Salute The Troops Music And Comedy Festival Announces Inaugural 2019 Lineup

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Salute-The-Troops-2019

The first annual Salute The Troops Music And Comedy Festival will take place on Friday, March 22nd and Saturday, March 23rd at the historic March Field Air Museum in Riverside, CA.

A diverse, multi-genre lineup of musicians and comedians will perform at this series honoring troops and veterans. Snoop Dogg, Cold War Kids, Dashboard Confessional, Capital Cities, members of the Wu-Tang Clan (Method Man, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, Cappadonna, U-God), Redman, Cheat Codes, Yellowcard’s William Ryan Key and more musical guests will perform, as well as comedians Adam Carolla, Rob Riggle and more. The event is aimed at raising awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress and the epidemic suicide rates among returning soldiers and veterans. Two-day tickets are on sale now at www.SaluteTheTroops.com

 

“I’m looking forward to the show and putting on a great show for the troops. Thank you for all you do for our country,” Snoop Dogg said.

For each ticket sold, a free ticket will be provided to active service men and women. Veterans will receive discounted ticket prices. Veterans and active duty service members can claim tickets online at www.SaluteTheTroops.com

“We are truly humbled at the support we receive from our community. An event such as this, honoring the men and women of the armed forces, is greatly appreciated,” said Major Perry Covington, USAF.

“We are honored to produce events that bring significant entertainment options to our troops, veterans, as well as the general public, and hope to help heal silent wounds through music and comedy. I know for a fact through speaking with many veterans and active service members that music and comedy can provide a momentary release and a long term healing effect that we hope to offer to our men and women, active and veterans,” Nate Parienti said.

Salute The Troops Music And Comedy Festival was founded by Nate Parienti and co-founded with John Wertz (USMC 2001-2006) of Semper Fi Productions. Salute The Troops will take place at March Air Reserve Base on an annual basis with select artists interacting with troops and participating in military activities. Attendees can view and take photos with over 80 aircraft on display at the festival grounds. Other highlights include a Prince tribute from his former band, The New Power Generation, as well as DJs, craft beverages, meals and more.

Read more here: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/snoop-dogg-ghost-face-killah-salute-the-troops-festival-lineup-795033

Get tickets and all info: www.SaluteTheTroops.com

Salute The Troops on the web:

https://www.salutethetroops.com/

https://www.facebook.com/salutethetroops/

https://twitter.com/SaluteTroopFest

https://www.instagram.com/salutethetroopsfestival/

Service Dogs: A Solution to The Veteran Suicide Crisis

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Man with his service and trainer outside at training facility

By Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO, American Humane

The number of military service members and veterans in the United States is declining, but their suicide rates are increasing.

It’s clear that addressing the military and veteran suicide epidemic will take bold new solutions beyond marginal improvements to the status quo. All ideas to protect these brave men and women off the battlefield should be on the table.

One low-risk, high-reward potential solution is pairing combat vets with service dogs who are specially trained to mitigate post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, which commonly affect ex service members and contribute to suicide.

About 1 veteran in 6 suffers from PTSD. According to research in the Journal of Depression and Anxiety, 28 percent of those who reported a past traumatic event had attempted suicide. Another study found that those with TBI, which affects about the same portion of veterans, are nearly twice as likely to die by suicide.

There’s long been anecdotal evidence that service dogs can help treat these mental health afflictions.

Service dogs can be trained to perform countless tasks that mitigate these conditions, including retrieving medication, searching homes for perceived threats, grounding handlers during a stressful episode, aiding with memory-related tasks, and even turning on lights during a night terror.

Now emerging scientific research is also pointing to the promise that service dogs offer. A Purdue University study released last year found that veterans coping with PTSD performed better on a variety of mental health and emotional well-being metrics, including reduced symptoms of PTSD and depression if they were paired with a service dog. Veterans with service dogs also missed work less and performed better while there than their dogless counterparts.

A separate Purdue study also released last year measured the stress-mitigating hormone cortisol in PTSD veterans with and without service dogs. Those with service dogs produced more cortisol than those without, mimicking the amount expected in adults without PTSD. Those in the service dog group also reported less anger, less anxiety, and better sleep.

While these studies didn’t directly test those with TBI, its similar symptoms suggest significant promise for suicidal vets with this condition as well. Unfortunately, waiting lists for veterans in need of service dogs are long. The process is time-consuming and expensive, costing as much as $30,000 per dog. With the VA refusing to endorse service dogs as a PTSD and TBI treatment–while awaiting the results of its own in-depth study – funding is scarce.

In the meantime, nonprofit groups are doing what they can to fill the void. For instance, American Humane’s Pups4Patriots program finds dogs in need of homes and trains them to become service animals for military veterans struggling with the invisible wounds of war, potentially saving lives at both ends of the leash.

Dogs have always boosted emotional well-being. Now studies are confirming what veterans have been saying for years: Service dogs can have an even greater impact. With the veteran suicide rate rising unabated, it’s time to stop tinkering and pursue creative new solutions to this crisis.

Nothing has so much potential lifesaving impact as greater access to service dogs.

Source: American Humane

Suicides among U.S. Special Operations Command tripled in 2018 while suicides among active duty Marine Corps and the Navy reached a 10-year high. The veteran suicide rate is 50% higher than the general population, adjusting for age and gender.

The veteran suicide rate increased by 26% between 2005 and 2016, the latest year that data is available.

More than 6,000 veterans commit suicide each year.
Source: Department of Veterans Affairs

Treatments for PTSD

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Soldier sitting and talking to his therapist

PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.

It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months.

If it’s been longer than a few months and you’re still having symptoms, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or they may come and go over time.

If thoughts and feelings from a life-threatening event are upsetting you or causing problems in your life, you may have PTSD.

Here’s the good news: you can get treatment for PTSD—and it works. For some people, treatment can get rid of PTSD altogether. For others, it can make symptoms less intense. Treatment also gives you the tools to manage symptoms so they don’t keep you from living your life. PTSD treatment can turn your life around—even if you’ve been struggling for years.

Therapy

PTSD therapy has three main goals:

  • Improve your symptoms
  • Teach you skills to deal with it
  • Restore your self-esteem

Cognitive Processing Therapy

Teaches you to reframe negative thoughts about the trauma. It involves talking with your provider about your negative thoughts and doing short writing assignments.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy

Teaches you how to gain control by facing your negative feelings. It involves talking about your trauma with a provider and doing some of the things you have avoided since the trauma.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Helps you process and make sense of your trauma. It involves calling the trauma to mind while paying attention to a back-and-forth movement or sound (like a finger waving side to side, a light, or a tone).

Stress Inoculation Training

Talk therapy that can help you recognize and change incorrect and/or negative thoughts that have been influencing your behavior. Coping skills are also used such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation training and role playing.

Alternative Treatments for Veterans With PTSD

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mental health programs offer alternative techniques with conventional therapies while many non-profit organizations throughout the country have seen improvement in vets through alternative measures.

These six alternative treatments are showing increased popularity for veterans with PTSD:

  1. Acupuncture—A 2014 study of 55 service members concluded that acupuncture “was effective for reducing PTSD symptoms.” Patients using acupuncture with traditional treatment “showed significantly greater improvements” over patients who had usual care only, the Healthcare Medicine Institute reported. Acupuncture appears to be a safe treatment to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, the researchers noted.
  1. Yoga and meditation—These practices have been used in the military and at VA medical centers, according to Social Work Today. Yoga helps to relieve pain and bring comfort throughout the body. Yoga and meditation need to fit the needs of patients who have experienced trauma, including the creation of a safe space to provide relaxation for an overactive nervous system.
  1. Service dogs—Bonding with animals provides benefits for veterans with PTSD. A program under Warrior Canine Connection has vets with the disorder training service dogs for fellow vets afflicted with physical injuries. It provides veterans with companionship but also results in stress reduction, reduced blood pressure, and improved relationships.
  1. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)—A self-healing method, it combines cognitive therapy and exposure therapy, which exposes patients to anxiety sources without causing any danger, with acupressure on points throughout the body. One controlled trial found more than 85 percent of veterans with PTSD had no obvious symptoms after six sessions of EFT, according to the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies.
  1. Swimming with sea creatures—Dolphin swims are enjoyable for the population at large, but they are also used as alternative treatments for vets with PTSD. At the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, veterans swim with whale sharks and are accompanied by dive masters in a huge tank, The New York Times The sharks get their name from their immense size and mainly eat plankton. The quiet underwater environment helps vets forget bad memories.
  1. Outdoor therapies—Horseback riding, hiking, and rafting are among activities that can help vets overcome symptoms of PTSD. The Rites of Passage Ranch Long Term Care Program in Washington state combines cognitive behavioral therapy with relaxation exercises, physical activity, and healthy food.

You’re not alone

Going through a traumatic event is not rare. At least half of Americans have had a traumatic event in their lives. Of people who have had trauma, about 1 in 10 men and 2 in 10 women will develop PTSD. There are some things that make it more likely you’ll develop PTSD — for example, having very intense or long-lasting trauma, getting hurt, or having a strong reaction to the event (like shaking, throwing up, or feeling distant from your surroundings). It’s also more common to develop PTSD after certain types of trauma, like combat and sexual assault. But there’s no way to know for sure who will develop PTSD.

Where can I go to get help?

If you’re a Veteran, check with the VA about whether you can get treatment there. Visit va.gov/directory/guide/PTSD.asp to find a VA PTSD program near you. If you’re looking for care outside the VA, ask your doctor for a referral to a mental health care provider who specializes in PTSD treatment, or visit findtreatment.samhsa.gov/ to search for providers in your area.

Get Help If You’re in Crisis
If you feel like you might hurt yourself or someone else:
• Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) anytime to talk to a crisis counselor. Press “1” if you are a Veteran. The call is confidential (private) and free.
• Chat online with a crisis counselor anytime at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.
You can also call 911 or go to your local emergency room.

For more information and resources visit the National Center for PTSD website at: ptsd.va.gov

Find out about PTSD and PTSD treatment from Veterans who’ve been there at: ptsd.va.gov/aboutface

Milo Ventimiglia Brings the Impact of War Home

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By Sara Salam

Understanding the effect war can have on an individual and their family is something Milo Ventimiglia knows intimately. His dad, Peter Ventimiglia, served two tours of duty as a soldier in Vietnam.

Ventimiglia has friends who served more recently, and he almost went into the Navy himself at age 18. This military connection has retained its significance in his life, though he ultimately has pursued a different path.

This path includes a career in the world of Hollywood, where Ventimiglia has earned fan acclaim for roles such as Jess Mariano in Gilmore Girls, Peter Petrelli in Heroes, and most recently, Jack Person in This Is Us. He’s even spent time behind the camera in a director capacity.

Now in its fourth season, This Is Us is an NBC series chronicling the lives and families of two parents, and their three children in several different time frames. Ventimiglia’s character, Jack Pearson, is the protagonist and late husband of Rebecca; the couple are the parents around which the main storyline centers. Jack is also a Vietnam veteran.

Inspired by his father’s service, Ventimiglia weaves sentiments conveyed to him by his father into Jack’s character.

“It was very easy to reflect on stories I’d heard from my father and then kind of tie things together,” he said. “It very much informed who Jack became – coming from combat, coming from war, looking out for his brother and really looking after the guys that he served with.”

Ventimiglia himself is active in expressing and garnering support for military service members.

Last year, Ventimiglia spent time with military leaders and Defense Department personnel at the Pentagon, with the goal of developing new ways to strengthen the civilian-military connection.

Several months ago, Ventimiglia took part in the 21-push-up challenge, in which 21 push-ups are executed to bring awareness for veteran suicides. He is actively involved with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America organization (IAVA), which supports veterans who need help when they return home from war.

He has performed in USO shows for deployed troops and been visiting military bases for about a decade.

“We did 10 shows over six days, covering 17,000 miles, 18 flights, five countries and eight time zones,” the actor said of a recent USO tour. “It was the first tour that I’ve been on where we were actually putting on a show.”

When it was his turn to perform, he would ask a service member to join him onstage to act out a scene from This Is Us.

Milo Ventiglia and cast of This is Us
This Is Us: (L-R) Ron Cephas Jones, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, Chris Sullivan, Siddhartha Khosla, Justin Hartley, Mandy Moore, Susan Kelechi Watson, Michael Angarano, and Milo Ventimiglia attend NBC’s This Is Us attend event in Hollywood. PHOTO BY RACHEL LUNA/GETTY IMAGES

Themes of War

Season 3, for example, delves deeply into how Jack’s time in Vietnam as a solider shaped him.

Season 4, in contrast, focuses on more of Jack and Rebecca’s story before they became parents. However, the themes of Vietnam are present in their love story.

“The Vietnam stuff informs the new love, let’s just say, because it’s fresh in Jack’s mind, it’s fresh in Jack’s heart,” Ventimiglia told The Hollywood Reporter. “He is someone who’s just home from war, but yet he wants to move forward in his life, he wants to embrace this feeling of home he’s getting from this woman…It’s a bit relieving to be away from the war moments and play new love, but at the same time it’s heartbreaking, too, because we know how that story ends. Jack dies in his 50s. So, the whole is basically just one big heartbreak.”

Preparing for Combat

As part of his preparation for the Vietnam-specific scenes, Ventimiglia participated in a boot camp that taught the basic operating procedure of a solider and a solider of the Vietnam era. But he notes that the process and protocols are but a fraction of the required research to fully embody Jack’s character.

“Emotionally understanding what was going on at that time in the world, but in particular in the U.S.—young men being drafted and really how the draft was going to drastically change someone’s life and put them on a course that a lot of guys just couldn’t recover from—that was something that was as much preparation as learning how to operate an M16 rifle, protocol in military, and battle scenes.”

Ventimiglia also leveraged Tim O’Brien’s personal account of the war to inform his character. O’Brien is the author of The Things They Carried, a collection of linked short stories about a platoon of American soldiers fighting on the ground in the Vietnam War. This work is based on his own experiences as a soldier in the 23rd Infantry Division.

While Ventimiglia synthesizes the soldierly aspects of battle from primary sources, like his dad and O’Brien, he makes sure to parlay the sentimental undertones that shape who Jack is.

“There’s always an emotional touchstone that I have to be aware of within the technical aspect of playing war,” Ventimiglia said. “Because of who Jack is and what he’s going through, I can’t just dive him into ‘super-militaristic guy with the golden heart’; he’s the guy with the conscience. But in this case, the guy with the golden heart is attached to a rifle.”

Most of the Vietnam narrative was shot at Lake Piru in California, but production also took place actually in Vietnam.

Milo Ventiglia at premiere
Milo Ventimiglia attends “The Art Of Racing In The Rain” New York Premiere in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/WireImage)

“For me, I was very aware,” Ventimiglia said of shooting in Vietnam, “and maybe a little self-conscious of wearing an American uniform over there.”

The actor pointed to a particularly striking moment during a break from shooting near two lotus fields. Wearing the full battle dress uniform—complete with a rifle slung on his shoulder—Ventimiglia was standing in place when an older man on a bicycle came upon him.

“He kind of looked at me, looked at me again and said something to himself and kept riding,” Ventimiglia said. “And Dustin Nguyen, who was my costar who played Bao, he starts laughing … I guess the guy [said], ‘An American soldier, what the hell is he doing here again?’”

A Personal Battle

Ventimiglia’s character doesn’t like to talk about his experiences in war, because he doesn’t want anyone to bear the burden of knowing.

“[Jack] doesn’t want anybody to have to shoulder that or be concerned for him, because Jack and who he is and being a man of that era, I think he bottles it all up and he shoulders it. He gets through it for himself. He doesn’t want anybody else to have to help him deal with it. He just will keep it concealed forever, which ultimately he does.”

Ventimiglia understands this personal paradox, and does his best to convey how these emotions can play out amongst family and friends. He sees it in his dad.

“My dad is such a great man,” he told PEOPLE’s Jess Cagle. “I know even though he presented himself as put-together, I know that war impacted him and affected him; I would start to pull those feeling I saw from my own father into Jack.”

Organizations like America’s Warrior Partnership are committed to empowering communities to address issues like veteran mental health. It fills the gaps that exist between current veteran service organizations by helping nonprofits connect with the veterans, military members and families in need: bolstering their efficacy and improving their results.

For example, Community Integration is an America’s Warrior service model that emphasizes holistic support inclusive of mental health, ensuring veterans are empowered to achieve a better quality of life.

“He may be past physical war, but it doesn’t mean he’s not in private war—personal war,” Ventimiglia said of Jack in an Entertainment Weekly (EW) interview. “Those fractures and cracks that you just never recover from. We’re going to see him go through that experience post-war, really trying to reconnect and restart. What is life after Vietnam?”

Actor Milo Ventimiglia laughs with Air Force Lt. Col. Elizabeth H. Scott during a visit to the Pentagon
Actor Milo Ventimiglia laughs with Air Force Lt. Col. Elizabeth H. Scott during a visit to the Pentagon.

Directorial Debut

Ventimiglia, who was recently nominated for his third consecutive Lead Actor Emmy, has expanded his role with This Is Us to include director. His directorial debut, episode five of season four, “Storybook Love,” follows his own character and his pregnant wife as they host their first family get-together in their new house. The episode also follows a still-grieving Rebecca a year after Jack’s death hosting a dinner after Kevin – her son –shared his marital news.

Ventimiglia leveraged his role as the actor embodying Jack as well as Jack’s own proximity to the characters. He says this gave him a depth of understanding and appreciation for their roles in the narrative.

“I watch the show from almost a studious place where I’m focused on the making of it, the look of it and the feel of it. Aside from acting on the show, I’m a fan.”

Because of the anachronistic approach the show takes to storytelling, it’s crucial the stories and timelines are consistent throughout the narrative.

“I love the working backwards of this show,” Ventimiglia told The Hollywood Reporter. “We know that Jack lost his life in a fire. How are we going to get there? It’s informing where we’re going to be going.”

Announcing the new home for Sky Ball!

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Sky Ball announcement promo poster

Arlington, Texas —  The  Airpower Foundation  is proud to announce the new home for the upcoming  Sky Ball XVIII ; at the brand-new, state-of-the-art,  Texas Rangers Globe Life Field  in Arlington Texas. On the weekend of August 21 st  and 22 nd  2020, the largest and most impactful civilian military support event in the nation joins the Major Leagues.

“We are ecstatic to welcome the Airpower Foundation and their world-famous Sky Ball event to Globe Life Field. The work that the Airpower Foundation does for our military is truly extraordinary and we are honored to be their host for 2020 and beyond.” Said  Sean DeckerEVP, Sports and Entertainment, Texas Rangers Baseball Club.

Since its inception as the premier fundraising event for the Airpower Foundation, an all-volunteer organization, Sky Ball has raised over $20 million. Thanks to generous sponsors, Sky Ball has grown from a single evening fundraising dinner to a weekend of tributes honoring our nation’s military and their families. Activities over the weekend’s festivities include educational outreach programs to local schools, a Friday evening concert dedicated to our military and families, a portrait presentation-luncheon honoring a fallen military hero, all of which culminates with the Sky Ball Saturday evening Gala.

“The Airpower Foundation has displayed an unwavering commitment when it comes to supporting our military veterans across this great country,” said  Jeff Williams ,   Mayor of   Arlington . “The foundation’s legacy of recognizing their sacrifices, and taking care of military families, is an inspiration to all Americans. We’re incredibly honored to welcome the prestigious Sky Ball to Arlington, the home of the future National Medal of Honor Museum, and we’re grateful for the instrumental leadership of Airpower Chairman Sid Eppes for helping us showcase why The American Dream City has a patriotic spirit that’s second to none.”

“We couldn’t be more excited with this opportunity to host our 18 th  annual event at the brand-new ballpark with the Texas Rangers.” Said  Sid EppesChairman of the Airpower Foundation . “This extraordinary new venue will allow us to raise more funds than ever before, making an even larger impact changing the lives of our nation’s military, veterans, wounded, their families, and the families of our fallen military heroes.”

Over the past twenty years, Airpower Foundation has grown to fund more than 72 programs across the country annually, ensuring the funds raised directly impact and support those who need it the most.

For more information on individual and sponsorship opportunities, please visit  AirpowerFoundation.org

Airpower Foundation

The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit with its roots dating back to 1958, when Air Force General Curtis LeMay and businessman/philanthropist Frank Kent created the Fort Worth Airpower Council dedicated to supporting the military community at Carswell Air Force Base.

The mission of the Airpower Foundation has grown since its formation in 1999 and is now a nationwide, all-volunteer program dedicated to supporting active duty, reserve and National Guard families. Airpower also supports projects to assist wounded service members, children of our fallen military, veterans of previous wars and educational projects to make sure the next generation understands the honor and sacrifice of wearing the cloth of this country. Thanks to our generous sponsors and supporters, the Airpower Foundation currently funds over 72 grants annually nationwide.

The Airpower Foundation board of directors is a diverse group of professionals who volunteer their time and are dedicated to the proposition that freedom is not free. It is their noble mission to assist deployed military families, wounded service members, and veterans of past wars. They spend countless hours visiting military installations and families, assessing needs and grant requests. They are instrumental in providing leadership to organize and execute numerous projects every year in support of military families.

airpowerfoundation.org

Sky Ball

Sky Ball is the premier fundraising event for the Airpower Foundation and has raised over $20 million since its inception thanks to our generous sponsors. Sky Ball has grown from a single evening fundraising dinner, to a weekend of events honoring our nation’s military and their families. Events over the weekend include educational outreach programs to local area schools, a concert for military and families Friday evening, a portrait presentation luncheon honoring a fallen military hero, which all culminates with the Sky Ball Gala Saturday evening.

Kurt Busch Continues Commitment to Veterans and Active Duty Servicemembers Through Race Ticket Giveaway Program

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Kurt Busch pictured in NASCAR uniform smiling

NASCAR veteran driver and NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Champion Kurt Busch announced plans recently for the KB100 Plus (KB100+) ticket giveaway. Hoping to build on the success of his offer in 2019, where he provided 100 tickets to every NCS race in partnership with Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix).

“I will call on the consideration of other drivers, tracks and industry partners to support the ticket offering from what we did in 2019”, said Busch. In 2019 there were more than 50,000 requests for the 3,800 tickets that were made available through Vet Tix.  Busch commented, “I have always had a strong desire to pay respect to those who have served and continue to serve our country. My hope is that with help from others we can enhance the offering for more deserving Vet Tix members to attend races this season, hence KB100+”.

“Our mission is to give something to those who gave, and the commitment Kurt has made to partner with Vet Tix has been extraordinary,” said Mike Focareto, U.S. Navy veteran, CEO and Founder of Veteran Tickets Foundation. “His impact on supporting the Vet Tix mission to honor our current serving military members and veterans of all eras and their families has been significant. Whether he’s visiting troops convalescing at hospitals, giving our VetTixers an opportunity to enjoy a race, or meeting him in pit row, he has been the example of how a top-athlete and influencer can make a difference in so many lives. We are proud to partner with Kurt to share an initiative to help those who serve and their families make lifelong memories through racing.”

Whether it is one additional ticket, or a match of Busch’s commitment to 100 tickets to every race, KB100+ will offer Vet Tix members the chance to attend an NCS race at every event on the schedule.

About Veteran Tickets Foundation:

Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix), a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, provides free tickets to sporting events, concerts, performing arts and family activities to currently serving military, National Guard and Reserves, veterans of all eras, immediate family of those killed in action, and VetTixers’ caregivers. Since 2008, Vet Tix has provided over 9 million free event tickets to more than 1.5 million members. In 2018 Vet Tix launched 1st Tix, which provides the same service to our nation’s current and retired law enforcement officers, firefighters, and EMTs. These events help service members, veterans and first responders reduce stress, strengthen family bonds, build lifelong memories, and encourage them to stay engaged with American life and their local communities. Vet Tix spends over 95 percent of its revenue on programs, ensuring that we give back to those who have given so much. Visit VetTix.org and 1stTix.org to learn more, and follow us on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

For more information: vettix.org

7 stress resources Veterans can use right now

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Man having medical consultation in doctor's office

As a Veteran, you might experience difficult life events or challenges after leaving the military. The VA is here to help no matter how big or small the problem may be.

VA’s resources address the unique stressors and experiences that Veterans face — and we’re just a click, call, text, or chat away.

Seven mental health resources Veterans can use right now

  1. Just show up to any VA Medical Center. Did you know that VA offers same day services in Primary Care and Mental Health at 172 VA Medical Centers across the country? VA Secretary Robert Wilkie has made Same-Day 24/7 access to emergency mental health care the top clinical priority for VA staff. “It’s important that all Veterans, their family and friends know that help is easily available.” Now, all 172 VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) provide Same-Day Mental Health Care services. If a Veteran is in crisis or has need for immediate mental health care, he or she will receive immediate attention from a health care professional. To find VA locations near you, explore the facility locator tool.
  2. Make the Connection is an online resource designed to connect Veterans, their family members, friends and other supporters with information and solutions to issues affecting their lives. On the website, visitors can watch hundreds of Veterans share their stories of strength and recovery, read about a variety of life events and mental health topics, and locate nearby resources.
  3. The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring VA responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, and text messaging service. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  4. Vet Centers provide community-based counseling for a wide range of social and psychological services, including confidential readjustment counseling, outreach and referral to eligible Veterans, active duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve components and their families. It offers individual, group, marriage and family counseling. And you can get a referral and connection to other VA or community benefits and services at no cost. 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.
  5. Coaching Into Care provides guidance to Veterans’ family members and friends on encouraging a Veteran they care about to reach out for mental health support. Free, confidential assistance is available by calling 1-888-823-7458, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, or by emailing CoachingIntoCare@va.gov.
  6. The Veteran Training online self-help portal provides tools for overcoming everyday challenges. The portal has tools to help Veterans work on problem-solving skills, manage anger, develop parenting skills, and more. All tools are free. Its use is entirely anonymous, and they are based on mental health practices that have proven successful with Veterans and their families.
  7. AboutFace features stories of Veterans who have experienced PTSD, their family members, and VA clinicians. There, you can learn about PTSD, explore treatment options, and get advice from others who have been there.

Learn more

For more information about VA’s mental health resources and behavioral health services, please visit VA’s Mental Health Services website at MentalHealth.va.gov, or the Vet Center website (for combat Veterans) at www.vetcenter.va.gov. For a more detailed view of VA mental health service offerings, explore the VA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Guidebook.

THE LAST FULL MEASURE—Coming to theaters January 24!

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The Last Full Measure movie promo poster

THE LAST FULL MEASURE tells the true story of Vietnam War hero William H. Pitsenbarger (Jeremy Irvine), a U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen (also known as a PJ) medic who personally saved over sixty men.

During a rescue mission on April 11, 1966, he was offered the chance to escape on the last helicopter out of a combat zone heavily under fire, but he stayed behind to save and defend the lives of his fellow soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division, before making the ultimate sacrifice in the bloodiest battle of the war.

Thirty-two years later, respected Pentagon staffer Scott Huffman (Sebastien Stan) on a career fast-track is tasked with investigating a Congressional Medal of Honor request for Pitsenbarger made by his best friend and PJ partner on the mission (William Hurt) and his parents (Christopher Plummer & Diane Ladd).

Huffman seeks out the testimony of Army veterans who witnessed Pitsenbarger’s extraordinary valor, including Takoda (Samuel L. Jackson), Burr (Peter Fonda) and Mott (Ed Harris). But as Huffman learns more about Pitsenbarger’s courageous acts, he uncovers a high-level conspiracy behind the decades-long denial of the medal, prompting him to put his own career on the line to seek justice for the fallen airman.

Watch the trailer!

Directed by Todd Robinson
Written by Todd Robinson
Starring Sebastian Stan, Christopher Plummer, William Hurt with Ed Harris and Samuel L. Jackson, co-starring Peter Fonda, LisaGay Hamilton, Jeremy Irvine, Diane Ladd, Amy Madigan, Linus Roache, John Savage, Alison Sudol and Bradley Whitford

The True Story Of ‘1917’ Is Part Of Sam Mendes’ Family Lore

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The World War 1 movie poster promoting 1917

In Sam Mendes’ 1917, two British soldiers in World War I sprint through the hellish maze of trench warfare and across no man’s land to deliver an urgent message. It’s a film full of technical marvels set against the backdrop of a very real war, but the particulars of 1917 are based on a true story even more specific than that. It turns out that the story is also part of Mendes’ family history, though he didn’t learn about the event that inspired his film until almost 60 years after it happened.

The film follows soldiers Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Schofield (George MacKay) in real time after they’re tasked with reaching the front lines to tell battalions they’re walking into a German trap. If they fail, up to 1,600 men could die, including Blake’s brother. If they succeed, well… they’re still soldiers stuck in World War I — a war in which men died by the thousands to gain mere meters of land.

Mendes’ grandfather Alfred Mendes was 17 when he enlisted in the war. Though he would later become a writer and novelist, Sam didn’t hear the story of his time in the war until decades later, when Alfred was in his 70s and decided to open up about his teenage years in the war. “There was one particular story he told us of being tasked to carry a single message through no man’s land in dusk in the winter of 1916… And that stayed with me,” Mendes told NPR. “And that was the story I found I wanted to tell.” Apparently, Alfred’s small stature suited him perfectly for the dangerous task. “[Alfred] ran 5 and a half feet, and the mist used to hang at about 6 feet in no man’s land, so he wasn’t visible above the mist.”

Alfred would later write an autobiography detailing the full history of his dangerous mission. It was 1917 during the Third Battle of Ypres, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele. Alfred was a member of C company, which along with A, B, and D companies, were sent to the area to maintain pressure against the crumbling German front. The Allied forces wanted to do so by pushing back at the German 4th Army, but rainy weather had turned the battlefield into its own form of hell. As Alfred put it, “The Ypres Salient was a marsh of mud and a killer of men… an area into which countless shells plunged destroying whatever tree, plant, bush, or grass there was and left behind a surface of moon-like desolation, many shell craters as traps for sucking in live men and drowning them — to this sector we came in 1917.”

The change in landscape didn’t change Allied leaders’ plans at all, and all companies led an assault charge forward. It was a disaster. The expected counterattack never came and the charge failed, but worst of all, C company lost track of A, B, and D. The Battalion Advanced Report Centre needed data to plan any next moves. They sent a message: “Report on four companies urgently needed.” Alfred’s captain asked for one man to volunteer to run through the deadly battleground, make contact with each company, and return with the information. Alfred volunteered.

Continue on to The Bustle to read the complete article.

2020 Virginia International Tattoo—Stories of the Greatest Generation

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Virginia Tattoo coming in April promo poster

NORFOLK, VA. – Virginia Arts Festival has announced the 2020 dates for its 24th annual Virginia International Tattoo. The largest spectacle of music and might in the United States, the Virginia International Tattoo offers an astounding display of inspirational military music, majestic massed pipes and drums, show stopping drill team maneuvers, colorful and elegant dancers, and much more. Each year’s Tattoo is different, with new performers from across the globe, new themes of honor and patriotism, and new sights and sounds to amaze you. Our 24th annual Tattoo, set for April 30-May 3, 2020, will feature over 1,000 performers from eight different countries–don’t blink or you might miss something!

The 2020 Virginia International Tattoo promises to be one of the most moving ever, as we mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and honor the courage and sacrifice of the Greatest Generation. With stirring music, historic photos and video, tributes from U.S. military bands, and special appearances by veterans, we will remember and celebrate the men and women who changed the course of history, not only for the United States but for the world.

Tickets are on sale now and available at vafest.org, by phone at 757-282-2822, or in person at the Virginia Arts Festival Box Office located at 440 Bank Street, Norfolk, VA 23510.

What is the Tattoo?
Presented annually as part of the Virginia Arts Festival, the term Tattoo evolved from a European tradition dating back to the 17th century when Low Country innkeepers would cry “Doe den tap toe!” – “Turn off the taps!” as the fifes and drums of the local regiment signaled a return to quarters.

The Tattoos seen across the world today refers to a ceremonial performance of military music by massed bands. Each Tattoo is influenced by the culture of the country they represent.

Fans of these massed spectacles of music and might flock to the world’s great Tattoos: the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland, the Basel Tattoo in Switzerland, and the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo in Canada. But the greatest Tattoo in the United States, and rivaling the largest in the world, is the Virginia International Tattoo.

Attending the Virginia International Tattoo
When: Thursday, April 30, 7:30 pm
Friday, May 1, 7:30 pm
Saturday, May 2, 7:30 pm
Sunday, May 3, 2:30 pm
Where: Scope Arena, 201 E. Brambleton Avenue, Norfolk, Virginia

Marine is On a Mission to Live By Motto, Get His Pup Out of Afghanistan

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Marine sits near his rescue puppy in Afghanistan

The Guardians of Rescue is helping a Marine bring home a dog he rescued stuck in razor wire.

SMITHTOWN, New York – The Marines live by the motto of never leaving anyone behind. For some that includes a dog they have rescued during deployment, and have bonded with. The loyalty from Captain Dave and his unit and the dog that they rescued goes both ways, and now his wish is to bring her back home to the United States with him when he returns soon. Guardians of Rescue have helped other military members pull off this same mission, and they are seeking public donations to help pull it off again.

“Captain Dave’s loyalty to Sox is like no other, and he believes in the idea of not leaving her behind,” explains Robert Misseri, president of Guardians of Rescue, an animal rescue organization. “We know that we can help bring Sox back to America to live out her life with him, but we need the public’s support, because it’s costly to do. We are grateful to be working with Nowzad shelter in Kabul, because without their assistance this pup would not have a chance of coming to America.”

Captain Dave is stationed in a remote area in Afghanistan. He is scheduled to come back home to the United States in early 2020. He can’t imagine leaving Sox behind because he loves her. He first saw Sox when she was a puppy, finding her caught in concertina wire in their camp. He freed her, gave her food and water, and sent her on her way. However, Sox had different plans.

In the days that followed, Sox started coming back to their campSox the rescur puppy pictured when first found each day, feeling safe around the unit and seeking food and water. Some of the other men had even seen the dog being abused out on the streets. Soon, Sox began staying by their side all of the time, even tagging along on some of their missions. On a recent patrol, Sox ventured too far away from the unit and was whipped with a stick by a local. It was at that time that Captain Dave knew he could never leave her behind to fend for herself.

“The bond I have with Sox is something I didn’t expect, but I just can’t leave her behind,” says Captain Dave. “If I don’t bring her home with me I am afraid I’ll always regret it and wonder about what happened to her. I appreciate any assistance people can give in helping me to bring her home with me.”

Relocating a dog from the Middle East to America can be done, but it comes at a high cost. Along with paying fees to allow the dog to leave, there is medical care, airfare, and other relocation expenses involved. Those would like to give a donation to help bring Sox home with Captain Dave can log online: https://guardiansofrescue.networkforgood.com/projects/88403-sox.

Guardians of Rescue provides assistance to animas out on the streets and investigates animal cruelty cases. They are located in New York and they help animals in many places around the country. They are also instrumental in helping military members with their pets. To learn more, get involved, or to make a donation to support the Guardians of Rescue, log onto www.guardiansofrescue.org.

About Guardians of Rescue
Based in New York, Guardians of Rescue is an organization whose mission is to protect the well-being of all animals. They provide aid to animals in distress, including rehabilitation, assisting other rescue groups, and providing support to families, both military and not, who need assistance due to economic factors. To learn more about Guardians of Rescue, visit the site at www.guardiansofrescue.org.