StoryCorps Shares One Veterans Story, in Cartoon Form

Dec 09 2014

Published by under Health & Living

If you’re familiar with StoryCorps, then you know how poignant and moving some of the interviews truly can be. This one is no exception – and StoryCorps has crafted it into cartoon form.

Back in 2005, Marine Lance Cpl. Travis Williams was the sole survivor when his squad was ordered to go on a rescue mission in Iraq and became the victims of a roadside bomb.

In this animated video, Williams recalls the events of the day and how he’s managed to move on.

Read More: Iraq War Vet Tells His Tragic Story in Cartoon Form

A must-watch:


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Mil Tech — Marines Order Wasp AE Small UAS

Dec 01 2014

Published by under Technology

The U.S. Marine Corps have placed an order worth almost $22 million with AeroVironment Inc. for RQ-12 Wasp AE small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in what is the largest single procurement of the ground and water-capable Wasp AE.

Photo courtesy of AeroVironment Inc.

Photo courtesy of AeroVironment Inc.

The Marines recently unveiled its next generation small UAS family of systems and is adding the RQ-12 Wasp AE as the short range, or micro, solution to its existing portfolio made up of the AeroVironment RQ-118 Raven and the RQ-20A Puma AE. The Puma AE is the Marine Corps’ long-range solution, and the Raven fills the medium range.

The short-range Wasp AE weighs 2.8 pounds, operates for up to 50 minutes at a range of up to 5 kilometers, and delivers live, streaming color and infrared video from its pan-tilt-zoom Mantis i22 AE gimbaled payload. Wasp is launched by hand and capable of landing on the ground or in fresh or salt water, says Steven Gitlin, vice president of marketing strategy for AeroVironment.

“The Wasp platform has continuously evolved, as have Raven and Puma,” Gitlin points out. “We constantly listen to our customers and understand what works well, then look at new technology to enhance the capability of our systems.”

Gitlin notes the gimbaled Mantis i22 payload is the smallest AeroVironment offers at 275 grams and allows the UAS operator to easily switch between color and thermal video at the touch of a button without physically swapping the payloads.

“The Mantis payload gives a higher level of visual fidelity and continuous 360-degree observation of an item of interest, regardless of the air vehicle’s flight direction,” Gitlin says.
The Wasp AE offers the same environmental technologies as Puma AE and can land on the ground or on salt or fresh water, Gitlin adds. “After a salt water landing, the operator simply rinses off the Wasp AE and relaunches it with a fresh battery,” he says.

Gitlin points out the Wasp AE expands the capabilities of the previous Wasp model “by being more flexible, durable, having a longer flight time and increased sensor capabilities.”
He notes Wasp AE carries its payload on its underside and that the tail’s vertical stabilizer of the UAS looks as if it is upside down. “The Wasp AE is designed to be able to land on rough surfaces,” Gitlin says, “so prior to landing the vehicle flips over and lands on a padded landing surface on its top in order to protect its sensors.”

About the author: Alan M. Petrillo is a Tucson, Ariz., journalist who writes for national and regional magazines and newspapers. He’s also the author of the mystery, Full Moon, books on historical military small arms, and the nonfiction work, Ice Hockey in the Desert.

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Veteran’s Treatment Courts

Nov 25 2014

Published by under Health & Living


The Court Services and Offenders Supervision Agency (CSOSA) recently produced a recent radio program on Veteran’s Treatment Courts, a component of the highly successful drug court concept. Veteran Treatment Courts are growing rapidly throughout the United States with early indications of success. You can listen to the program online here.

Panelists on this discussion include:

  • Greg Crawford is a Correctional Program Specialist, on the Community Services Division, at the National Institute of Corrections (NIC). Greg’s work at NIC includes Veterans, Children of Incarcerated Parents, and he also manages the Community Corrections Collaborative Network, a network that represents the leading national and international associations for pretrial, probation, parole and diversion programs.
  • Actor and activist Melissa Fitzgerald is the Senior Director for Justice for Vets. Melissa may be best known for her 7-year role as Carol on the NBC smash hit The West Wing. Off-screen she is widely recognized as a courageous advocate for people in need; which includes her work as co-founder of Voices in Harmony, a mentoring outreach program that uses theater to work with at-risk teens.
  • Bernard Edelman is Deputy Director for Policy and Government Affairs for Vietnam Veterans of America. He edited the ENDURING Dear America:  Letters Home from Vietnam. He was associate producer of the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning documentary feature based on his book; he was co-producer of the documentary short, “Memorial:  Letters from American Soldiers,” which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Check back for additional information, including a Veterans Treatment Court White Paper expected out in December 2014. See

If you’re looking for resources or assistance, visit the MOAA Caregiver Guide for legal advice on the Veterans Justice Outreach Initiative.

For further discussion, watch the panel “Life at Home – Tackling Education, Employment and Justice” from the 2014 Warrior-Family Symposium:


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The White House Internship

Nov 24 2014

Know a great candidate? Encourage them to apply. Deadline for a Summer 2015 internship is January 11, 2015.

The White House Internship Program’s mission is to make the “People’s House” accessible to future leaders from around the nation and cultivate and prepare those devoted to public service for future leadership opportunities. Apply today!  More information is available at

Am I eligible to apply for a White House Internship?  Applicants must be U.S. citizens, 18 years of age on or before the first day of the internship, and meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at a college, community college, or university (two-to-four year institution)
  • Graduated from an undergraduate or graduate program at a college, community college, or university (two-to-four year institution) no more than two years before the first day of the internship
  • A veteran of the United States Armed Forces who possesses a high school diploma or its equivalent and has served on active duty, for any length of time, in the two years preceding the first day of the internship

Get your frequently asked questions answered here:

Can’t make the Summer deadline? There is still a Fall 2015 internship with an application deadline of April 19, 2015. Stay tuned.

“WhiteHouseSouthFacade” by Matt H. Wade (User:UpstateNYer). To see his entire portfolio, click here. This image is protected by copyright! If you would like to use it, please read this first. – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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Friday Fun: A Veterans Best Friend

Nov 21 2014

dogWhen Best Friends Animal Society staff members pulled a pretty, golden-colored pit bull terrier mix from a busy Los Angeles city shelter, no one knew she’d soon find her true calling – twice.

Chata the dog’s incredibly sweet, loving and calm demeanor made her stand out to an adopter in search of a therapy dog to bring to school, where she worked with special- needs children.

Chata went home with the adopter, got certified as a therapy dog and it looked as though she’d found her forever home. But then her adopter was transferred to a different school, one that did not allow pit bull terriers. Despite her gentle nature and special training, Chata wasn’t welcome there.

Her adopter faced a conundrum. Chata thrived in her therapeutic role. Not allowed at the school, she would have to stay home alone all day, instead of being with someone and doing the service work she loved. Her adopter felt the best thing would be for Chata to go back to the Best Friends adoption center, where she could be matched up with someone who needed her.

One week after Chata returned, military veteran Joseph Stanberry came in looking for an emotional support dog. Best Friends adoption specialists immediately told him about Chata, but there was a problem. Joseph had his heart set on a Labrador retriever, having grown up with a Lab who’d been his best friend for years, but he couldn’t find that one who really tugged at his heartstrings. So, he agreed to meet Chata.

When Chata entered the room where Joseph was waiting, she immediately walked up to him, sat down and let him pet her. Upon meeting her, Joseph said, “I just felt like I couldn’t leave there without her,” and with his girlfriend soon decided Chata was the one.

Joseph took his new dog home, complete with her service vest from her former adopter. He renamed her Summer and enrolled her in a training program for dogs and veterans. Summer fulfills her line of duty just by being herself; as Joseph put it, “She helps me with anxiety and depression. I’m also going to have her trained to help me hear (better), because I have a significant amount of hearing loss due to explosions and gunfire in the military.”

dog2Summer now rocks her service uniform and accompanies Joseph nearly everywhere, bringing a sense of calm and duty wherever they go. When Joseph stops, she halts and awaits her marching orders from her captain.

And so Summer and Joseph found a home in each other.

Learn more about how Best Friends helps pets.

Photos courtesy of Joseph Stanberry

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