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Memo from a Leatherneck Nearing the end of my active duty service, my mind gravitated to confidently overtaking the civilian sector during my TAPS (Transition Assistance Program) class. TAPS is a program that helps Marines acclimate in to civilian life. Six months of looking for a job with no takers and 14 resume revisions, put me in my place.


owever, through some keenly strategized interviews, I was eventually able to snag a security administrator position with the Booz Allen Hamilton consulting firm, keeping me in the field I know best: security. Through the years I worked in lonely SCIFs and later became a Contract Special Security Officer and Facility Security Officer with Rincon Research Corporation. I had built a distinguished rapport in the northern Virginia and DC area. Though the jobs were excellent and I truly loved the security industry, I wanted to move back to my childhood home in southern Kentucky. However, SCIFs and agencies aren’t quite as prevalent in a small rural area, so I hatched the idea to start my own business.

Now It’s About

As I drudged through school websites with business programs to utilize my Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, my mother one day brought to my attention Lockmasters Security Institute. My area didn’t have a local locksmith so the market was wide open for the venture. I can only assume the sound proofing material in my secured area functioned correctly, because no one from adjacent floors complained about hooting and celebrative OORAH’s coursing through my SCIF. My excitement and anxiety only intensified after a phone call to the school’s director, Deanna DeBorde. She confirmed that my Post 9/11 G.I. Bill benefits were an approved payment method for my tuition.

Your Future.

With a packed-to-capacity UHAUL truck and a 13 hour drive, my thoughts often tracked around the lingering question; “Can this school really properly equip me with the skills I need for the locksmith trade?” We offer a variety of hands-on technical training courses that On October 24, 2011, my 28th birthday, I walked into the will give you real world experience in a short time period. A Professional Locksmithing class for the first time number of our courses are approved for enrollment of veterans, with very little knowledge of locking systems, reservists, service persons, and other eligible persons under the period. By the end of the 2 week course I was provisions of Chapters 30, 32, 33 and 35 GI Bill. picking (or at least attempting) every lock I could get my hands on. I was instantly addicted AVAILABLE COURSES GSA Authorized Safe & Vault Technician & Inspector and even more intrigued by the Lockmasters Professional Locksmithing I & II • Tactical Entry Level 1 organization. It didn’t take long before I had Comprehensive Security Specialist Training taken almost every course in the catalog. ProAccess Control Technician • Kaba X-Lock Certifications lock, Pro-lock 2, Emergency Vehicle Opening, Physical Security SCIF Construction Safe Deposit, Safe Penetration, Access Control, LKM7000 Lock Series Certification Safe Lock Servicing, Safe Lock Manipulation, Mechanical & Electronic Safe Lock Servicing Tactical Entry, GSA Technician and Inspector Professional Safe Lock Opening • Combination Lock Manipulation

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MERG Spring 2019

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Now It’s About

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GSA Authorized Safe & Vault Technician & Inspector Professional Locksmithing I & II • Tactical Entry Level 1 Comprehensive Security Specialist Training Access Control Technician • Kaba X-Lock Certifications Physical Security SCIF Construction LKM7000 Lock Series Certification Mechanical & Electronic Safe Lock Servicing Professional Safe Lock Opening • Combination Lock Manipulation Safe Deposit Lock Servicing

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Certification, X-09 Certification, S&G 2740 Certification… I was on a mission. But HERE is the magic. I started passing out business cards to every business that would take one and essentially handed out over 500 business cards in a single week; and calls started coming in. First with lock outs and general rekeys for residences and businesses. I can still remember the first safe I manipulated was a Sentry straight tail piece almost identical to the one covered in class. My amazement was that I KNEW WHAT I WAS DOING! Most everything I got a call for, I had the direct knowledge. I was also invited to contact the instructors if I had a problem for advice while in the field. I had the skills and the resources I needed to not just do the job, but to excel in the market. So from time to time new/prospective students will ask the question, “Can this school really properly equip me with the skills I need for the locksmith trade?” I can only smile when I respond to that question in an email knowing that they will see my signature block at the bottom. Semper Fidelis, Brandon K. Powell Owner/Operator-The Leatherneck Locksmith Content provided by LOCKMASTERS.

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FAMILY MATTERS On April 24, 1980, during an attempt to rescue 52 American hostages in Iran, eight special operations soldiers of the Joint Force 79 were killed, leaving behind 17 children. Richard “Taco” Sanchez was aboard the lead airplane that fateful night during Desert One, also known as Mission Rice Bowl. The surviving airmen, including Taco, vowed that they would take care of every child left behind by a parent killed in the line of duty. Their commitment led to the founding of Special Operations Warrior Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing full financial assistance for post-secondary education to the children of fallen special operations personnel. From its promise to support the original 17 children, the organization has committed to funding the college education for over 800 children and more than 330 in their program have graduated. “We provide tutors from kindergarten through middle school, high school and a full-ride college education through a bachelor’s degree or equivalent technical, etc,” says Sanchez. “It’s traumatic for those kids. All of a sudden they’ve lost their mom or their dad and they have a lot of emotional issues.” The organization also provides spousal support and financial assistance to wounded warriors.

a golf course marshal earning $5 per hour and I could play all the golf I wanted. Then my wife told me I had to go to work,” Sanchez laughs. “We’ve been married for 45 years and I call her the Queen. Sandra was in real estate at the time and told me to get into the business. So, I did as I was told. I got into real estate and found I had a pretty good knack for it.” Sanchez eventually moved from Florida to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and became the managing broker of an EXIT Realty office. “I spent time with EXIT Realty’s Founder and Chairman, Steve Morris, and I fell in love with the business model. Other companies say they’re similar but they’re not even close; EXIT is a whole different thing. Steve is all about the agents and that’s what EXIT is about. We’re a family. The agents are the engine that drives the train.”

Sanchez, who has been involved in Special Operations Warrior Foundation from its inception, retired as a Command Chief from the Air Force in 2001. “I had my dream job. I was


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Sanchez recruited Tashia McGinn, an agent he knew from his former company, to join him at the brokerage. “I followed Taco to EXIT from Coldwell Banker,” says McGinn. “I knew he had a military background and about a year after I joined the brokerage, I happened to mention that my father did, too. He asked who my dad was and when I told him, he replied. ‘I know him; we were in special ops together’. Talk about a small world!” During the ensuing years, the Gulf Coast struggled with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the downturn in the economy and the BP oil spill. McGinn went out on her own, Sanchez’s brokerage closed, and he retired again. “I was an independent broker for 10 years,” says McGinn. “However, in our market place, franchise companies typically hold the majority of the market share. I knew that in order to make it in this industry I needed to join a franchise. There was no question as to the company I wanted to go with because Taco was such a big cheerleader for EXIT. EXIT was the only company that replicated what I believed in - people. It all started when Taco introduced me to the company and allowed me to experience that mindset. When I decided to buy my franchise in 2016, I called Taco and said, ‘Hey Pops, I’m buying an EXIT franchise. You know what that means, right?’ and he replied, ‘Yep, it means I’m coming out of retirement.’” Under their leadership, McGinn’s brokerage, EXIT Prestige Luxury Realty, has grown to two locations with more than

Foundation. EXIT Prestige Luxury Realty sponsored the event and raised money through player registrations, hole sponsorships and donations. The team at EXIT Prestige Luxury Realty hoped to raise $5,000 which EXIT Realty Corp. International was proud to match, but they exceeded their projection, raising $8,546.25 resulting in a total donation to Special Operations Warrior Foundation of $13,546.25. “We in the special ops community appreciate EXIT’s donation to the children,” says Sanchez. “We think it’s a great fit because both organizations are about the family.”

“The Special Operations Warrior Foundation is near and dear to Taco’s heart because he was there when the commitment was established and he created the golf tournament as a way to raise funds,” says McGinn. “Being able to take advantage of


60 agents with plans to open a third location this year. In 2018, they took advantage of a special program offered by EXIT Realty’s head office called the Spirit of EXIT Dollar-forDollar Matching Program. A portion of every transaction fee collected by EXIT Realty Corp. International is applied to its charitable fund. Through the Spirit of EXIT Dollar-for-Dollar Matching Program, EXIT offices and associates can raise money for local, approved, registered charities and apply to EXIT’s head office to have those funds matched from the company’s pledged pool of funds. The charity they chose to support was Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

the Spirit of EXIT Dollar-for-Dollar Matching Program inspired our agents to be a part of Taco’s charity, to learn his back story and to know that the company stood behind one of their leaders. This cause is also special to me because my father served in special operations with Taco. Taco’s charity event represents one veteran, of many, keeping an almost 40-year commitment alive.” For more information about the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, please visit specialops.org.

The Veterans for Veterans Golf Tournament, founded by Sanchez, was held at Bayou Vista Golf Course in Gulfport, Mississippi in benefit of the Special Operations Warrior


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MERG Spring 2019

Spring 2019 MERG



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MERG Spring 2019

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Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty: The facts


Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve: The facts


Yellow Ribbon Program: How to use it

Post-9/11 GI Bill: The basics


VA Work-Study Program: Earn while you learn


Post-9/11 GI Bill: How to use it


Fully Developed Claim: How to file


Post-9/11 GI Bill: Benefits


Secretary of Veterans Affairs


Under Secretary for Benefits


VA benefits: How to maximize them


Robert Wilkie

Paul R. Lawrence

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Own a Security Franchise with Signal 88 Over 75% of Signal 88 Owners come from military or law enforcement backgrounds Ask about the veteran discount


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Ready to be your own boss? Check in with some veterans who jumped boots-first into franchising. By Bryan Mitchell


Franchising: The basics


Opening a franchise: What’s involved?


Franchising: The economic outlook


Franchise Financing: An SBA guide


Veteran Identification Cards


Requesting Your Military Service Record


Applying for VA Health Care


Check Your VA Claim or Appeal Status


Final Frame


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obert Wilkie was the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Mr. Wilkie was the principal advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense for Total Force Management as it relates to readiness; National Guard and Reserve component affairs; health affairs; training; and personnel requirements and management, including equal opportunity, morale, welfare, recreation, and the quality of life for military families. The son of an Army artillery commander he spent his youth at Fort Bragg. He has more than 20 years of experience at the national and international level. During the George W. Bush Administration, Mr. Wilkie served both Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld as Assistant Secretary of Defense from 2005-2009, and was the youngest senior leader in the Department. Prior to his first Pentagon tour, he was Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and a senior director of the National Security Council under Dr. Condoleezza Rice. Mr. Wilkie also has extensive experience in the United States Congress including recent service as Senior Advisor to Senator Thom Tillis as well as being Counsel and Advisor on International Security Affairs to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Honorable Trent Lott. He had a five-year tour as Vice President for Strategic Programs for CH2M HILL one of the world’s largest engineering and program management firms, where at various times he had program management and advisory assignments as diverse as the London 2012 and the reform and reorganization of the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense Supply and Logistics System (DE&S).

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Living Proof By D. Clare Jim Sursely had never thought about joining the military. His father was in the Army Air Corps in World War II, but his focus as a teenager had been on sports—football, baseball and basketball. But in May 1966, war was on the minds of many. While driving down the street in his hometown of Rochester, Minn., Sursely saw a sign that said, “Uncle Sam needs you.” He went to an Army recruiter and within three months was inducted into the military. “My motivation was to probably go to do three years … come home and use the G.I. Bill to go to school and play college football,” he said. Sursely wasn’t challenged physically by boot camp at Fort Polk, La., and track vehicle training school at Fort Sill, Okla., was a breeze. But when he was sent to Germany, he felt like he was out of the game. “I wasn’t a very good garrison soldier,” he said. He volunteered for duty in Vietnam and arrived in March 1968, a month after the beginning of the Tet Offensive. In midFebruary, American forces had experienced their bloodiest week of the war, with 543 Americans killed and 2,547 wounded. By January of 1969, Sursely had been involved in fierce combat against Việt Cộng and North Vietnamese Army soldiers. He’d been promoted twice. On the 11th of the month, he was setting up for a night operation, making sure his unit’s Claymore mines were in place. “I stepped on a land mine, which resulted in the amputation of both of my legs and my left arm,” he said, noting that in an odd way, the force of the blast and the accompanying fireball saved his life, cauterizing his wounds nearly as fast as they removed his limbs. “I remember going up in the air, coming back down and lying flat on my back. And I remember reaching down with my good right hand, and I touched what would be like midthigh on my right leg, which kind of gave me a feeling that I was probably OK and still intact. I had absolutely no idea that I’d lost [three] limbs at that point.” In that same instant, the plans Sursely had for his future were forever changed. Three days later, he woke up in Japan for a fleeting moment of awareness. Several weeks and 12 major surgeries later, he regained consciousness in time to be sent stateside. “They started feeding me whole food, getting ready for me to take the flight back to the states, and that’s when I could look with my own eyes at whatever was missing or what I had left,” he said. “So, like 30 days after my injuries was when I totally and completely realized what I had lost.” While thankful to be alive, Sursely was in shock about his future. Growing up, he hadn’t been around disabled people; it was hard to imagine what he could do to support himself. This was

before the Americans with Disabilities Act, he noted, and places like his hometown were not easily accessible. He recovered at Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colo. By the end of the year, he’d been medically retired from the military and returned to his family. Football may have been out of the cards, but school wasn’t. Sursely studied to be a certified public accountant, but the pre-computer world of accounting was too tedious for the former combat soldier. He moved to Florida, where new construction brought greater accessibility. He went into real estate. To date, he is the top active seller of homes in the Apopka community, which he calls home. Sursely eventually married, though his first marriage ended in divorce. He was confident. He’d grown and evolved. Today, he and second wife Jeannie run their business. He has four children, 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He joined DAV (Disabled American Veterans) in 1970 and found that he enjoyed the camaraderie and opportunity to give back. After becoming a leader at the local and state levels, his fellow veteran leaders, several of whom had served at the charity’s top post, groomed him for the big stage. He was elected national commander of the million-member organization in 2004. Though he’s met with presidents and dignitaries, he said he’s most proud of the opportunities he’s had to talk with his fellow veterans. He teaches them, and his fellow citizens, about the value of accepting events from the past while constantly challenging perceived limitations. Through hunting and DAV’s partnership with organizations that promote outdoor activities, he connects with and mentors younger veterans returning from the current wars who are going through challenges he’s faced over the last five decades. In one instance, he recalls sitting alongside the bed of Brian Kolfage, the first triple amputee he’d met at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, just weeks after the young man’s injury. It wasn’t a deep conversation, but Sursely wanted Kolfage to see that there was a future. “Look, I’ve been in the chair now for more than 30 years,” he recalls telling the younger veteran. “Believe me, if you want a whole and interesting life, you can still have that. I’m living proof that it’s possible, and I’m no different than you are.” To learn more about DAV, visit DAV.org. Spring 2019 MERG 15

Secretary of Veterans Affairs ROBERT WILKIE continued

Mr. Wilkie is a reserve officer in the United States Air Force Reserve assigned to the Office of the Chief of Staff. Prior to joining the Air Force, he served in the United States Navy Reserve with the Joint Forces Intelligence Command, Naval Special Warfare Group Two and the Office of Naval Intelligence. A graduate of the College of Naval Command and Staff, Air Command and Staff College, the United States Army War College, and the Joint Forces Staff College, Mr. Wilkie has published articles in the Naval War College Review, Parameters, Armed Forces Journal International, The Air and Space Power Journal and Proceedings. He holds personal and unit decorations as well as the Defense Distinguished

Public Service Medal, the highest civilian award of the Department. Mr. Wilkie also shepherded the Senate confirmation process for James Mattis, Robert Gates, Admiral Mike Mullen (CJCS) and was responsible for the preparation of General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Croker for their multiple appearances before the Congress in defense of the Iraqi Surge. Mr. Wilkie holds an Honors degree from Wake Forest University; Juris Doctor from Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans; Master of Laws in International and Comparative Law from Georgetown University and a Masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.

U.S. Marine Corps photo/Dallas Johnson

Honorable Robert Wilkie, former Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, speaks to a gathering of service members from each military branch about the importance of family readiness at the 2017 Department of Defense Family Readiness Award, at the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes, Arlington, Virginia, March 23, 2018.

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Jim Sursely

I AM A VETERAN AND THIS IS MY VICTORY. “My victory is proving that a disability is not a limitation.” After losing an arm and both legs to a land mine, DAV helped Jim put life back together. Every year, DAV helps more than one million veterans of all generations in life-changing ways—connecting them to the health, disability, and financial benefits they’ve earned. Help support more victories for veterans. Go to DAV.org. Spring 2019 MERG 17

Under Secretary for Benefits PAUL R. LAWRENCE


aul R. Lawrence is a Vice President for the Kaiser Associates Public Sector Practice. He joined the firm in 2016 and is based in Washington, DC.

Paul helps government leaders address their challenges by developing and then implementing unique solutions. He focuses on increasing organizational efficiency and effectiveness. Paul has 30 years of experience working closely with federal government leaders. He has researched and written extensively on management and government. He is the co-author of multiple books about managing the federal government including Succeeding as a Political Executive: 50 Insights from Experience; What Government Does: How Political Executives Manage; and Paths to Making a Difference: Leading in Government. Paul earned his Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Economics from Virginia Tech. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. Paul also served in the U.S. Army attaining the rank of Captain. He graduated from the Army’s Airborne School and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

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Ocean Corporation 2015_Layout 1 11/6/14 4:46 PM Page 1

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Proudly training men and women for exciting new careers since 1969. • Post 9/11 GI Bill Accepted • Financial Aid for Those Who Qualify • Job Placement Assistance for Graduates • Internationally Recognized Certification Program Students train at The Ocean Corporation to become commercial divers and industrial NDI inspectors. We have been in the business for over 40 years and we know the “nuts and bolts” of both industries.

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f you’re new to VA, it can be overwhelming to sift through all of the benefits and services offered and choose which ones are best for you and your family. Here is a quick “how to” guide for VA benefits. VA benefits can be split into two general categories – health care and non-medical benefits like compensation, education and home loans. If you served on active military service and were separated under any condition other than dishonorable, you may qualify for VA health care benefits. Post-9/11 Combat Veterans (OEF/OIF/OND) are eligible for five years of cost-free care for illness and injury related to service and onetime dental care. The second category, non-medical VA benefits, is broken into six areas: Compensation, Education, Home Loans, Insurance, Pension & Fiduciary; and Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment.


VA’s disability claims process is currently undergoing a major transformation, including the creation of more than 40 new initiatives designed to decrease processing time and increase accuracy and service for service members, veterans, their families and survivors. VA is moving toward an electronic, rather than a paperbased, system and toward the goal of eliminating the veterans disability claims backlog and improving rating accuracy to 98% in 2015. The new Fully Developed Claims (FDC) program is now the fastest way to get your compensation or pension claim processed.


Many service members choose to use VA’s education benefits shortly after leaving service or pass the benefits to family members. In addition to undergraduate and graduate degrees, the Post-9/11 GI Bill offers financial assistance for a variety of training programs, including: vocational/technical, on-the-job, flight and licensing/ certification programs. In addition to tuition and fees, veterans may qualify for a monthly housing allowance and book stipend. The Vet Success on Campus program on school campuses

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across the country helps connect veterans with other student veterans and a variety of VA services, including free tutoring. VA’s Veterans Retraining and Assistance Program (VRAP) offers 12 months of training to unemployed veterans 35 to 60 years old.


Another frequently used VA benefit is the guaranteed home loan and refinancing assistance. VA also offers special grants for disabled veterans to adapt and acquire housing suitable for their needs.


Service Members and Veterans Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage recipients have two options available to them upon release from service: converting to the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance program or a permanent plan with one of the participating commercial insurance companies.


VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program assists veterans with serviceconnected disabilities to prepare for, find, and keep suitable jobs. Benefits include vocational counseling, on the job training and apprenticeships. More information on all of VA’s benefits and services can be found at www.va.gov. Content provided by the VA.


FOUND ANOTHER WAY TO SERVE. THAT WAS MY MOMENT.” Scott Green Undergraduate Cybersecurity Student

PROGRAMS IN HIGH-DEMAND FIELDS After serving two tours and returning home, Scott experienced his Moment when he found a passion for cybersecurity and another way to serve his country. Now he’s learning to protect and defend information systems in local and broad-based domains. UMUC can help you transition to a post-military career in a high-demand field with • Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in cybersecurity, information technology, business and management, public safety and more • Up to 90 credits for prior college, work and military experience, saving you time and money • Online classes and more than 140 classroom and service locations, including military installations throughout the world Ranked the No. 1 University for Veterans in 2015.*

Visit military.umuc.edu/education to learn more. *Military Times ranked UMUC No. 1 in its Best for Vets: Colleges 2015 annual survey of online and nontraditional colleges and universities.

Copyright © 2016 University of Maryland University College

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PRIDE • PURPOSE • PRESTIGE You’ve earned respect amongst your ranks. We’ve earned respect amongst the aviation industry. earned the No. 1 position on Forbes’ 2018 list of the nation’s Top Two-Year Trade Schools. Our commitment to success relies on the skill, determination, and passion of our students. When your military service comes to an end, your background and experience are highly valued in the aviation industry. Continue to seek out success with an education at PIA.

School for Aviation Maintenance & Electronics Pittsburgh, PA • Hagerstown, MD • Myrtle Beach, SC • Youngstown, OH

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Brice Weyrich, 2018 PIA Grad

Campus .......... Pittsburgh, PA Programs ....... Aviation Maintenance & Electronics Technologies Length ............ 33 Months Employment .. GE Aviation Position.......... Assembly and Test Technician The path to the right career isn’t necessarily straightforward for every student. Brice Weyrich found that finding the right industry for him took time and most importantly, experiences. “Out of high school I went to college and found out I wasn’t ready,” said Weyrich. He worked in retail before enlisting in the Marine Corps, and that gave him a foundation for a better career. “Going to PIA was something that just fell into place, “said Weyrich. “I decided to pursue what I had always dreamed about and the career I had always wanted. I jumped on Google and searched for aviation mechanic schools. I really felt like this was where I belonged.”

According to Weyrich, there were challenges transitioning from Marine to student. “It can be difficult at times. PIA was a great support to me as a veteran. Financial Aid helped with anything I needed regarding my GI Bill. Everyone just wanted to make sure I had everything I needed to get through the program.” Weyrich’s military experience was not aviation related, but by studying both the Aviation Maintenance and Aviation Electronics programs at PIA, he was able to get a full understanding of how an aircraft works. He is now certified to do mechanical and avionics related repairs on all aspects of an aircraft. PIA’s education gave Weyrich the opportunity to pursue his perfect career. “I’ve seen a lot of people go through a two-year school and get out in the industry and make just as much money, if not more, than a four-year school graduate. For me, this is the best school to have gotten my education at.”

School for Aviation Maintenance & Electronics Pittsburgh, PA • Hagerstown, MD • Myrtle Beach, SC • Youngstown, OH

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TRANSFORMING EDUCATION. ADVANCING CARE. TOUCHING LIVES. When Roseman University of Health Sciences was founded in Henderson, NV in 1999 and South Jordan, UT in 2005 as a College of Pharmacy, the university aspired to positively impact healthcare in the region. After more than a decade of remarkable growth, Roseman is strengthening its commitment as a transforming force in vital areas of health care education.


COLLEGE OF PHARMACY Doctor of Pharmacy (Nevada & Utah) Professional Continuing Education (Nevada & Utah)

RESEARCH PROGRAMS Diabetes & Obesity | Cancer Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s Diseases Cardiovascular Disease | Adult Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine

COLLEGE OF NURSING Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Nevada & Utah) Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Nevada & Utah)

COLLEGE OF DENTAL MEDICINE AEODO/MBA Residency (Nevada) Doctor of Dental Medicine (Utah)


Orthodontic Clinic (Nevada) Dental Clinic (Utah) Community Outreach for Health

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he Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after Sept. 10, 2001, or individuals discharged with a serviceconnected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Here is some basic information on eligibility and other questions about the bill. Am I eligible? You may be eligible if you served at least 90 aggregate days on active duty after Sept. 10, 2001, or were honorably discharged from active duty for a serviceconnected disability after serving 30 continuous days following September 10, 2001.

What kind of training can I take? You can use the Post-9/11 GI Bill at colleges, universities, trade schools, and for on-the-job training, apprenticeships, and light schools. To see what programs are currently approved for VA benefits, go to www.gibill.va.gov. You can use the Post-9/11 GI Bill for tutorial assistance, licensing (attorney license, cosmetology license, etc.) and certification tests (SAT, LSAT, etc.). Note: If the program you are interested in isn’t on the GI Bill website, contact your State Approving Agency (list available on www.gibill.va.gov) to see if it can be approved. Can I transfer my entitlement to my dependents?

Note: Children of a member of the Armed Forces who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001, may be eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits under the Marine Gunnery John David Fry Scholarship Program.

You must be a member of the uniformed services to transfer your unused benefits to your spouse or dependent(s). Generally, you must agree to serve four more years when transferring benefits.

What will I receive?

What Is the Yellow Ribbon program?

You may receive a percentage of the following payments:

The Post-9/11 GI Bill can cover all in-state tuition and fees at public degree-granting schools, but may not cover all private degree-granting schools and out-ofstate tuition. The Yellow Ribbon program provides additional support in those situations.

— A Tuition and Fee payment that is paid to your school on your behalf. — A Books and Supplies Stipend of up to $1,000 per year. — A Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA)** that is equal to: • The basic allowance for housing (BAH)payable for the zip code of your school to a military E-5 with dependents for students pursuing resident training. • one-half the BAH national average for students training solely by distance learning. • the national average BAH for students pursuing training at foreign schools. **The MHA is not payable to individuals on active duty or those enrolled at half time or less. How many months of assistance can I receive and how long am I eligible? Generally, you may receive up to 36 months of entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. You will be eligible for benefits for 15 years from your last period of active duty of at least 90 consecutive days.

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Institutions voluntarily enter into an agreement with VA to fund uncovered charges. VA matches each dollar of unmet charges the institution agrees to contribute, up to the total cost of the tuition and fees. Content provided by the VA.



he Post-9/11 GI Bill, enacted in 2008, is the most extensive educational assistance program authorized since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944. Just as the original GI Bill allowed veterans to take their educational opportunities and leverage them for breakthroughs in automation, business, medicine, science, transportation and technology, today’s Post-9/11 GI Bill provides veterans with the tools that will help them contribute to an economically strong, vibrant and resilient America.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill is a comprehensive education benefit, paying tuition and fees on behalf of veterans or eligible dependents directly to the schools in which they are enrolled. Eligible participants also receive a monthly housing allowance and up to $1,000 annually for books and supplies. GI Bill benefits are tiered based on the number of days served on active duty, giving activated National Guard and Reserve members the same benefits as those on active duty. VA is committed to ensuring all service members, veterans, and family members eligible for the benefit receive a useful education without the burden of substantial student loan debt as they readjust to civilian life. As of July 9, 2013, VA has issued over $30 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit payments to approximately 992,000 individuals and their educational institutions. Executive Order 13607 directs VA, the Department of Defense (DoD), and Department of Education, with help from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), to develop and implement “Principles of Excellence” to strengthen oversight, enforcement and accountability within veteran and military educational benefit programs.

Schools agreeing to comply with the principles will: • Provide all military and veteran students with a personalized form covering the total cost of the educational program, pre-enrollment program costs, student debt estimates, and financial aid options. • Provide an educational plan for all military and veteran students. • Accommodate service members and reservists who are absent due to service requirements. • Designate points of contact for academic and financial advising • Ensure accreditation of all new programs prior to enrolling students. Participating schools also agree to have tuition refund policies similar to schools receiving Title IV funding. This means that service members, reservists and family members who stop attending school due to service obligations will be entitled to a prorated tuition refund based upon the day the student stops attending. To date, over 6,000 schools have agreed to adhere to the Principles of Excellence. VA has made it easy to identify participating schools by setting up a map on the GI Bill website to help find schools near you. Additional tools for student veterans can be found at www.gibill.va.gov. Content provided by the VA.

The Principles of Excellence are a set of guidelines with which institutions receiving federal funding agree to comply. The principles were designed to help ensure that students are given the right tools to assist them in making informed decisions when choosing a school. The principles also seek to help protect veterans, service members, and their families from aggressive and deceptive marketing tactics.

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PHOTO: Navy Lt. Jasmine Spencer

Navy Chief Petty Officer Lillian Morales, assigned to the USS Charleston, is greeted by her family during a homecoming at Naval Base San Diego, April 19, 2019. The Charleston completed its first voyage from Mobile, Ala.

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pproved training under the Post-9/11 GI Bill includes graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational/technical training, onthe-job training, flight training, correspondence training, licensing and national testing programs, entrepreneurship training, and tutorial assistance. All training programs must be approved for GI Bill benefits. This benefit provides up to 36 months of education benefits, generally benefits are payable for 15 years following your release from active duty. The Post9/11 GI Bill also offers some service members the opportunity to transfer their GI Bill to dependents. Some of the benefits the Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay include: — Full tuition and fees directly to the school for all public school in-state students. For those attending private or foreign schools tuition & fees are capped at the national maximum rate.

If you are attending a private Institution of Higher Learning in Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina or Texas you may be eligible for a higher tuition reimbursement rate.

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For those attending a more expensive private school or a public school as a non-resident out-of-state student, a program exists which may help to reimburse the difference. This program is called the “Yellow Ribbon Program”. — A monthly housing allowance (MHA). — An annual books & supplies stipend. — A one-time rural benefit payment. As of Aug. 1, 2011, break (or interval pay) is no longer be payable under Post-9/11 GI Bill except during periods your school is closed as a result of an Executive Order of the President or an emergency (such as a natural disaster or strike). For example, if your Fall term ends on Dec. 15 and your Spring term begins Jan. 10, your January housing allowance will cover 15 days in December and your February housing allowance will cover 21 days in January. Content provided by the VA.

become a certified dog trainer! Approved For Va Benefits

Turn Your Passion For Dogs Into A Career You Love! Veterans Educational Assistance Act Dog Trainer Certification Harry W. Colmery Forever GI Bill Now allows independent Study at schools that provide post secondary level education or post secondary vocational institutions. By attending our dog trainers’ school in-person or online, you will learn to teach any dog to be a good dog! • Learn to teach private and group lesson • Train dogs for therapy and special needs • Become an AKC evaluator • Learn how to start your own successful dog training business

Call us today! 770-667-0334

Jo-Thors’s Dog Trainers Academy • Alpharetta, GA protrainers@agooddog.com • www.agooddog.com

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he MGIB program provides up to 36 months of education benefits. This benefit may be used for degree and certificate programs, flight training, apprenticeship/on-the-job training and correspondence courses. Remedial, deficiency and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances. Generally, benefits are payable for 10 years following your release from active duty. This program is also commonly known as Chapter 30. $600 Buy-Up Program Some service members may contribute up to an additional $600 to the GI Bill to receive increased monthly benefits. For an additional $600 contribution, you may receive up to $5,400 in additional GI Bill benefits. The additional contribution must be made while on active duty. For more information contact your personnel or payroll office. Who is Eligible? You may be an eligible veteran if you have an Honorable Discharge, AND you have a High School Diploma or GED or in some cases 12 hours of college credit, AND you meet the requirements of one of the categories below: The Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty provides up to 36 months of education benefits to eligible veterans for: • • • • • • • • •

College Technical or vocational courses Correspondence courses Apprenticeship/job training Flight training High-tech training Licensing & certification tests Entrepreneurship training Certain entrance examinations

CATEGORY I • Entered active duty for the first time after June 30, 1985 • Had military pay reduced by $100 a month for first 12 months

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• Continuously served for 3 years, OR 2 years if that is what you first enlisted for, OR 2 years if you entered the Selected Reserve within a year of leaving active duty and served 4 years (“2 by 4” Program) CATEGORY II • Entered active duty before Jan. 1, 1977 • Served at least 1 day between 10/19/84 and 6/30/85, and stayed on active duty through 6/30/88, (or 6/30/87 if you entered the Selected Reserve within 1 year of leaving active duty and served 4 years) • On 12/31/89, you had entitlement left from Vietnam-Era GI Bill CATEGORY III • Not eligible for MGIB under Category I or II • On active duty on 9/30/90 AND separated involuntarily after 2/2/91, • OR involuntarily separated on or after 11/30/93, • OR voluntarily separated under either the Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) or Special Separation Benefit (SSB) program • Before separation, you had military pay reduced by $1200 CATEGORY IV • On active duty on 10/9/96 AND you had money remaining in a VEAP account on that date AND you elected MGIB by 10/9/97 • OR entered full-time National Guard duty under title 32, USC, between 7/1/85, and 11/28/89 AND you elected MGIB during the period 10/9/96, through 7/8/97 • Had military pay reduced by $100 a month for 12 months or made a $1200 lump-sum contribution

A soldier returns fire during a training exercise at Kelly drop zone in San Antonio during the Joint Forcible Entry Exercise, an annual large-scale airborne drop and mobility mission. PHOTO: Army Spc. Jeffery Harris

How Much Does VA Pay? The monthly benefit paid to you is based on the type of training you take, length of your service, your category, and if DoD put extra money in your MGIB Fund (called “kickers�). You usually have 10 years to use your MGIB benefits, but the time limit can be less, in some cases, and longer under certain circumstances. How Can I Apply? You can apply by filling out VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits. Beginning August 1, 2011, break (or interval pay) will no longer be payable under MGIB-AD except during periods your school is closed as a result of an Executive Order of the President or an emergency (such as a natural disaster or strike). For example, if your Fall term ends on Dec. 15 and your Spring term begins Jan. 10, your January housing allowance will cover 15 days in December and your February housing allowance will cover 21 days in January. Content provided by the VA.

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PHOTO: Air Force Staff Sgt. Corban Lundborg

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Adam Ehlinger secures airlift cargo on a C-130J Hercules to support Cyclone Idai relief efforts at Maputo International Airport, Mozambique, March 28, 2019.

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he MGIB-SR program may be available to you if you are a member of the Selected Reserve. The Selected Reserve includes the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve, and the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. You may use this education assistance program for degree programs, certificate or correspondence courses, cooperative training, independent study programs, apprenticeship/on-the-job training, and vocational flight training programs. Remedial, refresher and deficiency training are available under certain circumstances. Eligibility for this program is determined by the Selected Reserve components. VA makes the payments for this program. You may be entitled to receive up to 36 months of education benefits. Your eligibility for the program normally ends on the day you leave the Selected Reserve. One exception to this rule exists if you are mobilized (or recalled to active duty from your reserve status). In this case your eligibility may be extended for the amount of time you are mobilized PLUS four months. For example, if you are mobilized for 12 months your eligibility period is extended for 16 months (12 months active duty PLUS 4 months.) So even if you leave the reserves after mobilization, you may have additional eligibility to the MGIB-SR. If your unit is deactivated during the period beginning on Oct. 1, 2007, through Sept. 30, 2014, or you are involuntarily separated for reasons other than misconduct, you will retain your original period of eligibility, which is 14 years from the date of your first six-year obligation with the selected reserves. Eligibility To qualify, you must meet the following requirements: • Have a six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve signed after June 30, 1985.

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If you are an officer, you must have agreed to serve six years in addition to your original obligation. For some types of training, it is necessary to have a six-year commitment that begins after September 30, 1990. • Complete your initial active duty for training (IADT). • Meet the requirement to receive a high school diploma or equivalency certificate before completing IADT. You may not use 12 hours toward a college degree to meet this requirement. • Remain in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve unit. You will also retain MGIB - SR eligibility if you were discharged from Selected Reserve service due to a disability that was not caused by misconduct. Your eligibility period may be extended if you are ordered to active duty. How to Apply Your unit will give you a DD Form 2384-1, Notice of Basic Eligibility, when you become eligible for the program. Your unit will also code your eligibility into the Department of Defense personnel system so that VA may verify your eligibility. You should then make sure that your selected program is approved for VA training. If you are not clear on this point, VA will inform you and the school or company about the requirements. Obtain and complete VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits. Send it to the VA regional office with jurisdiction over the State where you will train. If you have started training, take your application and your Notice of Basic Eligibility to your school or employer. Ask them to complete VA Form 22-1999, (not available online) Enrollment Certification, and send all the forms to VA. Beginning August 1, 2011, break (or interval pay) will no longer be payable under MGIB-SR except during periods your school is closed as a result of

A wounded warrior’s service dog surrenders to a short nap on the final day of the Air Force training camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. PHOTO: Samuel King Jr.

an Executive Order of the President or an emergency (such as a natural disaster or strike). For example, if your Fall term ends on Dec. 15 and your Spring term begins Jan. 10, your January housing allowance will cover 15 days in December and your February housing allowance will cover 21 days in January. Numbers to Call Call 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) Be advised this line only accepts calls from 7 a.m. 7 p.m. central time Monday - Friday and you may experience long hold times. If you are overseas you can contact the VA via telephone during business hours, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time.

Students and School Certifying Officials calling from outside the United States may call the Buffalo Regional Office at 716-857-3196 or 716-857-3197. Once connected, the caller can immediately enter “option 1” to be placed in a special priority queue. This is not a tollfree number, but the caller will be routed to the next available Customer Service Representative for priority service. This is for overseas customers only. All others should call the toll-free number or contact the VA via the website.

Content provided by the VA.

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PHOTO: Air Force Staff Sgt. Corban Lundborg

Air Force Capt. Matthew Oesterlec, left, and Capt. Derek Monjeau fly a C-130J Super Hercules from Beira Airport, Mozambique, to support Cyclone Idai relief efforts, March 28, 2019.

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• all resident tuition & fees for a public school • the lower of the actual tuition & fees or the national maximum per academic year for a private school • an exception to this exists for students enrolled in private schools in Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina or Texas. In these cases the VA will pay the lower of the actual tuition & fees or the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition & fees.

Only veterans entitled to the maximum benefit rate

Your actual tuition & fees costs may exceed these amounts if you are attending a private school or are attending a public school as a nonresident student. Institutions of higher learning (degree-granting Institutions) may elect to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program to make additional funds available for your education program without an additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement.

• You served an aggregate period of active duty after Sept. 10, 2001, of at least 36 months; • You were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability and you served 30 continuous days after Sept. 10, 2001; • You are a dependent eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill based on a veteran’s service under the eligibility criteria listed above. • To receive benefits under the Yellow Ribbon Program: • You must be eligible for the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. • You must not be on active duty or a spouse transferee of an active-duty member. • Your school must agree to participate in the Yellow Program. • Your school must have not offered Yellow Ribbon to more than the maximum number of individuals stated in their participation agreement. • Your school must certify your enrollment to VA, including Yellow Ribbon program information.

Institutions that voluntarily enter into a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with VA choose the amount of tuition and fees that will be contributed. VA will match that amount and issue payment directly to the institution.

(based on service requirements) or their designated transferees may receive this funding. Active-duty service members and their spouses are not eligible for this program (child transferees of active-duty service members may be eligible if the service member is qualified at the 100% rate). Therefore, you may be eligible if:

Content provided by the VA.

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through careers in the field including as public affairs officers for VA medical centers, with veterans service organizations including Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and at VA’s Salt Lake City Regional Office.

Through the VA-work study program, veterans who are three-quarter or full-time students in a college degree, vocational or professional program can “earn while they learn” with a VA work-study allowance. Students with service-connected disabilities of 30% or greater are given priority consideration in the program. Work-study students perform work related to the VA, including at education institutions, VA facilities, DOD facilities and state Veterans agencies.

Through Terry’s work-study opportunity, studentveterans have the opportunity to learn all sides of the business while working with his staff – from direct outreach to veterans through planning and attending outreach events to answering calls and letters from veterans looking for more information on their VA and state veterans benefits. One recent work-study participant was hired full time for the state agency after he designed and launched a veterans database for the department.

A’s work study program gives student-veterans the opportunity for hands-on work experience and a monthly part-time income while they are going back to school as part of the Post-9/11 GI Bill or other VA education benefit program.

As executive director of the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs, Terry Schow has hired and worked with dozens of student-veterans over the past 10 years. His work-study trainees have come from a variety of education institutions, including the University of Utah, Salt Lake City Community College, Weber State University and Utah Valley University; and have gone on to continue their service in the veterans community

Why does Terry utilize VA’s work-study program to help hire student-veterans? Because they understand the mission of his office in the Utah State Department of Veterans Affairs and are comfortable working on a team. “There’s camaraderie between veterans,” which make them a key asset to the team, he says. Content provided by the VA.

A Wyoming Youth Challenge cadet works on computer applications classwork at Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, Wyo.

PHOTO: 1st Lt. Christian Venhuizen

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he Fully Developed Claims (FDC) program is an optional new initiative that offers veterans, service members and survivors faster decisions from VA on compensation, pension, and survivor benefit claims.

When veterans, service members and survivors submit all required records and documentation at the time they make their claim and certify that they have no further evidence, VA can review and process the claim more quickly. Here’s how: Why submit a Fully Developed Claim (FDC)? You get a faster decision because it saves VA time. When you file a claim, the law requires VA to make an exhaustive search on your behalf to obtain service records and other relevant evidence held by federal agencies and requires VA to ask at least twice for relevant evidence held by private parties, unless they are received on the first request. By submitting all your evidence with your FDC, identifying any relevant records held by federal agencies and verifying that you have no more evidence to submit, you shave a lot of the wait time off the process. There is no risk in filing an FDC. If VA finds that there is a piece of relevant evidence you did not submit, but should have included (like private medical records), VA will obtain that evidence on your behalf and process your claim the traditional way. What kind of records do you need to submit? Military personnel and treatment records are vital to establishing your claim for compensation. Military personnel records can contain deployment orders, pay records, medals and certificates not reflected on the DD-214. Other federal records, like those from Social Security Administration (SSA), are often necessary too – they may contain medical evidence and sometimes even evidence as to the cause of a disability.

How do I file an FCD? Go on to the Internet and log on to your eBenefits account. Click Apply for Benefits and then Apply for Disability Compensation. eBenefits will guide you through the process. You can answer the questions and upload all your supporting evidence all at once, or you can start and save your claim online, collect your supporting evidence and log back in to finish applying. Once you hit Save, you have one year to return to eBenefits, upload your evidence and click Submit. Don’t forget to save – in many cases VA may be able to pay benefits as early as the date you first save that application. Your Veterans Service Officer can also log into the Stakeholder Enterprise Portal – a VSO’s window into your eBenefits account – to look over your claim and give you advice before you press Submit. Once you have collected all your supporting evidence, log back into eBenefits and upload all your documents. There is no limit to number of documents you can upload, but each file must be 5 megabytes or smaller (about 150 black-and-white pages at 300 dpi resolution). Once you verify that you have no more evidence, VA can start processing your claim right away. If you do submit more evidence after you submit the claim, VA will remove your claim from the FDC program and process it through our regular channels. For more tips on submitting your claim, click here. The FDC program is the fastest way to get an accurate decision on your VA claim. By ensuring you submit all your evidence with your claim, you allow the VA to get you an accurate decision as quickly as possible.

Content provided by the VA.

Non-federal records, like medical files from your private doctor, are also important to establishing a claim. These can tell VA the degree of your condition, if it has become worse over time and general information needed for rating purposes.

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PHOTO: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryre Arciaga

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Johnithan Bush drives a tow tractor on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge at sea, March 28, 2019.

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TIRED OF TAKING ORDERS? Maybe it’s time to be your own boss


fter years of relocating on demand and deploying to some of the planet’s most inhospitable locales, many former military members want to take control of their post-military lives by launching a business, with all the inherent risks and rewards. Opening a franchise – an established business that has independently operated locations – is one way to temper the risks of going it alone. Franchises offer veterans a tried and true model for success backed by a robust support system, says Terry Hill, who manages the Veterans Franchise program for the Washington-based International Franchise Association. Fast food, shipping companies and business service operations are the most popular franchising opportunities. “Included in the cost of purchasing a franchise are key items such as a tested business concept, training, brand recognition and the support of the parent company, which allows the new owner to focus on operations much more quickly since the start-up phase is already accomplished,” he says. It’s difficult to quantify how many vets operate franchises, but VetFran has helped 1,500 veterans establish a franchise in roughly a decade. It can cost $20,000 or more to start a franchise, but Hill says nearly 400 franchises work with his organization to offer veteran discounts. “The business format holds many similarities to military organizations, which require close adherence to a proven plan, teamwork and mission focus,” Hill says. “Veterans, having been exposed to a culture of discipline and training, adapt well to this structure.” Economic challenges could be leading more veterans to consider franchises, but tightened lending standards could make it more difficult to raise the necessary capital, Hill says. Part of VetFran’s appeal is its longstanding partnership with the Veterans Administration and the

By Bryan Mitchell U.S. Small Business Administration, both excellent resources for those considering a franchise.


fter 30 years and 30 days in an Air Force uniform and more than 4,000 combined hours in the F-15 and F-16, Steve Carey took a moment to survey the landscape after his 2007 retirement. He had offers from defense contractors, but “nothing that rang my bell,” he says. That’s when he turned his attention toward buying a franchise, hoping to settle down in one location and create a legacy for his family. CertaPro Painters – a national operation with an established reputation and more than 300 outlets – caught his attention. “I looked at restaurants and storefront operations, but this business is different in that I am out in the community interacting with homeowners and business owners,” he says. “I get to size them up while they size me up.” His research also helped steer him toward the franchise. “It’s not that I have a passion for painting, but I do have a passion for growing a business,” he says. “CertaPro had a corporate long-term strategy that focused on developing a national reputation as America’s No. 1 home painters, much like the Air Force’s long-term strategy to be the world’s most respected airpower. Running a business, he said, requires leadership similar to commanding a fighter squadron. “It’s about dealing with people and issues every day.” Hill says that type of detailed research is critical. “Although a veteran may be familiar with a certain franchise such as a restaurant, it’s important to look beyond the tables filled with satisfied customers and get a deep understanding of the personal commitment and capital that owning such an establishment would require,” he says. Carey’s Mobile, Ala.,-based outfit was recently named the most successful CertaPro in Alabama. Continued on page 48

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Continued from page 46


eter Turner served as a naval aviator for 20 years and was ready to keep flying following his retirement. But after taking a hard look at the prospects for commercial pilots, Turner reconsidered. “My focus was transitioning to the airlines originally, but that would have meant too much time away from home. With three teenagers coming up, that worried me, as did the omnipresent threat of a pink slip,” he says. “The worst part is that mergers, strikes or worse are beyond your control.” Research, not love of donuts or piping-hot coffee, led him to Dunkin’ Donuts. He opened his first outlet in 2008 and soon expanded with three additional stores. He says he researched the franchise and learned the company “has superb support in place with architects, construction, operating systems as well as a fiercely loyal following of customers.” Turner said his skills honed as a military commander leading and managing subordinates have been crucial to his success. “Take great care of your people and they will go the extra mile for you. With staffing, four aces beats seven average cards,” he says. “Operations are operations. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a squadron or a string of restaurants.” But being a savvy businessman doesn’t hurt either. Choosing the right location -- Raleigh, N.C. – helped, because the city escaped the worst of the recession. When the economy was weak he lowered prices to beat out the competition and expanded while interest rates, construction costs and real estate were all less expensive. Besides his wife, Turner also teamed with a financial partner on his first store.


International Franchise Association: www.franchise.org Small Business Administration: www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/ start/buyafranchise/index.html Entrepreneur magazine: www.entrepreneur.com/ franchiseopportunities/index.html Franchise Update Network: www.franchise-update.com

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Hill says all franchises should look toward two other key partners: attorneys and accountants. “While that step will incur expenses, it’s much better to have professionals, who know franchising, provide guidance,” he says. For Turner, the sky is once again the limit. He hoped to open 35 stores amid expansion nationwide by Dunkin’ Donuts and, hopefully, to one day own a seaplane.


om Mitchell was the accidental franchisee. After 24 years in the Army in which he learned Chinese and taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Mitchell landed a teaching job in suburban Washington, D.C., and thought he would be teaching until his next retirement. But after the family moved to Washington state and he was unable to land a teaching gig, Mitchell considered a franchise. His research led him to open a UPS Store. “They give you the SOP, just like they do in the military,” he says. “You just do what people have done before. You can modify as you see fit over time, but at least you’ve got the playbook.” Nearly any military veteran can appreciate the complexity of logistics. “We provide a reliable product and what many people believe is not a reasonable price, but after doing some analyzing about what it takes to get a package there by 10:30 the next day, we offer a very fair price,” he says. The biggest challenge has been adjusting to the civilian workforce. “After so many years in the Army, it’s really a shock to work with people who don’t carry their weight and to deal with difficult customers,” he says. “But you learn. You learn to cut things off before they become trouble.” Most parent organizations require an eight- to 10year contract, and even the most seemingly fool-proof business could crash and burn in a shaky economy. “During boom times, anybody can open a franchise and do well, but in (recessionary) times … you really have to do all your homework and be prepared to work incredibly hard to make it happen,” Carey says. “But there is still tremendous opportunity for those willing to take the risk and invest themselves in growing a business.”

PHOTO: Andrea Jenkins, Air Force

An airman checks the oil on an A-10C Thunderbolt II during training at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., April 17, 2019.

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ant to be your own boss, but not willing to take on the risk of starting your own business from scratch? Franchising can be a great alternative if you want to have some guidance in the start-up phase of the business. What is Franchising? A franchise is a business model that involves one business owner licensing trademarks and methods to an independent entrepreneur. Sometimes, franchises are referred to as chains. There are two primary forms of franchising: • Product/trade name franchising, in which the franchisor owns the right to the name or trademark and sells that right to a franchisee. • Business format franchising. The franchisor and franchisee have an ongoing relationship, and the franchisor often provides a full range of services, including site selection, training, product supply, marketing plans and even assistance in obtaining financing Before Investing in a Franchise Before you decide to franchise, you need to do your research. You could lose a significant amount of money if you do not investigate a business carefully before you buy. By law, franchise sellers must disclose certain information about their business to potential buyers. Make sure you get all the information you need first before entering into this form of business. To learn more about franchising opportunities, visit the Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection. The decision to purchase a franchise involves many factors. To help you explore if franchising is right for you, consider the following questions: • Do you know how much you can invest? • What are your abilities? • What are your goals? Franchising Strategy You need a strategy before investing in a franchise.

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Doing your homework about the franchise first will help you gain a solid understanding of what to expect as well as the risks that could be involved. • Be a Detective In addition to the routine investigation that should be conducted prior to any business purchase, you should be able to contact other franchisees before deciding to invest. You can obtain a Uniform Franchise Offering Circular (UFOC), which contains vital details about the franchise’s legal, financial, and personnel history, before you sign a contract. • Know What You are Getting Into Before entering into any contract as a franchisee, you should make sure that you would have the right to use the franchise name and trademark, receive training and management assistance from the franchisor, use the franchisor’s expertise in marketing, advertising, facility design, layouts, displays and fixtures and do business in an area protected from other competing franchisees. • Watch Out for Possible Pitfalls The contract between the two parties usually benefits the franchisor far more than the franchisee. The franchisee is generally subject to meeting sales quotas and is required to purchase equipment, supplies and inventory exclusively from the franchisor. • Seek Professional Help The tax rules surrounding franchises are often complex, and an attorney, preferably a specialist in franchise law, should assist you to evaluate the franchise package and tax considerations. An accountant may be needed to determine the full costs of purchasing and operating the business as well as to assess the potential profit to the franchisee. Get More Information If you are considering purchasing a franchise, FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection has a wide range of resources and guides to help you buy a franchise and avoid franchise taboos. Content by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

PHOTO: Army Spc. Valencia McNeal

A soldier scales the monkey bars as part of the Green Mile physical endurance course during jungle training at Lightning Academy in Wahiawa, Hawaii, April 18, 2019.

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ome people who are interested in becoming owners of a franchise business enthusiastically bring up the fact that they’d like to open more than one franchise.

Let’s find out what’s involved.

Choosing and investigating a franchise First off, you have to choose, investigate and buy the right franchise. Once you do that, you can start thinking about opening your second one. So, let’s start at the beginning. 1. Do you thoroughly understand the franchise business model, including how and why it works so well? 2. Have you done a thorough self-evaluation to make sure that you’re suited for a franchise business? 3. Have you thoroughly investigated the franchise opportunities that you’ve chosen to look into? 4. Did you get proper legal advice before you signed your franchise agreement? 5. Did you obtain the right type of small business loan for your business? Open for business You’ve had your grand opening. Local residents are starting to hear about your new business. More and more of them are checking your franchise out. Things are starting to feel good. Your cash register is ringing up sales. You want more of that. After a few months of being in business – one that’s starting to look like a winner-- you may start visualizing what it would be like to have another franchise location up and running. But, what needs to happen to make it happen? Timing How will you know when it’s the right time? Ask these questions: 1. Is your current location making a profit? 2. Can you use the state of your local commercial real estate market to your advantage? Is it depressed? Are there good deals to be made with landlords who have empty space? 3. Do you have enough employees? Can one or two of them help you open another franchise location? 4. Will your local banker be on-board with you? Will you be able to secure another small business loan with favorable terms? 52 MERG Spring 2019

Where should you open it? If you’re going to open a second franchise location, it’s important to choose your physical location carefully. Not only will you have to make sure that the location you choose is a prime one, you’ll have to make sure that it’s in your territory. The franchise agreement you signed has very specific language with regards to territory. For example, you may have to stay within a certain ZIP code or maybe even a certain county. That’s why it’s important for you to go over your franchise agreement before you talk to a real estate broker or a landlord. That way you won’t be setting yourself up for disappointment if you find out about a hot potential location for your second franchise unit that turns out to be out of your territory. In other words, don’t put the cart before the horse. Family support Is your family going to be on board you on this? Will they be comfortable with the idea of taking on more risk? Think about what went on with those close to you when you were choosing and investigating the franchise that you now own. Did you have to convince your family of your idea to become a franchise business owner? What about when the subject of money came up? How nervous were they? It’s important for you to put yourself in their shoes. Just because you’re excited about the idea of getting another franchise unit open doesn’t mean that they are. Start discussing your ideas with them early on…not right before you’re applying for another business loan, or a week before you’re about to sign a 10-year lease on a new commercial space. Having two successful franchise locations up and running can be great. They’ll enable you to get closer to your personal and professional goals. Just make sure that you have done the things necessary to set you up for success. Reprinted from an SBA.gov Community Guest Blog post by Joel Libava

Content by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

PHOTO: Air Force Airman 1st Class Kristine Legate

Airmen conduct exercise scenarios at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 12, 2019, during Razor’s Edge, a pre-deployment exercise that allows airmen to maintain readiness.

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Growth slows after three years of steady gains, but franchises continue adding jobs

he Franchise Business Index (FBI), an index of the economic health of the franchising industry, rose 0.2 percent in September to 110.7, the International Franchise Association announced on Oct. 30. Growth of the index slowed as the component measuring employment in franchise-intensive industries showed no monthly gain for the first time in over three years and the small business optimism index declined. “Franchise businesses continue to create jobs and demonstrate that the franchise business model remains the best and most proven vehicle to quickly grow and scale a small business,” said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira. “While we are pleased the index grew for the fifth consecutive month, we remain concerned about the overall rate of growth in both new business formation and job creation. We believe comprehensive tax reform that eases the burden on small business owners by lowering the effective tax rate is essential to strong job and wage growth for all Americans.” The other four components of the FBI all made small positive contributions to the index. The unemployment

rate declined slightly and the incidence of selfemployment rose. Retail sales in franchise-intensive sectors increased by 0.3 percent and the index of credit conditions ticked up. After incorporating revisions to last month’s data for individual components of the index, the August value of the FBI also showed slower growth – up 0.2 percent over the July value. Designed to provide timelier tracking of the growing role of franchise businesses in the U.S. economy, the Franchise Business Index was developed by IHS Global Insight on behalf of the IFA Educational Foundation. The FBI combines indicators of growth in the industries where franchising is most prevalent and measures of the general economic environment for franchising. “The franchise sector continues to exceed the modest pace of overall economic growth, as improvements in the housing market have had a positive impact on consumer spending,” said IHS Global Insight Senior Economist James Gillula, “and we do not expect higher mortgage rates to choke off the recovery.” Courtesy of the International Franchising Association.

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Hezekiah Morgan measures the distance for a flood light.

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Army Sgt. Kevin Sanchez studies terrain from a UH-60 Black Hawk aircraft near Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, April 1, 2019, during a flight survey as part of Balikatan, an annual U.S.Philippine exercise. PHOTO: Army Spc. Jon Welch

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An SBA Guide

re you looking to buy a franchise, or do you currently own one? If so, you’re part of a growing population. The popularity of franchises over the last several decades has contributed to the massive growth of related jobs and new businesses. To help facilitate their development, the Small Business Administration has created a franchise program to simplify their financing process. What does it mean to be an SBA-approved franchise? SBA-approved franchises are select business opportunities whose agreements have been accepted by the SBA. When it comes to securing an SBA-backed loan, those applying for an approved-franchise have it easier and quicker. Applicants for SBA-approved franchises benefit from a streamlined review process that expedites their loan application. Because the particular franchise is pre-approved, the loan review is less complex and focuses on specific aspects of that brand’s business plan. Where can I find a list of SBA-approved franchises? Through a partnership with SBA, the Franchise Registry provides a list of approved franchises*. This list allows you to search by name if you have a specific franchise in mind or by program/industry if you doing research in related franchise opportunities.

Should I be worried if my franchise is not on the SBAapproved list? Franchises do not appear on the list for a variety of reasons. In some instances, the franchisor may decide not to have it listed. If this is the case, SBA and your commercial lender may need to review and evaluate more financial information when you seek SBA financial assistance, which may add more time to process the request. Being on or off the list is not an endorsement or indication of quality and profitability, so you should still thoroughly research for your potential franchise opportunity. What else is needed by SBA and my bank if my franchise is on the SBA-approved franchise list? Additional eligibility qualifications are required for applicants of financing for an SBA-approved franchise. These qualifications include items such as general eligibility, conflicts of interest, business plans, and use of proceeds. When you apply for an SBA-backed loan, you will still need to submit paperwork according to their application process. An SBA Loan Application Checklist can help you prepare all the necessary documentation. Common documentation includes: 56 MERG Spring 2019

• Purpose of the loan • History of the business • Financial statements for three years (existing businesses) • Schedule of term debts (existing businesses) • Aging of accounts receivable and payable (existing businesses) • Projected opening-day balance sheet (new businesses) • Lease details • Amount of investment in the business by the owner(s) • Projections of income, expenses and cash flow • Signed personal financial statements • Personal résumé(s) How do I proceed? Whether or not your franchise is on the SBA-approved list, there are still steps should take to move your loan application process forward: • Review process for SBA loans -Understanding the SBA process will help minimize the about of time the process will take. Being on top of what you need to submit and when can expedite everything. • Pull together all necessary information and documents More information will be needed to process the request. SBA will require less financial information if the franchise is on the SBA-approved list. There is common information and documentation that you will need to provide to SBA and your potential lender whether or not your franchise is on the SBA-approved list. Being on the SBA-approved franchises list will make the SBA approval portion move faster, but SBA has no control over the actual lenders. • Find a lender- SBA provides a list of Preferred Lenders that are familiar with the SBA process. You are not required to use a preferred lender, but if you have the option it could be beneficial. Throughout the process make sure that you are in contact with your franchisor and keep him or her updated. Whether or not your franchise is on the SBA-approved list, it is important to research your financing options. An expedited process is available for those on the list, but this does not guarantee approval. Remember, items such as general eligibility, conflicts of interest, business plans, and use of proceeds affect your odds, regardless of whether your franchise is pre-approved. Reprinted from SBA.gov

PHOTO: Air Force Staff Sgt. Janiqua Robinson

Air Force Airman 1st Class Jasmin Martinez helps reconfigure munitions on an A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft during an exercise at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., April 19, 2019.

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A Department of Defense (DoD) Identification Card is used to show your military status and to get access to services at military bases. You may also use this card to get discounts offered to Veterans at many stores, businesses, and restaurants. If you have a DoD Identification Card, you don’t need to request another type of photo ID card to prove you’re a Veteran or to get retail or business discounts.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible if one of the descriptions below is true for you. One of these must describe you. You’re: • Retired from the military, or • On active duty, or • In the National Guard, the Reserves, the Selected Reserves, or Inactive Ready Reserve Note: Depending on your status, the DoD issues either a Common Access Card (CAC) or a Uniformed Services ID Card (USID). For both types of DoD cards, you’ll need to either be a sponsor or have a sponsor.

How do I apply?

You’ll need to fill out an Application for Identification Card/DEERS Enrollment (DD Form 1172-2). Then turn in your completed application to a Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS) office for processing.


When you’re enrolled in VA health care, you get a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that you use to check in to your appointments at VA medical centers. You may also use this card to get discounts offered to Veterans at many stores, businesses, and restaurants. If you have a VHIC, you don’t need to request another type of photo ID card to prove you’re a Veteran or to get retail or business discounts. You may be eligible if you meet both of the requirements listed below. Both of these must be true. You: • Served on active duty, in the Reserves, or in the National Guard (including the Coast Guard), and • Received an honorable or general discharge (under honorable conditions) 58 MERG Spring 2019

If you received an other than honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable character of discharge, you’re not eligible for a Veteran ID Card. If you have an uncharacterized or unknown discharge status, we’ll have to verify your eligibility before we approve your application.

What do I need to apply for a Veteran ID Card?

When you apply, be sure to have these on hand: • Your Social Security number • A digital copy of your DD214, DD256, DD257, or NGB22 that you can upload. This could be in a .pdf, .jpeg, or .png file format. • A copy of a current and valid governmentissued ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state-issued identification card. You’ll also need a digital color photo of yourself from the shoulders up. The photo should follow all these standards: • Show a full front view of your face and neck (with no hat, head covering, or headphones covering or casting shadows on your hairline or face), and • Be cropped from your shoulders up (much like a passport photo), and • Show you with your eyes open and a neutral expression, and • Be taken in clothing you’d wear for a driver’s license photo, and • Be a square size and have a white or plain-color background (with no scenery or other people in the photo), and • Show what you look like now (a photo taken sometime in the last 10 years), and • Be uploaded as a .jpeg, .png, .bmp, or .tiff file

What happens after I apply for a Veteran ID Card?

Once you’ve submitted your VIC application, we’ll check your eligibility and verify that: • Your character of discharge meets eligibility requirements, and • The ID you submitted (driver’s license or passport) is valid, and • The image you’ve chosen to appear on the card meets the photo requirements After we’ve verified your eligibility, we’ll send you an email letting you know the status of your application. Continued on page 60

PHOTO: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Fred Gray

The guided missile destroyer USS Carney transits the North Sea, April 9, 2019, during Joint Warrior, a multinational exercise designed to prepare forces for combined operations.

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If you have an unknown or uncharacterized discharge status, your application will take more time to process while we verify your eligibility. (We may need to request your records from the National Personnel Records Center.) If you receive an email from us asking for additional information or evidence to process your application, you’ll need to sign in to AccessVA and update your application with the information we ask for. https://www.va.gov/records/get-veteran-id-cards/vic/


At this time, all 50 states and Puerto Rico offer a Veteran designation (an identifying mark) printed on stateissued driver’s licenses or IDs. The type of Veteran designation may vary from state to state. If you have a Veteran’s designation, you may be able to get discounts offered to Veterans at many stores, businesses, and restaurants.

How do I get a Veteran’s designation on my state-issued ID?

Most states ask you to provide a copy of your discharge papers (DD214 or other separation documents). Some states may require additional documents. Please check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles about what you need to apply for a Veteran’s designation for your state.


The Veterans Choice Program is one of several programs through which a Veteran can receive care from a community provider, paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). For example, if a Veteran needs an appointment for a specific type of care, and VA cannot provide the care in a timely manner or the nearest VA medical facility is too far away or too difficult to get to, then a Veteran may be eligible for care through the Veterans Choice Program. To use the Veterans Choice Program, Veterans must receive prior authorization from VA to receive care from a provider that is part of VA’s VCP network of community providers. The authorization is based on specific eligibility requirements and discussions with the Veteran’s VA provider. VA must authorize care that is needed beyond the scope of the first authorization.


Veterans may be eligible to receive care through the Veterans Choice Program based on one or more of the following conditions: 60 MERG Spring 2019

• VA can’t provide the services the Veteran needs • VA can’t make an appointment for the Veteran at the nearest VA medical facility within 30 days of the clinically indicated date (the date the Veteran and their VA provider agree should be the next date the Veteran is seen for care)—or, if VA can’t determine this date—the date the Veteran prefers to be seen next • Veteran lives more than 40 miles (driving distance) from the nearest VA medical facility with a full-time primary care physician • Veteran has to travel by air, boat, or ferry to get to the nearest VA medical facility • Veteran faces an excessive burden in traveling to the nearest VA medical facility (such as geographic challenges, environmental factors, or a health problem that makes it hard for you to travel) VA will work with the Veteran to determine eligibility based on the above conditions and the Veteran’s specific circumstances. NOTICE: Health Net Federal Services Contract has Ended — The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) contract with Health Net Federal Services (HNFS) ended on September 30, 2018. HNFS was the third party administrator for the eastern region of the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) and PatientCentered Community Care (PC3) network. When the contract with HNFS ends, VA will take over all activity previously performed by HNFS. The end of the VA contract with HNFS does not affect the VA contract with TriWest Healthcare Alliance, which administers the western region of the VCP and the PC3 network. VA will work with Veterans, community providers, and VA staff to transition care coordination from HNFS to your local VA medical facility as seamlessly as possible. No immediate action is needed on your part. However, if you are requesting care in the community, please contact your local VA medical facility to coordinate all care after September 30, 2018. If you are unaware of whom you should contact, visit the VA Facility Locator to find your local facility. Please view the annoucement below for more information. Choice Program Support Line: 866-606-8198 Call for additional information or to speak to one of our service agents on standby to assist you. VA Adverse Credit Helpline: 877-881-7618 VA will help you resolve adverse credit reporting and debt collection issues as a result of using VCP.

PHOTO: Army Sgt. Christopher Stewart

A participant crawls through the mud during the seventh annual Rugged Terrain Obstacle Run at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany, April 6, 2019. Spring 2019 MERG 61

U.S. Military Academy team Black competes in the 51st Sandhurst Military Skills Competition in New York, April 12, 2019. The competition included 49 teams from around the world. PHOTO: Amanda Lin, Army

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ou’ll need to sign in to milConnect to get your service records To use this feature, you’ll need a Premium DS Logon account. Your My HealtheVet or ID.me credentials won’t work on the milConnect website. Go to milConnect to sign in, register, or upgrade your DS Logon account to Premium.

Once I’ve signed in to MilConnect, how do I request my military service records?

Follow the steps below to request your records. 1. From your signed-in homepage, click or tap on Correspondence/ Documentation. Then select Defense Personnel Records Information (DPRIS) from the drop-down menu. 2. Choose the Personnel File tab. 3. Select Request My Personnel File. 4. Fill out the form. In the Document Index section, check the boxes next to the document(s) you’d like to request. 5. Click or tap on the Create and Send Request button.

What types of records can I request with this tool?

You can request documents from your Official Military Personnel File to view and download. You can request your: • DD214 • DD215 • Report of Separation • Other release papers You can also request documents with information about your service, such as your: • Orders and endorsements • Performance reports • Awards and decorations (commendatory items) • Qualifications, licenses, and certificates • Security clearance

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What happens after I request my records?

You’ll receive an email letting you know your request is being processed. You’ll receive a second email when your request is complete and your files are ready for you to view and download. You can also check the status of your request by signing in to milConnect and going to the Personnel Filetab within the Defense Personnel Records Information (DPRIS) section. This is also where you’ll view and download your files once they’re ready.

Are there other ways to get my military service records?

Yes. You can request your military records in any of these ways: • Mail or fax a Request Pertaining to Military Records (Standard Form SF 180) to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). • Write a letter to the NPRC. Send it to: 1 Archives Drive St. Louis, Missouri 63138 • Visit the NPRC in person • Contact your state or county Veterans agency • Hire an independent researcher

PHOTO: Army Spc. ShaTyra Reed

Army 2nd Lt. Katheleen Wilson waits for the start of the sprint-drag-carry event during the Operation Dragon Medic Strong competition at Fort Bragg, N.C., April 16, 2019. Wilson served as the captain of the first-place team.

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PHOTO: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Okula

Finalists for the 2018 Reserve Sailor of the Year walk beside a portion of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall during a monument run at the National Mall in Washington, April 8, 2019.

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APPLYING FOR VA HEALTH CARE https://www.va.gov/health-care/apply/application/introduction

FOLLOW THE STEPS BELOW TO APPLY FOR HEALTH CARE BENEFITS. 1. PREPARE To fill out this application, you’ll need your: • Social Security number (required) • Copy of your military discharge papers (DD214 or other separation documents) • Financial information—and your dependents’ financial information • Most recent tax return • Account numbers for any health insurance you currently have (such as Medicare, private insurance, or insurance from an employer)


When you apply for VA health care, we’ll assign you 1 of 8 priority groups. This system helps to make sure that Veterans who need immediate care can get signed up quickly. We assign Veterans with service-connected disabilities the highest priority. We assign the lowest priority to Veterans who earn a higher income and who don’t have any service-connected disabilities. Learn more about priority groups.

What if I need help filling out my application?

2. APPLY Complete this health care benefits form. After submitting the form, you’ll get a confirmation message. You can print this for your records.


3. VA REVIEW We process health care claims within a week. If more than a week has passed since you submitted your application and you haven’t heard back, please don’t apply again. Call us at 877-222-VETS (877-222-8387).

An accredited representative, like a Veterans Service Officer (VSO), can help you fill out your claim. Get help filing your claim. You may qualify for vision and dental benefits as part of your VA health care benefits. • Vision benefits. VA health care covers routine eye exams and preventive tests. In some cases, you may get coverage for eyeglasses or services for blind or low-vision rehabilitation. Learn more about vision care through VA. • Dental benefits. In some cases, you may receive dental care as part of your health care benefits. Learn more about VA dental services.

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4. DECISION Once we’ve processed your claim, you’ll get a notice in the mail with our decision.

The best of both worlds.

Because your next patient might be your partner. The TP-C and TR-C exams are the benchmarks for validating competency in the austere and hostile environments of tactical medicine. The TP-C exam is focused on paramedic-level care and the new TR-C exam measures the TEMS knowledge of the BLS providers on the team.

The BCCTPC is a subsidiary of the International Board of Specialty Certification

Specialty Certifications are a voluntary credentialing process designed to validate essential knowledge and judgment required for safe and competent practice. The Certified Tactical Paramedic and Certifed Tactical Responder are the standards to validate the essential knowledge and critical thinking of both the ALS & BLS tactical medic.

For more information or to register for an exam go to www.bcctpc.org or call 770.978.4400 Spring 2019 MERG 69

CHECK YOUR VA CLAIM OR APPEAL STATUS FIND OUT HOW TO CHECK THE STATUS OF A VA CLAIM OR APPEAL ONLINE. You’ll need to sign in before you can see your claim or appeal status

Try signing in with your DS Logon, My HealtheVet, or ID.me account. If you don’t have any of those accounts, you can create one.: https://www.va.gov/claim-or-appeal-status/

What types of claims and appeals can I track with this tool?

3. Click on the “View Status” button for a specific claim. You’ll go to a page with more details about that claim’s status and supporting evidence. Evidence may include documents like a doctor’s report or medical test results.

You can use this tool to check the status of a VA claim or appeal for compensation. Track your: • Disability compensation (including claims based on special needs like an automobile or clothing allowance) • Veteran or survivor pension benefits • Special monthly compensation (such as Aid and Attendance) • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) • Burial allowance to help pay for a Veteran’s burial and funeral expenses

What kind of information will I learn about my claim or appeal?

You can also use this tool to check the status of a claim or appeal for other benefits like these: • VA health care • GI Bill or other education benefits • Vocational rehabilitation and employment • A home loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE) • A Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) or Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant • Life insurance • A pre-need determination of eligibility to be buried in a VA national cemetery

NOTE: You can only upload documents online to support your initial claim. You can’t upload documents online to support an appeal.

Can I use this tool?

To use this tool, you’ll need to have one of these free accounts: • A Premium My HealtheVet account, or • A Premium DS Logon account (used for eBenefits and milConnect), or • A verified ID.me account that you can create here on VA.gov

Once I’m signed in, how do I check my claim or appeal status?

1. Go to your “My VA” dashboard. You’ll find the link for this dashboard in the top right corner of the page once you’re signed in. 2. Scroll down to the “Track Claims” section. There, you’ll see a summary of the latest status information for any open claims or appeals you may have.

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You’ll see where your claim or appeal is in our review process, and when we think we’ll complete our review. You can also view these details: • Any evidence you’ve filed online to support your initial claim • Any additional evidence we’ve requested from you • Your claim type • What you’ve claimed • Your representative for VA claims

What if I don’t see a document I sent to VA as evidence? This may be because certain documents won’t appear online.

You won’t see documents that: • You sent to us by mail or fax, or • You brought to us in person, or • We’ve restricted to protect your or someone else’s confidentiality (privacy)

Will my personal information be protected if I use this tool?

Yes. This is a secure website. We follow strict security policies and practices to protect your personal health information. If you print or download anything from the website, you’ll need to take responsibility for protecting that information.

What if I have more questions?

You can call us at 800-827-1000. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.

INTRODUCING HYMOVIS® A BREAKTHROUGH IN COMBATING OSTEOARTHRITIS KNEE PAIN SO THAT OUR MILITARY CAN FOCUS ON WHAT’S IMPORTANT ∙ Unique molecular structure for enhanced biomechanical properties*1,2 ∙ Long-lasting efficacy in a convenient 2-dose regimen1,3 ∙ Excellent safety and tolerability in a non-crosslinked hydrogel1 ∙ A hydrogel with greater viscosity, elasticity and joint residence time1,2

*Preclinical testing may not be indicative of human clinical outcomes. References: 1. HYMOVIS® [prescribing information]. Fidia Pharma USA, Inc. October 2015. 2. Finelli I, Chiessi E, Galesso D, Renier D, Paradossi G. A new viscosupplement based on partially hydrophobic hyaluronic acid: a comparative study. Biorheology. 2011;48(5):263-275. 3. HYMOVIS®, data on file, Fidia Farmaceutici S.p.A., Italy. Indication: HYMOVIS® is indicated for the treatment of pain in osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee in patients who have failed to respond adequately to conservative non-pharmacologic therapy or simple analgesics. Important Safety Information: HYMOVIS® is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to hyaluronate preparations or gram positive bacterial proteins or patients with infections/skin diseases in the area of the injection site/joint. The safety and effectiveness of HYMOVIS® has not been tested in pregnant women, nursing mothers or children. See package insert for full prescribing information including adverse events, warnings, precautions, and side effects at www.Hymovis.com. Rx only. HYMOVIS® and HYADD® 4 are registered trademarks of Fidia Farmaceutici S.p.A., Abano Terme, Italy. HYMOVIS® is manufactured by Fidia Farmaceutici S.p.A., Abano Terme, Italy. ©2017 FIDIA PHARMA USA INC, Florham Park, NJ 07932 FID573.10.17 FSS Contract Number V797P-2255D

TO ORDER: Fidia Customer Service Email: customerservice@fidiapharma.us Phone: 844-307-7223

Pharma USA Inc.

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PHOTO: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Mackenzie Binion

A Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crew chief conducts preflight checks before an aerial surveillance mission in Kuwait, April 16, 2019.

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PHOTO: Air Force Airman 1st Class Madeleine E. Remillard

Firefighters battle a blaze during a training exercise at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, April 17, 2019.

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PHOTO: Marine Corps Pfc. Andrew Cortez

Marine Corps Sgt. Jude Exantus guides the driver of an amphibious assault vehicle during an exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., April 22, 2019.

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Air Force Airman 1st Class John Fountain guides Deny, a military working dog, as he jumps through a car window on a training course at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., April 24, 2019.

PHOTO: Air Force Airman Jesse Jenny

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The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln sails behind a Spanish navy frigate during a photo exercise in the Mediterranean Sea, April 24, 2019. PHOTO: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jessica Paulauskas

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Army Spc. Kathryn Hubble wades through a trench during the 7th Mission Support Command’s Best Warrior Competition in Kaiserslautern, Germany, April 26, 2019.

PHOTO: Army Reserve Sgt. Christopher Stelter

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geico.com | 1-800-MILITARY | Local Office Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states, in all GEICO companies, or in all situations. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, DC 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. Š 2019 GEICO 84 MERG Spring 2019


Military Education and Resource Guide 2019 Spring Edition  


Military Education and Resource Guide 2019 Spring Edition