Written By Rowan Scarborough

An association of gays in the military has more than doubled its membership since last year, is setting up more on-base chapters, and plans to hold its next national conference at a Defense Department resort at Walt Disney World.

The expansion of the group OutServe in the five months since the repeal of the Pentagon’s ban on open gays shows how a steady stream of service members is coming out of the closet and becoming better organized to achieve demands for more benefits.

Air Force 1st Lt. Josh Seefried, OutServe’s co-director, said its current 4,900 members are more than double the number on Sept. 20, when the prohibition ended. There are now 42 local chapters at bases around the world.

“We’re about to... http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/20/military-gay-group-growi...

 


 

Written by Joel Gehrke

Army Sgt. Sandra Coast graduated from U.S. Army Basic Combat Training at the age of 51, finishing training with one of the highest physical fitness test scores in her company after having to lose 30 pounds just to qualify for basic training.

"I was impressed, because she can do everything the younger soldiers do," Army 1st Sgt. John Byars said of Coast, according to the Armed Forced Press Service (AFPS). "She never expected us to feel sorry for her. She even got one of the highest Army physical fitness test scores in the company. She is a prime example that age is just a number. She ran faster than soldiers young enough to be her kids."

Coast served in the Navy from 1982 to 1993, so she was allowed to enter military service at her age, whereas most civilians would not be eligible. "Everybody in the world thinks I am a total nutcase," she told AFPS. "I just want to support our troops. I love all of them."

The age difference... http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/51...

 

Click here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H9SHK55 to get your free eBook today.


 
Photos of Vietnam Heroes Needed for Inclusion in The Education Center at The Wall in Washington, D.C.

Washington, DC – The people of the state of California suffered among the greatest number of losses in the Vietnam War, sacrificing 5,577 service-men and women in combat. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s (VVMF) mission to honor these heroes continues with the National Call for Photos, a movement to collect photos of the more than 58,000 service-members inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) in Washington, DC. When collected, all photos will be displayed for generations to come at The Education Center at The Wall, a place on our National Mall where our military heroes' stories and sacrifice will never be forgotten.

With the support of schools, volunteers, friends, and family from around the country, VVMF has collected more than 25,000 pictures to date, but only 1,901 from the state of California.

The task is far from complete. Generous support from volunteers, fellow service-members, family, and friends is still needed in order to gather the remaining 3,676 photos necessary to honor our heroes from California for display at The Education Center.

With a groundbreaking planned for November 2012, The Education Center at The Wall is a multi-million dollar, state-of- the-art visitor’s center and learning facility to be built on the grounds of the Vietnam Veterans and the Lincoln Memorials. Visitors will better understand the profound impact the Vietnam War had their friends and family members, their home towns, and the Nation. The Education Center will feature the faces of the 58,272 men and women on “The Wall,” and will forever honor those who fell in Vietnam. Those who fought and returned, as well as the friends and families of all who served and perished will have their stories shared. For more information, visit www.buildthecenter.org.

“California – especially the city of Los Angeles – suffered some of the highest casualty rates in the Vietnam War,” said Jan C. Scruggs, Founder and President of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF). “The Education Center at The Wall will allow Americans to put faces with the names of brave men and women who lost their lives, fostering their appreciation and respect for generations to come.”

VVMF urges the citizens of Los Angeles to assist the National Call for Photos by submitting photographs of fallen service-members and generously supporting the Education Center, ensuring that the sacrifices of our military heroes are never forgotten.

How to Submit a Photo
If you have a picture of a loved one or fellow veteran whose name is on The Wall, please help the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund honor these individuals by putting a face with their name. You may use either of the following methods to submit your photograph:

Submit Online
If you have a digital copy of the photograph, you can upload the photograph at http://vvmf.org/submit_other.

Mail a copy of your photograph
Make a copy of your photo. VVMF does not want original photos and cannot be responsible for returning photos. When having the photo copied, ask the photo professional to make it the highest quality possible, use a glossy finish and reproduce the photo at an 8 x 10 size, if possible. Be sure to include the photo submission form, and please indicate on the front of the envelope that a photo is enclosed. Mail to:

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
Attn: Call for Photos
2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 104
Washington, D.C. 20037

For more information about how to add a photograph to the collection, please contact VVMF at (202) 393-0090 or via email at mjohnson@vvmf.org.

About VVMF and the Education Center at the Wall
Established in 1979, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., promoting healing and educating about the impact of the Vietnam War. The Education Center at The Wall is a place on our National Mall where our military heroes' stories and sacrifice will never be forgotten.

Support the Education Center at The Wall by visiting www.buildthecenter.org, calling 866-990-WALL, or by texting "WALL" to 2022.

 


 
Recent choices drew criticism

Written By Rowan Scarborough

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, under fire from Congress and veterans for naming ships after fellow Democrats and social activists, plans to announce another round of ship names in the near future that will be more traditional, a Pentagon official tells The Washington Times.

The official said Mr. Mabus has chosen names for five surface ships - three for war heroes and two for locations. Ships typically are named after states and cities.

“I think they would be more consistent with what most people would say traditions and naming conventions are,” the official said.

Asked whether this was a response to criticism, the official said: “It isn’t. I think if you look at these five additional ships, I think you’ll see examples that are very traditional.” The official said three ships would be named after highly decorated Navy or Marine Corps personnel.

Mr. Mabus, a... http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/14/naming-of-ships-returns-...

 


 

SACRAMENTO, CA – CalVet announces that Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has appointed John Farrell of Chula Vista and Charlene Taylor of Galt to the California Veterans Board.

“We are very pleased with these appointments to the California Veterans Board,” said Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary. “Their commitment to veterans and their needs is truly heartfelt, and their appointment enhances CalVet’s efforts to serve our nation’s heroes.”

Farrell has been reappointed to the California Veterans Board, where he has been a member since 2011. He is currently a resident of the Veterans Home of California, Chula Vista. Farrell was a private-practice attorney from 1973 to 2004. He was a partner at Exarhos and Farrell from 1975 to 1983 and an associate attorney at Milch Wolfsheimer and Wagner from 1974 to 1975. He was a specialist fifth class in the United States Army serving as a public information officer from 1960 to 1963.

Taylor has held multiple positions at the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan since 1997 and has been chief operating officer for the Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center since 2010. She served as chief nurse and flight nurse for the U.S. Air Force Reserve from 1993 to 2009. Taylor served as assistant hospital administrator for Sutter Amador Hospital from 1988 to 1997. She is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Reserve Officers Association and the Society of Air Force Nurses.

Visit our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/mycalvet and follow us on Twitter.

 
Administration’s ship naming grows overtly political

By THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is back again using a U.S. Navy warship as a vessel of political pandering. At a hurriedly convened Pentagon ceremony Friday, Mr. Mabus announced that the next littoral combat ship, LCS-10, would be named for former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona Democrat. Mrs. Giffords recently resigned her congressional seat to focus on recovering from wounds she received in a tragic January 2011 shooting. There are many appropriate ways to honor Mrs. Giffords, but this is not one of them.

It’s obvious that generating election-year headlines is the primary motivator here. Mrs. Giffords was not a noted sponsor or co-sponsor of any major legislation related to the LCS in particular or the sea services generally. The Navy Department said she was known for “advocating for renewable energy and championing border security,” which are not exactly core Navy missions.

Mr. Mabus said... http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/13/obama-hijacks-the-navy/

 

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) mobile application (app) was awarded “Best of Show” at the 14th annual Government Mobility Conference at the Sacramento Convention Center yesterday—beating out 18 other contenders. The award was presented to the CalVet mobile app team by Assembly member Joan Buchanan and Technology Agency Secretary Carlos Ramos. The app was also a finalist in the “Most Innovative” app category.

“Getting this award is a huge honor,” said Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary. “It’s great to know that the public understands and appreciates the importance of the technology tool we have made available to California veterans and their families.”

The CalVet app, available for both Apple and Android devices, gives users 24/7 access to information about employment, education, housing, health and other benefits and services available to California veterans. The app provides details of specific veteran benefits, including eligibility, providers, hours of operation, and contact information. Using GPS technology, the app also provides maps and driving directions to nearby County Veterans Service Offices, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health facilities and clinics, and organizations that offer services to veterans.

The CalVet app for DROID devices can be downloaded for free by clicking the icon located on CalVet’s website at www.calvet.ca.gov. The CalVet app for Apple devices is available for free from any Apple Store.

 

 

Written By Jeremy Herb and Daniel Strauss

A group of Republican lawmakers is protesting the removal a reference to God in the patch logo for the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO).

The 35 lawmakers, led by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), wrote a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz urging them to restore the logo with a reference to God.

Forbes warned that the action taken by the RCO could set a “dangerous precedent” when it comes to religion and the military.

"The action taken by... http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/air-force/209289-lawmakers-protest-...

 
How military leaders have let us down

Written By LT. COL. DANIEL L. DAVIS

I spent last year in Afghanistan, visiting and talking with U.S. troops and their Afghan partners. My duties with the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force took me into every significant area where our soldiers engage the enemy. Over the course of 12 months, I covered more than 9,000 miles and talked, traveled and patrolled with troops in Kandahar, Kunar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktika, Kunduz, Balkh, Nangarhar and other provinces.

What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground.

Entering this deployment, I was sincerely hoping to learn that the claims were true: that conditions in Afghanistan were improving, that the local government and military were progressing toward self-sufficiency. I did not need to witness dramatic improvements to be reassured, but merely hoped to see evidence of positive trends, to see companies or battalions produce even minimal but sustainable progress.

Instead, I witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level.

My arrival in country in late 2010 marked the start of my fourth combat deployment, and my second in Afghanistan. A Regular Army officer in the Armor Branch, I served in Operation Desert Storm, in Afghanistan in 2005-06 and in Iraq in 2008-09. In the middle of my career, I spent eight years in the U.S. Army Reserve and held a number of civilian jobs — among them, legislative correspondent for defense and foreign affairs for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.

As a representative for the Rapid Equipping Force, I set out to talk to our troops about their needs and their circumstances. Along the way, I conducted mounted and dismounted combat patrols, spending time with conventional and Special Forces troops. I interviewed or had conversations with more than 250 soldiers in the field, from the lowest-ranking 19-year-old private to division commanders and staff members at every echelon. I spoke at length with Afghan security officials, Afghan civilians and a few village elders.

I saw the incredible... http://armedforcesjournal.com/2012/02/8904030

 

SACRAMENTO, CA – Veterans and their families can get up close and personal with the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) mobile application (app) at the 14th annual Government Technology Conference, Wednesday, February 8th at the Sacramento Convention Center.

The CalVet app, available for both Android and Apple devices (and being demonstrated in Booth #117 in Exhibit Hall E), gives users 24/7 access to information about employment, education, housing, health and other benefits and services available to California veterans. Details of specific veterans benefits—including eligibility, providers, hours of operation, and contact information – are at users’ fingertips. Embedded GPS technology provides maps and driving directions to the nearest County Veterans Service Offices (CVSO), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health facilities and clinics, and organizations that offer services to veterans.

“Being able to reach and assist veterans in such an immediate and personal way is very exciting,” said Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary. “The apps are great for tech savvy veterans but are also intuitive enough to allow veterans of every era to connect quickly and easily with CalVet or their CVSO and get assistance in applying for the benefits they’ve earned.”

The CalVet app for DROID devices can be downloaded for free by clicking the icon located on the Home page of the CalVet web site, www.calvet.ca.gov. The CalVet app for Apple devices is available for free from any Apple Store.

The Government Technology Conference will feature more than 320 computer and telecommunications companies and a program that includes nationally known speakers, workshops, and seminars on project management, Web development, justice and policy safety issues and eGovernment issues.

Find us online by visiting our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/mycalvet.

 

SACRAMENTO, CA – Veterans and their families can get up close and personal with the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) mobile application (app) at the 14th annual Government Technology Conference, Wednesday, February 8th at the Sacramento Convention Center.

The CalVet app, available for both Android and Apple devices (and being demonstrated in Booth #117 in Exhibit Hall E), gives users 24/7 access to information about employment, education, housing, health and other benefits and services available to California veterans. Details of specific veterans benefits—including eligibility, providers, hours of operation, and contact information – are at users’ fingertips. Embedded GPS technology provides maps and driving directions to the nearest County Veterans Service Offices (CVSO), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health facilities and clinics, and organizations that offer services to veterans.

“Being able to reach and assist veterans in such an immediate and personal way is very exciting,” said Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary. “The apps are great for tech savvy veterans but are also intuitive enough to allow veterans of every era to connect quickly and easily with CalVet or their CVSO and get assistance in applying for the benefits they’ve earned.”

The CalVet app for DROID devices can be downloaded for free by clicking the icon located on the Home page of the CalVet web site, www.calvet.ca.gov. The CalVet app for Apple devices is available for free from any Apple Store.

The Government Technology Conference will feature more than 320 computer and telecommunications companies and a program that includes nationally known speakers, workshops, and seminars on project management, Web development, justice and policy safety issues and eGovernment issues.

Find us online by visiting our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/mycalvet.

 

Written by Billy Hallowell

Among the many sacrifices that soldiers make to serve the United States, leaving their families behind is certainly one of the most difficult.

Children, especially, have a limited understanding when it comes to comprehending why their mothers and fathers aren’t home with them. That’s exactly why the video that follows is so touching. As you’ll see, one little girl in West Valley City, Utah, had a very special birthday surprise when her father, Sgt. Adam Page, who had been deployed in Afghanistan, showed up at her kindergarten classroom.

The incident, which... http://www.theblaze.com/stories/returning-soldier-shocks-daughter-with-s...

 

SACRAMENTO – On behalf of Californians, Governor Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown honor Cpl. Jon-Luke Bateman, who bravely gave his life in service to our state and nation. The Governor and First Lady extend their deepest condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.

In memorial, Governor Brown ordered flags to be flown at half-staff over the State Capitol today. Cpl. Bateman’s family will receive a letter of condolence from the Governor.

Cpl. Jon-Luke Bateman, 22, of Tulsa, OK, died January 15, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, CA . Bateman was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

 

“I have sat back and assessed the incident with the video of our Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. I do not recall any self-righteous indignation when our Delta snipers, Shugart and Gordon had their bodies dragged through Mogadishu. Neither do I recall ...media outrage and condemnation of our Blackwater security contractors being killed, their bodies burned, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah.

“All these over-emotional pundits and armchair quarterbacks need to chill. Does anyone remember the two Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who were beheaded and gutted in Iraq?

“The Marines were wrong. Give them a maximum punishment under field grade level Article 15 (non-judicial punishment), place a General Officer level letter of reprimand in their personnel file, and have them in full dress uniform stand before their Battalion, each personally apologize to God, Country, and Corps videotaped and conclude by singing the full US Marine Corps Hymn without a teleprompter.

“As for everyone else, unless you have been shot at by the Taliban, shut your mouth, war is hell.”

 
MUSA QAL’EH, Helmand, Afghanistan (December 09, 2011) The Musa Qal’eh low water crossing built by Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) FOUR Seabees prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony. NMCB FOUR is a component of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command that provides contingency engineering and construction across Afghanistan in support of the overall mission of International Security Assistance Forces and regional commander requirements. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Russell Stewart/RELEASED)
MUSA QAL’EH, Helmand, Afghanistan (December 09, 2011) The Musa Qal’eh low water crossing built by Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) FOUR Seabees prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony. NMCB FOUR is a component of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command that provides contingency engineering and construction across Afghanistan in support of the overall mission of International Security Assistance Forces and regional commander requirements. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Russell Stewart/RELEASED)
Enlarge Photo

Written By MC1 Russ Stewart

MUSA QAL’EH, Afghanistan (December 09, 2011) – In a crowd of dignitaries and elders the Musa Qal’eh crossing built by Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) FOUR was blessed and declared open to the public in a ceremony held atop the roadway December 09, 2011.

“[This project] represents what Seabees have done for 69 years. We don't just build facilities and roads; we build partnerships, lasting legacies, solutions, and linkages to improve people's lives,” said Cmdr. La Tanya Simms, NMCB FOUR’s commanding officer. “This low water crossing links Musa Qal'eh residents with the Gereshk Road and Helmand province's capital, Lashkar Gah, to facilitate economic growth and governance. That's a big deal! Our Seabees and the entire Musa Qal'eh team should be justifiably proud!”

Standing on the crossing, seeing the village elders and district leaders gathered, looking at what his Seabees had accomplished in such a short span of time, NMCB FOUR’s Command Master Chief, Construction Utilities Master Chief Michael Jenkins said, “I was very proud to see the troops get the recognition from Major General Toolan. The smiles on the faces of the village elders and the district leaders said it all!”

The wadi crossing project was truly a joint effort by Navy, Marine Corps, and Army commands, not just NMCB FOUR. Soldiers from the 129th and 375th Combat Sustainment Support Battalions convoyed precast components from Camp Leatherneck to Musa Qal'eh; Marines from the 7th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB) improved low spots on the road leading to Musa Qal'eh, welders from 7th ESB and Combat Logistics Battalion 6 were also an integral part of the construction crew, and the 2/4 Marines based at Musa Qal'eh provided security and helped procure the rip-rap placed at the base of the crossing to prevent erosion. Personnel from 2nd Marine Division (Forward) G9 included Cmdr. Edward Leitz, the G9 project manager, and Zack Mazraani, the civilian structural engineer who designed the crossing and worked with NMCB FOUR closely to refine the design for ease of construction.

“It is unique for Seabees to undertake such a project in Afghanistan because over the last decade, Seabee projects have been more expeditionary in nature and primarily for coalition forces. This structure was designed and built to be more permanent and it's primarily for Afghan citizens,” said Simms.

“There’s a giant difference doing work for the Afghan people instead of always for the US military; there’s a lot of satisfaction. It’s a really good feeling hearing ‘manana,’ or thank you, from the people as they drove or walked by us while we were working,” said Steelworker Constructionman James McMahan. McMahan worked on the crossing since its start in September this year.

“The best part of this project was watching as our crew developed from zero experience to really proficient welders so rapidly!” said Steelworker 1st Class Douglas White. “There’s a great sense of accomplishment knowing that our job here has a direct contribution to the counterinsurgency effort.”

Watching the ribbon cutting at the opening ceremony reminded Cmdr. Simms of situations during a past deployment in Indonesia when she was a Lieutenant. “There was a similar atmosphere where village leaders gathered to bless the projects, show their appreciation, and speak about cooperation between nations. Seabees, in Indonesia and Musa Qal'eh, understood the impact they were making both then and in the future,” she said.

“They didn't have to understand Indonesian or Pashto; they could see the appreciation in people's smiles. Seabees are excellent contributors to what we call ‘Phase Zero’ operations, the business of preventing war,” said Simms.

 
Santa to arrive in an Air Force C-130

VENTURA COUNTY, CA­ — In a community thank you to military families at Naval Base Ventura County, the U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly and Friends Operation Toy Drop will once again present toys and food primarily to families who have a service member who has been deployed, is deployed or is scheduled to be deployed.

WHEN: Sunday, Dec. 4, 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Naval Base Ventura County, when Santa will arrive from the North Pole on an Air Force C-130 bearing gifts for the children. (Interested media are requested to call Vance Vasquez, Naval Base Ventura County Public Affairs Office, at (805) 989-8095 by COB on Thursday Dec. 1.)

WHO: Santa, Elton & Janice Gallegly and Friends

WHAT: Packaging and distribution of:

· Approximately 500 bicycles, battery-operated quads, and tricycles

· Approximately 750 age- and gender-appropriate gift bags with toys and/or sporting goods

In addition, food to be distributed on another date will include:

· 400 hams

· 400 Marie Callender’s pies

· 2,000 pounds of potatoes

WHY: To thank the families who also sacrifice when a loved one is deployed to defend the United States and all Americans.

BACKGROUND: About nine years ago, Elton and Janice Gallegly were asked to donate 100 turkeys by Matilda “Miss Tilly” Ahearn, founder of the Military Families Food Bank at Naval Base Ventura County, for the annual Thanksgiving and Christmas thank you. In the following years, hams and potatoes were added. Toys were added about five years ago, with bicycles added three years ago. It has grown each year as more members of the community learn about it and wish to contribute. For example, last year the U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly and Friends Operation Toy Drop provided more than 450 bicycles and 700 gift bags for the children together with Christmas dinner for more than 600 military families.

 

Sacramento, CA – The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is proud to honor the courageous men and women of the armed forces with a new “Area of Interest” web page, exclusively designed to offer a centralized clearinghouse of valuable resources accessible from anywhere in the world.

“Whether you are a veteran or currently serving, the DMV wants to thank you and your family for the sacrifices you have made for this country and the citizens of California,” said DMV Director George Valverde. “Many of our own employees are veterans, so we feel a personal connection to our military community.”

Veterans, active military and their families will not only enjoy convenient DMV online services at http://www.dmv.ca.gov/coi/veterans/veterans.htm, but can also link with our partner, the California Department of Veterans Affairs, to find resources including information about home loans, voter registration, medical services, and educational assistance.

In addition, a few clicks of the mouse will transport visitors to the websites of the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. State Department.

“We are grateful to our partner, the DMV, for creating this website which serves and honors California’s veterans,” said Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary. “This DMV web page will greatly assist veterans in taking care of issues dealing with their motor vehicles. I also remind all veterans to make sure they identify themselves as veterans on the form when they renew their drivers license or identification card so we can ensure they get notified of all the benefits they have earned.”

An estimated 2.2 million veterans live in the Golden State and that number increases as an average 30,000 troops return each month from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Remember, you can order California Veterans special interest license plates at www.dmv.ca.gov. The California Department of Veterans Affairs uses proceeds to benefit participating county veteran service offices and to commemorate veteran organizations.

 

Veterans now have a new smart phone tool to help them connect with their benefits and find services that will help them successfully transition from military to civilian life.

The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) has released mobile applications (apps) for California veterans and their families. These apps provide any-where, any-time access to information about employment, education, housing, health and other benefits and services available to California veterans. The apps, available for both Android and iPhone devices, detail specific veteran benefits, including eligibility, providers, hours of operation, and contact information. Using GPS technology, the apps provide maps and driving directions to the nearest County Veterans Service Office, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health facility and clinics, and other facilities and organizations that offer services to veterans.

“CalVet is very excited about being able to reach and assist veterans in such an immediate and personal way,” said Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary. “Recently-returned veterans are especially savvy when it comes to technology, but these mobile apps are intuitive enough to allow veterans of every era to connect quickly and easily with CalVet and with the benefits they’ve earned.”

The CalVet app for DROID devices is can be downloaded for free by clicking the icon located on the Home page of the CalVet web site, www.calvet.ca.gov. The app for Apple devices is available for free from any Apple App Store.

 

California employers are working with the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) to help ensure veteran employees are connected to the state and federal benefits they have earned through military service. CalVet’s growing list of employer partners includes Aerojet, Bechtel Corporation, Cintas Corporation, Comcast, Health Net Federal Services, HP, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Merck, Oracle, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Republic Services, Southwest Airlines, State Farm, TASC Inc., United Airlines, United Rentals, Verizon, Warner Bros. Entertainment, and many others in the defense, energy, technology, telecommunications, transportation, finance, health care, pharmaceutical, media, entertainment, and retail industries.

With CalVet’s help, employers’ staffs are educating employees about CalVet and about other programs and services available to veterans and their families. CalVet then contacts veterans who request assistance, assesses their needs, and helps get them connected to their benefits. Those benefits may include compensation and pension payments for a service-connected disability, education benefits (including free college tuition for dependents), health benefits (including free assistive devices, like eye glasses and hearing aids), housing, farm and home loans, survivor benefits, and many others. Besides providing information and resources, CalVet can help veterans navigate the often complicated and frustrating benefit application processes.

It’s a win-win situation,” said CalVet Secretary Peter Gravett. “Veterans’ benefits help men and women successfully move forward after military life. At the same time, they improve the business climate in California. Veterans’ benefits bring hundreds of millions of dollars into the state every year and offset millions of dollars annually in the cost of veteran care that would otherwise be borne by local communities. Veteran benefits help reduce veteran jobless and homeless numbers and increase enrollment in California colleges and universities,” said Gravett. Even still, less than 15% of eligible California veterans are taking advantage of their compensation and pension benefits and only 36% are using their health benefits.

Without a marketing or media budget, getting the word out is one of CalVet’s biggest challenges. That’s why employer partnerships are so helpful. Placing a CalVet article in an employee newsletter or sending CalVet information to Twitter and Facebook followers and friends costs an employer nothing but can expand CalVet’s outreach efforts exponentially as the information shared is then passed on to others.

Employers are increasingly interested is hiring veterans because they make such great employees. Veterans are trained to be mission focused, team oriented, responsible, accountable and punctual. They understand and respect chain of command and follow direction well. CalVet is helping employer partners connect with veteran job seekers by placing their careers/jobs page links on the Employment page of the CalVet web site. If pending state and federal legislation passes, employers who hire veterans may be entitled to special tax breaks or other incentives.

To find out how your organization can become an employer partner and support CalVet’s efforts to reach and assist California veterans, contact Carolyn Ballou at 916-653-1355 or carolyn.ballou@calvet.ca.gov.