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Like Father, Like Son- A Military Tradition

travis boys

By Debbie Gregory.

In some families, military service is much more than an echo of history. It’s a tradition threaded through generation after generation, as alive and thriving as ever. The Travis family is one of those.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Thomas Travis joined the Army in 1984. He is a jumpmaster and rotary wing advisor for U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command Now, his son Josh has followed in his footsteps.

“Our family’s military history goes all the way back to a Norman chief named Travers who crossed the channel with William the Conqueror,” Tom Travis said. “In the U.S., our family fought in the Revolution, the war for Texas independence, both sides of the Civil War; and my father and uncle fought in WWII in the Pacific.”

Pvt. Joshua Travis joined the Army in 2015

“My dad was my inspiration to join the Army, and go to Airborne School, and while I was at Airborne School, he got to jump with me on my second jump,” Josh Travis said. “I feel a lot of pride in being able to jump with my dad, and in him basically passing on the torch to me, so to speak.”

Although Tom Travis’s 30-year military career is winding down, he has had “a lot of fun” doing what he loves.

His words of wisdom for his son?

“Always do the right thing even when no one is watching and learn from both good and bad leadership experiences,” he said. “Remember that all jobs are important, so give those troops the respect they deserve. Be able to lead and follow.”

“I am very proud of my son for choosing this path. I have always tried to guide and advise him, but the decision to join the military should always rest with the individual. A parent should never push their son or daughter into serving,” Tom Travis said.

Josh Travis said that he looks forward to the possibility of one day sharing with his own son or daughter the same experiences he’s had with his father.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Should VA Medical Facilities Be a Non-Profit?

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By Debbie Gregory.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., unveiled a legislative proposal in an attempt to reform the Veterans Health Administration.

McMorris Rodgers’ plan would turn the VA into a government-chartered nonprofit corporation, much like the hospital networks already operating in the private sector today.

The “Caring for our Heroes in the 21st Century Act” would launch a “Veterans Accountable Care Organization” to run the VA’s health care facilities. It would help create a new voucher system whereby soldiers could use VA funding to get care from the private sector.

Veterans who are currently enrolled would be able to choose where they get care, while new veterans would be automatically enrolled in the new VetsCare Choice, giving them access to private health care.

McMorris Rodgers said the proposal would serve as the starting point for putting veterans in charge of their health care. A longtime advocate for members of the military and their families, McMorris Rodgers co-founded the bipartisan Military Family Caucus to provide military spouses and children a voice in Congress.

For a number of years, the VA system has been under attack, with allegations of mismanagement, inefficiency, claim backlogs and long wait times for medical care. The scandal came to a head when it was discovered that VA workers were getting millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded bonuses even as injured vets waited to get their claims approved, and veterans were dying due to lack of medical care as VA office workers faked records.

The bill would strengthen the power of VA’s management in the hiring and firing of the VA’s 330,000 workers, many of whom are in a government union. It would give management the flexibility to rewarding good workers and to get rid of the bad workers.

The VA already allows some veterans to receive care at non-VA health providers as a result of changes in the law resulting from the secret wait list scandals of 2014.

Under this $10 billion program, veterans waiting over 30 days for VA appointments and veterans who live more than 40 miles from VA medical facilities can get care outside the VA. But this program has is also fraught with problems, as the number of approved participating providers is limited.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Tech Companies Set High Veteran Hiring Expectations

space jobs

By Debbie Gregory.

Matching up veterans and transitioning service members with tech jobs makes sense, since many of those who have served have already utilized tech-related skills.

To that end, tech giants like Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and EMC pledged to hire 1,000 to 3,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years. Additionally, GoDaddy and Seagate Technology have pledged to hire 200 to 500 veterans.

Joining Forces, the national employment and career development initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden now has five years of success. The program has resulted in 1.2 million veterans and military spouses receiving jobs and training.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, whose company pledged to make 25,000 veteran and military spouse hires said, “”We’re constantly looking for leaders who can invent, think big, have a bias for action, and who want to deliver for customers.” Bezos added, “Well, those principles look very familiar to the men and women who served our country in the armed forces. And also their spouses. These guys work hard and have lots of skills.”

SpaceX has a solid reputation when it comes to employing members of the military, and has been named one of the 10 best companies for veterans in the country. The company boasts a high percentage of recent hires who were veterans, as well as a 95% retention rate among hired former service members.

This talent pool has also worked in the most challenging and stressful environments imaginable.

At MilitaryConnection.com, we offer a multitude of resources for veterans and military spouses who are seeking employment, including our Virtual Job Fair and our Job Board.  We also spread the word to employers about the tax credits available to employers who hire veterans.

We salute and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

The Lowdown on Navy SEAL Leadership

seals

By Debbie Gregory.

Rear Adm. Tim Szymanski, named to assume command of the Naval Special Warfare headquarters in Coronado this summer, was confirmed for promotion to a second star by the U.S. Senate.

But questions have been raised by Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Marine Corps veteran who asked for an investigation of contracts that Szymanski played a role in earlier in his career.

The congressman, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, asked Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to investigate Navy SEAL training contracts for evidence of insider dealings by Szymanski. Hunter said he would stick to his demand for investigative scrutiny and continue to speak out against Szymanski’s rise to the top SEAL job in Coronado until he was satisfied.

A retired SEAL, Eric Deming of Virginia, wrote to Hunter saying that a 2008 formal complaint Deming filed alleging nepotism and misconduct led to reprisals that destroyed his career.

Bill Wilson, who retired as a Navy SEAL captain in 2014 and who served with Szymanski said, “Right when we need a good Naval Special Warfare leader, for Duncan Hunter to do this is baffling. I know all of these guys, and Tim is the best leader of all of his peer group.”

Wilson noted that Szymanski was co-author of the SEAL “Ethos,” a set of personal and professional codes that Naval Special Warfare adopted in 2005.

Meanwhile, Rear Adm. Brian Losey, the SEAL commander slated for retirement this summer after political pressure sunk his promotion to a second star, has broken his silence about what his camp calls a deeply flawed process for investigating military wrongdoing.

“I remain fully accountable for my actions in command. The highest priority of any line commander is in ensuring that our service members have the resources, guidance and empowerment to succeed,” Losey said.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Marine Veteran’s Heroic Actions Saved Lives in Orlando Attack

imran

By Debbie Gregory.

Hero is a word that gets tossed around a lot. By definition, a hero is a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for brave deeds and noble qualities.

As the first shots of the mass shooting in Orlando were fired, Pulse bouncer Imran Yousuf’s first instinct was to escape. But he wasn’t just thinking of himself; he wanted to get as many people out of harm’s way as he could. He knew that on the other side of a group of panicked people was a door that would lead them to safety. But someone had to unlatch it.

“I’m screaming ‘Open the door! Open the door!’” Yousuf said. “And no one is moving because they are scared.”

“There was only one choice — either we all stay there and we all die, or I could take the chance, and I jumped over to open that latch and we got everyone that we could out of there.”

Yousuf managed to open the backdoor that led out into the street, evacuating more than 60 people. After he got them out, he began carrying the injured to ambulances outside.

In total, the former Marine of Indian descent saved between 60 and 70 of the clubs patrons.

Imran’s brother, Ameer, had recently moved down to Orlando from Schenectady to be with his brother and other family members.

“This was so unexpected but because of my brother’s training in the Marine Corps, he was prepared and used strategies from that to do everything he did,” said Ameer Yousuf.

Imran Yousuf joined the Marine Corps right after graduating from Niskayuna High School in 2010. He served as an engineer equipment electrical systems technician in the Marine Corps from June 2010 to May 2016, according to service officials. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. He was last assigned to 3rd Marine Logistics Group.

“Because of his training, he knew to remove his security shirt and how to think as quickly as he did,” said Ameer Yousuf.

According to Ameer, his brother only regrets that he couldn’t save more people.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

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