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Borne the Battle

Updated 4 days ago

Rank #55 in Government category

Society & Culture
Personal Journals
Government
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Hosted by Marine Corps Veteran Tanner Iskra, Borne the Battle recognizes each battle, challenge, and sacrifice our Veterans endure during and after their service, as well as spotlighting important resources, offices, and benefits VA offers our Veterans.

Read more

Hosted by Marine Corps Veteran Tanner Iskra, Borne the Battle recognizes each battle, challenge, and sacrifice our Veterans endure during and after their service, as well as spotlighting important resources, offices, and benefits VA offers our Veterans.

iTunes Ratings

111 Ratings
Average Ratings
99
7
2
1
2

steve navy

By stereo#6 - Nov 04 2019
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new to the show,like it. good to hear about our brothers. thanks steve usn ret.

Amazing guests

By Dan7777777770311 - Sep 28 2019
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I love all the guests. Mel Brooks, Daniel from pop smoke just real insightful guys

iTunes Ratings

111 Ratings
Average Ratings
99
7
2
1
2

steve navy

By stereo#6 - Nov 04 2019
Read more
new to the show,like it. good to hear about our brothers. thanks steve usn ret.

Amazing guests

By Dan7777777770311 - Sep 28 2019
Read more
I love all the guests. Mel Brooks, Daniel from pop smoke just real insightful guys

Listen to:

Cover image of Borne the Battle

Borne the Battle

Updated 4 days ago

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Hosted by Marine Corps Veteran Tanner Iskra, Borne the Battle recognizes each battle, challenge, and sacrifice our Veterans endure during and after their service, as well as spotlighting important resources, offices, and benefits VA offers our Veterans.

#165: The Battle of Mogadishu w/ Army Ranger Veteran, Jeff Struecker

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This week’s Borne the Battle episode features guest Jeff Struecker, who discusses his life as a soldier, pastor, and author.

In 1987, Struecker enlisted in the army when he was 18. He excelled, serving in the 75th Ranger Regiment, and he played a pivotal role in the Battle of Mogadishu. He also won the 1996 Best Ranger Competition and was also recognized in 1998 as the U.S Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Noncommisioned Officer of the Year.

After his time as a Ranger, Struecker received a commission as a chaplain in April 2000. He continued to serve as a chaplain for the next 11 years, eventually retiring in January 2011 after having served multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

After leaving service, Struecker became a pastor, and in his free time, he has participated in numerous films, written books and speaks to a variety of audiences about his faith and his time in service.

Additional Links: #BtBattle Veteran of the Week

Oct 02 2019

51mins

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#69: Boyd Renner – Navy Veteran, Everence

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A couple months ago I attended the Military Influencer Conference. There were a lot of great creators and entrepreneurs there, but one group of people  stood out to me. I met a few people representing a product called Everence. Everence is a patented technology that allows you to add DNA from a loved one into any new or existing tattoo.

I know tattoos are a common thing in the military and Veteran community, and I had my own curiosity, led me to inviting a member of their team onto Borne the Battle to talk about it.

Boyd Renner, one of the co-founders of Everence, served in the Navy for 28 years. He served at SEAL Team Two for four years and served over 23 years at Naval Special Warfare Development Group. 

He's going to talk to us about his time as a Navy SEAL, his transition out of the military, and the unique product Everence.

Dec 13 2017

29mins

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#56: Benefits Breakdown - Explore.VA.gov

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The newly branded podcast is here! Borne the Battle is the same great content but simply under a different name. This first episode is an introduction to a new program we'll be publishing in this feed called Benefits Breakdown. Each Monday, I will focus on one resource, office, or benefits at VA that Veterans should be aware of and better understand.

Today's topic is Explore.VA.gov. Learn how to use the site, the Benefits Navigator, and other elements on the web page. Be sure to share with a Veteran!

Nov 06 2017

8mins

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#162: September 11th with Dr. John Baxter - Air Force Veteran, 9/11 First Responder, SecDef's Flight Surgeon

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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.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week: Additional Links:

Sep 11 2019

59mins

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#65: Dr. David Shulkin – Secretary of Veterans Affairs

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A few weeks ago we released episode 1103 of The American Veteran, a compilation of videos and stories from around our community. Included in that episode was an interview we recently conducted with Secretary Shulkin about improvements around VA, modernizing the processes, and announcements being made.

I wanted to make sure you all heard this interview, so I decided to make it this week's feature interview. My colleague, Melissa Heintz, sat down with Secretary Shulkin to discuss where VA is 8 months into his watch.

Nov 29 2017

11mins

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#55: Kevin Leverence – Marine Veteran, VA health care user

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When we first launched the podcast, initial response questioned whether or not our audience would hear from Veterans that have had trouble with VA. A few of my guests in the past have alluded to challenges with VA health care, but I wanted to to dig a little deeper and talk with someone that has a wide range of experiences with VA. Kevin Leverence and I have known each other for a few years after he first appeared on my podcast 1, 2, Many: Veteran Suicide. I followed up with him earlier this year asking if he'd be willing to share his experiences on This Week at VA and he generously agreed. Kevin did not have a good introduction to VA and it took a few frustrating iterations before he finally broke through some sticking points and found the help he was looking for. Kevin is going to share stories from joining the military and his military service, his transition out of the Marine Corps, frustrations with VA, and finally getting the care he needed. Lots of great talk about patient advocates, Vet Centers, different types of therapy, and much more.

Covered in Episode 55:

  • How to follow us during next week's events
  • Interview with Marine Veteran Kevin Leverence
    • Why he joined the military
    • A story from his time in
    • His transition out and the challenges he faced
    • The day that first turned him off of VA
    • The value in patient advocates
    • How Vet Centers are great resources for Veterans
    • Types of therapy he has used
    • Getting comfortable with VA and getting the care he needs
  • Finding your patient advocate
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Navy Veteran Tony Roberti

Nov 01 2017

1hr 6mins

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#49: Forever GI Bill round table w/ TAPS, Got Your 6 & SVA

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The wonderful people over at Got Your 6 emailed me one day asking if I wanted to do a round table podcast talking about the Forever GI Bill. I was in right away. The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 AKA the Forever GI Bill works to improve education benefits for Veterans, their dependents, and their survivors. On the panel we have Ashlynne Haycock from TAPS, Lauren Augustine from Got Your 6, and William Hubbard from SVA. The three of them are going to tell me all about the development and execution of this bill.

Covered in Episode 49:

  • This week's social media events for Suicide Prevention Month
  • Round table discussion with Ashlynne Haycock, Lauren Augustine, and Will Hubbard  
    • Why the Forever GI Bill is valuable
    • What it does for Veterans
    • Each of their roles in getting it passed
    • Their experience collaborating with Capitol Hill
    • When and how the bill will be implemented
  • Education Call Center
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Air Force Veteran Beck H. Gee

Sep 22 2017

35mins

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#71: Billy Hurley III - Navy Veteran, professional golfer

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We've featured a handful of Veterans from professional sports on this podcast including an NFL player, an NCAA coach, and an NWSL goalie. This week we add a golfer to that list. Navy Veteran Billy Hurley is the only military Veteran currently listed on the PGA tour.

Hurley is a 2004 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Quantitative Economics. He also was named Academic All-American.

He was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy in 2004, rising to the rank of Lieutenant. After his graduation from the academy, he was assigned to the USS Gettysburg, a guided-missile cruiser based in Mayport, Florida, where he was a combat electronic division officer and on the USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

He had an extended deployment in the Persian Gulf, where he held the position of guided missile destroyer's force protection assistant.

He left the Navy to pursue a career in golf and has successfully made it onto the PGA tour. Billy will talk to us about his military service, pursuing golf, and how his military career has contributed to his success as a golfer.

Dec 27 2017

29mins

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#14: Christian Benedetto - Marine Veteran, PTSDJournal

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Episode 14 of the #VApodcast features Marine Veteran Christian Benedetto. Christian Benedetto was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in November 2013. In the nearly 25 years that have passed since his military service with the United States Marine Corps in the First Gulf War and the early 1990s, he felt something was terribly wrong with him, yet he believed he was hiding it well. After being diagnosed, Christian founded and launched the PTSDJournal. PTSDJournal is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder sufferers and their loved ones. Each issue delivers in-depth research articles, personal narratives and alternate solutions that highlight the causes of PTSD and the keys to recovery. PTSDJournal advocates for the PTSD community, focusing on early intervention, diagnosis, treatment, and awareness initiatives. Each issue provides physicians, scientists, doctors, patients and families an outlet for PTSD awareness and educate the PTSD community and the general population about how to live with PTSD and where to get help. Covered in Episode 14:  *   An ExploreVA Facebook chat occurring on January 25 at IVMF's Facebook page  *   Interview with Marine Veteran Christian Benedetto     *   Christian''s decision to join the military.     *   How service introduced him to diversity     *   Leaving the military     *   Being diagnosed with PTSD     *   Launching the PTSDJournal     *   Using the East Orange VAMC  *   Research and apply for health care benefits with VA  *   #VeteranOfTheDay Air Force Veteran George Watson

Jan 19 2017

47mins

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#168: Coaching NCAA Lacrosse with Marine Veteran Chris Burke and Mitchell Shafer

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This week's Borne the Battle podcast features Marine Corps Veteran Chris Burke and the youngest head coach in NCAA Lacrosse, Mitch Shafer.

Burke discussed his service in the Marines, including his injury and recovery from an IED explosion in Afghanistan. However, Burke's real story begins on what he did after serving in Afghanistan.

When Burke left service, he went back to school, where he planned on joining the lacrosse program in hopes of playing with his younger brother. But his plans didn’t go the way he had hoped. Instead, he found a new sense of purpose, one that reminded him of the camaraderie that he experienced in the Marines. In time, that new sense of purpose led to Burke accepting the position of defensive coordinator at Maryville University.

CHRIS IS THE SECOND VETERAN NCAA COACH TO BE ON BORNE THE BATTLE: CLICK HERE FOR THE #BTBATTLE EPISODE WITH DUKE'S COACH KRZYZEWSKI

Now, at Maryville, with Shafer's help, Burke uses his Marine Corps leadership experience to to mentor and coach his college lacrosse players for more than just on the field. From visiting local VA hospitals to sending care packages overseas, Burke and Shafer lead the lacrosse team in bridging the military-civilian divide.

Additional Links: Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week: 
  • Army Veteran Robert H. Douglas.

Oct 23 2019

1hr 32mins

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#51: Mike Krzyzewski – Army Veteran, Duke Basketball Coach

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I've published more than 500 podcast episodes in my podcast career. A couple times a year, there's usually an exciting interview, one that feels like a badge of honor. This week's episode of This Week at VA features the epitome of those interviews. Thanks to a colleague and the great folks at Duke, I had the opportunity to interview Mike Krzyzewski, coach of the men's basketball team at Duke University. As many of you know, Coach K has won multiple NCAA championship titles and is considered a legend in the sport. What many people may not know, is that he is a West Point graduate and a former Army officer. Coach K talks to us about his decision to go to West Point, transitioning from military to college coaching, developing young players, and his experience in the Army.

About Coach Mike Krzyzewski (before his career at Duke):

Coach K's disciplined, mentally tough teams can be seen as an extension of his own upbringing. Krzyzewski went to West Point and enrolled in the U.S. Military Academy to receive a quality education, play basketball and become an officer in the Army. From 1969-74, Krzyzewski served his country, directing service teams for three years and serving a two-year stint as head coach at the U.S. Military Academy Prep School in Belvoir, Va. In 1974, he resigned from the Army having attained the rank of Captain. When Coach K was just 26, Knight, his former coach at Army, offered him a graduate assistant-ship at Indiana University. That 1975 squad posted an 18-0 mark in the Big Ten and a 31-1 overall record. Prior to his arrival at Duke in 1980, Krzyzewski spent five years building the program at his alma mater in West Point. He led the Cadets to one NIT berth, one ECAC playoff appearance and an overall record of 73-59.

Covered in Episode 51:

  • Nominating a #VeteranOfTheDay
  • Interview with Navy Veteran Kevin Quarles  
    • His decision to attend West Point
    • A story from his experience in the Army
    • Comparing developing young players to mentoring soldiers
    • How military service made him a better coach
    • Transitioning from military life to coaching life
  • VA Adaptive Sports
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Army Veteran Francis Brown Wai

Oct 06 2017

17mins

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#122: Sarah Verardo – Caregiver, CEO of Independence Fund

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To round of National Caregivers Month, we feature Sarah Verardo. Sarah is the CEO of Independence Fund and a caregiver for her husband, an Army Veteran. Sarah also authored the children's book, Hero at Home.

Founded in 2007, The Independence Fund is committed to empowering our nation’s catastrophically wounded, injured, or ill Veterans to overcome physical, mental, and emotional wounds incurred in the line of duty. We are dedicated to improving the lives of both our Veterans and their families. Through our Mobility, Caregiver, Adaptive Sports, Advocacy, and Family programs, The Independence Fund strives to bridge the gap of unmet needs for Veterans and their caregivers.

Sarah also recently announced Independence Fund's new program, Operation Resiliency. The program will team with VA to host suicide prevention reunion retreats with the Veterans of high suicide rate military units.

Sarah joins this week's podcast to discuss her experience as her husband's caregiver and her efforts at Independence Fund.

Nov 28 2018

39mins

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#62: Alex Rucshner – Navy Veteran, Keys to Progress

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Navy Veteran Alex Rucshner joins Borne the Battle to tell us about Progressive Insurance's program "Keys to Success" where they help out Veterans in need by gifting them a car. Listen in to learn about this amazing initiative!

Nov 15 2017

45mins

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Battle of the Bulge Veteran Harry Miller shares his story

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On December 16, 1944, the Germans launched what is considered their last major offensive of World War II. Just shortly after the Allied force's successfully invaded Normandy, France, the surprise attack from Hitler's forces caught the Allies off guard. The battle lasted until January 25, 1945. The United States suffered 19,000 fatalities and more than 89,000 casualties.

In commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of this historic battle of courage and fortitude, we invite you to meet Army Veteran Harry Miller.

During the Battle of the Bulge, the 1st Army Headquarters instructed the tank crews to go down to an ordnance depot and take whatever they needed for the tanks. “We had to take good parts off of one tank and put it on another. We finally got three tanks and a tank destroyer that would operate and run, and had a gun,” he said in an interview with VA. They took the three working tanks and sent them to their C Company. Those three tanks ended up taking out three German tanks, which ended up being members of the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitlerbeing, Hitler’s old body guards.

Jan 25 2017

38mins

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#13: John Lee Dumas - Army Veteran, Entrepreneur on Fire

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Episode 13 features Army Veteran John Lee Dumas. John Lee Dumas is the host of EOFire, an award winning Podcast where he interviews today's most successful Entrepreneurs 7-days a week. JLD has interviewed over 1400 Entrepreneurs and EOFire has over 1 million monthly listens. Covered in Episode 13:  *   The value of VAntage Point  *   Interview with Army Veteran John Lee Dumas     *   John's decision to join the military.     *   Powerful story from his deployment     *   Leaving the military     *   Entrepreneurship     *   Using Puerto Rico VAMC  *   Locating a VA facility using our directory  *   #VeteranOfTheDay Marine Corps Veteran Betty Moseley Brown

Jan 13 2017

36mins

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#67: Sterling Cale - Navy Veteran, Pearl Harbor survivor

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Last year I had the honor to visit Pearl Harbor for the 75th Commemoration of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. The ceremony was sobering, as a naval ship lined with sailors passed by the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. The honor and recognition given to those that lost their lives on December 7, 1941 was echoed by each person in attendance at the official ceremony.

However, the most powerful moments of my trip were not at any of the events or ceremonies. They were when I joined my colleague to interview a handful of Pearl Harbor survivors. We had the pleasure of talking with Alfred "Uncle Al Rodriguez, Everett Hyland, and, today's feature interview, Sterling Cale.

Sterling served in the Navy as a pharmacist's mate and was stationed at Pearl Harbor during the attack. Sterling shares his perspective during the attack, how he responded, and his role in recovering bodies afterwards. His story is profound and one we're honored to have heard straight from him.

Dec 06 2017

20mins

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#53: Alejandro Villanueva – Army Veteran, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle

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One great thing about podcasting is the ability to think, "hey, I want to talk to that person," and then taking action to make it happen. When I learned that Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva is a former Army Ranger, I knew I wanted to talk with him. Al was nice enough to make time for This Week at VA and spoke to us about his experience in the military, transitioning to the NFL, and being a Veteran in a high-exposure arena.

About Alejandro:

Alejandro attended SHAPE American High School (Casteau, Belgium) and after graduating from West Point, he spent 2010-13 serving as an Army officer and served three tours in Afghanistan. He earned numerous honors for his service, including the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, the Ranger Tab, the Parachutist Badge, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman’s Badge and Expert Infantryman’s Badge. He is the son of Ignacio and Mati Villanuev. His father was a Lieutenant Commander in the Spanish Navy and also worked for NATO throughout Europe.

Covered in Episode 53:

  • Where to find the VA podcast
  • Interview Army Veteran Alejandro Villanueva  
    • His decision to attend West Point
    • A story from his deployments
    • Transitioning from military to NFL
    • How he almost didn't get signed
    • Comparing an NFL team to a military unit
    • Being a military Veteran in the high-exposure NFL
  • Volunteering at VA
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Coast Guard Veteran Donald Dewar

Oct 18 2017

26mins

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#NeverForget: Five Veterans share impact 9/11 had on military & community

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On September 11, 2001, four planes crashed on the east coast. Two planes flew into the World Trade Center. One plane skipped off of the ground before hitting the Pentagon. The last plane crashed in an open field in Pennsylvania. Thousands were killed or hurt. Millions were impacted.

 One question we often ask each other is "Where were you on September 11? For some of us, that moment was a day in the military. I think its interesting to see how much the world has changed after that tragic day. So, I curated a set of audio clips from the podcast where guests comment on where they were on 9/11 or how the military around them changed due to the attacks.

Featured audio from:

  • Jared Lyon
  • Kayla Williams
  • John Lee Dumas
  • Skye Marshall
  • Blayne Smith

However, at the end of the day, Patriots Day is about remembrance. The story that sticks out to me from the podcast regarding 9/11 came from Army Veteran Dee McWilliams, who briefly shared how the attack at the Pentagon directly affected her.

We will never forget those that lost. We will never lose our gratitude for those that responded to save others that day. And we will always remember to appreciate those that decided to serve and protect our freedom, inspired by that tragic day.

I hope you all had safe Patriots Day and found your own personal way to remember.

Sep 11 2017

18mins

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#133: Joel Chaverri – Marine Veteran, Vet Center Director

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Vet Centers are one of VA's most valuable and crucial resources. Vet Centers are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional readjustment counseling to eligible Veterans, active duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve components, and their families. Readjustment counseling is offered to make a successful transition from military to civilian life or after a traumatic event experienced in the military. Individual, group, marriage and family counseling is offered in addition to referral and connection to other VA or community benefits and services. Vet Center counselors and outreach staff, many of whom are Veterans themselves, are experienced and prepared to discuss the tragedies of war, loss, grief and transition after trauma.

While I was in Dallas, visited the Vet Center in Arlington, TX and sat down with Vet Center Director Joel Chaverri for an interview. Joel tells us about his time in the Marine Corps, his path to becoming a social worker, and what everyone needs to know about how Vet Centers serve Veterans and their families.

Feb 08 2019

1hr 4mins

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#60: Craig Grossi – Marine Veteran, Author of "Craig and Fred"

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Happy Birthday, Marines! Today's episode features Marine Veteran Craig Grossi, who met his best friend, Fred, in Afghanistan and figured out a way to get him back to the United States. This story is a fun and heart felt one and I know you're going to love it.

Covered in Episode 60:

  • Veterans Day coverage
  • Interview with Marine Veteran Craig Grossi
    • Why Craig joined the Marine Corps
    • Deploying to Afghanistan and meeting Fred
    • Figuring out a way to get Fred home
    • His book "Craig and Fred"
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Marine Corps Veteran Robert Carlos Pahcheka
  • Marine Corps Hymn sung by Navajo Code talker

Nov 10 2017

39mins

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#174 Wreaths Across America w/ Wayne Hanson

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This week’s Borne the Battle features Wayne Hanson, the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Wreaths Across America (WAA).

WAA is a national campaign that coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at over 1,700 national cemeteries, culminating at Arlington National Cemetery. The three-fold purpose of WAA aims to remember fallen U.S Veterans, honor those who currently serve, and teach children the value of freedom. Here, Hanson explains WAA’s humble beginnings and its rise into the national organization that it is today.

In this episode, Hanson discusses his time in the Army and the socio-political atmosphere of when he returned from Vietnam. He talks about transition and his gradual involvement at WAA. Lastly, he shares the four words from a stranger that kept him motivated to work even to this day.

Dec 04 2019

39mins

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#173 On the Firing Line with Marine Veteran Dan Duitsman

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Camp Valor Outdoors’ shooting teams compete in professional matches all over the country. Marine Veteran Dan Duitsman is Camp Valor Outdoors’ Shooting Sports Program Director. His role is to get disabled veterans into competitive shooting – no matter the disability. 

While in the Marine Corps, Dan worked in security forces, counterintelligence and the infantry. Prior to his role at Camp Valor Outdoors, he was a weapons instructor with the U.S. State Department. In this episode he talked about his career, his transition, the recreational-therapeutic benefits of the shooting and how to get involved in Camp Valor Outdoors’ shooting program.

Additional Links:

Nov 27 2019

40mins

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#172 Lakota Warrior and Vietnam Veteran Dr. Robert Primeaux

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Native American Vietnam Veteran Robert Primeaux shared his journey from a Lakota reservation to the Army, to Hollywood.

As a young man, Primeaux was eager to get off the reservation and see the world. To leave, he decided to join the Army. He trained in Fort Lewis and Fort Knox before joining the 101st Airborne Division and sent off to Vietnam.

In 1972, Primeaux returned to the United States. His younger brother had been killed in a car accident, leaving Primeaux as the sole male survivor of his family.

However, he did not stay in the Army long. A car accident of his own put him in a coma for three weeks. After he recovered, he was discharged.

Primeaux then lived on his grandmother’s ranch while he recovered from his injuries. To help with his recovery, he began to self-rehab by working with the horses on the ranch. His love for horses gave him the opportunity to go to school through a rodeo scholarship from the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA).

Between school and living on his family ranch, Primeaux met Michael Apted on the set of Thunderheart in South Dakota. Through this meeting, he landed a stunt role on Thunderheart and become eligible for access to the Union of the Screen Actors Guild.

Later, Robert moved to LA to begin his film career where he landed roles in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and a more prominent role in Rough Riders. This role as Indian Bob was special to Primeaux because the director John Milius specifically created it with him in mind.

Recently, Robert has been advocating for fallen service-members to be enshrines in the NFL Hall of Fame.

Throughout his life, through thick and thin, Primeaux credited the Four Cardinal Lakota Virtues for helping him recover from the Vietnam War and his car accident.

From childhood, Lakota Warriors were taught these four virtues. Primeaux stated that warriors who were taught the true meaning of these virtues learn to treat their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

For more information, find this Borne the Battle episode blog at blogs.va.gov

Nov 20 2019

1hr 4mins

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#171: Seven Summits w/ Benjamin Breckheimer

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Benjamin Breckheimer was a teenager when he watched 9/11 unfold. Like many other young Americans, the images spurred him into action. Right after high school, he enlisted in the Army as an operating room specialist.

The operating room is where Breckheimer served his comrades and met his closest mentor. As fate would have it, Breckheimer would end up on the operating table himself. Breckheimer received serious damages to his body after an improvised explosive device went off under the Stryker he was driving.

The road to recovery was a long one. Hopeless and angry at the world, Breckheimer’s life spiraled out of control to the point of suicidal thoughts. However, with the help of his family, mentor, and a strong support network, Breckheimer was able to get back on his feet.

To get better physically and also to challenge himself and others, Breckheimer started climbing. As time went on, his ascents grew to higher altitudes. To free himself from weight of the past , Breckheimer threw his problems off some of the highest peaks in the world. He is currently on track to be the first ever wounded combat veteran to climb the Seven Summits.

Breckheimer is now partnered with American300. American300 subject matter resiliency experts spend quality time with service members, offering not only their personal stories, but a knowing ear and shoulder heavy in experience. Working with military leadership, American300 tours place mentors in areas of operation repeatedly over the span of several years.  Each return visit features different mentors who shed a light on making the impossible…possible.

Additional Links: #BtBattle Veteran of the Week

Nov 13 2019

1hr 7mins

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#170: Dale Dye, Marine Corps Birthday Episode

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When watching a movie, it’s easy to think that everything is real and true and lifelike. It's no surprise that that isn't always the case, especially with military movies. That's how Marine Veteran Dale Dye got involved. He wanted to tell Hollywood the right way to portray the military on screen.

Dye’s journey to becoming a military technical advisor started when he was a young man. He often overheard his father's inspiring World War II stories. He enlisted in the Marines after seeing a Marines poster.

In service, Dye became a combat correspondent and he often documented battles and life in the Marines during the Vietnam War. It was this experience that he later drew on to advise Hollywood film directors on how to accurately portray the military. His love for the military inspired him to influence the next generation through films, books, and even video games, so he created Warriors Inc. to provide Hollywood with technical advisors for all things military related.

As Dye discussed his experiences, he covered the following topics:

  • His military career in the Marines during the Vietnam War where he received three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with a Combat “V.”
  • His military consultant business Warriors Inc.
  • His 141 credits in film, television and video games.
  • His new projects.
  • His books and publishing company Warriors Publishing.
  • His struggle and treatment of his PTSD.

He emphasized the importance of not only having knowledge about what you are getting into but also knowing that there are people who have gone through the same thing as you that want to help support you.

Dye recently finished the film The Last Full Measure which will hit theaters in early 2020, and his directorial debut, No Better Place to Die, was recently announced.

Additional Helpful Links: #BtBattle Veteran of the Week

Nov 06 2019

1hr 44mins

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#169: Benefits Breakdown - Appeals Modernization

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Executive Director of the Veterans Benefits Administration’s (VBA) Appeals Management Office (AMO) and Army Veteran David McLenachen talks about the appeals modernization process.

McLenachen briefly discussed his service in the Army with counterintelligence. He later left the Army to pursue a career in law. He worked as law clerk for a federal judge before he eventually came to work at the VA.

Before becoming executive director of the VBA’s AMO, McLenachen acted as deputy under secretary for disability assistance. While in this position, he began helping the VBA improve their appeals system in order to better assist Veterans.

The Appeals Modernization Act took effect Feb. 19, 2019. Congress created the act in 2017 to help solve problems VBA had with appeals and claims. The act created three new ways to help Veterans submit appeals and get their results at a quicker pace:

  • Higher-level review
  • Supplemental claim
  • Board of Veterans’ Appeals

McLenachen and the VBA continue to strive to find ways to improve the appeals process. You can reach them through Ask a Question on the Veterans Affairs website.

Additional Helpful Links: #BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Oct 30 2019

54mins

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#168: Coaching NCAA Lacrosse with Marine Veteran Chris Burke and Mitchell Shafer

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This week's Borne the Battle podcast features Marine Corps Veteran Chris Burke and the youngest head coach in NCAA Lacrosse, Mitch Shafer.

Burke discussed his service in the Marines, including his injury and recovery from an IED explosion in Afghanistan. However, Burke's real story begins on what he did after serving in Afghanistan.

When Burke left service, he went back to school, where he planned on joining the lacrosse program in hopes of playing with his younger brother. But his plans didn’t go the way he had hoped. Instead, he found a new sense of purpose, one that reminded him of the camaraderie that he experienced in the Marines. In time, that new sense of purpose led to Burke accepting the position of defensive coordinator at Maryville University.

CHRIS IS THE SECOND VETERAN NCAA COACH TO BE ON BORNE THE BATTLE: CLICK HERE FOR THE #BTBATTLE EPISODE WITH DUKE'S COACH KRZYZEWSKI

Now, at Maryville, with Shafer's help, Burke uses his Marine Corps leadership experience to to mentor and coach his college lacrosse players for more than just on the field. From visiting local VA hospitals to sending care packages overseas, Burke and Shafer lead the lacrosse team in bridging the military-civilian divide.

Additional Links: Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week: 
  • Army Veteran Robert H. Douglas.

Oct 23 2019

1hr 32mins

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#167: Paging Dr. Albert Weed, Green Beret Medic, Army Medical Officer, VA Surgeon

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This week's Borne the Battle podcast features Dr. Albert Weed, whose career has taken him from enlisted Green Beret Army medic to an Army medical officer to VA surgeon. Weed discussed his name, and how his family’s military background and medical experiences led him to, among other things, peacekeeping in Egypt, swimming in Saddam Hussein's pool, and receiving four different DD-214s.

Weed traces his journey's beginnings from high school and later to Special Forces training, where he volunteered to work as a medic. It was during this training when he realized the medical field was where he wanted to be. He was inspired to become an Army medical doctor while doing his clinical. He had just finished a late shift helping labor and deliveries and was planning to take a nap when he was called to the operating room to help. After the operation, Weed went out for a run instead of taking his nap. In that moment, he realized he wanted to pursue a medical career.

Listen as Weed recounts his experiences in the military and medical fields and his current work serving Veterans as a surgeon with the Salem VA Medical Center.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week: Additional Links:

Oct 16 2019

1hr 4mins

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#166: Navy to NASCAR w/ Jesse Iwuji

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Sometimes, all it takes is a whiteboard and a marker to jump-start a dream into reality. This week’s Borne the Battle features guest Jesse Iwuji, whose creative and hardworking mindset led him to overcome great challenges and become a NASCAR driver.

Growing up, Iwuji excelled at both track and football. His high school accomplishments led him to the Naval Academy's football team where he played safety. He graduated from the academy in 2010. After seven years active duty, Jesse transitioned to the Navy Reserve.

After his football career ended, Iwuji found competitiveness in racing. However, he was at a disadvantage compared to his peers who started racing at a very early age: Iwuji started in his mid 20’s. He lacked sponsorship and he wasn’t born into a racing family. Despite this, his determination and led him to a variety of open doors. He funded the first part of his NASCAR K&N racing career through a variety of ways to include starting his own business. Currently he is racing in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

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Talladega Superspeedway, here we come😁! 🏁 @rbr_teams #NASCAR #NavyToNASCAR

A post shared by Jesse Iwuji (@jesse_iwuji) on Oct 8, 2019 at 11:10am PDT

Today, Iwuji represents sponsors from several different organizations, which many help Veterans. He uses racing as a platform to advocate for Veterans' rights and he shares his passion in Veteran communities and schools. To Jesse, nothing is impossible if you have vision and hard work behind it.

Additional Links #BtBattle Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran J.D. Meador II

Oct 09 2019

1hr 12mins

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#165: The Battle of Mogadishu w/ Army Ranger Veteran, Jeff Struecker

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This week’s Borne the Battle episode features guest Jeff Struecker, who discusses his life as a soldier, pastor, and author.

In 1987, Struecker enlisted in the army when he was 18. He excelled, serving in the 75th Ranger Regiment, and he played a pivotal role in the Battle of Mogadishu. He also won the 1996 Best Ranger Competition and was also recognized in 1998 as the U.S Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Noncommisioned Officer of the Year.

After his time as a Ranger, Struecker received a commission as a chaplain in April 2000. He continued to serve as a chaplain for the next 11 years, eventually retiring in January 2011 after having served multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

After leaving service, Struecker became a pastor, and in his free time, he has participated in numerous films, written books and speaks to a variety of audiences about his faith and his time in service.

Additional Links: #BtBattle Veteran of the Week

Oct 02 2019

51mins

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#164: Benefits Breakdown - VA Vet Centers

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2019 marks the 40th Anniversary of VA's Vet Centers. They started as outreach for Vietnam Veterans who did not utilize the VA as much as WWII Veterans.

This week’s interview is Pennsylvania National Guard Veteran Michael Fisher who is the Senior Readjustment Counselor. He leads and has direct oversight of over 300 Vet Centers, 80 Mobile Vet Centers and the Vet Center Call Center. We broke it all down - how vet centers started, their differences between them and VA Medical Centers, their services and who is eligible. 

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week: 

Sep 25 2019

53mins

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#163: Helping Reunite Veteran Families w/ Nathan Goncalves - Army Veteran, Equal Justice Works Fellow

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On this week’s episode, Borne the Battle features guest Nathan Goncalves, who shares his story of struggle and perseverance.

While Goncalves didn’t have the intrinsic calling to join the military, he enlisted at 23, seeking reform and discipline. It was in the Army that Goncalves sharpened his focus and developed lifelong friendships and mentors.

Rough transition

However, Goncalves' transition back to civilian life was not easy. In fact, it turned out to be some of his lowest valleys--involving addiction, PTSD, and anger management.

But things started to change when Goncalves heard he was going to be a father. In this episode, he discusses how an intense work ethic allowed him to achieve a bachelor’s degree at UCLA in less than three years.

Goncalves applied to UCLA’s Law school to study corporate law. He was accepted, but a bitter divorce hampered those plans. Through his own experiences, Goncalves realized there was no advocacy for situations like his own. So he sacrificed a potentially lucrative corporate law career and switched to family law to offer services to homeless and low-income Veterans.

Goncalves is now hosted by Harriet BuHai Center for Family Law and sponsored in house by Equal Justice Works. He continues to fight for family integration for homeless and low-income Veterans as they transition back into the civilian communities.

Listen to the full episode HERE Additional Links: #BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Sep 18 2019

1hr 30mins

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Bonus Episode! - Mel Brooks, Adrian Cronauer, 2019 Military Influencer Conference Roundup

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For months, I’ve been promising a special bonus podcast episode for when Born the Battle received its 100th rating and/or review on iTunes.

We did it! But, before we get to Mel Brooks and the late Adrian Cronauer. 

In five months, our listenership has increased 500%. You’ve allowed more Veterans, VA employees and civilians to hear these amazing stories and to take advantage of all the benefit breakdowns in our archives.

Thank You.

Sep 17 2019

26mins

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#162: September 11th with Dr. John Baxter - Air Force Veteran, 9/11 First Responder, SecDef's Flight Surgeon

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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.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week: Additional Links:

Sep 11 2019

59mins

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#161: Todd Boeding – Marine Veteran, Carry the Load

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On this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Tanner Iskra interviews guest Todd Boeding, who shares his past, present and future as a Marine Corps Veteran, as well as his involvement honoring Veterans through Carry the Load.

Born and raised in Texas, Boeding was always known to take unorthodox paths in life. He dabbled in college, left for the Marine Corps seeking structure and discipline, and eventually returned to finish up his degree at The University of Texas at Dallas.

Since leaving the Marine Corps in 2003, Boeding discussed the hardest part of the transition back to civilian life: finding a sense of belonging. Boeding was able to find his purpose of being part of something bigger through Carry the Load.

Carry the Load offers opportunities to learn how to care again and to do it in a way that meaningfully impacts the families who lost their loved ones. Currently, Carry the Load is partnering with the National Cemetery Association on September 11th to help maintain the dignity of cemeteries.

If you would like to learn more or want to help in this movement, click on this link: www.carrytheload.org/NCA.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week: Additional Links:

Sep 04 2019

52mins

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#160: Benefits Breakdown – Assistive Technology Program

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In episode 157, we spoke with Army Veteran Ursula Draper about her role in the development of an Assistive Technology (AT) program. In this week's Benefits Breakdown, we take a deeper dive into how this program works and who is able to access it.

The AT program will sound familiar to those who know Darwin’s Theory of Adaptation. The adaptation theory--also known as survival theory, or survival of the fittest--is an organism’s ability to adapt to changes in its environment and adjust accordingly. The Assistive Technology program helps Veterans to do just that.

The AT program, which began in 2008, aims to improve the lives of disabled Veterans by allowing them to maintain independence by completing everyday tasks. It helps Veterans with computer use and accessibility, voice activated technologies, drive control for wheelchairs, and even giving them the ability to turn lights on and off.

VA created four main hubs for instructing those granted into the program: Minneapolis, MN; Tampa, Fl; Richmond, VA; and Palo Alto, CA.

In this episode we look at:
  • How the program started.
  • How a Veteran can apply to the program.
  • Some Examples of the technology being developed.

Enjoy.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week: Additional Links:

Aug 28 2019

29mins

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#159: Curtez Riggs – Army Veteran, Entrepreneur, Military Influencer Conference

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School. Military. Streets. In 1996, Curtez Riggs graduated high school and those were his options in Flint, Michigan. By that time, the auto industry that built “Buick City” had moved away. As a kid, Curtez picked up bottles, turned in cans and always had a side gig to bring in extra money. When it came time to make the decision, Curtez figured the Army was the best way to start his future.

His entrepreneurship did not stop when he joined the Army. Curtez continuously started businesses outside of his day job as a career recruiter. In this episode, you will hear how Curtez prepared for his military transition - years before he ended his active service.

Currently, Curtez is the CEO of the Military Influencer Conference (MIC). Started in 2016, the conference is a community of entrepreneurs, influencers, creatives, executives, and leaders who are connected to the military community. Curtez said he sees the conference as a mentorship and connection hub for future and current military Veterans looking to make the military transition with an entrepreneurial mindset. This year’s conference is in Washington, D.C., Sept. 8-10. Starting in 2020, the conference will be placed in a different region each year.

The conference has certain tracks attendees can follow:

  • “Going Live” – Podcasters and Video
  • Real Estate
  • Founders and Innovators
  • Social Impact
  • Content Creators
  • Empower – Milspouse Track
  • Workshops
  • Mighty Talks
#BtBattle Veteran of the Week Enjoy the episode. Additional Links:

Aug 21 2019

1hr 6mins

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#158: David Gowel – Army Veteran, RallyPoint CEO

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This week’s Borne the Battle interview is with Army Iraq War Veteran, David Gowel, a West Point and Ranger School graduate who later became an assistant professor at MIT’s ROTC program. David is currently the CEO of RallyPoint, a military-themed social media network. Which begs the question: just how does a former armor platoon leader become the CEO for a social media company? And, with a crowded social landscape that includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat and others, why would anyone join yet another social media network?

This week’s guest lays out his case. In the interview, he also shares tips and pointers for expanding your own social media network.

Prior to becoming RallyPoint’s CEO, David and his wife started their own company that helped other companies leverage social media tools to improve their business models. For LinkedIn specifically, David would consult on how to network on the platform without “harassing people.” This experience led him to also write the book, “The Power in a Link: Open Doors, Close Deals and Change the Way You Do Business Using LinkedIn.

RallyPoint is a social media network that caters to the active duty and Veteran experience. In the interview, David explains how partnering with VA’s Veteran Experience Office has enabled RallyPoint to organize discussions and “Command Post” messages around VA's Veteran’s Journey Map, which portrays the life stage moments--and VA experiences--that Veterans typically experience.

Currently there are 1.7 million RallyPoint members, many of whom, in addition to active duty and Veterans, are family members, caregivers, civilian recruiters, and VA and DoD civilians.

Enjoy the episode.

Additional Links: #BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Aug 14 2019

40mins

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#157: Ursula Draper – Army Veteran, Occupational Therapist, Assistive Technology Professional

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Since some veterans have multiple traumas, known as polytrauma, VA dedicates resources to help Veterans with very complex issues.

This week's Borne the Battle interview is with Army Veteran Ursula Draper, who developed the VA Assistive Technology Program in 2010.

Draper, an Army Veteran, spent six years working as an ophthalmic technician at Martin Army Hospital at Fort Benning, Georgia. Using her GI Bill, Ursula received her bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy from East Carolina University. She then operated her own private practice in Orlando, Florida, for over 20 years, specializing in Sensory Integration and pediatrics. Wanting to give back to the Veterans, she then pursued a career in the Veterans Health Administration working with spinal cord injuries. In 2009, she began working at the Veterans Administration, specializing in spinal cord injury and traumatic brain Injuries.

The Assistive Technology program tries to meet Veteran needs. The program finds adaptive ways for Veterans to access their environment, such as turning on lights or accessing computers. Specific areas of AT intervention include:

  • Mobility Assistive Equipment
  • Adapted Computer Access
  • Electronic Aids to Daily Living/Environmental Control Units
  • Augmentative & Alternative Communication
  • Electronic Cognitive Devices
  • Adapted Automotive Equipment
  • Adapted Sports & Recreation Equipment
Additional Links to this week’s Episode:  #BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

Enjoy.

Aug 07 2019

47mins

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#156: Daniel Sharp – Marine Veteran, CEO PopSmoke Media, Smokepit Podcast Host

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If you have a Facebook or Instagram account, you either follow this week's guest or have seen his work shared on your social media feed. This week’s Borne The Battle episode interview is with Marine Veteran Daniel Sharp, the Chief Executive Officer of PopSmoke Media and podcast host of The Smokepit.

Sharp talks about his transition from the Marine Corps after 11 years of service as an infantryman to starting his own media company, to developing his podcast. We also go into his personal relationship with his local VA Medical Center. He said his experience with Veterans Affairs started out difficult, but he worked to hold himself accountable to identify solutions and make sure the care worked for him. Sharp also talks about the stress of combat and the support network that can help mitigate those stresses.

Currently, his podcast has listeners in 55 different countries.

Additional Links to this week’s Episode: #BtBattle Veterans of the Week:

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

  • Navy Veteran Neil Armstrong
  • Air Force Veteran Michael Collins
  • Air Force Veteran Buzz Aldrin

Jul 31 2019

1hr 6mins

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