Seaman Apprentice Serves Aboard Versatile Warship Half A World Away

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seaman Aprrentice Chance Coogle poses in military uniform

By Lt. Jake Joy, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Seaman Apprentice Chance Coogle, a native of Huntington Beach, California, said serving in the Navy is a “family thing.” “I’m the seventh generation of Coogle to enlist, and none have retired – it’s a neat tradition,” he said.

“They were all in the Navy. My dad served in the Gulf War, my grandfather in Vietnam, my great-grandfather was a gunner’s mate in WWII, it goes on and on like that.”

Now, two years after taking his own oath, and half a world away at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Coogle serves aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain, patrolling one of the world’s busiest maritime regions as part of the leading-edge of U.S. 7th Fleet.

“It’s cozy,” Coogle said. “Everything’s right where you need it to be, you’re not really going to get lost. It’s like a little town. I like it, you get to see everybody every day. Of all the ships to be on, I think this is a good one.”

Coogle, a 2017 graduate of Edison High School, is an operations specialist aboard the Yokosuka, Japan-based ship, one of several in its class forward-deployed to the region.

“I track air and surface contacts and can contact them over international air distress channels, it’s pretty important,” Coogle said. “If we identify them incorrectly, that aircraft is at higher risk of getting shot down … those times I get to do my job, I feel fulfilled.”

Coogle credits part of his success in the Navy to lessons learned in Huntington Beach.

“‘It is what it is,’ was a pretty big quote around the house and I certainly carried it into the Navy,” he said. “Biggest thing I’ve learned is how important family is … I haven’t seen them for just about as long as I’ve served, but I know I can still depend on them, which is really important.”

U.S. 7th Fleet spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South. U.S. 7th Fleet’s area of operations encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world’s population with between 50-70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 sailors.

“I’m meeting people of all walks of life, especially being close to Tokyo,” Coogle said. “I definitely think that being stationed in the 7th Fleet has given me a lot of opportunities I wouldn’t have had back home. Hanging out with the Japanese is cool, and the stories I’m going to be able to tell when I get back are going to be rich and full of excitement.”

With more than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passing through the region, the United States has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world. The Navy’s presence in Yokosuka is part of that long-standing commitment.

“The Navy is forward-deployed to provide security and strengthen relationships in a free and open Indo-Pacific. It’s not just the ships and aircraft that have shown up to prevent conflict and promote peace,” said Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. “It is, and will continue to be our people who define the role our Navy plays around the world. People who’ve made a choice, and have the will and strength of character to make a difference.”

Destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. They are 510 feet long and armed with tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, Standard Missile-3 and newer variants of the SM missile family, advanced gun systems and close-in gun systems.

Destroyers are deployed globally and can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, or amphibious readiness groups. Their presence helps the Navy control the sea. Sea control is the precondition for everything else the Navy does. It cannot project power, secure the commons, deter aggression, or assure allies without the ability to control the seas when and where desired.

John S. McCain has anti-aircraft capability armed with long range missiles intended for air defense to counter the threat to friendly forces posed by manned aircraft, anti-ship, cruise and tactical ballistic missiles.

Serving in the Navy means Coogle is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

There are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career. Coogle is appreciative of the places he’s seen and explored, like climbing Mount Fuji and watching the sun rise off the coast of China.

“I’ve gotten to really find out about how big and expansive the world is outside of home. It’s pretty nice, I’m pretty proud of that actually,” said Coogle.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Coogle and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.

“As much of a mixed bag as service is, it’s more pros than cons,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been able to afford to go to college. I’m 20, living on the other side of the world, basically on my own. It teaches you how to be an adult, whether you’re ready for it or not.”

Source: navyoutreach.blogspot.com

Photo credit: Senior Chief Petty Officer Gary Ward

Inside the Specially Adapted Home Wayfair Furnished for a Veteran with a Disability and His Family

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Disabled veteran and family stand outside their new home

When John and Brittany Curtin got married in 2015, they never dreamed they’d be living where they are today.

The couple met at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland back in 2011— Brittany was a volunteer with the Red Cross and John was in outpatient treatment for injuries he sustained while deployed in Afghanistan.

A Marine Lance Corporal, John joined the Marines at 19. He lost both of his legs and severely damaging his right arm when his foot triggered an IED one month into his deployment. He now gets around with the help of prosthetic legs or a wheelchair.

As difficult as John’s injuries were to adapt to, he and Brittany, both 29, live their lives today with incredible ease. For that, they thank two organizations: Homes For Our Troops and Wayfair, who have provided them with a specially-adapted — and fully furnished — home of their dreams, just outside of Nashville, Tennessee.

Homes For Our Troops is a non-profit organization that donates custom houses to veterans with disabilities, allowing them freedom in their homes as thanks for their service abroad. The organization teamed up with online furniture marketplace Wayfair to completely overhaul the Curtins’ home this past June, customizing it to both John’s accessibility needs and the pair’s personal style.

“We feel so unbelievably blessed,” Brittany tells PEOPLE of the experience. “Just for our day to day, our routine has entirely changed. Because John isn’t so taxed just doing small things, he’s able to do so much more both inside and outside the house.”

“It’s been an absolutely life changing experience,” John agrees. “It’s just transformed my life completely. When Brittany and I were first living in Virginia together we lived in a little 700-square-foot apartment, and we couldn’t even pass each other in the hallway because my wheelchair took up the whole space. So the ease of living is just unreal compared to those experiences.”

Not only is the 2,800-square-foot home and surrounding property entirely complaint with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and wheelchair-accessible, but a variety of gadgets inside the home are designed to help John complete daily tasks with ease.

For example, extendable shelves in the kitchen and closets can be pulled down to be at John’s eye level, and a track chair in the backyard allows him to move around the property — which has paved and graded paths — and do yard work.

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

2019 National Airborne Day celebration

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National Airborne Day Flyer

Celebrate the 79th anniversary of the first military parachute jump with Fort Bragg during National Airborne Day, Saturday, Aug. 17, from 8 a.m. to noon, at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in downtown Fayetteville, N.C.

National Airborne Day is observed every year on August 16, but Fort Bragg celebrates the day on the following Saturday so the community at large can participate in this milestone of airborne history.

“National Airborne Day honors and celebrates our paratrooper linage,” said Elvia Kelly, Fort Bragg spokeswoman. “This yearly celebration brings together paratroopers, past and present, with our local communities for a fun, Family friendly event. This is a first-hand opportunity to experience what makes our paratroopers the best in the world.”

The first parachute jump was conducted by the parachute test platoon, organized of members of the 29th Infantry Division, who conducted the first jump Aug. 16, 1940.

National Airborne Day was created in 2001, and former President George W. Bush proclaimed August 16 as National Airborne Day. It was joined by the U.S. Senate in 2009 with Senate Resolution 235.

The day begins with the opening of the static displays and pre-event music at 8 a.m at the museum, located at 100 Bragg Blvd, Fayetteville, NC.

The following is the timeline of events:
* 9 a.m., narrator welcoming remarks
* 9:30 a.m., an outside performance by the 82nd Airborne Division “All American” Chorus
* 9:45 a.m., a mock door demonstration
* 10 a.m., static displays and rock band performance by the 82nd Airborne Division
* 11:15 a.m., an indoor performance by the 82nd Airborne Division “All American” Chorus
* 11:30 a.m., a mock door demonstration by the 82nd Airborne Division
* 11:45 a.m., a HALO demonstration by the All Veterans Parachute Team

Joe Walsh Announces Lineup For Vetsaid 2019 In Houston

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(HOUSTON, TEXAS) – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and multi-GRAMMY Award winning musician Joe Walsh and VetsAid, his national 501(c)3 non-profit veterans organization, announced the lineup and on-sale date for their 3rd annual music festival. VetsAid 2019 will feature sets from ZZ Top, Brad Paisley, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit and Joe Walsh and will take place at 5:30pm on Sunday, November 10, 2019, on the eve of Veterans Day, at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

Tickets will be available through the Toyota Center Box Office, at www.toyotacenter.com or by calling 1-866-4-HOUTIX and will be priced at $199.50, $149.50, $119.50, $99.50, $79.50, $49.50 and $25.

The inaugural VetsAid took place on September 20, 2017 with a concert at the EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia featuring performances by Walsh, Zac Brown Band, Keith Urban and Gary Clark Jr. VetsAid 2018 was a blockbuster event featuring Don Henley, James Taylor, Chris Stapleton, Haim and Joe, who was joined by special guest Ringo Starr. They performed to a sell out crowd of nearly 18,000. It was also in Tacoma where Walsh and VetsAid hosted its first Veterans Jobs Fair where dozens of local vets found meaningful full-time employment with established regional employers in the Pacific Northwest.

As every year, all net proceeds from the concert will go directly to the veterans’ services charities selected through a vetting process-coordinated in tandem with the National Association of Veterans Serving Organizations (NAVSO). In its first two years, VetsAid has disbursed nearly $1.2M in grants to veterans’ services organizations on the national level and the regional level with a focus on the festival’s host city. This year, VetsAid plans to disburse grants to Houston-area organizations; small grant applications have been open since May 2019 via the VetsAid website (www.vetsaid.org).

Veterans and their wellbeing have always been important to Walsh, a Gold Star son himself. His father was a flight instructor for the first US operational jet powered aircraft, the Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star, and died while stationed and on active duty on Okinawa when Walsh was 20 months old.

Walsh has been involved with veterans’ related causes for years, supporting various charities, visiting the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and offering free guitar lessons to the wounded veterans there. He has campaigned for his good friend, (now) United States Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, an Iraq War veteran and double amputee.

Walsh aims to use this platform to raise funds and awareness for the still urgent and significant needs of our returning soldiers and their families. Through the establishment of VetsAid and this annual benefit concert, he aims to give back to those who have given so much in sacrifice for this country.

“It’s about time we brought VetsAid down to Texas and who better to share the stage with than my old buddies and Houston’s own ZZ Top! With Brad, Sheryl, Jason and more special guests to be announced joining us too this will be yet another historic night of incredible music for our vets.” Joe Walsh continues, “This is a night where all are welcome to celebrate the things that unite us as Americans: good friends, open hearts and great music!”

For more information, including grant applications for small veterans services groups, please visit www.vetsaid.org.

How Can I Get a VA Home Loan?

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Man and woman pictured with moving boxes in background

Landing an extraordinary home loan probably isn’t anyone’s top reason for enlisting in the armed forces, but since the end of World War II more than 22 million active military members and veterans have used Veterans Administration mortgages to achieve home ownership.

The VA home loan program, part of the 1944 GI Bill of Rights, was designed to ease the path to homeownership for both active military personnel and veterans. Qualified loan applicants aren’t required to make down payments, pay mortgage insurance or some closing costs.

Those expenses can be substantial and can kill deals relying on conventional financing.

VA loans are extremely popular because they’re money savers.

During fiscal 2018, nearly 611,000 buyers used to VA financing to cover more than $161 billion in real estate purchases.

So how do you get a VA mortgage? Here are a few questions that will help:

Am I eligible for a VA loan?

Almost all members of the military, reservists, National Guard and veterans are eligible for VA loans. Spouses of military personnel who died while on active duty or as the result of a service-connected disability are also eligible to apply.

Active-duty military qualify after six months in the service. Reservists and National Guard members must be enlisted for six years before applying. If they are called to active duty, they become eligible after 90 days serving during times of war.

What are the benefits of a VA loan?

The VA doesn’t issue mortgages, it guarantees them, setting requirements on the sort of mortgages it will accept and relying on approved lenders (banks, credit unions, online lenders) to issue the loans. The VA takes on risk associated with the mortgages it backs, and the lower risk to the lenders who issue VA is passed along to buyers, often meaning slightly lower interest rates compared to conventional loans.

Here are some of the ways VA and conventional mortgages differ:

—No down payment for buyers who meet loan requirements.

—No private mortgage insurance (PMI) required on any loan.

—Underwriting standards are relaxed since the government backs the mortgages.

—Fewer closing costs compared to conventional mortgages.

—VA interest rates are typically about 0.25% lower than rates for comparable conventional loans.

—VA loans are guaranteed against default, so they pose less risk to mortgage lenders.

What are the borrowing limits?

The VA isn’t really in the loan business. It guarantees home loans and you must find a VA-approved lender to get such a loan. As such, there are no official borrowing limits, but there are limits to the amount of liability the VA will assume.

They vary by county, but the limit was $453,100 in 2018 for most parts of the U.S., but the amount can be as much as $679,650 in high-cost areas such as San Francisco and New York.

What are the fees associated with a VA loan?

Sorry, but even veterans must deal with some up-front costs.

To keep the VA home loan system afloat, there is a one-time funding fee. It varies, depending on the down payment and type of veteran. For instance, a borrower getting his/her first VA loan and making no down payment would pay a 2.15% fee on the amount of loan. The fee is 1.25% if the borrower makes a down payment of 10% or more.

Reservists and National Guard members usually pay about one-quarter of a percentage point more than active-duty personnel.

If you’re using the VA loan program for a second time and have no down payment, the fee is 3.3% of the total loan amount. The fee is waived for veterans who receive disability compensation.

Does the VA offer loan aid and forgiveness?

The VA attempts to help veterans and their families who encounter financial difficulties, and two of these programs impact housing. If you have a conventional sub-prime mortgage loan and are having trouble making the payments, which may have ballooned, you can try to refinance the loan with a VA mortgage.

Or if you default on a home loan, the VA allows lenders to forgive the balance that you owed, meaning you are not required to pay the balance of your loan. This doesn’t prevent you from losing your home, but it removes the repayment obligation.

What are the income requirements for a VA loan?

The VA doesn’t have specific income thresholds for qualifying for a mortgage, relying instead on what it calls residual income requirements.

Borrowers are expected to have steady, stable income, which can come from employment, Social Security, disability payments, investments and other sources. Self-employed persons are often asked to document their income. Even income from foster care, worker’s compensation and public assistance is considered, though it has to be sustainable income that will continue well into the future.

Can I get more than one VA loan?

Yes you can, though the fee is slightly higher the second time around and beyond.

Normally you must sell your primary residence and pay off the off that loan before you can take out another VA loan on a new residence. But there is a one-time opportunity to buy a second home with VA financing if you have refinanced your primary residence with a non-VA loan or you have paid off the original loan.

How do I apply for VA loan?

Find a lending institution that participates in the VA program. Since almost all lenders do, that should not be a problem. In fact, the first thing most lenders ask after introducing themselves is: “Are you a veteran?”

If you say yes, it usually puts a smile on the lender’s face because they know the U.S. government is backing your loan and it will be much easier to get you into a home.

Borrowers must have a Certificate of Eligibility to prove they belong on the VA home-loan track. You can apply on the VA website or by mail. If you need assistance with Certificate of Eligibility acquisition, call 1-800-983-0937.

Who are the best lenders for a VA home loan?

The ones with the best rates and customer service, of course.

However, interest rates fluctuate and customer experience varies depending on a variety of factors. The best answer is to find a lender that is well-versed in the VA home loan program. Even then, there is no shortage of candidates.

A NerdWallet study gave high marks to Navy Federal Credit Union, Veterans United, Quicken, Bank of America, Citibank and Fairway. As with any mortgage, the best advice is to shop around and find a lender you’re comfortable with. The big advantage veterans have is they can get into a program that makes it easier to get into a home that will make them happy.

After spending so much time in tents and foxholes, they deserve it.

Author-By Bill Fay

Source:  debt.org

From One Battlefield to Another: 3 graduate programs for vets interested in politics

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Syracuse University

Thinking about running for office? There’s no better way to “put your money where your mouth is” than by throwing your hat in the ring.

Military service has always been a good starting point for entry into politics in America. Americans traditionally love war heroes, however broad the definition of that term might be. From George Washington, who was not only the commander of the Continental Army but a veteran of the French-Indian War, to George W. Bush, a Texas Air National Guard pilot. Thirty-two of the 44 men who have held the presidency served in uniform at some point, with 12 of them as general officers.

One of the high-water marks for veteran political activity was the election of 1946, the first held after the end of World War II. Seventy war veterans were elected to Congress that year, including three future presidents: John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, and Gerald R. Ford.

There are currently 96 veterans of all stripes serving in Congress—77 in the House and 19 in the Senate—but only 19 are freshmen. I believe we need to raise that number.

If you’re a veteran who wants to make a difference in politics, whether at the local, state, or national level, there are several programs where you can put your Post-9/11 G.I Bill benefits to use.

These programs give you the technical knowledge necessary to get a head start on your potential opponents, whoever they may be.

Syracuse University Veterans in Politics Program

Syracuse University is the newest entry in this field. Banking giant JP Morgan Chase & Co. (where retired Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno is a senior advisor) provided a grant to Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs to begin the program.

Mike Haynie, executive director of Syracuse’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families and vice chancellor for its strategic initiatives and innovation, said, “We hope to create the opportunity to put the veterans who participate in the program on a path to enacting their aspiration for office.” Syracuse participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which covers the difference between Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits and the cost of tuition, and has a robust veteran services office.

University of San Francisco Masters in Public Leadership

In conjunction with the Veterans Campaign, a non-partisan organization dedicated to preparing veterans to hold political office, the University of San Francisco runs a hybrid program of online courses and weekend seminars. The program leads to a MFA degree in public leadership. It’s designed to prepare all students, but especially veterans, for political office as well as for careers in legislative affairs, campaign management, advocacy and civic leadership.

The seminars are available in both San Francisco and the Washington, D.C. area. Like many professional graduate programs, the faculty come more from professional life than academia—a must when discussing the nuts and bolts of getting elected. Prominent among the adjunct faculty is Patrick Murphy, the first Iraq veteran elected to Congress.

George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management

The George Washington University. The Graduate School of Political Management was the first of its kind in the country. It began in New York in 1987, branching out to Washington in 1991. It formally became part of GWU in 1995.

If you want to learn about politics from the people who actually practice and study it alongside people who are currently working in it, then GSPM is for you.

The program offers master of professional studies degrees in three areas: political management, legislative affairs, and strategic public relations. Political management would be the best choice for would-be candidates, while legislative affairs is geared towards those looking to work on Capitol Hill or as a lobbyist. Strategic public relations prepares students to advise senior political and corporate leaders on their engagements with the public.

While not specifically geared towards veterans, GWU is a participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program, and has an outstanding veteran services department.

Politics can be a richly rewarding career, regardless of which side of the fence or television camera you prefer to be. Your status as a veteran gets you a seat at the table, but from then on, it’s up to you to articulate why you deserve to be elected. These programs can help get you there.

Source: clearancejobs.com

6 Terms You Won’t Believe Have Military Origins

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veterans looking at computer and smiling

There’s a long history of military slang, probably dating all the way back to when the first people hit each other with sticks and rocks. While military slang can be fun, it’s even more fun when it seeps into the common vernacular of everyday people. The only problem is when a word or phrase is too good, its origin gets lost in time, and people forget where it came from – but no longer.

Here are just a few words and phrases that came from military tradition.

1. “Best man”

n the days of yore, it was quite possible that a betrothed man might lose his wife even before their wedding to any number of possible hazards – rival bands, enemy leaders, or even random highwaymen. So while he was in the middle of the ceremony, he would enlist his best swordsman to cover his back while his attention was focused elsewhere or hold off an attacking party while the new couple made their getaway.

2. “Boondocks”

These days, to be way out in the boonies means you’re out in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the sticks. When the term was coined, it meant that too, only the actual boondocks are in the Philippines. In Tagalog, “bundok” literally translates to “mountains” so when Filipino fighters told American troops they were headed to the bundoks during the 1898 Spanish-American War and the subsequent Philippine-American War, it meant they were headed to the islands’ inner wilderness.

3. “Cowboys”

Sorry, but the term “cowboy” used to define the ranchers and vaqueros of the Old West was never actually used for those guys at the time. They were usually just called cow herders or cowhands. The term “cowboy” goes well past the 19th Century. The original cowboys were American colonists loyal to the British Crown during the American Revolution. They would band together in guerrilla units and lure other units of rebel farmers into ambushes using cowbells to coax them in. After the war, it was used to describe criminals from Texas who made raids into Mexico.

4. “Face the music”

In the European military tradition (from which the U.S. tradition is derived), any disgraced officer who was summarily kicked out of his unit was done so in the most demeaning manner possible. As the regiment’s drummer played on, the officer would have his sword broken, his buttons removed, and his charges read to the entire room. The officer was them marched across the parade ground to the tune of the “Rogue’s March” toward the regimental band.

5. “Last ditch effort”

In the kind of fighting that took place in the 16th and 17 Century, troops didn’t just maneuver around the battlefields in the open, in tight formations, wearing bright colors. I mean, they did that, but they also constructed a series of earthwork redoubts and other protective places to hold. Among these was a series of trenches they could fall back to if the stuff started hitting the fan – and they would dig many in case things went really wrong. But everyone knew by the time you got to your last one, you had to do something amazing, or everyone was likely to die in that last ditch.

6. “The whole nine yards”

This term appeared in the 1950s, after the end of World War II – and it has nothing to do with football or anything else where yardage is a factor. It refers to the length of the ammunition belts designed for American and British fighter planes during the war, 27 feet (or nine yards). When flying a particularly tough mission or otherwise using a lot of ammo, a pilot might have been said to use “the whole nine yards.”

Continue on to Military.com to read the complete article.

94-year-old Montford Point Marine veteran awarded Congressional Gold Medal

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Marine veteran congressional gold medal

A 94-year-old Marine veteran from Hayward, California, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on Aug. 2 — nearly three quarters of a century after he fought to clear the Marshall Islands from the Japanese in World War II.

Joseph Alexander was awarded one of the nation’s highest civilian honors for being among the first African Americans to enlist in the Corps and attend recruit training at Montford Point Camp in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Alexander’s exploits during World War II in the Pacific and his time at Montford Point were first detailed in a story by the East Bay Times.

According to the East Bay Times, Alexander’s family stumbled upon his past as a Montford Point Marine while working with Department of Veterans Affairs to get him medical benefits.

Alexander joined the Corps in 1943 at the age of 19, following then-President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1941 signing of an executive order that prohibited ethnic or racial discrimination in federal agencies working in defense and forced the military to recruit blacks.

Continue on to the Marine Corps Times to read the complete article.

Planes, Frogs & Obstacles? They’re All Happening at LA Fleet Week 2019

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Skydivers in the air with an American Flag attached

Things will really be jumping at this year’s LA Fleet Week—literally.  Added to the line-up of this annual multi-day LA Waterfront celebration of our nation’s Sea Services, Aug. 30- Sept. 2, will be two new crowd-pleasing events, U.S. Navy Leap Frog jumpers and an all-out battle of the fittest with USAA’s high-stakes Obstacle Course Competition. Aerial flyovers and demonstrations are back by popular demand as well.

The Leap Frogs” are the official parachute demonstration team of the U.S. Navy and part of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command. The team is made up of active-duty Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) and support personnel. Each day starting Saturday of LA Fleet Week, the Leap Frogs will make a spectacular parachute landing into the event. Often jumping from aircraft hovering more than two miles above, the Leap Frogs are a unique visual experience not to be missed.

Also new this year at LA Fleet Week will be a high-intensity Obstacle Course Competition presented by USAA. As much a participant as a spectator sport, the relay-style competition will feature two-person teams racing against the clock to complete the athletically challenging course in the fastest time. From 150- to 200-lb. tire flips to track sprints, to weighted rope pulls and accuracy throwing drills, a winning team will be determined at the end of each competition day.

For the Obstacle Course Competition, advanced team sign ups are recommended, though walk-up teams will accommodated as scheduling allows. Team competitions will be held Friday through Monday during LA Fleet Week from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. The obstacle course will be located in the Battleship IOWA parking lot near the Military Village. See more details here.

Dozens of military and first responder aircraft demonstrations will entertain event goers throughout the Labor Day Weekend. Aircrafts will soar over the Main Channel at the Port of Los Angeles to kick off Friday night’s Military Appreciation concert headlined by Cheap Trick, then regularly take to the skies between 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Saturday through Monday.

On tap for the weekend will be U.S. Navy F/A 18 combat jet flyovers, as well as Search and Rescue (SAR) demonstrations by the U.S. Coast Guard. Other aerial demonstrations by various Los Angeles city and county first responders are also in the works.

“It promises to be a great weekend of flyovers with the line-up we’ve got planned,” said Dennis Lord, LA Fleet Week aerial coordinator. “It’s a rare opportunity to see how the aviation component of so many agencies works to protect and guard the freedoms we all enjoy.”

Public ship tours will be available throughout the weekend on a first-come, first-serve basis, with no online reservations needed. Visitors will also be able to enjoy free live entertainment on the event’s Main Stage, a Veteran’s Village, a First Responder Village, a Military Village, a kids’ STEM Expo, and a selection of eats from food trucks onsite.

About LA Fleet Week®

LA Fleet Week® is a multi-day celebration of our nation’s Sea Services that takes place on the LA Waterfront at the Port of Los Angeles. Now in its fourth year, the event has become a Southern California end-of-summer tradition over Labor Day Weekend that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

LA Fleet Week is organized by the LA Fleet Week Foundation, in partnership with the Port of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles. Other LA Fleet Week 2019 sponsors include Ambassador Frank Baxter / Alliance Alice Baxter Ready School, Anchor Brewing Company, Annenberg Foundation, AT&T, Black Knight Patrol, Clear Channel, Collier Walsh Nakazawa LLP, Comcast, Dante Valve, Delta Airlines, Fast Lane Transportation, Humana, KRLA, LA County Veteran Peer Access Network, LA Department of Water and Power, LA Waterfront Alliance, Marathon Petroleum, Outfront Media, Paramount Pictures, Phillips 66, Princess Cruises. Providence Little Company of Mary, Qualcomm, Rancho LPG, Sailor Jerry Rum, The Ahmanson Foundation, The Boeing Company, UPS, USAA, Valero, Verizon, Vistaprint, Wells Fargo and Westrec Marinas.

Sailor Spotlight! Chief Hospital Corpsman Cody Kitchens

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Hospital Corpsman Cody Kitchens poses with family at his homecoming

NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla.- – Chief Hospital Corpsman Cody Kitchens, from Laguna Hills, Calif., assigned to the Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) poses with family.

The photo was taken during a homecoming at Naval Station Mayport, Florida.

Fort McHenry completed a scheduled deployment as part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group in support of maritime security operations, crisis response and theater security cooperation, while also providing a forward naval presence.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan T. Beard/Released)

Source: outreach.navy.mil

The Making of a Grandmaster

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The Grandmaster stands with medals around his neck and the American Flag in the backgrounf

By Annie Nelson

From mastering orthopedic surgery to becoming a nationally recognized Grandmaster in Martial Arts, this son of a Marine and twin of a fellow soldier, has gone from Army Chief Warrant 2 to Doctor left that successful career all behind to follow his true passion, the world of mixed martial arts.

Most veterans think one huge career transition in life is plenty; however, this man gave up the comfort and success of being a surgeon to fulfill the dream of his heart and soul. That transition proved to be the best yet! Enjoy getting to know Dr. Barry Broughton as much as I did when he sat down to tell me about his journey.

Tell me a bit about your military service.

I enlisted in the U.S. Army a couple of years after high school to take advantage of the Veterans Education Assistance Program. After Basic Training, AIT (Advanced Individual Training) as a Combat Medic, and Airborne School, I was able to squeeze in college courses, emergency medical technician and paramedic courses between deployments and training exercises at my first duty assignment in Germany. I was fortunate enough to attend numerous leadership schools such as PLDC (Primary Leadership Development Course), BNCOC (Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course), and Warrant Officer Candidate School, and was selected to attend the Army Physician Assistant program that was affiliated with the University of Oklahoma at the time. After graduation from PA School, I served as a Battalion Medical Officer for Field Artillery and Armor Battalions. I left the Army as a Chief Warrant Officer 2 after nine years of active duty service.

After leaving active duty, I had the amazing opportunity to continue to serve the military as a Department of the Army civilian while completing a two-year Orthopedic Surgery Training program at Evans Army Community Hospital at Ft. Carson, CO. I remained on staff in the Orthopedic Surgery Department for nine years before going into private practice.

You have a twin who also served, did you both know you wanted to serve growing up?

I can’t speak for my brother, but I don’t recall a specific desire to serve in the military while growing up. Even though my father served in the Marine Corp and was on Iwo Jima during WWII, and all my uncles had also served during WWII, it wasn’t something that my father spoke of. I didn’t realize it was a viable option until after being out of high school for a couple of years. My brother and I were both Eagle Scouts as teenagers, so I had a cursory understanding of serving others, leadership and serving something bigger than one’s self. But for me, it wasn’t until a mutual friend introduced me to a Corpsman in the Navy, who was home on leave, that I made the connection between getting an education while in the military and simultaneously serving our country. However, after attending Basic Training, AIT, jump school, and getting to my first duty assignment, I really began to understand what selfless service was about. At that point, obtaining an education became secondary to serving my country.

After serving you went into the medical field, was that always your plan?

No, not always. I wanted to be a professional martial artist. After watching the television series Kung Fu and the movie Billy Jack when I was ten or eleven years-old I was intrigued by the characters of Kwai Chang Caine and Billy Jack. I wanted to acquire that same duality of peace and power in my own life that the two of them possessed.

At nineteen, shortly after obtaining my first Black Belt, I expressed my desire to become a professional martial artist. Unfortunately, my dream was trampled into submission by those claiming it was impossible to make a living teaching Martial Arts.

I’d had a keen interest in the sciences while in high school, but I didn’t have the finances or family support to attend college at that time. After the serendipitous encounter with my Corpsman friend I enlisted in the Army three months later. What was initially intended to be a three-year enlistment began my twenty-five-year journey in healthcare and medicine. I continued in medicine because of the opportunities for training and more education. From Combat Medic to Paramedic, to Physician Assistant, to Orthopedic Surgery, PhD, and Integrative/Naturopathic Physician; it just seemed like the correct logical progression at the time.

At what point did you know you were leaving medicine for your true heart’s desire?

I had continued my martial arts training and was teaching intermittently for many years while in medicine. As the years rolled by and I put on my white lab coat day-after-day, it was slowly sucking the life out of me. It’s like getting on the wrong train; the longer that you are on the train the faster it gets moving, and the harder it is to jump off. But my time in the dojo teaching martial arts would reenergize and revitalize me. Even after the most long and arduous days of surgery and seeing patients at the office, when I was teaching martial arts in the evening, I felt alive, vibrant, and in my own element. It’s not that I disliked practicing medicine; I really enjoyed helping people, it just didn’t fulfill me. It was a job; not my passion. It’s difficult doing something that you are good at but not passionate about.

I’m a Martial Artist, and it’s who I’ve always been. Eleven years ago, I finally took the leap. I closed Barry Broughton Coaching a student at BKBHOFmy practice to focus on teaching full-time.

Previously, I was at a point in my life where I didn’t have the support network that I now have. I wouldn’t have been able to invest the demanding hours and travel schedule that has allowed me the level of success that I have now experienced in the martial arts industry if it weren’t for my amazing wife, my instructor staff, team members, Black Belts, and friends.

Have you ever regretted leaving your role as a successful doctor?

No, not really. That is the most common question that I get asked when people find out about my previous career. Even after 11 years of not practicing I still get phone calls at the dojo where former patients have hunted me down to ask for advice. I like having helped people, but I don’t miss the daily grind of medicine and the administrative component that accompanies patient care. On rare occasions I miss the technical aspects of doing orthopedic surgery or reducing a gnarly fracture or dislocation. But I think that is most likely because I’m a “hands-on” kind of guy. That’s probably why I have an affinity for jujitsu related martial arts. But I have never regretted taking the leap to become a full time professional martial artist.

What was your greatest challenge in stepping out and following your dreams?

Convincing others that I wasn’t crazy and going through a midlife crisis! Many of my family and friends thought it was too risky.

For good or bad, I tend to do everything in an all-or-nothing fashion. I burned my bridges by allowing my State and National Certifications, and DEA Licensures to expire, knowing that it would be extremely difficult to retake the licensing and certification exams. In hindsight, it was probably meant to be as symbolic to others as I had intended to be for me. By not having the mental safety net of knowing I had medical career to fall back on, I was forced to make my dream become a reality.

What has been your greatest reward?

That’s an easy one. Seeing lives changed! Whether I’m teaching an AKT Combatives Jujitsu class, a weekend self-defense and personal protection seminar, a Police Defensive Tactics course, or a leadership workshop, my objective is always to use the physical techniques of kicks, punches, throws, joint locks, and submissions as the medium to instill the intangibles of improved self-confidence, self-discipline, self-respect, goal setting, and the ability to overcome obstacles.

I’ve had a lot of personal successes and have coached Sport Jujitsu Regional, National and World Champions, but my greatest reward is empowering others to step into their own destiny. Investing in the lives of those who don’t necessarily see the potential for their own success motivates, drives and inspires me.

I feel that I am making a more significant impact in people’s lives now than I ever did while in the medical profession.

What advice would you give others who are in a career, but it is not their true passion?

That’s a tough call because there are so many variables that can prevent someone from leaving a career and converting their passion into their livelihood. I suspect that it was easier for me because I was already self-employed. To start, I’d suggest doing your research and due diligence. Is your passion something that others would want, and would pay for? Get the education and training needed. Do the hard part and learn the business side of your passion. Find a couple of good mentors who will hold you accountable. Start off by working your passion on a part time basis. As it grows, be willing to work two full time jobs as you make your transition. Understand that all passions cannot easily be converted into careers, and that’s okay. Above all, surround yourself with a good support network and team who will not only cheer for your successes but will also call your bluff when you need it.

What does the future hold for you and AKT Combatives Jujitsu?

Wow! Where do I start? I currently own two academies in New York with instructor staff at both locations. I am actively mentoring my Black Belt students who have an entrepreneurial spirit in preparing them open their own AKT Combatives Academies.

I’ve written a bestselling book, Beyond Self-Defense: AKT Combatives Reality-Based Personal Protection and am currently working on several follow-up books and instructional video projects. I have the privilege of traveling around the country teaching AKT Combatives Jujitsu, Self-Defense and Personal Protection, Workplace Violence Prevention, Police Defensive Tactics, and Sport Jujitsu seminars. We are also currently preparing Team AKT members for the upcoming 2019 World Sport Jujitsu Championships.

How can people follow Barry Broughton?

You can follow me on Facebook.com/BarryBroughtonAKTjujitsu, on Instagram @BarryABroughton, or at my website at AKTcombatives.com.