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Military Connection: F-15 Pilot’s Remains Found: By Debbie Gregory

F 15 crashThe remains of a Massachusetts Air National Guard pilot were found after a 30 hour search.

Lieutenant Colonel Morris “Moose” Fontenot Jr., who served with the 104th Fighter Wing, was flying an F-15C Eagle from Barnes Air National Guard Base, near Westfield, MA to Naval Air Station New Orleans in Louisiana. The jet was being flown there in order to receive an upgrade to its radar system.

Lt. Col. Fontenot reported an emergency while traveling at an altitude of over 30,000 feet above the Virginia-West Virginia border. About  half an hour later, a civilian pilot reported seeing smoke in a heavily forested area nearby.

While there was no further word from Lt. Col. Fontenot, officials still held on to the hope that he was alive. A rescue attempt was launched, but was hindered by the location and terrain. On Thursday evening, searchers reached the crash site and found evidence that Lt. Col. Fontenot had not ejected from the aircraft. The cause of the crash is still under military investigation.

“Today was a tough day for the Massachusetts Air National Guard, as we learned we lost a great American, a warrior, a leader and most importantly a family member,” said Brigadier General Robert Brooks of the Massachusetts Air National Guard.

Lt. Col. Fontenot was a1996 Air Force Academy graduate, and a decorated pilot and former squadron commander, with over 17 years of experience flying F-15. Lt. Col. Fontenot completed multiple deployments to the Middle East, and earned several decorations, including the Meritorious Service Medal.

Our condolences go out to the Fontenot family, and the Massachusetts Air National Guard.

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: F-15 Pilot’s Remains Found: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Air Strikes Update: By Debbie Gregory

Airstrike updateWith the American air support, Iraq security forces and Kurdish forces have been able to stop the sweeping advances of Islamic State expansion, and retake the Mosul Dam. The U.S. military has been hammering ISIL forces with air strikes.

Manned U.S. aircraft and drones have wreaked havoc on the insurgents. Included in the air strikes are Navy Carrier Air Wing 8’s F/A 18s, EA-6B Prowlers, and E-2C Hawkeyes from the American aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77).

The carrier, her crew and the air wing embarked onboard were tasked to the Northern Arabian Gulf in support of air strikes on ISIL forces for as long as necessary.

There have been no reported U.S. casualties from the air strikes. American pilots and unmanned aircraft have not met with any surface-to-air resistance, only small arms fire. Meanwhile, Islamic State insurgents have suffered great losses.

The initial success of the airstrikes and the enormity of ISIL’s expansion has left Washington contemplating carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State units in Syria. While Iraq and Syria claim to maintain their sovereign borders, the actuality is that the Islamic state has claimed territory from both countries. While ISIL still occupies the territories in both countries that it currently controls, those borders are non-existent.

Many believe that the Islamic State cannot be defeated unless the force is destroyed both in Iraq and in Syria. There is also the belief  that Iraq and Kurdish forces may not be able to achieve this task without significantly more aide and involvement from the U.S. and its allies.

So far, Washington has not ordered, authorized *or* asked for anything beyond the airstrikes and aid that they are currently providing.

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: Air Strikes Update: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Reducing Tuition Costs for Veterans: By Joe Silva

tuition costsThe passing of the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 allots a colossal $16.3 billion for the reformation of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). While most of that money is intended to overhaul the VA’s healthcare system, the legislation also includes measures to lower the cost of college tuitions for Veterans.

A very important measure for Veteran education and the American higher education system was included in the popularly approved legislation. Essentially, section 702 of the legislation prohibits the VA from paying education assistance to colleges and universities that charge Veterans more than in-state tuition rates. Most colleges charge a higher tuition rate to students from out of state. The measure is intended to help military Veterans who are often relocated around the country during their military careers, and don’t always meet eligibility requirements. By making it the VA’s policy to stop paying GI Bill tuition money to schools that charge out-of-state tuition prices to Veterans, the government is forcing schools to comply *or* forfeit all of their Veteran students.

This is great news for many Veterans, whose service called upon them to serve all states and territories of the country, and not just the states that they are residents of.

This can be a game-changer for the schools. While the law does not make it mandatory for all schools to provide Veterans with the lower tuition rate, it does create an extremely strong incentive for them to comply.

Either way, the schools are losing money. If a school continues charging Veterans the out-of-state rate, they lose the ability to enroll future students into their school who will have their tuitions paid, on time, by the federal government. But if they comply with the law, they will lose the extra money from the additional out of state fees.

The VA says it has doled out more than $20 billion in benefits for 773,000 Veterans and their family members under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, since it became effective in 2009. That’s 773,000 paid tuitions to the colleges, most spanning multiple semesters.

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: Reducing Tuition Costs for Veterans: By Joe Silva

Military Connection: DOD Bans Ice Bucket Challenge: By Debbie Gregory

Ice Bucket ChallengeFor the past several weeks, we’ve seen them on television, in the news, and on our social media accounts– our friends (and some people we wish were our friends) responses to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The disease is most common in people between the ages of 40 and 70. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS sufferers eventually leads to their death. In order to raise awareness and raise funds to help find a cure for ALS, many people have taken to the challenge.

It is not clear where the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge originated, but the premise is simple. Once challenged, an individual is faced with the option of donating $100 to the ALS Association **or** dumping a bucket of ice water over their head. Challengers are supposed to video record the ice water shower and in the video, challenge three of their friends to donate and/**or** get soaked. Thousands of Americans have accepted the challenge, many choosing to donate AND face the bucket. The ALS Association claims to have raised nearly $80 million for their cause over the last few weeks as a result of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Included among the thousands of participants, many active duty service members have accepted and posted their Ice Bucket Challenge. There have been several instances of service members posting videos of their ice shower while in their uniforms, PT attire, and pride gear. The Pentagon has issued a reminder that participating in unauthorized activities while in uniform **or** otherwise implying that the U.S. military is affiliated with an event **or** charity is prohibited.

“The ALS Association is a national non-profit organization. As such, participating in this event is subject to concerns about implied endorsement.”

The DOD has banned service members from participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge in uniform, including civilian uniforms.

Many media outlets have taken to bashing the DOD for its stance on members participation in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Some have even mistakenly interpreted “civilian uniform” to mean that the DOD banned all participation by service members. Of course, that is not the case. Service members can still video themselves taking an ice-cold shower for charity, so long as they are not in uniform and show no affiliation (though clothing, speech **or** location) with the military and the organization.

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: DOD Bans Ice Bucket Challenge: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Operation Comedy for Veterans: By Joe Silva

Operation ComedyThere are many perks that come with being active-duty military, among them free admission, complimentary services, and military discounts. These well-deserved forms of appreciation have been earned by the men and women currently in uniform. But a lot of Veterans will tell you, once that uniform comes off, these benefits are usually reserved for Veterans Day.

Army Veteran Jon Stites came to the same conclusion. After serving his country, Stites was working as a salesman. One night, he ventured onstage who had a good set on an open mic night in a comedy club. He caught the comedy bug, and left his sales job a few months later. As a comedian, Stites has headlined at clubs such as the Sacramento Punch Line and the Hollywood Improve. He has also done shows for the USO, National Lampoon, and the Bob and Tom Show.  Stites found that even the USO only provided free shows for active duty Military.Wanting to give back to the men and women who, like him, had served their country, Stites wanted to offer a perk to Veterans. It was for this reason that the former Infantryman founded Operation Comedy.

For the past 6 years, Operation Comedy has offered free entertainment to active service members and Veterans, with admission restricted to Veterans and service members and their guest. The Operation Comedy shows guarantee an evening of laughs, with a clear mission: “No rules. No regulations. No B.S. Just laughs.”

For the past two years, Stites has pulled from the extensive talent pool of comics in Southern California. He handpicks each comic for the Operation Comedy shows to ensure that the performers have been trained to kill and destroy- in comedic terms. In other words, Stites wants people on stage who will put on a good show for an audience of several hundred people with different backgrounds and cultures.

“When performing for Veterans you get all races, as well as the rich and the poor,” Stites told Military Connection. “You need comics with the same energy and diversity as the Veterans to put on a great show.”

The Army Veteran has done a commendable job putting together an all-star lineup for Operation Comedy’s next show on September 7, 2014 at the Laugh Factory in Long Beach. Joining Stites onstage will be Last Comic Standing winner Alonzo Bodden, Erik Griffin from the show “Workaholics,” and popular comedian Eric Rivera, who has been making the late-night circuit.

This will be Operation Comedy’s third show from the Laugh Factory in Long Beach. Seats are limited, and the last two events “sold out” quickly. Tickets for Service members, Veterans and one guest each are complimentary. There is a two item minimum purchase while at the club. The shows are only available for current and former members of the military. Book your tickets now at http://operationcomedy1.bpt.me/

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: Operation Comedy for Veterans: By Joe Silva

 
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