Del Vechicco, Army Veteran, Historian, Hiker

John Del Vecchioattended Lafayette College in the late 1960s, a time when tensions over U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War was high. Anti-war protests emerged all around him and popular media figures constantly spoke of the war in negative terms. He even had professors who refused to teach in protest of the war. Yet, Del Vecchio remained skeptical about how bad things really were in Vietnam. On Nov. 4, 1969, he got his chance to see the Vietnam War for himself.In this episode of Borne the Battle, Del Vecchio shares how he went from being a combat correspondent to a very accomplished author. Some of the topics covered include:His experience training at The Defense Information School.The hurdles he had to go through to get his orders changed and be sent to Vietnam.His unique experience serving as a combat correspondent with the 101st Airborne Division.The act of heroism that earned him a Bronze Star Medal with a “V”.His experiences after returning from Vietnam.How he got his first book published and what he thinks today's aspiring authors need to do to find success.Having experienced the Vietnam War firsthand, Del Vecchio has prioritized what he calls "setting the Vietnam War’s record straight." In 1972, Del Vecchio began writing his first book, “13th Valley,” hoping to leave a factual account of the Vietnam War available for future historians and Veterans. The last thing he expected was to write one of the best books on the Vietnam War and to receive acclaim from Vietnam Veterans around the world.When not fighting against Vietnam War misinformation, Del Vecchio likes to be one with nature. He is an avid hiker who enjoys discussing contemporary American culture alongside stunning photos of nature on his blog.With a life full of unique and diverse experiences, Del Vecchio’s interview has something interesting for listeners from any walk of life.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Marie Rossi Additional Links:Borne the Battle Ep. 170: Dale DyeBorne the Battle Ep. 203: Erik Schlimmer, Serial HikerVietnam Veterans for Factual History, the nonprofit Del Vecchio works with to combat Vietnam War misinformation
25/01/211h 25m

BONUS: COVID Update No. 8, Home Loan Forbearance Protections Amid COVID-19

If you have a federally backed loan (VA, FHA, USDA, etc) and are having difficulty paying your mortgage due to the coronavirus pandemic, deadlines are approaching to apply for CARES Act forbearance or foreclosure assistance. Listen to this Borne the Battle bonus episode. It answers many questions about forbearances and gives information on how to apply.
20/01/2124m 38s

#226: Marine Corp Veteran Scott Stump, President and CEO, National Desert Storm Memorial Association

This week’s Borne the Battle episode features Marine Corps Veteran Scott Stump, who discusses his military career to becoming President and CEO of the National Desert Storm Memorial Association. Stump became intrigued with joining the military while in college and soon decided to follow in the footsteps of several family members who served before him. Stump discusses serving 4 1/2 years in the Marine Corps Reserve, being activated for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, learning valuable lessons in the military, and transitioning into civilian life.While on active duty, Stump was so dedicated to finish his college degree that he would complete assignments right in the fighting hole. In the episode, he shares an interesting story about the conversation he had with the dean of his school on a field phone while serving overseas. Stump also provides a surprising fact about how Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield reshaped the relationship between the American public and those who serve in the military. Later on, Stump talks about how the air campaign's effectiveness helped save his life and many American soldiers' lives in Desert Storm also referred to as the 100-hour ground war. Also, Stump discusses how he got the idea for building the memorial in 2010, after actively serving in Kuwait for six months and working in business for many years. He would soon begin devoting his time to lead the project and in its 11th year, became the CEO and president. He shares the importance of selecting the right board members for the project, honoring Desert Storm Veterans with a memorial, and the process for getting the memorial approved and funded.The memorial is set to break ground this year and will be near the Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall. Stump explains that the goal of the memorial is to encourage visitors to educate themselves about the events of Desert Storm and Desert Shield, support the nearly 700,000 Desert Storm Veterans and honor the men and women who sacrificed their lives in service to their country.Finally, Stump shares advice on how Veteran volunteers can become actively involved in the project, how larger Veteran Service Organizations have been major contributors in its funding, and how potential donors can have public recognition on-site at the memorial.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Marine Corps Veteran General Walter BoomerAdditional Links:VA expands access to telehealth services during COVID-19 pandemic for older, rural, and homeless VeteransVA, Fitbit help support Veteran health and wellness during COVID-19 pandemicOp-Ed by Scott Stump  
18/01/2159m 56s

#225: Jack Carr, Navy Veteran, Former SEAL / Sniper, New York Times Bestselling Author

This week's Borne the Battle episode features Navy Veteran and New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr. He discusses his dreams of becoming a Navy SEAL and author. Through his enthusiasm for reading and on military-science novels, Carr's dreams became a reality.Carr's two career goals were inspired by two people. The first person was his grandfather, a Marine who fought and died during World War II. The second person was his mother, a librarian who instilled in him a love of reading. It was this love that helped him on his path to reading about and eventually joining Navy SEAL teams.During his Navy SEAL career, Carr led special operations teams as a team leader, platoon commander, troop commander, task unit commander, operations officer and executive officer. In the interview, he shares how his military experience and travels allowed him to develop and share realistic stories for his novels.Additionally, he shares his mindset about his military transition, tips for entering the publishing world and how combining all his previous experiences led him to publish three political thrillers. His fourth novel is scheduled to be released in April.In addition, he supports Veterans through his own unique merchandise, where 100% of the profits go to Veteran-related charities. He is also an ambassador for the Rescue 22 Foundation. A SEAL teammate who trained a service dog for Jack's special needs child introduced him to the foundation.Finally, he shared the story and business behind Chris Pratt optioning his book for an upcoming series on Amazon Prime.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:All Desert Storm and Desert Shield VeteransMentioned in this Episode:VA updates welcome kit for Veterans and familiesVA resumes overpayment notifications while continuing relief options for VeteransVA administers over 146,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to date 
11/01/211h 9m

Meritorious Segments - Tanner's Top 10 of 2020

As we say hello to 2021, we look back and see who made the list for Tanner's Top 10 of 2020.
04/01/2144m 33s

Most Downloaded Benefits Breakdowns of 2020

Every five weeks Borne the Battle goes internal and breaks down a VA benefit, program, or office. These are the most downloaded Benefits Breakdown episodes of 2020. 
28/12/2026m 0s

Top 8 Most Downloaded Interviews of 2020

Snippets of Borne the Battle's most downloaded interviews of 2020. The list may surprise you.
21/12/2019m 25s

#224: Benefits Breakdown: Speech Language Pathology Programs

Vietnam War Navy Veteran Dave Hume suffered a major stroke while admitted to James Haley Veterans’ Hospital on Feb. 2, 2017. Nurses and doctors rushed to Hume’s side and managed to stabilize his condition. But when the doctors came the next morning to check his condition, Hume realized that he could not speak.After his stroke, Hume was diagnosed with Global Aphasia, a communication disorder which impairs a patient’s ability to process language. Unable to express any words or ideas, Hume thought his life was over. Yet, three days after his stroke, he met the person who would prove him wrong.On this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Navy Veteran and stroke survivor Dave Hume shares the journey of how he went from only expressing three words after his stroke to writing his own blog and becoming a motivational speaker. Pathologist Karyn Pingel, who joins him on this episode, is at the center of his rehabilitative journey.Pingel works closely with Hume to help him relearn how to speak and read. Under her guidance, Hume has made impressive progress. He actively writes a blog and talks to doctors and medical students interested in speech therapy.The two developed a close relationship and Hume happily calls Pingel a close friend. Even with COVID-19 keeping them apart, Pingel utilizes VA Telehealth Services to continue Hume’s therapy routine.Pingel notes that any Veteran enrolled for healthcare with the Veterans Health Administration is eligible to receive VA speech language pathology services if they need help in any of the following areas:SpeechLanguageSwallowingVoiceCognitive-communication disordersHume and Pingel hope his story will inspire other Veterans eligible for pathology services to begin talking with their primary or specialty care providers to get a referral.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Air Force Veteran Chuck YeagerAdditional Links:Borne the Battle episode 160: Benefits Breakdown, Assistive Technology Program 82.6% of people have never heard the term “Aphasia”An interview Dave Hume gave alongside his wife, Kathy Hume, in 2018
14/12/201h 13m

#223: Tom and Jen Satterly, All Secure Foundation

US Army and Delta Force Veteran Tom Satterly and his spouse Jen Satterly are the co-founders and co-CEOs of All Secure Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on helping Special Operations soldiers, Veterans and their significant others who are struggling on the home front from the effects of war.Tom served in the Army for 25 years, including 20 years in Delta Force. He served in the Battle of Mogadishu – which was portrayed in the 2001 Oscar-winning film, Black Hawk Down – and Operation Red Dawn, which led to the capture of Saddam Hussein. December 13 marks the 17th anniversary of Operation Red Dawn.Jen is an award-winning photographer and filmmaker who spent three years embedded with an elite Special Operations training company as director of film and photography. She became a Certified Health Coach in the course of her research into Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).When Tom retired from military service, he felt like a burden to society. Early on in Tom and Jen's relationship, he was on the verge of ending his life. Then he received a text from Jen. That text snapped him back to reality, saving his life.Tom's mental health struggles resulted in court-mandated therapy. In therapy, he discovered the root of his issues: Post Traumatic Stress. Relieved to have something to focus on treating, the Satterlys began a journey toward healing themselves, as well as other couples suffering from the effects of war.The Satterlys’ experience with PTS pushed them to establish the All Secure Foundation (ASF) in 2017, which helps warrior couples heal from trauma caused by disconnection and war. They decided to bring their passion for service to the Special Operations community by supporting their fellow warrior families at home.The ASF seeks to foster understanding of trauma and PTS as natural, biological responses to war that cannot be willed away. If the warrior is the only one who receives help, the home will still have issues; therefore, they offer support and treatment for spouses who suffer secondary PTS. The foundation offers retreats and therapy to aid warrior couples through learning, practice and community.In this episode, the Satterlys discuss Tom’s unique military career, Jen’s filmmaking career, writing a book as an untrained writer, their journey with PTS, and the founding of the All Secure Foundation.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Herman L. AdamsMentioned in this episode:VA Connected CareWarrior’s HeartRecent Benefits Breakdown EpisodesBtB Episode #220: Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans ActBtB Episode #215: Intimate Partner Violence Assistance ProgramBtB Episode #211: VA Debt Management Center
07/12/201h 15m

#222: Providing Support to Incarcerated Veterans w/ Army Reserve Veteran Ja'net Bishop Ed.D

Army Reservist and National Guard Veteran, Ja'net Bishop Ed.D, shares how the sudden loss of her husband compelled her to reflect on what the next transition in her life would be, and how she transformed her pain into purpose and became a volunteer with the American Red Cross. She breaks down the This is Freedom resiliency training workshop and how she helps Veteran inmates in Ridgeville, South Carolina. Bishop shares how these Veterans open up and trust her in order to accept help. She continues to work as a volunteer, to help guide incarcerated Veterans toward a successful and purposeful civilian life.The American Red Cross resiliency training program for inmate Veterans is unique. Bishop shares advice to individuals and volunteers interested in implementing the same program and how they can begin the process of helping inmate Veterans navigate their lives as civilians.Starting out as the oldest and only girl in her family, Bishop joined the military to blaze a trail for herself and develop leadership skills. She discusses her experience of serving 18 years in the Army Reserve and National Guard, being activated in support of Operation Desert Storm, and transitioning into civilian life.After the military, Bishop had the opportunity to earn her Master of Education degree in guidance and counseling from Campbell University. She shares why she became inspired to work in community and mental health counseling and how she was recruited to work in the school system—forever changing her life.Borne the Battle Veteran of the WeekMarine Corps Veteran Bill WoodsAdditional LinksAmerican Red Cross Hero Care Center In South Carolina, Red Cross Hosting Stress-Management Virtual Resiliency Workshop for Coping During COVID-19 for the Military CommunityVantage Point FoundationOp-Ed by Ja’net Bishop, PhD
30/11/2058m 21s

#221: Managing Megatron's Social Media w/ USAF Veteran Mark Harper, President/CMO of We Are The Mighty

Air Force Veteran Mark Harper found his niche as a content creator for combat camera. After leaving service, he leveraged his military experience for a career in the entertainment industry. He now leads a media company that publishes military stories.The son of a green beret, Harper earned his undergraduate degree and commission through Air Force ROTC at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. The 9/11 attacks prompted his deployment to Iraq as part of a communication squadron. In 2004, his animations, cartoons and videos received recognition, and he was referred to and joined combat camera. For most of his Air Force career, Captain Harper was the video flight commander for the 1st Combat Camera Squadron.In combat camera, Harper led combat-ready documentary teams that showed the world a glimpse into military operations, contingencies, exercises, weapons tests, and humanitarian relief operations. He used his position and leadership to teach Air Force commanders how useful media is for missions and how it can change and even save lives. Additionally, he led teams of trained visual information professionals in global deployments to provide the Department of Defense (DoD) footage of wartime and peacetime activities.Due to a 2007 reduction of forces, Harper left the Air Force and headed to Los Angeles to look for work in Hollywood.Although he entered the entertainment industry at an inopportune time, Harper persevered. He eventually found work at companies like Paramount and Technicolor before moving into entrepreneurship, where he co-founded Audeze LLCand landed $4 million in startup costs in a pitch to Atlantic Records.After leaving Audeze, Harper met with David Gale, who offered him a position as a content producer for a new media company that focuses on telling the military’s story. Instead of accepting, he decided to give his own personal pitch on his skills, experience, and accomplishments to rebrand himself for a better job – and it worked. Gale offered Harper a co-founder title with We Are the Mighty.We Are the Mighty is a multi-platform media brand dedicated exclusively to creating genuine and impactful content for the armed services community. As the company moves into 2021, Harper hopes to expand the company’s current intellectual property and move into longer form content.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Air Force Veteran Kenneth BottomsMentioned in this Episode:VA confirms authority for its health care professionals to practice across state linesAmerica Salutes You partners with VA to bring attention to suicide prevention resources VA recruiting volunteers for COVID-19 clinical trialsVA report lists 71 top customer experience improvements and initiativesFederal partners plan with VA for COVID-19 vaccination distribution VA chief research officer receives award for advancing prostate cancer research for Veterans
23/11/201h 40m

#220: Benefits Breakdown, Blue Water Navy Veterans Act of 2019

While serving as an electrics technician aboard USS Davis during the Vietnam War, Blue Water Navy (BWN) Veteran John Burns said he never felt like his life was in danger. He appreciated the experience because he was able to visit parts of the world he had never seen before. The last thing he expected was to have been exposed to Agent Orange while off the coast of Vietnam.In this episode of Borne the Battle, two Veterans from two very different generations come to talk about the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. Burns, a Vietnam War Veteran spoke about:His unanticipated participation in the Vietnam WarThe symptoms he had after Agent Orange exposureHis experience filing a BWN claimHow the BWN Act benefits improved his lifeDavid Eckert, an Iraq War Veteran and lead policy analyst for VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities, also joined this episode. Eckert leveraged his background working with the BWN Act to share:How Veterans can file a claim The criteria VA uses to evaluate applicantsWhat benefits eligible Veterans can expect to receiveBurns never regretted serving in Vietnam. Nor does Burns believe he suffered too badly from Agent Orange.  However, he still encouraged all Navy Veterans who believed they were exposed to the chemical in Vietnam to apply for benefits. He argued BWN Veterans deserve the compensation and that the application process was easy enough to justify simply trying.Eckert and Burns emphasized BWN Vietnam Veterans should try and submit a claim even if they submitted a claim before the BWN Act passed, never filed one or received a denial but want to try filing again. In some cases, their surviving family members may also be eligible for benefits. There are countless ways to file a claim:File themselves through VAReceive assistance from Veteran Service professionals recognized by VAFiling through a VA regional office and receive VA employee assistanceThough from two different generations of the U.S. Armed Forces, Burns and Eckert said they hope BWN Vietnam Veterans will file a claim and get the compensation they deserve.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Navy Veteran Regis PhilbinMentioned in this Episode:VA releases 2020 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual ReportVA releases COVID-19 Response Report New nursing research and training collaboration with the Prostate Cancer FoundationVA, American Kidney Fund join efforts to help Veterans diagnosed with kidney disease 
16/11/2059m 55s

#219: Marine Corps Birthday w/ Chad Robichaux, Bellator/Strikeforce MMA Fighter, Mighty Oaks Foundation

This week’s Marine Corps Birthday episode of Borne the Battle features Marine Corps Veteran, former police officer, MMA champion, bestselling author and founder of the Mighty Oaks Foundation, Chad Robichaux. He turned his passion and greatest struggles into a foundation that helps his fellow Veterans who suffer from PTSD.Robichaux grew up in a dysfunctional home and turned to the Marine Corps to escape it. By 15, he was living alone. He entered the Corps without graduating high school and earned his GED while he served. As a Force Recon Marine, he served eight deployments in Afghanistan as part of a Joint Special Operations Command Task Force. Now, he is a board-certified pastoral counselor with an MBA.When PTSD ended his military career, Robichaux fell back on his skills as a martial artist. He fought in Strikeforce and Bellator, won HDNet’s Legacy FC belt and became a world champion MMA fighter. However, his fighting career consumed him, worsening his PTSD and delivering a reckoning to face his serious issues.At the height of his MMA career, Robichaux was on the verge of suicide. After realizing that he needed a holistic approach to self-care instead of drowning himself in fights, he made the choice to seek help from his wife and found support in faith. Now, he strives to help other Veterans discover the strength of a multifaceted approach to treating PTSD before they become statistics.In this episode, Robichaux discusses:His life-altering experience as a police officer.His struggles with PTSD, self-esteem, and family issues during and after his military service.His MMA career and how it helped and harmed him.How family, faith, martial arts and counseling help him in his daily battle with PTSD.What the Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs are and how they help soldiers and Veterans learn to take care of their minds, bodies, souls, and spirits.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Marine Corps Veteran Foster L. HarringtonMentioned in this Episode:Chad Robichaux – White Chair Film – I Am SecondBtB #42: Brian StannBtB #154: Conrad Washington, VA Center of Faith and Opportunities InitiativeBtB #170: Dale Dye, Marine Corps Birthday Episode
09/11/201h 41m

#218: David Muir, Easterseals, Veteran Staffing Network

Army Veteran David Muir is the Senior Vice President of the Veterans Staffing Network, a social enterprise project of Easterseals DC, MD and VA.Muir was sold on joining the Army National Guard the moment his friend’s sergeant showed him a video of soldiers rappelling out of helicopters. He was just 17-years old when he joined the Virginia Army National Guard through the Split Training Option program in 1989. He served as an infantryman and M-60 gunner while studying to be a teacher.Following his service, Muir worked in staffing and went to a Department of Labor Transition Assistance Program (TAP) Employment Workshop in 2009, where he discovered that the program needed updating. In 2011, he won the bid to revamp the TAP curriculum.After he finished the TAP redesign, Muir joined a nonprofit organization named Easterseals. The organization was looking for someone to start a new program called the Veterans Staffing Network.The Veterans Staffing Network was created to catch the people who fell through the cracks of other programs. Because it is a nonprofit, the organization offers courses and coaching that help build job seeking skills at no cost to the participant.In this episode, Muir discusses:His journey from infantryman to life skills teacher.America’s need for better job search skills.Civilian versus Veteran perspectives on life.How the Veteran Staffing Network empowers Veterans and their families to get their own jobs.Additional Veteran programs within Easterseals.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Marine Corps Veteran Kevin ElderAdditional Links:Find an Easterseals near youVeteran Staffing Network in U.S. Veterans MagazineDavid Muir on effective interview structure to hire VeteransHomefront: Easterseals opens doors for Veterans
02/11/201h 5m

#217: Bigfoot and UFOs w/ Jennifer Marshall, Navy Veteran, Host of CW's Mysteries Decoded

This is not your typical episode of Borne the Battle. It’s a Halloween Special with returning guest and Navy Veteran, Jennifer Marshall. Marshall is an actress and a trained private investigator. In “Mysteries Decoded,” an ongoing paranormal series on the CW television network, she gets to put those skills to work on paranormal activity, like vampires, Bigfoot, Area 51, The Mothman and many others.In the podcast, Marshall shares some of her theories on Bigfoot, based on her interviews with academics and observations while spending time in British Columbia.CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MYSTERIES DECODEDMarshall switches to talking about temporarily shutting the show down, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and how being flexible in switching to Zoom interviews allowed her team to be creative in making episode updates.Later, she shares her personal investigations into Area 51, as well as other alien evidence that marries up to new revelations from the government, in reference to recently confirmed naval UAP (AKA UFO) footage.Marshall then reveals her laundry list of dream mystery investigations, including other paranormal mysteries over international waters; the Australian Bigfoot, Yowie; a Titanic conspiracy, and the haunted Waverly Sanitarium in the United Kingdom. Eventually, she would like produce a true crime program that delves into military true crime cases and mysteries.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Day:Navy Veteran Hildreth Walker Jr.Additional Links: jennifermarshall.comVA, Blue Star Families to support Veterans impacted by COVID-19VA creates National Women Veterans Oncology System of Excellence in fight against breast cancerFormation of the National Suicide Prevention LifelineFind a flu shot VA location or in-network community care provider.
26/10/2032m 17s

BONUS: COVID-19 Update No. 7: Clinical Trials and Emergency Care

Doctors Molly Klote and Chad Kessler join this bonus episode of Borne the Battle to discuss the various ways VA is helping with the national effort to combat COVID-19. The two doctors are fighting it in very different, but equally important ways.Dr. Klote, VA’s director of Office Research Protections, Policy, and Education, oversees all the research VA conducts, including many of the vaccine trials for COVID-19. She goes into specifics on the following topics:In what ways VA is helping with developing a vaccineTypes of treatments the public might expect to be used to treat COVID-19What happens when a vaccine is approved by the FDADr. Klote also calls for anyone able to participate in a COVID-19 clinical trial to think about signing up. She particularly encourages Black and Hispanic populations to volunteer. A strong minority turnout to vaccine trials ensures the vaccine gets the broadest exposure possible, increasing the likelihood that a finalized product can be successfully used among all groups of people to treat COVID-19.Dr. Kessler fights against COVID-19 through the emergency department. As VA’s national director for Emergency Care, he oversees 141 emergency departments and urgent care centers. He goes in depth about the successful procedure emergency departments adopted to sort COVID-19 patients and mitigate the possibility of transmission.During the earlier months of the pandemic, Dr. Kessler noticed VA medical centers across the country needed to quickly communicate with one another about successful treatments and therapeutics.He solved the communication problem in a unique way. He began hosting livestreams in a series he called COVID in 20. The series was a resounding success among frontline workers and medical staff. Dr. Kessler also talked about the different strategies he used to add a bit of fun and humanity to his livestreams because he knew how stressed frontline workers were.Though coming from different parts of the pandemic battle, the two doctors stressed the importance of getting a flu shot. In the episode, they explain how a flu shot would not only protect the recipient, but also help them along with their COVID-19 work.Additional Links:Research is always voluntary. The Army will never force anyone to participate.More reading on the steps researchers must take to protect clinical trial volunteers.VA’s digital COVID-19 screening tool to streamline Veteran access to medical care.
21/10/2049m 16s

#216: Mentoring the Post-Military Journey w/ Air Force Veteran David Tenenbaum, Director of Heroes Linked

This week's Borne the Battle features Air Force Veteran David Tenenbaum, the creator of Honor Media and Heroes Linked.From a young age, Tenenbaum wanted to help others in need. Inspired by his father, a Holocaust survivor liberated by US forces, he grew up with the stories of seeing good people standing against great injustice. Like the men who freed his father, he wanted to follow in their footsteps, to do good for others.His journey began in 2001, at Officer Candidate School a month before 9/11.Tenenbaum served in the Air Force for six years as an Aircraft Instructor Navigator, leading stateside and overseas operations for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft. He left the service during a downsizing period to begin a new journey, but the Great Recession made it a rough transition.Moving to Los Angeles, Tenenbaum pursued a new profession direction: media production. He created Honor Media, a nonprofit that supports other Veteran nonprofits with media production, distribution, photography and social media support. He is also the director of Heroes Linked, an online platform that pairs Veterans with mentors to help them get to the next step in their post-military journey.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Navy Veteran Barton "Buddy" KesslerAdditional Links:Borne the Battle #204: Air Force Veteran Blake Stilwell, Staff WriterVA resumes in-person benefits services halted by the COVID-19 responseVA awards contract for Region 5 of Community Care Network to increase Veteran access to health care in AlaskaVA dedicates Cheyenne National Cemetery in WyomingFederal electronic health record connects with more community partners 
19/10/201h 29m

#215: Benefits Breakdown, Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience intimate partner violence (IPV) during their lifetime. Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries are at an even greater risk for IPV. Yet, both victims and perpetrators of IPV oftentimes don't seek help. They are instead motivated by feelings of shame, guilt, embarrassment, or fear to keep quiet and accept the violence around them.Dr. LeAnn Bruce, National Program Manager for the Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program (IPVAP), joins this week’s episode of Borne the Battle to share why no one should ever feel ashamed to seek IPV support and describes what services VA offers to help Veterans in need. Among the issues Dr. Bruce discussed include:What IPV meansThe many forms IPV can takeWhere to get immediate IPV helpWith COVID-19 and natural disasters disrupting lives across the country, promoting IPV awareness will be more crucial than ever during this October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Moments of crisis or long periods of isolation can amplify violence in relationship conflicts or abusive situations. IPVAP coordinators remain ready at every VA Medical Center to guide any Veteran or their partner in the right direction.VHA also encourages everyone to make the White Ribbon VA Pledge to stop violence against others. In acknowledging the ways violence and harassment can manifest, the world can become a safer place for everyone.If in need of 24/7 support, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 (SAFE) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.Additional Links:VA is ready to help women Veterans during COVID-19Intimate partner violence associated with women Veterans’ experience of housing instabilityHow lockdowns due to COVID-19 can cause a spike in IPVBorne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Randall ShughartAdditional Links:VA is ready to help women Veterans during COVID-19Intimate partner violence associated with women Veterans’ experience of housing instabilityHow lockdowns due to COVID-19 can cause a spike in IPV
12/10/2056m 58s

#214: WWE Superstar and Marine Veteran Stephen Kupryk

This week’s Borne the Battle features Marine Veteran Stephen Kupryk, also known as the WWE Smackdown superstar and Forgotten Sons member, Steve Cutler. In this episode, Kupryk talks about how his participation in high school athletics and the influence of 9/11 took him down a road which would ultimately land him in the country’s premier wrestling promotion.As a Marine infantryman, Kupryk was assigned to the Second Battalion, Eighth Marine Regiment and deployed twice to Helmand province in Afghanistan. He talks about finding inspiration and thanking those who mentored him while serving from 2007 through 2011.Kupryk spoke of using VA's GI Bill benefits to attend Rowan University, where a chance encounter with a WWE contact at a local bar would set him upon a career of WWE superstardom, including the early days when he trained at the Monster Factory Wrestling School before being called up in 2013 to the WWE’s NXT division. He also talks about forming the The Forgotten Sons, which Stephen takes a nuanced approach to by using military symbolism and his experiences to flesh out his character's role and persona.The team attained instant success and it helped Kupryk break into the SmackDown roster with a win over the then-Smackdown tag-team champions, The New Day.Kupryk also shares his enthusiasm behind WWE’s collaboration with Hire Heroes USA, an organization which aims to help Veterans and their families secure lifelong careers. As for his return to the ring, everyone stand by - targets will appear. 
05/10/201h 2m

#213: Healing through Poetry w/ Army Veteran Erika Land, War Poet

This week's Borne the Battle features Army Veteran Erika Land, who shares the story of how she changed her suicide letter into “War Song.”Before 9/11, Erika joined the Army as a pharmacy technician. Her job was to dispense medications in the emergency department. At work, she experienced pain, sorrow, anger, anxiety, depression and helplessness. After leaving service, she believed the only way out from feeling those emotions was to take her life – until she found poetry.VA’s Art Therapy Program allowed Land to express herself. She wrote about the trials and tribulations she experienced while being deployed to Iraq. But in Poetry, Land felt she could speak from the soul, to express to others on the same path that they, too, could find healing. "Poetry is the window into the soul and a reflection of life," she says, in the podcast.After service is when Land realized she wasn't alone. As she found poetry, she found passion for life and began touring and making arrangements for theaters and venues to market her shows. On Borne the Battle, she talks about how her performances not only allowed her to heal, but how it enabled her to connect with others to answer the deep questions she never asked herself.PTSD Hotline Phone Number855-698-4677National Suicide Prevention Hotline Phone Number1-800-273-8255#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Marine Veteran Cecil "Steve" StibbensAdditional LinksHelping Veterans and Their Families Make it Back to Better.National Suicide Prevention LifelineVA offers debt relief to Veterans impacted by natural disasters 
28/09/201h 3m

#212: Fighting to End Veteran Suicide with the Press of a Button w/ Marine Veteran Aaron Quinonez, CEO of Operation Pop Smoke

For many Veterans, readjusting to civilian life after leaving the military can be difficult. That's what Aaron Quinonez found when he left the Marine Corps, as he soon faced divorce, homelessness and the inability to secure a long-term job. Over time, his mental health steadily deteriorated as PTSD ravaged his mind. For Quinonez, life seemed to always get worse, and on one July 4th afternoon, he parked in an empty lot, pulled out his SIG Sauer and prepared to end his life.In this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Quinonez shares his journey from being on the brink of committing suicide to becoming an entrepreneur, sharing how he developed new programs and technologies to help Veterans suffering from PTSD and suicidal thoughts.Quinonez credits his faith as the reason for much of his climbing back up, out of despair. He talks about attending church and being surrounded by supportive people who embraced him. He felt called to help, and was encouraged by church-mates, to build housing for a family in Mexico. Quinonez was so inspired by the experience that he founded the organization, Q Missions, to bring Veterans together to construct buildings around the world.Quinonez also describes the arduous journey he took to launch his most recent project, Operation Pop Smoke, a mobile app which aims to prevent Veteran suicide. The app also brings a sense of military camaraderie to those who've transitioned into civilian life.In 2019, VA reported an average of 17 Veterans die from suicide each day. Borne the Battle (BtB) stands by Veterans grappling with mental health challenges. As part of this September’s Suicide Prevention Month, BtB hopes Quinonez’s story sparks a conversation that inspires people to support Veterans suffering from emotional distress.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Duane FranceAdditional Links:VA assistance with the transition to civilian life during COVID-19VA resources for Veterans in a mental health crisisRecognize the warning signs that indicate risk of self-harmVA’s REACH campaign to save Veteran livesVA notifies Veterans of compromised personal informationVA awards $1.3 million to support Veterans at elevated risk of suicide from experiencing or being at risk of homelessness VA expands Veteran access to telehealth with iPad services
21/09/201h 42m

#211: Benefits Breakdown, Debt Management Center

This week's episode of Borne the Battle is a Benefits Breakdown on the VA Debt Management Center (DMC). It features DMC's National Finance Director Joe Schimitt and DMC Director of Operations Jason Hoge. Schmitt and Hoge explain how the DMC helps Veterans with financial relief, how the debt repayment process works, and how the DMC actually assists Veterans by helping to improve their financial planning.Schmitt and Hoge explain the DMC mission, how it guides Veterans' debt repayments, and some recent changes. Those changes include:Technology updates.An oath for employees must take to serve the Veterans in their care.Required 13.5 week debt counselors training.Schimitt, a former Marine, advocates for “compassionate service.” That mission not only comes from his military service, but also from a personal history of having to repay medical debt. His son was diagnosed with Craniosynostosis. The needed surgery, cranial vault remodeling, corrected his son's head shape, enabling the brain, skull, and head to grow. But the treatment put him in serious debt, and one that helps him empathize with those in similar binds.DMC UPDATESDue to the pandemic, Hurricane Laura and the recent wildfires there have recent changes to DMC's operations, including financial relief options:VA has suspended all actions on Veteran debts under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department.VA has suspended collection action and repayment terms on existing VA debts, as the Veteran prefers.For benefit-based debts, Veterans can contact the VA Debt Management Center at 1-800-827-0648 to make debt repayment arrangements.For health care debts, Veterans can contact the Health Resource Center at 1-888-827-4817 to make debt repayment arrangements.For more info on the DMC, visit Veteran of the Week:Navy Veteran Louis G. PalmerAdditional Links:VA’s digital COVID-19 screening for Veterans, employees, aids in low infection rateVA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals reaches appeal decisions goal earlyVA announces new clinical trial for Veterans with COVID-19VA dedicates Acadia National Cemetery in MaineVA offers electronic virtual assistant for VeteransVA offers electronic virtual assistant for Veterans to connect faster with counselors During Suicide Prevention Month VA encourages supporters to “Be There” for Veterans and help connect them with resourcesForbes ranks VA as one of the best employers in 17 states
14/09/2053m 3s

#210: Tony Temerario, 9/11 Responder, Green Beret, AT&T Executive

This week's episode of Borne the Battle features Army Veteran Tony Temerario, who was also a 9/11 responder and a current AT&T executive.Temerario's parents were both WWII Navy combat Veterans. They served in the Pacific and in Operation Neptune during the Normandy D-Day Invasion in 1944. Temerario grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and was so influenced by service that he joined the military, too. In the podcast, he talks candidly about his experiences in the military and on scene at the Pentagon after 9/11, including re-establishing communication networks for first responders and, later that night, the emotions of seeing the flag draped over the side of the Pentagon walls.CLICK HERE TO READ THE STORY OF GETTING THE 2ND FLAG DELIVERED TO THE PENTAGONIt wasn't long after the attacks that Temerario deployed with his Army National Guard Special Forces Unit. His actions at the Pentagon and overseas earned him several Army and civilian honors, including an Army Meritorious Service Medal and three State of Maryland General Assembly Official Citations for Honor, Valor, and Bravery.Now, Temerario is the Director/Client Executive for AT&T’s Mobility IoT platform. A result of the challenges he experienced on 9/11 at the Pentagon led to the creation of FirstNet, a public-private partnership with AT&T. FirstNet was developed as a nationwide, low-band frequency network that prioritizes voice and data to first responder networks. It offers priority connectivity for emergency voice and data services during catastrophic events without interference or blockage.Outside of work, Temerario is an ambassador for Carry The Load, which "provides an active way for Americans to connect with the sacrifices made daily by military Veterans, active service members, first responders and their families." As a Carry the Load ambassador, he is also an active member in its Patriot Program, Carry The Flag, which aims to inspire patriotism to a new generation of kids.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Rick RescorlaAdditional Links:• Borne The Battle #162: Air Force Veteran John Baxter, 9/11 responder  • Borne The Battle 143: Stephen Holley – Navy SEAL Veteran, Naval Academy Quarterback, Carry The Load Co-founder and CEO  • Borne The Battle #161: Marine Veteran Todd Boeding, Carry the Load  • Borne the Battle #186: Hallie Johnston, Black Hawk Pilot, Carry the Load Board Member  • VA partnering with Carry The Load to Honor Fallen Heroes
07/09/2052m 21s

#209: Simplifying Online Identity w/ Blake Hall, Army Veteran, Founder and CEO of

This week, Army Veteran Blake Hall, who shared how and why he joined the Army, what life was like after transitioning, and how he founded's decision to join the Army after September 11th felt to him like a right of passage. He wanted to be the one to lead the fight. He talks about that event as a shift for service members, and what it meant for the community, before discussing a 15-month deployment as a platoon leader and fighting the Iraqi insurgency. Blake received the Bronze Star with Valor for actions in leading his men during a fight against insurgents.Hall also talks transitioning out of the military, and how he came to found and lead to make ID verification and logging a more efficient process. He mentions the hassles that Veterans without ID cards face when applying for various benefits. With, Veterans can be verified through a secure process without meeting in-person or providing physical identification.Later, Hall discusses entrepreneurship within the public and government arena, as well as that finding the perfect way to enter the marketplace is key. He talks building credibility, and shares what a lot of entrepreneurs forget to do when pitching their ideas to investors.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Air Force Veteran Carlos MartinezAdditional Links:Additional Story on Army Veteran Blake HallVA to award more than 425 grants, $279 million to help prevent and end Veteran homelessnessVA rolls out new patient-appointment tool, as part of electronic health record modernization transformation
31/08/201h 18m

#208: Medal of Honor Recipient Florent Groberg

Army Veteran Florent Groberg received the Medal of Honor in 2015 for his selfless actions during the War in Afghanistan, where he rushed a suicide bomber to protect 28 coalition and Afghan National Army personnel.Groberg knew he wanted to join the military when his uncle joined the Algerian army to fight the Armed Islamic Group, a terrorist organization that was eventually responsible for his uncle's grisly death. Groberg’s family moved to the United States when he was 12, and Groberg’s resolve to join the military was strengthened after the September 11 attacks. However, in order to join the Army, he had to renounce his French citizenship.On August 8, 2012, Groberg was responsible for protecting a group of personnel including two brigade commanders, three battalion commanders, an Afghan general, two GS-15 State Department individuals, and two majors with his element of six other soldiers. During the advance to a provincial governor’s compound, the patrol was attacked, and Groberg tackled a suicide bomber to distance the attacker from his personnel. The bomb detonated, severely injuring Groberg, but preventing more deaths from the patrol.Groberg is grateful to VA and the Wounded Warriors Project for helping him during his recovery. In 2015, he transitioned out of the military, and later that year was awarded the Medal of Honor.After transitioning, Groberg worked with LinkedIn and Boeing, providing leadership as well as advocating for Veterans in the workforce. He currently works at Microsoft and is a motivational speaker for Keppler Speakers. He also wrote an autobiography, Eight Seconds of Courage.Groberg is also a member of Warriors Ethos, an organization which provides Veterans with the resources and networks to transition into a successful civilian career.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Tu LamAdditional LinksCall of Duty: Warzone Skin Based off Florent GrobergVA prepares to welcome volunteers back to health care facilitiesVA partners with OnStar to bring suicide prevention services to VeteransVA decreases mail processing time for claims intake VA responds to COVID-19 with schedule revisions to electronic health record implementation
24/08/201h 31m

BtB Rewind: Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Duke and USA Basketball, Army Veteran

This week we go back in time and revisit, Duke and USA Basketball legend, Coach K's interview on Borne the Battle. 
17/08/2019m 3s

#207: Using AI to Align Veterans to Careers Opportunities w/ Marine Recon Veteran Alex Calfee

This week's episode of Borne the Battle features Marine Corps Veteran Alex Calfree, the co-founder of OpLign, a website that uses personal profiles of job seekers to connect them to employers and open up new career paths. Unlike most job-hunting websites which use keyword searches to connect job-seekers to employers, OpLign attributes its success to artificial intelligence that matches users’ complete profile to the employment opportunities that will allow them to succeed.After a few years of college, Calfree enlisted in the Marine Corps as an infantryman. He traveled between many different units before becoming a reconnaissance Marine, a job he described as “very cerebral” due to the demanding and required navigation and communication skills.After transitioning out of the military, Calfree earned an undergraduate degree and Master of Business Administration from Ohio State University with assistance from other Veterans and military members on campus.In 2017, Calfree co-founded OpLign, an artificial intelligence-powered software application that connects job seekers to employers through a personal profile of education, experience, and skills. Calfree claims that OpLign’s “two-way mechanism of exchange” avoids the pitfalls of a static system of job postings and resumes.According to Calfree, OpLign aims to work with companies that are Veteran-friendly. Many Veterans transitioning out of the military face challenges in the civilian job market due to their lack of experience, especially during the current employment crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic. Calfree hopes that OpLign can help those Veterans find opportunities and employment by showing employers how much value Veterans have to offer.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Marine Veteran Bill WhiteAdditional Links:vetlign.comVA reduces prescription opioid use by 64% during past eight yearsVA survey to collect customer feedback on education benefitsVA publishes final regulation for its Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers VA, America’s Adopt A Soldier partner to help Veterans at risk of or experiencing homelessness stay connected VA, Elizabeth Dole Foundation to offer respite relief for Veteran caregivers
10/08/201h 8m

#206: VFW Talk w/ Army Veteran Terrence Hayes, VFW's National Director of Communications

Army Veteran Terrence Hayes is the director of communications and public affairs for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He has worked in public affairs for over 20 years, as a soldier and civilian alike. Hayes never saw an Army recruiter until the day he decided to call one and ask about the jobs that were available in the military. He ended up joining and reported for basic training only a few months after graduating high school. With his excellence in English, he decided to work in public affairs for the Army.At the beginning of his service Hayes intended to serve only five years and then enter the workforce. He ended up serving for two decades. He credits the Army with teaching him the importance of putting others before oneself and how selflessness in a leader encourages dedication in the entire team.After spending some time teaching at the Noncommissioned Officer’s Academy at Fort Meade, Maryland, and working as a media relations specialist at VA, Hayes became the director of communications and public affairs for VFW. He oversees everything that the VFW does that involves communicating with the public.In this episode, listeners will learn of little known benefits, VFW's importance as a voice for the Veteran community, how the VFW serves the interests of Veterans when it comes to legislation, why the VFW is important for Veterans of all backgrounds and how the VFW supports those who support it.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Marine Veteran Tanya HulingAdditional Links:VA, VFW Facebook Live: Delivering care to rural VeteransVA Promotes ATLAS at 120th VFW National Conventionvfw.orgVA and partner agencies announce COVID-19 Insights Partnership
03/08/2048m 5s

#205: Benefits Breakdown, Alaska Native Veterans Program of 2019

This week's episode of Borne the Battle features one of its largest panels to date, as representatives from VA and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) break down the details of the Alaska Native Veterans Program of 2019. This episode features:Program manager Paul Krabacher (BLM).Acting Chief, Adjudication Services Section, Native Allotment Lead Candy Grimes (BLM).Land Transfer Resolution Specialist and Acting Native Liasion Ralph Eluska (BLM).Deputy Communications Director and Marine Corps Veteran Eric Tausch (BLM).Tribal Government Relations Specialist for the Continental/Midwest/North Atlantic Regions and Marine Corps Veteran Peter Vicaire (VA).The Alaska Native Veterans Program of 2019 allows Alaska Native Veterans who served in the Vietnam era, or an heir of theirs, to claim between 2.5 and 160 acres of land in Alaska. The BLM website hosts information about the program, including contact information, proposed rules for the program, a link to available lands, answers to frequently asked questions, and video from virtual public meetings about the program.How to Ensure You Receive your ApplicationPotentially eligible Veterans should update their contact information with the Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) Realty Tribal Service Provider and with BLM.BIA Enrollment Verification: (907) 271-4506BIA Realty: (800) 645-8465BLM Native Allotment Section: (907) 271-5998Potentially eligible Veterans should also request a copy of their DD-214 from the Alaska Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, US Department of Veteran Affairs. Your local VA office or Veteran Service Organization can provide assistance.How to Ensure the Program Works for YouPotentially eligible Veterans can coordinate a personal representative appointed by an Alaska State Court, or contact the Alaska Legal Services Corporation, for help coordinating a personal representative.Potentially eligible Veterans should also read the draft proposed rules for the program. There is a 30-day window for public commenting that ends on August 10, 2020.Use the interactive map of available lands for the program from the BLM website. You can claim and save a plot selection as a .pdf and turn it in with your claim. The map will be updated regularly as more lands become available and allotments are made. (This is an image of the interactive map; please click the link to go to the BLM website to use the interactive map.)Help Spread the WordVA, BLM and BIA need every Veteran’s help to spread the word about the program. In order to reach the estimated 2,200 eligible Veterans or their heirs, the program needs its contact information to be as up-to-date as possible. Veterans and non-Veterans can use this PDF flyer to spread the news and ensure that every Alaska Native Veteran who has earned their land will receive it.BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Air Corps Veteran Richard FrankAdditional Links:BLM Website for Alaska Native Veterans Program of 2019Interactive MapBorne the Battle Ep. 172: Robert Primeaux, Lakota WarriorVA expands funding for emergency response for Veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness during COVID-19 pandemicVA health care first to have Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services codes for chaplain careStudy shows VA surgical care better than or equal to non-VA hospitals 

#204 Staff Writer and Air Force Veteran Blake Stilwell

Blake Stilwell shares his story of starting his career as a combat photographer and eventually becoming a professional writer for had only spent a year in the Air Force when he became the youngest and for a time lowest-ranking member of the 1st Combat Camera Squadron. Despite early challenges, he was grateful for the opportunity to learn from his friends and mentors. He said they taught him how to take his work seriously while also having fun. He still considers it one of his best jobs.After nearly six years in the Air Force, Stilwell left to enroll at Syracuse University, using his GI Bill to graduate from the Television, Radio, and Film program. He used the skills he had learned in the Air Force and at Syracuse in various enterprises, including covering the 2008 Beijing Olympics and working at The White House Communications Agency.Stilwell eventually returned to Syracuse to study International and Public Relations, and spent some time at the Near East Foundation. In 2015, he was recruited by a friend to become a writer at We Are the Mighty, where he wrote thousands of articles and hosted a podcast with friends. Later in 2019 he became a professional staff writer for, where he continues to write today alongside other freelance work.In this episode, Stilwell discusses…What he learned from his experiences in the military.His post-military education at Syracuse University.His advice for aspiring writers and people transitioning out of the military.How he got on the bad side of the president of the Philippines.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Ambrose BierceAdditional Links:VA offers debt relief to Veterans through year’s endVA and MAZON partner to support Veteran food security
20/07/2058m 6s

#203 The (Serial) Hiking (Army) Veteran, Erik Schlimmer

Army Veteran Erik Schlimmer has camped over 1,000 nights, climbed over 2,000 summits and hiked over 15,000 miles. In 2010 he hiked the entire Trans Adirondack Route – which spans over 230 miles – over just a few weeks. Schlimmer believes that hiking is one of the best ways for anyone – Veteran or otherwise – to improve their health and their happiness.After completing two years of military service and four years of college, Schlimmer chose to spend his twenties and thirties enjoying nature by working the hiking trails of the Northeastern United States. He worked seasonally as a trail-builder, ranger, and expedition leader, living simply and spending all his free time hiking. He currently works as a therapist, helping others to return the favor for all who have helped him in the past.After transitioning to civilian life, Schlimmer longed for the camaraderie he experienced in the Army. But he also loved the freedom and sense of personal accountability he found when being alone in nature.It was his love of the Adirondacks that inspired him to found the Friends of the Trans Adirondack Route. His LLC works to ensure the Adirondacks remain free and open to the public, and promotes helping other people complete the trek themselves. He also founded his own publishing house, Beechwood Books, to publish his own books and materials on the Adirondacks.Schlimmer funds his expeditions and raises money for Huts for Vets, an organization he works with that offers free hiking and camping trips for Veterans who have suffered trauma.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Navy Veterans Rick and Jenette CrabbAdditional Links:VA reinstates in-person services at 100 hospitals across the countryVA hits major milestone in the resolution of legacy appealsWhite House, VA launch REACH — a call to action to engage the nation in preventing suicideHelp Heal Veterans donates craft kits to VA hospitals to help provide activities for Veterans who are alone
13/07/201h 39m

#202: Bring Every Dad Home w/ Marine Veteran Ben Killoy, Host of Military Veteran Dad Podcast

Many male Veterans find it difficult to address the challenges of being a husband and a father, during and after their military service. Marine Corps Veteran Ben Killoy was one of these Veterans. He created the Military Veteran Dad Podcast to help men like himself come home “both physically and mentally to their marriage and their family.”Killoy became interested in the Marines after meeting a recruiter in 2002. He was in the Marine Corps from 2002 to 2007 and served as a generator mechanic stationed in Okinawa, Japan. According to Killoy, his time as a Marine mechanic taught him the value of taking pride in his work. He said he carried that lesson with him in his transition to civilian life.Killoy struggled with the challenges of being a father. He found online communities of other men going through the same struggle. He spent years learning to blog, write, and connect with other people. Killoy then founded his Military Veteran Dad Podcast in 2018. He shares stories and helps Veteran fathers be more present for their families.The podcast is not only for Veteran fathers. Killoy features military spouses as well as anyone who has overcome a challenge and learned something from it that he thinks is important for his audience. Killoy said he understands the importance of the father to the household. He said the conversation itself helps people connect to one another and open up opportunities for themselves.Helping othersKilloy’s favorite Veteran nonprofit is Angels of America’s Fallen, which is dedicated to providing extracurricular activities and positive role models to the children of fallen Veterans.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Kay "Linda" EmersonAdditional Links: expansion for National Suicide Prevention Crisis Line and Veterans Crisis Line accessVA receives funding from the US Postal Service for PTSD researchVA launches COVID-19 screening tool
06/07/201h 7m

#201: Benefits Breakdown, CARES Act Funding to VA Homeless Programs

Congress has provided $300 million through the CARES Act this year to help the VA address the problems faced by homeless and at-risk veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic. John Kuhn, National Director of the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, explains on this episode how the VA is using that funding to support veterans and their families.The Supportive Services for Veterans Families, or SSVF, was founded in 2011 to help veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The SSVF transfers its funds to nonprofit organizations that are close to their communities, and these grantees ensure that money is directed to wherever it is needed most. The SSVF provides money for rent to veterans who have homes but are struggling and helps veterans and their families who are homeless to find housing.CLICK HERE FOR THE 2020 SSVF PROVIDER LISTWhile the SSVF is dedicated to helping veterans and their families find long-term housing, the Grant and Per Diem Program focuses on helping veterans and families find housing in the short term. The GPD provides funds to programs that provide housing and important services to veterans in need. The Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program helps to connect veterans and their families with shelter and provides a higher level of care than SSVF.Those who are interested in donating to help address the crisis of veteran homeless can call their local VA medical center or visit the VA Voluntary Service to make an e-donation.1-877-424-3838 is the 24-hour phone number for veterans who must access the VA medical center for assistance.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Kathleen CashawAdditional Links:VA reaches 1 million Veterans and family members through tele-town hall meetingsPREVENTS roadmap, a nationwide plan for ending suicide among Veterans and all AmericansJohn Deere donates thousands of face shields to VA hospitals to fight COVID-19Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program changes it's name
29/06/2041m 50s

#200: AEW Wrestler Big Swole, AKA Air Force Veteran Aerial Johnson

This 200th episode of Borne the Battle features Air Force Veteran Aerial Johnson, better known by her wrestling name “Big Swole,” Aerial shares her time in the military and how she transitioned into civilian life to eventually became a professional wrestler.Johnson joined the Air Force in 2008 to be a fire truck mechanic. She was stationed at the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina. On April 3, 2008, on a day she and her family would come to call her “second birthday,” Johnson was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease after being told she had half an hour to live. She survived a round of emergency surgery and was told that she would never be able to have children or engage in high-impact sports. However, Johnson didn't let her diagnosis stop her from doing what she wanted to do. When her Crohn’s disease worsened, she had to leave Air Force in 2010 but she didn't stop to pursue other dreams.CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CROHN’S DISEASEHull returned to her hometown of Clearwater, Florida, where she started interacting with a local community of professional wrestlers. She became an independent wrestler herself, and after a few years she signed with All Elite Wrestling and has appeared on both AEW Dark and AEW Dynamite.In this episode, Hull discusses how she overcame the struggles of Crohn’s disease and embraced the lessons she learned in the military to develop the “Swole mentality” of giving everything her all. She is a reminder to people everywhere that with discipline, anything is possible.
22/06/2051m 1s

#199: A COVID Nurse's Story w/ Army Veteran Joshua Strickland, Lead Singer, Bayou Bandits

Army Veteran Josh Strickland is a family man, the lead singer of the Phoenix-based band the Bayou Bandits, and a registered nurse who has worked through the COVID-19 pandemic in some of the hardest-hit areas of the United States.Music has always been a part of Strickland’s life. When he was growing up in Walker, La., he sang in his church’s choir, and his father and brother were both singers. After his service, Strickland played music at a saloon in Scottsdale, Ariz., and eventually founded his own band with his friends, Jeremy Magid, Paul Williams and Stevie Belcastro.The Bayou Bandits had been preparing for a tour when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Strickland started working as a travel nurse with COVID-19 patients in New Jersey in early March, before eventually returning to Phoenix to continue respond to local outbreaks in Arizona.Strickland has also worked with nonprofits focused on helping Veterans, such as the Southern Arizona Musicians for Healing, which uses music to raise awareness and funds for Veterans and others struggling with mental health issues. He is also a founding member of the Veterans IV Veterans Motorcycle Association, which helps Veterans going through crises and provides for them in times of need.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Marine Corps Veteran Jonas BenderAdditional Links:VA national cemeteries resume committal and memorial services
15/06/201h 13m

#198: Transition Talk w/ Marine Corps Veteran Beau Higgins, Amazon Military Affairs

On this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Marine Corps Veteran Beau Higgins shares his story of how he transitioned out of the military and started working for Amazon, helping veterans and families of veterans find meaningful employment.Higgins retired from the Marine Corps after 25 years of service in 2014. When he did, Veteran unemployment was higher than the national average. Things started to change when various companies dedicated themselves to hiring more veterans and military spouses.In 2016, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made a pledge to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses by 2021. Higgins joined Amazon, where he started by helping recruit candidates for important positions. Now he leads the talent division pillar of Amazon’s Military Affairs team.In this episode, Higgins shares his thoughts on his service and how it has impacted him. He also talks about how his family has supported him, how he ended up working for Amazon, and how he remains connected to Veteran community through his work and life.Higgins is also involved with the Travis Manion Foundation, a nonprofit named after a Marine officer that served under him. The foundation is dedicated to empowering Veterans and military families to serve their communities and promote the ideals of service and character.
08/06/201h 9m

#197: COVID Business Survival w/ Army Veteran Luke Wade

“Fun, freedom, and community” is the motto of KC Crew, an adult sports and events company founded by Army Veteran and KC Crew Founder Luke Wade.After serving in the National Guard, Wade founded KC Crew. Centered in Kansas City, the group helps his community stay active and connected.Since its beginning, KC Crew focused on the idea of finding a place for people to play sports. Wade was able to create a community around people’s love for sports and events which also helped to revitalized the city.However, with the onset of COVID-19, staying true to KC Crew’s motto and goal seemed to be impossible. The COVID-19 pandemic effectively shut down any gathering of more than 10 people.In this podcast episode, Wade discussed how he was able to take immediate action to adjust his business model after hearing about Kansas City’s shutdown. With the help of his wife and team, Wade found new ways for KC Crew to stay active. He emphasized how KC Crew focuses on giving people a needed social experience even if places are physically shutdown. While KC Crew can’t operate as normal, they still provide social experiences through online events such as their Virtual Bingo and Virtual Trivia events.Every day, Wade and his team are looking for new, creative ways to engage people while they stay at home. They also provided a list of top 10 things to do during quarantine. Most event clubs and companies can’t open or function as normal. Wade and the KC Crew have worked hard to provide new ways to keep people and communities active and connected during this pandemic.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Air Force Veteran Ellison OnizukaAdditional Links:https://thecommunitycreator.comGary Sinise Foundation donates meals to VA hospital staff during COVID-19 pandemic
01/06/2049m 33s

#196: Tips and Changes to VA Home Loan w/ Navy Veteran Bryan Bergjans

On this week's episode, Borne The Battle featured Navy Veteran Bryan Bergjans. He spoke about what he does with Caliber Home Loans and how he was able to become the National Director of Military and VA lending. He also discussed bridging the educational gap between the VA Home Loan Benefit and future military and veteran homeowners, and realtors.Bryan Bergjans uses different platforms to educate and provide information to service members, Veterans and eligible spouses about the VA Home Loan Benefit.These include Home Owner Heroes and Military Spouse Mondays which are published on YouTube through the Mortgage News Network.The shows also provide information and answer questions for mortgage professionals. He discusses some of the major opportunities and debunks common misconceptions. Bergjans also shares unknown facts that are in place through the VA Home Loan Benefit.CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO BORNE THE BATTLE #150: VA HOME LOAN PROGRAMVA helps service members, Veterans or eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. As part of VA's mission to serve Veterans, VA provides a home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs. These help buy, build, repair, retain or adapt a home for personal occupancy.VA Home Loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies. VA guarantees a portion of the loan, enabling the lender to provide the service members, Veterans or eligible surviving spouses with more favorable terms.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Steven Jerome CopleyAdditional Links:Borne the Battle Episode 150: Benefits Breakdown, VA Home Loan Program
25/05/201h 17m

#195: TEDx w/ Prince Taylor, Navy Veteran, Deputy Director, VA Voluntary Service

Navy Veteran Prince Taylor believes that military service develops perseverance and discipline—traits that are useful for Veterans even after they the military.But transitioning out of the Navy wasn't easy for Taylor. This week's episode of Borne the Battle is a discussion with Taylor about his journey from multiple entry level jobs into dead-end companies, into VA's human resources system, to organizing TEDx Veterans Affairs.Taylor's transition struggle is one that many Veterans can relate to, but he stresses that the situations he faced allowed him to develop skills to be quick on his feet and to think outside the box – just like in the Navy. Fortunately, he found VA and a direct career path that broadened his military skills.Now, after a decade in VA's HR, Taylor serves as the Deputy Director for VA's Voluntary Services, and is a great example of a successful military-to-civilian transition for Veterans employed by VA. Highlighting Veterans' stories – their bravery, struggles and redemption – remains his top accomplishment.With TEDx Veterans Affairs, he continues bridge the civilian/military divide. On this episode of Borne the Battle, Taylor shares his insights into:Resources he used to obtain a college educationHow and why he was able to transition into civilian lifeWhat it's like to be a Deputy DirectorNEW VA "VETS FIRST" PODCASTIn addition, hosts Levi Sowers and Brandon Rea give a quick overview of their new "Vets First Podcast." The Vets First podcast is a research-based podcast that focuses on the VA healthcare system and its patients. Instead of being just another research podcast, the Vets First podcast was created with a primary focus on the Veterans and their stories.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Air Force Veteran John Jarrett. 
18/05/201h 5m

UPDATE: COVID-19 / Coronavirus No. 6

COVID-19 update on VA benefits (GI Bill, Home Loan, etc.) featuring the Undersecretary of the Veterans Benefits Administration, Dr. Paul Lawrence, as he breaks down recent changes in veterans' benefits. 
16/05/2023m 55s

#194: Amazon and USA Today Best Selling Author, Marine Veteran G. Michael Hopf

As a big reader, G. Michael Hopf had a great desire to explore the world and have adventures.However, a near death experience led him to reconsider his career. With help from his father, Hopf found a new direction working as a private security detailer.During all of these adventures, he was always dabbling in writing. From journaling to short stories, Hopf kept in touch with his love of telling stories.After just dabbling with writing and self-publishing an illustrated children’s book, Hopf was inspired to try writing a novel. He decided to stop being a dabbler and make writing his job.Working on a novel while still working was not easy, but Hopf found the process fun and interesting. But in the end, all the effort had been worth it when his book suddenly hit peak sales.Noticing the success of Hopf’s novel, Amazon offered a pre-order option for a second novel. This sequel hit best-seller on Amazon as soon as the pre-orders were opened. This event led him to get signed by the largest publisher in the world: Penguin Random House.Hopf shared advice to Veterans and civilians alike on how to become an author: • Stop dabbling and just write • Don’t be too analytical • Don’t be afraid to self-publish • Celebrate when you finish your draftCLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT G. MICHAEL HOPF#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Marine Veteran Benjamin PalmerAdditional Links:VA enhances National COVID-19 Reporting Summary toolVA expands access to virtual hearings
11/05/2059m 14s

#193: Talking Team RWB w/ Army Veteran Mike Erwin

Through founding Team Red White and Blue, Army Veteran Mike Erwin discovered that he didn’t have to be in the military to serve the nation. There are many different ways to serve our nation. Erwin’s mission as a social entrepreneur is to build non-profits that help make communities and our country better. The goal of Team Red White and Blue is to enrich Veterans by helping them have Better physical and mental healthStronger relationshipsA sense of purposeVeterans can sign up for Team Red White and Blue through the app. In the app, they can search for any physical activity they are interested in and see what events are nearby. The app also encourages Veterans to improve their physical health through different challenges throughout the year.Deciding to focus on other projects, Erwin took a several-years hiatus from his executive director position at Team RWB. In that time, he co-wrote and published Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude. When he wasn't writing, he founded the Positivity Project, a non-profit organization that teaches youth the power of positive relationships; he also co-founded the Father Vincent Capodanno High School before returning to Team RWB’s executive director role in 2019. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TEAM RED WHITE AND BLUE #BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Navy Veteran Art Rogers.Additional Links:
04/05/2055m 13s

#192: Emergency Relief w/ LTG Raymond Mason

While most people do their best to be independent, sometimes life gets in the way. It's in these difficult moments when even strong, independent people reach out for help.This is what LTG (ret.) Raymond V. Mason learned from key mentors and leaders throughout his 35 years in the Army. Mason led the 82nd Airborne as the Support Commanding Officer, and also served in Grenada. Later, Mason served as the Deputy Chief of Staff, for HQ, US Army G-4 during his last tour on active duty.In this episode of Borne the Battle, LTG Mason talks about his belief that receiving help in times of struggle is a sign of great strength. LTG Mason continues to carry on this truth as he serves as the Director of the Army Emergency Relief (AER), sharing how qualified Veterans can access financial support in hard times.In this podcast, Mason shares AER’s support and resources:Support during disastersScholarships for secondary educationAssistance during childcareAnd far more EXCLUSIVE contentBorne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Pat TillmanAdditional links:
27/04/2050m 12s

#191: Analyzing Human Behavior w/ Marine Scout Sniper, Brian Marren

Profiling has often been given a negative perspective. In this episode of Borne the Battle, Marine Corps Veteran Brian Marren explains how Human Behavior Pattern Recognition and Analysis is a scientific form of human behavior profiling, and how it's not based on race or religion but rather on how all humans behave.The world today seems far smaller and connected than the decades before it, bringing about stronger trade and increased diversity. However, a more integrated world has inevitably led to a greater need for security and safety.As a former Marine Scout Sniper, Marren believes that both the military and civilians need to be prepared psychologically for any situation. His master’s degree in Applied Pyschology--and Marine Corps background--have proved pivotal in developing his passions.Today, Marren focuses most of his efforts at Arcadia Cognerati, where he helps people learn how to recognize danger and then act on it.In this podcast, Marren discusses the following topics:Mentors that gave taught him discipline and leadershipFriendships that will last a lifetimeBehind-the-scenes testimonies of Arcadia CogneratiCLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BRIAN MARRENCLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HUMAN BEHAVIOR PATTERN RECOGNITION AND ANALYSIS#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Antonio ReynaAdditional Links: 3-D Printing Ecosystem
20/04/201h 20m

#190: Benefits Breakdown, Debt Management Center, COVID-19 Relief for Veterans

This week's Borne the Battle podcast breaks down how the VA Debt Management Center is executing the president's directive to suspend or extend all VA Debt Collection due to coronavirus, or COVID-19.Joseph Schmitt is director of VA's Debt Management Center and Jason Hoge is director of operations. The recently answered questions virtually from the House Veterans Affairs Committee Disability and Mortuary Affairs Subcommittee. The focus was how Veterans are getting debt management relief from VA due to COVID-19. Much of the questions focused on how Veterans receive communication from VA.VA announced April 3 a number of actions to provide Veterans with financial, benefits and claims help amid VA's COVID-19 response.The financial relief actions include the following until further notice:Suspending all actions on Veteran debts under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department.Suspending collection action or extending repayment terms on preexisting VA debts, as the Veteran prefers.For benefit debts, Veterans can contact the VA Debt Management Center at 1-800-827-0648 to make arrangements.For health care debts, Veterans can contact the Health Resource Center at 1-888-827-4817 to make arrangements.The benefits and claims relief actions include giving Veterans the option to submit their paperwork late for the following actions:perfecting claimschallenging adverse decisionssubmitting Notices of Disagreementsubmitting Substantive Appealsresponding to Supplemental Statements of the CaseVeterans requesting claim extensions can simply submit them with any late-filed paperwork and Veterans do not have to proactively request an extension in advance. For added convenience, VA will also accept typed/digital signatures instead of wet signatures on its forms. Those with questions can call 1-800-827-1000.In AdditionFor Veterans who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and need immediate action on their appeals, as opposed to a filing extension, the Board of Veterans' Appeals will Advance their appeal on Docket (AOD). Click here to find out how to file for AOD and what documentation is required.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Navy Veteran Ted Murawski
13/04/2020m 49s

UPDATE: COVID-19 / Coronavirus No. 5

Two new VA coronavirus websites are online. Update on the Wheelchair and Golden Age Games. VA suspends veteran debt collection. Update on COVID-19 support from New Jersey Medical Center. Interview with Army Veteran Chad Butters, who early on, transformed his Pennslyvania distillery into a hand sanitizer production facility.
08/04/2023m 28s

#189: Operation Abilene w/ Phil Hall and Fred Navarro

While they only knew him for one day, Army Veterans Phil Hall and Fred Navarro remember the man that sacrificed his life for them and their fellow brothers in Vietnam. They both signed statements of recommendation to upgrade Airman William H. Pitsenbarger’s Air Force Cross to the Medal of Honor. In December 2000, 32 years after the Battle of Xa Cam My, Phil and Fred were able to attend Pitsenbarger’s Medal of Honor ceremony. The film, The Last Full Measure, is based on both battles that Phil and Fred faced, both in Vietnam and in DC.
06/04/2040m 12s

UPDATE: COVID-19 / Coronavirus No. 4

Updates on SBA loans for affected small businesses, where you can find Veteran Health Administrations COVID-19 Response plan and FAQs, VA's medical support to New York City, where mobile vet centers are currently being deployed to, and an interview with two of the mobilized on-the-ground Vet Center directors currently operating in New York City and New Orleans.
01/04/2028m 22s

#188: Justin Nassiri: Navy Veteran, Entrepreneur, Host of Beyond the Uniform Podcast

Most, if not all veterans, are forced to ask this important question before retiring and entering into civilian life: What am I to do for my career?  Many feel as if they are too late to pursue their goals or get their dream job. Justin Nassiri, a Navy veteran, thinks otherwise.  On this episode of Borne the Battle, featured guest Justin Nassiri shares his backstory and insight into how he was able to transition into civilian life and achieve his dreams. As a  Stanford MBA alumnus, a disciplined entrepreneur, and a successful consultant, Nassiri has much wisdom to impart.In this podcast, Jackson shares about the following topics:·      Key mentors during his time in service·      Indispensable life experiences that guided him to his early and continued success ·      Stories of veterans just like you who were able to make it to the top·      Practical advice for those looking to get started on their career CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT JUSTIN NASSIRI (please make a heading font) Additional links: (Please make a heading font) ·· Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:·      Army Veteran Charles Coolidge
30/03/2044m 20s

UPDATE: COVID-19 / Coronavirus No. 3

Included in this episode: GI Bill Changes National Cemetery Information Update on rehiring retired VA medical staff VA Home Loan assistance website 
25/03/209m 46s

#187: First Women to Command a Naval Ship w/ Darlene Iskra

This week's episode of Borne the Battle features Navy Veteran Darlene Iskra, the first woman to command a ship for the Navy.Despite her groundbreaking status, Iskra's initial goal in the Navy was not to be the first woman to command a ship. She just wanted to a career that was commensurate with her male counterparts. But her career includes many highlights of various roles for women in the military. One of Iskra's achievements includes being one of the first female diving officers in the Navy. She had no idea that she would become one of the first three female diving officers, thanks to her strong swimming skills. Throughout her career, Iskra helped women find their place in the military free from stereotyping. In 2003, she helped staff and pass legislation on Capitol Hill for the Smith-Cantwell Amendment. This amendment forbade the DoD to require women service members to wear an abaya in Saudi Arabia. Today, Iskra acts as an ambassador for the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. The memorial serves to honor the women who sacrificed their lives fighting for America.The memorial is at the entrance to Arlington Cemetery, and it aims to inform the public about the American women who have served this country. The memorial provides women Veterans' oral and written history throughout the years.Darlene Iskra pushes to help women do what they are passionate about and find equality while serving their country.#BtBattle Veteran of the WeekMarine Corps Veteran Opha Mae JohnsonAdditional Links: http://www.wdhof.org
23/03/2055m 2s

UPDATE: COVID-19 / Coronavirus No. 2

An in-depth breakdown of VA Public Health's coronavirus website and a message from the chairman of the board of veterans appeals.Link:
18/03/205m 30s

#186: Women in Choppers w/ Army Veteran Hallie Johnston

This week's episode of Borne The Battle features Army Veteran Hallie Johnston, who shared some insight into her military career as a black hawk helicopter pilot, her transition to civilian life, and her purpose for joining and becoming a board member at Carry the Load.Carry the Load was founded by two Navy SEAL Veteran, Steven Holley and Clint Bruce. Carry the Load is a nonprofit organization that teaches ordinary Americans about the honor and sacrifices made by our nation's service members and first responders. Its goal is to show Americans what Memorial day is all about and why it's important.Carry the Load drives awareness, continuum of care and education as its three main pillars. Being a nonprofit organization that helps other nonprofit organizations, Carry the Load has raised $25 million for Veterans, first responders and their families.Each year, it hosts relays, marches and service events across the country to remember, honor and serve those who have served. For more details about participating in Carry the Load's upcoming events, please visit the Carry the Load website.West Coast- Seattle, WA April 23, 2020East Coast – West Point, NY April 27, 2020Mid-West-Minneapolis, MN May 1, 2020Mountain States- Minot, ND May 12, 2020*Editors Note: Due to coronavirus pandemic, this year Carry the Load will operate the 2020 National Relay and Rallies as virtual events. For more information go to Veteran of the Week:1stLt R J HessAdditional Links:Carry the Load WebsiteBorne the Battle #143 with Navy Seal Veteran Stephen HolleyBorne the Battle #161 with Marine Veteran Todd Boeding
16/03/2050m 34s

UPDATE: COVID-19 / Coronavirus

A quick update on VA's responses to COVID-19 / coronavirus pandemic and where to find information as it gets released. 
12/03/205m 9s

#185: Benefits Breakdown, Burn Pit Registry

This week’s Benefits Breakdown features Army Veterans Vincent Mitchell and Dr. Eric Shuping. They discussed the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry and how Veterans can sign up.In 2014, Congress required the Department of Defense and VA find a way to record and offer help to service members and Veterans who have health concerns related to airborne hazards and open burn pits. The registry officially began in June 2014.There are two main parts of the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry:Online SurveyAppointment (Free Exam)To be eligible for being a part of the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, you must be a Veteran or service member who served in the following areas:IraqAfghanistanKuwaitSaudi ArabiaBahrainDjiboutiGulf of AdenGulf of OmanOmanQatarUnited Arab EmiratesWaters of Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, and Red SeaCLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HELPING THE REGISTRYCLICK HERE TO SIGN UPFor registry help, please call at 1-877-470-5947.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Marine Corps Veteran Beatrice ArthurAdditional Links: ProgressLegacy Board Appeals Progress
09/03/2045m 12s

#184: Honoring Vietnam Veterans w/ Army Veteran MG James T. Jackson

National Vietnam War Veterans Day is fast approaching (March 29). Army Veteran Major General James T. Jackson (Ret.) is the national director of the Vietnam War Commemoration. Directed by Congress and executed by Department of Defense, the commemoration’s goal is to reach out and thank those–our Vietnam Veterans–that never got a proper welcome home.Currently, there are over 6.2 million living Vietnam Era Veterans. They deserve a proper thank you for raising their right hand. On this episode of Borne the Battle, Major General James T. Jackson shares the vision and mission behind the efforts of this program and how you can help participate.Lapel pinThe commemoration seeks to give a lapel pin to each Vietnam Veteran. This small token of appreciation has meant a lot to so many.Later, Jackson talks about mentors, his time in service, different resources to help Vietnam Veterans, and the stories of healing and reconciliation he has seen as a result.#BtBattle Veteran of the Day:Army Veteran James MatthewsAdditional Links:Vietnam 50th War Commemoration
02/03/2054m 14s

#183: 9/11 NYPD Officer to Acting w/ Marine Veteran Hiram Murray

Marines Veteran Hiram Murray is a film military advisor and actor in LA. Murray discusses his journey from NYPD police officer on 9/11 to the USMC, to the LAPD and how those experiences led him to his current roles in Hollywood.
24/02/2046m 27s

#182: Talking Sauce w/ Air Force Veteran Charlynda Scales

This episode of Borne the Battle features Air Force Veteran Charlynda Scales. She is a TEDx Speaker, Seasoned Brand Ambassador, and Girl Scout Gold Award Winner, and an entrepreneur. She is a veteran who started a business with a piece of paper willed to her from her grandfather and a $25,000 initial investment.Her grandfather, Charlie Ferrell Jr, was also an Air Force Veteran. He used to make a special sauce for friends and family. Grandpa Charlie was also Charlynda's "silver dollar salute" shortly before he passed away. Eight years later, Charlynda was handed the recipe as a gift from her late grandfather. Starting out with no business experience, she turned grandpa's sauce into a sustained legacy for her family. It is called MuttSauce because her grandfather's callsign in the Korean War was "Mutt" because he could blend in anywhere. Mutt Sauce has received many entrepreneurial awards and recently launched on Amazon.This episode covers:The relationship between Charlynda and her grandfatherA discussion of life, family, and legacyEnterprising in today's manufacturing worldThe future of MuttSauce#BtBattle Veteran of the WeekAir Force Veteran Thomas N. BarnesAdditional Links:'s 2021 Budget Request
17/02/2057m 44s

#181: The 2020 State of VA

very year after the president’s “State of the Union” speech, the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs gives he VA’s “State of VA.” Normally it is where the Secretary will proclaim the department’s successes from the previous year and outlines their priorities in the coming year.This year, Secretary Robert Wilkies touted:A 16% increase in the female veteran community who enrolled in VA services since becoming secretary.Leading the White House’s PREVENTS Task Force.Cutting 8,000 VA employees in 2019 who did not meet the secretary’s performance standards.The Secretary’s priorities for the upcoming year include:MISSION ACT: Expanding caregiver benefitsto those that served before 1975.Suicide Prevention: Help charities, nonprofits, local and nongovernmental organizations find the 60% of the “20 veterans a day” who have no contact with VA.Roll out the Electronic Health Record: Providing a paperless healthcare transition from DoD to VA.Continue to develop and lead in medical research and development.Create the first hospital that will fully employ the power of 5G technology.CLICK HERE FOR A MORE DETAILED LIST FROM THE ADDRESSADDITIONAL LINKS:VA Accepting applications for grants to support programs that support disabled veteransNational Salute to Patients Week#BtBattle Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran Greg Gadson
10/02/2027m 49s

#180: Benefits Breakdown - Board of Veterans Appeals with Cheryl Mason

This week’s Borne the Battle begins where episode #169 left off, featuring guest Cheryl Mason, Chairman of the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA).In this Benefits Breakdown, Chairman Mason talks about the third lane of Appeals Modernization. Where the first two lanes allow Veterans to appeal their compensation claim decision to a claims adjudicator, the third lane allows Veterans to appeal a compensation claim decision directly to the Board.More importantly, Chairman Mason addresses many questions Veterans ask:Which lane is right for you?What are the differences between each lane?How long will each take?Should you work with a VSO?How do you monitor the progress?Chairman Mason oversees the Board’s 1100 personnel, its budget, and ensures the Board conducts hearings, decides appeals for Veterans and their families, and ensures a Veteran’s voice is heard.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Roy N. ScowAdditional
03/02/2040m 49s

#179: Benefits Breakdowns, Meritorious Segments - 2019

What does the VA Home Loan Program, the VA Office of Faith and Opportunity, the VA Assistive Technology Program, Vet Centers, Appeals Modernization Office and VA’s diabetes training and self-management have in common? They were all featured as benefits breakdown episodes on Borne the Battle in 2019. Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week: Air Force Pararescueman Veteran John PighiniAdditional Links:-
27/01/2041m 18s

#178: Meritorious Segments - 2019

If you've never heard an episode of Borne the Battle, this is a great place to start. Marine Veteran Tanner Iskra shares some meritorious segments from 2019. Segments include soundbites from NC farmer Valroy Williams, actress Jennifer Marshall, Postal Inspector Carroll Harris, Carry the Load's CEO Veteran Stephen Holley, Professional Wrestler Jan Ohrstrom, Pearl Harbor survivor William Bonelli, Camp Valor Outdoors' Denise Loring and Dan Duitsman, PopSmoke Media's Daniel Sharp, SecDef's Flight Surgeon and 9/11 first responder Dr. John Baxter, NASCAR Driver Jesse Iwuji, Wreaths Across America's Chairman Wayne Hanson and Actor Dale Dye.
20/01/2043m 3s

#177: Panel - The State of Military Film

“1917” and “The Last Full Measure” will soon be coming to a theater near you. These military movies have been carefully crafted to capture an authentic look at life in the military. Fortunately, many military films and TV shows have been carefully crafted with the help of Veterans like Dale Dye, Travis Wade, Jennifer Marshall, and Hiram Murray. They came on Borne the Battle to discuss the business of making military films in the current Marvel and Call of Duty era.CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT LAST FULL MEASUREAccording to the panel, Hollywood often looks to Veterans for military advising, but only recently has it begun to see the benefits of casting Veterans as actors. The panel discusses professionally balancing the two roles on set.Additionally, the panel talks how difficult it is to make military films. From getting the right actors at the right time to placating Hollywood execs. In the panel, Dye mentions why it is worth it to “herd cats” on set.CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT NO BETTER PLACE TO DIEFinally, the panel lays bare that these films need the support of Veterans. In the current superhero climate, Veteran support of military films and TV series are what show Hollywood that these types of films have a large audience that wants to see these stories.CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TANGO DOWN
13/01/201h 9m

*Bonus - "THE NEXT MISSION, Marine Veterans who are Changing the World" Presented by the Military Times

IT’S A BONUS for subscribers - A Merry Christmas episode! A panel of three Marine Veterans making a difference in their new respective fields. Sam Meek, CEO of SANDBOXX, Martha MacPhee, Director of Special Projects for Susan Davis International and Richard Cardona, Video Content Strategist. Panel was conducted at the Modern Day Marine Expo and was presented by the Military Times.

#176: Congressional Recommendations on Military, National and Public Service w/ Veterans Shawn Skelly and Ed Allard

Should every American Citizen serve in the military? Should women be required to register for the selective service (draft)? What should the future of the Selective Service look like? Navy Veteran Shawn Skelly and Marine Corps Veteran Ed Allard are commissioners for the Commission on National, Military and Public Service. Their mission is to recommend answers to these and many more questions, to Congress by March of 2020. Shawn and Ed came on Borne the Battle to discuss the two years of data that the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service has gathered to answer those and many other questions.Some of the goals of the National Commission are:Reviewing the military selective service process.Listening to the public to learn from those who serve.Igniting a national conversation about service.Developing recommendations that will encourage every American to be inspired and eager to serve.According to their interim report, the Commission has learned:Americans value service.Americans are willing to consider a wide variety of options to encourage or require service.Some Americans are aware of the details of the Selective Service System - while many are not.Some Barriers to Service include:Military Service is a responsibility borne by few.National Service is America's best-kept secretPublic Service personnel practices need an overhaulCivic knowledge is critical for our democracy, but too few Americans receive high quality education.CLICK HERETO READ THE ENTIRE REPORT COMPLETE WITH WHAT THE COMMISSION IS CONSIDERING AS RECOMMENDATIONSFinally, the commissioners came on Borne the Battle to let listeners know that they can provide input.CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW - DEADLINE IS DEC 31, 2019ADDITIONAL LINKS Veteran of the DayAll Battle of the Bulge Veterans
18/12/191h 19m

#175: Benefits Breakdown - Diabetes Education and Self Management

It isn’t easy when you have diabetes. Did you check your blood sugar? Are you exercising and keeping a good diet? Do you have your insulin handy?Mary Julius, a program manager for the diabetes self-management education and training at Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, wants to help educate Veterans and their families about how to self-manage diabetes.Julius broke down the differences between Type I and Type II diabetes.Persons with Type I diabetes produce little or no insulin.Persons with Type II diabetes make insulin but there is a resistance to the insulin.According to Julius, diabetes awareness and education are increasingly important for Veterans and their families; “25% of Veterans receiving VA care have been diagnosed with diabetes.” Without awareness and education, people diagnosed with diabetes put their health at risk. Thus, Veterans who have been diagnosed with diabetes should work closely with their primary provider, but, she emphasizes, Veterans and their family also need the tools and education to apply self-management techniques.Finally, Julius shares how VA has been working on creating a virtual medical learning center for Veterans and their families to learn more about diabetes and related topics. Veterans and their families can access this learning site at VAVMC.CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DIABETESAdditional Links: Diabetes Association: https://www.diabetes.orgVA Research on Diabetes: Veteran of the WeekMarine Veteran Eden Pearl
11/12/1946m 18s

#174 Wreaths Across America w/ Army Veteran Wayne Hanson

WAA is a national campaign that coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at over 1,700 national cemeteries, culminating at Arlington National Cemetery. The three-fold purpose of WAA aims to remember fallen U.S Veterans, honor those who currently serve, and teach children the value of freedom. Here, Hanson explains WAA’s humble beginnings and its rise into the national organization that it is today.This week’s Borne the Battle features Wayne Hanson, the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Wreaths Across America (WAA).In this episode, Hanson discusses his time in the Army and the socio-political atmosphere of when he returned from Vietnam. He talks about transition and his gradual involvement at WAA. Lastly, he shares the four words from a stranger that kept him motivated to work even to this day.For more information on Wreaths Across America, or for info on how to volunteer, visit the WAA website.
04/12/1939m 33s

#173 On the Firing Line with Marine Veteran Dan Duitsman

Camp Valor Outdoors’ shooting teams compete in professional matches all over the country. Marine Veteran Dan Duitsman is Camp Valor Outdoors’ Shooting Sports Program Director. His role is to get disabled veterans into competitive shooting – no matter the disability. While in the Marine Corps, Dan worked in security forces, counterintelligence and the infantry. Prior to his role at Camp Valor Outdoors, he was a weapons instructor with the U.S. State Department. In this episode he talked about his career, his transition, the recreational-therapeutic benefits of the shooting and how to get involved in Camp Valor Outdoors’ shooting program. Additional Links:
27/11/1940m 45s

#172 Lakota Warrior and Vietnam Veteran Dr. Robert Primeaux

Native American Vietnam Veteran Robert Primeaux shared his journey from a Lakota reservation to the Army, to Hollywood.As a young man, Primeaux was eager to get off the reservation and see the world. To leave, he decided to join the Army. He trained in Fort Lewis and Fort Knox before joining the 101st Airborne Division and sent off to Vietnam.In 1972, Primeaux returned to the United States. His younger brother had been killed in a car accident, leaving Primeaux as the sole male survivor of his family.However, he did not stay in the Army long. A car accident of his own put him in a coma for three weeks. After he recovered, he was discharged.Primeaux then lived on his grandmother’s ranch while he recovered from his injuries. To help with his recovery, he began to self-rehab by working with the horses on the ranch. His love for horses gave him the opportunity to go to school through a rodeo scholarship from the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA).Between school and living on his family ranch, Primeaux met Michael Apted on the set of Thunderheart in South Dakota. Through this meeting, he landed a stunt role on Thunderheart and become eligible for access to the Union of the Screen Actors Guild.Later, Robert moved to LA to begin his film career where he landed roles in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and a more prominent role in Rough Riders. This role as Indian Bob was special to Primeaux because the director John Milius specifically created it with him in mind.Recently, Robert has been advocating for fallen service-members to be enshrines in the NFL Hall of Fame.Throughout his life, through thick and thin, Primeaux credited the Four Cardinal Lakota Virtues for helping him recover from the Vietnam War and his car accident.From childhood, Lakota Warriors were taught these four virtues. Primeaux stated that warriors who were taught the true meaning of these virtues learn to treat their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. #BtBattle Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran  Herbert Buffalo BoyFor more information, find this Borne the Battle episode blog at
20/11/191h 4m

#171: Seven Summits w/ Benjamin Breckheimer

Benjamin Breckheimer was a teenager when he watched 9/11 unfold. Like many other young Americans, the images spurred him into action. Right after high school, he enlisted in the Army as an operating room specialist.The operating room is where Breckheimer served his comrades and met his closest mentor. As fate would have it, Breckheimer would end up on the operating table himself. Breckheimer received serious damages to his body after an improvised explosive device went off under the Stryker he was driving.The road to recovery was a long one. Hopeless and angry at the world, Breckheimer’s life spiraled out of control to the point of suicidal thoughts. However, with the help of his family, mentor, and a strong support network, Breckheimer was able to get back on his feet.To get better physically and also to challenge himself and others, Breckheimer started climbing. As time went on, his ascents grew to higher altitudes. To free himself from weight of the past , Breckheimer threw his problems off some of the highest peaks in the world. He is currently on track to be the first ever wounded combat veteran to climb the  Seven Summits.Breckheimer is now partnered with American300. American300 subject matter resiliency experts spend quality time with service members, offering not only their personal stories, but a knowing ear and shoulder heavy in experience. Working with military leadership, American300 tours place mentors in areas of operation repeatedly over the span of several years.  Each return visit features different mentors who shed a light on making the impossible…possible. Additional Links: website: Wounded war veteran gets new outlook on life, climbs seven summits Veteran of the Week Marine Corps and Army Veteran  Herbert K. Pililaau.
13/11/191h 7m

#170: Dale Dye, Marine Corps Birthday Episode

When watching a movie, it’s easy to think that everything is real and true and lifelike. It's no surprise that that isn't always the case, especially with military movies. That's how Marine Veteran Dale Dye got involved. He wanted to tell Hollywood the right way to portray the military on screen.Dye’s journey to becoming a military technical advisor started when he was a young man. He often overheard his father's inspiring World War II stories. He enlisted in the Marines after seeing a Marines poster.In service, Dye became a combat correspondent and he often documented battles and life in the Marines during the Vietnam War. It was this experience that he later drew on to advise Hollywood film directors on how to accurately portray the military. His love for the military inspired him to influence the next generation through films, books, and even video games, so he created Warriors Inc. to provide Hollywood with technical advisors for all things military related.As Dye discussed his experiences, he covered the following topics:His military career in the Marines during the Vietnam War where he received three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with a Combat “V.”His military consultant business Warriors Inc.His 141 credits in film, television and video games.His new projects.His books and publishing company Warriors Publishing.His struggle and treatment of his  PTSD.He emphasized the importance of not only having knowledge about what you are getting into but also knowing that there are people who have gone through the same thing as you that want to help support you.Dye recently finished the film The Last Full Measure which will hit theaters in early 2020, and his directorial debut, No Better Place to Die, was recently announced. Additional Helpful Links: Dale Dye Blog: http://daledye.comPublisher Website: http://warriorspublishing.comWarriors Inc: Twitter: @WarriorsInc, warriorsinc.comWarriors Inc. Facebook: of The Last Full Measure: Veteran of the Week Marine Corps and Army Veteran  Mitchell Red Cloud
06/11/191h 44m

#169: Benefits Breakdown - Appeals Modernization

Executive Director of the Veterans Benefits Administration’s (VBA) Appeals Management Office (AMO) and Army Veteran  David McLenachen talks about the appeals modernization process.McLenachen briefly discussed his service in the Army with counterintelligence. He later left the Army to pursue a career in law. He worked as law clerk for a federal judge before he eventually came to work at the VA.Before becoming executive director of the VBA’s AMO, McLenachen acted as deputy under secretary for disability assistance. While in this position, he began helping the VBA improve their appeals system in order to better assist Veterans.The Appeals Modernization Act took effect Feb. 19, 2019. Congress created the act in 2017 to help solve problems VBA had with appeals and claims. The act created three new ways to help Veterans submit appeals and get their results at a quicker pace:Higher-level reviewSupplemental claimBoard of Veterans’ AppealsMcLenachen and the VBA continue to strive to find ways to improve the appeals process. You can reach them through  Ask a Question on the Veterans Affairs website. Additional Helpful Links: Veteran of the Week: Air Force Veteran  Mary Weiss Hester
30/10/1954m 40s

#168: Coaching NCAA Lacrosse with Marine Veteran Chris Burke and Mitchell Shafer

This week's Borne the Battle podcast features Marine Corps Veteran Chris Burke and the youngest head coach in NCAA Lacrosse, Mitch Shafer.Burke discussed his service in the Marines, including his injury and recovery from an IED explosion in Afghanistan. However, Burke's real story begins on what he did after serving in Afghanistan.When Burke left service, he went back to school, where he planned on joining the lacrosse program in hopes of playing with his younger brother. But his plans didn’t go the way he had hoped. Instead, he found a new sense of purpose, one that reminded him of the camaraderie that he experienced in the Marines. In time, that new sense of purpose led to Burke accepting the position of defensive coordinator at Maryville University. CHRIS IS THE SECOND VETERAN NCAA COACH TO BE ON BORNE THE BATTLE:  CLICK HERE FOR THE #BTBATTLE EPISODE WITH DUKE'S COACH KRZYZEWSKI Now, at Maryville, with Shafer's help, Burke uses his Marine Corps leadership experience to to mentor and coach his college lacrosse players for more than just on the field. From visiting local  VA hospitals to sending care packages overseas, Burke and Shafer lead the lacrosse team in bridging the military-civilian divide. Additional Links: the Battle Veteran of the Week:  Army Veteran Robert H. Douglas.
23/10/191h 32m

#167: Paging Dr. Albert Weed, Green Beret Medic, Army Medical Officer, VA Surgeon

This week's Borne the Battle podcast features Dr. Albert Weed, whose career has taken him from enlisted Green Beret Army medic to an Army medical officer to VA surgeon. Weed discussed his name, and how his family’s military background and medical experiences led him to, among other things, peacekeeping in Egypt, swimming in Saddam Hussein's pool, and receiving four different DD-214s.Weed traces his journey's beginnings from high school and later to Special Forces training, where he volunteered to work as a medic. It was during this training when he realized the medical field was where he wanted to be. He was inspired to become an Army medical doctor while doing his clinical. He had just finished a late shift helping labor and deliveries and was planning to take a nap when he was called to the operating room to help. After the operation, Weed went out for a run instead of taking his nap. In that moment, he realized he wanted to pursue a medical career.Listen as Weed recounts his experiences in the military and medical fields and his current work serving Veterans as a surgeon with the Salem VA Medical Center. Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week: Marine Corps Veteran  Harry "Bud" Carlsen.Additional Links: 
16/10/191h 4m

#166: Navy to NASCAR w/ Jesse Iwuji

Sometimes, all it takes is a whiteboard and a marker to jump-start a dream into reality. This week’s Borne the Battle features guest Jesse Iwuji, whose creative and hardworking mindset led him to overcome great challenges and become a NASCAR driver.Growing up, Iwuji excelled at both track and football. His high school accomplishments led him to the Naval Academy's football team where he played safety. He graduated from the academy in 2010. After seven years active duty, Jesse transitioned to the Navy Reserve.After his football career ended, Iwuji found competitiveness in racing. However, he was at a disadvantage compared to his peers who started racing at a very early age: Iwuji started in his mid 20’s. He lacked sponsorship and he wasn’t born into a racing family. Despite this, his determination and led him to a variety of open doors. He funded the first part of his NASCAR K&N racing career through a variety of ways to include starting his own business. Currently he is racing in the  NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.  View this post on Instagram Talladega Superspeedway, here we come😁! 🏁 @rbr_teams #NASCAR #NavyToNASCARA post shared by  Jesse Iwuji (@jesse_iwuji) on Oct 8, 2019 at 11:10am PDTToday, Iwuji represents sponsors from several different organizations, which many help Veterans. He uses racing as a platform to advocate for Veterans' rights and he shares his passion in Veteran communities and schools. To Jesse, nothing is impossible if you have vision and hard work behind it. Additional Links Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran  J.D. Meador II
09/10/191h 12m

#165: The Battle of Mogadishu w/ Army Ranger Veteran, Jeff Struecker

This week’s Borne the Battle episode features guest Jeff Struecker, who discusses his life as a soldier, pastor, and author.In 1987, Struecker enlisted in the army when he was 18. He excelled, serving in the 75th Ranger Regiment, and he played a pivotal role in the  Battle of Mogadishu. He also won the 1996 Best Ranger Competition and was also recognized in 1998 as the U.S Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Noncommisioned Officer of the Year.After his time as a Ranger, Struecker received a commission as a chaplain in April 2000. He continued to serve as a chaplain for the next 11 years, eventually retiring in January 2011 after having served multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.After leaving service, Struecker became a pastor, and in his free time, he has participated in numerous films, written books and speaks to a variety of audiences about his faith and his time in service. Additional Links: Veteran of the Week Army Veteran Dominick Pilla
02/10/1951m 57s

#164: Benefits Breakdown - VA Vet Centers

2019 marks the 40th Anniversary of  VA's Vet Centers. They started as outreach for Vietnam Veterans who did not utilize the VA as much as WWII Veterans.This week’s interview is Pennsylvania National Guard Veteran Michael Fisher who is the Senior Readjustment Counselor. He leads and has direct oversight of over 300 Vet Centers, 80  Mobile Vet Centers and the  Vet Center Call Center. We broke it all down - how vet centers started, their differences between them and VA Medical Centers, their services and who is eligible. #BtBattle Veteran of the Week: Army Air Corps Veteran  Norman Achen
25/09/1953m 41s

#163: Helping Reunite Veteran Families w/ Nathan Goncalves - Army Veteran, Equal Justice Works Fellow

On this week’s episode, Borne the Battle features guest Nathan Goncalves, who shares his story of struggle and perseverance.While Goncalves didn’t have the intrinsic calling to join the military, he enlisted at 23, seeking reform and discipline. It was in the Army that Goncalves sharpened his focus and developed lifelong friendships and mentors. Rough transition However, Goncalves' transition back to civilian life was not easy. In fact, it turned out to be some of his lowest valleys--involving addiction, PTSD, and anger management.But things started to change when Goncalves heard he was going to be a father. In this episode, he discusses how an intense work ethic allowed him to achieve a bachelor’s degree at UCLA in less than three years.Goncalves applied to UCLA’s Law school to study corporate law. He was accepted, but a bitter divorce hampered those plans. Through his own experiences, Goncalves realized there was no advocacy for situations like his own. So he sacrificed a potentially lucrative corporate law career and switched to family law to offer services to homeless and low-income Veterans.Goncalves is now hosted by Harriet BuHai Center for Family Law and sponsored in house by Equal Justice Works. He continues to fight for family integration for homeless and low-income Veterans as they transition back into the civilian communities. Listen to the full episode HERE Additional Links: Veteran of the Week: Air Force Veteran William Shuttleworth 
18/09/191h 30m

Bonus Episode! - Mel Brooks, Adrian Cronauer, 2019 Military Influencer Conference Roundup

For months, I’ve been promising a special bonus podcast episode for when Born the Battle received its 100th rating and/or review on iTunes.We did it! But, before we get to Mel Brooks and the late Adrian Cronauer. In five months, our listenership has increased 500%. You’ve allowed more Veterans, VA employees and civilians to hear these amazing stories and to take advantage of all the benefit breakdowns in our archives.Thank You.
17/09/1926m 40s

#162: September 11th with Dr. John Baxter - Air Force Veteran, 9/11 First Responder, SecDef's Flight Surgeon

On September 11, 2001, Air Force flight surgeon John Baxter showed up to work at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, to a full load of patients and completing physicals--just like any other day.Halfway through his morning while getting his next patient, he saw that a civilian airliner had flown into one of the World Trade Center towers.While with the patient, Baxter said he noticed the background noise in the Pentagon changed. It seemed quieter than usual. Then, he heard shouts. He opened his door and saw people running and shouting, and smoke in the hallway.At first, Baxter didn't know if there was an explosion, a fire or some other event. Despite the unknowns, he assembled his team of flight surgeons, a nurse and medical technicians. They grabbed medical kits and traveled as a group. Their emergency plan was to meet up with other medics at the Pentagon's DiLorenzo Clinic.Then they heard the news: there were casualties in corridor 5.Baxter's team ran to the spot. They found Army Veteran Brian Birdwell, who was in excruciating pain from burns. It was a situation that Baxter was unexpectedly prepared for: Months earlier, in an emergency exercise, the flight clinic trained for the same scenario that unfolded on 9/11: a plane crashing into the Pentagon.John Baxter still serves at the Pentagon, though now as a civilian flight surgeon. For this week's Born the Battle Podcast, Baxter details his story of 9/11 and the days that followed. #BtBattle Veteran of the Week: Navy Veteran and 9/11 victim Ronald VaukAdditional Links:
11/09/1959m 39s

#161: Todd Boeding – Marine Veteran, Carry the Load

On this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Tanner Iskra interviews guest Todd Boeding, who shares his past, present and future as a Marine Corps Veteran, as well as his involvement honoring Veterans through Carry the Load.Born and raised in Texas, Boeding was always known to take unorthodox paths in life. He dabbled in college, left for the Marine Corps seeking structure and discipline, and eventually returned to finish up his degree at The University of Texas at Dallas.Since leaving the Marine Corps in 2003, Boeding discussed the hardest part of the transition back to civilian life: finding a sense of belonging. Boeding was able to find his purpose of being part of something bigger through Carry the Load.Carry the Load offers opportunities to learn how to care again and to do it in a way that meaningfully impacts the families who lost their loved ones. Currently, Carry the Load is partnering with the National Cemetery Association on September 11th to help maintain the dignity of cemeteries.If you would like to learn more or want to help in this movement, click on this link: #BtBattle Veteran of the Week: Marine Corps Veteran  Michael J. GuilloryAdditional Links:
04/09/1952m 17s

#160: Benefits Breakdown – Assistive Technology Program

 In episode 157, we spoke with Army Veteran Ursula Draper about her role in the development of an Assistive Technology (AT) program. In this week's Benefits Breakdown, we take a deeper dive into how this program works and who is able to access it.The AT program will sound familiar to those who know Darwin’s Theory of Adaptation. The adaptation theory--also known as survival theory, or survival of the fittest--is an organism’s ability to adapt to changes in its environment and adjust accordingly. The Assistive Technology program helps Veterans to do just that.The AT program, which began in 2008, aims to improve the lives of disabled Veterans by allowing them to maintain independence by completing everyday tasks. It helps Veterans with computer use and accessibility, voice activated technologies, drive control for wheelchairs, and even giving them the ability to turn lights on and off.VA created four main hubs for instructing those granted into the program: Minneapolis, MN; Tampa, Fl; Richmond, VA; and Palo Alto, CA. In this episode we look at: How the program started.How a Veteran can apply to the program.Some Examples of the technology being developed.Enjoy. #BtBattle Veteran of the Week: Marine Corps Veteran  Meredith KeirnAdditional Links:
28/08/1929m 40s

#159: Curtez Riggs – Army Veteran, Entrepreneur, Military Influencer Conference

School. Military. Streets. In 1996, Curtez Riggs graduated high school and those were his options in Flint, Michigan. By that time, the auto industry that built “Buick City” had moved away. As a kid, Curtez picked up bottles, turned in cans and always had a side gig to bring in extra money. When it came time to make the decision, Curtez figured the Army was the best way to start his future.His entrepreneurship did not stop when he joined the Army. Curtez continuously started businesses outside of his day job as a career recruiter. In this episode, you will hear how Curtez prepared for his military transition - years before he ended his active service.Currently, Curtez is the CEO of the Military Influencer Conference (MIC). Started in 2016, the conference is a community of entrepreneurs, influencers, creatives, executives, and leaders who are connected to the military community. Curtez said he sees the conference as a mentorship and connection hub for future and current military Veterans looking to make the military transition with an entrepreneurial mindset. This year’s conference is in Washington, D.C., Sept. 8-10. Starting in 2020, the conference will be placed in a different region each year.The conference has certain tracks attendees can follow:“Going Live” – Podcasters and VideoReal EstateFounders and InnovatorsSocial ImpactContent CreatorsEmpower – Milspouse TrackWorkshopsMighty Talks#BtBattle Veteran of the Week Air Force and Army Veteran Erin McLymanEnjoy the episode. Additional Links:
21/08/191h 6m

#158: David Gowel – Army Veteran, RallyPoint CEO

This week’s Borne the Battle interview is with Army Iraq War Veteran, David Gowel, a West Point and Ranger School graduate who later became an assistant professor at MIT’s ROTC program. David is currently the CEO of RallyPoint, a military-themed social media network. Which begs the question: just how does a former armor platoon leader become the CEO for a social media company? And, with a crowded social landscape that includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat and others, why would anyone join yet another social media network?This week’s guest lays out his case. In the interview, he also shares tips and pointers for expanding your own social media network.Prior to becoming RallyPoint’s CEO, David and his wife started their own company that helped other companies leverage social media tools to improve their business models. For LinkedIn specifically, David would consult on how to network on the platform without “harassing people.” This experience led him to also write the book, “The Power in a Link: Open Doors, Close Deals and Change the Way You Do Business Using LinkedIn.”RallyPoint is a social media network that caters to the active duty and Veteran experience. In the interview, David explains how partnering with VA’s Veteran Experience Office has enabled RallyPoint to organize discussions and “Command Post” messages around VA's Veteran’s Journey Map, which portrays the life stage moments--and VA experiences--that Veterans typically experience.Currently there are 1.7 million RallyPoint members, many of whom, in addition to active duty and Veterans, are family members, caregivers, civilian recruiters, and VA and DoD civilians. Enjoy the episode. Additional Links: https://www.rallypoint.com Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran and 109 year-old  Julia Kabance.
14/08/1940m 25s

#157: Ursula Draper – Army Veteran, Occupational Therapist, Assistive Technology Professional

Since some veterans have multiple traumas, known as polytrauma, VA dedicates resources to help Veterans with very complex issues.This week's Borne the Battle interview is with Army Veteran Ursula Draper, who developed the VA  Assistive Technology Program in 2010.Draper, an Army Veteran, spent six years working as an ophthalmic technician at Martin Army Hospital at Fort Benning, Georgia. Using her GI Bill, Ursula received her bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy from East Carolina University. She then operated her own private practice in Orlando, Florida, for over 20 years, specializing in Sensory Integration and pediatrics. Wanting to give back to the Veterans, she then pursued a career in the Veterans Health Administration working with spinal cord injuries. In 2009, she began working at the Veterans Administration, specializing in spinal cord injury and traumatic brain Injuries.The Assistive Technology program tries to meet Veteran needs. The program finds adaptive ways for Veterans to access their environment, such as turning on lights or accessing computers. Specific areas of AT intervention include:Mobility Assistive EquipmentAdapted Computer AccessElectronic Aids to Daily Living/Environmental Control UnitsAugmentative & Alternative CommunicationElectronic Cognitive DevicesAdapted Automotive EquipmentAdapted Sports & Recreation EquipmentAdditional Links to this week’s Episode: #BtBattle Veteran of the Week: Navy Veteran Donald McCartyEnjoy.
07/08/1947m 56s

#156: Daniel Sharp – Marine Veteran, CEO PopSmoke Media, Smokepit Podcast Host

If you have a Facebook or Instagram account, you either follow this week's guest or have seen his work shared on your social media feed. This week’s Borne The Battle episode interview is with Marine Veteran Daniel Sharp, the Chief Executive Officer of PopSmoke Media and podcast host of The Smokepit.Sharp talks about his transition from the Marine Corps after 11 years of service as an infantryman to starting his own media company, to developing his podcast. We also go into his personal relationship with his local VA Medical Center. He said his experience with Veterans Affairs started out difficult, but he worked to hold himself accountable to identify solutions and make sure the care worked for him. Sharp also talks about the stress of combat and the support network that can help mitigate those stresses.Currently, his podcast has listeners in 55 different countries. Additional Links to this week’s Episode: Veterans of the Week: In honor of the 50th anniversary of the  Apollo 11 Moon Landing: Navy Veteran Neil ArmstrongAir Force Veteran Michael CollinsAir Force Veteran Buzz Aldrin
31/07/191h 6m

#155: Gary Profit – Army Veteran, WalMart Military Programs

Back in  episode 43, Gary gave his original testimony on Borne the Battle.This week’s Borne The Battle episode provides an update from the Senior Director of Military Programs at Walmart on the hiring initiatives through the company and the Walmart Foundation donating $1 million to Hire Heroes USA.Profit worked as a defense contractor before hearing of the Walmart opportunity through a retiree network contact. He met with Walmart officials and became the first person to serve in his role—a role that has now spanned a decade. He plans on retiring by the end of this year.Initially, Walmart wanted to hire 100,000 Veterans through its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, but later doubled the commitment to 250,000 by the end of 2020. To date, Walmart has hired more than 226,000 Veterans since Memorial Day 2013.Walmart is also trying to help with the disproportionate unemployment of military spouses, giving hiring preference to spouses who seek employment at Walmart or Sam’s Club through the Military Spouse Career Connection, which started Nov. 12, 2018.Hire Heroes USA empowers U.S. military members, veterans and military spouses to succeed in the civilian workforce.Additional Links to this week’s Episode: Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran  Fred McDade.
24/07/1944m 55s

#154: Benefits Breakdown – VA Center of Faith and Opportunity Initiative

The VA Center of Faith’s and Opportunity Initiative’s mission is “engage, inform and educate faith-based, nonprofit and community/neighborhood organizations in VA programs to better serve the needs of Veterans, their families, survivors, caregivers and other beneficiaries.” Basically, VA understands that sometimes, faith is the best way to reach a Veteran. Therefore, VA set up a resource for local clergy so they can be the one to tell the Veteran what is available to them.The current leader spearheading this initiative is the acting director of VA Center of Faith and Opportunity Initiative, Conrad Washington. In this episode he breaks down how your local clergy can get involved with the program. Through partnerships, resources and outreach events, the Center of Faith currently have multiple ways for faith-based leaders to get involved.In addition, he breaks down his own career. Conrad is a former Marine Corps administrator and drill instructor. After leaving service, Conrad went from a security guard to specializing in security education as an Information Security Specialist for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency – in the same building. Currently in seminary school, he explains how his career combined with his faith eventually landed him in the VA Secretary’s Office and into his current role as the acting director for the VA Center of Faith and Opportunity Initiative.Enjoy.Additional Links to this week’s Episode: Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran  Sydney Hunnicutt
17/07/1934m 58s

#153: Perry Firoz - Air Force Veteran, CEO Epic Music LA

Perry Firoz is smart. Not just  Air Force smart, but “can I copy off your paper,” smart.Perry degrees include:Master’s Degree, Operations Research – Advanced Mathematical Applications, George MasonBachelor of Applied Science – Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, Wichita State UniversityBachelor of Science, Music Performance, Theory, Composition, University of NebraskaHe was an  Analytical Scientist for the Air Force. A lot of this episode is trying to figure out what an analytical scientist does, and I think we have it figured out. His entire job was to figure out how to make the Air Force more efficient. Where another service (ahem, Marine Corps) would contract a solution, the Air Force paid Perry to figure out how to fix logjams in career progression education systems.Since he left active duty, Perry has continued military analytical research for the Rand Corporation. He is also taking what he has learned to become an entrepreneur. Returning to his first love, music, Perry moved out to Los Angeles and started Epic Music LA. Epic Music LA is a music licensing company. They work with experienced composers to create a library that films and television shows, post-production companies, sports/news media, public relations and advertising agencies can license. They have recently signed deals with CBS, MLB and NHL Networks.Enjoy.Additional Links for this Episode: Veteran of the WeekNational Guard Veteran  Dr. Richard Pinsker
10/07/1949m 55s

#152: Denise Loring - Army Veteran, Camp Valor Outdoors, World Class Competitive Marksman

There have been many studies that show that  nature can be therapeutic for many reasons:Stress reductionFinding Meaning and PurposeDevelops heightened awarenessPromotes physical activityA “Natural High”In  episode 138, Sean Ricks mentioned a nonprofit called Camp Valor Outdoors. It’s a nonprofit that helps ill, injured and wounded active duty, veterans and their family members. They do this by taking them on fishing, hunting, shooting, archery, four-wheeling and camping. They believe that “healing in the great outdoors…and connecting with fellow warriors is therapeutic and essential to healing.” Nobody is paid on staff and each dollar is spent on the programs that they host.Although the nonprofit operates out of Kingsville, MO, Camp Valor’s  competitive shooting program is located nearby DC in Fairfax. When I found that out, we linked up and I went to shooting clinic and a couple of matches to see what they are all about.This week we interviewed Camp Valor Outdoors’ Chief Operating Officer, Army Veteran retired Colonel Denise Loring. She is a world class competitive shooter, having shot in a CMP and NRA Nationals, USA Olympic Trials (Air Rifle), and World Championships. We talked about Camp Valor's mission, Denise being recruited to the Army specifically for shooting, what else she did in her 29+ year career, her transition out, and how she came to find a home with Camp Valor Outdoors.Enjoy.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Charlie ChalleleaAdditional Links to this Episode:
03/07/1940m 36s

#151: WWII Weekend Part II - Walter Stitt and Victor Marulli

This week we’re revisiting Reading, PA’s WWII Weekend. For three days (June 7-9) the MidAtlantic Air Museum brought in WWII Veterans, reenactors and a full air show.READ AND LISTEN TO  PART ONEThis week we share two more WWII Veteran’s stories that the gentlemen were gracious enough to share over the weekend.Walter Stitt was a part of General Patton’s 3rd Armored Division. As an M4 Sherman Tank Gun Loader, he saw time in Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland Campaigns and he was one of the first tanks to cross the Siegfried Line – receiving a Purple Heart in the process. Later Walter became a pastor and gave the closing remarks to the final 3rd Armored Division Association’s reunion in 2010.Victor Maurelli is a WWII and Korean War Veteran. He was a Navy Frogman from the early 1940s to 1955. During WWII, Victor served in Guam, Philippines and during the Battle of Midway. Frogmen were underwater demolition-men and are the forefathers to the current Navy SEAL teams. Frogmen were responsible for diving underwater and destroying defensive barriers before an amphibious landing. Frogmen served in both the European and Pacific Theatres. During WWII Weekend, Victor spent some time with Borne the Battle and shared some of his incredible stories.Enjoy both of these unique stories.Additional Links for this episode: Veteran of the Week:Army and Korean War Veteran  Dale Quick
26/06/1951m 33s

#150: Benefits Breakdown – VA Home Loan Program

On June 22, VA will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the G.I. Bill. In honor of this historic event, Army Veteran Maxine Henry and Air Force Veteran Mark Connors of the VA’s Loan Guaranty Service team sat down with Borne the Battle to discuss one of the best and most popular Veteran benefits--the VA home loan entitlement. The VA home loan guaranty has several advantages for Veteran borrowers:Veterans using the VA home loan are generally not required to have a downpayment.Veterans using the VA home loan also aren’t required to carry any mortgage insurance, which saves borrowers hundreds of dollars on their monthly mortgage payments.Veterans using the VA home loan benefit enjoy limited closing costs.VA home loans have very competitive interest rates.Veterans aren’t charged any prepayment penalty if they are able to pay off their mortgage earlier than required while using the VA loan.VA provides assistance to help Veterans retain their homes during periods of temporary financial difficulty.The VA home loan benefit can be used multiple times throughout the Veteran’s life.Additional Links: Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran  Arthur Lorelli
19/06/191h 24m

#149: WWII Weekend Part I - Pearl Harbor Survivors Richard Schimmel and William Bonelli

It was WWII Weekend in Reading, PA. For three days, the MidAtlantic Air Museum brings WWII Veterans, reenactors and a full air show to their community. You can step back in time to every major theatre, visit friendly and enemy camps, hear 1940s music, and even see an FDR impersonator. More importantly, WWII Days include an impressive VIP guest list. Over twenty-five WWII Veterans attend every year and recount their experiences. This year included two living survivors of Pearl Harbor.  Richard (Dick) Schimmel was one of the first soldiers to ever be a radar tech. He enlisted in 1940 and was shipped out to Hawaii to form new formed Signal Aircraft Warning unit. He wasn’t on duty but was stationed on Pearl Harbor during the attack. When he realized the island was under attack, he ran to his post. William Bonelli was an enlisted B-17 and B-29 mechanic at Hickam Field when the attacks occurred. In 1944, he got his opportunity to fly the “Flying Fortress” as a pilot, flying 30 missions over Italy (21 as squadron leader) and receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions.Enjoy both of these unique accounts of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Additional Links: Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran  Wilma Gregory
12/06/1949m 25s

75th Anniversary of D-Day

Quick Bonus episode reflecting on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings. Features General Dwight D. Eisenhower's speech to the troops of the eve of the operation. 
06/06/194m 2s

#148: Army Veteran David Lucier, Green Beret Medic, Vietnam Special Forces, Security Contractor, Veteran Advocate

David talks about becoming a Green Beret, being attached to a MIKE Force in Vietnam, being a security contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan as a 55-60 year old man, and helping advocate to reform Arizona's university system to work friendlier with the GI Bill and the VA system.Additional Links: Veteran of the Week:Marine Corp Veteran  William Tully Brown.
05/06/191h 4m

#147: Marine Veteran Brett D’Alessandro and Alexa Modero: Backpacks for Life

One couple, Marine Veteran Brett D’Alessandro and his partner, Alexa Modero, have made it their mission to help those Veterans that find themselves with nothing but a backpack. In fact, with the nonprofit, Backpacks for Life the first thing they are doing is literally improving the backpacks that rest on homeless Veterans shoulders.After deploying to Afghanistan in 2014 and exiting his Marine Reserve contract, Brett started experiencing the same problems many Veterans face after deployment. After serving honorably as a turret gunner in country, he found himself without purpose. He was filling the emptiness with unhealthy habits. However, after randomly providing a homeless Veteran with a backpack that allowed the Veteran’s child to have a pack for school, Brett again found a call to serve those that were in need. Upon learning this, his long-time girlfriend Alexa, began supporting his new purpose. Together they founded the nonprofit Backpacks for Life.They have since patented their very own pack that is created specifically with the homeless veteran in mind. The Bowery Pack features the old sea-bag opening, a stainless cable closing and an iso mat. Their goal is to go to a one-for-one sale model. For each Bowery Pack sold, they can give one to a homeless Veteran.However, Brett and Alexa believe that the pack is only the first step to getting off the streets. Their overall mission “is to provide Veterans with resources that they have trouble providing for themselves…at the same time fostering self-reliance while assisting Veterans through their hardships…”Additionally, we talked about how Brett and Alexa met, Brett’s deployment, and how they can afford to make the Bowery Pack in the United States.Enjoy.Additional Links to this Veteran of the WeekArmy Veteran Bill Hayes
29/05/191h 3m

#146: Dave Coker: Army Veteran, President of Fisher House Foundation

Fisher houses are a vital part of helping Veterans heal. If there is an open room in a Fisher House next to a VA or military medical facility, a family can join in their Veteran’s recovery at no lodging cost. Today,  two new Fisher houses opened at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, New York City. These two new homes will join the 70+ Fisher Houses currently in operation around the world. By the end of the year, the Fisher House Network will be able to provide for over 1,000 families at any given time.To mark today’s event, today’s interview is the current President of the Fisher House Foundation, Army Veteran David Coker.We talked about:His family’s extensive military serviceHis personal service as an Army medical officerHis transition in the 90s how he came to be the very first employee of the Fisher House Foundation.The unique way that the foundation got its name.Enjoy.FOR INFO ON LOCAL MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONIES CLICK HERE#BtB Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran  Todd CornellAdditional Links for this Episode:
22/05/1945m 57s

#145: Jan Ohrstrom: Army Veteran, Professional Wrestler, Documentary Producer, VA Employee

Not only is Army Veteran Jan a wrestler, he’s a producer of the documentary “Valhalla Club.” The feature documents how three wrestlers, including Jan, formed a wrestling stable based on collectively fighting their PTSD through wrestling.Recently, Jan and his stablemates were featured on the first episode Comedy Central’s new show, “Klepper.” Additionally, Jan is a VA employee. We talked about his role in the Office of Business Process Integration.Additional Links: Veteran of the WeekMarine Veteran Edgar Huff 
15/05/1941m 26s

#144: Joseph Pennington - Navy Seabee Veteran, AllState Director of Military Affairs

For Borne the Battle, we have a small team of interns that transcribe previous episodes so those with hearing loss can still read our episodes. It is finals week for many universities around the country and we will be soon losing that important cog of our team. So, before our interns left for the year, I wanted to reward them with their own episode. We had our intern, aspiring podcaster Zach Wheeler, go and get another interview.Back in episode 130, Zach interviewed  Robert Freedman, his professor from Johns Hopkins University. For his “final” we challenged him to go find an interview off his campus. From there, he took the ball, ran with it, and interviewed Joseph Pennington, a former Navy Seabee and the current Director of Military Programs for AllState. FUN FACT: ALLSTATE WAS STARTED BY A VETERANJoseph talks about how his grandfather, a WWII Veteran, inspired him to raise his right hand. He also talks about his transition, his experience in building military programs for various companies, and how that experience led him to his current role at AllState.Enjoy.#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Marine Veteran  Megan McClungAdditional Links for this Episode: 
08/05/1958m 46s

#143: Stephen Holley - Navy SEAL Veteran, Naval Academy Quarterback, CEO of Carry The Load

For the next month, the VA’s National Cemetery Administration is partnering with Carry The Load and this week’s guest, Stephen Holley, is the CEO and co-founder of the nonprofit, Carry the Load. In addition, he is a former quarterback at the Naval Academy and a former Navy Seal. In addition to talking about Carry The Load, we dive into his four deployments in five years, his transition and what Memorial Day means to him.  Enjoy. Additional Links to This Episode: #BtBattle Veteran of the Week:  
01/05/1950m 57s

#142: Carroll Harris - Marine Veteran, Postal Inspector, Marine Corps Historian

FBI, CIA, AFT…USPIS? It’s not an alphabet agency that is often brought up in conversation around DC Beltway. However, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service was founded almost 100 years prior to the FBI and almost 150 years before the CIA. Their mission is to “support and protect the U.S. Postal Service, its employees, infrastructure, and customers by enforcing the laws that defend the nation's mail system from illegal or dangerous use.” Today’s guest is a current U.S. Postal Inspector and Marine Veteran Carroll Harris. He is the first guest to reach out to ask to be on the show, so he can get information out to Veterans. Operation Protect Veterans is an effort by the Postal Inspection Service to prevent crimes and scams within the mail system that are targeting the Veteran population. In addition, Carroll is a historian in the Marine Corps Reserve. He is attached to the Marine Corps History Division and is tasked with going on deployments to record Marine Corps history in times of conflict. In the episode, he covers how he was “drafted” into the history division in Kuwait, right before the Marine Corps crossed the Kuwaiti-Iraqi border during 2003’s Operation Enduring Freedom. Additional Links to This Episode: Mission Act Links: #BtBattle Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran Ellen Ainsworth
24/04/1955m 29s

#141: BourBiz - Military Veteran/MilSpouse Networking Event

Bonus episode! This episode is an experiment of a sorts. I attended a Veteran/ military spouse networking event called BourBiz. It was held this last Thursday by The Veteran Success Resource Group at the MGM, National Harbor, Maryland. I was told about this event by future guests, Brett D’Allesandro and Alexa Modero the founders of the non profit, Backpacks For Life. They were part of a veteran-owned-business pitch competition that was going to be held at the event. Placing 2nd, they were awarded $15,000.  Again, this was last Thursday and I didn’t know about it until the day prior. Within 24 hours I was hooked up with a booth. So with little time to plan, I brought my gear and figured to catch something. I set up, did two interviews -  and I didn’t think I captured anything. It was loud and they were having a live auction right next to me. So, I shut down my operation and just took the whole thing in. However, when I went home, I learned that the quality wasn’t too bad. So, what you're going to hear is what I was able to capture. If you would like to hear more episodes like this (with more content) please reach out to me at Enjoy. Additional Links:  
22/04/1918m 12s

#140: Danny Chung – Marine Veteran, Microsoft Chief of Staff of Military Affairs

Danny Chung is an positive example of a Veteran that found a way to give back to the transitioning active-duty community.  Danny’s team is trying to do is fill a gap in the civilian workforce. At any given time, there are over 500,000 open jobs in the computer industry. The current education system is producing only 49,000 computer science majors a year. Danny’s goal is to fill the gap with a portion of the 250,000 service-members that leave active duty every year. One solution is the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA). It is an 18-week course that active duty can take on base towards the end of their service. They offer training in high demand fields like cloud development, cloud administration, cybersecurity, databases and business intelligence administration. In addition, graduates are guaranteed an interview with Microsoft or an industry partner. There are currently 15 military bases that offer the MSSA. Currently, Danny’s biggest drive is to help military spouses find gainful employment in the technology industry. The Military Spouse Technology Academy is an effort by Danny’s team to combat the military spouse 18% unemployment and 53% underemployment rates. In addition, we talk about his service, difficulties transitioning during the Great Recession, and his feelings on artificial intelligence taking over the planet. Enjoy. #BTBattle Veteran of the Week: Army Air Corps Veteran Dick Cole ADDITIONAL LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE:
17/04/1943m 49s

#139: Jennifer Marshall – Navy Veteran, Actress (Stranger Things, Hawaii Five-0)

Navy Veteran Jennifer Marshall joins us on the show. Since transitioning from active duty, she’s been hustling out in Hollywood.She’s a veteran of some movies and shows you may have seen:“Stranger Things”“Hawaii Five-0”“A Dog’s Way Home”“Timeless”“Game Shakers”Most notably, she’s an actress, but she also hosts red carpets, hosts shows, models and volunteers for various causes in and around the area.Jennifer talks about why she joined the Navy and why she had to exit earlier than she anticipated. She also talks about her husband’s transition and trying to bridge the military-civilian divide. She also shared how the military community in Hollywood helped her gain her sea-legs as she started on this new journey.Finally, we discussed how a military mindset can help you achieve your goals, the misadventures of motion capture for her first (and probably last) video game, and current volunteer projects that she is passionate about. Enjoy.Additional Links For This Episode: Veteran of the Week is  Air Force Veteran William Andrews: 
10/04/191h 2m

#138: Sean Ricks – Navy Veteran, CEO of Ricks Roasters Coffee Company

There are many veteran entrepreneurs in the coffee industry. Today we focus on a local roaster in the Northern Virginia area that is making waves in the coffee industry.  In this episode, Sean talks about his unique military career. Starting out as a merchant marine and as a reservist, Sean explains how he switched between a couple of different occupational specialties before coming onto active duty as a Naval Intelligence Officer. We also break down Sean’s transition from the Navy, and how he started a business on active duty and turned it into a $500,000 revenue-generating business within six years.   Enjoy #BtBattle Veteran of the Week Marine Corps’ Veteran and soon-to-be WWE Hall of Famer Brian James is this week’s Veteran of the Week. Additional Links for this Episode:
03/04/1940m 48s

#137: John Buckley II – Army Veteran, Koch Industries, Veteran Advocate, Wichita Kansas

I love finding Veterans who are out there working to bridge the military-civilian divide. This week’s guest is continuing to serve by connecting Veterans to communities as the military relations manager at the second largest private company in the United States.   While in the Army, John Buckley, II was an infantry commander for soldiers in combat and peacekeeping operations. In addition, he directed two of the Army’s top schools. Commissioning as a 2nd lt. in the reserves at the age of 19, John began serving in the Kansas Army National Guard, eventually earning a regular army commission. He is a graduate of the Infantry Basic and Advanced Courses, the Army Command and General Staff College, the School of Advanced Military Studies, the Armed Forces Staff College and the Army War College, receiving a special degree in national security policy. John also holds a master’s in military arts and sciences and a master’s in military science.  Today, John teaches transition courses, gives presentations, writes about the military career transition, and continues to mentor current and former military service-members. Furthermore, John is involved in the local Veteran community of Wichita, KS as the: Co-chair of the Wichita Community Veteran Engagement Board Board member of the Veteran Providers' Coalition of Sedgwick County Currently, the boards' current focus is on Veteran unemployment and homelessness. Their future goals are to create a Veteran-friendly medical transportation system. John is also a board member of the non-profit, Passageways. They battle Veteran homelessness within and around the city of Wichita. For their Phase II, Passageways is looking to develop a 30 home community focusing on providing homes for the local female veteran community and their families. Hope you enjoy this week's episode. Additional Links for Week's Episode: #BtBattle Veteran of the Week:
27/03/1942m 59s

#136: Valroy Williams – Army / Navy Veteran, Queens NY Submariner to NC Farmer

How does a Navy submariner from Hollis, Queens, NY, become a farmer in North Carolina? That is exactly what Valroy Williams did after over 30 years of dedication between the Navy and Army.  In this episode we talked about his service, how he learned to farm and the camaraderie of the Veteran farmers in North Carolina. Links For More Info:  
20/03/1937m 43s

#135: Rick Robinson - Marine Veteran, Emmy Award Winning Director of Photography and Cinematographer

Tanner’s first guest is Emmy award winning director of photography and cinematographer, Rick Robinson, who was a huge influence on Tanner’s career.  In this episode, Rick shares his experiences on his deployments, drops knowledge on how he broke into Hollywood without knowing a soul, lets us in on how teaching film changed his life’s pursuits and tells us how he ended up in the South Pacific for over seven years. Rick also shares his journey back to the Marine Corps, and how he currently spends his time developing the next crops of military visual information specialists. ______________________________________________________ In the episode:  Appeals Modernization Rick Robinson's: IMDB Instagram IndustryJump
13/03/191h 13m

#134: Tanner Iskra – Marine Veteran, new host of Borne the Battle

This episode is a humbling one for me. Episode 134 is the last episode I will produce as the host of Borne the Battle. I launched the podcast in 2016 under the title "This Week at VA," renamed it Borne The Battle about a year later, and have interviewed an impressive set of Veterans and their loved ones. However, while I may be moving on from the podcast, the podcast is remaining and will be hosted by a newer member of my team, Tanner Iskra. Tanner Iskra is a United States Marine Corps Veteran who served as an intel analyst in OIF III and later as a combat videographer/photographer. During his military career he deployed to OIF III as well as Romania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Spain as part of the Black Sea Rotational Force. After leaving active duty, Tanner was a Senior Post Production Editor with NASCAR Productions. Tanner is a graduate of the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Media Studies and holds a Certificate in Military Motion Media from the Newhouse School of Journalism at Syracuse University. Joining the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in October 2018, Tanner is a video producer with the Digital Media Engagement team focusing on producing, editing and shooting content that tells the Veteran’s story. Tanner joins the show so we may learn about his service, his creativity, and his vision for the podcast moving forward.
27/02/1955m 0s

#133: Joel Chaverri – Marine Veteran, Vet Center Director

Vet Centers are one of VA's most valuable and crucial resources. Vet Centers are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional readjustment counseling to eligible Veterans, active duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve components, and their families. Readjustment counseling is offered to make a successful transition from military to civilian life or after a traumatic event experienced in the military. Individual, group, marriage and family counseling is offered in addition to referral and connection to other VA or community benefits and services. Vet Center counselors and outreach staff, many of whom are Veterans themselves, are experienced and prepared to discuss the tragedies of war, loss, grief and transition after trauma. While I was in Dallas, visited the Vet Center in Arlington, TX and sat down with Vet Center Director Joel Chaverri for an interview. Joel tells us about his time in the Marine Corps, his path to becoming a social worker, and what everyone needs to know about how Vet Centers serve Veterans and their families.
08/02/191h 4m

#132: Brent Thompson – Navy Veteran, Head Brewer at Texas Ale Project

Since I joined VA in April 2016, we have avoided alcohol themed content in our production. However, with so many Veterans involved in the industry through craft beer, distilling, wineries, and more, I decided it was time to feature a Veteran inside the industry. Brent Thompson is a Navy Veteran and Head Brewer at Texas Ale Project in the City of Dallas. I originally visited his establishment as part of the Military Influencers Conference. When I returned to Dallas a year later, I knew I wanted to interview him about going from Navy to co-founding a successful brewery. Brent sat down with me in his tap room to record our interview. Over his shoulder I could see a tap handle designed in digital camouflage that read "Good to Go," the name of his pale ale. Though subtle, signals like that are evidence of a culture transcending one's life, bringing vernacular from the past into the present. Brent spoke to me about his decision to enlist in the Navy, the major influence his father had on him, and the journey he's been on founding a successful brewery.
31/01/1941m 22s

#131: Ozzy Ramirez – Army Veteran, Actor

Back in October I interviewed Ozzy Ramirez, an Army Veteran that is pursuing an acting career in Hollywood. Ozzy's interview got buried in a swarm of interviews conducted in that time span and I just discovered it again last week. When I went back to listen to it, I remembered how great of an interview it was and how valuable it is for us to hear stories like his. Ozzy joins Borne the Battle to discuss his time in the military, which allowed him to not only help support his family, but also become a U.S. citizen, and his bold decision to head to Hollywood in pursuit of the silver screen. You can see Ozzy's full body of work on his page at IMDB.
23/01/1943m 57s

#130: Robert Freedman – Army Veteran, Professor

This week we have a unique episode. One of my interns, Zach Wheeler, conducted an interview with one of his professors at Johns Hopkins University. Zach is a sophomore and is studying International Studies. His professor, Robert O. Freedman, is an adjunct professor at Zach's university. Mr. Freedman served during the Vietnam War and joins Borne the Battle to discuss a great leader he had in the military, his philosophy on giving your country two years of service, and his career in academia which includes time at West Point.
16/01/1921m 4s

#129: Student Veteran of the Year, Air Force Veteran Alexandria Sawin

Our week of podcasts focused on student Veterans is coming to a close. On Monday, we spoke with Student Veterans of America president Jared Lyon. Then, Tuesday through Thursday we had a conversation with three groups of Student Veteran of the Year finalists. Today, we feature the 2018 Student Veteran of the Year, Alexandria Sawin. Alex is the president of the UNLV Rebel Veterans Organization at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She speaks with us about her service in the Air Force, becoming a leader in her community, organizing a ruck march across the state of Nevada, and her best practices in her student Veteran chapter.
11/01/1944m 29s

#128: Student Veteran of the Year finalists Angela Peacock, Kyle Venable and Carlos Caro

Today, we continue our discussions with Student Veterans of America’s Student Veteran of the Year finalists. This episode features Angela Peacock, Kyle Venable, and Carlos Caro. We learn about their chapter’s success in 2018, their philosophy on outreach, and how to include other military personnel on campus.
10/01/1933m 55s

#127: Student Veteran of the Year finalists Chanel Powell and Tyler Freeman

Today, we continue our discussions with Student Veterans of America's Student Veteran of the Year finalists. This episode features Chanel Powell and Tyler Freeman. We learn about their chapter's success in 2018, their philosophy on outreach, and how to include other military personnel on campus. About Chanel: Chanel is a paralegal specialist in the New York Army National Guard for the past 3 years and continues to serve. She deployed with the 1156th Engineer Company to Kuwait and Iraq in 2016-2017. Promptly after returning home from deployment she started her first semester at the University at Buffalo just last spring. During her first semester she was elected SVA chapter President and the following semester they became nationally recognized within the Student Veterans of America, making their chapter one of the newest. Her plan is to continue her education in law school a little over a year from now. About Tyler: Tyler was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and joined the United States Marine Corps in 2008.  He was stationed in the Carolinas shortly thereafter with military occupations primarily involving helicopter squadrons as an Aviation Maintenance Supervisor and a CH-53E Helicopter Crew Member. After 5 ½ years of service and three deployments (2 to Northeast Africa and 1 to Afghanistan), Tyler received an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps in April of 2014 to pursue undergraduate studies at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While enrolled, he held a concurrent full-time position at Ameriprise Financial in various operations and project management roles. He completed a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Magna Cum Laude) at UNC Greensboro in December, 2017. Tyler then relocated to Atlanta after he was accepted to Emory University’s Goizueta Business School & Emory Law School, where he began the full-time MBA/JM Dual Degree program in August 2018.
09/01/1925m 43s

#126: Student Veteran of the Year finalists David Cote, Katherine Pratt, and Wesley Wilson

Each year, Student Veterans of America selects a "Student Veteran of the Year." They receive hundreds of submissions for consideration and narrow the field down to ten finalists. Year after year, these ten finalists prove to be exceptional individuals. I had the opportunity to sit down with the finalists this year and talk to them about the success they've had with their respective chapters and on their campuses. Today's group of student Veterans include David Cote, Katherina Pratt, and Wesley Wilson.
08/01/1933m 36s

#125: Jared Lyon - President of SVA's interview from #NatCon2019

I just returned from the 2019 Student Veterans of America (SVA) National Conference (NatCon). It was my fourth conference in five years. I've been to two as a student Veteran, and two on behalf of VA. Each year this gathering proves to be more powerful than the last. SVA saw a 30% attendance boost since last year's conference, hosting more than 2,300 student Veterans and stakeholders. The three-day event featured keynotes from Secretary Robert Wilkie, Medal of Honor recipient Ryan Pitts, and President of SVA, Jared Lyon. Jared has been on the podcast a few times in the past, including a sit-down I had with him at last year's NatCon. Each time he speaks with us, he has the same passion and excitement about the success of student Veterans as he did the time before. In this year's interview, that we recorded at NatCon 2019, Jared shares what it means for SVA to be "left of bang," tells us about the amazing group of Student Veteran of the Year finalists, and what SVA's priority in 2019.
07/01/1931m 39s

#124: Nick Armstrong – Army Veteran, Senior Director of Research and Policy at IVMF

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University is a key contributor in the support of Veteran entrepreneurs and research on transitioning Veterans. In the past, we have spoken with IVMF's Director, Mike Haynie, and their Manager for Managing Director for Programs and Services, Jim McDonough. This week, we talk with Nicholas Armstrong, IVMF's Senior Director for Research and Policy. Nick began his career as an Army field artillery officer upon graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2000. In the Army, he served seven years on active duty, including nearly three years deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia with the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), during which he received two Bronze Star Medals and the Combat Action Badge, among other commendations. In addition, Nick served as a speechwriter to the commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum, NY, as well as aide-de-camp to the division’s deputy commanding general. Nick is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Airborne, Air Assault, and Ranger Schools. Serving in his current role since 2014, Nick developed and leads a multi-disciplinary team comprised of social, behavioral, and data scientists, student analysts, and an extended network of affiliated scholars and experts. He manages a broad portfolio of sponsored research, program measurement, and evaluation efforts to inform the social, economic, wellness, and related policy concerns of the nation’s veterans and their families. In addition, Nick is responsible for the IVMF’s data analytics, quality, and decision support activities that guide the Institute’s operations to serve, annually, more than 20,000 veterans and family members nationwide and abroad. Nick joins Borne the Battle to discuss his experience in the Army, his efforts at IVMF, and some key research from the institute that provides essential information on transitioning Veterans.
19/12/1844m 59s

#123: William Daniels – Army Veteran, Actor

Every once in a while I'm pleasantly surprised to discover that someone famous is a Veteran. A couple months ago, a story came out about William Daniels when he fended off an intruder in his house. When I saw his age, I wondered if he served in World War II. Sure enough, I learned that he spent a couple years in Italy shortly after the bomb dropped in Hiroshima. So, naturally, I wanted to speak to him about his service and invited him to join me on Borne the Battle. Many of you probably recognize him as the voice of KITT on Knight Rider, Dr. Craig on St. Elsewhere, and, the role he's most commonly recognized for, Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World. Mr. Daniels and his wife Bonnie joined me for a short phone interview to share his experiences as a drafted soldier in World War II, using the G.I. Bill to attend Northwestern University, being a recognized actor, and how important his relationship with Bonnie has been through it all.
05/12/1828m 42s

#122: Sarah Verardo – Caregiver, CEO of Independence Fund

To round of National Caregivers Month, we feature Sarah Verardo. Sarah is the CEO of Independence Fund and a caregiver for her husband, an Army Veteran. Sarah also authored the children's book, Hero at Home. Founded in 2007, The Independence Fund is committed to empowering our nation’s catastrophically wounded, injured, or ill Veterans to overcome physical, mental, and emotional wounds incurred in the line of duty. We are dedicated to improving the lives of both our Veterans and their families. Through our Mobility, Caregiver, Adaptive Sports, Advocacy, and Family programs, The Independence Fund strives to bridge the gap of unmet needs for Veterans and their caregivers. Sarah also recently announced Independence Fund's new program, Operation Resiliency. The program will team with VA to host suicide prevention reunion retreats with the Veterans of high suicide rate military units. Sarah joins this week's podcast to discuss her experience as her husband's caregiver and her efforts at Independence Fund.
28/11/1839m 52s

#121 Veterans Legacy Program: Terence Patrick Halligan

Today's podcast features a Veteran spotlighted by NCA's Veterans Legacy Program. Kenneth Holliday, who joined us on episode 106, joins us today for the unofficial debut of Veterans Legacy Program podcast. Today, he tells us about Terrence Halligan. Terence Patrick Halligan was born in Northern Ireland on April 3, 1922. He is an Army Air Corps Veteran of World War II. During a combat mission over Italy, his plane was shot down and Halligan was never found. Visit for more or follow @VANatCemeteries on Twitter.
23/11/1816m 1s

#120: Liz Rotenberry – Caregiver, Elizabeth Dole Foundation Fellows Programs Coordinator

Everyone needs a break from time to time. Borne the Battle - and, more importantly, its host - decided to take a short break from production. It's been a month since our last episode was published, but I was still recording interviews in that span of time. A couple of the interviews I did were with caregivers. With November being National Caregivers Month, and with this week being Thanksgiving, I decided to bring the podcast back to full form with two episodes featuring caregivers. Not only to spotlight their efforts, but to show our gratitude for the role they play in Veterans' lives. First up is Liz Rotenberry. Liz joined me at VA Central Office after the Elizabeth Dole Foundation showed interest in collaborating on a podcast. I didn't know much about Liz before we started the interview, but by the end of it I felt I had just recorded one of the more valuable interviews in the podcast's two year history. Liz, is a military caregiver for her husband, a Marine Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom & Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran. As an Elizabeth Dole Fellow Alumna, Liz works to advocate not only for herself and her family, but for all Military and Veteran Caregivers. Liz joined the Elizabeth Dole Foundation as their Caregiver Community Program Coordinator and is now the Foundation’s Fellows Program Coordinator. Prior to becoming a military caregiver, Liz graduated from the University of Delaware with a BAS in Art and Art History. Liz worked in the architectural field as a designer for schools, medical, offices to government and military facilities, including the test sites on Proving Grounds in Arizona. The work Liz experienced with the Proving Grounds in Arizona provided an eye opening experience to what our Military train for in real life theater every day. Liz is honored to have been a part of the training and implementation of the Joint Experimentation Range Complex. It is important for Liz to represent not only the Veteran but especially the Caregiver. Liz and I talk about being a military spouse during her husband's service and how she experienced transition when her husband separated from the military. That, plus plenty of insight on her role as a caregiver.
21/11/1849m 7s

#119: Elliott McKenzie – Marine Veteran, R&B artist

After a short break, Borne the Battle is back. This week we bring on Marine Veteran Elliott McKenzie. After returning home from a deployment to Ramadi, Iraq, Elliott started showing signs of having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). By 2008, his symptoms were spiraling out of control. He had severe anger, depression, anxiety, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and hyper awareness. It was severely affecting his life and the lives of those around him. By 2009, his PTSD was so bad that he ended up homeless. After sleeping in his car for a period of time, he applied to a veteran's homeless facility in Long Beach, CA. Elliott soon after got connected with VA and began his long road to recovery. That road to recovery included creating music, which he used as a coping mechanism and as a way to express himself. He joins us on this week's podcast to discuss his time in the Marines, the difficulties of his transition, and how his music career has been so powerful in his recovery.

#118: 'Back to School' round table featuring Jared Lyon, EJ Delpero, and Kirsten Battocchio

September means back to school, even for Veterans. Being a student Veteran on campus is a unique experience. Student Veterans are typically older than traditional students, they have more life experience, and they can even have families at home. One resource available for student Veterans on campus is student Veterans group, often an official club with officials and board members. These groups can be great places for Veterans to gain friends, have a community, and get connected with more resources on campus. This week's podcast celebrates going back to school. Our three panelists discuss their experiences and what they've learned as best practices for Veterans themselves and the clubs they're a part of. I'm joined by the President of Student Veterans of America, Jared Lyon, the president of Mason Veteran Patriots at George Mason University, EJ Delpero, and last year's Student Veteran of the Year Finalist, Kirsten Battocchio. EJ and Kirsten bring their own perspectives and Jared compliments with SVA's guidance and insight.
19/09/1856m 29s

#117: James McDonough – Army Veteran, IVMF's Managing Director for Programs and Services

About 30 episodes ago, we spoke with Michael Haynie, the Founder & Executive Director for the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. The IVMF is higher education’s first interdisciplinary academic institute, singularly focused on advancing the lives of the nation’s military veterans and their families. This episode, we hear from Mike's colleague, James McDonough, managing director of programs and services for IVMF.   James tells us about his service in the Army, a great leader he served under, and the decision to begin transition out of the military so he could care for family. Then, we learn about two powerful programs worked on at IVMF: AmericaServes and Onward to Opportunity. AmericaServes is the country’s first coordinated system of public, private, and non-profit organizations working together to serve Veterans, transitioning service-members, and their families. Onward to Opportunity is a free, comprehensive career training, certification and employment program designed to launch you into your next career with over 30 industry-recognized career tracks and courses.   IVMF is a highly respected organization in the Veteran community, and James does a great job adding on to what we originally learned from Mike. Enjoy!
29/08/1851m 8s

#116: Petey Ace – Marine Veteran, Hip Hop Artist

Music is a great way to communicate one's feelings and cope with experiences. Veterans have been using music in these same ways as a way to come to terms with some feelings they have and to tell their audience their story. Petey Ace is a Marine Corps Veteran and a hip hop artists based out of Los Angeles. He joins Borne the Battle to talk about a recent song he did to express those feelings, and how he has joined a group of Veterans that are using basic camaraderie to reconnect with fellow Veterans. We also talk about his time in the Marine Corps and his thoughts on fatherhood.  
22/08/1844m 32s

#115: JJ Pinter - Army Veteran, Executive Director of Team RWB

Back in December of 2016, we featured Army Veteran Blayne Smith on the podcast. At the time, he was Executive Director of Team RWB. That was episode 11. He has since moved on to the GORUCK team, and here on episode 115, we are featuring he successor, and good friend, JJ Pinter. JJ is also an Army Veteran who joined shortly before September 11. JJ will share his story of military service and tell us about the wonderful soldiers he served with, but the real value in this interview comes from his insight as Team RWB's second official employee. He's been with Team RWB for quite some time and in the Veteran space even longer. He shares his perspective on serving Veterans' post-military needs, measuring the impact his organization is making on Veteran, how his staff focuses on their mission, and other valuable thoughts that only someone in his position can have. About JJ: JJ Pinter is the Executive Director of Team Red, White, and Blue. As Team RWB’s 2nd employee, he has played a key role the development, growth, and operation of the organization. JJ works closely with board members, staff, and volunteer leaders to ensure the delivery of excellent programs that deliver impact. He provides strategic guidance in addition to building and managing critical partnerships. JJ is a West Point graduate and combat veteran, serving as a Field Artillery officer. After his military service, he held both leadership and analytical positions in the construction, defense and medical industries. He currently resides outside Louisville, KY with his wife and 3 kids, where he loves to coach youth sports and be outdoors with his family.  
01/08/181h 2m

#114: Bennie Adkins – Army Veteran, Medal of Honor recipient

I've been podcasting for more than five years. I look forward to each interview, because I love hearing new perspectives and unique stories of life and service. There are some interviews that truly get me excited, like this week's with Medal of Honor recipient Bennie Adkins. Bennie was in Washington, D.C. for the MLB All Star Game and to do some media for his new book A Tiger Among Us. While he was in town, he swung by VA Central Office for an interview to be featured on Borne the Battle. Bennie's Medal of Honor citation has more action in it than most war movies. He was in battle for 38 hours and was escaping for another 48. In that time frame, he sustained 18 wounds. He fought the North Vietnamese with mortars, machine guns, recoilless rifles, small arms, and hand grenades. There is no type of Veteran that deserves the designation "hero" more than patriots like Bennie Adkins. Bennie talks to us about joining the military after leaving college, the days in Vietnam that led to his award, and the importance of taking care of Veterans after their tour of duty.  
24/07/1842m 12s

#113: Dan Cnossen – Navy Veteran, Paralympic Gold Medalist

I met Dan Cnossen on the red carpet at the Team USA awards back in April. I spoke to him about the opportunity to represent the United States in a different uniform and his experience with adaptive sports. Hour later, he was named 2018 Male Paralympic Athlete of the Games. Dan was nice enough to agree to a podcast interview, and connected with me a few weeks ago to record. We talked about everything from his time in the Navy to accepting that his injury meant leaving the service to becoming a gold medalist. About Dan: Lt. Cmdr. Dan Cnossen was serving as the platoon commander for SEAL Team One in Afghanistan in September 2009 when he stepped on an IED (improvised explosive device) and was wounded in the explosion. The accident caused Cnossen to lose both his legs just above the knee. Cnossen went through rehabilitation, first at the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center, and later at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he learned to walk with his new prosthetics. Cnossen was awarded both a Bronze Star with Valor from the Secretary of the Navy for his service in combat.
18/07/1839m 1s

#112: Adam Storck – Army Veteran, Denali Summit

A five-member mountaineering team of U.S. military, Veterans, and a physician from non-profit U.S. Expeditions and Explorations (USX) summited North America’s highest peak, Denali, Alaska, during a scientific research expedition to benefit the study of high altitude cardiology, May 14 to June 5, 2018. USX is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that enables the military and Veteran communities to impact STEM fields by conducting adventurous, scientific research across the globe. During USX’s Denali expedition, its team members wore Cardiac Insight, Inc.’s Cardea SOLO™ wireless electrocardiogram sensors to capture cardiology data and detect cardiac arrhythmias at high altitude. One of the members of the mountaineering team that went up Denali was Army Veteran Adam Storck. He is Head of Devices for M-KOPA Solar, overseeing new product development, delivery, and testing. Storck is from Seattle and resides in London and Nairobi, Kenya. He is a graduate of Garfield High School, Seattle (2005), UNC-Chapel Hill (2009), and Oxford University (2016). Adam is also a Veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan (2010-2011, 2013). Adam joins Borne the Battle to talk about his experience climbing to the summit of Denali and the incredible work he is doing in Nairobi. He is another example of how Veterans go on to do amazing things following their military service.
11/07/1853m 37s

#111 Benefits Breakdown – VetChange App

Drinking can be a concern for many people. Veterans can fall into behavior of using alcohol to cope with emotional distress following a deployment or transition out of the military. For some, the volume drinking turns from moderate to heavy, and the body starts to show signs of wear. VA created VetChange to help Veterans monitor their drinking and take control. VetChange is a free, confidential online program to help Veterans cut back or stop drinking, and learn to manage PTSD symptoms without using alcohol. Based on scientific research, VetChange helps you build skills to better manage your drinking and other problems Veterans can experience after deployment, including symptoms of PTSD. Set your own goals. Learn at your own pace. Check your own progress over time and adjust your personal plan for change — with VetChange, you're in the driver's seat. Monica Roy, who is the Program Manager for Substance Substance Abuse Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program and Outpatient Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program at VA Boston Healthcare System's Jamaica Plain Campus. She served as a subject matter expert for the development of the VetChange App. She joins us on this episode to explain how VetChange came to be and how it benefits Veterans.
02/07/1819m 13s

#110: David Zurfluh – Air Force Veteran, National President of Paralyzed Veterans of America

When I was visiting my then-girlfriend in Columbus a few years ago, we realized her apartment complex was not outfitted to accommodate a wheelchair. There was handicap parking, but unless you were on the ground floor, that person would not be able to access your apartment. That realization made me notice more instances of this in our communities, and I've become sympathetic to the challenges that brings to persons in wheelchairs. I've also seen the technology that has improved the lives of those with permanent injuries. Rory Cooper was on the podcast a while back talking about his research and the breakthroughs he's making. Pictures from a recent golf event showed paralyzed Veterans using a chair that helped them stand upright so they could properly swing a golf club. So, we have a society that's still behind on accommodations, and we have technology that is making breakthroughs for the people it serves. Where does that put us overall and what is the experience of injured Veterans when looking through those two lenses? I sat down with David Zurfluh, the National President of Paralyzed Veterans of America. David talks to us about his time in the Air Force, his accident and injury, the evolution of accommodations, and how his organization serves Veterans.
27/06/1842m 43s

#109: GI Bill 74th Anniversary w/ Barrett Bogue & Lauren Augustine of SVA

Education is one of the most valuable things a person can have. Following World War II, the original GI Bill helped provide Veterans returning from war the opportunity to pursue a college degree. Since its inception, the GI Bill has gone through a few iterations, including the most recent Post 9/11 GI Bill receiving the Forever GI Bill enhancement. The GI Bill celebrates its 74th anniversary this month. To join the celebration of this wonderful benefit's 75th year, I invited a couple members of Student Veterans of America to join me in a discussion of the history of the GI Bill, its evolution, and its latest iteration. With me for this week's episode is Marine Veteran Barrett Bogue, SVA's Vice President for Public Relations and Public Engagement and Army Veteran Lauren Augustine, Vice President of Government Affairs. Both of them have experience working in higher education and had a close view of what it took to pass the Forever GI Bill.
21/06/181h 9m

#108: Sally Roberts - Army Veteran, Wrestle Like a Girl

One of my favorite parts of podcasting in the Veteran space is learning about what Veterans are doing in their communities and their industries. This week we hear from Army Veteran Sally Roberts, founder of Wrestle Like a Girl. Sally was a resident at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center for eight years during which time she was a 3-time national champion, 2003 World Cup Champion, 2003 & 2005 World Bronze Medalist and a 2008 Olympic Alternate. She served six years in the Army as a Special Operations soldier where she volunteered for deployment to Afghanistan. She was also a member of the Army’s prestigious World Class Athlete Program and represented both the U.S. Army and Team USA in elite athletic competitions. Sally joins the podcast to share her experience in the Army and her efforts with Wrestle Like a Girl, advocating for girls and women across the United States to be afforded opportunities to participate in wrestling.
13/06/1839m 4s

#107: Jason & Emily McCarthy – Army Veteran & MilSpouse, GORUCK CEO & Chief of Staff

A couple weeks ago, GORUCK hosted an event in Washington D.C. called the Star Course 50-Miler. More than 700 participants wondered around Washington visiting way-points in attempt to walk 50 miles in 20 hours. The idea originates from an executive order handed down by Teddy Roosevelt to his military. Hours before the event, Jason and Emily McCarthy, CEO and Chief of Staff of GORUCK, swung by VA's central office to record a podcast with me. GORUCK is a company that makes rucksacks and hosts events for community rucking led by a cadre of special forces experts. Rucking is the activity of walking with weight on your back. In this week's podcast, the married couple share Jason's experience as Army special forces, Emily's experience as a military spouse, their separation, their re-connection, and how all of that led to the creation of GORUCK. 
06/06/181h 3m

#106: Kenneth Holliday – Army Veteran, Veterans Legacy Program

Continuing the theme of memorializing those that have served our country and passed, we're going to talk more about the Veterans Legacy Program. Last week, Bryce Carpenter laid the ground work last week by explaining the creation and development of the program, as well as the impact it has as an educational tool. This week we talk with Kenneth Holliday, who works with the Veterans Legacy Program at the National Cemetery Administration. He is also a proud Army Veteran, having served in the Infantry with deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Ken shares his experience of service, his transition out, how he first got involved with the Veterans Legacy Program, and how his experience has been with the program since joining VA. He also shares some unique stories that he's discovered through his research, as well as some of the challenges that come with creating content for Veterans who have passed.
30/05/1833m 8s

#105 Benefits Breakdown – Veterans Legacy Program

I hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day. However you recognize the holiday, I hope you take a moment to remember those that paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. In theme with Memorial Day, we'll be looking at the Veterans Legacy Program on this week's podcasts. The Veterans Legacy Program (VLP) is National Cemetery's Administration's educational outreach initiative. Their mission is to memorialize our nation's Veterans through sharing their stories of service and sacrifice. They partner with universities, schools, teachers, professors, and students of all levels to research Veterans interred in NCA cemeteries and how they contributed to their country as service members, and how they contributed to their community as Veterans. First, on a Benefits Breakdown edition of the show, I bring on Bryce Carpenter, Educational Outreach Programs Manager for NCA and a proud Army veteran. Bryce will tell us about the inception of the program, the value it brings to our community, how schools are using it for education, and how it has impacted him as a Veteran.
28/05/1829m 57s

#104: Wendy Tenhula – Director of Innovation and Collaboration for the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Hopefully, you watched our panel discussion on mental health or listened to the audio on Monday's podcast. Today's episode is an extension of that conversation. Coming out of that YouTube Live event, there were a number of things I wanted to ask that just didn't fit into our program. So, the following day, I met with Dr. Wendy Tenhula to learn more about her role at VA, the progress we've seen in Veterans seeking treatment for mental health issues, and the value Make the Connection has for our Veterans who want to learn more.  
23/05/1849m 15s

#103 Benefits Breakdown - Make the Connection

May is Mental Health Month and one of VA's leading resources for mental health, Make the Connection, kicked off the month with a YouTube Live event. The event was a panel discussion about Veterans and mental health. I was honored to host the event, and was joined by Marine Veteran Moses Maddox and Dr. Wendy Tenhula, VA’s Director of Innovation and Collaboration for the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. I decided to pull the audio from the event and include it on a Benefits Breakdown episode. Moses shares a lot about getting treatment at VA and Dr. Tenhula explains how Veterans can use services at VA for information and mental health care. As a group, we went in-depth on the importance of mental health care and how Veterans and their family members can be prepared to respond to a disconcerting situation.
21/05/1855m 5s

#102: Jennifer MacDonald – Army Veteran, Director of Clinical Innovations and Education, VHA Connected Care

Tele-health has been a priority at VA and we've made great strides in the care we can offer Veterans. From video conferencing between physician and patient to our mobile app "Annie." I've personally used mobile apps and digital platforms to connect with my therapist. The convenience helps preserve the valuable resource of time and the comfort allows patients to receive the care they need with less stress on their daily lives. VA's efforts in using technology to reach and care for Veterans has been grouped under our Office of Connected Care. The Office of Connected Care focuses on improving health care through technology by engaging Veterans and care teams outside of traditional health care visits. By bringing together VA digital health technologies under one umbrella, the Office of Connected Care is enhancing health care coordination across VA and supporting Veterans’ participation in their own care. This week I talk with Dr. Jennifer MacDonald, Director of Clinical Innovations and Education, VHA Connected Care. She shares her time in the military, becoming a doctor, and how VA is using technology to care for Veterans at a distance. We'll cover My HealtheVet, VA Telehealth Services, VA Mobile, and more.
16/05/1843m 17s

#101: Raymond Kaloplastos – Army Veteran, Mobile Vet Center

We're wrapping up Public Service Recognition Week and I think a nice bookend to the week is to talk with someone that serves Veterans through his public service. Raymond Kaloplastos is known as "Ray from VA" around his community in San Antonio. I spoke with him at the Student Veterans of America National Convention back in January. He was there with a mobile Vet Center to provide any counseling services Veterans may need while attending the event. Ray is an