Some of the 'Services' and 'Programs we have available
Happy Thanksgiving to ALL our Veterans & Military
Welcome to Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida 'a Source for Veteran Resources'
180 W. Idaho Ave, Ontario, Oregon 97914
Some of the 'Services' and 'Programs we have available
Happy Thanksgiving to ALL our Veterans & Military
180 W. Idaho Ave, Ontario, Oregon 97914
THANKSGIVING DAY WAS PRESENT IN 1777 WHEN G. WASHINGTON PROCLAIMED A DAY OF THANKSGIVING READ MORE FURTHER DOWN ON THIS MAIN PAGE
"WAR IS MANKIND'S MOST TRAGIC AND STUPID FOLLY; TO SEEK OR ADVISE ITS DELIBERATE PROVOCATION IS A BLACK CRIME AGAINST ALL MEN. THOUGH YOU FOLLOW THE TRADE OF THE WARRIOR, YOU DO SO IN THE SPIRIT OF WASHINGTON - - NOT GENGHIS KHAN. FOR AMERICANS, ONLY THREAT TO OUR WAY OF LIFE JUSTIFIES RESORT TO CONFLICT".
Graduation speech to Exercises at the United States Military Academy 1947
By General Dwight Eisenhower: 34th President of the United States, 1st Supreme Allied Commander Europe, 16th US Army Chief of Staff, 13 President of Columbia University
Military Battles & Wars: Mexican Revolution, Pancho Villa Expedition, WWI and WWII
THE ONTARIO OREGON ELKS LODGE #1690, AT 20 SW 3rd STREET, ONTARIO, OR
INVITES VETERANS & THEIR FAMILIES TO A ROAST BEEF DINNER & DESSERT
NO CHARGE FOR VETERANS & THEIR FAMILIES - BUT A 'CASH BAR'
SATURDAY DECEMBER 2, 2023 - FROM 6:00PM TO 7:30PM
CALL VETERAN ADVOCATES OF ORE-IDA FOR A RESERVATION
988” is now the easy-to-remember three-digit, nationwide number to connect directly to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline for 24/7 crisis care.
The Chairman of Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida, Ronald Verini, writes two articles every month for publication in a Regional Newspaper, this article "HELP FOR SUICIDE, "MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE" will be published NOVEMBER 19, 2023. Here is a part of Mr. Verini's article, and you can read the full article by clicking the red bar below.
My Personal Experience
November 19th, 2023 Veterans Column by Ronald Verini
I share with you today my experience that occurs all to often in applying for benefits for service-connected injuries.
You would think that the military would have at its fingertips all the records and would be calling me up to let me know that I would have some benefits coming to me for injuries sustained. I certainly would think that even though I was not a combat, boots on the ground grunt, I would think that the VA system would think, of me as a person that deserved all that I would be entitled to without me having to prove I was still in pain. That is not the case and what actually happened is after 50 years of varying degrees of pain I thought I would see if the VA would compensate me a little for suffering all these years.
They never called me to let me know if I might be able to get additional benefits, but found out that I needed to fill out forms describing when I was injured, the surgery that occurred in the service, then prove to them that I deserve benefits. I thought that my military records from Vietnam would be proof enough. Clearly that would not be enough. The VA sent me a nice letter letting me know that I would have to appear before a third party contracted by the VA to be interrogated and drilled with questions. Do you know how demeaning and small a person feels knowing that your future benefits are in the hands of a person that you will have seen this one time? Cold and humiliating and whether or not I get these benefits is not the point of this column. The purpose is to let the civilian population know that all service members that serve need to know that they are respected for their service and should be treated with total dignity and not put through a ringer. My contact at this meeting mentioned that his questions and this meeting would be an examination of the records that I have submitted to the VA and that no other records that I brought with me would be reviewed and he would not be able to accept any that I brought with me.
The interview started with him not being able to access any of my records, he was having trouble with his computer. He never had access to any of my records during the whole time and eventually looked at some of my records that I brought with me regarding recent physical therapy and took some notes off of them, then handed them back. Not once did he have access to my records, so we never discussed my records, not once and the main purpose of the meeting was not accomplished, sorry state of affairs.
I am sure the person that interviewed me thought the respect was shown, the courtesies given and the questions were righteous. I am also sure his report will show all the ‘t’s crossed and ‘i’s’ dotted. The numbers will probably appear what a great job this company is doing to help whittle the claim numbers down. The statistics will look great. The reality of the process and my experience will be hidden from view.
. TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE PLEASE CLICK THE RED BAR BELOW
The Food Pantry at Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida has really expanded and grown over the last few years. There has been such an increase of our Veteran and Military Families needing help to handle the increasing problems of 'food insecurity'. We do have a 'modest' pantry open every Monday and Thursday from 9:30am to 3:30pm. Give a call to 541-889-1978 to let us know you are coming to pick up Food Box. Please let us know how many in your family and about when your coming.
Also, if you are interested in volunteering to help our veterans and the Food Pantry please give us a call or come on in and see what we are doing...
Thanksgiving is a hallowed American tradition filled with family, food, football and fun, but did you know we can attribute its creation largely to the military?
While conventional wisdom dates the first Thanksgiving back to 1621, when pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts, joined in with local Native Americans to celebrate the fall harvest, it wasn’t a celebration that continued from year to year.
In fact, Thanksgiving didn’t really become any kind of tradition until we were trying to unify the nation during two of our biggest early struggles – the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.
During the revolution, the Continental Congress decided to declare several days of thanksgiving to help inspire our troops to victory. The first such day fell on Nov. 1, 1777, when news of some victories against the British reached their ears.
Gen. George Washington also called for a day of thanksgiving on Dec. 18, 1777, as a victory celebration for the colonial army’s win during the Battle of Saratoga that October. He later issued the first formal Thanksgiving Day proclamation for the U.S. when he was president, setting the date for Nov. 26, 1789.
While that date fell around that of our current-day holiday, Thanksgiving still failed to become an annual tradition until about 75 years later – when President Abraham Lincoln decided to renew the celebration in 1863, during the height of the Civil War.
Even as war raged across the country, Lincoln called for a day of thanks to be held on the last Thursday in November. The day would be known as Thanksgiving – and the tradition finally became official.
For many years, the presidents who came after Lincoln kept Thanksgiving on that final Thursday of the month. But during World War II, there were two years in a row in which November had five Thursdays, confusing a lot of people and causing a lot of arguments about which date Thanksgiving would fall on.
In 1942, Congress passed a resolution to clarify that every fourth Thursday of November would be Thanksgiving Day.
During World War I, the Red Cross and other auxiliary organizations started providing Thanksgiving aid to soldiers, while families in places like France, where our soldiers were stationed, would take them into their homes for the day.
During World War II, C- or K-rations were replaced with turkey and cranberry for the holiday. It was either shipped in by the military or collected from local farmers. Nowadays, the Defense Logistics Agency is able to ship out a traditional Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, pumpkin pie and all the fixins to tens of thousands of service members across the world.
The previous 988 Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis.
When people call, text, or chat with the 988 Lifeline, they are connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing 988 Lifeline network, made up of over 200 local crisis centers. These counselors are trained to provide free and confidential emotional support and crisis counseling to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, and connect them to resources. These services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, across the United States.
Need Support Now?
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.
Personas que hablan español ahora pueden conectarse directamente con consejeros para crisis de habla hispana:
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available 24/7. The Lifeline is for people in any type of behavioral health crisis, such as:
People can get help by:
The Lifeline answers calls, texts and chats in English or Spanish, with interpretation services for more than 250 languages.
The Lifeline can also help people who worry that their loved may be in crisis.
HUMOR IN COMBAT
Black Rifle Coffee Company
Scott Ford served in the US Army for 21 years and is the recipient of a Silver Star for his actions in Afghanistan on April 6, 2008, while serving as the team sergeant of Operational Detachment Alpha 3336 (ODA-3336).
Ford struck up a conversation with a fellow passenger while on his flight to a training event. She was a psychologist, and they were discussing different ways to handle heavy stress. One of her suggestions for handling stressful situations was to imagine breaking crayons. At the time, Ford didn’t realize this suggestion would pop into his head years later during a firefight in Iraq.
During a mission one night in Sadr City, Iraq, Ford and his Special Forces team were pinned down on top of a roof while supporting the main assault element.
“It was one of those little aggravating gunfights where we just can’t find the guy to kill him, and we’re trying all kinds of unique things,” Ford recalled.
It got to a point where Ford and his teammate sat down behind their cover to think through a solution to finally kill the insurgent who had them pinned down. Then a smile creeped across Ford’s face, despite the bullets impacting their cover. His teammate looked at him with bewilderment and said, “What the fuck are you thinking about right now?”
Ford looked at him and said, “I’m like, breaking fucking crayons, bro.” They both busted out in laughter. After regaining composure, they figured out a way to take out the insurgent.
“You know, it’s just one of those moments where anybody else would look at us like, you guys are fucking weird, you know?” Ford said.
Ford believes veterans are unique because they have the ability to laugh in dire situations. Ford and his old teammates still get together from time to time, and the story about breaking crayons always
January 2023 by Jim Absher Military.com
Everyone knows about the federal benefits available to veterans, but did you know many states also offer great benefits to their veterans? State benefits range from free college and employment resources to free hunting and fishing licenses. Most states also offer tax breaks for their veterans and specialized license plates, and some states even provide their veterans with cash bonuses just for serving in the military.
We have compiled a handy summary of the benefits each state and territory offers. Each summary page also has a link directly to the specific State Department of Veterans Affairs, so be sure to check it out. There may be a benefit available to you or your family that you didn't know about!. To choose your State click on the Red Bar below
October 6, 2023 by Russell Lemle & Jasper Craven - Task & Purpose
The realm of veterans health care policymaking has, for a decade, been dominated by a dangerous libertarian fallacy, namely that greater personal choice and less government involvement are unequivocally advantageous. Allowing more options, lawmakers and advocates contend, benefits every veteran. It’s even framed as a patriotic “defense of freedom.”
A pair of bills being actively considered in Congress represent the culmination of this fervent, albeit deeply unfounded, conviction. For the first time, powerful Senators are pushing for veterans to have total leeway to decide where they wish to receive care — at a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility or in the private sector.
The impact of these proposals will be calamitous. In the name of health care freedom, millions of veterans will lose VA choices, options they not only depend on but are of superior caliber. With in-house care as the default, the VA consistently furnishes integrated health care of higher quality and with shorter wait times than the private sector.
Due to previously passed laws, millions of veteran patients and billions of dollars have already poured into private providers. To understand the consequence of these new bills, water provides a helpful allegory. Imagine, for a moment, two hillside landowners who share the same stream. One lives uphill, near the stream’s source. The other has a dwelling downstream. For years, the two households have had ample supply for their respective needs. But then, the household up the hill plants crops and irrigates them, diverting an increasing amount from the stream. In short order, the downstream home’s water dwindles, and its owner is forced to move.
Veterans’ health care is now nearing this type of inflection point. Should the private sector obtain unfettered upstream dollars, too little will be left downstream, leading to the closure of VA programs and units. This will imperil the 2.7 million men and women who rely exclusively on the VA for all of their health care needs and the 1.6 million who use it for most of their care. Many have catastrophic war-related ailments, like lost limbs or traumatic brain injuries, which civilian providers are ill-equipped to treat. In July, the Disabled American Veterans urgently sounded the alarm over this future with an article entitled “A Broken Promise: What if VA Care Goes Away?”
The grim danger of these bills is being slyly obscured by their authors. Take U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), author of the misleadingly titled Veterans Health Care Freedom Act. Her bill would drastically modify the process by which enrolled veterans obtain care, allowing them to utilize – and overutilize – private providers without VA authorization, referral, or oversight. VA’s only role would be to pick up the tab.
The second legislation, the Veterans’ HEALTH Act introduced by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), has the same prerogatives, except that it starts on a smaller scale. Another bill provision would offer private care to veterans simply if that is their “preference.”
Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida was founded by a group of veterans who saw a need for better support and resources for the veteran community. Our organization is committed to providing assistance to veterans in need, whether it's help finding a job, connecting with mental health resources, or accessing affordable housing. We believe that every veteran deserves access to the care and support they need to thrive after serving our country.
Are you passionate about supporting veterans and giving back to your community? Join our team of dedicated volunteers and make a difference in the lives of those who have served. We offer a variety of volunteer opportunities, from helping with fundraising events to providing mentorship to veterans in need. Contact us today at 541-889-1978 to learn more about getting involved with Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida.
BY JOSHUA SKOVLUND | UPDATED OCT 19, 2023 3:36 PM EDT -
Task and Purpose
Donning your beret is likely one of the proudest moments in your military career. Each beret has a long history, usually unique to the unit and the military personnel wearing it. So, when you make it through a grueling assessment and selection, putting on your new distinctive headgear is the first step of what’s sure to be a fulfilling career.
Soldiers wore different colors for years despite not being actually authorized to wear anything but a patrol cap. Now, there are enough authorized berets throughout the U.S. military that it could make a violent rainbow if they were all in formation together. Who wears what can be confusing, especially when two units use the same color.
You can start by narrowing it down to just the branches that issue berets; the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps don’t have any authorized for their personnel. But the U.S. Army and Air Force have enough to make up for the rest.
It is important to note that, like the green beret, the black beret was worn in an unauthorized fashion for some time. The Army’s armored and cavalry forces started wearing black berets in the early 1960s, but its first authorized use wasn’t until the Rangers picked it up.
Gen. Eric Shinseki and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz announced their decision to adopt the black beret as the official headgear of the entire U.S. Army on March 16, 2001. Their announcement enraged the 75th Ranger Regiment, and several Rangers called for the decision to be reversed.
The Rangers felt their hard-earned history was being tarnished by handing out their headgear to soldiers who didn’t undergo the rigorous assessment and selection required to become Rangers. Shinseki never walked back the decision, and the black berets became a staple in the U.S. Army — for a while.
The Army’s patrol cap replaced the black beret as the default headgear for the Army Combat Uniform in 2011, but it’s still required for soldiers wearing the Army Service Uniform (ASU). ASUs are now transitioning to an optional, formal, or ceremonial uniform as the new Army Green Service Uniform is phased in.
The elite airborne soldiers of the 75th Ranger Regiment wear the tan beret, as well as the Ranger-qualified cadre assigned to the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade. The distinctive beret has become a hallmark of the Ranger way of life.
But the tan beret wasn’t the original headgear worn by the Rangers. The black beret was first authorized for Rangers to wear on January 30, 1975, when the modern battalions were stood up after the Vietnam War. But after the black beret was authorized for the Army’s entire formation, the Rangers chose a different beret color.
The 75th Ranger Regiment pivoted to a tan, or as it was originally designated, khaki-colored beret. Khaki was the color of one of the six combat teams of the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), commonly referred to as Merrill’s Marauders. Merrill’s Marauders is where the lineage of the modern-day 75th Ranger Regiment began.
U.S. Army Special Forces have worn the green beret since 1953 when Special Forces Maj. Herbert Bruckerdesignated it as their headgear. In the same year, 1st Lt. Roger Pezelle adopted it for use on his A-team, Operational Detachment FA32. However, it was not officially authorized by the U.S. Army until 1961.
President John F. Kennedy authorized Special Forces to wear the famous green beret, marking it the first authorized unit beret in the U.S. military. Kennedy later described the green beret as a “symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom.”
The green beret is still worn today by soldiers who graduate from the Special Forces Qualification Course and are awarded the Special Forces tab.
Marine Corps leadership selected 29 Navajo men, the Navajo Code Talkers, who created a code based on the complex, unwritten Navajo language. The code primarily used word association by assigning a Navajo word to key phrases and military tactics. This system enabled the Code Talkers to translate three lines of English in 20 seconds, not 30 minutes as was common with existing code-breaking machines
By B.B. Sanders, The War Horse
I remember it like it was yesterday. Receiving live ammo for the first time. It reminded me of when my dad would deal out .30-06 rounds the morning before a hunt. I never got over how similar those two feelings are.
I remember landing and hauling every bit of gear I had across the flight line. The heat. Vomit bubbling in my stomach. I watched a wagon train of fellow soldiers walk off the flight line into the terminal of Baghdad International Airport.
I remember the command sergeant major telling us this was the real deal. A steady stream of rockets that day substantiated his claim, even disrupting Toby Keith’s USO tour later that night. The Phalanx cannons sent a laser beam of exploding .50 caliber rounds into the sky in a brilliant fireworks display of protection.
I remember looking over Sadaam’s leftover aircraft. I still have the gas cap to his 747. Dust settled over everything. Pigeon shit covered the two big hangars they put us in.
I remember it all.
But to this day nothing is so visceral as watching Kevin Keester’s blood wash out of his OH-58D. I was 19. I had never seen anything like it.
A Troop, 3-17 Cavalry, from Fort Drum, New York had come up from Camp Buehring, Kuwait. Their sole mission — get to Baghdad. They carried no ammo and were maxed out on fuel. The idea was to fly fast and low, avoiding any shenanigans on the way in.
by Col. Paris Davis, MilitaryTimes.com
The nation is commemorating the 50th anniversary of America’s withdrawal from Vietnam through Veterans Day 2025, per presidential decree. But we cannot allow any lingering ambivalence on the legacy of the war — or anything else — to further delay honoring the extraordinary contributions of our most covert warriors of that era.
When I recently received the Medal of Honor for the 19-hour battle my Army Special Forces unit fought in Bong Son, Vietnam in 1965, President Joe Biden said, “It’s never too late to do the right thing.”
Indeed, we are well past time to do what’s right, and finally honor the elite U.S Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Studies and Observations Group, or MACV-SOG, with a Congressional Gold Medal.
This revolutionary, top-secret group operated in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1964 to 1972. Its members fought deep within enemy territory to gather invaluable intelligence for the highest levels of government, including the White House. Their tasks included strategic reconnaissance, sabotage, direct-action raids, psychological operations, deception operations, and rescue missions. The group targeted the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a crucial enemy supply line for the North Vietnamese enemy. Aerial reconnaissance was challenging, making the intelligence provided by SOG teams on the ground invaluable.
Casualty rates for SOG reconnaissance teams exceeded 100%, meaning every man was wounded at least once and approximately half were killed. Of the 1,579 Americans missing in action from the Vietnam War, 50 are from the group. At least 11 SOG teams, perhaps more, simply vanished.
The covert operations of SOG remained unacknowledged by military leadership until partial declassification began in the 1990s. Members of the unit had signed confidentiality agreements and their wartime activities remained mostly secret for decades. As SOG member John Stryker Meyer wrote in his book, Across the Fence: The Secret War in Vietnam, “If I died, no one would tell my mother the truth.”
The Congressional Gold Medal for MACV-SOG would help the American public better understand the members’ extraordinary service, sacrifices, and contributions to our nation. The men of this unit battled not only the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army, but also the harsh terrain, debilitating climate, and the chaos and uncertainty of guerilla warfare. They served with valor, often in situations where survival was the only measure of success. Let’s face it: The nation can handle the truth of their service.
The PACT Act provides new opportunities for Vietnam Veterans to access health care services and disability compensation? In this episode of theSITREP, Paul explains how PACT Act impacts Vietnam Veterans and how you can find additional information about the PACT Act.
By Amanda Miller, Military.com
The Department of Veterans Affairs screened more than 4 million U.S. military veterans in the first year of the new PACT Act to find out if they thought they'd been exposed to toxins during their military service. The vast majority of those screened were already enrolled in VA health care.
Of those millions of veterans, 1.7 million had "screened positive" for possible exposure, Steve Miska, the VA's PACT Act transitional executive director, told Military.com.
As a result, the VA is reaching back out to those veterans, "encouraging them to file a supplemental claim that could potentially increase benefits, whether on the health-care side or many of the other benefits," Miska said.
The PACT Act linked a variety of medical conditions with toxins common during specific eras or circumstances of military service. Rather than require veterans or their survivors to prove that a toxic exposure caused a given condition, the law assumes that some illnesses are service-connected if the person served in a certain place at a certain time. This means that veterans may be eligible for additional VA benefits based on past toxic exposure during their service.
Here's how the PACT Act could affect existing VA beneficiaries:
Veterans who already have a partial VA disability rating could have their rating increased now that the VA covers more conditions under the PACT Act, and they don't need to fear that applying could potentially cause their rating to decrease instead, VA officials told Military.com.
That increased rating could add up to a significant difference in monthly compensation, especially for veterans with dependents. For example, a veteran with a spouse and two dependent children under age 18 whose disability rating rises from 10% to 60% could see their pay rise from $165.92 a month to $1,588.65 a month in 2023.
"And we are not going [and] looking back at other service-connected issues trying to decrease those," Kaitlin Richards, assistant director in the VA's Office of Policy and Oversight, told Military.com.
I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.
If you want to learn how to implement these strategies to get the VA benefits you deserve, click here to speak with a VA claim expert for free.
HEY VETERANS! We’ve got some important news about the PACT Act—the game-changing bill for those exposed to toxic substances during military service.
The PACT Act, short for “Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022,” is a bill designed to help you and other veterans exposed to toxic substances during military service.
The bill addresses all of the following related to toxic exposure:
The law aims to make it easier for you to access VA medical care, including mental health services and counseling. It expands healthcare and presumption of toxic exposure for certain veterans, adds new conditions to the list of service presumptions, and strengthens research on toxic exposure.
The PACT Act also helps veterans like you if you don’t have sufficient evidence to win your VA claim, incorporates clinical questionnaires in initial screenings, and establishes outreach and education programs to better inform you and VA personnel about toxic exposure-related benefits and support.
We know dealing with these complex topics can be challenging, so we’re here to break it down for you. Let’s dive into what the PACT Act is all about, and how it can benefit you as a veteran.
The PACT Act brings some much-needed changes to the health care available for veterans exposed to toxic substances during their service. First, let’s break down exactly what toxic exposure looks like for veterans and how this law expands care.
Sandra K. Tiger is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and is also descended from the Seminole Nation. She had a long, successful military career and retired from the Army in 1993 after 20 years of service.
Tiger attended Basic Training at Fort McClellan, AL, during the Era of the Women’s Army Corps. Upon completion, she attended Advanced Individual Training at Fort Wadsworth, NY, as a Chaplain’s Assistant. Her first duty assignment was at Fort Sill, the U.S. Army Field Artillery Center, where she worked as a Personnel Actions Clerk (PAC). This was followed by an assignment to 5th Signal Command in Germany. During this period, she was reclassified as a 75E, making 71M as her secondary Military Occupational Skill (MOS). Upon returning to the United States, she was assigned to the 9th AG Company with duties in the Personnel Services Division, Fort Lewis, WA. Following this assignment, she was assigned to the U.S. Army Military Personnel Center in Alexandria, VA, where her work focused on helping the Army retrain soldiers to help alleviate Army shortages in Military Intelligence, Special Forces and specialties with critical needs. Next, she was reassigned to the Quarter Master Branch as a Team Non-commissioned Officer in Charge for Supply MOSs. Also during this period, she was selected to be a member of the Defense Advisory Committee of Women in the Service. She was a senior enlisted advisor to senior DOD leadership concerning women’s issues. She also participated in the Army uniform trials, providing recommendations on improvements and changes. She was reassigned to 1st Personnel Command in 1986, where she was NCOIC of the Sergeants Major (SGM) and Enlisted Aide Branch. She requested a reassignment to become the PAC Supervisor for HHC, USAREUR & 7th Army, the largest PAC in the Army at that time. Next, she was reassigned to work in the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, where she worked with Signal, Military Intelligence and Corps Headquarters documents. She was reassigned to U.S. Army Force Management Support Agency as a senior manpower analyst working with the Pacific Command and the 2nd Infantry Divison.
Upon retirement, Tiger embarked upon a career as a federal civil servant in both the Pentagon and at Fort Belvoir, VA, retiring from civil service in 2015. She worked for the Women in Military Service for America Memorial and enjoys volunteering with the Smithsonian, National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) as a volunteer research assistant for the National Native American Veterans Memorial. She has been with the project since 2017, from the design competition to the Dedication in 2022. Her research included working with the American Battle Monuments Commission to identify Native veterans buried in 26 permanent American military cemeteries and 32 federal memorials, monuments and markers located in 17 foreign countries, the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the British Dependency of Gibraltar. Her work also included outreach to Native Veterans groups, Native student organizations in the military academies, and all five branches of the Armed Forces. Post-dedication, she works with NMAI’s Office of Collections Management to ensure the respectful care and maintenance of the memorial, as well as the Office of Donor Engagement to act as an NMAI Ambassador to American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native Veterans throughout the United States.
"People who are food insecure are making choices on how to spend their last $20 or $50. Usually food is the flexible component, so they apply it to rent."
Photo-elicitation is a research method that combines detailed interviews with photographs taken by study participants. Researchers use it to gain a better understanding of complex topics. Often, the act of taking photographs—in response to questions from the researcher—can summon emotional responses in study participants. It can also help both participants and researchers gain insight into participants’ behaviors.
Dr. Nipa Kamdar is a researcher at the VA Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety (iQUeSt) in Houston. Her focus is food insecurity in Veterans. In October 2021, Kamdar published a commentary, in Public Health Nursing, on her use of photo-elicitation to study food insecurity in low-income, post 9/11 Veterans.
"[This is a picture of what was] in my fridge when I first started the project. You see [there's] hardly anything in there? And see how small the fridge is?" (Photo taken by Veteran study participant.)
The article discussed the results of an earlier study by Kamdar and colleagues that used photo-elicitation to better understand food insecurity in a group of post 9/11 Veterans with children. The researchers found that food insecurity in Veterans is highly intertwined with physical and mental health, military culture, and lack of basic resources like housing or transportation.
"We have the G.I. Bill, the Hazelwood Act, and the 'Voca Rehab' [Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment], but right now, I'm just using the G.I. Bill. It's the money from the G.I. Bill that helps us pay bills and stuff." (Photo taken by Veteran study participant.)
Food insecurity is defined as a limited ability to access food, largely due to financial considerations. In the U.S. population, about 10% of adults experience food insecurity, according to a 2020 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Veterans have about the same rate of food insecurity as the general population, but differ in their level of food insecurity, according to a 2021 study that looked at working-age Veterans with children. Veterans often experience a greater severity of food insecurity, Kamdar notes. "That severe level means they are cutting down on what they eat, or they are skipping meals."
Those Veterans and Families in the Ontario, Oregon area can reach out to our Food Pantry every Monday through Thursday from 9:30am to 3:30pm.
call 541-889-1978 to come pick up a FOOD BOX.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE FOR US AND OUR GREAT NATION !!!
Centenarian Julia Parsons, who spent war deciphering German messages, refuses to accept limitations.
Fresh out of Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1942, Parsons read in the newspaper that the Navy was accepting women for a unit called Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, or WAVES. After joining and completing three months of general training, Parsons was sent to a communications annex in Washington, D.C.
When her group was asked if anyone spoke German, Parsons responded that she took two years of German in high school.
"That hardly qualified me for much of anything in the translations line,” Parsons told AARP, “but they sent me right off to the section where I worked decoding the German submarine traffic, which is what I did until the end of the war."
Because the premise of WAVES, established in 1942, was to fill certain military roles to free up more men to fight overseas, almost all of the service members who worked decoding enemy messages were women.
"Although we did have four or five men in the office, most of them were mathematics professors,” said Parsons. “They were very nice, but they were not regular Navy people."
Using one of the first computers, called the “Bombe,” Parsons assisted in uncovering messages that the German High Command sent to its submarines. Decoding would reveal where submarines planned to meet, their mission destinations and the weather conditions. More mundane personal messages that would have typically been sent by mail related to family deaths, new babies and upcoming weddings were also decoded.
Parsons, in her early 20s at the time, got an apartment in Washington with another woman who worked in the Japanese section of the WAVES. However, despite their curiosities, the two would never talk about their respective work with one another.
"Everybody was united against Hitler,” Parsons said, so no one pried each other for information.
BY JOSHUA SKOVLUND, TASK & PURPOSE
Thibodeaux plans to rebuild the fuselage to resemble an MH-47G Chinook, the same type of helicopter that Arcane 22 was.
Jeremy Thibodeaux was driving back to Hunter Army Airfield, where he was assigned to B Co., 3rd battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) — known as the “Nightstalkers” — when he heard that a special operations Chinook helicopter had crashed in Afghanistan over the radio. Thibodeaux immediately felt sick — he knew this meant some of his friends had probably died.
His worst fear was realized after arriving on base. Two of his friends, Josue “Sway” Hernandez and Nickolas Mueller, were aboard an MH-47G helicopter, “Arcane 22,” that had crashed during a counter-narcotics raid in Afghanistan on Oct. 26, 2009.
“Upon arriving, I found out exactly who was killed, and I just dropped to my knees, just screaming and crying — kind of pulling my hair out,” Thibodeaux said. “I didn’t really know what to do. You know, two of my best friends were on that aircraft. It was just a really — it was a horrible day.”
On Tuesday, Thibodeaux received approval from the Internal Revenue Service for his newly established non-profit, The Arcane Project.
The idea was born years ago when Thibodeaux was still serving. As older CH-47 models became outdated, he joked that he wanted to acquire one to convert into a private bar for guys from the unit. Years later, Thibodeaux brought up the idea with one of his best friends, Chip Davis, and the idea for a non-profit was born.
Whiskey has likely been around for some of your most memorable late-night shenanigans in the barracks or downtown. If there’s anything America’s airborne paratroopers know, it’s how to fight and how to drink good whiskey.
So we talked to four Airborne-qualified master distillers who took their well-researched opinions and made some of the best whiskeys out there. Although they make good whiskey, remember that you have gone too far if you find yourself in the brig. Drink responsibly.
In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, America was struggling to pay off its war debt (ah, the good ol’ days when America cared about keeping the nation’s debt under control). Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton proposed a tax in the late 1700s on domestic liquor as a means of paying it off — which was met with opposition from whiskey makers in Pennsylvania.
The Whiskey Rebellion that resulted was short-lived, but it was not the last time whiskey would be involved in war. The brown elixir fueled soldiers throughout the Civil War, especially the North, who were paid better and could afford it.
Gen. Ulysses S. Grant slammed Old Crow whiskey, and President Abraham Lincoln allegedly likened the General’s success on the battlefield to his liquor consumption. The New York Herald reported in a Sept. 18, 1863 edition of the newspaper that Lincoln was approached by a group calling for Grant to be removed from his position, claiming he was a drunk.
The tall hat-wearing president allegedly responded with a quirky quip, asking the group if they knew what Grant was drinking.
“If I can only find out, I will send a barrel of this wonderful whiskey to every general in the army,” Lincoln allegedly said. Historians contest the legitimacy of the quote because of the anonymous sources, but the legend lives on to this day.
Whiskey’s relationship with soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen is not a coincidence, in Derek Sisson’s opinion.
by Sarah Sicard, Observation Post
One of the best pieces of advice, for people in careers both in and out of service, is to learn to deal with things or take the bad in stride.
But the military, famed for its ability to turn a phrase or ruin anything with an absurd acronym, came up with its own colloquialism for making the best of any situation: “Embrace the suck.”
Though it’s impossible to trace back the phrase definitively to its first user, it became popularized in 2003 by Marines in Iraq.
Retired U.S. Army Reserve Col. Austin Bay authored a book in the mid-2000s called “Embrace the Suck,” in which he explains the meaning of the phrase.
“The Operation Iraqi Freedom phrase ‘embrace the suck’ is both an implied order and wise advice couched as a vulgar quip,” Bay wrote.
He likens the slang phrase back to legendary military strategist Prussian General Carl von Clausewitz and his views on “friction.”
“Clausewitz went to war when he was 12 years old,” Bay wrote. “Over the last few decades, critics have argued that his treatise ‘On War’ is a bit dated in terms of theory. However, everyone with military experience agrees that Clausewitz understood ‘the suck.’ He called it ‘friction.’”
For Clausewitz, it’s this “friction, or what is so termed here, which makes that which appears easy in war difficult in reality.”
Troops, in their resilience, in effect, mitigate the chasm of difference between training or planning and the often harsh realities they face on the ground. And they do it with aplomb, because they must.
The U.S. military may be a professional war-fighting organization, but it is also filled with people, and people can be very stupid sometimes. That’s why last week, Task & Purpose put out a call for readers to share the dumbest moments they had in uniform. We were not disappointed.
From drunken samurai sword fights to bored forklift drivers, a clear theme emerged: boredom is one step away from a chewing-out by the nearest platoon sergeant.
The best example of this is a story that one Marine veteran named Mike Betts sent us about the time he and his buddies got drunk on salty dogs (a cocktail of gin or vodka and grapefruit juice) in Vietnam. One of the Marines pulled out “a cheap samurai sword he got in Japan,” Betts recalled. Our reader then took the sword and, as one does while inebriated, “commenced my best samurai impression, slashing at anything and everything in the hooch.”
You can see where this is going: at some point during the demonstration, our brave Samurai smacked something that loosened the blade and sent it flying from the handle, striking the sword owner in the chest “and inflicting a pretty nasty wound.”
Nobody wants to have to explain that kind of trouble to someone in charge, so our reader and his fellows snuck the wounded Marine past the officer and sergeant on duty that night and “hustled him off to the hospital” before anyone could notice. Luckily, he was “stitched up and pronounced fit for duty,” Betts said.
“Needless to say, I felt terrible about hurting him,” he added.
Vietnam War kept Bob Kroener from walking across stage with USC classmates in 1971.
Having to wait an extra year to participate in his graduation ceremony due to the coronavirus pandemic paled in comparison to the 49 years that had already passed for Bob Kroener, 78, who finally attended his graduate-school commencement on May 17.
The now-retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and civil engineer missed his pomp and circumstance in 1971 due to his deployment during the Vietnam War. So, when he was thumbing through the University of Southern California's alumni magazine a few years ago and saw pictures of that year's graduation festivities he felt it was finally his time to walk across the stage.
"I was sitting there looking at it and I thought, You know, I never got to go through graduation,” he said. “So I picked up the phone, and I called over to the Marshall School of Business."
During the call, USC officials inquired if he had received his diploma and whether he had other information that would help them locate his decades-old records. The school also asked for his student ID number, to which he replied, “I'm too old for that, we only had a Social Security number."
The road to Southern California started north of the border. Then a captain in the Air Force after receiving an undergraduate degree from the University of Detroit, Kroener was stationed at a military base in Canada when he learned that he secured one of 26 government-funded spots offered to Air Force officers for graduate school. From a snow-covered mountaintop in Newfoundland he was informed of the schools he could apply to.
"I heard the University of Southern California and I said, ‘I'll take it. I'm going back to sit on the beach after being in 110 inches of snow for a year.’ It wasn't too hard of a decision to make,” said Kroener.
However, it wasn't just the weather that Kroener appreciated about going to school in Los Angeles. He was able to take advantage of the wide variety of corporations that would open doors to students like himself.
"I went to [oil company] Atlantic Richfield to do a paper, I went to Mattel toy company to do a paper, I went to Continental Airlines to basically write a master's thesis, myself and another captain,” he said. “All you had to do was say you're a student doing graduate work at USC. And I mean, they just opened the doors."
Kroener earned his MBA in 1971, but before the graduation ceremony took place he was deployed to Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. As part of his duties, he managed combat engineering teams by setting up their directives and getting them all the equipment needed to prepare for combat in Vietnam. He eventually retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1993.
Feb. 2023 by Sarah Sicard MilitaryTimes
The Navy may have the most complicated rank structure when it comes to its ratings system, but there is another, much more uncouth method for establishing hierarchy among sailors: Filthy coffee mugs.
It is a commonly-held truth in the seafaring service that one can tell a higher-up from a newbie based on the amount of sludge that lives in the bottom of one’s coffee cup.
So, in the interest of salt, here are some professional tips, from Navy veterans, to get an optimally seasoned mug.
1. Always drink black coffee. Milk or creamer curdles and introduces bacteria into the mix. Sour lactose creates a hostile environment — not ideal for going years without washing your mug.
2. Drink the whole cup of coffee. Don’t leave even a drop behind. You want to season the mug with a faint film, not swigging day-old coffee every morning.
3. For extra flavoring, take the leftover coffee grounds from the filter and let them rest in the cup for a few days before dumping it out. Treat your mug like a cast iron skillet.
4. If you need to, rinse it lightly with just a little water. This is only to be done in cases where the buildup is starting to become untenable.
5. Don’t wash the mug with the soap. Ever. You might be tempted every now and again to give it a good soak. Don’t. You will lose all the flavoring, respect from your near-peers and any chance at an honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy.
April 2021 by Blake Stilwell, Military.com
These days, service members need to be wary of the multitude of online for-profit schools out to get a piece of their coveted Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Depending on which “academic institution” is looking to sign them up, the term “Results May Vary” doesn’t come close to describing some of the “schools” out there.
But there are better choices for service members with non-traditional schedules who are looking for a good distance education to prepare them for life after the military. National University was founded by a veteran with similar issues and is today the second-largest nonprofit online school in America.
David Chigos’ transition to civilian life had been rough. As a retiring naval officer in 1967, he tried to enroll in night classes at San Diego State University. The only problem, he said, was that San Diego State didn’t offer night classes, so he was faced with the choice of going to school or working during the day. He knew there were veterans and civilians like him trying to balance both tasks.
In 1971, Chigos was working as a management development specialist for the General Dynamics corporation. The academic system in the U.S. kept many executives from pursuing higher education. So he did what any veteran might consider doing: fixing the problem by creating a college for the “real world” at a fraction of the cost.
“From the trunk of my car,” he founded National University, completely upending the idea of how academic programs were formed, he said. Chigos created academic programs with a no-frills look at the world. National University would offer classes that would lead to education and employment. His first class numbered 27 students....
January 2021 By Harm Venhuizen. MilitaryTimes
When separating from the military, it’s not uncommon for servicemembers to discover gaps between their resume and the civilian job they want.
Worries about putting food on the table can make going back to school, getting on-the-job training, or taking an internship seem like costly ways of filling that gap. Luckily, there’s a way servicemembers can gain the experience required by civilian jobs while still on the military’s payroll.
The DoD SkillBridge Program lets active-duty personnel from all four branches spend the last 180 days of their military service interning at a civilian job with one of more than 500 industry partners.
Participants continue to receive military pay and benefits, whether they’re getting certified by Microsoft in cloud development, learning to weld, or taking advantage of any one of the hundreds of other opportunities available.
As part of the DoD’s requirements, all training programs offer a “high probability of post-service employment with the provider or other employers in a field related to the opportunity,” according to the SkillBridge website.
In his internship with the Global SOF Foundation, retired Navy commander Chuck Neu says he not only tripled the size of his professional network, but also discovered a talent for sales.
“Without that exposure to cold-call sales from doing SkillBridge with the Global SOF Foundation, I likely would have ended up on-base as a contractor or a government civilian, which is really not what I wanted to do,” Neu told Military Times....
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Black Rifle Coffee Company
Barrett Carver (top row second from left) served in the US Army for almost seven years and deployed multiple times. He spent his time in 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, and was one of the Rangers involved in the assault on Haditha Dam, a critical structure to capture during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
During the assault, Carver and his fellow Rangers were holed up inside one of the buildings on “the military side of the dam,” and they were taking indirect fire from the Iraqis. Artillery rounds were impacting close to their building for several hours with barrages of small-arms fire. Carver thought to himself, Well, it’s been a good run.
Suddenly, they all heard a loud twang, and a thick cloud of dust erupted inside the building. Carver looked up to see a horseshoe-shaped indent in the corrugated tin roof over their heads. Everyone burst into uncontrollable laughter — one of the artillery rounds had been deflected by the thin tin roof.
“Deflection is a funny thing,” Carver said. “It could have just as easily been a dud round. Either way, I take a kick where I can get it. Amazing thing is that with the amount they dropped on us, we only had two casualties. Both made it.”
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released in January an updated Department of Defense (DOD) list of locations outside of Vietnam where tactical herbicides were used, tested or stored by the United States military.
“This update was necessary to improve accuracy and communication of information,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “VA depends on DOD to provide information regarding in-service environmental exposure for disability claims based on exposure to herbicides outside of Vietnam."
DOD conducted a thorough review of research, reports and government publications in response to a November 2018 Government Accountability Office report.
“DOD will continue to be responsive to the needs of our interagency partners in all matters related to taking care of both current and former service members,” said Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper. “The updated list includes Agents Orange, Pink, Green, Purple, Blue and White and other chemicals and will be updated as verifiable information becomes available.”
Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during service may be eligible for a variety of VA benefits, including an Agent Orange Registry health exam, health care and disability compensation for diseases associated with exposure. Their dependents and survivors also may be eligible for benefits.
June 2022 by Sarah Sicard, Observation Post
Is there anything sweeter — literally or figuratively — than biting into the plastic-wrapped chemical compound of luxuriously spongey cake with vanilla cream that is a Twinkie?
Perhaps not. But the original Hostess delicacy was once something else entirely. The preservative-filled dessert that many once believed could withstand nuclear war got its start as a banana cream shortcake, until World War II changed everything.
In 1930, a baker named James Dewar began experimenting while serving as manager of Continental Baking Company’s Chicago area plant in River Forest, according to the Chicago Tribune. He wanted to prove that shortbread could serve a purpose outside strawberry shortcake.
“The economy was getting tight, and the company needed to come out with another low-priced item,” he told the paper. “We were already selling these little finger cakes during the strawberry season for shortcake, but the pans we baked them in sat idle except for that six-week season.”
While in St. Louis on a work trip, Dewar saw a billboard for “Twinkle Toe Shoes,” and thus found the name for his compact confections.
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