Archive for the 'Health & Living' Category

Military Mentorship Program and PenFed Welcome Home USSA Athletes From Sochi With New Partnership

Mar 25 2014

MOAA supports Pentagon Federal Credit Union and their continued efforts on wounded warrior outreach. What a great new effort from PenFed and the Military Mentorship Program:

 The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) launched a new, first-of-its-kind initiative for its athletes and the U.S. military, including wounded warriors and retired service members, to work together to create meaningful relationships and provide motivational experiences. The Military Mentorship Program and this year’s program sponsor PenFed (Pentagon Federal Credit Union) have joined together to welcome all of our USSA athletes back home from the games in Sochi, Russia.

“The culture of the USSA is built on being ‘Best in the World’ and on teamwork, commitment, and the values of the organization, and through this program we are reinforcing that message,” said Luke Bodensteiner, executive vice president of athletics for the USSA. “We are proud to put our ‘Best in the World’ athletes alongside the best the U.S. military has to offer.”

Founded by Army veteran and former U.S. Ski Team member and coach Robi Powers, the Military Mentorship Program helps to enable veterans, active-duty service members, and top athletes to train together and share their own personal stories of teamwork, perseverance, overcoming obstacles, and reaching the limits of their potential. Formula Strategy Group, a strategic marketing and communications firm specializing in military- and sports-themed events, media, and sponsorships, championed the new partnership between the USSA and PenFed for the inaugural USSA Military Mentorship Program.

The USSA’s Military Mentorship Program held an event with wounded warriors at the 2014 Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix in Park City, Utah, for athletes who were preparing to compete at Sochi and future Olympic Games. PenFed sponsored a session at the USSA’s Center of Excellence which featuredover twentyathletes and two wounded warriors, including Marine Corps Col. (Ret.) John Bates, a three-time recipient of the Purple Heart; and Army Col. (Ret.) Danny McKnight, a recipient of the Purple Heart who took enemy fire in Somalia as chronicled in the movie “Black Hawk Down.”

“USSA Athletes and our military have a lot to learn from each other,” said James Schenck, executive vice president at PenFed, a proud sponsor of the first ever Military Mentorship Program. “Both understand the importance of preparation and training, staying focused in high-pressure situations, and working as a team. Bringing them together to help inspire each other is a natural fit.”

Veterans making the transition back to the civilian community, whether they’re still in the military or not, have many resources available to them. Learn more about the SCUBA program designed for disabled and wounded warriors, and how servicemembers can use martial arts to cope with the stress that comes from deployments and service.


Image of Emily Cook, Aerials in the 2013 Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships at Heavenly Resort, California. Photo © Kirk Paulsen via

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Upcoming MCRMC Public Hearings

Mar 19 2014

townhall_WEBThe Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) still has some public hearings scheduled in the next couple of months. If you want to be heard on issues affecting the military community, find one of the open “Public Hearing” events near you and attend!

The Commissioners will hear testimony from witnesses on matters surrounding the programs that compensate the members of our uniformed services and that therefore support the long-term health of the all-volunteer force. The Commission’s task is to review the military compensation and retirement programs and make recommendations for their modernization to the President and Congress in February of 2015.

MOAA has weighed in on the issue of changes to military pay and retirement benefits, and wants to hear budget recommendations from the MCRMC. Make sure you’re there to represent those who will be affected by proposed budget cuts — all sessions are open to servicemembers, retirees, veterans, military family members, and the interested public.

The next two public MCRMC meetings currently on the schedule:

MCRMC Town Hall Meeting- Carlsbad, California
Date: Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Location:  Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa Conference Center, 5480 Grand Pacific Drive, Carlsbad, California 92008
Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

MCRMC Town Hall Meeting- San Diego, California
Date: Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Location: Hilton San Diego, Harbor Island, 1960 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego, California 92101

  • 8:00 am to 9:30 am – Senior Local Military Commanders and Senior Enlisted Advisors
  • 9:45 am to 11:15 am – Military Medicine Matters
  • 11:30 am to 1:00 pm – Local Military/Veteran Transition Service Organizations

Visit the MCRMC website for the complete and up to date list of events.

MOAA says the Pentagon’s 2015 budget proposed cuts to military benefits will significantly reduce the purchasing power of military families, and lead to retention & readiness problems. For more information on these cuts, and ways to take action, visit

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We Are Post-9/11 Veterans

Mar 10 2014

Published by under Health & Living

MOAA President VADM Norb Ryan, USN (Ret), recently visited The George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative Summit, “Empowering Our Nations’s Warriors”:­arriors

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Guard Your Health: 28 Ways in 28 Days to Feel, Look, and Live Better

Feb 26 2014

Published by under Health & Living

SmallSteps_Change is a process_GRAPHICEvery year, close to half of Americans set New Year’s resolutions (for comparison, only a third of Americans watch the Super Bowl). The top resolutions include losing weight, quitting smoking, and saving money. Despite the good intentions, only an estimated eight percent of individuals ever achieve their resolutions.

If this scenario sounds all too familiar, don’t fret. Guard Your Health, a health and medical readiness website for Army National Guard Soldiers, families, and their communities,  is here to offer a much more realistic approach to self-improvement. The plan is grounded in a very simple concept: baby steps.

On 1 March, Guard Your Health is launching the Small Steps to a Healthier You (Small Steps) Challenge. This challenge, lovingly referred to as an un-resolution, is meant to serve as a stepping stone for bigger, long-term changes by paving a path to success that is realistic and manageable. It is for anyone that is tired of failed resolutions and excuses. With Small Steps, you can re-think the way you approach change and kick-start your year in the right direction.

The online challenge consists of 28 daily steps (one step a day for 28 days) that are designed to enhance the mind, body, and spirit. The 28 steps require little effort and are so easy anyone can do them (even at work). Each step may seem small, but over time, these changes can add up to have a big positive impact on one’s total health and well-being.

If you’re looking to make 2014 your year for REAL, lasting change, join Guard Your Health in taking Smalls Steps to a Healthier You. Between 18 and 28 February, pledge to participate at Daily challenges begin on 1 March 2014. Sign up on the website now – and get ready to join the movement.


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Newsweek: Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba (SUDS)

Feb 24 2014

Wounded Warriors Tackle Diving

Newsweek has a breathtaking new feature on disabled veterans conquering their disability in a new scuba diving program tailored to their needs. “Greetings from Gitmo” follows seven wounded or disabled servicemembers who have been selected to participate in the Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba (SUDS) program after sustaining life-changing injuries on the battlefield.

Wounded Warriors take to the waters of Gauntanamo BayGoing from Anbar or Kunar to Guantanamo Bay Cuba may not seem like much of an upgrade for these amputees, that is until you see the beautiful, warm water these veterans are being taken to. The goal, according to SUDS program founder John Thompson, is to give the veterans a feeling of full mobility again — even if only temporarily:

By teaching the amputees to dive, he wants to erase the encumbrance of using a prosthetic, to endow them if only temporarily with the range of movement they will never have again and, in doing so, remind them that they are more than just mangled flesh.

And if Marine Corporal Eric Morante is any measure of the program’s success, it sounds like SUDS is meeting their goal and then some.

“I can do flips, I can do anything. I can go upside down, I can do handstands,” Morante says. “I feel like I am not handicapped… I feel completely, fully able-bodied.”

Read the full story in Newsweek, “Greetings from Gitmo.”

MOAA members can also read about how some wounded warriors are using writing to overcome traumatic experiences, whether it’s during wartime or decades later.

Photo, top, by Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Treadwell via DVIDS: Danny Facciola, a certified scuba instructor with Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba, leads a class of wounded warriors learning open water diving through the waters at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, May 24.

Photo, right, by Sgt. Benjamin Cossel via DVIDS. Wounded service members visited Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The group of six newly certified divers came from Walter Reed Army Hospital where they did their initial certification before arriving on Guantanamo Bay with the soldiers Undertaking Disabled SCUBA program.

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