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Homeland

Resources Support Inspiration

Vol. 3 Number 7 • July 2016

Make July Your Month of Independence Lessons in Liberty PTSD A Warrior’s Life Before & After Life After the Military GI Film Festival

Crossroads of the MilitaryCivilian Divide www.HomelandMagazine.com

HOMELAND / July 2016 1


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Research Opportunities

VETERANS: WE NEED YOU VA San Diego Healthcare System and Veterans Medical Research Foundation are looking for participants for human subject research studies on Veterans health issues. Findings will help provide better treatments for Veterans and the general population. • We are one of the largest VA research programs in the nation • We employ the most advanced research technologies • We employ some of the best, talented and world renowned researchers in the country • We conduct approximately 400 human subject studies annually

Sign up for a research study TODAY!  

Some studies provide medical care and/or reimbursement for participation.

Check out our current list of research opportunities.

Visit: www.sandiego.va.gov/studies.asp and www.vmrf.org/studies.html

HOMELAND / July 2016 3


EDITOR’S

LETTER

Homeland Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller Contributing Writers CJ Machado Vicki Garcia Vesta Anderson Kevin Duss John Lira Mark Burleson

Public Relations CJ Machado Thomas McBrien Linda Kreter Graphic Design Trevor Watson Greetings and a warm welcome to HOMELAND Magazine! Please take some time to get to know the layout of our magazine. Homeland Magazine focuses on real stories from real heroes; the service member, the veteran, the wounded and the families that keep it together. Our magazine is driven by passion, vision, reflection and the future. The content is the driving force behind our magazine and the connection it makes with service members, families, veterans and civilians. Homeland is about standing your ground, resilience, adaptation, inspiration and solidarity. HOMELAND is inspirational, “feel good” reading; our focus is on veterans, military and civilians alike. I believe HOMELAND is where the heart is, and our publication covers a wide variety of topics, and issues about real life and real stories. We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people. We appreciate your support and are so happy to have you as a reader of HOMELAND Magazine. With warmest thanks, Mike Miller, Publisher

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Homeland Magazine is published monthly. Submissions of photographs, Illustrations, drawings, and manuscripts are considered unsolicited materials and the publisher assumes no responsibility for the said items. All rights reserved. Homeland Magazine 9528 Miramar Road, Suite 41 San Diego, CA 92126

858.275-4281 Contact Homeland Magazine at: info@homelandmagazine.com


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inside this issue 26

8 Make July Your Month of Independence 14 PTSD A Warrior’s Life Before & After

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18 GI Film Festival 20 At the Crossroads of the Military-Civilian Divide 22 Enlisted to Entrepreneur 24 Life After the Military 26 After the Battle Has Just Begun

25 LESSONS IN LIBERTY www.homelandmagazine.com

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HOMELAND / July 2016


Non-profit Launches New Center for Military & Veterans Reintegration With the Aid of Major League Baseball On July 8, the new Center for Military and Veteran Reintegration will be unveiled at National Veterans Transition Services, Inc. (NVTSI). Through the generosity of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Annual Legacy Project and the San Diego Padres, NVTSI’s corporate office and classroom in San Diego’s Mission Valley is getting a facelift, which will launch a new era of services for transitioning military and veterans. Preceding NVTSI’s 83rd graduating class of REBOOT Workshops, MLB and the San Diego Padres will inaugurate the expansion of NVTSI’s services reflected in three pillars: • Military & Veteran Engagement: REBOOTing and job training for transitioning military and veterans; • Employer Engagement: helping employers connect with qualified veterans ready for hire; • Community Engagement: working with local Veteran Service Organizations (VSO’s) to reintegrate veterans into their communities and connect them to resources. Established in 2010, NVTSI is a San Diego-based 501(c)3 organization that is dedicated to assisting veterans in adjusting to civilian life and securing meaningful employment by combining best-practice performance social solutions and techniques. They provide returning service members and veterans with a free social/cultural and career transition workshop program, called the REBOOT Workshop™. These workshops assist transitioning service members, guard/reserve, veterans and recently separated from service men and women in successfully transitioning from the military to the civilian world by conducting an intensive 15-day behavior-based transition workshop (Reverse-Boot Camp). To date NVTSI has REBOOTed over 1,450 U.S. veterans and their current success rate is 98%. If interested in an upcoming workshop, please visit www.nvtsi.org.

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BY KEVIN DUSS

Make July Your Month Of

Independence 8

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In the United Stated we have just finished celebrating the 4th of July. It’s a special time to Americans. Not only are there picnics and parades, there is an understanding that over 200 years ago people got fed up with the way things were and pledged their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” to making the changes they saw necessary for long-term success as a nation. July is also halfway through the calendar year, six months away from the hopeful exuberance of New Year’s resolutions. This makes it a perfect opportunity to make July a month to declare your personal independence from the things that are standing in the way of your resolutions and goals. Revisit those grand dreams and declare your independence from the tyranny holding you back – pledging with the same revolutionary fervor as the patriots did to make the changes necessary for your success.

Declare your independence from failure.

Declare your independence from fear.

Declare your independence from going it alone.

How are you doing on the goals you made at the

Television personality Mike Rowe tells a story

The story that Mike Rowe tells also shows the

first of the year? Have you fallen so far behind

when he stood before the camera to begin his

futility of trying to go it alone. Many people set

that you have shoved them back into a corner,

first night as a host on the shopping channel

goals – whether they are related to education,

pointedly ignoring them because you feel that

QVC. He had a product he knew nothing about,

fitness or career – then attempt to achieve those

you have failed?

he had no experience in live television, and

goals in the absence of any type of support

This is the tyranny of failure. It stalks along

he knew that QVC was not interested in on-air

system.

beside you, assuring you that each and every

personalities who could not sell products.

time you try something new it will not work

The self-made man is a myth. Throughout

out and you will not be successful. Often it has

In his story, Mike points out a key in declaring

history, leaders who have been successful

helpers – your friends, co-workers, possibly even

your independence from the tyranny of fear:

have had carefully developed support systems

those closest to you. Regardless, the largest ally

Don’t hide your fear. Acknowledge that you are

around them. Whether they are formal advisors,

of failure is the voice inside of you. Before you

scared to yourself and to those around you. In

technical assistants, or just sounding boards

listen to all these voices, ask yourself these three

Mike’s case, he started out his segment letting

who can help in the development of ideas, a

questions:

the entire television audience know that it was

support system is invaluable in helping you

his first time, he didn’t know anything about

reach a goal.

• Have you given this goal your best effort?

what the product did, and then he asked them to get involved and help him out.

• If you have – what are the reasons you could

Make yourself accountable to those who care about you. It does not have to be a formal

not be successful? Is it a lack of resources,

The audience responded by filling the phone

accountability framework; something as simple

knowledge or skill?

lines to talk about their experience with the

as online social media can be very powerful.

products, encouraged by Mike’s willingness

When I first started a fitness program, I posted

• How can you learn from where you are and

to be truthful and authentic with them. Most

each day’s run to my Facebook account. This was

make a plan to acquire what is missing – the

importantly, they were willing to purchase the

not so much that I wanted to be sure that my

resources, knowledge or skills – to allow you

products being pitched.

friend saw me run, rather, it was my motivation

to be successful?

when I did not want to go run. What Mike Rowe did was eliminate the best

Declare your independence.

The great Roman general Marcus Aurelius asked

weapon of fear, which is the uncertainty that

the question a different way: “Does what’s

comes with doing something that you have

happened keep you from acting with justice,

not done before. By openly acknowledging the

Make this July your personal “Independence

generosity, self-control, sanity, prudence,

fear he made it clear that he was committed to

Month” – a month to recommit to the goals that

honesty, humility, straightforwardness?” In

success, and was able to tap into those who were

you want to achieve this year.

other words, does what you perceive as failure

waiting for an opportunity to make that success

Adjust where necessary, learn from the attempts

change your basic nature as a human being? If

possible.

of the first half of the year, banish your fear, and

not, don’t waste time being held back by the

re-engage with your support system. You have

failure. Instead use it as an opportunity to learn

the second half of the year to make your goals a

and grow. Take that learning and growth into the

reality, and the experiences of the first half of the

future and continue on to achieve your goals.

year to get you there.

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Mentorship for children in military families who deserve our thanks and support. Enroll a child or become a Big Brother or Big Sister. Call (858) 746.9173 SDBigs.org/OperationBigs

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Lessons in Liberty Bringing Patriotism to America’s Youth BY STAFF SERGEANT (RET.) MARK BURLESON, USMC EOD BOOT CAMPAIGN HERO AMBASSADOR

A

s the evening sun was setting on December 9, 2011, a U.S. Marine took a walk of faith down a small alleyway in Sangin, Afghanistan. That walk would not end the way he wanted it to. He had the most dangerous job, in the most dangerous place in the world. He was a bomb tech, a highly trained and respected warrior, and was considered to be absolutely nuts by many of the service members with whom he worked.

That night has lived with me every day since I took that walk. It was the end of my military career, and the beginning of a journey that has been more challenging, and more rewarding, than anything I could have imagined. I was given a second chance at life through Boot Campaign. They didn’t offer me a hand out, like so many other organizations. They offered me a hand up, they gave me an opportunity to use my knowledge and experience to find a purpose and give back to my brothers in arms. I began volunteering and eventually became part of the staff. I was able to use my experience to help guide and even create programs that would actually make a difference.

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During one of our monthly brainstorming sessions, an idea was brought forward about starting a program to reintroduce patriotic themes into our schools. I was confused, I remember my school days and we were always doing something patriotic; we decorated the classroom and dedicated the entire day to doing something for Veterans Day. Like so many others, I had no idea that a lot of the patriotic themes we remember from school had been removed. This idea was brought forward by former educators-turned entrepreneurs, some of the bravest and most humble women I have ever known. We wanted to create a program that would reengage our youth with pride and love for the freedoms we so often take for granted. That program is Boot Campaign’s Patriot League. Kids spend so much of the school day concentrating on the past they often feel disconnected from what is happening around the world right now. We need to challenge them to take responsibility for the liberty we hold so dear. Through Patriot League, teachers around the country are able to engage their children with relevant, current issues. They learn how our liberty was won and defended, and they can put that information to use by engaging their community and raising awareness at home. It empowers children at an age, making me think they are so much smarter and informed than we ever were. Just give them the tools and watch their amazing compassion and innocence.

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So here’s the skinny on the program itself: Patriot League is an inspiring, kid-centered, activity-based program that promotes patriotism and community service among America’s youth through customizable, fun, and creative activities I had the opportunity to visit two schools this year that were part of the Patriot League inaugural launch. The kids in Ms. Brown’s third grade class at Bushlands Elementary outside of Amarillo, Texas were so excited and engaged in the program it blew me away. They were actively writing letters to deployed service members to let them know that even though most people don’t know we still have troops in combat, that the students know and support them. I also visited Garrett Jr. High outside of Las Vegas, where the entire school was involved. I was honored alongside veterans of every war, including a veteran who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. At the end of the day, he shared with me that this was the proudest day of his life. He typically did not talk about his time in the military but the children created such a great environment that he was able to share things that day that he never had before. So here’s the skinny on the program itself: Patriot League is an inspiring, kid-centered, activitybased program that promotes patriotism and community service among America’s youth through customizable, fun, and creative activities. It’s completely free for teachers, home school educators, PTA programs, civic leaders, and club directors to become “Program Captains” and bring Patriot League to kids in their communities. It launched was in fall 2015 and debuted with more than 60 classes onboard for its pilot session. A team of educators with more than 30 years of experience, including a New Jersey “Teacher of the Year,” developed customized activities and lesson plans to be used in K-12 classrooms. Members of the team include: Diana Rambaldi of Nutley, N.J., whose original classroom project inspired Patriot League; Susan Patterson, retired educator with more than 25 years serving students in Biloxi, Miss.; and Melissa Spencer, former teacher and current Boot Campaign director with her finger on the pulse of promoting patriotism for all. To get started, Program Captains visit http://www.bootcampaign.org/patriotleague/ and complete a quick, easy registration form online, then receive access to electronic materials to save and/or print to help promote patriotism and raise awareness about the military. Program Captains can choose to adopt compatible lesson plans that are easy to customize for all ages, standards, leadership styles, and overall goals, and have the option to help promote patriotism outside their group through the sale of patriotic bracelets. Throughout the program, fun challenges and celebrations keep kids and communities excited about honoring and appreciating military families, past and present. I’m so excited to support Patriot League and America’s patriots-in- the-making, and to be part of a movement to engage kids in loving our country. For more information about Patriot League and other Boot Campaign initiatives, visit BootCampaign.org and follow @BootCampaign on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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PTSD A Warrior’s Life Before & After

By Vesta M. Anderson

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Matthew Barnes traces his problems back to his Iraqi deployment during the 2003 ground invasion. Less than six months after joining the Marines, Matthew—a brand new lance corporal attached to an infantry unit—was deployed as an infantry machine gunner on patrol with his unit in Iraq. Back home, Matthew was an outgoing country boy who enjoyed going off-roading and mountain climbing, but on August 29, 2003, that all changed. It happened without warning – a car bomb detonated outside the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, killing nearly 100 people and injuring more than 500, only blocks away from Matthew’s location. U.S. newswires called it the deadliest attack since the Iraq war ended. The blast would haunt Matthew for the rest of his military career, and would continue to snowball in his civilian life. In combat situations, the mind reacts instinctively, collecting and sorting memories that can be excruciatingly difficult for the warrior to endure during the inevitable recall process. Therefore, the mind’s “filing system” and unintentional memory recall can elicit great harm to a combat veteran’s mental health and wellbeing. It has been referred to as many things. Today, it is called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Matthew, unknowingly, was falling deep in its trenches. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD is a mental health condition that can happen to anyone who has suffered through a traumatic event, directly or indirectly. Veterans suffering from PTSD have recalling prompts, typically referred to as triggers, which are linked to situational or emotional experiences and memories from the combat zone. For instance, soldiers with PTSD may hear the sound of popcorn popping or fireworks exploding and recall an improvised explosive device attack, or a random experience of anger, sadness, or anxiety can trigger them to relive the experience and emotion of losing a friend in combat. PTSD is an invisible wound of war that can dismantle a warrior’s life unless they are given the tools and treatment needed to succeed in recovery. Many warriors are concerned with the stigma associated with injuries that are not visible.

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They either never step up to receive the treatment they need, or they go anosther route to deal with their issues.

while he has maintained that sobriety since 2015, Matthew’s struggle continued. From employment to relationships, PTSD had taken a firm hold of Matthew’s life.

Matthew chose to self-medicate. “I didn’t have to worry about having nightmares because I wasn’t sleeping,” said Matthew, who—within two years after the explosion—failed a drug screening and was forced out of the military.

“I didn’t like new people, and I didn’t like crowds,” said Matthew. “I began to live as a hermit when I wasn’t at work. I never went anywhere or did anything. Then my wife noticed my constant anger and frustration. She put the pieces together. I had been dealing with PTSD, but I didn’t even know it.”

Losing something that was so deeply imbedded in his life was the jolt Matthew needed to get clean. And

After reaching out for medical help,

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Matthew was finally diagnosed with PTSD in April 2016. That’s when Matthew discovered Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) partnered with four of the finest academic medical centers in the nation to create Warrior Care Network™ in 2015. It’s a world-class health network that ensures injured veterans dealing with PTSD or traumatic brain injuries receive the best mental health care regardless of their location. Thanks to the support of generous donors, the services are free to warriors. The brave service men and women deserve no less, having already paid their dues on the battlefield. Shortly after registering, Matthew was enrolled in mental health services at Emory Healthcare and introduced to prolonged exposure (PE) therapy, administered daily by a professional therapist. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, PE therapy has been shown to be one of the most effective treatments for PTSD as it repeatedly exposes the patient to his or her distressful thoughts, feelings, and situations directly related to the traumatic event. By confronting high-stress triggers linked to PTSD—instead of avoiding—patients are able to

learn about their PTSD reactions, develop skills to manage distress, practice control techniques in real-world situations, and talk through the traumatic event to gain more control of the associated thoughts and feelings. Recounting and discussing the circumstances around the 2003 Imam Ali Mosque bombing left Matthew in tears. “It was harder than going through boot camp,” said Matt, who during his PE therapy sessions relived his traumatic experience in detail – thoughts, emotions, sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and skin sensations. These were memories he previously avoided at all costs, but now, Matthew was allowing doctors to probe his memory daily, only to return to his room and listen to the recorded sessions on his own. “You walk through the event; then you walk through it again – over and over,” Matthew said. “It’s like having a cluttered closet that you didn’t want to deal with. Prolonged exposure therapy removes everything from the closet, then— after taking a nice, hard look at each item—it identifies the correct place they belong. It’s an exhausting and stressful process, but Matthew said it started helping.

“The first night or two, my PTSD was reinforced, and I couldn’t sleep,” Matthew recalled. “It forced me to deal with my issues. But by the end of the third day, I started to get through the event without any anxiety.” It was a change he didn’t think was possible. Instead of learning to merely cope with his new normal, Matthew credits Warrior Care Network and Emory staff with helping him get closer to being the man he was prior to his deployment. “I feel like my old self,” said Matthew. “I’m getting out of the house as much as possible and getting back into the hobbies I haven’t enjoyed in a very long time. My family and employer have noticed a significant change.” Through Warrior Care Network, Wounded Warrior Project partners with Emory Healthcare Veterans Program, Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base, Rush University Medical Center Road Home, and UCLA Health Operation Mend to provide innovative mental health care on an intensive 2-3 week outpatient basis, giving warriors like Matthew a hopeful recovery. “This program gave me my life back,” Matthew

“The first night or two, my PTSD was reinforced, and I couldn’t sleep,” Matthew recalled. “It forced me to deal with my issues. But by the end of the third day, I started to get through the event without any anxiety.” It was a change he didn’t think was possible.

About Wounded Warrior Project The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. The WWP purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To learn more about WWP and Warrior Care Network™, visit woundedwarriorproject.org. (Photos courtesy WWP)

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YOU PROTECTED US.

IT’S TIME WE RETURN THE FAVOR. After all you’ve done to protect our country, you deserve the best. So we’re giving the brave men and women of the military* the opportunity for big savings on top of all current incentives.* Like up to $1000 on select models. If you’re an Active or Reserve U.S. Military, U.S. Retired Military who completed at least 20 years of Active or Reserve duty, or a U.S. Veteran discharged from active service within the past year, Nissan’s Military Program is open to you and your spouse or partner. To get started, just print your Military Program Certificate, gather your proof of eligibility, and head to your local Nissan store today.*

Visit NissanUSA.com/military *Eligibility requirements apply: Eligible individuals include U.S. Active and Reserve Military, U.S. Military Veterans within 12 months of separation from Active or Reserve duty, U.S. Military Retirees that have completed at least 20 years of Active or Reserve duty required. Military cash certificate available towards the lease or purchase of a qualifying new Nissan vehicle from dealer stock. Excludes Nissan Versa Sedan S Trim, Maxima, Murano, Murano Cross Cabriolet, 370Z, Quest, Pathfinder, Armada, Titan, GT-R and NV. Military cash certificate amount varies by qualifying model. Offer valid from 3/1/16 through 3/1/2017. Limit up to 2 vehicle leases or purchases per calendar year per qualified participant for personal use only. Offer not valid for fleet or business use. Down payment may be required. Available on lease or purchase. Must take delivery from new dealer stock. Subject to residency restrictions. Other restriction s apply. See dealer for details. Offer is subject to change at any time. Always wear your seat belt and please don’t drink and drive. Nissan, the Nissan Brand Symbol, Innovation That Excites, and Nissan model names are Nissan trademarks. ©2016 Nissan North America, Inc. All rights reserved.

Visit www.ChooseNissan.com.

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‘Sundance for the Troops’ Heads to San Diego in September 2016 ‘USS Indianapolis: The Legacy’ kicks off five-day GI Film Festival San Diego

S

an Diego has a multi-faceted military history for nearly 80 years. Hundreds of thousands of recruits began their military careers through the Marine Corps Recruit Depot and Naval Training Center. Active duty bases occupy thousands of acres along our coastline, stretching from San Diego Bay to Camp Pendleton. In the fiscal year 2015, 49 U.S. Navy ships home ported in San Diego. According to the 2015 San Diego Military Advisory Council Economic Impact Study, “the region’s military and defense complex remains a critical economic sector. More than onefifth of San Diego County’s economy relies on this key sector.” Thousands of veterans and their families call our region home during active duty service and upon retirement. These men and women, who have dedicated their lives to the protection of our country, have had great, memorable experiences that deserve to be preserved and documented through audio or video recordings, personal journals, news stories, or the medium of film. Stories of resilience and strength depicted in films for, about, and by service men and women are the backbone of the selections for GI Film Festival San Diego, now in its second year. Presented by KPBS, the 2016 line-up depicts incredible stories that “have gone under the radar” according to festival organizers. Themes range from the experiences of prisoners of war to living with survivor’s guilt. Major wars covered in the films span from World War II to the present day conflicts. All major film genres will be featured, including dramas, documentaries, shorts and personal narratives.

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“We are excited to bring the GI Film Festival to San Diego for a second year,” said KPBS General Manager Tom Karlo. “Last year’s festival proved without a doubt that compelling, authentic, and insightful content for and about our local military is important. KPBS looks forward to showcasing more amazing films and giving the audience an even deeper appreciation for our service members and the sacrifices they make.” The festival, to be held Sept. 14-18, 2016 at various venues throughout the city of San Diego, kicks off with the 2016 documentary, “USS Indianapolis: The Legacy.” This thrilling retelling of the fate of the World War II heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis exclusively uses first-person accounts from more than 30 survivors of the devastating torpedo attack. The film took 10 years to make with more than 104 interviews completed. Filmmakers, Sara Vladic and Melanie Capacia Johnson, are thrilled to have their film kick-off the GI Film Festival San Diego. “Helping to keep the legacy of the USS Indianapolis alive has been one of the greatest honors of my life,” said Vladic. “And having the support of the survivors, their families, and the families of those who were lost at sea has meant everything along this 15-year journey. Now, being able to share this incredible story with our home town, and doing so on the opening night of the festival, just makes it all the more special. It’s an honor to be selected by the GI Film Festival San Diego to help us share the true story of the USS Indianapolis and her crew.”


Additional titles confirmed for the GI Film Festival San Diego this year include: 1. “Thank You For Your Service” – This film takes a hard look at our

2.

3.

understanding of war trauma and the policies that result. The film’s director, Tom Donahue, interweaves the stories of four struggling Iraq War veterans through candid interviews with top military and civilian leaders. The film argues for significant change and offers a roadmap of hope. “Paper Lanterns” – In the summer of 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. On the morning of the bombing a young Japanese boy, Shigeaki Mori, would witness the explosion. He would survive that day and go on to document the bombing and honor the thousands that were lost, including the 12 American POWs. Mori’s efforts provided closure and solace for the families of those fallen soldiers. “Forced Landing” – During the Second World War, more than 100,000 foreign soldiers were interned in Switzerland. French, Polish, English, Russian, Italian and German soldiers who fled combat found a safe haven in neutral Switzerland. Those who escaped were sent to a detention camp in Wauwilermoos near Lucerne where they would undergo harsh conditions and treatment. In April 2014, eight survivors of this camp received the Prisoner of War Medal, marking the first time this medal has been

granted to soldiers that were held prisoners in a friendly country.

4. “Adventurmentalism” – Directed by an independent

documentary filmmaker and former member of the U.S. Army, “Adventurmentalism,” is an interpersonal depiction of nature’s positive influence on mental health in combat veterans and suicide survivors struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Local Film Showcase will once again be an important part of the festival, featuring the works of San Diego and Imperial Valley filmmakers, locations, and actors. Films are submitted to the Film Consortium San Diego and then presented to an advisory committee that is comprised of members of San Diego’s active duty and veteran communities or local organizations that serve military members, families, and veterans. The committee will then recommend the films to be honored at the festival’s awards program and closing celebration on Sept. 18. “The story of our nation’s service members is an important one, as their service built and preserved our nation and our freedoms,” said Sheldon Margolis, executive director, The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, and advisory committee member, GI Film Festival San Diego. “We are honored to join forces with the GI Film Festival San Diego this year to help tell those amazing stories.”

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At the Crossroads of the Military-Civilian Divide BY: JOHN LIRA, VETERANS AND MILITARY PROGRAM OFFICER CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL & COMMUNITY SERVICE

For the last two years, I have served as the Veterans and Military Families Program Officer at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). CNCS is the federal agency responsible for motivating and mobilizing five million + Americans to serve in communities, improve the lives of their fellow citizens, and tackle the country’s most pressing community challenges by serving in AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps VISTA, and Senior Corps programs.

While there is a noted lack of understanding between military and civilians who serve our country, this does not mean that we share nothing in common. Now, at the center of the military-civilian divide, I understand more than ever the different avenues of national service and, more importantly, I understand the common bonds between those who serve and the fulfilling pride of knowing you have made a difference in somebody’s life.  The terms of service, compensation, and mission might differ, but the commitment individuals make to do their part to strengthen the country is the same.

Before joining CNCS, I was not familiar with the term “national service” and simply thought it was synonymous with military service. I have since learned and witnessed the profound impact AmeriCorps members and programs are having in communities across the country.

I believe the desire to be part of a meaningful cause or mission is embedded in all of us. This innate desire to step up and make a difference

This editorial was written as the result of a collaboration between Veterans Coming Home (www.veteranscominghome.org) and Corporation for National and Community Service (www. nationalservice.org). National service is the fiber that binds, rather than divides, the citizenry of our country. Whether through service in high-need communities or abroad in the combat zone, all service requires inspiration, commitment, and sacrifice to positively impact peoples’ lives.

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My calling came at the age of 17 when I raised my right hand to serve in the Marine Corps. I joined the Marines because I wanted to do something meaningful after graduation; something that would inspire pride and have a lasting impact on me, my family and my country. I felt serving in the Marines would permanently redefine what honor, courage, and commitment meant to me. I wanted to do my part. is the common denominator found in all Americans who choose to serve. While it seems that only a small percentage of citizens volunteer to serve in the military for four years to keep our country secure, a much larger percentage of citizens pledge to serve a year in their community combating poverty, educational inequality, and providing disaster relief. My calling came at the age of 17 when I raised my right hand to serve in the Marine Corps. I joined the Marines because I wanted to do something meaningful after graduation; something that would inspire pride and have a lasting impact on me, my family and my country. I felt serving in the Marines would permanently redefine what honor, courage, and commitment meant to me. I wanted to do my part.   Choosing national service means committing to serve a cause greater than yourself. The commitment involves the giving of your time, effort, and resources, not for personal gain, but, for the betterment of American society. I first experienced this feeling in 2003, when I was among the first US combat forces to cross from Kuwait into Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The magnitude of the moment made me feel like I was part of something that would be forever inscribed in the annals of our nation’s history. I imagine AmeriCorps members feel the same way when they join an organization to provide services that have a profound impact in the lives of their fellow citizens and their community. Take for example, AmeriCorps VISTA member, Antuan Wilson, who left a high-salaried position at a Fortune 500 company to become a volunteer because he felt a yearning to give back, to make a difference, to impact the his community and the people around him. Or, AmeriCorps VISTA member, Elizabeth Oliver, who assisted 97 homeless veterans in gaining housing and was central to Salt Lake City, Utah becoming one of the first cities to end chronic veteran homelessness.

The actual impact of a service also takes on many forms. For example, it is difficult quantify the day-to-day impact that military service has on our lives; every day the U.S., and her allies, do not get attacked is a successful outcome. For community service, the outcomes are more tangible and the impacts are directly felt by the individuals being served. I am inspired by stories of AmeriCorps members making an impact in their community as much as I am by stories of heroism on the battlefield.   All service requires sacrifice. In 2005, I deployed to Iraq for a second time during the height of the insurgency and experienced heavy burden of military service when, over the course of seven months, 48 Marines and Sailors made the ultimate sacrifice. The public is generally aware of the sacrifices involved with military service, more so than sacrifices of serving in the community. However, AmeriCorps members serve in some of the most impoverished communities with the most at-risk populations and receive relatively modest, if any, compensation for their efforts. As a young Marine, I never envisioned working for a civilian organization that impacts the lives of millions of Americans across the country. I am inspired to continue serving alongside other veterans like Joseph Clay, Loretta Coleman, and Tyler Wrights who are making impacts in their communities. I understand the value that veterans bring to community programs and the tangible and intangible benefits that a year of service in AmeriCorps provides veterans. AmeriCorps helps bridge the military-civilian divide by offering veterans opportunities hone their existing skills while developing new skills and becoming leaders in their community. I encourage veterans seeking to continue serving the country as community leaders to visit AmeriCorps’s veteran website (www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/veterans), as well as check out Veterans Coming Home’s coverage of stories that seek to bridge the military-civilian divide (www.facebook.com/vetscominghome).

HOMELAND / July 2016 21


ENLISTED TO ENTREPRENEUR By Vicki Garcia

To Buy or Not to Buy... A FRANCHISE A franchise business is a business in which the owners, or “franchisors”, sell the rights to their business logo, name, and model to third party retail outlets, owned by independent, third party operators, called “franchisees.” There are franchise business opportunities available across a wide variety of industries. Let me say at the get-go that the below is NOT legal advice. You should

risks that come with business ownership, and hopefully bring customers to

never enter into a franchise purchase without the support of an attorney

your door.

with experience representing franchisees.

To invest in a franchise, the franchisee (you) must first pay an initial fee for

For a startup entrepreneur purchasing a franchise can seem like the route

the rights to the business, training, and the equipment required by that

to turnkey success. You don’t have to work through all the tough decisions

particular franchise. Once the business begins operating, the franchisee

such as product development, marketing, your business model, location

will usually pay the franchisor an ongoing royalty payment, either on a

determination, and the other hard things entrepreneurs grapple with. The

monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. This payment is commonly calculated

franchisor is there to help you, provide corporate guidance, reduce the

as a percentage of the franchise operation’s gross sales.

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HOMELAND / July 2016

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After the contract has been signed, the franchisee will open a duplicate of

All of this sounds great, of course. But where human beings are concerned,

the franchise business, under the direction of the franchisor. The franchisee

it’s never that simple. Suppose you start running your franchise business

benefits from investing in an already-established, name brand.

and you discover your customers want something the franchise doesn’t offer? You think it’s a great idea, but your franchisor puts the kibosh on

Is This a Fit for YOU?

that idea.

For starters, it helps if you know exactly what to expect. As an entrepreneur you may want to be the “decider” and make your own decisions. Yes, buying a franchise will make you a business owner, but not

Or, you want to advertise in a unique way. Or, offer a discount on something unusual. Nope, can’t do that. You’re stuck.

with as much independence as you might desire. Think of it this way. A

So, what do you do? You call the owner of another franchise like yours

franchise owner is half way between an employee and an entrepreneur.

up the road, and see what they think. She agrees and so does the other

Neither fish nor fowl.

six franchise owners in your town. Pretty soon you coalesce, talk to

What you’re buying is a fixed formula the franchisee has established. You won’t have much wiggle room to make changes because the franchisee

franchisees all over the state, and the franchisor has a rebellion on their hands.

expects everything to be the same consistently from franchise to franchise.

Not to say that all franchisors are hard-headed. Some franchisors are

This is one of the reasons franchises have succeeded. Customers know

open to franchisee input, and others are not. Search for “How Burger King

what to expect no matter where they find the business.

Cooked Up a Franchise Rebellion” for an example of what can go wrong. Google “Are subway franchise owners happy?” for another eye opener.

This is Where It Gets Complicated

Ask the Right Questions Franchises are highly regulated and are required to meet many governmental demands. As you can imagine, this sophisticated industry knows how to maneuver to make themselves look like a great choice. The American Association of Franchisees and Dealers (www.AAFD.org), based in San Diego, represents both franchisees and franchisors and suggests strongly that you do your homework. They suggest eight things to look for in a franchise before you sign on the dotted line.

1. Select a franchising company that is primarily interested in distributing quality products and services to ultimate consumers, rather than just selling franchises. (Talk to other franchise owners!)

market, be sure to select a franchisor with a well-accepted trademark or brand.

2. Your franchising company should be dedicated to franchising as its primary mechanism of product and service distribution. Watch out for franchisors who retain the right to distribute its products through other channels such as supermarkets or discount stores.

6. Your franchisor should have good relationships with its franchisees. Likewise, the franchisees should have a strong franchisee organization which has negotiating leverage with the franchising company. A franchisor that does not permit its franchisees to organize is a sure sign of trouble ahead.

3. Your franchising company should produce and market quality goods and services for which there is an established market demand. (Do your homework and don’t accept what you’re told as gospel.) 4. If you are seeking an established

5. Ensure that your franchisor has a solid business plan and marketing system. (Run it by an expert)

7. Only deal with franchising companies that provide sales and earnings data which demonstrate an attractive return on your investment. All state and federal laws regulating

franchising encourage franchisors to provide earnings claims to prospective franchisees. (Watch out! Like all data, it can be manipulated to create a rosy picture.) 8. Select a franchisor that supports the AAFD’s Fair Franchising Standards and respects the Franchisee Bill of Rights of the AAFD. (Visit the website and get to know them.) Not all franchises are extremely costly. There are franchise opportunities at almost every price level. You might want to find a good franchise broker that can match you with an appropriate opportunity. If you do your homework, and work with trusted advisors, a franchise could be your route to financial independence.

Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Veteran Entrepreneurs Today & President of Marketing Impressions. Look for trusted advisors, or apply to be a B2B vendor for veteran entrepreneurs at www.veteranentrepreneurstoday.org. www.homelandmagazine.com

HOMELAND / July 2016 23


LIFE AFTER THE MILITARY ARE YOU READY?

Returning to civilian life presents new opportunities— and challenges—for Veterans. Many Veterans look forward to life after the military because they can spend more time with family and friends and no longer have to worry about military structure or deployment. At the same time, transitioning out of the military may raise a lot of questions. You may wonder what you are going to do with this new phase of your life, or whether you will be able to find a job. You may think about going back to school, but not know where to start. Or you may miss the order and discipline of military life (compared with civilian life) and wonder if you will be able to adjust.

SUCCESSFUL TIPS FOR A CAREER TRANSITION

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MAKING A SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION

Build your professional network. Chances are you have many more military contacts in your network than civilian ones. If that’s the case and you have an eye on a civilian career, then you should actively build a more diverse network while you’re still in the military. Creating a professional profile online using a site like LinkedIn is a good place to start. Continuing to build your network will better prepare you for a career as a civilian.

While there may be some uncertainty when you separate from the military and enter the civilian workforce, there is a lot you can do before that happens. The following tips can help you make a smoother transition.

REEL IN CIVILIAN EMPLOYERS WITH YOUR MILITARY EXPERIENCE One of the challenges of switching from a military to a civilian career is finding a way to relate your military experience to the civilian workplace. Military occupational specialties are very different compared to what you’ll find in corporate occupations, which means you may need to think differently about your skills and experience. For example, you may be accustomed to a military lingo that involves jargon, acronyms and terms a civilian employer would not understand. Of course, the same is true in civilian workplaces, so you may need to learn new ways of communicating. If you’re not sure how your military experience might translate into a civilian career, consider conducting informational interviews. While you can gather a great deal of information about a career by researching online or reading brochures and books, you’ll gain far greater insight by communicating firsthand with someone with direct experience in the occupation you seek. Always treat informational interviews as you would a job interview. You may not be actively in the running for a position, but you are making a professional impression, so you want to be sure it’s a good one. Through your interviews, you’ll likely discover a number of marketable skills and characteristics that make you an ideal candidate for a civilian career.

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HOMELAND / July 2016

Get started early. Begin to think about your civilian career one to two years before your expected separation date. You’ll need that time to assess your skills and interests, so you can research and align yourself with a civilian career that will be a good fit. You may want to further your education after you separate from the military. Talk with an ESO on your base to get more information. Do your research. Your research involves more than gathering information about potential civilian career paths. It also involves tapping into what personally resonates with your passion and interests. Think about the elements of your military experience that sparked an internal fire, and then consider how that might be translated to a civilian career. Rather than focus on job titles, focus on the skills you want to use and the careers that will let that happen. If you are considering going back to school, look for universities that offer transfer credit for past military service or training, military benefits, scholarships or grants, and research the school’s reputation in the military community. Assess your skill gaps. If you’ve given yourself enough lead time, you’ll have a better idea of the civilian career path you want to take, which gives you time to fill any skill gaps that may come up. When possible, seek additional military training and experience that might help you with your civilian job search. This may involve doing more than expected, but that extra effort can pay off when it’s time to launch your civilian career. Dust off your resume. Depending on your circumstances, you may never


have created a resume. Whether you have a resume or not, it’s important to know that your military experience may not easily translate into a civilian career. For this reason, consider creating a functional resume that focuses on specific skills that will be of interest to a civilian employer, rather than a chronological resume that lists military job titles a civilian employer will not recognize or understand. Many universities have career services departments that can help you create a resume. If you decide to go back to school, take advantage of this perk and consult a specialist for help building your resume.

Leadership. “Nearly all veterans have served in a leadership role in some capacity during their time in the military, so whether they are leading from the front or motivating others to achieve collaborative goals, veterans usually perform exceedingly well in a supervisory or managerial capacity.

Work Ethic. Many military service members and veterans apply the structure and commitment from their training to the workplace.

Teamwork. The nature of military service often means goals are achieved through the collaboration of people. There are no lone rangers. This makes veterans excellent team players who

Timeliness. Arriving on time is a key component of the military lifestyle, so being a veteran usually gives civilian employers confidence in your ability to be reliable.

demonstrate a sense of loyalty that civilian employers appreciate. Technological Skills. Veterans tend to have a broad range of technical skills, or the ability to quickly pick up new technology. In the fast-paced civilian workplace, this kind of adaptability and innovation goes a long way. In the months to follow Homeland magazine will feature a career/education section dedicated to transitioning military personnel, active service members, veterans, and military spouses that are looking for advice, resources, jobs, scholarships, degree & certificate programs & opportunities.

HOMELAND / July 2016 25


BY: CJ MACHADO

AFTER

The Battle Has Just Begun

T

here are a tremendous amount of talented artists and authors, but none are as

vibrant and enthusiastic as RJ Belle. Her contagious smile and joyful eyes lighten up a room when she expresses her excitement in meeting new people and when she shares her latest inspirational project. I first met RJ at a veteran event called “Smiles for Heroes,” sponsored by Dr. Leslie Bonar with Grand Dentistry in Escondido, CA. RJ instantly greeted me as an old friend, embracing me with genuine warmth and kindness. RJ introduced me to her then fiancée, Toran and their shared 10 year old daughter, Bella. Toran was in a wheelchair and the indention and massive scar on his forehead made it obvious that he had suffered severe head trauma. Sarcastic and funny as can be, you could see how RJ fell in love with Toran. In her most recent book, AFTER, author RJ Belle captivates the souls and minds of her readers through her compelling words and thoughtful insight. AFTER honors 8 extraordinary American combat veterans by telling their amazing stories of tragedy and triumph. Toran Gaal is one of those extraordinary men. RJ met and fell in love with Toran while transcribing his experiences and challenges of war.

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HOMELAND / July 2016

www.homelandmagazine.com


AFTER reveals the veterans intense struggles accepting their debilitating physical injuries and psychological trauma. AFTER relates the constant battle the warrior encounters with fighting depression and discloses the overwhelming suicide statistics if not treated. RJ describes their painful journey through rehabilitation with our limited veteran healthcare system and explains why there is a need for non-profits to fill in the gaps where our government is lacking.

RJ wrote this book to raise public awareness for our community to better understand the needs of our returning warriors and the importance of treating them compassionately. RJ partnered with Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station, a non-profit organization that helps our combatinjured service-members transition from military to civilian life.

RJ wrote this book to raise public awareness for our community to better understand the needs of our

Pendleton, Oceanside, CA. During his

It was his resilience and courage

returning warriors and the importance

basic training, he was sought out to

that won the heart of RJ Belle during

of treating them compassionately. RJ

serve as a member of the Presidential

their conversations while writing

partnered with Warrior Foundation-

Guard, and became the second Marine

AFTER. Toran actively inspires and

Freedom Station, a non-profit

to stand behind President Barack

motivates his peers, new amputees

organization that helps our combat-

Obama during his inauguration.

and the community. Toran also shares his experiences of recovery

injured service-members transition from military to civilian life. Her

It was during Toran’s third tour of duty

with local schools, military and

compassionate heart and inspiring

to Afghanistan, with 1st Battalion 5th

civic organizations. With the

words lends rest to the troubled minds

Marines that a horrible blast took his

encouragement and support of RJ,

of our returning warriors by offering

legs, fractured his skull and severed

Toran hand-cycled across America

a resource guide that supports their

his chest from his breastbone to his

last summer to raise awareness and

particular needs and it provides

pelvic area. On June 26, 2011, the

funds for the Semper Fi Fund. The

comfort to their families. AFTER brings

evening prior to the explosion, Squad

Semper Fi Fund gives 100% of their

hope to our nation’s veterans and

Leader Sgt Gaal proudly announced

proceeds to the critically ill and injured

service members through sharing

his reenlistment to his unit. Sgt

members of all branches of the U.S.

inspiring stories of strength, resilience

Gaal woke up from a coma two

Armed Forces and their families. You

and courage that lead to miraculous

months after the incident, having no

can learn more about his journey, at:

recoveries and new beginnings. 100%

recollection of being a Marine. He was

www.torangaal.com

of the books proceeds benefit Warrior

convinced he was still in high school

Foundation Freedom Station.

and that he had been in a car accident.

AFTER is available locally at the Upstart

Once he was brought state side, he

Crow in San Diego (Seaport Village),

Toran Gaal always felt it was his calling

spent over 7 months at the Walter

Barnes & Noble, Amazon and RJ’s

to join the United States Marine Corps,

Reed National Military Medical Center

website: www.AuthorRJBelle.com

which was heavily influenced by his

(Bethesda). Eventually he was treated

The AFTER audio book version,

brother, who honorably served in

at the VA in Palo Alto for his brain

featuring multi-award winning

the Marine Corps before him. In fact,

injury and then transferred to Balboa

narrators, R.C. Bray (The Martian

Toran “Chance” Gaal turned down

Naval Medical Center in San Diego.

audiobook) and PJ Ochlan is scheduled

a lucrative professional basketball

Due to the extent of his injuries, he

to be released late July, 2016.

contract to join the Marine Corps

was granted medical retirement. In

in 2007. He was a Corporal in the

January 2012, Toran courageously

RJ is currently working on two projects,

infantry with Charlie Company, 1st

took his first steps on prosthetics. He

a fiction novel in her Sutton series

Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st

strongly believes that “the only limits

(Second Sight) and another non-

Marine Division, based out of Camp

in life are those we set for ourselves.”

fiction project, which is a collaboration

www.homelandmagazine.com

HOMELAND / July 2016 27


with other caregiver wives and two combat veterans. She hopes to CHANGE THE NARRATIVE. Our veterans are not damaged goods, forever broken because of war. There is recovery, there is hope and there is a way to go on to build productive positive lives contrary to the media’s consistent portrayal of veterans. “They can and do serve an important purpose POST war and POST war injury. This is unpopular territory, but territory that is important to address, explore and share far and wide!” RJ expresses enthusiastically. This will be a two book series and will release simultaneously. One will focus on veterans and the other will focus on the caregivers and mental health professionals. Suicide rates and other misreported statistics will be broken down and covered thoroughly. RJ and her collaborators will also incorporate a one-stop-shop type of resource guide. I am looking forward to reading author RJ Belles upcoming projects and learning more on how to better support our veterans. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: R.J. Belle began writing as a teenager as a way to express her creative side. In 2013 she made the jump into writing for publication. R.J. left her career to write full time and within three months published her first Fiction Novel, First One Down: A Paul Sutton series novel. With a new stunning cover and additional editing First One Down is set was released in April 2016. Book two in the Paul Sutton series, Second Sight, will release summer 2016. R.J. released her first non-fiction project in 2016 - AFTER: The Battle Has Just Begun. After explores the daunting task of physical and emotional recovery and rehabilitation for eight combat-injured men and the private non-profit that assisted in all eight transitions. R.J. lives in Southern California with her family.

Getting to know RJ Belle By Helen Girth Mahi What has surprised you the most since

What made you decide to go the “indie”

There are many, many indie books and

becoming a writer?

route?

authors out there right now. How does you work to stand out?

My ability to survive on little sleep and

I’m a control freak.

lots of coffee. How do you handle negative reviews?

I have a strong work ethic. I am Of the stories you have out now, which

continually trying to improve and I spend

is your favorite? Do you have a favorite

half of my time marketing and figuring

scene or character that stands out?

out what works on the business end. I

I no longer read reviews unless my editor forwards them to me. We look at negative reviews as a way to improve.

think anyone who says that their only job Sutton. I love his sarcasm.

is to write is missing the point of being an indie author. Our job is to write AND to run a business.

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HOMELAND / July 2016


Symbols of America’s Heroes

Veterans tribute tower

and at Miramar National Cemetery

Carillon

Through the efforts of the Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation, the Veterans Tribute Tower and Carillon will soon join other Symbols of America’s Heroes at Miramar National Cemetery: Avenue of Flags Memorial Walkway Prisoners of War Monument

The Foundation works year-round to honor our Veterans’ sacrifices. It maintains the Avenue of Flags, sponsors the annual Veterans Memorial Service, and conducts other programs and patriotic events. Your tax-deductible contribution can help sustain the Foundation’s important work at Miramar National Cemetery. Please visit the Foundation website at www.miramarcemetery.org and click on “Contribute” or send your contribution to: Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation 1245 Island Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101 The Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) organization and a 509 (c)(1) public charity. Tax ID #65-1277308.

HOMELAND / July 2016 29


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HomelandMagazine.com

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Did you miss the article on Royce Williams? Unbroken? Service Dogs? American Sniper? Military Life? Fighting PTSD?

Homeland

Resources Support Inspiration

Vol. 3 Number4 • April 2016

From PTSD and Sniper Fire, to Dogs That Heal Reboot Your Life After The Military Tax Tips for Service Members and Their Families Can Military Service Make You A Millionare

WAR COMES HOME the legacy Changing Veterans’ Lives HOMELAND / April 2016 1

Homeland

Homeland

Resources Support Inspiration

Resources Support Inspiration

Vol. 3 Number 7 • July 2016

Vol. 3 Number 6 • June 2016

July Month of Independence Lessons in Liberty

PTSD The Fight On Capitol Hill

Fighting PTSD Signs & Symptoms

Riding With A Friend “The Wall”

Fitness’s Role In Transitioning To Civilian Life

PTSD A Warrior’s Life Before & After Life After the Military GI Film Festival

Enlisted To Entrepreneur

A Soldier’s Last Words www.HomelandMagazine.com

HOMELAND / June 2016 1

Crossroads of the MilitaryCivilian Divide www.HomelandMagazine.com

You can now catch up on all your favorite articles, breaking news, resources, jobs for vets, educational opportunities events & more.

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HOMELAND / June July 2016 2016 33 33


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DARRELL HAMMOND / JEFF ROSS / JANEANE GAROFALO DOUG BENSON / GARFUNKEL AND OATES / NATASHA LEGGERO / BRIAN POSEHN // DELHOMEGROWN MAR (SAN DIEGO), CA PUDDLES PITY PARTY / TAYLOR WILLIAMSON’S SHOWCASE

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36

HOMELAND / July 2016

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