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Borne the Battle
100 minutes | Sep 20, 2021
#256: Primetime Emmy Award Winning Foley Artist and Marine Veteran David Bonilla
David Bonilla grew up in El Monte, California, where, as a child, he had the opportunity to be involved with a few film projects. Through his mother’s connections, he gained both experience in the film industry and an interest in filming and directing. He initially had no plans to join the military, but when a recruiter offered to buy him lunch, his life found a new direction.Bonilla discusses his deployments overseas to Baghdad and his position as part of the logistics team during the Gulf War. There, he experienced what it was really like to be in the field and understand what a near death experience was like.After completing his service and later a college degree, Bonilla landed a position at Solar City, a company under Elon Musk. While working at Solar City, Bonilla’s assistant noticed how he was struggling with panic attacks and helped guide him to VA. This led him to VR&E, where he found purpose and goals in life.Now finished with his military path, Bonilla returned to his early love of the film industry and began studying audio by using his GI Bill benefits. He started working as a foley artist, eventually winning an Emmy for his work on Disney’s Eleanor of Avalor.In this episode, Bonilla discusses: His experiences in the military Working in the film industry Working for Raytheon His time at a company under Elon Musk His projects as a sound engineer, including Disney’s Eleanor of Avalor Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran Jose Lopez Additional Links: VA enhances geriatric emergency care for older Veterans VA annual report shows decrease in Veteran suicides VA assembles Sexual Assault and Harassment Prevention Workgroup
58 minutes | Sep 11, 2021
BtB Rewind: September 11th with Dr. John Baxter - Air Force Veteran, 9/11 First Responder, SecDef's Flight Surgeon
On September 11, 2001, Air Force flight surgeon John Baxter showed up to work at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, to a full load of patients and completing physicals–just like any other day.Halfway through his morning while getting his next patient, he saw that a civilian airliner had flown into one of the World Trade Center towers.While with the patient, Baxter said he noticed the background noise in the Pentagon changed. It seemed quieter than usual. Then, he heard shouts. He opened his door and saw people running and shouting, and smoke in the hallway.At first, Baxter didn’t know if there was an explosion, a fire or some other event. Despite the unknowns, he assembled his team of flight surgeons, a nurse and medical technicians. They grabbed medical kits and traveled as a group. Their emergency plan was to meet up with other medics at the Pentagon’s DiLorenzo Clinic.Then they heard the news: there were casualties in corridor 5.Baxter’s team ran to the spot. They found Army Veteran Brian Birdwell, who was in excruciating pain from burns. It was a situation that Baxter was unexpectedly prepared for: Months earlier, in an emergency exercise, the flight clinic trained for the same scenario that unfolded on 9/11: a plane crashing into the Pentagon.John Baxter still serves at the Pentagon, though now as a civilian flight surgeon. For this week’s Born the Battle Podcast, Baxter details his story of 9/11 and the days that followed.(Originally casted 9/11/2019)#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran and 9/11 victim Max Beilke Additional Links: https://www1.cbn.com/biblestudy/brian-birdwell:-refined-by-fire https://pentagonmemorial.org/ https://archive.defense.gov/PhotoEssays/PhotoEssaySS.aspx?ID=924 https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/News/Article/Article/1627463/vice-president-dod-leaders-honor-pentagons-911-sacrifices/
51 minutes | Sep 6, 2021
#255: Benefits Breakdown, HUD-VASH Program
This episode of Borne the Battle – a benefits breakdown – features HUD-VASH, a collaborative program between HUD and VA that provides support to help homeless Veterans and their families – and those at risk of becoming homeless – to find and sustain permanent housing.Veterans Matter is one of the many nonprofits which work alongside and enhance HUD-VASH’s ability to reduce homelessness among Veterans.According to the 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, there were 37,252 homeless Veterans in 2020, and 15,204 of those Veterans were unsheltered.For Meghan Deal, national director of the HUD-VASH Program, and Ken Leslie, a former homeless man and founder of Veterans Matter, these troubling statistics are an indication of the importance of their work. In this episode of Borne the Battle, Deal and Leslie answer these questions and more: What motivates them to help Veterans despite not being Veterans themselves? What does help from HUD-VASH and nonprofits like Veterans Matter look like? What makes a Veteran eligible for HUD-VASH assistance?What makes a Veteran “homeless?” How can people get involved with helping homeless Veterans in their community? If you are a Veteran who is homeless or at risk of homelessness, call 1-877-424-3838 for immediate assistance.The HUD-VASH program also has resources geared specifically for the Native American Veteran population. For tribes that are interested in providing rental assistance and supportive services to Native American Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, read up on Tribal HUD-VASH and considering submitting an application.Having access to safe and adequate housing is a human right. If you know a Veteran who is homeless or at imminent risk of being homeless, encourage them to call VA for assistance. There are people working for and alongside VA, like Deal and Leslie, who are committed to rooting out homelessness and are standing by ready to help.Borne the Battle Veterans of the Week: Marine Veteran Darin T. Hoover of Salt Lake City Utah Marine Veteran Johanny Rosario Pichardo of Lawrence Massachusetts Marine Veteran Nicole Gee of Sacramento, California Marine Veteran Hunter Lopez of Indio, California Marine Veteran Daegan Page of Omaha, Nebraska Marine Veteran Humberto Sanchez of Logansport Indiana Marine Veteran David Espinoza of Rio Bravo, Texas Marine Veteran Jared Schmitz of St. Charles, Missouri Marine Veteran Rylee McCollum of Jackson, Wyoming Marine Veteran Dylan Merola of Rancho Cucamonga, California Marine Veteran Kareem Nikoui of Norco, California Navy Veteran Maxton Soviak of Berlin Heights, Ohio Army Veteran Ryan Knauss of Corryton, Tennessee Additional Links: Check out the Borne the Battle episode on Supportive Services for Veteran Families, another VA program helping tackle Veteran homelessness in its own way. The VA recently announced its Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology Grants to enhance Veterans’ abilities to live comfortably in specially adapted homes. VA expands rental support, increasing housing options for Veterans
73 minutes | Aug 30, 2021
#254: Elder Scrolls Online QA Testing w/ Army Veteran Tommy Davis, Zenimax Media
On this episode of Borne the Battle, Army Veteran Tommy Davis shares his story about deploying to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and Afghanistan, then later working in the video game industry.Tommy always enjoyed playing video games, but his journey to working in the video game industry was not straightforward. After taking some courses at a community college, he still felt uncertain about the future and what he wanted to do. He spoke with a recruiter and enlisted in the Army.After serving seven years in the Army, Davis transitioned to civilian life and enrolled in George Washington University. He discusses connecting with fellow Veterans on campus and serving as president of GW Veterans. They are a chapter of Student Veterans of America, who focus on issues regarding Veterans and education.Next, Davis talks about becoming interested in and doing extensive research about the video gaming industry after earning his bachelor’s degree. He discusses how he convinced himself to apply to his dream job after being encouraged by his family and friends. His determination led to him applying to and accepting a position with ZeniMax Media as a video game quality assurance tester working on The Elder Scrolls Online.Later, he delves into how the framework he learned in the military helps him stay focused while working in web development. He talks about the Veteran community affiliation within Zenimax Online Studios. That community helps recruit Veterans and helps them with civilian integration.Finally, he provides advice for Veterans interested in joining the gaming industry and developing specific skillsets by attending the Microsoft Software and Assistance Academy.In this episode, Davis talks about: What he learned from his experiences in the military. His post-military education at George Washington University. Various positions available to Veterans at Zenimax Online Studios. Career advice to transitioning service members and how they can gain valuable specific industry training. How important it is for Veterans to get involved with Veteran service organizations, such as Team Rubicon and Wounded Warrior Project. Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Air Force Veteran Patrick Peter Caruana Additional Links: Borne The Battle 140: Danny Chung – Marine Veteran, Chief of Staff, Microsoft Military Affairs VA spotlights special benefits for elderly wartime Veteran population VA grants improve transitional housing, prevent Veteran homelessness
75 minutes | Aug 23, 2021
#253: Sabotaging WW3 with Army Green Beret James Stejskal, Detachment A, Author, CIA Operations Officer
Army Veteran James Stejskal spent nine years in West Berlin during the Cold War, serving in a clandestine and small special forces unit known as Detachment A. His mission bordered on the impossible, tasked with being ready to cross into East Germany and sabotage the Soviet army at a moment’s notice in case the Soviet Union ever decided to launch an invasion.He spent 23 years in service with special forces and 13 years operating under the CIA. Stejskal lived a life brimming with unique experiences. A few of the stories he shared on this episode of Borne the Battle include how he: Fought to get a role in the Army Special Forces after initially serving with the 82nd Airborne Division. Was prepared to blow up Soviet trains and destroy Soviet railway networks if West Berlin was invaded. Nearly had to amputate his leg after being in a vehicle that rolled over an old Soviet tank mine, but had it saved by an orthopedic surgeon with an ingenious idea. For nearly half a century, information pertaining to Detachment A remained classified and hidden from the public eye. The government only declassified information about this unit in 2014. With a story virtually absent from the history books, Stejskal is determined to keep Detachment A’s legacy from being forgotten.One of Stejskal’s most notable books on Detachment A is “Special Forces Berlin.”Though Stejskal is a professional historian, he also enjoys writing fiction. Adept at writing in a variety of styles, Stejskal has written a diverse selection of books, ranging from historical fiction to professionally researched historical narratives.For decades, Stejskal had to keep his lips sealed about Detachment A because it was classified information. Now with it declassified, he wants everyone to know its story. Hear what Stejskal could not talk about for years by listening to this episode of Borne the Battle.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Tom Rice Additional links: Stejskal gave his opinion on the state of publishing in the age of digital media from the perspective of being an author. Hear Navy Veteran and singer-songwriter Jonathan Kingham share his perspective on the future of the music industry in Borne the Battle #246 Many credit the tactics used by Detachment A as being the basis for today’s special operations and law enforcement tactics. VA expands mandate for COVID-19 vaccines among VHA employees Afghanistan: How Veterans can learn from Vietnam Veterans
9 minutes | Aug 17, 2021
BONUS: On Afghanistan
Links to programs and resources mentioned in this episode: Veterans Crisis Line: call 1-800-273-8255, then PRESS 1 or visit http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ https://www.vetcenter.va.gov/ https://www.va.gov/find-locations/ https://www.ptsd.va.gov/appvid/mobile/ https://www.maketheconnection.net/ https://www.ptsd.va.gov/appvid/mobile/ Women Veterans Call Center: 1-855-829-6636 (M-F 8AM - 10PM & SAT 8AM - 6:30PM ET) https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/ https://www.va.gov/files/2020-11/mental-health-quick-start-guide.pdf
82 minutes | Aug 16, 2021
#252: Surviving the Mob and Hue City w/ Marine Veteran John Ligato
In 1954, the United States became actively involved in the Vietnam War. John Ligato followed suit and joined the Marine Corps to serve his country after receiving a draft notice in 1966.Ligato breaks down his experience during the Battle of Hue City from an operational view. He discusses what he calls the three missing days in Marine Corps history due to the nature of the battle, and how he pushed for 13 years to get the medals that his team rightfully deserved. He was awarded three Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam in addition to other valor awards.After being wounded, Ligato transitioned to civilian life, went to school, earning Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.Ligato discusses working for the The ARC of the United States (ARC), which helps severely handicapped children and adults, and then joining the FBI. There, he got involved in undercover work, spending a total of eight years working undercover in various locations in the 70s-90s. He also talks about working as a pilot with the FBI and spending much of his latter career in diplomatic training missions in various locations around the world. His efforts and time working with the FBI resulted in him receiving the Directors Award and Attorney General’s Award for investigative excellence.In this episode, Ligato talks: Becoming an adjunct college professor and teaching counter-terrorism and international security at Campbell University. Writing several books and providing advice to aspiring professional authors. Appearing in several movies. How Veterans can become involved in Veteran Service Organizations, such as Hope for the Warriors and Semper Fi Fund.
31 minutes | Aug 9, 2021
#251: Benefits Breakdown - VA's Community Care Program
VA's Office of Community Care (OCC) aims to place the choice of provider in the hands of eligible Veterans and assist them in finding the best options for their care.On this episode of Borne the Battle, Dr. Elizabeth Brill, chief medical officer at OCC, breaks down the process of determining eligibility, making appointments and receiving care through community care.Types of care available under Community Care include: General care Urgent care Emergency care Foreign medical care Home, health and hospice care Indian Health Services In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) State Veterans Homes Flu shots CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT AVAILABLE TYPES OF CAREEligibility depends on the individual Veteran’s needs and circumstances. For example, travel distance from a VHA facility is now calculated by drive time, not mileage, and Veterans living over 30 minutes from a VHA facility are eligible for community care.The other eligibility categories include: Needing a service that VA doesn’t provide. Not having a full-service VA in the state or territory in which you live. When VA cannot schedule appointments in a timely manner. When available VA care isn’t meeting quality care standards. It is also possible for Veterans to receive Community Care authorization at the recommendation of their VA doctor, even if they don’t meet any of the eligibility criteria.CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION FOR FAMILY MEMBERS AND DEPENDENTSOnce Veterans are approved to receive care in their community, VA will make the necessary appointments or assist the Veteran in making the appointment.Dr. Brill also provides instructions for providers to apply to become Community Care Network providers for VA. If a Veteran wants to be seen by a provider that isn't in the Community Care Network, they can ask that provider to follow the instructions to care for Veterans under VA benefits instead of private insurance. Providers can also receive CCN provider status without a Veteran’s request to better serve the Veterans in their community by making themselves available under VA benefits.CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO BECOME A VA COMMUNITY PROVIDERBorne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Mike Tarpley Additional Links: Provider and Facility locator VA Community Care Network CCN – Extended informational video Borne the Battle BONUS: COVID Update #7: Clinical Trials and Emergency Department Procedures Online scheduling – manage community care appointments online at the click of a button – VAntage Point VA MISSION Act: Answers to top questions about community care appointments – VAntage Point VA to start processing disability claims for certain conditions related to particulate matter VA clinical breakthrough study shows effective male UTI treatments in just seven days
87 minutes | Aug 2, 2021
#250: Billy Mills - Olympic Gold Medalist, Marine Veteran, Lakota Warrior
One day, while in his university dormitory in the late 1950s, Billy Mills opened a window and set a chair against it. He then got up on the chair and mentally prepared himself to jump. As he stood, he thought about his difficult upbringing as an orphan and the racism he faced, even as an NCAA All-American runner. He simply wanted to leave all his troubles behind.Suddenly, Mills felt a jolt of energy moving beneath his skin. That was when he heard “an unspoken word,” a sound that sounded like it was from his father’s voice. It was from that experience that Mills found his dream to heal his broken soul, a dream to win Olympic gold.Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills speaks about his life’s story on this episode of Borne the Battle. He talks about his life’s many highs and lows. He also gives a detailed description of the thoughts running through his head as he ran the 10,000m in 1964. Topics in this episode also include: His time as a Marine Corps officer. How his Lakota virtues and values intersected with his military service. How he trained for the Olympics. How he almost backed out of going to the Olympics, Why he felt guilty about his military service. How he is helping the next generation of Native American youth to achieve their dreams. Why he speaks on tour around the world, even at the age of 83. A message he wants his fellow Veterans to hear. The odds were stacked against Mills when he prepared to run the 10,000m in 1964. He faced Australian runner Ronald Clarke, a multiple world-record setter and favorite to win gold at the 1964 Olympics in the distances. Additionally, Mills, being borderline type 2 diabetic, went low blood sugar just 20 minutes before the race. With the U.S. never having won gold in the 10,000m, it seemed as if even history was against Billy Mills.And yet, Mills won gold, set a world record, and is still the only American to ever win gold in the 10k event.
34 minutes | Jul 26, 2021
BtB Rewind: Marine Veteran, Hollywood Stuntwoman, Leaphy Khim
This week we revisit the Episode 72 featuring Marine Veteran and Hollywood Stuntwoman, Leaphy Khim. eaphy was born to Cambodian refugee parents and joined the military after Sept 11 as a way to give back to her parents' adopted country. In 2002, she enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. From here, she received intense combat and weapons training through the Corps for more than 6 years. Now, she's pursuing a career in Hollywood as an actress and stuntwoman.
75 minutes | Jul 19, 2021
BtB Rewind: Marine Veteran and Emmy Award Winning Director of Photography, Cinematographer - Rick Robinson
Robinson entered the film industry with little more than his Marine Corp background and a drive to succeed. However, he leveraged his experiences, formed connections and learned the Hollywood lingo to land gigs working on some of the biggest films of his time. His success even allowed him to eventually tour with the likes of Whitney Houston, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. Overall, with perseverance, some help from his 1956 Corvette, and some luck, Robinson went far in the world of film.
34 minutes | Jul 12, 2021
BtB Rewind: Marine Veteran Haley Carter, soccer player, coach
This week we revisit the very first interview on Borne the Battle FKA "This Week at VA" - Marine Veteran and Retired professional soccer player, Haley Carter.
98 minutes | Jul 5, 2021
#249: Air Force Veteran Denise Jelinski-Hall, 3rd Senior Enlisted Advisor to the National Guard Bureau
Denise Jelinski-Hall felt stuck in her small hometown of Little Falls, Minnesota, so she created a new future for herself by joining the Air Force. Years, later, Jelinski-Hall became the highest-ranking enlisted female in United States military history.On this episode of Borne the Battle, Air National Guard Veteran Denise Jelinski-Halldiscusses her selection as Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, the changing roles of women in the military, and how “gray-area service members” are still entitled to VA benefits.Jelinski-Hall found her calling with the Air Force but decided to transfer to the Air National Guard after marrying an active-duty Marine. She served three years in the California Air National Guard before transferring to Hawaii. Jelinski-Hall’s 28-year career included 12 years of active service, leadership of the Hawaii National Guard, and a position in the Pentagon advising the Chief of the National Guard Bureau.In addition to her military service, Jelinski-Hall volunteers with United Through Reading and the Military Child Education Coalition. United Through Reading connects military families through recorded stories. Family members can record themselves reading and the recordings provide story time with that absent family member. Jelinski-Hall served on the board of the Military Child Education Coalition, an organization that supports the schooling of military children through mentorship and other supportive resources.Jelinski-Hall is currently a military advisor for Veterans United Home Loans, where she educates Veterans about VA home loans and home ownership. She also wrote an autobiography, "From the Prairie to the Pentagon," and contributed to the leadership book "Breaching the Summit," alongside five other former Senior Enlisted Advisors.In this episode, Jelinski-Hall discusses writing her autobiography, how to respectfully not take 'no' for an answer, and other leadership and life tips.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Pedro Munoz Mentioned in this episode: Borne the Battle #187: Darlene Iskra, Groundbreaker Borne the Battle #150: Benefits Breakdown – 75th Anniversary of the VA Home Loan Program Borne the Battle #240: Benefits Breakdown – Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) The Summit 6 United Through Reading offer free books and mobile app for Veterans, military – VAntage Point VA Secretary Denis McDonough statement on department’s extension of moratoriums on foreclosures and evictions, as well as new mortgage repayment assistance to help stabilize vulnerable households VA expands “PRIDE In All Who Served” program for LGBTQ+ Veterans
57 minutes | Jun 28, 2021
#248: The Future of Entertainment Tech w/ Air Force Veteran Marti Moore, Vice President - Spectrum Communications
This week’s episode of Borne the Battle features Air Force Veteran Marti Moore, who discusses her military career and she became group vice president of technology implementation at Spectrum Charter Communications. Moore served 11 years in the Air Force and Air Force Reserve as a systems engineering chief, and developed software for satellite tracking systems at Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado.In 1995, Moore transitioned to civilian life. She discusses how she was recruited to work in technology through an officer recruiting program at Peterson Air Force Base and how her leadership experience in the military helped her succeed. Moore held various management positions in the media and telecommunications industries, including vice president of technology at Media News Group, and worked as a reservist at the Pentagon. In 2010, she became the vice president of Web Strategy and Customer Experience at Spectrum Charter. She currently leads an agile transformation team with the Engineering and Technology Department as the group vice president of Technology Implementation. Moore talks about how the entertainment experience is changing and how Spectrum is combatting Artificial Intelligence hacking programs.Additionally, Moore talks about leading the Spectrum Veterans Business Resource Group (BRG) in 2019 as co-chair at Charter, and also talks about the history and mission of BRG. The Veterans BRG serves to help Veterans successfully transition to civilian life, grow their careers, and help businesses become successful. The Veterans group now has over 1,000 employees. Finally, she delves into how BRG offers employees who are also Veterans the opportunity to partake in mentorship, support and professional growth programs.In this episode, Moore discusses… Her definition of true leadership. How Hiring Our Heroes helps Veterans secure civilian jobs. The valued skills that Veterans bring to the civilian workforce. Why Veterans should apply to Spectrum Charter. Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Francis Cunningham Additional Links: Borne the Battle #207: Marine Recon Veteran Alex Calfee, Co-Founder of OpLign. Borne the Battle #218: David Muir, Easterseals’ Veteran Staffing Network. Borne the Battle #198: Marine Corps Veteran Beau Higgins, Amazon Military Affairs. https://jobs.spectrum.com/military-recruiting-programs. https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/hiring-our-heroes/. Charter’s Continued Commitment to Military Veterans. VA responds with record number of Fourth Mission assignments to assist America during pandemic.
81 minutes | Jun 21, 2021
#247: Using Humor and Camaraderie to Prevent Veteran Suicide
This week’s episode of Borne the Battle features Texas Army National Guard Veteran Cindy McNally and Marine Corps Veteran Nate McDonald, the president and vice president of Irreverent Warriors. McNally and McDonald discuss Irreverent Warriors’ mission to improve mental health and prevent Veteran suicide worldwide by providing a space to build camaraderie at their Silkie Hike events.McNally is the CEO and president of Irreverent Warriors. She and her family suffered the tragic and unexpected loss of her husband and Marine Corps Veteran, Rand, who took his own life after years of internal struggle. McNally has three children, two of whom followed their parents’ paths to military careers.McDonald is the COO and vice president of Irreverent Warriors. He served as an intelligence operative for Special Projects, often jumping from team to team and deploying with a variety of units. Because he suffered multiple TBIs during his service, he chose to leave the military when his ability to perform in the field came into question.McDonald then worked as a consultant with various US government and military organizations. He lost many comrades due to mental health issues, so when the opportunity to help arose, he joined Irreverent Warriors to positively impact the lives of other service men and women.One of the greatest contributors to Veteran suicide is isolation, something that Irreverent Warriors seeks to combat by bringing Veterans together. Camaraderie is vital to soldiers during their service, and Irreverent Warriors aims to build it in the Veteran community. The Silkie Hikes are only open to Veterans and active-duty service members and happen across the country. This year, the organization is expanding internationally to recognize that Veteran suicide is not unique to the United States but is a worldwide issue.McNally and McDonald discuss how they found and joined the organization, gained their leadership roles, ways in which VA can help to combat Veteran suicide, and the stunning impact of Irreverent Warriors on Veterans across the nation.
98 minutes | Jun 14, 2021
#246: Songwriting in Nashville with Navy Veteran Jonathan Kingham, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Operation Song
High military aptitude test scores and high school curiosity earned Jonathan Kingham a place in the Navy that started him on the path toward a career as a singer-songwriter. On this episode of Borne the Battle, Kingham discusses how the Navy helped him enter the Seattle music scene, the evolution and future of the music industry, and how singers and songwriters make a living from music.A high school friend convinced Kingham to skip class and take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test, starting him on a search for the right branch of the military. He entered basic training on Christmas Eve and progressed to machinist and nuclear power schools before being assigned to the USS Abraham Lincoln.As a trained pianist, Kingham had to find a more portable alternative to bring on the ship, so he bought himself the guitar that would eventually accompany him to his first performances at open mic nights in San Francisco.After San Francisco, the Navy took Kingham to Seattle, where he started performing regularly and landed his first paid gigs. He inquired about performing as an opening act for David Wilcox at a music club, The Backstage. His curiosity paid off, and he began to open for a mix of acts after his successful performance with Wilcox. In 2010, Toad the Wet Sprocketasked him to join as a touring member, leading to Kingham playing over 700 live shows with the band.Kingham is also a writer for Operation Song, a Nashville-based nonprofit that helps Veterans, soldiers and their families process and transform their experiences into music. Operation Song pairs Veterans with songwriters who help put their stories into words and music.In this episode, Kingham also discusses COVID’s impact on the music industry, the benefits and downfalls of streaming music, and how musical success doesn’t have to mean being a superstar.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Navy Veteran Harvey Milk Mentioned in this episode: Borne the Battle #199: Army Veteran Josh Strickland, Lead Singer of the Bayou Bandits Borne the Battle #153: Perry Firoz – Air Force Veteran, CEO Epic Music LA, Analytical Scientist Why we stop discovering music around age 30 – Business Insider Operation Song Archives – VAntage Point Blogs Breathe by Clifton Pierce and Jonathan Kingham – Operation Song Mobius delivers first of 50 IBots to VA to determine how machines may help Veterans VA's Rapid Naloxone Initiative provides free Opioid Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution to Veteran patients
53 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
#245: Fighting to Repeal DADT w/ Air Force Veteran Josh Seefried
Air Force Veteran Josh Seefried grew up knowing he wanted to serve in the Air Force. It started when his parents sent him to Space Camp in fifth grade, offering him the experience of a lifetime. The next summer, he participated in Aviation Challenge, getting the chance to fly and engage in aerial combat through a simulator. In seventh grade, he petitioned his congressman to get him into a shadow cadet program at the U.S. Air Force Academy, a program reserved only for high school students.After high school, the Air Force Academy officially admitted Seefried as a student and he could not be happier. Yet, his enchantment with the Air Force – and the military more generally – soon turned into trauma. Seefried was gay and was blackmailed and exposed while serving under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.In this episode of Borne the Battle, Seefried shares his life’s story, from being blackmailed and outed as gay to becoming one of the nation’s foremost advocates for LGBT active-duty service members. He discusses: When one of his academy teachers found out he was gay and blackmailed him for favors Being outed as gay How his superiors treated him when investigating his blackmail case Using social media to stake out a space for LGBT members of the military to communicate How he helped fellow service members come out after Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed An early part of Seefried’s strategy to change the military’s culture for its LGBT members included the novel use of social media. At a time when social media platforms like Facebook were still new, Seefried formed online groups that connected thousands of LGBT service members.Seefried regularly appeared on major broadcasting networks under the pseudonym “JD Smith,” advocating for the LGBT military community. But after President Obama signed the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, Seefried publicly came out.After years of LGBT advocacy, Seefried left a lasting mark on the military. He entered the Air Force with high hopes and left it a place that he could feel proud of having been a part of.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Melissa Margain Additional Links: Seefried published Our Time: Breaking the Silence of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell in 2012, a book assembling the voices of men and women who served under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. VA recognizes the existing diversity inherent to its population, including the LGBT community. That is why it offers service members targeted benefits designed for those connected with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. VA Patient Care Services provides a range of healthcare services that the LGBT Veteran community can take advantage of. VA schedules stakeholder listening sessions to guide future of VA health care Seefried published Our Time: Breaking the Silence of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell in 2012, a book assembling the voices of men and women who served under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. VA recognizes the existing diversity inherent to its population, including the LGBT community. That is why it offers service members targeted benefits designed for those connected with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. VA Patient Care Services provides a range of healthcare services that the LGBT Veteran community can take advantage of. VA schedules stakeholder listening sessions to guide future of VA health care
69 minutes | May 31, 2021
#244: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier's Unknown History with Army Veteran Gavin McIlvenna
This week’s Borne the Battle features Army Veteran Gavin McIlvenna, who talks about the selection process of becoming and walking as a tomb guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; he then shares about his own mentors, how he founded the Society of the Honor Guard, shares crazy guard stories and the process of disinterring a Veteran at the tomb.Roughly 130,000 visitors toured Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day pre-COVID. This year may be different, but it is still an important occasion for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Memorial Day seeks to honor those who have fallen while serving our country, and the Unknown Soldiers are no different.On November 11, 2021, Arlington National Cemetery will be commemorating the centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The centennial is not only a day to celebrate and remember the burial of the World War One’s Unknown Soldier but to reflect on what the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier means to the nation.McIlvenna breaks down the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and how the tomb doesn’t represent just one conflict; it represents all conflicts, the significance and purpose behind the upcoming events for centennial and where Americans can find information on these events and projects.Lastly, McIIvenna talks about the first VA facility to have a never forget me garden, why every American should visit the tomb, and how communities can get involved in the centennial and learn about a unique part of its history and why the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is important to so many gold star families and Veterans.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:The Veteran in your life that is no longer with you. Additional links: VA to readjudicate Veteran and survivor claims for possible herbicide exposure VA expands COVID-19 vaccinations to adolescents under SAVE LIVES Act https://www.legion.org/yourwords/personal-experiences/248893/tomb-unknown-soldier Commemorating the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, DAR Members and Chapters Encouraged to Plan Now for 2021 Observance What you need to know about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Marks 100 Years
4 minutes | May 27, 2021
BREAKING: Agent Orange Presumptive Conditions
VA announced today two major decisions related to presumptive conditions associated with Agent Orange and particulate matter exposures during military service in Southwest Asia.Agent OrangeVA will begin implementing provisions of the William M. Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (Public Law 116-283), adding three conditions to the list of those presumptively associated with exposure to herbicide agents, more commonly known as Agent Orange. Those conditions are bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and Parkinsonism.“Many of our Nation’s Veterans have waited a long time for these benefits,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough. “VA will not make them wait any longer. This is absolutely the right thing to do for Veterans and their families.”VA will apply the provisions of court orders related to Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which may result in an earlier date for entitlement to benefits for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Vietnam War era Veterans and their survivors who previously filed and were denied benefits for one of these three new presumptive conditions will have their cases automatically reviewed without the need to refile a claim. VA will send letters to impacted Veterans and survivors.Particulate Matter ExposuresThe Secretary recently concluded the first iteration of a newly formed internal VA process to review scientific evidence to support rulemaking, resulting in the recommendation to consider creation of new presumptions of service connection for respiratory conditions based on VA’s evaluation of a National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine report and other evidence. VA’s review supports initiation of rulemaking to address the role that particulate matter pollution plays in generating chronic respiratory conditions, which may include asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis for Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during the Persian Gulf War and/or after September 19, 2001, or in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War.“VA is establishing a holistic approach to determining toxic exposure presumption going forward. We are moving out smartly in initiating action to consider these and other potential new presumptions, grounded in science and in keeping with my authority as Secretary of VA,” said Secretary McDonough.VA is initiating rulemaking to consider adding respiratory conditions, which may include asthma, sinusitis and rhinitis, to the list of chronic disabilities based on an association with military service in Southwest Asia, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan during the covered periods of conflict. VA will conduct broad outreach efforts to reach impacted Veterans and it encourages them to participate in the rulemaking process.For more information, visit our website at Airborne Hazards and Burn Pit Exposures – Public Health.
50 minutes | May 24, 2021
#243: Benefits Breakdown, Veterans Legacy Memorial
With Memorial Day 2021 approaching, VA’s National Cemetery Administration wants to remind people that the Veterans Legacy Memorial, or VLM, website is available as a resource to help pay tribute to Veterans who have passed away. VLM is a public online database memorializing the over 3.7 million Veterans interred in VA national cemeteries. With COVID-19 still present, VLM is an excellent way for people to honor our nation’s Veterans at the comfort of their own home.Click here for VLM’s website: http://www.va.gov/remember.In this episode of Borne the Battle, Air Force Veteran and Digital Services Officer for the National Cemetery Administration James LaPaglia talks about why he loves doing his job. He delves into the enhanced features that NCA staff plan to make available on VLM by Memorial Day. Features they plan to reopen include allowing users to submit: Photographs Historical documents Biographical information VLM will also continue to allow users to leave a tribute on a Veteran’s page. Through a tribute, users can post a thoughtful message for future viewers to read.And as per usual VLM practice, all submitted content will be reviewed by administrators before being posted. This ensures that all submissions comply with VLM standards and maintains the spirit of the website.Users can also expect to see a “follow” feature come Memorial Day. With this, users can follow a Veteran’s page and get automatic email updates when new content appears on their profile.Committed to making sure that no Veteran’s story goes unrecognized, NCA future plans include expanding the VLM database to include Veterans interred at state and tribal VA cemeteries, those managed by the military, private ones and many more.With online platforms making it easier to honor our nation’s Veterans, LaPaglia said he hopes that this website becomes a place friends, families and strangers can use to share and preserve the stories and memories of those who served our country.Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:Army Veteran Peter Conover Hains (Civil War Veteran who served in WWI)Additional Links: If you have questions regarding VLM, click here to read their FAQ. You can also find VLM Customer Support’s phone and email here. VA national cemeteries are allowing visitors but require adherence to safety measures. Click here to learn more. Memorial Day 2020 ceremonies were not open to the public because of COVID-19 concerns. However, ceremonies were all available virtually and recordings are available here. For eligibility requirements to be buried at a VA national cemetery, click here for more information. VA to readjudicate Veteran and survivor claims for possible herbicide exposure
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