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Military Connection: Army Allows Soldiers to Separate Early

Army early out

By Debbie Gregory.

Service members who are separating from active duty have numerous obstacles to deal with. Often relocating, finding housing and finding employment are at the top of long lists of things to do. Sometimes timing can be the difference between a successful separation and one that leaves a Veteran struggling in the civilian word. It is for this reason that the U.S. Army is once again allowing early separations of up to six months to enlisted soldiers.

To assist soldiers separating as part of the draw-down, an Army policy effective in 2014 gave senior commanders the authority to approve a soldier’s voluntarily early separation if the separating soldier had a documented job offer in the civilian sector. The policy extended to soldiers who were barred from re-enlisting because their occupational specialties had been deemed over its strength size. These early-out policies are expected to remain in effect through 2015.

Soldiers of the Regular Army who are approaching their expiration term of service (ETS) can apply for early separation under two eligibility categories: Employment Separations, and those barred from re-enlistment.

Regular Army soldiers who are approaching their ETS, who elect not to re-enlist or extend their active-duty service, may request an early separation of 180 days in advance of their ETS, for the purpose of accepting employment.

Soldiers applying for early separation for employment purposes must have full time employment lined-up. The job must meet the soldier’s income requirements, as indicated in the 12-month post-separation budget completed as part of the Transition Assistance Program.

Soldiers wishing to separate early must provide a written statement from their prospective employer, indicating the job offered, whether it is full-time or part-time, the amount of the compensation, and whether that compensation will be salaried or hourly. The statement also must indicate the start date of the employment, and how early separation from service will facilitate acceptance of the job offer, and how a delay would cause hardship.

Separation dates will usually be no earlier than ten days prior to the employment start date. Approval authorities can extend the separation to 30 days, if soldiers require additional time to relocate for employment.

The second eligibility category applies to soldiers who are barred from re-enlisting. These men and women can request early separation up to 90 days before their contractual ETS.

MOS and skill levels to be affected by the Precision Retention Program will be announced by the Human Resources Command in an upcoming message to field units.

Soldiers who are denied re-enlistment will be notified six months before their ETS, and will be assigned retention code “9F,” indicating they are barred from re-enlisting by the secretary of the Army because of “force-shaping requirements.”

Soldiers can request early separation through their chain of command using a DA Form 4187 (Personnel Action). Early separation can be approved by Army commanders who hold special courts-martial convening authority, or higher. These officers are usually in the ranks of colonel (O-6) and higher. In assessing applicants for possible separation, commanders must determine that a soldier is not mission-essential to his or her unit.

Soldiers who are approved for separation under this program will not be required to repay the Army for any unearned portion of a bonus or special pay. Their character of service will be considered HONORABLE and the reason for separation entered on their DD Form 214 (separation document) will be “reduction in force.”

For assistance with the program, soldiers should contact their local career counselor.

The following soldiers are not eligible for early separation under this voluntary program:

• Members of the National Guard and Army Reserve.

• Soldiers who were ordered to active duty because they failed to meet the requirements of an educational agreement with the Army.

• Soldiers who will have less than 36 months of total service at the time of separation.

• Soldiers who have an approved retirement code in the Total Army Personnel Database.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

MilitaryConnection.com Receives Prestigious Award from Weddle’s

userslogo_2015

By Debbie Gregory

Everybody likes to be recognized for the work they do. In a densely-populated field, it is especially rewarding to be acknowledged and singled out from the large crowd for your efforts. That is why we, at MilitaryConnection.com, are ecstatic to have been selected as one of the thirty recipients of the 2015 Users Choice Award from Weddle’s, out of more than 200,000 employment websites.

Weddle’s is a research, publishing and consulting firm that disseminates all things related to employment. Weddle’s is relied upon by job seekers, employers, recruiters and employment website as the “industry standard” for maximizing their employment success.

Weddle’s annual User’s Choice Awards recipients are voted on by recruiters, employers and job seekers who have used the sites and therefore are in the best position to vote. Weddle’s asks job seekers and recruiters to cast their ballots for any job board or career portal operating on the Internet. And out of the more than 200,000 sites, voters selected Military Connection.com to be named as one of the best. Because of the way that recipients are selected, the Weddle’s Users Choice Award is the most prestigious honor that a job board or social media site can receive.

“We are so honored to receive the distinction from Weddle’s,” said MilitaryConnection.com CEO Debbie Gregory. “And it just means that much more because the employers, recruiters and Veteran job seekers who frequent our site are the ones who voted for us. It really makes us feel that we are making a difference in connecting Veterans to employment.”

We at MilitaryConnection.com would like to thank Peter Weddle, and the entire staff at Weddle’s, for this prestigious award.

We also want to say “thank you” to YOU, the Veteran job seekers, employers, recruiters and others who frequent our site, voting it as one of the best.

You can be assured that we will not rest on our laurels. Connecting Veterans to employment and employers to Veterans is a full-time endeavor. And while mission success is achieved every day, it is a campaign that will not end. So we graciously accept the recognition and power forward, continuing with more of the same services that have earned MilitaryConnection.com the reputation as the “Go-To Site!”

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

MilitaryConnection.com Receives Prestigious Award from Weddle’s: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: VA Offering Relief to Whistleblowers

VA Whistle Blowers

By Debbie Gregory.

On January 20th, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it will be offering “whistleblower” relief to over two dozen VA employees. The employees, who had been threatened with retaliation from their superiors, had filed complaints about wrongdoing at VA medical facilities and clinics throughout the country.

Last year, a settlement was reached with three VA employees who blew the whistle on issues concerning unacceptable appointment wait times and falsified waitlists at the Phoenix VA Hospital. These events prompted a national response from Congress, Veterans, and the general public, including legislative measures and the forced resignation of then-VA Secretary General Eric Shinseki. And the settlement has prompted the VA to offer relief to others.

The VA’s actions offer relief to approximately 25 VA employees who faced reprimands, poor evaluations or threats of repercussions after reporting errors and misconduct within the VA healthcare system.

Currently, more than 120 complaints of retaliation are under investigation throughout the VA’s 970 facilities nationwide, following employee allegations about improper patient scheduling, understaffing and other problems.

VA Secretary Robert McDonald had previously promised to eliminate retaliation against whistleblowers as the VA looks to change its image and its culture. The VA has a decades-long reputation for providing service to Veterans that is slower than private sector healthcare.

The VA is now being applauded for its willingness to change, taking steps to protect its employees who file whistleblower complaints, and implementing widespread changes in policy throughout the department.

The VA is committed to holding those who retaliated against the whistleblowers accountable.VA employees who blow the whistle on their superiors because they have identified a legitimate problem should not be punished, they should be protected. And in the opinion of Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson, they should be praised.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Tickets for Comedy Show at Laugh Factory

Comedy show

By Debbie Gregory.

Do the post-New Year’s blues have you feeling down? Are you in need of a pick-me-up? We all know that laughter is the best medicine, and the world famous Laugh Factory has been dishing out this medicine since 1979. Supply & Demand Comedy will be administering the chuckles and belly-laughs at the Laugh Factory on Sunset Blvd. for three shows this February.

Supply & Demand Comedy’s limited run will take place on February 4th, 11th, and 18th at 8:00 PM. Each show features its own array of talent and style.

The Wednesday February 4, 2015 show will feature: Steve Hofstetter (the host of Laughs on FOX), Erik Griffin (Comedy Central series “Workaholics”), Danny Jolles (popular in New York and LA), Tommy Johnagin (who is slated to have his own show on CBS), Iliza Shlesinger (the youngest person and only female to hold the title of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing”), and Michael Malone (album “Thirty One” coming out in February).

The Wednesday February 11, 2015 show will feature: Steve Hofstetter (the host of Laughs on FOX), Nicholas Anthony (writer for upcoming CBS show ‘The Inspectors”), Taylor Tomlinson (talented SoCal comedian) and more.

The Wednesday February 18, 2015 show will feature: Steve Hofstetter (the host of Laughs on FOX), Mary-Lynn Rajskub (from the FOX show “24”), Camila Cleese (popular LA comic), Jenny Zigrino (one of Comedy Central’s “Comics to Watch”), and Carlos Alazraqui (“Reno 911” star and voice acting legend…seriously, look him up!)

The Laugh Factory is supporting the Supply & Demand shows in a big way, encouraging their funniest and most famous comedians to drop in and perform surprise sets.

For each Supply and Demand show, the first fifty tickets are free. After that, they go on sale for $5, $10, $15, and $20 as the show sells out. Ticket sales are limited to four per order. If you have more than four people in your party, you will have to place multiple orders. Be sure that you are among the first fifty people to sign up in order to get your free tickets.

To get the free tickets, visit http://www.ComedySupply.com

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Stefanie Sanders for Military Spouse of the Year

Stefanie Sanders

By Debbie Gregory.

More than one million military spouses support and maintain the home front while members of our armed forces defend this great nation. Since 2008, the Military Spouse of the Year (MSOY) has been awarded to honor military spouses, all ranks, all branches of service, for their unwavering commitment to the military community.

On January 23, 2015, the base winners were announced, and the next round of voting is scheduled for January 30th.

One of the candidates for MSOY was nominated by Navy Captain Brad Cooper, Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Gettysburg (CG-64) and longtime friend and supporter of MilitaryConnection.com. Capt. Cooper nominated his Command Ombudsman, Stefanie Sanders. Mrs. Sanders won the base vote for Naval Station Mayport Florida, which she now represents in the branch voting tier.

As Command Ombudsman, Stefanie is the go-between for the families of the Gettysburg’s crew and the ship’s leadership. When a ship is in port, most Navy families utilize their service member to connect to the resources and support they need. But when the ships are underway, the spouses and families utilize people like Stefanie to obtain the support and resources they need. As the Command Ombudsman for the U.S.S. Gettysburg, Stefanie has her hands full, as the ship has the distinction of having the highest operational tempo and most time away from homeport than any other ship in the U.S. Navy for the last 2+ years.

In his nomination letter, Capt. Cooper called Stefanie an “military spouse ‘superwoman’ and an extraordinary American.” As high a compliment as those praises may sound, they may not do Stefanie justice.

Stefanie, herself, is a Navy Veteran, having served as an enlisted sailor for four years. Because of her service, Stefanie brings a unique and vitally effective point of view to her position as Ombudsman.

Stefanie’s advice to younger military spouses is spot on: “Find a hobby, get a job, do something to keep busy while your spouse is deployed. Because if you just sit at home and miss your sailor, deployments seem like they take forever.”

Besides being the Gettysburg’s Ombudsman since 2012, Stefanie is also the wife of a Senior Chief Petty Officer, and mother to three children and a puppy. She is also the PTA President at Finnegan Elementary School, and has just completed her bachelor’s degree in Human Services and Management from the University of Phoenix. Stefanie’s work with military families has prompted her plan to return to school to secure a Family and Child Services Certificate. She wants to make a career out of supporting and assisting military families, beyond her tenure as Ombudsman.

Stefanie was gracious enough to grant MilitaryConnection.com an interview. She admitted to feeling overwhelmed at her nomination, and winning Mayport’s Spouse of the Year. Through her modesty and her drive to help military families, Stefanie only reaffirms why she should win Military Spouse of the Year.

“I have a great group of spouses on the Gettysburg, without them, I never would have been nominated. I also want to thank my husband, Eric, and our kids for their support and for sharing me and my time with the other families at the command. I would also like to thank Captain Cooper and the leadership and crew of the Gettysburg,” Stefanie told MilitaryConnection.com.

The list of Top 18 MSOY candidates is scheduled to be posted on January 30th. We fully expect to See Stefanie Sanders on that list. When that happens, be sure to VOTE for Stefanie for Military Spouse of the Year during the 24-hour voting period on February 4th. Stefanie is expected to be in contention for one of the six branch winners, and advancing to the National Vote. While every military spouse nominated is worthy of recognition, we have our fingers crossed for Stefanie Sanders.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

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