Successful Transition Begins with Backward Planning

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man thinking about his next career

By Mike Olivier

There are a few transitions in life that are inevitable; of that number there are fewer still where the day and time are certain. The transition from the military to civilian life is one of those transitions.

For those entering the civilian workforce, now is a good time. The military is heartily supported by all sectors of society, the economy is good, and unemployment is very low. That means getting a job is most likely not as difficult as it has been in the past. Nevertheless, there is no one standing outside the base gate handing out hundred dollars bills and employment contracts. Which means finding a good job is going to take work, and it is still going to require planning.

The good news is that the transition date for your departure from military life is certain, and you have advance notice. For some, this transition is seamless—they will go to work in the family business, a few will change their military uniform for civilian clothes and go back to work at the same desk, and some will go to college. Most will venture into the unknown and look for work. It doesn’t matter if you’re going on to school, to work, or going back to the family farm—getting there successfully is going to require a degree of planning.

One thing that most likely rubbed off during your time in the military is an acknowledgement of the value of planning. There is not much in the military that is not the result of planning, good or bad; and knowing when you are released from active duty provides you the opportunity to plan your next step. This ability to backward plan is going to provide you with options, and it is going to give you a better chance of succeeding in your transition. The military now offers a number of transition classes, and there are countless programs and agencies that will help point you in the right direction. Taking advantage of these resources is about the most common-sense action one can take. Even if they are incomplete in some respect, these resources can provide you with options and direction.

Networking is successful quote

Before you can plan, you will need to identify a goal: even if this is a leap into the unknown, there has to be somewhere to land. In this process, the question is often framed as “What do you want to do?” It is good to think about this holistically; that is, where do you want to live, what do the others in your life want, and, practically, what do you need? The answer to these and other related questions may align with one another, or, more likely, the answers will point you in opposite directions. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that this is a discovery process, and that answers to these questions may only eliminate options, but that’s a good thing. As you narrow your options, the remaining few provide direction to your transition goal.

In terms of backward planning, the milestones in the plan are going to be set by the objective. If the goal is to go to school to gain skills or to complete a degree, then identifying and getting accepted into the school is going to take time. The planning elements are gathering up transcripts, completing forms and applications, and meeting deadlines. Applying for a job also takes time as you determine what skills you need to be competitive, complete a resume, attend job fairs, and schedule meetings with recruiters. About 80 percent of people get a job through networking. If you have been in the military and out of the job market, out the network, you have to be proactive to establish your network. This is not a weekend task. You will need to establish your network by focusing on the industry. All industries have associations and events, and you create your industry-specific network by attending these events and meeting people. Volunteering at these events is another good way to get to know key people in the industry. If you want to be part of the successful 80 percent, you need to be known within the network.
Transition, for most, is stressful and challenging—it is a culture change, it is a risk. Improve your success and reduce risk and stress by backward planning. Knowing when you get out, where you want to end up, and the tasks to be completed are all elements of the plan. The most important point is don’t wait—start the plan and execute. When you get out, be where you want to be, not struggling to get there.

Man believed to be oldest living American World War II veteran celebrates his 110th birthday

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Oldest World War ll veteran sitting in wheelchair receives birthday card from womens' singing group

A man believed to be the oldest living American to have served during World War II celebrated his 110th birthday Thursday at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

Family, veterans, and current military service members joined Lawrence Brooks at the museum, where the celebrated with cupcakes and a musical performance by the Victory Belles trio.

Born in 1909, Brooks served as a support worker in the Army’s 91st Engineer Battalion, a majority African-American unit stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines during the war. He reached the rank of private first class.

He was the servant to thee white officers in the battalion, the museum said in a press release.

The supercentenarian is a father to five children and five step-children.

He had an exhilarating brush with death

In an interview with the museum, Brooks recounted a story of riding in a C-47 cargo plane from Australia to New Guinea. The plane was loaded down with barbed wire but “one of the motors went out on it,” he said.

To lighten the plane, those aboard threw much of the cargo into the ocean. Brooks threw the boxes out of the plane like his life depended on it: there were only enough parachutes on the plane for the pilot and the co-pilot.

Brooks said he joked to the aircraft’s pilot: “If he’s going to jump, I’m going to grab him.”

Thankfully, he didn’t have to resort to drastic measures.

“It was a scary moment,” he said. “But we made it.”

Continue on to CNN to read the complete article.

These are the first sisters to attain the rank of general, Army says

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Army General Sisters headshots side by side both dressed in Uniform

For the first time in the Army’s history, two sisters have attained the rank of general, the service said. It isn’t surprising that Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett, 53, and Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi, 51, have climbed some of the highest ranks in the Army, the women’s brother Rus Lodi told USA Today. The sisters, who he dubbed “leadership junkies,” always amazed the family and have been a “great source of pride” for the family, he said.

The Army isn’t surprised by the sisters’ success either.

“Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett and Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi represent the best America has to offer,” Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said, according to USA Today. “However, this comes as no surprise to those who have known them and loved them throughout this extraordinary journey. This is a proud moment for their families and for the Army.”

Although there have been cases where fathers and sons, and even a married couple have become generals, the Army doesn’t believe that there is another group of sisters who have pinned on general’s stars.

“The fact that we’re sisters, not brothers, I think it’s a huge illustration of how far we’ve come as a service,” said Lodi, who is now deputy chief of staff for operations in the Army’s Surgeon General’s office.

Barrett was initially interested in joining the Army to help pay for school at Tufts University, and wanted to go on to a career at the State Department. After going through Reserve Officer Training Corps as an undergraduate student, she was commissioned as a second lieutenant.

But as Barrett advanced as an officer, she realized the Army was a better fit for her.

“When I talk to younger officers, I tell them the reason I joined is not the reason why I stayed,” said Barrett, who is the commanding general of the Army’s Network Enterprise Technology Command, or NETCOM. “Our democratic experiment, even on its most imperfect day, is worth defending.”

Lodi, who The Washington Post reports was promoted to brigadier general in July, also didn’t expect to stay in the Army for as long as she has.

Continue on to Army Times to read the complete article.

What Does Veterans Day Mean to You?

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American Flags blowing in the wind

Selected responses and photos to be published in the print and digital November Special Veterans Day Issue!

This year, U.S. Veterans Magazine (USVM) will publish the selected responses and photos asking the question, “What Does Veterans Day Mean To You”?

Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, which honors all U.S. military veterans.

On this day we unite as a country to honor all those who fought to protect our freedom.

Each year U.S. Veterans Magazine USVM publishes the special Veterans Day issue in November.

To commemorate this special day, USVM is asking what it means to you.

To participate, please use the short form to submit your response. Once selected, you will be contacted for a photo request. Send your response today and let USVM know what Veterans Day means to you!

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

 

Affordable Internet Service for Low-Income Veterans

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Soldier using a laptop to code at desk

Comcast has expanded eligibility for its Internet Essentials program. The program ensures that low-income individuals have online access and in-home WiFi. This is important for veterans, especially considering the recent push for claims processing through the Department of Veterans Affairs website.

We encourage eligible veterans to sign up and stay connected. Veterans may be eligible and can apply with VA pension or HUD-VASH documentation.

Internet Essentials customers have the option to purchase a laptop or desktop computer at a discounted price ($149.95). It includes Windows 10 and Microsoft Office!

This program is not limited to only veterans. Low-income individuals on public assistance programs, such as the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, and others, may be eligible. This program is limited to households located in areas where Comcast provides internet service.

Applicants may qualify if:

  • Eligible for public assistance
  • Do not have outstanding debt to Comcast less than a year old
  • Live in a Comcast Internet service coverage area (and not subscribed to Comcast service within 90 days)

The program provides an online learning portal for its users from basic to advanced skills. Some in-person classes may be available nearby also.

Continue on to Swords to Plowshares to read the complete article.

Semper Fi Trailer: Leighton Meester & Jai Courtney Test the Limits of Loyalty

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Semper Fi movie poster

Lionsgate has come through today with a first look at their dramatic new thriller Semper Fi, which features a line-up of popular talent on the rise.

The movie features Jai Courtney in the lead. He is joined by Nat Wolff, Finn Wittrock, Beau Knapp, Arturo Castro and Leighton Meester.

Semper Fi is directed by Henry Alex Rubin.

He wrote the script alongside Sean Mullin. The story follows a police officer serving in the Marine Corps Reserves who is faced with an ethical dilemma when it comes to helping his brother in prison.

The movie will be in theaters October 4, 2019. It will also be getting a simultaneous release On Demand and Digital HD release.

Henry Alex Rubin has released this statement on Semper Fi.

“Semper Fi’ is the motto of the U.S. Marines, and means ‘always faithful. That motto also applies in deep friendships, where you are incapable of betraying each other, and stand up for each other no matter the pressure. If you’ve got just one person like that in your life, you’re lucky.”

The director also had this to say about the production.

“[We] wanted to write a film about that deep feeling of loyalty and love among friends. Before shooting, the cast spent lot of time training together, going out every night, cooking meals, partying, drinking, nearly getting into barfights, staying up till sunrise. It was the most fun we’ve ever had on a set and that sense of true camaraderie is reflected on screen.”

Continue on to Movie Web to read the complete article.

Petty Officer Takes Marines to the Fight aboard U.S. Navy Warship

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Petty Officer Kevin Taylor aboard Navy warship

Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Taylor, a native of La Habra, California, was inspired to join the Navy to follow in family members’ footsteps. “My dad, the majority of my uncles and my grandfather all served in the military,” Taylor said.

Now, three years later, Taylor serves aboard one of the Navy’s amphibious ships at Naval Base San Diego.

“For the most part it’s really nice,” Taylor said. “It’s nice to be able to rely on shipmates for help and to help them as well.”

Taylor, a 2016 graduate of La Habra High School, is a interior communications electrician aboard USS Essex, one of four Wasp-class amphibious assault ships in the Navy, homeported in San Diego.

“We do the electrical work for the alarms,” Taylor said. “We maintain all shipboard alarms, warning and indicating systems and certain flight systems.”

Taylor credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in La Habra.

“I learned that nothing comes easy,” said Taylor.

Essex is designed to deliver U.S. Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts. Designed to be versatile, the ship has the option of simultaneously using helicopters, Harrier jets, and Landing Craft Air Cushioned (LCAC), as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations.

Because of their inherent capabilities, these ships have been and will continue to be called upon to support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice.

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard Essex. More than 1,000 men and women make up the ship’s crew, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly, from handling weaponry to maintaining the engines. An additional 1,200 Marines can be embarked.

“Serving with the Marines gives you a different aspect of the military and seeing how different branches operate versus the Navy,” said Taylor.

Serving in the Navy means Taylor 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.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Taylor is most proud of being selected as Junior Sailor of the Quarter and being promoted to third class petty officer.

“It’s something that you have to work for, to study and learn and to always be accepting of constructive criticism,” said Taylor.

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

“Serving in the Navy is a sense of pride knowing that you’re doing something for the country and giving back to people,” said Taylor.

Source: Navy Office of Community Outreach

One Warrior’s Illuminating Journey

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Michael Landry poses outside at sporting event

The future looks bright for this veteran entrepreneur, who miraculously regained his once lost eyesight.

By Annie Nelson

Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Michael J. Landry Jr. was returning from his 5th combat deployment as a Field Radio Operator when he received orders to Okinawa, Japan in August 2014. He underwent an eye exam and was told his vision had changed but not to worry.

However in Japan, Landry noticed his vision was getting worse—so much so that his optometrist thought he was exaggerating his condition. It was then he was told that both of his corneas were shattered and he was legally blind in both eyes.

I spoke with Landry about his amazing journey, from regaining his sight to competing in the Marine Corps Trials to starting his own lifestyle clothing and music businesses.

Tell me about your journey to being able to see again?

I was medically evacuated from Okinawa in March 2016 and sent to Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, Calif. In Japan, I was still able to make out the outlines of objects because of the cloudy weather, but in California, I wasn’t able to see anything because it was so much brighter. I was fitted for hard-lens contacts until I received a corneal transplant in my left eye. The crazy thing was the eye transplant I received was originally blue! But then genetics took over and the eye eventually turned brown.

Due to my amazing doctor, the day after the surgery for the first time in two years, I was able to see the eye chart. Over the next 20 months, the vision in my left eye improved to the point that I was able to get prescription glasses, but only for the left lens because I was still blind in my right eye. Last February, I received the transplant for the right eye and today, I still have 12 stitches inside that eye but my vision overall is constantly improving.

You recently competed in the Marine Corps Trials—what events did you compete in and how did you finish? Are you going to the Warrior Games?

Yes, I competed in several events including track, shot put, discus, 100m sprint and powerlifting. For the powerlifting event, my doctor recommended to limit the weight because the excessive eye pressure could still cause damage. I was scheduled to run the 200m and 400m, but I pulled my hamstring during the 100m sprint. I ended up finishing first place in all events except powerlifting. I competed in the visually impaired category for field events, however, I did out throw every other competitor overall. I was also selected to compete in the Warrior Games and I’m looking forward to it.

What did the Marine Corps Trials teach you?

It taught me that I’m able to do more than I think. I’ve never competed in any of those sports before and it felt as if it came naturally. It also taught me that I need to learn to stretch better so I don’t get hurt!

You are a new entrepreneur. Tell me about your businesses and how you started?

The birth of One Life Clothing started when I was going blind. I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t true so I began sewing with the thought that in order to sew, you have to be able to see. Going blind at the age of 32 forces you to see life in a different perspective. Tomorrow isn’t promised and you never know what can happen so you should always enjoy the “One Life” you have.

My second business I actually credit with saving my life. I was going through a lot mentally and physically with the loss of my sight and was severely depressed. At one point I was contemplating suicide until one day my brother, who is a rap artist, called me to vent about his music career, or lack thereof due to bad business deals. To help him, I started One Life Entertainment Music Group, LLC. Thus far, we’ve released four solo albums and two compilation albums.

My non-profit organization, One Life At A Time Outreach, helps not only feed the homeless, but also provide necessities like clothes, toiletries and shoes.

Michael Landry portrait with children Makiya and Michael III
Michael with children Makiya and Michael III

What does the future look like for you?

Bright I would say. Losing your vision and gaining it back is a blessing on its own, no matter what life throws at me. I’ve already won because I can see again. I’m embracing the new me. Business-wise, I would love to get into government contract designing and making uniforms as well as getting my clothing line into stores.

What advice would you give other service members who are recovering from an injury or illness?

You have to embrace the new you. I know what it feels like to be completely alone and to be stuck in your own head, but you have to remember that you are here for a purpose. God will never give you a task that you can’t handle. We are all gifted—find your gift and get out of your comfort zone.

Continue to follow Landry’s journey at onelifeclothing.net and on onelifemuzik.com

Veteran carries fellow Marine to Utah mountain summit: ‘We’re all a band of brothers’

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Veteran carrying his disabled Marine buddy on his back up a hill while hiking

When it comes to the U.S. Marines, one of their core beliefs is to leave no man behind.

That motto was on full display last week when retired Marine Sgt. John Nelson was caught on video carrying his friend and fellow Marine, Staff Sgt. Jonathon Blank, to the summit of Utah’s Mount Timpanogos.

Blank lost his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2010, with Nelson nearby when the blast occurred. The two, who served together on long-range reconnaissance missions, joined “Fox & Friends” Tuesday to detail the inspirational journey, which spanned 14 miles and 4,500 feet of elevation.

The sight of Nelson carrying Blank, who weighs about 135 pounds, on his back left two fellow hikers in awe and one shared the video on Facebook.

Phil Casper wrote, “They sought no special attention. The disabled vet said he weighed 135 lbs. They were committed to reach the summit. Having just exhausted myself to reach the summit with less than 5 lbs on my back, it was hard to fathom the drive that the pair possessed to achieve their goal.

To have arrived where I met them was already an incredible accomplishment. It was a powerful and inspiring experience to see them on their way.”

Continue on to Fox News to read the complete article.

This top military working dog is a Purple Heart recipient with nearly 100 Marine combat patrols under his collar

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military working dog with two soldiers investigating a suspicious bag on the ground

This year’s American Humane top military working dog sniffed out bombs and explosives over three combat tours with the Marine Corps across Iraq and Afghanistan and is now competing for the grand prize title of American Hero Dog.

Sgt. Yeager, a Marine Corps improvised explosive detection dog, carried out nearly 100 combat patrols and was awarded the Purple Heart after an IED explosion in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in April 2012, took out part of his ear, according to a press release

His handler, Marine Lance Cpl. Abraham Tarwoe, was killed in that explosion during a dismounted patrol in Helmand province’s Marjah district.

The pair, whose bond was described as “unbreakable,” according to American Humane, were both assigned to 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment.

Yeager was transported back to U.S. and treated for his injuries and eventually retired from the Marine Corps, according to a press release.

A press release said that while 12-year-old Yeager is showing signs of aging, his spirit is “undiminished.” Yeager was adopted by a family in North Carolina, according to the release.

Yeager is now headed to Hollywood, California, on Oct. 5 where he will be one of seven dogs to receive a 2019 American Humane Hero Dog award, the News Observer reported.

The American Humane Hero Dog Awards are a nationwide competition held every year to recognize dogs that do amazing things.

Yeager will also compete for the top award the 2019 American Hero Dog. According to American Humane, the gala will be broadcast on the Hallmark Channel on Oct. 23.

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

Find your new job: Retraining slots open for more than 2,700 airmen

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Little Rock Air Force Base

The Air Force this month has opened up retraining opportunities for as many as 2,773 active-duty airmen across its career fields in fiscal 2020.

According to retraining statistics provided by the Air Force Personnel Center, there are 1,708 slots available for first-term airmen to retrain into new jobs. There are also 797 retraining slots for staff sergeants, 258 slots for technical sergeants, and 10 slots available for master sergeants. In all, there are 111 career fields that need airmen.

That’s more than the 2,597 retraining opportunities the Air Force unveiled for fiscal 2019, which included 1,634 first-term airmen, 730 staff sergeants, 202 technical sergeants, and 31 master sergeants, and remains far higher than the retraining opportunities in the prior two years.

There are also 1,435 airmen in 63 career fields that are overmanned who need to retrain into other jobs. Only second-term airmen are eligible to retrain out.

In an Aug. 12 tweet announcing the opening of 2020 retraining, AFPC said that phase 1 of the non-commissioned officer retraining program, or NCORP, is open through Dec. 1.

If the Air Force does not get enough volunteers to retrain, it could move into a “mandatory retraining” phase.

AFPC said that these statistics, provided Aug. 19, are a snapshot in time that can fluctuate as needs change throughout the year.

The career field with the most retraining-in opportunities is 3P011 security forces, which has 312 vacancies among first-term airmen and staff sergeants. Education and training airmen in the 3F211 career field are short 140 first-term and staff sergeant airmen, and 4N011 aerospace medical service airmen have 231 vacancies in those categories.

There are also 120 first-term and staff sergeant vacancies among 1C111 air traffic controllers, as well as 112 1B411 cyber warfare operations vacancies and 100 1C311 command and control operations vacancies.

Continue on to the Air Force Times to read the complete article.