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THE TOP CHOICE OF SERVICEMEMBERS. People talk. And right now, they’re talking about AMU. Built upon student referrals, AMU is the global leader in education for the U.S. military. Since we offer more than 90 online degree programs, from Cybersecurity to Transportation and Logistics, you can do anything you set your mind to—whether in the military or transitioning out.



*As reported by Military Times/Edge Magazine


We want you to make an informed decision about the university that’s right for you. For more about the graduation rate and median debt of students who completed each program, as well as other important information—visit www.APUS.edu/disclosure.

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Image Courtesy of the DoD.

American Military University offers more than 90 degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s level through its six distinct academic schools.

AMERICAN MILITARY UNIVERSITY www.amuonline.com/DS Admission Phone: 877-777-9081 Financial Aid Phone: 877-372-3535 Military Programs Email: info@apus.edu

ASSOCIATE DEGREES Associate programs are designed for students who seek a two-year degree as either their final degree in higher education or the foundation for further study at the bachelor’s level. An associate degree typically requires 61-64 semester hours (20 courses and 1-4 labs). Students must possess a high school diploma or its equivalent to be admitted to an associate program. BACHELOR’S DEGREES The bachelor’s degree program is also open to students who possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. This minimum 120-124 credit program is the standard “fouryear” undergraduate degree desired by most employers and prepares the student for graduate study. All students who enroll in the bachelor’s degree program must first complete Coll100-Foundations of Online Learning which helps to ensure they get the most out of their online learning experience. MASTER’S DEGREES AMU accepts students for graduate-level study who have earned a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. To earn a master’s degree, students must complete a minimum of 12 courses and take a final comprehensive examination, thesis options, or capstone/ applied research project at the end of all course work.

School of Arts and Humanities The University is unique in offering a full range of online degrees in arts and humanities that are based on the great ideas, works, and thinkers that have defined civilization as embodied in the “great books” tradition. The curriculum addresses humankind’s fundamental topics through study of courses in humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Coursework is designed to develop high-level research, analytical, and interpersonal skills and prepares students for a broad range of professional careers. School of Business The School of Business offers a flexible, dynamic, and interactive program to accommodate many types of learners. We integrate new technologies to keep the classroom interesting and up-todate. Students are taught not only the concepts but also the “real world” application of the materials. The curriculum provides the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge for students seeking preparation or advancement in business and leadership roles in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Programs dovetail with several university specialties so that students can specifically concentrate in areas of professional or personal interest—ranging from entrepreneurship and global business management to information technology management and homeland security resource allocation. School of Education Graduate programs in the School of Education are designed to meet the most rapid growing demands of the profession. Our certification programs are built to the high state and national content standards. We provide opportunities to practicing teachers to enhance their professional training in critical needs areas such as special education, elementary reading, ELL, instructional leadership and curriculum and instruction for elementary teachers. School of Public Service and Health The School of Public Service and Health houses several of the university’s flagship programs; namely emergency and disaster management and criminal justice. It is also the home of up-andcoming programs in security management, legal studies, and public health. Our faculty combine top academic credentials with practical expertise. They include practicing attorneys, public health professionals, emergency managers, criminal justice professionals, and security managers--as well as international and national governmental and military consultants and practitioners. School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Science and technology professionals are vital to society’s continued innovation. Academic programs in this school help students cultivate the problem solving, creative, and technological skills necessary for advancements in their chosen field – whether it be pursuing innovations in environmental policy, space studies, or one of the many professions within the information technology field. School of Security and Global Studies The programs taught in the School of Security and Global Studies truly embody our motto, “Educating Those Who Serve.” Students with majors in this school have an understanding of the world— appreciating differences in political, economic, and social cultures. Our faculty members are highly-credentialed and respected leaders in their fields, and many of them currently work in the U.S. government and in the U.S. intelligence community. Our graduates are employed in leadership positions at agencies ranging from the Departments of State, Defense, and Homeland Security to the intelligence services, as Spring 2014 MERG 3 well as private businesses throughout the world.


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EARN YOUR DEGREE FROM THE MOST SUPPORTIVE EDUCATIONAL COMMUNITY ONLINE – AND RECEIVE A 10% DISCOUNT. Quinnipiac University Online is proud to play an integral role in helping active-duty military, veterans, reserves, and retirees reach their educational goals. As a trusted educational institution, we are dedicated to providing the tools, resources and support you need to succeed. 6 MERG Spring 2014

Proud to be part of the Yellow Ribbon Program

To find out more, visit quinnipiac.edu/online/defense or call 1-855-202-5203

Quinnipiac Student Spotlight Xander Gamble’s work space is an old Soviet-era building with exposed wiring, a very slow Internet connection, tiny AC units and a hodge-podge of wood and metal desks - all of which is covered in a stubborn layer of thick dust. From this modest office, Gamble creates sophisticated communication pieces for military members. He’s also a part-time graduate student in the online master of science in interactive media program at Quinnipiac’s School of Communications. As the news director for the American Forces Network (AFN), Afghanistan’s Bagram media station, Navy Petty Officer Gamble needed a program that was flexible as well as offered the latest in cutting-edge information, research and industry best practices to advance his career, which led him to Quinnipiac University Online. Shortly after beginning the program, Gamble was promoted to Mass Communication Specialist First Class Petty Officer

“I feel that the Quinnipiac staff and faculty are some of the best that I have worked with.”

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Publisher’s Note



Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty: The facts


Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve: The facts

Allison A. Hickey is an Air Force veteran


Yellow Ribbon Program: How to use it


VA benefits: How to maximize them


VA Work-Study Program: Earn while you learn


Post-9/11 GI Bill: The basics


Fully Developed Claim: How to file


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


Post-9/11 GI Bill: Payment rates

A message from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on his agency’s commitment to veterans


Meet the VA’s Under Secretary for Benefits

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Ready to be your own boss?


Tactical Photo Gallery


Final Frame

Check in with some veterans who jumped boots-first into franchising. By Bryan Mitchell


Franchising: The basics

ON THE COVER Photo by Mie Ahmt


Opening a franchise: What’s involved?


Franchising: The economic outlook


Franchise Financing: An SBA guide

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Go further with a graduate business degree from the most supportive educational community online. Quinnipiac’s acclaimed online graduate business programs are taught by the same highly qualified faculty who teach on-campus and bring decades of industry experience to the virtual classroom. Get the tools, resources, and support you need to succeed in the competitive world of business.

The School of Business offers the following online graduate programs: • • • •

Master of Business Administration Master of Science in Business Analytics Master of Science in Information Technology Master of Science in Organizational Leadership

Quinnipiac’s School of Business is accredited by AACSB International. In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked Quinnipiac among the “Top 10” in Online Graduate Business Programs.

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Visit www.quinnipiac.edu/online/standard or call 1-855-202-5203 to learn more.

Proud to be part of the Yellow Ribbon Program

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We were there when you landed on the northern coast of France. We were there when you returned to the Philippine shore. We were there when you fought in Korea and Vietnam. We were there when you rolled across the deserts of Iraq. We were there then. We will always be there.

Serving the insurance needs of the Military since 1936.

1-800-MILITARY (1-800-645-4827) or your local GEICO office.








Some discounts, coverages, payment plans, and features are not available in all states or in all GEICO companies. Homeowners, renters, and boat coverages are written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency Inc. Motorcycle coverage is underwritten by GEICO Indemnity Company. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. Š 2011 GEICO

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e know educational benefits are a big draw for potential military recruits. You serve your country, and in return your country helps pay for your college degree or professional certification. It’s a good deal all around. The Department of Veterans Affairs, headed by former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, is in charge of the educational benefits program. Of course, being a government program, things can get a little complicated. That’s why we’re bringing you the Military Education Resource Guide, or MERG as we call it here at the home office. We let the VA explain in its own words how its primary education benefits work. The agency describes many of its benefits and how to get the most of them. We include several articles explaining how the Post-9/11 GI Bill works, who’s eligible, and how to use the benefits. The Montgomery GI Bill is still in effect, too. The VA explains how the bill works, and provides instructions for both active-duty and Selected Reserve veterans navigating the process. An important program for veterans getting their education with the help of the Post-9/11 GI Bill is the Yellow Ribbon Program. The VA describes how the program can provide additional money for students attending private school or paying out-of-state tuition at a public school, where tuition and fees are likely to far exceed standard GI Bill benefits. It’s also important to understand the VA’s Work-Study Program, which provides veterans hands-on training and part-time income while they go to school. And the agency provides some important tips on how to file a fully developed claim that gets you your GI Bill benefit money as fast as possible.

This issue is supported by our partners in the educational community that work closely with military members to support them in attaining their educational and career goals. In looking at life after service, we thought it also made sense to explore the world of franchises. Experts say buying a franchise can be a lower-risk, lower-cost way to own your own business, since some of the risk is taken on by the franchising company. We talk to several veterans who bought into franchises after leaving military service and learn how their military background helped them navigate their new business environment. Other articles explore the basics of franchising, what’s involved in opening a franchise, questions about financing franchises, and the economic outlook for franchises. We appreciate the support of our partners in the franchising community in helping us bring you these stories. Finally, if you follow DEFENSE STANDARD on Facebook you know how much we love great photos of military members doing their jobs. We hope you’ll enjoy our Tactical Photo Gallery. As always, we are grateful for your support and welcome your feedback.

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A Message From the Secretary of Veterans Affairs WASHINGTON, DC


ast fall when budget sequestration was in effect, VA was exempted. This exemption acknowledged the Nation’s obligation to provide care and benefits to our Veterans who earned them, their eligible family members, and our survivors. Even in a time of difficult economic choices, this obligation to Veterans must endure. You are crucial to achieving that mission. We, as a Department, have always focused on fulfilling these obligations, while also serving as good stewards of taxpayer dollars. We will not compromise the safety, security, or well-being of Veterans or our employees, but we must scrutinize every event, initiative, program, and proposal to assure that each is absolutely essential and will produce positive, measurable, returns to the accomplishment of our mission. In his recent State of the Union Address, President Obama discussed the need to rebuild a competitive middle class in this country and the importance of education, health care, and employment opportunities to doing so. The Veterans of World War II saved the world from oppression, returned home, used the original GI Bill to gain an education, bought homes, started businesses, became entrepreneurs, business leaders, doctors, scientists, and politicians and thereby earned for our country 60 years of sustained global leadership, prosperity, and security. In that same way, today’s Veterans are fully capable of helping grow our middle class, and providing a powerful return on the country’s investments in them. Veterans have done it before; they will do it again. As we look to the future, our mission is clear, our values define who we are, and our priorities—expand access for Veterans, eliminate the claims backlog, and end Veterans’ homelessness—will be our guideposts through this difficult time for the Nation. Serving Veterans is a privilege and an honor. I am proud of you, and I look forward to continuing our work together.

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etired U.S. Army General Eric K. Shinseki was nominated by President Barack Obama on December 7, 2008, to serve as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. His nomination was confirmed by the Senate on January 20, 2009, and he was sworn in as the seventh Secretary of Veterans Affairs on January 21, 2009. Secretary Shinseki served as Chief of Staff, United States Army, from 1999 to June 11, 2003, and retired from active duty on August 1, 2003. During his tenure, he initiated the Army Transformation Campaign to address both the emerging strategic challenges of the early 21st century and the need for cultural and technological change in the United States Army. Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he led the Army during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and integrated the pursuit of the Global War on Terrorism with Army Transformation, successfully enabling the Army to continue to transform while at war. Prior to becoming the Army’s Chief of Staff, Secretary Shinseki served as the Vice Chief of Staff from 1998 to 1999. He previously served simultaneously as Commanding General, United States Army, Europe and Seventh Army; Commanding General, NATO Land Forces, Central Europe, both headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany; and Commander of the NATO-led Stabilization Force, Bosnia-Herzegovina, headquartered in Sarajevo. He was commissioned a second lieutenant of Artillery upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in June 1965 and was attached to Company A, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment,

25th Infantry Division as a forward observer from December 1965 to September 1966, when he was wounded in combat in the Republic of Vietnam. He returned to Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii to recuperate and subsequently was assigned as Assistant Secretary, then Secretary to the General Staff, U.S. Army, Hawaii, Schofield Barracks, from 1967-1968. He transferred to Armor Branch and attended the Armor Officer Advanced Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky, before returning to Vietnam a second time in 1969. While serving as Commander, Troop A, 3d Squadron, 5th Cavalry Regiment, he was wounded a second time in 1970. Other assignments include Commander, 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 3rd Infantry Division; Commander, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division; Deputy Chief of Staff, Support for Allied Land Forces Southern Europe; Assistant Division CommanderManeuver, 3rd Infantry Division; Commander, 1st Cavalry Division, as well as G-3, 3rd Infantry Division, 1984-1985; G-3, VII US Corps, 1989-1990; and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, Headquarters, Department of the Army, 1996-1997. Shinseki holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a Master of Arts degree from Duke University, and is a graduate of the National War College. Secretary Shinseki was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Clusters), Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Purple Heart (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Air Medal, Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge, and the Army Staff Identification Badge.

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R Veterans Affairs UNDER SECRETARY FOR BENEFITS Allison A. Hickey

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etired Brig. Gen. Allison A. Hickey assumed the duties of Under Secretary for Benefits at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on June 6, 2011. As Under Secretary for Benefits, Hickey leads more than 20,000 employees in the delivery of a wide range of integrated programs of non-medical benefits and services to Veterans, their dependents and survivors. Through a nationwide network of 56 regional offices, special processing centers, and VBA Headquarters, she directs the administration of VA’s disability compensation, pension, education, home loan guaranty, vocational rehabilitation and employment, and life insurance programs, and an annual budget of $76.3billion. Prior to her appointment, Hickey led Human Capital Management for the consulting company Accenture in their work for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency – supporting operational business processes for intelligence community organizations in the areas of customer relationship management, call center practices and 21st Century information technology systems. As the Director of the Air Force’s Future Total Force office at the Pentagon, she provided leadership and oversight for four divisions in the areas of strategic planning, mission development, public and congressional affairs and program and resource implementation for more than 140 new Air Force units. Hickey was responsible for shifting billions of dollars towards new capabilities across the Air Force portfolio and directing new organizational models for a world-wide 500,000 person organization including active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units and personnel to create a common Air Force policy, mission, and culture – known in the Department as the Total Force Perspective. Prior to that assignment, Hickey served as the assistant deputy director of Strategic Planning, where she provided leadership and oversight for five divisions. She also served as chief of the Air Force Future Concepts and Transformation Division focused on the integration of technologies, organizations and concepts of operation to model for the Air Force of 2025. Hickey is a 27-year Veteran of the Air Force having served on active duty, in the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve. Her Air Force career began in 1980 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy’s first class to include women. As a pilot and aircraft commander, she accumulated more than 1,500 hours of flight time in KC-10A, KC-135A, T-38 and T-37 aircraft. She is the daughter of retired Lt. Gen. William J. Hilsman, a Vietnam Army Veteran, and Jean Hilsman, who served as a director and past-president of the National Military Family Association and as the first Department of Defense Family Policy Office director. Hickey is married to retired Col. Robert Hickey, a 30year Veteran and former A-10 and C-130 pilot. She and her husband have three children.



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 one-time 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 paper-based, 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 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 service-connected 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.

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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 service-connected 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 service-connected disability after serving 30 continuous days following September 10, 2001. 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. What will I receive? You may receive a percentage of the following payments: --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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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? 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 servefour more years when transferring benefits. What Is the Yellow Ribbon program? 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-of-state tuition. The Yellow Ribbon program provides additional support in those situations. 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.

PHOTO: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman George M. Bell

U.S. Navy Legalman 2nd Class Gina Camacho studies for her advancement exam. Spring 2014 MERG 21

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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.

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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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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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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.

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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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 advisingEnsure 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.

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pproved training under the Post-9/11 GI Bill includes graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational/technical training, on-the-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 Post-9/11 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.

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.

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. (Right) U.S. Navy Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Handling Airman Danielle M. Jones studies for the upcoming advancement exam.

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PHOTO: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brian Read Castillo



he Post-9/11 GI Bill program is comprised of multiple payments. All payments and maximum amounts listed on this page are applicable to individuals eligible for the full benefit (100% eligibility tier). If you are not eligible for the full benefit, the payment and maximum amounts listed will be prorated based on your eligibility percentage. Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill you may receive a: • • • • •

Tuition & fee payment sent directly to the school Monthly housing allowance sent to you Books and supplies stipend sent to you One-time rural benefit for certain veterans Tuition and fee payments

Maximum Tuition & Fee Reimbursement per Academic Year Type of School

Maximum reimbursement

Public School

All tuition & fee payments for an in-state student

Private or Foreign School

Up to $19,198.31 per academic year national maximum (see next table for exceptions)

Tuition & Fee Reimbursements, Selected States Maximum tuition & fee reimbursement per academic year for students attending a private IHL in selected states and have been enrolled in the same program since Jan. 4, 2011 State

Maximum Charge per Credit Hour

Maximum Total Fees per Term






New Hampshire



New York





South Carolina








Note: If you are attending a public IHL as a non-resident student or a private IHL that is more expensive than the annual cap, you may be eligible for extra payment under the Yellow Ribbon program.

You may also be eligible to receive: • monthly housing allowance sent to you • books and supplies stipend sent to you • one-time rural benefit for certain veterans Continued on Page 30 28 MERG Spring 2014

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Stephanie Alexis graduates with an associate degree in management and plans to continue her education using her G.I. Bill benefits.

PHOTO: Chief Mass Communication Specialist Ryan Wilber

U.S. sailors complete a Navy Computer Adaptive Personality Scales questionnaire at Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport, Miss.

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Continued from Page 28

POST-9/11 GI BILL PAYMENT RATES FOR 2014 ACADEMIC YEAR Non-College Degree Granting Institutions Actual net costs for in-state tuition & fees not to exceed $19,198.31 during the academic year. You may also be eligible to receive: • a monthly housing allowance sent to you • a books and supplies stipend sent to you • a one-time rural benefit for certain veterans Apprenticeship / OJT Rates Apprenticeship and On-the-Job Training Training Period First six months of training Second six months of training Third six months of training Fourth six months of training Remaining pursuit of training

Monthly rate 100% of your applicable MHA 80% of your applicable MHA 60% of your applicable MHA 40% of your applicable MHA 20% of your applicable MHA

You may also be eligible to receive: • a books and supplies stipend sent to you Content provided by the VA. The Post-9/11 GI Bill allows soldiers who meet the necessary criteria to transfer educational benefits to their spouse or child. Here, soldiers and Iraqi army soldiers sit on a dirt berm as they take a break during training at Tanmiya, Iraq.

PHOTO: Sgt. Timothy Kingston

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U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Stephanie Alexis graduates with an associate degree in management and plans to continue her education using her G.I. Bill benefits.


In just 20 weeks, transition to an exciting, challenging, and well-paying career as a Commercial Diver/ Underwater Welder.

• Approved for Military Benefits • Financial Aid available for those who qualify



For more information about graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program and other important information, visit www.cda.edu.

o what is your plan? I am sure you have heard that a time or two prior to completing your first enlistment. Or, perhaps you have spent many nights thinking, should I stay or should I go? Well for me, after serving four successful years in the US Navy as a hull maintenance technician second class, I made the decision to dive right in. There was just something about the ocean I wasn’t about to turn my back on. Commercial diving seemed to be calling me from the deep. After a couple months of research and calling commercial diving schools here in the states, I came to a decision to attend CDA Technical Institute, formerly known as Commercial Diving Academy, in Jacksonville, Florida. Why did I choose CDA over the rest? Well, for me that was easy, over sixty percent of the instructors are prior military. Secondly, and most importantly, were the certifications that were offered really stood out. I personally knew that my professionalism earned from service needed to be backed by a school that offered an internationally-recognized certification and stood out in the industry as a quality producer of entry level divers. Since my first week of training doing team building exercises to the last week of my training, the instructors unloaded years of knowledge and experience on me. My

strong mechanical and welding background was a huge benefit to my success while enrolled at school, but I soon realized this was no nine to five career. Commercial diving was going to be a lifestyle. You were a part of a dive team, a team that only by working together can accomplish the task at hand. Sounding familiar to some of you yet? Looking back on those months at school and seeing how far my classmates and I had come was incredible. We left CDA with experience in underwater welding and burning, salvage, pipeline installation, NDT inspections, rigging and crane operations, Hazmat, and most importantly, a diving certification that upon graduation certified me as a diver anywhere in the world. Since graduating in 2007, this adventure working in the deep has led me both offshore in the Gulf of Mexico supporting the oil and gas industry, as well as inland/coastal diving, servicing US Navy ships in North Florida to industrial diving up along the Great Lakes. The commercial diving industry has been an easy transition, as well as a very fulfilling career. My attention to detail and leadership has helped me climb the ladder quickly and make a successful career. Jeff Lee is originally from Andover, Connecticut. He spent four years serving in the United States Navy (2002-2006) and was stationed at Naval Station Mayport Jacksonville, Florida. Mr. Lee was a Hull Maintenance Technician - Petty Officer 2nd Class Surface Warfare. Spring 2014 MERG 31

As a servicemember you have been given all the tools and training necessary to become an expert at your job, but unfortunately not all your training or tools translate into a civilian way of life. At Jones International University we have the know-how and tools to help you become an expert in your next line of duty. Top 10 military friendly school First fully accredited online institution Approved for GI Bill benefits including Yellow Ribbon Tuition assistance, reduced undergraduate tuition rates and 20% scholarship on graduate programs No academic and application fees

Still not sure which direction to take your career? Visit www.jiu.edu to take our free Career Assessment Test.




866.347.7194 • www.jiu.edu/military 32 MERG Spring 2014

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hange lives; challenge yourself. Jones preparing troops for a career post-military, or empowering veterans International University® (JIU®) is the to leverage past military experience in their chosen profession,” pioneer in online education and a long-time said Dr. Milton Goldberg, Chancellor, Jones International University. supporter of service members and their families. As the first 100% online institution in The JIU School of Business develops strong, ethical business the U.S. to be granted regional accreditation, leaders that are effective decision makers who provide a we have setyou the have bar in been delivering theall most globaland perspective the organizations theyanserve. Theat As a servicemember given the tools trainingwithin necessary to become expert current, relevant and engaging degree backbone to any successful organization are solid business your job, but unfortunately not all your training or tools translate into a civilian way of life. At Jones programs. Our mission is to provide you principles, and a business degree from JIU can be applied International University have the know-how tools help you expert in your with an unparalleledwe educational experience, to and virtually anytoindustry frombecome criminal an justice, healthcare, next you linewith of duty. arming practical skills and confidence to move up government and nonprofits, to entrepreneurship - giving you the ranks or transition into a civilian career. the foundation to start your own company. You will acquire Top 10 military friendly school business fundamentals and learn effective strategies that can Firstassociates, fully accredited institution JIU offers bachelors,online masters, professional be put into practice in any profession. For those who want to Approved for GI degrees Bill benefits Yellow Ribbon certificates and doctorate in the including fields of business begin new careers in the public school system, JIU supports administration, business communication and education. All therates Troops to Teachers program, which inducted our Founder, Tuition assistance, reduced undergraduate tuition and 20% scholarship on graduate programs active-duty service members, honorably discharged veterans, Glenn R. Jones, into the Troops to Teachers Hall of Fame! No academic and application fees retirees, spouses, and family members receive reduced JIU School of Education graduates are ethical and innovative tuition rates for undergraduate programs and a 20% discount leaders who solve urgent education challenges in the diverse scholarship for graduate programs. Plus, all undergraduate learning organizations and communities that they serve. program books are provided free of charge, and there are no application fees! JIU is also approved for GI Bill Benefits, JIU is also noted for its exceptional student experience. At including Yellow Ribbon and tuition assistance; and we are a the heart of JIU’s mission are the people who ensure you get Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC) member, GEM the most value out of your education and help you shape the and Air Force Associate-to-Baccalaureate (AU-ABC) Category career you envision for yourself.We understand the demands 1 partner and part of the Navy College Program Distance of life in the military: a hectic training schedule, high operations Learning Partnership. JIU is also proud to offer all active-duty tempo, deployments, family; all the things that give work/life and veteran students the opportunity to get involved in the balance a different meaning for those who serve our nation. Student Veterans of America (SVA) organization through our That’s why every student at JIU receives unparalleled support ® local JIU chapter. The national SVA organization was officially from the day they are accepted to graduation and beyond. incorporated in January 2008 to provide programs, resources Our admissions counselors will help you work through any and support to the ever-evolving network of student veteran questions •you may have •about returning to school or the ASSOCIATE’S • BACHELOR’S MASTER’S DOCTORATE • CERTIFICATES organizations. The JIU SVA chapter enables our military concept of pursuing an online education and will help you students to network with veterans all across the nation. determine • if you are eligible to receive credit for prior learning. In fact, with transfer credits, credit for prior learning, and the “JIU is dedicated to providing students with a quality education opportunity to be awarded credits through CLEP and DSST and a learning structure that is affordable and flexible for military (DANTES Subject Standardized Tests) examinations, you may personnel around the world. JIU believes that a dynamic, relevant already be well on your way to furthering your education! and focused education is critical to advancing military careers, Once you have been admitted to JIU you will be assigned a Student Solutions Advisor (SSA), your personal guide through every facet of your entire education experience. Together, you’ll create a degree program and course of study that is manageable and achievable. Your SSA will be with you every step of the way to help set you up for success. As a JIU student and graduate, you will also have the opportunity to participate in our Total Professional Advantage® program, which enhances your academic experience with a host of careerbuilding tools and exercises. You will emerge from your program confident and fully prepared to keep your life moving forward. Let our experience, personal attention and commitment to quality get you to where you want to go.

Still not sure which direction to take your career? Visit www.jiu.edu to take our free Career Assessment Test.


866.347.7194 www.jiu.edu/military

Spring 2014 MERG 33



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 • Continuously served for 3 years, OR 2 years if that is what you first enlisted for, OR 2 years if

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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

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.

PHOTO: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate

U.S. Navy Aviation Machinist’s Mate Airman Aida Roxas studies aviation warfare material.

Spring 2014 MERG 35



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. 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

36 MERG Spring 2014

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 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 toll-free 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.

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kasey Krall

U.S. Navy Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Angela M. Roberts studies for an advancement exam aboard aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), in the Atlantic Ocean.

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We are serving those who have served. Whether you’re looking to take classes on campus or online, Texas Tech University is here for you. We take great pride in the fact that we currently have nearly 2000 students who are veterans or family members of veterans. We also have more than 250 faculty & staff who have served. The number one priority at Texas Tech is you earning your degree. Thank you for your service and dedication to our country during its time of need. Be proud of who you are, be proud of what you do, and be proud of what you will continue to do in the future. From Here, It’s Possible!


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Texas Tech University is a proud recipient of the following awards:

Student Highlights Maria E. Flores

Classification: Junior Major: Management Branch: US Navy Ret. Rank: EM1 Since my time here at Texas Tech I have been able to appreciate what being in the military and serving my country really means. Working at the MVP office and being a student here at Texas Tech has allowed me to help others who have served the military finish their education and also help the dependents of veterans complete their life dream. I believe that being a Texas Tech student and working at the MVP office has helped me grow as a person and an American.

Daniel Ayala

Classification: Sophomore Major: Electrical Engineering Branch: US Army Rank: E-6/SSG After serving seven years in the U.S. Army, as bomb disposal, getting out and going back to school while raising a newborn was a nightmare. Thanks to the resources, like the Veterans Association of Texas Tech and the Military & Veterans Programs Office available at Texas Tech, I was able to have a smooth transition into the college setting. In return, I try to be an active member of those organizations that helped me transition to help other veterans and family members achieve their educational goals. I truly believe in our motto that “From here it’s possible” and I try to spread that message to others.






y area

Look for this Green Zone symbol across campus to connect with advocates who have been trained to assist service members.




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een zone gr



Spring 2014 MERG 39

40 MERG Spring 2014

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“THE BEST FIT” First and foremost: THANKS for your service to our country! You have contributed a great deal to ensure our freedom and the freedom of others around the globe. And, many of you have sacrificed or certainly put on hold a career outside your military service. However, even if you are planning on retiring with the military, you’ll still have many productive years left to begin another career. Many of you are leaving after your initial commitment. And, some are staying in the Guard or Reserves. Regardless of your situation, you need to be planning for a career when you do leave. I understand this is obvious but just because it’s obvious don’t mean it’s easy! Deciding on a career has never been a simple undertaking by most---whether you are leaving the military or graduating from high school. And, once you narrow down the seemingly endless possibilities the next challenge is finding a school that can help you lay a foundation for success. You deserve and certainly need to make a choice that is the “best fit” for you. Are you considering all the important variables that would make a certain institution the best possible fit for your overall education and career preparation? Important factors like: Liberal arts or technical foundation or a combination of both. Size and location. Military friendly designation. Able to use your veteran benefits to the fullest extent. Housing options. Variety of academic majors. Rigor of the curricula. Cost and value. Industry connection to academic programs. Career planning assistance and internship/placement opportunities. Finding the best possible fit for your post military education can be a daunting task. For more than three decades, I have advised thousands of prospective students, including veterans, who are interested in pursuing the challenging aviation program at the University of North Dakota. i ask them to thoroughly research the variables mentioned above (and many more) to ensure that the opportunities at UND overall and specifically within the Aviation Department will be the best fit possible for them as an individual student. Students who don’t do the necessary research may end up at an institution that doesn’t meet their expectations or the expectations of the institution. It works both ways. When all the variables of a right fit come together, however, the results can be very satisfying. Students who devote themselves to their academic program, graduate and become successful professionals in the wide open aviation industry as flight instructors, helicopter pilots, airline and corporate pilots, maintenance/technical managers, air traffic controllers, aviation/airport managers and unmanned aircraft operation specialists extend their best fit by succeeding in and contributing to a very exciting industry. The aviation industry truly needs these qualified graduates. The result is a win-win. As you begin your post military career and education search---do the needed research. It’s simply that important. Like your military training and experience, it’s hard work and may not always be fun. However, with the right approach and dedication you will be successful. Best wishes for YOUR “best fit”!


Assistant Dean, Student Services John D. Odegard of Aerospace Sciences University of North Dakota

Spring 2014 MERG 41

Northland Aerospace: Excellence Through Knowledge, Skill, and Innovation Northland Aerospace has a long-standing tradition of excellence and innovation serving veterans like you. As a Military Friendly school, Northland understands your needs as a veteran and caters to them. If you are looking for a great place for an aerospace-related education that understands a veteran’s needs, it’s time to Take Your Life North. Many of Northland Aerospace’s faculty and staff have a military background and can relate to you in a way that can truly enhance your learning environment. Our student body has a strong military representation as well so you can rest assured your peers will share many of your perspectives. Northland Aerospace’s alumni and professional networks have many key industry players with a military history. These relationships are crucial to you as you enter the workforce because they know why hiring a person like yourself can be so beneficial.

northlandaerospace.com This workforce solution was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The solution was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. This solution is copyrighted by the institution that created it. Internal use, by an organization and/or personal use by an individual for non-commercial purposes, is permissible, All other uses require the prior authorization of the copyright owner. Member of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system. An affirmative action, equal opportunity employer & educator.

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Whether it is our long-standing Aviation Maintenance Technology program, first in America Unmanned Aerial Systems Maintenance certificate, or the first-of-its-kind Geospatial Intelligence degree, Northland Aerospace is here to help you get the career you want. We have an admissions rep specifically for veterans who can help you with your admissions questions, GI Bill and military education benefits, disability services, personal counseling, tutorial assistance, financial aid or VA Funded work-study. We also have a veteran’s resource center where you can meet other vets and take advantage of all of its amenities.

“The future of the aerospace industry looks bright, especially for those who are educated in the latest technological advancements across aviation maintenance, including unmanned aircraft systems. As a military veteran with more then 14 years experience in the aerospace industry, I’ve seen what quality training programs look like and how they can leverage past experience for long term success. Northland Aerospace is second to none at building this model and supporting veterans all the way through employment and beyond. Come join us to find out how and strengthen the team.”


–Jon Beck, Army Veteran, UAS Instructor/Program Manager


Schedule your visit today by visiting:



THE YELLOW RIBBON PROGRAM AND HOW TO USE IT The Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay you: • 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. 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.

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. Eligibility Only veterans entitled to the maximum benefit rate (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: • 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.

Content provided by the VA.

44 MERG Spring 2014


Your Degree. Your Way. • Classroom, online and self-paced degree options • 8-week terms, year-round schedule • Generous acceptance of transfer credits and military training • Member of SOC, GoArmyEd, NCPDLP, AU-ABC

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DISCOVER An education from Cal U is more than learning. It’s about gaining the skills, confidence and values necessary to develop a career. Complete your studies anytime, from anywhere with Internet access. Cal U Global Online is a worldwide learning community for Service Members and others who require the flexibility of 100% online instruction. Global Online offers over 35 unique undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs for Military students. Change the way you think about education.

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ACTIVE MILITARY TUITION RATES* (beginning Summer 2014) • Undergraduate – $250/credit + $44.10/credit fees • Graduate – $399/credit + $67.30/credit fees *Includes Dependents.



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As many of today’s military families have learned, there are countless numbers of challenges that often have to be faced that are not covered in pre-deployment briefings. For married couples, each husband or wife has to carry on the work of the deployed spouse as well as their own responsibilities. Sometimes, the lonely days that follow can become overwhelming with problems that come from everywhere and seem to be without end. One military couple recently sat down and discussed their own experiences with multiple deployments while both were completing a college education. The Ellis family share candidly about various challenges that face many young military couples that have to endure employments for one spouse while the other keeps the home fires burning. In the end, the Ellises have learned that it takes something greater than self to endure the sense of loneliness. It is this lesson that they hope that others who have not yet walked in their shoes can learn from and apply to their own lives. There will be days of darkness, but with a strong support system in place, the light will truly shine again. Ryan and Meghan Ellis have known each other since 2000. He was a member of the Marine Corps Reserves and had just graduated from basic training. She was a junior in high school. Both attended the same church and sang on the youth group praise team. Soon, a blossoming friendship turned more serious and the two started dating. In January 2003 while both were freshmen at Liberty University, Ryan and Meghan felt led to join the Army ROTC program.

46 MERG Spring 2014

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The decision seemed to be a natural fit for the couple as Ryan was now serving his country as a member of the Army Reserves and Meghan came from a family with long and distinguished military service dating back to the American Revolution. However, things soon took a dramatic turn when Ryan received orders for his first deployment to Iraq for a year. On 16 February 2003, Ryan deployed to Iraq leaving Meghan behind to complete her first semester of ROTC training and pre-Nursing classes alone. Growing up in a military family that had been deployed to Fort Bragg, Fort Benning, Germany and Fort Eustis, she was familiar with how deployments affected a family. However, feelings that were experienced as a child are vastly different from a young adult with a loved one now thousands of miles away. In the days before Skype and satellite phones, communication between the two existed in the form of letters that came monthly. “I couldn’t watch any news for fear of hearing of soldiers being killed and wondering if it was him.” recalls Meghan. Upon Ryan’s return to the states, he resumed his college education by pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice at Liberty University in 2004. The two married in July 2006 following Meghan’s graduation with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. The couple began to settle down, enjoy married life and learn how to face various responsibilities together. Ryan continued his service in the Army reserves and attended Drill Sergeant School at Fort Benning. It was this new duty position that would take him on his next two deployments. In 2010, Ryan received orders to report to Fort Benning for a one year deployment as a Drill Sergeant. Although he was not going overseas, one half of the Ellis family was now going to be gone for an entire year. This meant that Meghan was now going to become responsible for managing the entire household including home repair, lawn care, maintenance and keeping the bills paid. While many families share these responsibilities, there are some things in which only a husband or wife excel and keep maintained. This is no longer an option when one spouse is gone for longer than one week or even one month. Emotions began to settle in as frequent tiredness and feelings of loneliness came often. These feelings resurfaced again when Ryan received his third deployment orders to Fort Benning for another year in 2012. But things were different for Meghan the second

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time around and she was determined to not let her emotions win out. One of the biggest pieces of advice that Meghan gives to military spouses is to never give up. There will be days of loneliness, depression, anxiety and frustration. “These are all very normal feelings. As military spouses, we have been trained to “drive on” and support our spouses during their deployment because they need us to be strong for them.” notes Meghan. “We’re not robots. We have feelings and things that we are going through as well.” So how did she get through two deployments? Get involved and connected is her strongest piece of advice. “For me, I became strongly connected to my church family and close knit friends.” Meghan took great comfort in her personal faith and often drew strength from various passages of Scripture. She also points out that military support groups such as the FRG are crucial for families to show that they are not alone in a deployment. For those service members that are facing deployment while taking college courses, Ryan offers one strong piece of advice that helped him personally. “Communicate with your education staff and do not hesitate to withdraw if necessary. It is very good advice to adjust to the active duty environment before resuming classes so that you know your schedule and work load constraints.” Be honest with the Education Office counselors who are there to help the military student achieve educational goals. It is better to stop and refocus at a later time than to simply become overwhelmed with trying to accomplish everything. Serving in the American military is one of the highest callings that can be answered. Both the service member and their spouse learn about courage, commitment, dedication, patriotism and see the development of a strong work ethic. Those that are deployed often have a strong network of support both before, during and after they return home. The spouses that are left behind often feel as if they are all alone and try to be both husband and wife. This is especially true when children are involved and one spouse has to be both parents. Know that there is not a need to feel alone but that there is a strong network of support out there. The one that is left behind only needs to take the first step and pick up the phone to ask for help.

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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. 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. 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 workstudy 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 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 Terry’s work-study opportunity, student-veterans 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. 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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U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Stephanie Alexis graduates with an associate degree in management and plans to continue her education using her G.I. Bill benefits.

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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 DD214. 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. 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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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-andwhite 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.


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U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Edward Knudsen, mortarman with Headquarters Platoon, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, studies a mathematics textbook in his sleeping area at Combat Outpost Torbert, Aghanistan.

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Visit www.abc4free.com for complete details or call (855) 930-2273. * Contest valid September 1, 2013 through December 31, 2014. For winning candidates, we will waive our initial fee of $44,900 plus royalties, marketing fees and staffing fees for six months. Winners will be responsible for other costs of setting up and operating their Always Best Care business. See our Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) for details. Void where prohibited by law.

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Del Mar College Veterans Services

Proudly Serving those who Served with Pride Benefits Processing Liaison with VA Offices Advising and Assistance Peer Tutoring Resource Center

VETERANS SERVICES at Del Mar College is not just an office. It’s a place where veterans help veterans like you take the next step in your education. Whether we’re helping you process your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, providing you with access to advising and tutoring, or just giving you a place to relax, our Veterans Services Office and Veterans Resource Center represent our commitment to making you as proud of your educational achievements as we are of your service.

(361) 698-1683 tmicallef@delmar.edu www.delmar.edu/veteran

Corpus Christi, Texas 56 MERG Spring 2014 060 AD Defense Standard MERG.indd 1

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On a Mission for Veterans’ Education Del Mar College’s Veterans Services Program is focused on helping those who served no matter the challenges by Michael Bratten, Del Mar College APRIL 2, 2014


uis A. Rodriguez, a retired Army staff sergeant, is convinced he’d be living on the streets were it not for the Veterans Services Program at Del Mar College. Honorably discharged in September 2012, he came to the Program’s office the following year with little more to live on than GI Bill and unemployment benefits. “When I got there I was like a lost puppy; I didn’t know what to do,” said Rodriguez, who served overseas and in 30 American states during a 35-year military career. “They took me in, asked me what I wanted to do and helped me choose a major. They truly do care. Without them I wouldn’t have bothered to enroll in college.” Rodriguez, 57, is pursuing an associate’s degree with hopes of entering a career in occupational safety and health technology. His wife of 37 years is largely supporting the couple for the time being. Due to the timing of his retirement from the Army and other circumstances, he has to wait another 1½ years to receive a military pension, he said. Helping veterans pursue higher learning and gainful employment is at the core of the Veterans Services Program’s mission. At the helm is Veterans Center Coordinator Tammy Micallef, a retired Navy chief petty officer with 21 years’ service who is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of her fellow veterans. “I was meant for this job,” said Micallef, who joined the Navy at 18 and holds a master’s degree in counseling.“The Navy career I had was equivalent to a human resources specialist and I was a career counselor. Now I counsel veterans and try to make this program work for them. The first thing on my mind is customer service because they deserve the best we can give them.” EXPANDED PROGRAM The College’s Veterans Services Program has come a long way since Micallef was hired in 2012. Before then, only one person

in the Registrar’s Office worked with veterans, processing their benefits paperwork and liaising with state and federal veterans affairs offices. Now Micallef oversees two staff members (one full-time and one part-time) and two student assistants who are paid by the College, as well as nine work-study students who are paid by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs. The Program serves approximately 1,000 veterans each semester, Micallef said. Services are provided at the Veterans Services Office on the College’s East Campus and a Veterans Resource Center on the West Campus that includes a lounge, kitchenette, computer workstations and access to peer tutors. “They’re like family to me,” Andrea Bucher, a Coast Guard veteran and Del Mar College student, said of the Veterans Center staff. “They’ve helped me numerous times as far as the courses I need to take, schedule changes and payment from the VA. They help you right there and then. And they treat everybody equally regardless of what branch you served in.” Bucher, 28, is majoring in psychology and criminal justice and hopes to become a licensed professional counselor with the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, she said. She’s currently balancing three classes with her full-time job as a police officer for the Corpus Christi Independent School District – a job she learned about through the Veterans Center. PROVING ITS WORTH The Program proves its worth in many ways. Recently, Micallef presented the following facts from 2013 to the College’s Board of Regents: • Del Mar College received approximately $986,000 in tuition and fees from the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs for students using the Post-9/11 GI Bill. • The College processed $262,520 in tuition and fees for students utilizing the federal Montgomery GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve, Reserve Educational Spring 2014 MERG 57

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(Top) Michael Wright, an Army veteran, talks with Chris Arcega about enrolling for classes at Del Mar College’s Veterans Center. Arcega is a retired Navy senior chief.

Assistance Program, Dependents’ Educational Assistance program and Veterans Retraining Assistance Program. • The College processed $84,372 in tuition and fees for students utilizing Vocational Rehabilitation services from the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs. • The College exempted $1,005,958 in tuition and fees for Texas veterans utilizing benefits under the state’s Hazlewood Act during fiscal year 2013. Other achievements Micallef shared with the Board: • The establishment of a close working relationship with the College’s business office that has prevented any veteran students from being dropped from classes for non-payment since January 2013. • A book exchange in the West Campus’s Veterans Resource Center allows veterans to share and donate their textbooks when they’re finished. • Every veteran student who graduates is issued a red, white and blue honor cord to wear with his or her graduation regalia. • Veteran graduates are identified in the commencement program and while walking the stage. 58 MERG Spring 2014

This year, the College joined other Coastal Bend organizations to pledge support for the military in the form of a written Military Community Covenant. The signing ceremony was held March 6 aboard the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay in Corpus Christi. The College is also recognized as a 2014 Military Friendly School by Military Advanced Education and GI Jobs magazines. LARGE MILITARY COMMUNITY It makes good sense for the College to embrace the military community. Its service area includes two sizeable military installations – Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, which includes the Corpus Christi Army Depot, and Naval Air Station Kingsville – and the area is popular among veterans looking to settle down and establish roots. “This whole region is heavily involved with the military and the bases here, so I think it’s the right thing to do to support veterans and their families,” said Dr. Lee Sloan, the College’s Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Operations. “What you’re going to see at Del Mar College is that veterans services are going to grow because that population is going to grow.” Micallef said as rewarding as her job is, she’s concerned about the mountain of challenges facing many veterans who

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want to attend college. Some attach a stigma to seeking assistance. They’ve sworn to protect and defend American freedoms, probably spent time at sea or in a foxhole and feel that asking for help doesn’t fit the mold of military selfsufficiency. “I don’t think they want to appear weak,” Micallef said. Once enrolled, many veterans have difficulty adjusting to the college experience and the lack of military structure they were accustomed to while on active duty, Micallef said. It’s not uncommon for them to attend classes for one semester and not return. In some cases they simply need to change their degree plan to one that better suits them, perhaps from an academic degree to a vocational or technical degree. “I tell them you have to have that piece of paper to make the money it takes to be successful and raise a family,” Micallef said. “Employers are looking for that regardless of the experience you have.” GRITTY REALITY Family and finance-related challenges are also common among veterans attending college, Micallef said. And the gritty reality is that two or three veterans enrolled each semester are homeless, she added. That’s no shock to Rodriguez. His educational pursuit is “touch and go” due to his financial situation, he said. Nevertheless, he plans to enroll in April for summer classes.

“Veterans need the opportunity to show what we can do,” he said. “We have a lot more to give to the community once we retire or come out of the military.We just have to be given that opportunity.” Micallef agrees. Another way she’s making attending college easier for veterans is by cutting through the red tape associated with veteran’s benefits, which she said can be overwhelming. “In the Navy a chief petty officer has to get things done. People need to understand that there’s no reason for doing something 10 months from now when it can be done now.We process all paperwork in one day no matter how many people are here. We do not sit on paperwork in here.” ~~~~~~~~~~ Tammy Micallef can be reached at (361) 698-1683 or tmicallef@delmar.edu. Del Mar College, in Corpus Christi, Texas, was founded in 1935. More than 50,000 students have graduated from the College, and more than 22,000 credit and noncredit students in the Texas Coastal Bend are served each year. In-district tuition costs $1,169 per semester for a full course-load.

(Bottom) Navy veteran and Del Mar College student Robert Middleton breaks for lunch in the Veterans Resource Center on the College’s West Campus. The Center includes a lounge, kitchenette, computer workstations and access to peer tutors.

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Leaders from several Texas Coastal Bend organizations including Del Mar College gathered March 6 to sign the Military Community Covenant, a document pledging support for the local military, aboard the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay in Corpus Christi.

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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 postmilitary 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.

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By Bryan Mitchell

Part of VetFran’s appeal is its longstanding partnership with the Veterans Administration and the 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.


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.


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

Besides his wife, Turner also teamed with a financial partner on his first store. 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.”

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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 startup 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?

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Franchising Strategy You need a strategy before investing in a franchise. 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.

open a papa john’s for less than $250,000*

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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? 66 MERG Spring 2014

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

The Dwyer Group is a leader in HOME SERVICE FRANCHISING, and also the founder of VETFRAN . ®


• 7 nationally recognized brands serving residential and light commercial needs • Over 1,500 franchisees, many of which are veterans • Low cost of entry • Discounts offered to qualified veterans • Established systems for success

The VetFran program with The Grounds Guys® is unparalleled. As a veteran, there are a lot of positions that don’t exactly correlate to a skill in the outside world. So having a program that can help those veterans

get back on their feet, find a business that’s right for them, and gives them the incentive to actually

start their business is phenomenal. - Specialist Brandy Prettyman The Grounds Guys Franchisee

To learn more call


www.leadingtheserviceindustry.com Spring 2014 MERG 67

FRANCHISE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK: 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 self-employment 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.

PHOTO: Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Fahey

68 MERG Spring 2014

Granite Transformations is the innovator in kitchen and bath remodels. Our distinct surfaces have revolutionized the ever-growing home improvement industry and created a unique opportunity.

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Spring 2014 MERG 69



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 approvedfranchise 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 SBA-approved 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 SBAbacked 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

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documentation includes: • • • • • • • • • • •

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

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WIN Home Inspection A Top-ranked Franchise for Veterans • WIN has been helping build thriving home inspection businesses for over 20 years and has Strategic-Partners in 28 states, with territories available in most major markets. While the Great Recession drove many other home inspection businesses out of the market, WIN has seen its revenue grow 35% over the past two years. • The WIN business model is flexible enough to be run successfully as a sole proprietorship or as a multi-territory operation with an owner managing a group of inspectors. The costs for start-up are low, and average yearly revenue per owner is $100,462. Many earn much more. • Demand for home inspections is huge. According to the National Association of Realtors, 77% of homebuyers pay for a home inspection, and 99% of real estate agents recommend inspections. The percentage of buyers who buy inspections is typically even higher in urban areas. • Veterans often possess many of the traits necessary to run a successful franchise — leadership, perseverance, loyalty, and forthcoming communication skills.

JAMES AND JESSICA PRICE James and Jessica Price started their WIN Home Inspection franchise in 2012 in Lubbock, TX, just after James ended his service in the National Guard. At 27 years old, he has one of the fastest growing franchises in the country, and is proof of how quickly the business can grow.

• The home inspection business is expected to explode with job opportunities as Baby Boomers start to retire from the profession in large numbers.

You can WIN. We can help. Download Your Free WIN Home Inspection Franchise Information Report at www.WINForAmerica.com or call 1-800-967-8127 to speak directly to a WIN Franchise Specialist about a WIN Home Inspection Service Award.


FOR MANY VETS WIN IS MORE THAN A CAREER — IT’S A LIFE CHANGER PROUDLY GIVING BACK TO THOSE WHO SERVED How America’s most advanced home inspection franchise is helping military veterans WIN WIN Home Inspection is committed to the success of veterans, and it shows in the growth of our company. Fully one-quarter of our ranks have bravely served our nation. As word about WIN’s success spreads, we’re hearing from more and more veterans who’re interested in pursuing a promising new career in home inspection. Inspired by the International Franchise Association’s “Operation Enduring Opportunity,” a concerted effort to help veterans find jobs and start businesses, WIN committed $1.2 million to finance its own program, “WIN for America” in 2012. Since the program’s inception, 20 WIN for America franchises have been recipients of the service award with much success. Leonard Curto, a U.S. Air Force veteran located in Thunderbird, AZ, is one former service member who took advantage of the program. “The WIN for America program is what caught my attention and brought me to WIN Home Inspection,” Leonard says. “It’s an amazing concept for veterans, and I’m grateful WIN has made this process easy for me to become my own boss.” WIN has been named a Military Friendly Franchise by G.I. Jobs Magazine and was named one of the Top 10 franchises for veterans by Entrepreneur Magazine. Do you want to WIN with one of the most veteran-friendly Franchises in the country? If you are a qualified honorably discharged United States military veteran, you may be eligible to receive up to a 50% discount on the Initial Franchise Fee for a WIN Standard Designated Marketing Area. The veterans’ program involves a qualification process conducted by WIN. THE DISCOUNTS ARE: Gold Level – a 50% discount off the Initial Franchise Fee Silver Level – a 10% discount off the Initial Franchise Fee

SHILO HARRIS Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Shilo Harris chose WIN as “the gateway to a new beginning.” A Wounded Warrior and motivational speaker, Harris looked to WIN as the stepping-stone to his new life. “I’m able to provide for my family through a built-in successful system that allows me to thrive,” he says. He also employs his son within his business in San Antonio, TX, while his wife handles marketing, making the business a family affair.

MICHAEL PALMER Sgt. Michael Ryan Palmer joined his parents in the family business in Bend, OR, in February 2013 after five years of active duty with the Marines. “Most of the guys I know are still trying to get back on their feet, and I was really lucky to have this business to come straight into,” says Palmer. “I couldn’t ask for a smoother transition; I went from working in uniform to working in a WIN issued polo. Every single day, I feel like I accomplish something. Coming out of the Marine Corps, I felt like I was really making a difference, and I still feel like that, helping my clients make one of the biggest decisions of their life. What I do matters.” BRIAN FISH Brian Fish, a former electrician in the U.S. Navy, wanted a new career that required some technical knowhow and would allow him to interact with customers. His WIN franchise in Western Washington State is one of the fastest growing in the WIN network. “WIN’s veteran-friendly policies impressed me, and at the same time I was really drawn to WIN’s values,” Brian says. “WIN was an easy standout. I really like their emphasis on continuing education and customer service, and I find them to be the most advanced home inspection franchise in terms of technology, training and marketing.”

WIN IS A LEADER IN THE ‘VETFRAN’ NETWORK WIN Home Inspection is proud to be one of the original franchisors to support the Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative, also called “VetFran.” VetFran has the goal of recruiting 75,000 veterans and their spouses, as well as along with 5,000 Wounded Warriors. As a member of the VetFran Chairman’s Corps, WIN Home Inspection is a recognized leader on behalf of veterans and the franchise industry and is proud to be a part of this veteran focused initiative.

Spring 2014 MERG 73

• Help getting Veteran and Service Disabled Veteran government contracts • Clients include the VA and other federal agencies

Pestmaster Services is a military friendly franchise providing service disabled veterans with the tools they need to build their own “Green” pest and weed control business and become financially secure in their life after military service. We work closely with each prospective new franchise owner so they can successfully navigate the crucial transition.









In Business for yourself, not by yourself.


Veteran Discounts Available Build equity and wealth

Call today: 1.800.525.8866 or visit www.pestmaster.com

JOin the:

#1 Fastest Growing Pizza Chain in the World! #1 Fastest Growing U.S. Pizza Chain! #1 Largest Carry-Out Pizza Chain in America! 1


#1 Best Value in America, 6 consecutive years!


For more information, visit LittleCaesars.com for Franchise Opportunities in your area. Or call 800-553-5776 to talk with a Franchise Licensing Advisor. 1 Based on net number of stores added, 2008-2012. 2 Nation’s Restaurant News, June 24, 2013. 3 *“Highest Rated Chain - Value For The Money” based on a nationwide survey of quick service restaurant consumers conducted by Sandelman & Associates, 2007-2013 ©2014 LCE, Inc. 43271

74 MERG Spring 2014


ransitioning from the military to the ownership of a Bin There Dump That franchise was easy thanks to the shared characteristics of the two industries. I found that the regimented start-up and operational processes were easy to follow and duplicate in my service territory, and the ‘can-do’ attitude that was instilled in me in the military helped me to keep looking for the next challenge - allowing me to really grow my business.” – A Bin There Dump That Franchise Owner, and Military Veteran. At Bin There Dump That, our ideal franchise candidate exhibits qualities that are ingrained in most military veterans. We look for people who are personable, adaptable, natural leaders, risk takers, disciplined and dependable. Does that describe you? In return, we offer you the opportunity to invest in a simple system based on thorough training, quality products and customer service, comprehensive

support, sales and marketing expertise and involvement with a TEAM. Our franchisees trust and rely on one another and are invested in collective success. In fact, in the 2013 Franchise Business Review Satisfaction Survey, our participating franchisees rated the Bin There Dump That Franchise Community between “very good to excellent” (4.1 out of 5). Bin There Dump That is proud to recognize the sacrifice that Veterans have made for their country. Through our Veterans Incentive Program we waive our franchise royalty fees on the first truck for the first year of operation as a token of our appreciation. At Bin There Dump That we’re your partners, not your boss. You’re in business for yourself, not by yourself. This balance of autonomy and support is very attractive to our franchise operators with military backgrounds who are likely ready to stop taking orders from others and start taking control of their career.

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SEAL Qualification Training students ride an inflatable boat in San Diego Bay during the 12-day maritime operations segment of their training program.

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PHOTO: Kyle Gahlau

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Afghan National Army commandos practice entering and clearing a compound at Camp Dyer, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan.

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PHOTO: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Clayton Weis

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Georgian soldiers with the 4th Infantry Brigade practice marksmanship skills while a U.S. Marine with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Black Sea Rotational Force 12 acts as range coach during exercise Agile Spirit Training Area in the country of Georgia.

PHOTO: Cpl. Paul D. Zellner II

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U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. James Shell leans on the wing of an EA-6B Prowler aircraft assigned to Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 139 before flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) in the Gulf of Oman.

PHOTO: Petty Officer 3rd Class Torrey W. Lee 82 MERG Spring 2014

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Now, take command of your future with a second career in franchise ownership. • Low investment • Financing available • Military discount

Call 800-230-2360 or visit ownafranchise.com

Get started today!

© 2014 ServiceMaster Residential/Commercial Services L.P. All rights reserved.

84 MERG Spring 2014


Military Education and Resource Guide-Spring 2014  

Military Education and Resource Guide-Spring 2014