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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.

WITH 65,000 MILITARY STUDENTS, THE WORD IS OUT — BUT WE’RE JUST GETTING STARTED.

LEARN MORE AT WWW.AMUONLINE.COM/DS

*As reported by Military Times/Edge Magazine

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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.

MERG Spring 2016

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 well as private businesses throughout the world. Spring 2016 MERG

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MILITARY & VETERANS for VETERANS “Good work soldier”…Your military service is complete. But your desire to serve, to make a difference…that will never go away. Finding a new career at a time when veterans are entering the workforce in historic numbers is a tough mission. Finding a career that uses your military skills, talents and determination that also satisfies your desire to serve, may seem impossible. TEEX is committed to supporting your new mission. We will help you utilize the GI Bill and other programs earned through your service, to attain the skills and certifications to get jobs, be successful and continue to make a difference. • Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Technician Level 1 • Demining • Heavy Equipment Operator for Ordnance Workers • Basic Peace Officer • Certified Safety and Health Official (CSHO) – Construction • Certified Safety and Health Official (CSHO) – General Industry • Recruit Fire Training Academy

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MILITARY EDUCATION RESOURCE GUIDE 17

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

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Meet the VA’s Acting Under Secretary for Benefits

Robert A. McDonald serves as the eighth Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Danny Pummill was appointed Acting Under Secretary for Benefits in the Department of Veterans Affairs on October 19, 2015.

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VA benefits: How to maximize them

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Post-9/11 GI Bill: The basics

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

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Post-9/11 GI Bill: Benefits

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Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty: The facts

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Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve: The facts

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VA Work-Study Program: Earn while you learn

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Fully Developed Claim: How to file

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FRANCHISE GUIDE 52

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

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Franchising: The basics

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Opening a franchise: What’s involved?

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Franchise Financing: An SBA guide

LOUDER THAN WORDS 72-81 82

Tactical Photo Gallery Final Frame

ON THE COVER

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TOXIC EXPOSURE IN IRAQ TRANSITIONING TOXIC EXPOSURE IN IRAQ CAUSES BREAST CANCER & YOUR BENEFITS CAUSES BREAST CANCER By By Joseph Joseph R. R. Chenelly Chenelly By Joseph R. Chenelly

INITIALLY DENIED, DAV GETS AIR FORCE VETERAN’S CONDITION SERVICE-CONNECTED By Steve WilsonDAV GETS AIR FORCE VETERAN’S INITIALLY DENIED, CONDITION SERVICE-CONNECTED Military changes your She tookservice the vaccines theeveryone, Air Forcewhether prescribed She took the vaccines the Air Force prescribed before her deployment. She drank the water the military time in uniform was four years or 24 years. before herindeployment. Sheand drank the water military provided Iraq. She lived worked wherethe she was But, the important thing to remember is one provided in Iraq. She lived and worked where she was in told. Following orders enabled her to survive her tour told. Following orders enabled her towhile survive her armed tour in Iraq, she didn’t expect would alsoinlead to cancer maybut be entitled to benefi tsthat earned the Iraq, but she didn’t expect that would also lead to cancer after she In returned home.shows most veterans don’t forces. fact, history after she returned home. know earned these ts.bilateral Many have the Dr.they’ve T. Danielle Russell is benefi fighting breast T. doesn’t Danielle Russell fighting breastof cancer. She first filed a claim with thebilateral Department “butDr. that apply toisme” mindset. cancer. She first in filed a claim with the Veterans Affairs 2013, believing theDepartment cancer wasof The transition from military life is often challenging Veterans Affairs in 2013, believing the cancer was connected to her military service. A VA doctor disagreed, connected to her military service. A VA doctor disagreed, as any veteran will most likely attest. As our armed blaming it on genes. blaming it on genes. forces continue the on, current massivecostly drawdown, the Russell pushed undergoing treatment. Russell pushed on, undergoing costly treatment. days of having extra sets of hands at the workplace A family doctor herself, she continued helping others Aare family doctor herself, she continued helping others gone. In fact, the men and in uniform have while battling the cancer. One ofwomen her patients was Michael while battling the cancer. One of her patients was Michael Michelotti, supervisor of less” DAV’sfor National Office in been “doing more with quite a Service long time. Michelotti, supervisor of DAV’s National Service Office in Montgomery, Ala. Montgomery, Ala.uncommon for transitioning service So, it’s not “When Dr. Russell told me her story, that she had members toDr.work up to their date, with Russell told meseparation her story, that she had been“When told that her cancer was hereditary, I asked her been toldduties that her cancer was hereditary, I asked her military interrupting separation briefi ngs and about her family history,” Michelotti recounted. “I offered about her time. familyThe history,” Michelotti recounted.is“Ioften offered full anxiety of separation toplanning help. After a little while, she accepted. We did a lot of to help. After a little while, she accepted. We did a lot of only realized as a veteran and his or her family is research.” research.” leaving the base for theatlast time on active Russell was based a camp built on aduty. landfill in Russell was based at a camp built on a landfill in Baghdad. Little is known about what types of waste This is happening day as types the men and Baghdad. Little is knownevery about what of waste went into that landfill before the war. During her went intoofthat landfill before war. hang During women America’s armedthe forces upher their deployment, was also also aa burn burn pit pit site. site.Through ThroughDAV’s DAV’s deployment, ititthe was uniforms for last time and many are not even successful legislative efforts in 2009 and 2010, Congress successful legislative efforts in 2009 andearned. 2010, Congress remotely aware of the they’ve There’s agreed exposure tobenefi burnts pits’ fumes anddebris debris agreed that that exposure to burn pits’ fumes and no all-encompassing list provided by the Department was toxic and harmful to service members exposed was toxic and harmful to service members exposed toto them. Multiple casesorof ofa veterans veterans becoming and even of Veterans Affairs respective state where a even them. Multiple cases becoming illilland dying because of exposure have been reported in DAV veteran residesofthat spells have out what ts the dying because exposure beenbenefi reported in DAV Magazine over the past decade. Magazine the for past veteran isover eligible ordecade. how to access them. When home, Russell’s Russell’s oncologist oncologistbrought brought When returning returning home, up an eye-opening study. Plastic disposablewater waterbottles bottles This where DAV can Plastic help. disposable up an is eye-opening study. that used on aa massive massive scale scale inin Iraq Iraqfor forall allU.S. U.S. that were were used on DAV offices and representatives can be found in personnel chemicals such as as bisphenol bisphenol (BPA), personnel contain contain chemicals such AA(BPA), every can state. We know federal and state benefi ts which become verywhat harmful when exposed tointense intense which very harmful when exposed to veterans have earned and, more importantly, we know or heat over over periods periods of oftime. time.InInIraq, Iraq, or even moderate heat pallets water are stored and moved around thecountry country how toofaccess those benefi ts.moved DAV mobile service pallets stored and around the for before being being consumed, consumed,usually usuallyleft leftinin for days or weeks before intense direct sunlight. sunlight. intense heat and direct

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Dr. Dr. T. T. Danielle Danielle Russell Russell is is proud proud of of her her Air Air Force Force service. service. After After she she Dr. T. Danielle Russell proud of for her her Air Force service. After she returned home, DAV there when developed cancer. returned home, DAViswas was there for her when she she developed cancer. returned home, DAV was there for her when she developed cancer.

According to Johns Hopkins University researcher, According to chemicals Johns Hopkins researcher, Dr. Rolf Halden, calledUniversity phthalates are sometimes Dr. Rolf Halden, chemicals called phthalates are sometimes added to plastics to make them flexible and less brittle. added to plastics to make them flexible and less brittle. “Phthalates are environmental contaminants that are environmental can“Phthalates exhibit hormone-like behaviorcontaminants by acting as that endocrine can exhibit hormone-like behavior by endocrine disrupters in humans and animals,” acting Haldenassaid. “If you disrupters in humans animals,” Halden said. “If of you heat up plastics, youand could increase the leaching heat up plastics, you could increase the leaching of phthalates from the containers into water and food.” phthalates from the containers into water and food.” One of the most common effects is cancer, especially One of the most common effects is cancer, especially breast cancer. offi ces cancer. travel all over the country to provide benefits breast After Michelotti interviewed Russell, it became counseling and claims assistance to veterans who After Michelotti interviewed Russell, it became apparent to him the VA’s denial in 2013 was flawed. Russell can’t come to us. apparent to him the VA’s denial in 2013 was flawed. Russell turnedout outtotohave havenonohistory historyofofcancer cancer family. She turned in in herher family. She Finally, DAV has partnered with RecruitMilitary, had not inherited this terrible disease; the denial was based had not inherited this terrible disease; the denial was based which is an organization dedicated to matching on an inaccurate assumption. on an inaccurate assumption. veterans to employers who are seeking veteran talent. January2016, 2016,they theysubmitted submitted new documentation InInJanuary new documentation DAV is sponsoring 60-75 veteran career fairs per year showing cancer metastasized to Russell’s lungs. A few showing cancer metastasized to Russell’s lungs. A few days later, theVA VA granted 100-percent service connection to help veterans and their 100-percent families find meaningful and days later, the granted service connection forlling bilateral breastcancer. cancer.The TheVAVA also granted service fulfi employment. for bilateral breast also granted service connectionfor forlung lungcancer canceratat100 100 percent. connection percent. If you’re a veteran who has questions about “Iam amgrateful grateful thatDAV DAVwas was there with through that there with meme through benefi“Its earned through service, visit www.dav.org to this,”she shecontinued. continued.“Mr. “Mr.Michelotti Michelotti a bulldog. argued this,” is is a bulldog. HeHe argued find a service showing office in your area. after If youregulation. or someone relentlessly, regulation wellrelentlessly, showing regulation after regulation. SoSo wellyou know isknows a veteran or ains transitioning service trained, he knows theins and outs. I don’t want think trained, he allallthe and outs. I don’t want to to think wherewe’d we’d bewithout without DAV’s help.” member andbe are looking for employment outside where DAV’s help.” the military gates, go tofrom www.dav.org/veterans/ youare aresuffering suffering fromananillness illness injury that may If Ifyou oror injury that may bebe employment-resources/. connected don’t hesitate to to contact connectedtotoyour yourmilitary militaryservice, service, don’t hesitate contact yourlocal localDAV DAVNational NationalService ServiceOfficer Officer DAV.org/veterans/ your at at DAV.org/veterans/ find-your-local-office. find-your-local-office.

DAV.org/veterans/find-your-local-office DAV.org/veterans/find-your-local-office DAV.ORG/veterans/employment-resources


MCDONALD WAS CONFIRMED BY THE US SENATE ON JULY 29, 2014.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs ROBERT A. MCDONALD

A

social sustainability initiatives, including receipt of the s Under Secretary for Benefits, HiPrior to joining Department of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence for VA, Secretary McDonald was Chairman, President, P&G’s operations in Pakistan and Nigeria. In addition, and Chief Executive Officer of The Procter & using the company’s innovative water purification Gamble Company (P&G). Under his leadership, P&G packets, P&G committed itself to the 2020 goal of “saving significantly recalibrated its product portfolio; expanded one life every hour” by annually its marketing footprint, adding nearly providing two billion liters of clean one billion people to its global customer Secretary McDonald base; and grew the firm’s organic sales drinking water to people in the world’s graduated from the by an average of three percent per year. developing countries. This growth was reflected in P&G’s United States Military stock price, which rose from $51.10 An Army veteran, Mr. McDonald the day he became CEO to $81.64 on Academy at West Point in served with the 82nd Airborne Division; completed Jungle, Arctic, and the day his last quarterly results were the top 2 percent of Desert Warfare training; and earned announced—a 60 percent increase from the Class of 1975. the Ranger tab, the Expert Infantryman 2009 to 2013. Badge, and Senior Parachutist wings. Upon leaving military service, Captain McDonald was During his tenure, P&G was widely recognized for its awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. leader development prowess. In 2012, Chief Executive Magazine named it the best company for developing Secretary McDonald graduated from the United States leader talent. The Hay Group, a global management Military Academy at West Point in the top 2 percent of consulting firm, consistently cited P&G in its top-tier listing of the Best Companies for Leadership Study. The the Class of 1975. He served as the Brigade Adjutant for the Corps of Cadets and was recognized by The Royal company received recognition for its environmental and

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Secretary of Veterans Affairs ROBERT A. MCDONALD continued

Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturing, and Commerce as the most distinguished graduate in academics, leadership, and physical education. He earned an MBA from the University of Utah in 1978. The Secretary is personally committed to values-based leadership and to improving the lives of others. He and his wife, Diane, are the founders of the McDonald Cadet Leadership Conference at West Point—a biennial gathering that brings together the best and brightest young minds from the best universities around the world and pairs them with senior business, NGO, and government leaders in a multi-day, interactive learning experience.

The recipient of numerous leadership awards and honorary degrees, in 2014, Secretary McDonald was awarded the Public Service Star by the President of the Republic of Singapore for his work in helping to shape Singapore’s development as an international hub for connecting global companies with Asian firms and enterprises. Secretary McDonald and his wife are the parents of two grown children, Jennifer and Robert, and the proud grandparents of grandsons, Matthew and Michael.

President Barack Obama signs the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act into law at Fort Belvoir, Va.

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CeCe Mazyck

I AM A VETERAN AND THIS IS MY VICTORY. “My victory was finishing my education.” After 38 jumps, CeCe was injured in a parachute accident. Her veterans benefits allowed her to follow her dream and earn a degree. Every year, DAV helps more than a million veterans of all generations—connecting them to the health, disability, and education benefits they’ve earned. Help support more victories for veterans. Go to DAV.org. Spring 2016 MERG 19


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PHOTO: Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Roger Parsons

Air Force Airmen 1st Class Devin McCracken, right, and Scott Webster locate a birds’ nest during a preflight inspection on an E-8C joint surveillance target attack radar system aircraft at Robins Air Force Base, Ga.


Lindsey S., Alumna Journalism. Active Duty.

U P TO 50% T U I T I O N

SC H O L ARS H I P

FO R M I LITARY AN D FAM I LY WARRI O RS Introducing the Military and Family Scholarship. Our new Military and Family Scholarship caps the cost of tuition at $250 per credit hour, saving up to 50% in out-of-pocket costs for active duty military, Reservists, National Guard and their spouses and dependents. TROY is committed to keeping higher education affordable for those who sacrifice so much. That’s the Trojan Warrior Spirit, and it’s alive and well at Troy University.

© 2016 Troy University

Feel it at troy.edu/militaryspirit or call 1-800-586-9771.

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Acting Under Secretary for Benefits Veterans Benefits Administration DANNY PUMMILL Danny Pummill was appointed Acting Under Secretary for Benefits in the Department of Veterans Affairs on October 19, 2015. In this position, he leads more than 20,000 employees in the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) in the delivery of non-medical benefits programs for Veterans, including disability compensation, pension and fiduciary, education, home loan guaranty, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation and employment, and transition, employment and economic impact. Through a nationwide network of 56 regional offices, special processing centers, and VBA Headquarters, he directs the execution of nearly $90B in direct benefits to Veterans and their dependents. Mr. Pummill was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in September 2007. Before becoming Acting Under Secretary, he served as Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits, second in command in VBA. Prior to that role, he served as Director of VBA Department of Defense Program Office, Deputy Director for Policy and Procedures in the office of Compensation and Pension Services, Veterans Benefits Administration in Washington D.C., and as a Senior Executive for the Department of the Army. While with the Army he served as the primary advisor to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) responsible for policy and performance oversight for human resources (civilian and military), equal opportunity, equal employment opportunity, training, readiness, mobilization, military health affairs, force structure, manpower management, recruiting, and other critical matters as part of the Army leadership team. 22 MERG Spring 2016

CAREER CHRONOLOGY: 2015 – Present Acting Under Secretary for Benefits, Veterans Benefits Administration 2013 – 2015 Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits, Veterans Benefits Administration 2012 – 2013 Director, Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Defense Program Office Veterans Benefits Administration 2010 - 2012 Deputy Director for Policy and Procedures, Office of Compensation and Pension Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration 2007 - 2009 Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Medical and Health Operations, Office of Assistant Secretary of the Army Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Headquarters, Department of the Army 2003 - 2007 Director of Operations, Assistant Secretary of the Army Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Headquarters, Department of the Army 2002 - 2003 Student, National War College, Fort McNair, Washington DC 2001 - 2002 Executive Officer to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Human Resources, Headquarters, Department of the Army MAJOR MILITARY ASSIGNMENTS/AWARDS/ DECORATIONS: Mr. Pummill retired as a Colonel from the United States Army after serving for 33 years. He served as an Adjutant General Corps Officer and an enlisted Field Artillery and Infantry soldier in a variety of assignments. He has served at every level in the Army from squad through Headquarters Department of the Army. Commanding two separate Battalions, his duties have taken him to Panama, Central America, Korea, Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East and various locations throughout the United States. EDUCATION: 2007 Wharton School of Business Advanced Management Program 2002 Masters in National Security Strategy (MNSS), National War College, Fort McNair, Washington DC 1996 Masters in Military Arts and Sciences (MMAS), Army Command and General Staff College, Leavenworth, KS 1983 BS in Law Enforcement, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI AWARDS AND HONORS: Legion of Merit U.S. Army Horatio gates Gold Medal National School Board Award Horatio Gates Silver Medal


“I

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

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

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

Copyright © 2016 University of Maryland University College

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WE ASPIRE.

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

ACADEMIC PROGRAMS COLLEGE OF MEDICINE Doctor of Medicine (Nevada - Currently in Development) MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

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

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

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

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

PATIENT CARE

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

HENDERSON 702-990-4433 | 11 Sunset Way | Henderson, NV 89014 SUMMERLIN 702-990-4433 | 10530 Discovery Drive | Las Vegas, NV 89135 SOUTH JORDAN 801-302-2600 | 10920 S. River Front Pkwy | South Jordan, UT 84095

roseman.edu ROSEMAN UNIVERSITY IS A PRIVATE, 501(C)3 NON-PROFIT UNIVERSITY. REGIONALLY ACCREDITED BY THE NORTHWEST COMMISSION ON COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES.

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VETERANS AFFAIRS

HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR VA BENEFITS

I

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.

COMPENSATION

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.

EDUCATION

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.

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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.

HOME LOANS

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.

INSURANCE

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.

VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION AND EMPLOYMENT

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.


Providing quality career-focused programs to meet the needs of high-demand industries.

www.stratford.edu Spring 2016 MERG 27


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VETERANS AFFAIRS

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THE POST-9/11 GI BILL

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.

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 serve four 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.

**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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PHOTO: Pfc. Lee, Kyeong-min

Army Sgt. Genaro Bueno completes the final portion of a 12-mile ruck march at Warrior Base near Panmunjeom, South Korea. The ruck march was conducted as the final event during the Expert Field Medical Badge training event. Bueno is assigned to the 65th Medical Brigade.


VETERANS AFFAIRS

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POST-9/11 GI BILL: HOW TO USE IT

he Post-9/11 GI Bill, enacted in 2008, is the most extensive educational assistance program authorized since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944. Just as the original GI Bill allowed veterans to take their educational opportunities and leverage them for breakthroughs in automation, business, medicine, science, transportation and technology, today’s Post-9/11 GI Bill provides veterans with the tools that will help them contribute to an economically strong, vibrant and resilient America. The Post-9/11 GI Bill is a comprehensive education benefit, paying tuition and fees on behalf of veterans or eligible dependents directly to the schools in which they are enrolled. Eligible participants also receive a monthly housing allowance and up to $1,000 annually for books and supplies. GI Bill benefits are tiered based on the number of days served on active duty, giving activated National Guard and Reserve members the same benefits as those on active duty. VA is committed to ensuring all service members, veterans, and family members eligible for the benefit receive a useful education without the burden of substantial student loan debt as they readjust to civilian life. As of July 9, 2013, VA has issued over $30 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit payments to approximately 992,000 individuals and their educational institutions. Executive Order 13607 directs VA, the Department of Defense (DoD), and Department of Education, with help from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), to develop and implement “Principles of Excellence” to strengthen oversight, enforcement and accountability within veteran and military educational benefit programs.

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

The Principles of Excellence are a set of guidelines with which institutions receiving federal funding agree to comply. The principles were designed to help ensure that students are given the right tools to assist them in making informed decisions when choosing a school. The principles also seek to help protect veterans, service members, and their families from aggressive and deceptive marketing tactics. Spring 2016 MERG 31


VETERANS AFFAIRS

HOW TO USE YOUR POST-9/11 GI BILL BENEFITS

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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.

If you are attending a private Institution of Higher Learning in Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania,

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South Carolina or Texas you may be eligible for a higher tuition reimbursement 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.


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VETERANS AFFAIRS

FACTS ABOUT THE MONTGOMERY GI BILL ACTIVE DUTY (MGIB-AD)

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

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

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


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

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VETERANS AFFAIRS

FACTS ABOUT THE MONTGOMERY GI BILL SELECTED RESERVE (MGIB-SR)

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

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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).


VETERANS AFFAIRS 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.

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

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.

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PHOTO: Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy

Army Pfc. Harlan Troutman scrambles into the driver’s compartment of an M1A1 Abrams tank as he and his crew race against the clock to replace two sections of track on the tank during the Gen. Gordon Sullivan Cup best tank crew competition at Fort Benning, Ga.


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

Internationally Recognized Certifications POST 9/11 GI BILL ACCEPTED CLASSES START EVERY FIVE WEEKS

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

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Our hands-on training takes less than 8 months to complete and will give you the knowledge and skills you need to succeed. We invite you to visit our website or call one of our admissions representatives to explore what an education from The Ocean Corporation can do for you. Spring 2016 MERG 39


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PHOTO: Ching Oettel

Soldiers conduct airborne operations from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter piloted by a Florida National Guard helicopter crew over Brooksville, Fla. The soldiers are assigned to U.S. Special Operations Command.


Light Our Way and yOur Future

As a member of the military, you’ve trained hard, sacrificed, and led the way. Now it’s your time to shine. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, America will need 4 million college graduates between 2010–2020.* We can help you become one of them. Not everyone has the mindset and discipline for success—but you do. You’ve already handled your share of tough challenges. Use that valuable training to forge a successful new path—one that sparks new opportunities for you and your family.

Bring out that spark inside you. SHINe NOW. military.kaplan.edu

*Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment Outlook 2010-2020: Occupational employment projections to 2020,” January 2012, on the Internet at www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2012/01/art5full.pdf. National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth. Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement. For comprehensive consumer information, visit www.kaplanuniversity.edu/student-consumer-information.aspx.

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PHOTO: Justin Connaher

Army Spc. Dillon Weitzel waits for the order to fire on an M@ .50-caliber machine gun range at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.


VETERANS AFFAIRS

EARN WHILE YOU LEARN: VA’S WORK-STUDY PROGRAM

V

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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At 17,400 feet, Mount Foraker towers above soldiers as they offload equipment and supplies from a CH-47F Chinook helicopter after landing on Kahiltna Glacier in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

PHOTO: John Pennell

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VETERANS AFFAIRS

GET THE FASTEST CLAIM DECISION:

HOW TO FILE A FULLY DEVELOPED CLAIM

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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.

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.

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. How do I file an FCD? Spring 2016 MERG 45


NOT EVERY CLASSROOM NEEDS A ROOM NUMBER

Scan for more info

Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program Fly. Enjoy life. Repeat as necessary.

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FLY.UND.EDU


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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”!

KEN POLOVITZ

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

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Airmen use the Jaws of Life to tear apart a vehicle’s roof to remove a mock victim as part of a combat search-and-rescue demonstration during a civic leader program at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England.

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PHOTO: Staff Sgt. Emerson Nunez

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What’s Your

EXIT Strategy? “EXIT Realty’s unique Formula of single-level residuals is a proven business model. The company has to-date, paid out over a third of a billion dollars in sponsoring bonuses to its associates across the continent.

Some transitioning military personnel struggle to identify their transferrable skills and then apply them to a lucrative and rewarding career. Discipline, accountability, communication skills and leadership are often undervalued by the 9 to 5 employer. Coupled with the desire to build a future that allows for more time with their family and substantial earnings potential, the search for a new career can be daunting. A career in real estate sales or franchise ownership may tick all the boxes. To be self-employed requires tremendous discipline. Home buyers and sellers insist on accountability and a clear, concise line of communication.

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To build a successful brokerage operation requires proven leadership skills. However, traditional real estate falls short when it comes to work/life balance and building a secure financial future. In traditional two-dimensional real estate, agents earn money by taking listings and making sales. They earn commission only when sales close and often there are gaps between closings causing a financial vacuum. Also, when the closings stop, the income stops causing agents to work long hours away from their families with little reward. There is no opportunity to take a break from the business, retire with security or to build family wealth.


EXIT Realty is the only real estate company that solves these problems head-on by providing a third income stream which allows its associates to help build the company through a process known as sponsoring. Whenever you as an EXIT Associate introduce an agent to management and they are hired, as a special thank you, EXIT’s head office pays you a bonus the equivalent of 10% of their gross closed commission to a maximum of $10,000 per recruit per year.

the transient nature of military family life. EXIT Realty has dozens of real estate brokerage locations near military bases. A spouse who becomes an agent with EXIT Realty, builds a career and sponsors others will be able to refer that real estate business to another agent in the system and continue to receive their sponsoring bonuses when the time comes to transfer to another EXIT Realty office.

EXIT is not a multi-level company; this is single-level residual income. Use it to fill the gaps between closings, to pay for vacations, your children’s education, or invest to build wealth – any way you see fit.

For military personnel planning their exit strategy from a very structured environment, EXIT Realty’s Agent Transition Plan provides a track to run on. We provide the tools for each agent to become thoroughly oriented and trained in the basics of successful real estate sales and to brand and market him or herself to the community. EXIT seeks out

If you decide to take a break from real estate or when it comes time for you to retire, your sponsoring bonuses continue at a rate of 7%. You can enhance your retirement benefit by continuing to sponsor agents anywhere there is an EXIT office.

the latest technology tools available and then teaches each agent how to use them. The corporate culture is supportive and fun and this comradery extends to the brokerage level where associates help and encourage each other much like a good team would do.

And EXIT didn’t forget about your loved ones. Should something happen to you, your sponsoring bonuses convert to a 5% beneficiary residual to help provide financial security for those left behind.

EXIT Realty understands that continuing to be of service is important to transitioning military personnel. Thousands of EXIT Realty Associates believe that guiding people through the process of buying the largest purchase of their lives, the home where their children sleep at night, makes for a very satisfying career. EXIT Realty has also partnered with Homes for Heroes through its Approved Supplier Network. Homes for Heroes provides discounts for first responders, military personnel and veterans, teachers and health care workers during the home buying and selling process.

EXIT Realty’s unique Formula of single-level residuals is a proven business model. The company has to-date, paid out over a third of a billion dollars in sponsoring bonuses to its associates across the continent. The portability of the EXIT Formula also makes for an ideal option for the spouses of acting service personnel. Spouses often struggle to build lucrative careers due to

EXIT Realty believes in a bright future for our veterans and thanks you for your service. Visit exitrealty.com/EXIT4MinuteMillion

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FRANCHISE GUIDE

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

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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.

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.

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fter 30 years and 30 days in an Air Force uniform and more than 4,000 combined hours in the F-15 and F-16, Steve Carey took a moment to survey the landscape after his 2007 retirement. He had offers from defense contractors, but “nothing that rang my bell,” he says. That’s when he turned his attention toward buying a franchise, hoping to settle down in one location and create a legacy for his family. CertaPro Painters – a national operation with an established reputation and more than 300 outlets – caught his attention. “I looked at restaurants and storefront operations, but this business is different in that I am out in the community interacting with homeowners and business owners,” he says. “I get to size them up while they size me up.” His research also helped steer him toward the franchise. “It’s not that I have a passion for painting, but I do have a passion for growing a business,” he says. “CertaPro had a corporate long-term strategy that focused on developing a national reputation as America’s No. 1 home painters, much like the Air Force’s long-term strategy to be the world’s most respected airpower. Running a business, he said, requires leadership similar to commanding a fighter squadron. “It’s about dealing with people and issues every day.” Hill says that type of detailed research is critical. “Although a veteran may be familiar with a certain franchise such as a restaurant, it’s important to look beyond the tables filled with satisfied customers and get a deep understanding of the personal commitment and capital that owning such an establishment would require,” he says. Carey’s Mobile, Ala.,-based outfit was recently named the most successful CertaPro in Alabama. Continued on page 54

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PHOTO: Senior Airman Krystal Ardrey

A U.S. airman wrestles with a Dutch soldier after being exposed to pepper spray during a nonlethal weapons class as part of African Lion 16 in Tifnit, Morocco.

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FRANCHISE GUIDE Continued from page 52

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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.

FRANCHISING RESOURCES

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

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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.

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


PHOTO: Staff Sgt. Roberto Di Giovine

AH-64D Apache helicopters begin to depart in formation from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Eastover, S.C., to participate in gunnery qualifications and annual training at Fort Stewart, Ga.

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FRANCHISE GUIDE

THE BASICS OF FRANCHISE BUSINESSES W ant to be your own boss, but not willing to take on the risk of starting your own business from scratch? Franchising can be a great alternative if you want to have some guidance in the start-up phase of the business.

What is Franchising? A franchise is a business model that involves one business owner licensing trademarks and methods to an independent entrepreneur. Sometimes, franchises are referred to as chains. There are two primary forms of franchising: • Product/trade name franchising, in which the franchisor owns the right to the name or trademark and sells that right to a franchisee. • Business format franchising. The franchisor and franchisee have an ongoing relationship, and the franchisor often provides a full range of services, including site selection, training, product supply, marketing plans and even assistance in obtaining financing Before Investing in a Franchise Before you decide to franchise, you need to do your research. You could lose a significant amount of money if you do not investigate a business carefully before you buy. By law, franchise sellers must disclose certain information about their business to potential buyers. Make sure you get all the information you need first before entering into this form of business. To learn more about franchising opportunities, visit the Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection. The decision to purchase a franchise involves many factors. To help you explore if franchising is right for you, consider the following questions: • Do you know how much you can invest? • What are your abilities? • What are your goals? Content by the U.S. Small Business Administration. 56 MERG Spring 2016

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.


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FRANCHISE GUIDE

OPENING A FRANCHISE: WHAT’S INVOLVED?

S

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?

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

Content by the U.S. Small Business Administration.


COMET CLEANERS IS EXPANDING BECOME A PART OF HISTORY! Over the last century, dry cleaning methods gradually evolved resulting in cleaner, well-preserved garments for its clients. Due largely to the pioneering efforts of Jack Godfrey & Sons Inc. since the 1920’s, Comet Cleaners’ equipment efficiency and reliability have improved. In the 21st century, Comet Cleaners shall remain a worldwide leader in the dry cleaning business with its revolutionary concepts of providing price, quality and convenience to its clients.

We invite you to consider the Comet Cleaners opportunity today! “Comet Cleaners Franchise showed me how to take the discipline, leadership training, and organizational skills that I learned in the Army and turn it into a successful business in the private sector.” – Dan Schneider, Former U.S. Army AH-1 Cobra Pilot and Gulf War Veteran Comet Cleaners franchisee since 1994, Las Cruces, NM – 3 stores

aThe dry cleaning industry is $9 billion in the US alone a50+ year brand history aLow initial investment aExperienced technicians in plant

construction & equipment installation

“Skills I learned as a Marine help me as an entrepreneur. Listening to the leadership and advise of the Comet Cleaners franchise office has enabled me to grow and expand into a multi-million dollar business.” – Sgt Burt Fisher, USMC. Desert Storm Veteran. Comet franchisee since 1997, Midland, TX –4 stores

aEase of operation aCorporate site location evaluation aLargest family owned dry cleaning chain in the USA aContinues to survive tough economic times aNo late nights, no Sundays

aComprehensive training and support aProven advertising guidelines aNo shrink or inventory spoilage aSBA Approved Franchise aMinimal labor (average 12 employees) … aLow employee to gross sales ratio

For details: 888.461.3555 cometcleaners.com/franchise

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Sponsored Content

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.

H

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

Now It’s About

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

Your Future.

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

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Now It’s About

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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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FRANCHISE GUIDE

FINANCING YOUR FRANCHISE:

A

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 SBAapproved list? Franchises do not appear on the list for a variety of reasons. In some instances, the franchisor may decide not to have it listed. If this is the case, SBA and your commercial lender may need to review and evaluate more financial information when you seek SBA financial assistance, which may add more time to process the request. Being on or off the list is not an endorsement or indication of quality and profitability, so you should still thoroughly research for your potential franchise opportunity. What else is needed by SBA and my bank if my franchise is on the SBA-approved franchise list? Additional eligibility qualifications are required for applicants of financing for an SBA-approved franchise. These qualifications include items such as general eligibility, conflicts of interest, business plans, and use of proceeds. When you apply for an 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 62 MERG Spring 2016

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?

C

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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Y

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CMY

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transitioning into the civilian world... ...the challenge of deciding what comes next.

EDUCATIONWITH OPPORTUNITIES

AN

Veterans develop discipline, dedication, problem solving capabilities and numerous other useful skills while securing the freedoms this country holds dear. While transitioning into the civilian world, many of these highly-skilled men and women face the challenge of deciding what comes next. That’s where the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics (PIA) enters the equation. PIA provides an avenue for veterans to utilize skills developed in service of this country while earning the knowledge and certifications necessary for careers in aircraft repair, robotics, manufacturing and many other hands-on careers. PIA trains students for the FAA Airframe and Powerplant Certification (A&P) and FCC General Radiotelephone Operator’s License (GROL) in 21 months or less. Veterans looking for a real-world, career-oriented education grounded in practical, hands-on experience need look no farther. What sets PIA apart? • Hands-on learning with real aircraft • Dedicated, ongoing placement assistance • Veteran instructors and small class-sizes • Every campus approved for VA Benefits PIA is more than an education: in fact, it’s the logical step to numerous career opportunities. With a 97% veteran graduate placement rate from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2014, PIA has proven that it will go above and beyond the call of duty in helping you start a career in aviation or a related field we train for. You’ve spent years serving this country. Now it’s our turn to serve you. Learn more about the education which has helped launch over 37,000 careers.

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Air Force fire protection specialists enter a room while conducting firefighting drills in the live-fire simulator at Joint Base ElmendorfRichardson, Alaska.

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Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Camp navigates a waterway during an annual training exercise at Fort Knox, Ky. The coastal riverine force is a core Navy capability that provides port and harbor security, high value asset protection, and maritime security operations in coastal and inland waterways.

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Air Force Capt. Jonathan Bonilla and 1st Lt. Vicente Vasquez fly over Tokyo, after completing night training. Bonilla and Vasquez are UH-1N Huey pilots assigned to the 459th Airlift Squadron, which trains on a various scenarios to prepare for potential real-world contingencies and operations.

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Marine Corps Cpl. Jacob Carpenter simulates attacking a target through a window while rappelling down a tower at Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan.

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Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Chase McManaman holds a parachute during an activity at an elementary school in San Diego. Marines volunteered for a fitness challenge, which allowed children and Marines to complete a series of exercise stations during the school day.

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A service member raises a Japanese child to see through the windows of an aircraft during the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Friendship Day 2016 Air Show, Japan. The air station has hosted a single-day air show and open house since 1973 to foster positive relationships with residents.

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A candidates assigned to Delta Company, Officer Candidates Class-221, breaks the surface of the murky water of ‘The Quigley’ at Brown Field, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. The mission of Officer Candidates School (OCS) is to “educate and train officer candidates in Marine Corps knowledge and skills within a controlled, challenging, and chaotic environment in order to evaluate and screen individuals for the leadership, moral, mental, and physical qualities required for commissioning as a Marine Corps officer.”

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MERG 2016 Spring Edition  

A DEFENSE STANDARD Publication