SECNAV Discusses Woman in Combat at Camp Pendleton

Sunday, June 12, 2016 / Legislative News

On 12 April, SECNAV Ray Mabus addressed an audience at MCB Camp Pendleton.  Marine Corps leaders had sought to keep certain infantry and combat jobs closed to women, citing studies showing combined-gender units are not as effective as male-only units. Defense Secretary Ash Carter overruled them in December, ordering all positions open to women. Since then, the military services have put together plans outlining how they will integrate women into male-only units.  To read the full story,click here.

Sharing of Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Rating for IRR

Sunday, June 12, 2016 / Legislative News

Marine Administrative Message 209/16 provides guidance for the use of VA disability ratings for Reserve Marines.  The purpose is to provide awareness to commanders of VA disability ratings to ensure military duties are not assigned that may inadvertently impede VA health care efforts of cause health and safety concerns for any Marine.

VA ratings will not be solely used to disqualify Marines from unit affiliation. In addition, units will not be able to request Reserve Marines who are eligible for VA benefits to forego VA health care in order to serve in the Ready Reserve. For More information MARADMIN  209/16

House Panel Approves Measure to Require Women to Register for Draft

Sunday, June 12, 2016 / Legislative News

The House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday approved by a narrow margin an amendment to a defense bill to require women to register for the draft.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California, proposed the amendment to lift the restriction on women registering for the selective service at a committee-wide mark-up session ofthe proposed fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

"Here is why I think this is important; it doesn't matter in this debate whether you think women should be in the infantry or be in special operations," Hunter said during the session on Wednesday night. "I personally don't. If we had that vote in committee today I would vote against women being in infantry and special operations.  To read full story clickhere 

Marine Veteran helping other Veterans cope with PTSD through deep sea fishing

Saturday, April 9, 2016 / VA News

Marine Corps Veteran Brian Barber Sr. knows firsthand how difficult life can be once you take off the uniform and leave the battlefield behind you – he’s been living it for more than 10 years.

“Seeing Veterans like myself, wounded and broken from battle affects your day-to-day living in ways that you can’t imagine,” said Barber, who served from 1995 to 2005 as a radio operator and did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to the National Center for PTSD, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are the longest combat operations since Vietnam. Many stressors face these Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) troops.

VA Core Values: Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, Excellence ("I CARE")

Saturday, April 2, 2016 / VA News

VA Core Values:  Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, Excellence (“I CARE”)

Please Remember:

When ‘zero’ is possible: How one state and two cities ended Veteran homelessness

Monday, March 28, 2016 / VA News

More than 20 cities and states across the country have declared an end to Veteran homelessness. In compliance with federal guidelines, they have moved every identified Veteran who is in need and is willing to accept help into permanent housing. And, with more than 850 state, city and county leaders on record as accepting First Lady Michelle Obama’s challenge to end Veteran homelessness, more communities are expected to make similar announcements in the coming weeks and months.

How are they doing it? To see what’s working, we spoke to officials from Virginia, New Orleans and Houston, each of which recently reached this milestone. Although their situations are unique, many common approaches stand out. For instance, efforts in all three jurisdictions were jump-started following local officials’ attendance at a series of homeless Veteran “rapid-results boot camps” held around the country in 2012 and 2013. Other common ingredients of success include goal-setting and coordination of resources, systems and people. 

Special Hiring Authorities for Veterans - YOU SHOULD KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!

Monday, March 28, 2016 / VA News

Special Hiring Authorities for Veterans are just that…designed for veterans. Knowing about these authorities and identifying your eligibility will enhance your job search. These special authorities represent a few of many appointing authorities that agencies can use entirely at their discretion. Veterans are not entitled to appointment under any of these authorities. Check the vacancy announcements, which should clearly state "Who May Apply."  

Veterans' Recruitment Appointment (VRA)

Veterans Employment Opportunity Act of 1998, as amended (VEOA)

Asymmetric Warriors: Maximizing the use of the Marine Corps Reserve

Sunday, February 14, 2016 / Marine Corps/DoD News

A symmetric threats are multidimensional and include “military operations [that involve] the application of dissimilar strategies, tactics, capabilities, and methods to circumvent or negate an opponent’s strengths while exploiting his weaknesses.”1 Today, these asymmetric threats increasingly threaten U.S. security and interests and include transnational crime, terrorism, and the destabilization of sovereign, friendly nations by internal as well as external forces. Further, these asymmetric approaches seek a psychological impact that affects an opponent’s advantage and/or freedom of movement and are applied at all levels of warfare. ARTICLE CLICK HERE

The appeals process: Appeals at the regional office level

Sunday, February 14, 2016 / VA News

Most Veterans are aware that claims are rated at the VA regional office (RO), usually in their state. However, a lot of Veterans are not aware that appeals are also reviewed at the regional office before they go to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board).  In this piece I will discuss the RO’s appeal process, your role in the process, and the things you can do to help expedite your appeal.

Appeals at the local regional office level

Once a VA office issues its decision on your claim, you have one year from that date to file an appeal. Read the decision letter closely:  it will tell you why VA made the decision it did.  If you are unsure why or how VA made its decision, ask a Veterans service officer for help.  You can also call VA or go to your regional office.