How Can I Get a VA Home Loan?

LinkedIn
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

L’Oréal USA Presented Have A BEAUTIFUL Day – Honoring U.S. Military Service Women and Their Family Members

LinkedIn
Loreal Have a Beautiful Day gathering of military spouses and veteranspictured

The L’Oréal USA Office of Diversity & Inclusion, in partnership with VALOR (Veterans at L’Oréal USA), an employee-led resource group, Bridging The Gap, Stand Beside Them, USO, American Legion, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Women Veterans Interactive, welcomed 48 active duty women U.S. military personnel and veterans of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, along with members of their families, to Have a BEAUTIFUL Day. The annual event was held at L’Oréal USA headquarters in Manhattan and featured a day of beauty services and career advice and education, including a panel discussion with employees who are veterans.

Guests received complimentary hair, makeup and manicure consultations and services offered by a team of volunteer professional stylists from the company’s Consumer Products Division Technical Center, L’Oréal Professionel, Matrix, Mizani, Redken, Pureology, Pulp Riot, L’Oréal Paris, Essie and Luxe & CPD Make-up.

Have a BEAUTIFUL Day began with registration and breakfast at the company’s nearby Terminal Stores. The service women, veterans and family members were then escorted to L’Oréal USA headquarters where they were greeted by a Marine Corps Color Guard and FDNY Bagpiper along with hundreds of L’Oréal USA employees waving miniature American flags and a rousing a capella rendition of the national anthem by L’Oréal employee Alicia Cooper.

The women were welcomed by Executive Vice-President, L’Oréal Americas Frédéric Rozé, who thanked them for their service noting that, “L’Oréal is strongly committed to hiring, retaining and advancing veterans in our company.  We have many veterans working in our corporate offices, manufacturing and distribution facilities, research and innovation offices – and throughout our company.”

Carol Hamilton, Group President of Acquisitions for L’Oréal USA, said, Today you’ll hear from a panel of veteran employees at L’Oréal who will tell you about their transition from military careers to the corporate world.  I can’t emphasize enough that the skills you developed in the military can translate successfully in both the private and public sectors.  The fact is that your talents are needed everywhere.  At L’Oréal, we have potential careers in fields such as sales, finance, marketing and operations.  We also have an initiative for positions in sales within our beauty advisor revolution program that are ideal for candidates who may be moving from one location to another.  You can find more details on our website at beautyadvisor.com.”

L’Oréal USA executive Cecilia Nelson-Hurt, AVP Diversity & Inclusion, also greeted the guests and gave an overview of the day. Each guest was then escorted to a salon station for consultations and services.

Among the guests for the day were:

  • VALOR panelists (veterans and L’Oreal employees) – Everett Betts, Kevin Reim, Bronco Figueroa, and Curtis Cunz;
  • Mike Ferraro, President & Co-founder, Bridging The Gap; Ginger Miller President, Women Veterans Interactive and Stephanie Richmond, Founder & CEO, Stand Beside Them; and
  • Keynote speaker –  Jas Boothe, founder of  Final Salute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit committed to providing services and transitional housing to female veterans around the country as part of her commitment to “Never Leave a Fallen Comrade.”

In her address, Ms. Boothe outlined her passion for serving and was candid about the toll that her military experience, her defeat of aggressive cancer and her bout with homelessness had taken on her both physically and mentally. Dealing with and overcoming those challenges led to her establishing Final Salute, which provides services and housing that female veterans were unable to find elsewhere.

L’Oréal USA is committed to hiring veterans and “Have a BEAUTIFUL Day” is one of the strategic initiatives of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion designed to impact the workforce, workplace and marketplace.  The event seeks to raise awareness of the experiences of active duty and veteran U.S. military personnel, to provide unique, direct programs to show appreciation and support for deserving families with a day of beauty, pampering and professional styling advice to make beauty accessible to them, and to offer career education.

PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured center front are Frédéric Rozé, Executive Vice-President, L’Oréal Americas and Carol Hamilton, Group President of Acquisitions for L’Oréal USA, surrounded by a Marine Corps Color Guard and FDNY Bagpiper at the opening welcome to L’Oréal USA’s Have a BEAUTIFUL Day.

About L’Oréal USA

L’Oréal USA is the largest subsidiary of the L’Oréal Group, the world’s leading beauty company. L’Oréal USA manages a portfolio of more than 30 iconic beauty brands, including Garnier, Giorgio Armani Beauty, Kérastase, Lancôme, La Roche-Posay, L’Oréal Paris and Yves Saint Laurent Beauté. L’Oréal USA also serves as the international hub for the product development and marketing strategy for L’Oréal’s 21 American brands: AcneFree, Baxter of California, Carol’s Daughter, CeraVe, Clarisonic, Dermablend, essie, IT Cosmetics, Kiehl’s, Matrix, Maybelline New York, Mizani, NYX Professional Makeup, Pulp Riot, Pureology, Ralph Lauren Fragrances, Redken, Seed Phytonutrients, Softsheen-Carson, SkinCeuticals and Urban Decay. Generating more than $7 billion in sales annually, L’Oréal USA is committed to growth through sustainable innovation, driven by the company’s Sharing Beauty With All ambition for sustainable development across the Group’s value chain. The company is headquartered in New York City, employs more than 11,000 people, and operates administrative, research, manufacturing and distribution facilities across 14 states, including Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Washington. For more information, visit www.lorealusa.com or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @LOrealUSA.

Source: L’Oréal USA

Sailor Assigned to USS John F. Kennedy Participates in Christening Ceremony

LinkedIn
Master-at-Arms 1st Class Kristi Dennis in uniform

An Edmond, Oklahoma, native assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) will participate in the christening of the U.S. Navy’s second Ford-class aircraft carrier during a ceremony in Newport News, Dec. 7.

The Navy will christen its newest aircraft carrier on Saturday, Dec 7, 2019, during a ceremony at the Huntington-Ingalls Industries, Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) shipyard in Newport News.

Master-at-Arms 1st Class Kristi Dennis, who is assigned to PCU John F. Kennedy, discussed the pride in serving on board the second Ford-class aircraft carrier.

“It is a great honor and humbling experience to not only create new traditions with PCU JFK but also know I am a part of carrying on the traditions of the Navy for many generations,” said Dennis.

On Nov. 6, nearly a month earlier, the crew of PCU John F. Kennedy officially revealed the carrier’s seal. The seal is crafted to integrate elements that honor President John. F. Kennedy, his service to the Navy, and his vision for space exploration.

It features 35 stars located around the outer ring that represent John F. Kennedy as our nation’s 35th president. The 35th star is positioned after his middle initial and the two gold stars placed between CVN and the number 79 symbolize the fact that this is the second aircraft carrier bearing his name and legacy.

The Roman numeral “CIX” or 109, is a tribute to President Kennedy’s heroic naval service as commander of Patrol Boat 109 in the South Pacific. Additionally, the moon backdrop represents President Kennedy’s instrumental role in the nation’s space program.

“John F. Kennedy displayed extraordinary courage, both in combat as a naval officer, and as president of the United States,” said Capt. Todd Marzano, the ship’s first Commanding Officer. “The seal design and ship’s motto are a very powerful and fitting way to honor President Kennedy’s legacy.”

Anchoring these and other elements on the seal is the ship’s motto – Serve with Courage. Dennis discussed what Serving with Courage means to her.

“Courage is the foundation of integrity. It defines how you carry yourself in choosing to do what is right even when it is not the popular choice,” said Dennis.

Other recent milestones PCU John F. Kennedy have completed include the ship’s dry dock was flooded on Oct. 29, officially launching the aircraft carrier approximately three months early to the original schedule. The ship’s keel was laid on Aug. 22, 2015, and placement of the 588-metric ton island superstructure was completed on May 29, 2019.

Source: Navy Outreach

Power Couple: Soldier Recruits Wife to Join Army

LinkedIn
U.S. Military wife and husband in uniform standing side by side with arms folded

By Alexandra Shea, IMCOM

Staff Sgt. Joshua Mitchell is used to talking with various people about military careers and the benefits that are offered to those who choose to wear the uniform and serve their country as a Soldier. As a recruiter in the Malden, Massachusetts, area, he is constantly talking to strangers, even off-duty, according to his wife, Eunjee.

“The first year after I moved to America, I knew I needed a car,” Eunjee said. “We went to the car dealership, and he recruited the car dealer.”

The couple met in Korea while Staff Sgt. Mitchell was stationed there. They originally met online and met face-to-face for the first time on New Year’s Day. They married shortly after, and Eunjee Mitchell immigrated to the United States, where her husband became a recruiter. She often would hear the conversations he had about joining the military. After two years of listening to Staff Sgt. Mitchell, she decided enlisting was the right choice for her.

“He was interviewing other recruiters, and one was Korean like me. She told me how the Army helps her a lot to speak (better) English and get her involved in the community,” said Eunjee. “The conversation with her gave me the thought that I could try.”

She enlisted as a 92A – Automated Logistical Specialist in the Army Reserves.

“I knew hanging around with me she would be interested in the Army, but I didn’t think she would (join),” said Staff Sgt. Mitchell. “I definitely wrote her contract.”

After 10 weeks of South Carolina’s famously hot summer weather, Eunjee Mitchell walked across Fort Jackson’s Hilton Field with the rest of her company as they graduated Basic Combat Training. With three bachelor’s degrees, she graduated with the rank of specialist.

While she knew her husband would be attending her ceremony, Staff Sgt. Mitchell was able to arrive to the installation early and surprise his wife during the Family Day dress rehearsal.

“While I was waiting behind the trees, I was trying to stay calm. I was very emotional,” said Spc. Mitchell.

She instantly recognized her husband on the parade field and knew “my recruiter is here.”

“I saw him, and he was in uniform, so I recognized him because he’s so tall,” she said.

Standing at six-feet, five-inches, Staff Sgt. Mitchell is not easily missed. Since immigrating to a new country and culture, Spc. Mitchell has never been separated from her husband, until attending Basic Combat Training.

“I didn’t see her until she was walking out,” said Staff Sgt. Mitchell. “She’s a tough little lady. I’m crazy proud of her.”

The couple were allowed to speak for a short time before Spc. Mitchell had to return to her daily duties. The following day, they were reunited for Family Day, where they were able to spend an entire day together visiting various parts of the installation and get lunch together.

After the graduation ceremony, Spc. Mitchell traveled back to her home state with her husband. Once there, Spc. Mitchell will rejoin her Reserve unit and attend Advanced Individual Training in the coming months.

When asked what her future might look like now that BCT is complete, Spc. Mitchell said she is excited to begin her new career and possibly a family. She also explained how her experience on Fort Jackson has helped her to understand her husband and brings them closer as a couple.

“The first year we were married I didn’t understand the little things like why he didn’t want to take his boots off in the house,” said Spc. Mitchell. “I understand him more now.”

Source: army.mil

What Qualifies Someone as a Veteran?

LinkedIn
woman veteran holding child who has a U.S. Flag in his hand

By Keith King

Here are just a few examples of the statements we hear when we ask someone to list their qualifications needed to be recognized as a veteran (and the true answer):

  • Anyone with an honorable discharge? NO
  • Must have been overseas?            NO
  • Must have served during a period of war? NO
  • National Guard and Reserve members? Maybe, under specific conditions.
  • Anyone who has a DD-214 form? NO
  • If they served, they are a Veteran? NO

The key is understanding the person’s service record: Did he or she serve in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge or medal was authorized. Was he or she awarded the campaign badge or medal? Just serving during the time period does not qualify most reservists or guardsmen or women.

To devise a way to recognize our troops serving in a “war,” the Department of Defense (DoD) created designated periods of conflict that if you serve in an area of hostility and are awarded a campaign medal, you are considered a veteran. We use, “180 days of active duty not counting training or 1 day in a combat zone,” as our rule of thumb to determine if a person is a veteran or not. This is a much higher standard than what the Veteran Affairs (VA) uses for benefit awards.

To be a veteran, a service member must have:

—        180 days of consecutive active duty (not counting training)

—        Or one day in a combat zone: served on Active Duty during a period of war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge was authorized.

—        Served in the National Guard or Reserve for 20 years and retired under honorable conditions. (passed 2016)

The form no one tells you about is, in many cases, more important than the one everyone thinks they know (DD214). The DD 256 and 257 are issued when the person has not met the active duty requirements to be considered a veteran by the DoD. But having a DD214 form doesn’t automatically mean you are a veteran! What is truly bothersome is that people who have served but don’t qualify as a veteran can request a DD214. To the untrained eye, this person has a DD214 and in most cases their character of service is honorable, so people think that person is a veteran. But they’re not!

In a recent report, the DoD admitted that data is collected from 30 different sources to “build” a DD-214. The truth about a DD214: it takes a highly trained person who understands veteran laws and exactly what the information is showing them to determine if that person meets the standards to be called a veteran.

The National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) uses: Title 38 U.S. Code § 4211 as our standard to determine the definition of a veteran. The applicant must have received an Honorable Discharge (HD) or Discharge Under Honorable Conditions (UHC).

The NVBDC does not accept DD214’s from the applicant. Why? One word: Photoshop. The most downloaded Federal form is the blank DD-214. It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that the amount of fraud in the Federal purchasing programs, especially the VA, is estimated at over $500 million per year per government estimates.

Keith King is the founder and CEO of the NVBDC as well as a 40-year veteran advocate with heavy legislative experience and a strong record of success in writing, lobbying for, and getting passage of laws to benefit all veterans. He is an expert in veteran law and VA claims, and the difference between them.

Keep Watch! Social Media Scams Affect the Military

LinkedIn
man in military uniform holding a smartphone with a scam alert image on it

By Katie Lange

Nowadays, you have to be cautious of everything you do online. Scammers are always trying to get money, goods or services out of unsuspecting people—and military members are often targets.

Here are some scams that have recently been affecting service members, Defense Department employees and their families.

Romance Scams

In April, Army Criminal Investigation Command put out a warning about romance scams in which online predators go on dating sites claiming to be deployed active-duty soldiers. It’s a problem that’s affecting all branches of service—not just the Army.

CID said there have been hundreds of claims each month from people who said they’ve been scammed on legitimate dating apps and social media sites. According to the alleged victims, the scammers have asked for money for fake service-related needs, such as transportation, communications fees, processing and medical fees—even marriage. CID said many of the victims have lost tens of thousands of dollars and likely won’t get that money back.

Remember: Service members and government employees DO NOT PAY to go on leave, have their personal effects sent home, or fly back to the United States from an overseas assignment. Scammers will sometimes provide false paperwork to make their case, but real service members make their own requests for time off. Also, any official military or government emails will end in .mil or .gov—not .com—so be suspicious if you get a message claiming to be from the military or government that doesn’t have one of those addresses.

If you’re worried about being scammed, know what red flags to look for. If you think you’ve been a victim, contact the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center and the Federal Trade Commission.

DOD officials said task forces are working to deal with the growing problem, but the scammers are often from African nations and are using cyber cafes with untraceable email addresses, then routing their accounts across the world to make them incredibly difficult to trace. So be vigilant!

‘Sextortion’

Sexual extortion—known as “sextortion”—is when a service member is seduced into sexual activities online that are unknowingly recorded and used against them for money or goods. Often, if a victim caves on a demand, the scammer will just likely demand more.

Service members are attractive targets for these scammers for a few reasons:

  • They’re often young men who are away from home and have an online presence.
  • They have a steady income and are often more financially stable than civilians.
  • Because of their careers, they’re held to a higher standard of conduct.
  • Military members have security clearances and know things that might be of interest to adversaries.

To avoid falling victim to sextortion, don’t post or exchange compromising photos or videos with ANYONE online, and make sure your social media privacy settings limit the information outsiders can see—this includes advertising your affiliation with the military or government. Be careful when you’re communicating with anyone you don’t personally know online, and trust your instincts. If people seem suspicious, stop communicating with them.

DOD officials said sextortion often goes unreported because many victims are embarrassed they fell for it. But it happens worldwide and across all ranks and services. Here’s what you should do about it if it happens to you:

  • Stop communicating with the scammer.
  • Contact your command and your local CID office.
  • Do NOT pay the perpetrator.
  • Save all communications you had with that person.

Service Member Impersonation Scams

Scammers love to impersonate people of authority, and that includes service members.

These people often steal the identity or profile images of a service member and use them to ask for money or make claims that involve the sale of vehicles, house rentals or other big-ticket items. These scammers often send the victim bogus information about the advertised product and ask for a wire transfer through a third party to finish the purchase, but there’s no product at the end of the transaction.

Lately, fake profiles of high-ranking American military officials have been popping up on social media websites using photos and biographical information obtained from the internet. Scammers often replicate recent social media posts from official DOD accounts and interact with official accounts to increase the appearance of legitimacy. As an example, there are impersonator accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. These accounts are also interacting with Joint Staff account followers in an effort to gain trust and elicit information. The only Joint Staff leader with an official social media presence is Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Wayne Troxell, who is listed as @SEAC.JCS on Facebook and @SEAC_Troxell on Twitter.

Scammers are making these profiles to defraud potential victims. They claim to be high-ranking or well-placed government/military officials or the surviving spouse of former government leaders, then they promise big profits in exchange for help in moving large sums of money, oil or some other commodity. They offer to transfer significant amounts of money into the victim’s bank account in exchange for a small fee. Scammers that receive payment are never heard from again.

Here are some ways to lower the chances of you being impersonated or duped by a scammer:

To avoid having your personal data and photos stolen from your social media pages, limit the details you provide on them and don’t post photos that include your name tag, unit patch and rank.

If an alleged official messages you with a request or demand, look closely at his or her social media page. Often, official accounts will be verified, meaning they have a blue circle with a checkmark right beside their Twitter, Facebook or Instagram name. General and flag officers will not message anyone directly requesting to connect or asking for money.

Search for yourself online—both your name and images you’ve posted—to see if someone else is trying to use your identity. If you do find a false profile, contact that social media platform and report it.

Source: defense.gov

Sailor of the Day!

LinkedIn
U.S. Navy Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Lesley Carrasco, from Anaheim, California, poses for a photograph as the Sailor of the Day with Capt. Randy Peck, right, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), and Command Master Chief Marc Puco in the Atlantic Ocean, Nov. 8, 2019. The John C. Stennis is underway conducting routine operations in support of Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

U.S. Navy Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Lesley Carrasco, from Anaheim, California, poses for a photograph as the Sailor of the Day with Capt. Randy Peck, right, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), and Command Master Chief Marc Puco in the Atlantic Ocean, Nov. 8, 2019.

The John C. Stennis is underway conducting routine operations in support of Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic.

U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Thomas R. Pittman.

Source: outreach.navy.mil/

About The Navy Office of Community Outreach
The Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO) connects Americans with their Navy. With most of the Navy’s personnel and equipment logically concentrated on America’s coasts, NAVCO oversees a number of community outreach programs designed to bring America’s Navy to cities throughout the country which do not enjoy a significant Navy presence.

Jimmy Fallon surprises military veteran with $50K in heartwarming video

LinkedIn
Jimmy Fallon hugs military souse on the Tonight Show

To mark Veteran’s Day, Jimmy Fallon had a couple of announcements in store. The first was that The Tonight Show would be donating $150,000 to Fisher House Foundation, a charity that “provides housing for families of military and veterans while their loved one is receiving treatment.”

The second surprise, meanwhile, was even closer to home.

“Our friends at The Home Depot Foundation started a brand new contest this year called Operation Surprise, where people all across the country get to nominate a U.S. military veteran in need, and the winner gets $25,000 to go towards critical home repairs,” explains Fallon in the clip above.

“It’s a great thing, and I’m happy to say that the winner of this year’s Operation Surprise contest is here with us tonight.”

Just watch the face of the winner — a veteran of the Air Force — as her name is called out.

 

Continue on to Mashable to read the complete article

Sailor uses laser range finder aboard USS John P. Murtha

LinkedIn
Alejandra Murillo users laser USS John P. Murtha

Lt.j.g. Alejandra Murillo, from Huntington Beach, Calif., uses a laser range finder on the forecastle of the amphibious transport dock ship USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26) as the ship arrives in Okinawa, Japan.

The John P. Murtha is currently on its first deployment and part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) team and is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to support regional stability, reassure partners and allies, and maintain a presence postured to respond to any crisis ranging from humanitarian assistance to contingency operations.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kyle Carlstrom)

Source: Navy Office of Community Outreach

Meet the U.S. Army Medical Command Equal Opportunity Advisor of the Year

LinkedIn
Sgt. 1st Class Brian Wharton in uniform with U.S. Flag behind him

By Mr. John Ciccarelli (Regional Health Command Pacific)

It was April Fools’ Day when Sgt. 1st Class Brian Wharton received news he couldn’t believe. Through fragmented texts exchanged during a flight across the Pacific Ocean, Wharton discovered that he had been named the Equal Opportunity Advisor (EOA) of the Year for U.S. Army Medical Command.

“I was thinking to myself, ‘No way!'” he said. “It wasn’t until I landed that I received the confirmation letter in my e-mail.”

Wharton assumed duties as an EOA after graduating from the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute in 2017. Assigned to Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC), he immersed himself in building relationships with the staff of more than 4,500 Soldiers and civilians, which earned him widespread admiration and gratitude.

“His drive and determination as EOA have established a positive climate for the command and adherence to higher standards of equality through awareness initiatives, open and focused discussions, and providing sound advice to the commander and staff members,” said Col. Mary V. Krueger, Commander of TAMC.

The EO program is the Army’s way of validating the values we stand for in a visible way, Wharton said.

“Embracing our differences, acknowledging our histories, and showing respect for the plethora of people that make up our military forces shows our Soldiers that we are not separate entities but rather one and the same,” added Wharton.

Wharton has been busy planning, coordinating and executing observances across the Army. The Army Hawaii EO office selected Tripler to lead eight observances in fiscal year 2018, setting the standard for other units.

“As the world is evolving, so are we as individuals,” Wharton said. “We must continue to create a safe place for individuals to talk about differences and create solutions to work well as a multidisciplinary team from various backgrounds. Our ability to do this is what makes us great.”

Wharton was born and raised in Detroit. He enlisted in the Army in 2003 and attended basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and advanced individual training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he became an Army healthcare specialist.

Wharton said it is important to embrace each opportunity to further the platform of EO to Soldiers, civilian counterparts and the communities in which we serve.

“Creating partnerships that haven’t been created before and soliciting assistance from outside organizations will make for a larger impact and lasting changes throughout the world,” said Wharton.

Source: army.mil

Together We Served: A website to help you find old friends

LinkedIn
Group of U.S. Military pictured in rows wearing military uniforms

The United States military is a brotherhood and sisterhood like no other. Those who serve together form a common sense of purpose and devotion to duty. It’s a level of trust not commonly found in civilian life.

Those military friendships last forever. But as life moves, and when people leave the military, they often lose touch with those friends, some of whom they would have given their life for.

Tracking down old friends, particularly if you have been out of the service many years, is not always easy. But there is one company that can help. Together We Served (TWS) is a Veteran-only website, launched in 2003. It provides Veterans a highly-effective means to reconnect with old service-friends. One simply enters their service history onto their TWS Military Service Page. TWS built an individual website for each branch of service and, with over 1.9 million Veteran members, the chances of finding people you served with is high.

The secret behind TWS’s ability to connect more Veterans is the depth of its databases. Over the past 16 years, TWS has built one of the most comprehensive databases of U.S. Military training and operating units in existence. Its databases span from WW2 to present day.

Military Service Page

By creating your Military Service Page on Together We Served, you can not only find Veterans who went to the same basic training as you, or served in the same units or duty stations, but also those who participated in the same combat or non-combat operations. TWS’s search engine automatically matches the service information you enter on your Military Service Page with the service information on the Military Service Pages of all other TWS members. Those members, whose entries could match yours, get listed on your Service Page. That is what enables you to make contact with those you may know. This powerful feature helps Veterans remember forgotten names.

Finding key people on TWS can be very helpful, especially if you need or can provide witness account to support a potential VA claim.

“We are especially proud of the fact that Together We Served has been able to help hundreds of thousands of Veterans to reconnect with old service friends they would otherwise never see or hear of again. For a combat Veteran, in particular, to be able to re-unite with someone you went through hell and back with, can be a very cathartic experience”. –Brian Foster, President and Founder of Together We Served

Take this opportunity to reconnect with the servicemen and women you shared some of the most important times of your life with. In recognition of your service, Together We Served provides all VA Veterans with a FREE One Year Premium Membership, providing unlimited people searches, when you join TWS via the following link: join.togetherweserved.com/va

Continue on to the VA website to read the complete article.