VetJobs Veteran Eagle

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VetJobs Veteran Eagle

Issue 16:09

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Veteran Eagle is a newsletter for veterans, transitioning military, their family members and friends and supporters of VetJobs. Feel free to forward the newsletter to veterans and friends and encourage them to subscribe.
This month's Veteran Eagle is sponsored by:, TECHEXPO Top Secret, Franchoice and
1. Message from the Top
2. Hot Jobs
3. Record Numbers of Veterans Are Getting Jobs in the Government — But a Lot of Them Quit
4. Obama Orders 1.3% Military Pay Raise Next Year
5. Poll Finds Government, Corporations Not Doing Enough to Support Veterans
6. Tricare Pharmacy Refill Changing
7. Veterans Administration Pilot IT Program
8. Giving Their Lives’: Merchant Marine Vets Seek Compensation, Recognition
9. Following the OPM Data Breach, Uncle Sam Needs to Step Up Recruitment of Cyber Talent
10. States Compete for Military Retirees
11. Company That Sued Soldiers Closes Its Stores
12. Reconstructing Lost Military Records
13. Indiana Offers Companies a Veterans Preference Program
14. National Guard (in Federal Status) and Reserve Activated as of August 2015
15. Significant Events this Month in Military History
Thank you for reading this VetJobs Veteran Eagle newsletter. If you like the newsletter and what VetJobs, the VFW and endorsing veteran service organizations do to assist veterans and their family members find employment, please go to and vote VetJobs for the WEDDLE's User's Choice Award!
- - - - - From the VFW - - - - - - - -

Assurance Wireless provides Veterans with a valuable service for those who may be struggling, allowing them to stay connected to employers, doctors, family and opportunity. A federal Lifeline Assistance program by Virgin Mobile. For more information please call 866-509-1018 or visit the website

If you are interested in joining the VFW, please visit

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NOTE: If you have a resume in the VetJobs database, be sure to update your experience and refresh your resume at a minimum of every two weeks. VetJobs has many new customers using the resume database and as a general rule, they do not look at resumes over 30 days old.
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1. Message from the Top

This month on September 7 the United States celebrates Labor Day. As the Industrial Revolution took hold of the United States, the average American in the late 1800s worked 12-hour days, seven days a week in order to make a basic living. Children were also working, as they provided cheap labor to employers and laws against child labor were not strongly enforced. With the long hours and terrible working conditions, American unions became more prominent and voiced their demands for a better way of life as well as workers in general. On Tuesday September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers marched from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first-ever Labor Day parade. Participants took an unpaid day-off to honor the workers of America as well as vocalize issues they had with employers. As years passed, more states began to hold these parades, but Congress would not legalize the holiday until 12 years later.
When celebrating Labor Day this year, a holiday that celebrates all who labor to make a living, let us recognize the American workers and especially those in the defense industry and the military who labor to protect our country. Many of our active duty, National Guard and Reserve brothers and sisters will not have the luxury of celebrating the holiday with their families. Please keep them in your prayers as they continue to defend our country!
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September has many military and religious related dates:

9/2 is V-J Day when Japan formally surrendered in 1945, effectively ending World War II.
9/7 is Labor Day
9/10 celebrates the incorporation of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps. September is Sea Cadet Month.
9/11 is Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance established to remember those who perished in the attack on the United States by radical Islamic terrorists.
9/13 Rosh Hashanah begins and ends the evening of 9/15
9/14 celebrates the writing of the Star Spangled Banner in 1814.
9/17 celebrates the approval of the United States Constitution in 1787.
9/18 is the birthday of the United States Air Force. If you meet a member of the USAF, say Happy Birthday!
9/18 is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. If you would like to order POW/MIA items, please visit
9/22 Yom Kippur begins and ends the evening of 9/23
9/27 is Gold Star Mother’s Day
9/29 is VFW Day when the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) was established. The VFW is the oldest continuous combat veteran service organization in the United States! The original purpose of the VFW was to assist returning veterans from the Spanish American War to receive healthcare and find jobs. The VFW is still fighting for veterans today! If you are eligible, please become a member by visiting
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On the economic front, things are showing improvement, but it is still a mixed bag in terms of economic indicators. The stock market took a big crash last month but is in the process of recovering. Most analysts point out that the crash was a long past due correction. The stock market had not had a correction in four years. Thus, there has not been the economic turmoil that some had predicted.

The real threats to the American economy come from China which has a collapsing economy and the fact that the labor force participation rate in the United States is so low.
In July the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there were 242,066,000 in the United States population eligible to work, 155,938,000 were in the labor force, 8,289,000 were unemployed but a whopping 86,128,000 were not in the workforce in July, up from 85,971,000 not in the labor force in June. That is an increase of 157,000 more people not in the labor force or identified as people who have dropped out. These people need to have a place to live and must eat, and someone has to pay for that. Ultimately they become a burden on the economy soaking up productive capacity in the form of welfare.
There are serious economic concerns regarding the low labor force participation rate. In July the labor force participation rate remained at 62.6% having declined by 0.3% in June. This is the lowest level in nearly forty years. As I have said in the past, it cannot be emphasized enough that one cannot build a successful viable economy with a large number of part-time employees and a consistently low and declining labor force participation rate. This rate indicates that nearly 40% of those eligible to work are unemployed or have dropped out of the workforce. This helps explain why welfare has exploded in the last six years.
For a comparison, England, which under the Conservative Party that recently won re-election, is moving rapidly from a socialist economic model to a free market economic model. The result is that England’s labor force participation rate has risen from the low 50% range to a 74.0% labor participation rate! There may be a lesson for the United States in what is happening in England.
Another conflicting set of data is covered in article #3 (Record Numbers of Veterans Are Getting Jobs in the Government — But a Lot of Them Quit) and especially article #5 (Poll Finds Government, Corporations Not Doing Enough to Support Veterans). From these two articles one would assume that veterans are having a difficult time in the job market. Yet the numbers do not bear that out. In July the overall veteran unemployment rate was 4.7% and the national unemployment rate was 5.3%. In fact, the veteran unemployment rate has always been lower than the national unemployment rate. For more details, see the Veteran Employment Situation Report at The August unemployment numbers will be published this Friday by DOL/BLS. The authors of the articles may not be aware of the actual numbers or there may be a misperception of the employment situation of veterans due to negative press articles.
The bottom line is that the American economy is improving, there are more jobs available, there are too many part-time jobs, but we still have a long way to go before our economy totally recovers.
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For over four years VetJobs has been publishing via an email newsletter a monthly Veterans Employment Situation Report (VESR) which is being quoted nationally in news articles. The report is compiled on the first Friday of each month when DOL and BLS release the employment numbers. The VESR gives a cogent analysis of where the veteran employment is taking place and reviews what the success rates of various veteran groups have been in terms of finding employment. If you would like to receive the VESR, please send an email to with VESR in the subject line.

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If you know of a company doing a great job hiring veterans, please nominate them for the VetJobs Outstanding Veteran Employment Award. To nominate a company for the award, please visit We will be announcing 2015 recipients in the October newsletter.

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As I finish the newsletter for this month, there are a lot of events happening on the national military level in the United States. Our military is being drawn down to the lowest levels since World War One! In today’s tinderbox world that is a very dangerous position to be. We still live in a very Machiavellian world. Some people in government seem to forget that you do not maintain a strong military to go to war but to prevent a war!

VetJobs sees the results of the DOD draw down in our traffic. Last year we were averaging 15,000 to 17,000 visitors a day. VetJobs, from January to August, had 4,890,101 visitors, or roughly 20,123 visitors a day. On some individual months, like April, VetJobs received 30,000 visitors a day! Traffic is up as more and more active duty are being let go and veterans in the work place look for better jobs but we expect to see a decrease in August with the summer lull.
Our visitors are veterans and their family members seeking work, or candidates who have a job and are seeking a better job. They know the VFW sponsored job board VetJobs has the best selections of jobs for veterans and the best employment assistance available for a veteran on the internet - see
Tell your friends about the help they can receive at VetJobs!
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Finally, we have two new sponsors, and (see sponsor messages below).

I regularly hear stories from recruiters and human resource professionals about candidates who were dropped from consideration due to information about them on the Internet. The stories range from inappropriate email addresses to inappropriate pictures on social media sites to putting up false information about themselves. A classic example was a picture of a candidate drunk and nude on a beach in Mexico. Candidates need to understand what is appropriate to put on social media and what is not appropriate, especially if they are in the job market. They also need to understand that once something is on the Internet, it is very difficult to remove it
Kredible’s free Quick Check quickly analyzes your online presence based on what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for when choosing which job candidate to hire. Kredible does have a charge for its advanced services, but in today’s environment, it behooves a person seeking work to understand what is on the internet that may affect them negatively. The use of a site like Kredible is a good way to check what is available about you as a job candidate! gives excellent financial advice. In today’s newsletter they are covering how to handle credit card debt.
If you use either sponsor, let us know about your experience with an email to
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As always, if there is anything we at VetJobs can do for you, please do not hesitate to call or email.

Remember, Freedom Is Never Free - Support Our Armed Forces and Veterans
Best regards,
Ted Daywalt


/-September Veteran Eagle sponsor is\
Selling Yourself the Civilian Way
In the civilian world, the path to advancement isn’t as clearly defined as it is in the military. And even for civilians, the job search process has changed, dramatically.
The old way of getting jobs in the workforce was through your resume, which would lead to interviews. And while it’s still important to know how to discuss your accomplishments, skills, and experience, a new factor has changed how recruiters find and evaluate you. It’s your online credibility.
How you appear online matters more than you know. Our research shows that 62% of hiring decision makers have eliminated a candidate based on information they found or didn’t find about them online. For candidates aged 50 and over, it’s even more important.
Job seekers are blowing an interview they don’t even know they had. Here’s how to make the cut.
Through a Recruiter’s Eyes
Recruiters and hiring managers want to talk to you on the phone and meet you in person. But they're finding you online. A recruiter scours LinkedIn for anyone with a certain title or skillset. A hiring manager reaches out to friends of friends to find someone qualified for an open position. Even if you have your foot in the door with a referral from professional connection or friend, a hiring decision maker will absolutely research you online before you come in to interview. 88% of the hiring decision makers we’ve interviewed said that online sources are “important” or “extremely important” to them when researching and evaluating potential employees.
First, they want to confirm that you do, in fact, exist.

Second, they want to see if your online presence matches up with what they know about you.

And third, they want to find out if you’ll be a good fit. You need a strategy to address these three concerns of their hiring process.
Your Plan of Attack
Step 1. Establish an online presence. In 2015, it’s not negotiable for a job seeker. Create a LinkedIn and Twitter accounts at a minimum. LinkedIn has over 300 million professionals worldwide and is one source that hiring decision maker’s reference. Twitter has over 300 million users active every month and it is a source of news, conversation and networking. Both of these sites results can show up under your name when recruiters perform an internet search. Having accounts forms the beginning of a digital confirmation that you’re an active participant in the digital and professional worlds a must for a veteran.
Step 2. Keep your online presence detailed and current. You may not have a lot of social media experience, especially if your clearance level made it safer for you not to be on Facebook. LinkedIn is tricky in other ways. A veteran we spoke to told us that he couldn’t figure out how to translate “demolitions specialist” into something that wouldn’t frighten his future coworkers. This step takes time. But know that many companies are actively looking to hire veterans. They value your discipline, work ethic and leadership qualities, but as civilians, their understanding of your responsibilities and accomplishments is vague at best. To meet them halfway, your task is to translate your experience into civilian terms. There are multiple resources online that can help you do just that. If you’ve already made the transition to the civilian workforce, it’s just as important to keep up with what you’re doing. If a hiring manager has a resume that says you’ve worked civilian jobs but yo

ur LinkedIn lists only one, there’s a red flag. Track milestones as you reach them and record your professional progress.

Step 3. Polish your online presence. 68% of hiring decision makers that we’ve surveyed said that their biggest worry hiring veterans is the potential difficulty making the transition to business culture. One place to address it is your online presence. The right photo, the right wording, and the frequency and quality of your interactions with your network can put some of those fears to rest before you ever walk in the door for an interview. Your military experience is just one of the reasons to hire you. Your character, personality, passions and skills are also factors. 85% of veterans have said that the idea of having to sell themselves is the most difficult part of the job search, but companies want someone who will fit in.
That’s why VetJobs partnered with Kredible, a leading online credibility management platform, to help you transition to the civilian workforce. Kredible helps you display your skills based on research of exactly how hiring managers are vetting individuals online when selecting candidates for new positions.
Visit to get a free assessment of your online credibility in seconds. And if you want to improve your results to be prepared for the next move in your career, we can give you specific, step by step guidance on exactly how to make your online presence match your offline reality. You’ll even receive an exclusive VetJobs discount.
Paul Sims

Chief Operating Officer, Kredible

\--Please visit your Veteran Eagle sponsor

2. Hot Jobs

The following are jobs that employers are seeking veterans to fill immediately. To apply, go to, then to Search Jobs and search on the company name.
The VFW needs a Director of Human Resources in Kansas City, MO
Mark Electronics seeks Inside Sales people in Beltsville, MD
BNSF Railway is seeking veterans nationwide!
MGM Brakes needs a Human Resources Supervisor in Cloverdale, CA and an Accounts Receivable Coordinator in Murphy, NC
Foreign Policy Think Tank needs an Office Administrator in Washington, DC
Food and Drug Administration needs a GS-5 Administrative Assistant in Silver Spring, MD
Cornerstone Design and Development needs .NET Developers in Wichita, KS
Reuland needs Die Cast Operators, Assembler/Winders, Shipping & Receiving Clerk and a Strator Treater in Howell, MI
Fralock needs a Composite Technician & Solder Specialist in Valencia, CA
Scales Industrial Technologies needs Field Service Technicians in CT and NJ
Kaiser Permanente needs a Nurse Practitioner in Tualatin, OR and a Customer Service Representative in Corona, CA
TELACU Residential Management needs Building Maintenance Technicians in Los Angeles, CA
Avant Energy needs Operations and Maintenance Supervisor in Le Sueur, MN

/-September Veteran Eagle sponsor is TECHEXPO Top Secret--\

TECHEXPO Top Secret's next career fairs are:
9/15, TECHEXPO Top Secret Hiring Event, BWI Marriott, 1743 West Nursery Road, Linthicum Heights, MD, 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, security clearance is required to attend, register at
9/16, TECHEXPO Top Secret Hiring Event, Tysons Corner Ritz Carlton, 1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean, VA, 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, security clearance is required to attend, register at
TECHEXPO Top Secret job fairs bring you face to face with security-cleared professionals. For a 2015 event schedule, contact Nancy Mathew 212-655-4505 x225 or
\-Please visit your Veteran Eagle sponsor TECHEXPO Top Secret at

3. Record Numbers of Veterans Are Getting Jobs in the Government — But a Lot of Them Quit

The Washington Post reports the share of federal jobs going to veterans is at its highest level in five years with former service members comprising almost half of full-time hires in the last fiscal year. One in three people in government is now a veteran, proof that the White House’s six-year push to give those who served in the military a leg up in the long hiring queue for federal jobs is working. The bad news is that once veterans get into government, they don’t stay long. They’re more likely to leave their jobs within two years than non-veterans, the Office of Personnel Management reports, even if they’ve transferred from other federal agencies.
The Small Business Administration had the most trouble keeping veterans in fiscal 2014, with just 62% staying two years or more, compared to 88% percent of non-veterans. Former service members left the Commerce Department at similar rates, with 68% staying two years or more compared to 82% for non-veterans.
The bad news is that once veterans get into government, they don’t stay long. They’re more likely to leave their jobs within two years than non-veterans, the Office of Personnel Management reports, even if they’ve transferred from other federal agencies. The Small Business Administration had the most trouble keeping veterans in fiscal 2014, with just 62% staying two years or more, compared to 88% of non-veterans. Former service members left the Commerce Department at similar rates, with 68% staying two years or more compared to 82% for non-veterans. The initiative has fueled tensions in federal offices, though, as longtime civil servants and former troops on the other side of the cubicle question each other’s competence and qualifications. Last year, 47.4% of new hires to full-time jobs were veterans, an increase of 1.3% over fiscal 2013.
This is the first time the administration has measured how well agencies are keeping veterans, and senior leaders will be rated at the end of this fiscal year on how well they closed the gap between veterans and non-veterans who leave.
Hakeem Basheerud-Deen, OPM’s director of veterans services, said in an e-mail that “New hire retention rates vary between agencies. Each agency has its own culture and mission, so it’s difficult to explain the differences in their new hire retention rates.” The employment data offers a detailed profile of former troops who went to work for the government. Men made up 81% of the veterans hired, but just 45% of non-veterans. Forty percent of the veterans had college degrees or higher education, compared to 54.7 percent of non-veterans. Just 10% of the veterans were hired to agencies in the Washington region, while 17.5% of non-veterans ended up in the capital city. Pay and the types of jobs also differed. Almost twice as many veterans as non-veterans were hired into blue-collar jobs. Veterans hold the edge on administrative jobs, while non-veterans were hired into more professional posts.

/—September Veteran Eagle sponsor is FranChoice—-\

Veterans interested in learning about franchise ownership are invited to join this FREE webinar. Learn about the parallels between military experience and franchising and how your unique qualifications can improve your chances for success.
Senior Franchise Consultant, Laurie Burge, will explain how to find the right franchise, the training and support franchisors offer, as well as funding options for veterans. Time is allotted at the end of the webinar for Q and A.
Please share this registration link with other veterans who are in transition.
The next seminar will be held September 8, 2015
To register, please visit
Funding is often one of the biggest hurdles for veterans interested in starting their own franchise business. This month’s free veteran franchise webinar will introduce a brand new funding program that is backed by the SBA. There is no fee, the loan requires NO collateral, only $10k down and you may qualify as long as your credit score is 680 or above. Approvals are being made in a matter of days for loan amounts up to 150k which covers most service-based franchise opportunities. Combine that with discounts offered by franchisors, and this may very well be the best time for veterans to be exploring franchise ownership. Join Laurie Burge, Sr. Franchise Consultant, and her co-host, a Sr. Financial Consultant well versed in this new funding program, to get all of your questions answered.
If you are unable to attend the webinar, contact Laurie Burge for a one-on-one consultation at 1-847-634-8976 or Always free.
\—–Please visit your Veteran Eagle sponsor FranChoice—–/

4. Obama Orders 1.3% Military Pay Raise Next Year

The Military Times reports that President Obama informed Congress that he’ll follow through with plans to cap military pay raises at 1.3% next year, as part of an effort to keep down mounting defense spending. In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Obama called the move unfortunate but necessary. The president noted that administration officials do not believe the lower-than-inflation pay raise will hurt the military’s ability to recruit and retain servicemembers. If it stands, the 1.3% raise will be the third consecutive year of increases that fall short of estimated private-sector wage growth, and widen the gap between military and civilian salaries to around 5% by some estimates. Congress has not yet weighed in on whether or not to override the president’s pay plan. House lawmakers have voted for budget plans that would provide a 2.3% pay raise for troops -- keeping in line with private-sector hikes -- but Senate proposals so far have backed the lower 1.3% plan. For an E

-4 with three years of service, the difference between the two potential pay raises would total about $268 a year. For an O-4 with 12 years, it would be about $838. Pentagon leaders have noted that troops will see a pay raise under either plan, and insist the smaller increase is needed to help keep modernization and training accounts solvent. The higher 2.3% raise will cost about $4 billion more over the next five years than the Pentagon wants to spend. A 1.3% raise would follow in the wake of 1% raises in both 2014 and 2015, the lowest annual military pay increases in the all-volunteer era that began in 1973. Obama also informed Congress of plans to give federal workers a 1% across-the-board pay raise next January, and locality pay adjustments that could raise that number to 1.3 percent.

/—September Veteran Eagle sponsor is—-\
3 Must-Know Tips When Using Your Credit Cards
Credit cards can be a great way to track your spending, BUT they can also get you into trouble if you aren’t able to pay them off in full. If you only pay the minimum each month, then you end up wasting money on hundreds (or thousands) of dollars in interest – essentially doubling the cost of your purchase. Additionally, your past actions with money take away from your present abilities to afford your life and directly take away from your saving ability for the future.
Here’s the good news: If you have debt already, give yourself a “Get Out Of Debt” card and commit to paying down the balance. If you would like some direction for a faster and easier debt pay down, join our free 10-day virtual course, the Ditch Your Debt Challenge, starting soon at:
And the great news: When you use these 3 steps to develop positive credit card habits, your credit cards can provide you the opportunity to build strong credit and better track your spending.
1. Knowledge is Power - Understand the terms and conditions of your credit cards. Be proactive when it comes to understanding the terms and conditions of your credit cards as it can keep you from paying late fees or finance charges along the way and paying more than necessary. Some basic terms and conditions to understand would be: the interest rate; the rates/fees for cash advances; the billing cycle and when payments are due; and how and when finance charges or late fees are assessed and how much they will cost.
2. Live Within Your Means – Understand your cash inflow and cash outflow - Good credit card habits start when you use the cards as tools to help facilitate easier purchasing (i.e. via the internet) or easier tracking of what you may usually use cash for, and not as a means to allow you to buy things that you can’t afford (i.e. immediately pay for). The best way to develop this habit is to understand how much money you earn and how much money it takes to run your household every month. By understanding your cash flow, you will be able to avoid the “buy now, worry later” thoughts when purchasing items with your credit cards. There is peace of mind in the clarity and security that when you buy something, you will be able to pay for the item when the bill arrives. Until you are clear on what you can pay for each month, consider taking your credit card out of your wallet and not shopping online. Take ownership of your money so you feel good about your spending.
3. Take Control – Regularly review your credit card statements - Whether it’s a regular review of your online statement or when the bill comes in at the end of the month, reviewing your statements is a very important part of having credit card peace of mind. By reviewing your statements regularly, you’ll be able to catch any errors in charges, understand if you’ve had any fees assessed that you should ask to have waived (i.e. late charges or finance charges), and assess whether your credit card charges for the month were higher or lower than planned.
Once you put these three steps into practice and turn your credit cards into useful and helpful tools, your worry and stress can turn into confidence and clarity that you are on the right track.
Ready to pay off your credit card debt once and for all? Join the brand-new upcoming Ditch Your Debt Challenge free 10-day virtual course, where you’ll learn how to prioritize what debt to pay off first, negotiate down your interest rates, create a faster debt pay down plan. Sign up now at:
\—–Please visit your Veteran Eagle sponsor—–/

5. Poll Finds Government, Corporations Not Doing Enough to Support Veterans

“Most Americans don’t believe the federal government or U.S. corporations are doing nearly enough to help veterans succeed in post-military life, according to a new poll,” we report for POLITICO Pro. “The survey from Ipsos and ScoutComms, a veterans’ advocacy and public relations group, found 51% of respondents had an unfavorable opinion of the government’s efforts to support U.S. veterans, compared to 18% with a favorable view. 54% did not believe corporations were doing enough for veterans, while just 13% felt they are making an adequate effort.
“And by a two-to-one margin, those surveyed felt veterans weren’t prepared to succeed in the civilian workforce, with 23% saying veterans were sufficiently prepared compared to 48% saying they are not. The poll, to be released Wednesday and shared early with Morning D, is the first in a series of polls ScoutComms and Ipsos plan to gauge public sentiment toward veterans and to better understand the civilian-military divide.
‘It’s important for us to understand what the other side thinks,’ ScoutComms founder and CEO Fred Wellman said in an interview. ‘The military is a small organization now; only 1% actually serve … If we just talk amongst ourselves — among veterans and veterans’ advocates — without taking into account the larger majority of the public, we are going miss to miss very key inputs.’ (

All the poll results are here:

6. Tricare Pharmacy Refill Changing
TRICARE beneficiaries will be required to refill select maintenance medications through TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery or at a military pharmacy - or pay the full price at retail - beginning October 1. This provision was originally tested through a pilot program from the FY13 defense bill, which mandated TRICARE for Life beneficiaries into the above requirements. The FY15 defense bill expanded the pilot to encompass all TRICARE beneficiaries, with the exception of those on active duty, those with other health insurance that provide drug coverage, or those who live overseas. While active duty servicemembers are exempt from the mandate, active duty family members will be required to participate in the program. In September, beneficiaries will receive a notification letter from TRICARE providing details on enrollment instructions and the waiver process. Beneficiaries can still get short-term or “acute” drugs from retail pharmacies like antibiotics and pain medications. The new m

andate only applies to select maintenance medications, many of which are brand name. Unlike the original pilot, there will be no ability to “opt out” of the program after one year. Starting October 1, beneficiaries will have approximately 90 days to move their prescriptions before being responsible for 100 percent of the cost share.

7. Veterans Administration Pilot IT Program
Colleagues, Servicemembers and Fellow Veterans,

-Are you interested in expanding your professional skills in a high-demand field?

-Do you want to make yourself more competitive in the job market?

-Are you looking to earn more without spending more?

At VA we are committed to finding new ways to help you connect with a meaningful career. That’s why we recently launched a pilot program to offer Servicemembers and Veterans no-cost Accelerated Learning Programs (ALPs) in the Information Technology (IT) industry.

Why IT? The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there is a current deficit of over 200,000 qualified workers in the IT field, and projects there will be 1.4 million new IT jobs by 2020, with only 400,000 workers with the necessary skills to fill them.

By participating in an ALP, you can quickly gain skills and certifications that will help you begin or advance a career in IT. These ALPs take no more than six months to complete and allow you to learn online or in the classroom. You will also receive job placement services to connect you with IT employers. All ALPs are available to Veterans of all service eras, at no cost and without using GI Bill® benefits.

You can choose the ALP that is right for you based on your experience, location, and learning style. Applications will be accepted beginning August 17, 2015, but seats are limited so apply early!

To learn more and apply visit:

8. Giving Their Lives’: Merchant Marine Vets Seek Compensation, Recognition

>From Belleville News-Democrat ( Collinsville’s Orville Sova, 88, served in the United States Merchant Marine during World War II. Sova and other Merchant Marines are pushing for a bill introduced in the U.S. House that would provide a one-time lump sum of $25,000 to each remaining eligible Merchant Marine veteran of World War II. Reneta Wittenauer is the daughter of the late Alphonse Luecking, a Merchant Marine veteran of World War II. Luecking's grown children are seeking recognition for their father through a bill working its way through the U.S. Congress to provide a $25,000 lump sum to surviving Merchant Marine sailors.
When Orville Sova, returned to the metro-east after years overseas serving his country during World War II, he was welcomed home with neither parades nor medals. Unlike other veterans of his generation, Sova was not eligible for the GI Bill, VA medical care or even burial in a military cemetery. The reason: Sova served as a sailor with United States Merchant Marine, the civilian-run cargo arm of the U.S. war machine that delivered troops and war supplies to war theaters from Siberia to Australia. Even though Sova and his fellow mariners played an essential role in winning the war; and even though they served under some of the harshest conditions and in some of the most dangerous war zones, in the eyes of the U.S. government, Sova was still a civilian — and therefore entitled to nothing. Seven decades after the end of World War II, the lack of recognition and denial of benefits for his wartime service still rankles Sova, a Collinsville resident. “Every merchant seaman you see

floating around today has this fire in their belly because we didn’t get recognition,” Sova said. “We should’ve got it.”

That is why Sova is joining forces with the dwindling pool of Merchant Marine World War II veterans and their children and grandchildren to take one last shot at getting the recognition from their government they believe they deserve. They are pushing for a bill introduced in the U.S. House called H.R. 563, which, if enacted, would provide a one-time lump sum of $25,000 to each remaining eligible Merchant Marine veteran of World War II.
Luecking, a farm boy from St. Libory, joined the Merchant Marine in 1944 at the age of 22. He served aboard seven ships in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean, including three vessels that were sunk by enemy fire. One attack on his ship left him with shrapnel wounds that bothered him until his passing in 1992, according to daughter Suzie Davis, of New Douglas. “Just like the Army and the Navy, those people who served — he served, too,” Davis said of her father, a butcher who died in 1992. “They were giving their lives.”
Gregory P. Williams, the executive director of the U.S. Merchant Marine Veterans World War II, has spent much of his life trying to educate the American public on the importance of the Merchant Marine’s role during the war and the staggering losses these sailors suffered for their country, especially in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941. During the first three months of 1942, more than 400 American cargo ships attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean were sunk by German submarines waiting off the East Coast, a fact that was kept secret from the American public on orders from President Franklin Roosevelt, according to Williams. Even today it remains difficult to determine how many Merchant Marine sailors died during the war, according to Williams, whose group operates a World War II era cargo ship called the S.S. Lane Victory. A floating museum moored in San Pedro, Calif., outside Los Angeles. The ship gives visitors an idea of the difficulties its crewme

n faced under wartime conditions.

In terms of per capita losses, the Merchant Marine suffered worse than the armed services. About 243,000 men served in the Merchant Marine, which lost 9,500 dead to submarine attacks, ship wrecks and other causes, for a death rate of 3.9 percent or 1 in 26, according to the website
This compares to the Marine Corps, which lost nearly 20,000 dead, for a death rate of 2.9 percent, or 1 in 34; the U.S. Army, which lost nearly 235,000 troops for a death rate of 1 in 48; and the U.S. Navy, which lost about 37,000 sailors, for a death rate of 1 in 114.
If President Roosevelt had lived until the end of the war, things could have turned out differently for Sova, Luecking and tens of thousands of other Merchant Marine vets. Roosevelt had intended to seek veteran status for these sailors, but with his death in April 1944, that effort stalled and then faded because of a lack of public support, according to Williams. “By the time World War II ended, everybody was so tired of war and there were no ticker tape parades,” he said. “And the story of what the Merchant Marine had done had gotten simply lost in time. Remember it was not a glamorous thing.”
At a glance
▪ Mariners killed at sea from war causes, compiled by Captain Arthur Moore: 6,847
▪ Mariners buried or commemorated in American Battle Monuments Commission National Cemeteries overseas: 595
▪ POW compiled by 671
▪ Died as POW compiled by 66
▪ Died from their wounds in Public Health Hospitals and Allied military hospitals abroad (Estimated): 1,100

9. Following the OPM Data Breach, Uncle Sam Needs to Step Up Recruitment of Cyber Talent

Better than any report on the federal government’s “critical skills gap,” the cyber theft of 22 million federal personnel records demonstrates Uncle Sam’s need for cyber experts. So when the University of Central Florida Knights, the 2015 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition champions, traveled to Washington recently as part of their victory tour, it was a great opportunity for them to get a taste of cyber careers in the federal government. They did, but too late. Most of them were already committed to private industry. That illustrates one reason cybersecurity, or more accurately cyber-insecurity as shown by the Office of Personnel Management data breach, remains on the Government Accountability Office’s 2015 high-risk list. “Although steps have been taken to close critical skills gaps in the cybersecurity area,” GAO says, “it remains an ongoing problem and additional efforts are needed to address this issue government-wide.” Part of that effort should be recruiting

bright, creative and eager folks like those in the Knights. Recruiters also should look for older cyber experts with valuable experiences. During a Federal Diary conversation with two Knight’s team members, it was clear they are impressed with the government’s mission, even while noting shortcomings in Sam’s recruiting efforts.

The talent shortage also affects government contractors, said David Wajsgras, president of Raytheon’s intelligence, information and services business. Raytheon and the Department of Homeland Security were sponsors of the competition. Wajsgras said about 95% of the company’s work is on government contracts. Neither government nor industry focuses enough on “the direct benefit that these folks with these specific skill sets can bring to the overall mission,” Wajsgras said. “We have collectively not done as good a job as we need to in attracting expertise.”
GAO offered three recommendations to help government focus on closing the skills gap. In January, GAO told OPM it should strengthen how it identifies and addresses the skills gap in cybersecurity and other critical areas, “establish a schedule and process for collecting government-wide staffing” data and develop a core set of metrics for use by all agencies in government-wide workforce analyses. OPM agreed with the first and third recommendations, but not the second. “Funding and resource constraints negatively affect our ability to support agencies’ efforts to address their workforce competencies,” OPM said in its reply to GAO. In plain English, it costs too much. But if GAO’s recommendations help prevent additional massive thefts of personal information, like the two OPM announced in June that pilfered current and former federal employee, contractor and family records going back to at least 2000, then it’s worth the cost.
An April report by the Partnership for Public Service and the Booz Allen Hamilton consulting firm said the “compensation gap” is causing the federal government to fall behind private companies, including contractors such as Raytheon. The private sector, the report said, “can simply hire away the best cybersecurity talent and rent it back to the government at a higher hourly rate.” Yet Gregory J. Touhill, the retired Air Force general who now is the DHS deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity operations and programs, said the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team gets 45 applicants for every job opening, though not all of them are qualified. The U.S. doesn’t need to get into a bidding war, he added during an interview, because Congress demands fiscal responsibility and compensation can be broadly defined to include intangibles such as the mission, service and the quality of the work environment. (


10. States Compete for Military Retirees
PEW Charitable Trusts reports the 2.1 million military retirees in the U.S. are in high demand as states find new ways to attract them to settle down, bring their talents, and spend their income locally. State leaders recognize that military retirees are some of the best educated, best-trained, and youngest retirees in the nation and often lead very successful second careers thus bringing with them additional income tax and sales tax revenue to the states’ coffers. The efforts aren’t without controversy as a common approach is to not tax their military retirement pay which cuts into the states’ revenue and brings up uncomfortable questions on fairness when the people getting the exemptions make substantial amounts of money already compared to the average citizen. There is no question that these efforts do make a difference in attracting retirees to settle in certain states but the fact that so many live in Virginia which offers few incentives tells you that just getting a bre

ak on taxes isn’t the only thing that attracts someone leaving the military to a state. Good jobs, affordable living, and quality of life are factors that matter as much as anything to someone leaving the military just like any other average American. –FPW

11. Company That Sued Soldiers Closes Its Stores
Pro Publica reports that the USA Discounters chain of stores is closing its doors after Pro Publica and other news organizations revealed the company’s questionable and possibly illegal business practices towards military servicemembers. The retailer had 24 stores mostly around military bases that would charge often extravagant rates on overpriced appliances, furniture and electronics to military members with offers of easy credit then sue them in Virginia courts for even missing a few payments. The company made millions and rarely lost a lawsuit but now finds itself the subject of investigations and legal actions across the country. The company appears to be finished along with a similar company, Freedom Furniture and Electronics.

12. Reconstructing Lost Military Records

The fire that ripped through the National Personnel Records Center in a St. Louis suburb shortly after midnight on July 12, 1973, consumed 16 million to 18 million official military personnel files in the days before computers kept such records safe. Few could have predicted the harm it would visit on the veterans who were denied VA benefits—some to this day—because they could not reconstruct their military service files.
Veterans whose records have been lost can fill out a specific form at the National Archives website ( that authorizes the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) to search for other types of documents that would assist the veteran with their VA healthcare access or compensation claim, or for valuable research their family member’s service history.
For more information, visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website for veterans whose records were destroyed:

13. Indiana Offers Companies a Veterans Preference Program

A new Indiana statute allows private employers to adopt voluntary veteran’s preference policies. Specifically, it allows employers to give preference for hiring, promoting, or retaining a veteran over another qualified applicant or employee. The statute provides that a covered veteran is an individual who has served and was released, under conditions other than dishonorable, from active duty in the United States Armed Forces or Reserves, the Indiana Army National Guard, or the Indiana Air National Guard. To be eligible for the preference, a private employer may require the veteran to submit a U.S. Department of Defense Report of Separation form (DD 214). The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs will assist a private employer in determining whether an applicant qualifies as a veteran. If an employer adopts a veteran’s preference policy, the policy must be in writing and be applied uniformly to employment decisions regarding hiring, promotion, or retention during a reduction

in force. Additionally, a veteran’s preference policy cannot conflict with or change an employer’s obligations under a preexisting collective bargaining agreement, the federal National Labor Relations Act, or the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

14. National Guard (in Federal Status) and Reserve Activated as of August 2015
The Department of Defense did not released any data during August.

15. Significant Events this Month in Military History

1780 - Benedict Arnold gives the British the plans to West Point (Revolutionary War)
1783 – The Peace Treaty of Versailles was signed between the USA, Britain, France, and Spain, ending the American Revolution.
1787 – United States Constitution Approved
1814 – US Naval Captain Oliver Hazard Perry defeated a British flotilla in the Battle of Lake Erie (War of 1812).
1814 – During a British naval attack on the City of Baltimore, Francis Scott Key composed a poem entitled “The Star Spangled Banner.”
1847 – American forces captured Mexico City, effectively ending the Mexican War.
1862 – Battle of Chantilly – Confederate forces attack retreating Union troops in Chantilly, VA (Civil War).
1863 – Battle of Chickamauga begins (Civil War)
1864 – Confederate troops abandoned Atlanta in the face of continuing attacks by federals under General W.S. Sherman (Civil War).
1899 – Founding of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
1908 – LT Thomas E. Selfridge was killed at Ft. Myer, VA, in a plane flown by Orville Wright. Selfridge was the first man to die in an airplane accident.
1939 – German troops invaded Poland, beginning World War II.
1939 – Britain and France declared war on Germany (World War II).
1941 – British Naval forces sank the German battleship Bismarck off the French coast (World War II).
1942 - Japanese float plane drops an incendiary bomb in Oregon (World War II)
1943 – The allied invasion of Italy began (World War II).
1945 – V-J Day, Japan signed formal surrender (World War II).
1947 – US Air Force established.
1951 – The United States, Australia and New Zealand sign a mutual defense pact, called the ANZUS Treaty.
1951 – Battle of Heart Break Ridge began (Korean War).
1954 – USS Nautilus, first atomic submarine is commissioned in US Navy
1962 – United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps Incorporated
1965 - 1st Calvary Division arrives in Vietnam
1967 – Siege of Con Thien Began (Vietnam War).
1969 – President Richard Nixon ordered resumption of heavy bombing of North Vietnamese targets (Vietnam War).
1982 – The United States Air Force Space Command is founded.
1983 – Korean Air Flight 007 is shot down by a Soviet Union jet fighter when the commercial aircraft enters Soviet airspace. All 269 on board are killed, including United States Congressman Lawrence McDonald (Cold War).
1994 – Operation Uphold Democracy began (Haiti).

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