The Best Cities for Veterans
May 1, 2015
The Top Cities Veterans Can Call Home
Retiring from the military? The best cities for a life after service
Support in Transition: Job Training and Placement Programs for Veterans
December 2, 2015
Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program
Sometimes veterans sustain injuries in combat that leave them disabled, but that does not mean they do not deserve an equal opportunity at employment. The DVOP trains specialists who are then sent to employment offices, military bases and veterans' outreach centers across the U.S. These specialists are in place to help disabled veterans find suitable work and to maintain the fair treatment of disabled former servicemembers in the workplace. Read more about this program in the infographic below.
Local Veterans Employment Representative Program
This program organizes workers that act as advocates for veterans in the civilian workforce. LVER makes sure that all veterans in the area are informed of the services available to them. The program also reaches out to local former servicemembers interested in job training and social services counseling. To learn more about LVER, check out the infographic below.
When veterans transition to civilian life, it should be a time of excitement not stress. The programs listed in the infographic below were created specifically to make the transition a little easier for former servicemembers.
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Best places for Military discounts
December 2, 2015
Military members dedicate their lives and their careers to serving others, so it is only right that society gives back to these individuals in some way. Many businesses offer military discounts to show their gratitude to servicemembers and veterans. The most common areas that offer these discounts are restaurants, outings and services.
There is nothing quite as special as sharing a meal with family, especially when your servicemember has been deployed for awhile. Restaurants like Fuddrucker's, Texas Roadhouse and Bennigan's are three of the most popular military-friendly dining establishments. See the infographic below for the specific discounts at each location.
Military life can be stressful on both servicemembers and families. Sometimes it is nice to escape it all for a day. Park Ride Fly USA, the off-site parking lots for airports, offer great military discounts that will making getting away even easier. Sandals Resorts make a great vacation for military families, as the company offers discounted travel packages for servicemembers. For military families who would rather stay closer to home, Showcase Cinemas also offer discounted tickets to servicemembers and their families upon the presentation of a valid military ID.
What better way to honor servicemembers than by providing discount services? Every servicemember and his or her family will need to go grocery shopping at some point and CostCo has them covered. The grocery chain offers military discounts on their items, making the life of military members a little easier. Apple and AT&T also want to make things easier for servicemembers by offering a discount on electronics and phone/internet services.
Military members deserve gratitude for their service, and many businesses show their appreciation by offering discounted goods and services for individuals with a military ID. For a more in-depth look at places that offer military discounts, check out the infographic below.
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Top Summer Destinations - Fun For Every Family
August 12, 2015
Make new memories with the family this summer by going to one of the many getaways in the U.S. Whether you’re a group of nature-lovers or thrill-seekers, there are trips for every family. Here are some of the top family-friendly destinations to consider this summer.
Yellowstone National Park boasts over 10,000 hydrothermal features, including geysers and travertine terraces. As you embark on unforgettable hikes through this national treasure, you can learn about the park’s long history and admire the unique flora and fauna.
The Grand Canyon is equally breathtaking. Here, you can hike, raft, and even ride a mule through this 1,218,375 acre world heritage site. The Grand Canyon is also home to some of the rare ecosystems in the world, like the boreal forest.
At Niagara Falls, you can get up-close and personal with the 750,000 gallons of water that thunder over the falls every second. Take a boat cruise through the oldest national park in the U.S. for a different perspective on this natural wonder. With day hikes and nighttime fireworks shows, your family will be plenty busy.
Disney World is undoubtedly one of the most popular summer destinations. It is known for its exciting attractions that cater to kids and adults alike. With four theme parks and two parks to explore, everyday will be an adventure.
For history buffs
Follow in the footsteps of America’s Founding Fathers by taking a trip to historic Williamsburg. The kids’ history lessons will come to life in a variety of historical reenactments, and everyone in the family can learn something new in the art museums and workshops.
As the heart of the Revolution, Boston has many sites for the history buffs in your family. Walk the footsteps of the Revolutionaries along the Freedom Trail and see such sites as the Old North Church where Paul Revere looked for the signal lanterns that indicated whether the British would arrive by land or sea.
Myrtle Beach is the premiere South Carolina destination for fun in the sun. Sit back and enjoy the ocean view or practice your swing at the many golf courses in the area. Myrtle Beach is the best place to enjoy the beach and experience the famous southern hospitality.
Enjoy the Rockies and the Great Plains in lovely Colorado Springs. This laid-back city offers everything from hot air balloon rides to museums. There is plenty of scenery to appreciate here, as well.
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Dos and don'ts of displaying the flag at home
March 23, 2015
As a servicemember, the American flag undoubtedly has significant meaning in your life. Because it is such an important symbol, it is vital that you display it properly and with pride. To avoid accidentally disrespecting this emblem that holds such importance to you, use these pointers when exhibiting it at home.
- Fly the flag proudly on buildings or flagstaffs from dawn until dusk.
- Purchase an all-weather flag if you plan to hang it year-round.
- Dispose of unserviceable flags properly by contacting your local American Legion Post, which usually holds dignified flag burning ceremonies each year on Flag Day.
- Try to prevent the flag from touching anything beneath it, particularly the ground.
- Display the flag after dark unless you have it properly illuminated.
- Let the flag sustain damage from neglect or harsh weather, since this can be seen as a sign of disrespect.
- Burn the flag in public and without discretion. This will likely be mistaken for a protest or act of rebellion.
- Let the flag touch the ground. If it does by accident, there is no need to destroy it as long as it is suitable for use.
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Best cities to work in when not on active duty
February 9, 2015
As a member of the military, you know that choosing where you should live and work when you are not on active duty involves a number of considerations. But this decision is about more than just housing costs, job opportunities and climate. Make the most of your military status by seeking out military-friendly cities that best suit your lifestyle.
1. Boston, Massachusetts
Known for its role in American history, this New England city has many military-friendly institutions and veteran-friendly employers. For example, the University of Massachusetts Boston was recently named a Military Friendly School for the second year in a row.
2. Baltimore, Maryland
Take advantage of housing niches in this city and attend the many career fairs that cater specifically to members of the military.
3. Omaha, Nebraska
There are over 200 veteran-owned businesses in this Midwestern state, where summers range from mid- to high 80s and winters dip into the mid-30s. The city also features a number of colleges and universities.
4. Phoenix, Arizona
Known for its desert climate, this city is home to Luke Air Force Base, over 200 military-friendly employers and many military-friendly schools.
5. Dallas, Texas
The bustling metropolis has been a favorite among military personnel for many years and is known for its many military-friendly resources.
6. Charleston, South Carolina
Home to a renowned military college, Charleston has many housing and career opportunities for military personnel.
7. Washington, D.C.
This patriotic spot seems like a natural choice - of course the country's capital would boast a number of military-friendly schools and employers.
8. Columbus, Ohio
Military-friendly employers and schools, coupled with a low cost of living and low unemployment rates, make Columbus a great destination for military personnel.
9. Houston, Texas
With hundreds of veteran-owned businesses and over 300 military-friendly employers, Houston is a popular destination for military personnel.
10. San Antonio, Texas
With a relatively low unemployment rate - currently 4.3 percent - military personnel would do well in this city.
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Keeping Fit When You Become a Veteran
September 18, 2014
You've finally completed your service to our great nation. This transition period can be wrought with changes like finding a permanent location, job-hunting and navigating veterans benefits. It may be tempting to kick back and relax amid all these stressors, but you can’t let your physical fitness fall by the wayside. Luckily, you can stay healthy with some less strenuous activities that you can enjoy by yourself or with friends and family.
A healthy mind and body
According to the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of a normal, brisk walk can be tremendous. Regular walking can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of coronary artery disease and other heart illnesses, strengthen your bones and even improve your mood. The same goes for running and weight lifting. Those health benefits can increase if you go farther, travel faster and walk more frequently. If you want to improve your mood and stay active and healthy, consider a regular brisk walk around the block.
Then again, maybe you want to have fun while you stay in shape. There are dozens of recreational activities you can engage in to work up a sweat and stay healthy. According to NutriStrategy, you can burn hundreds of calories by playing a sport or tackling other pulse-pounding events such as:
- Bowling can burn around 200 calories
- Leisure bicycling can burn roughly 250 calories
- Running 3 miles will burn 200 - 300 calories depending on your pace
- Backpacking or hiking can burn close to 450 calories
- Competitive basketball and touch football can burn an excess of 500 calories
- Active swimming can burn over 600 calories
- Just nine holes of golf will burn over 700 calories if you carry your bag
There are plenty of ways to stay fit and entertained. You don't have to hit the gym constantly. You can shoot around with friends on the court, pass a ball or hit the beach for a swim to stay fit and healthy.
Tailor your diet
At the same time, you may want to hold back on binge eating pizza and unhealthy snack foods even if you're off duty. Remember, everything in moderation. You can keep your diet and your health in check by eating healthier foods regularly, and you don't have to sacrifice all your favorite meals to stay healthy. According to the Whole Grains Council, you can reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes, help maintain your weight and improve many other facets of health just by switching to whole-grain foods instead of refined-grain foods.
Focus on eating lean protein and getting a high dose of fruits and vegetables during your time off. Chicken and fish are great sources of lean protein. When it comes to eating healthy, it's all about balance and portion sizes. If you're determined to track your dietary habits, try using the services on the United States Department of Agriculture's Choose My Plate website. You can use this free online tool to create a specialized meal plan to suit your lifestyle, and it even hosts current data about many different food items and exercises.
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A Look at Post-Military Education
May 7, 2014
Life after service opens up a bevy of options for returning veterans. Many servicemembers are passionate about pursuing education in their years after the military, as this represents a great chance to gain an edge in a competitive job market. Understanding the education standards corresponding to veterans will help make post-service opportunities easily navigable, helping veterans flourish. Former servicemembers currently inhabit a small portion of undergraduate students, consisting of only 3 percent of students on campus. Therefore, many are eager to see veterans seize the opportunities they are entitled to under the GI Bill, especially as the unemployment rate of veterans currently hovers around 9 percent. Pursuing education opportunities can help rectify this relatively high rate - and knowing options can dispel fears of what veterans may think the civilian world holds for them.
Veterans on Campus- An Eclectic Variety of Persons
According to the National Education Association, veterans on campus are an eclectic and diverse bunch, making uniform statements on veterans experience on campus difficult. Furthermore, 47 percent of veterans are married upon entering college, ensuring that their experience will differ vastly from a typical undergraduate. The source noted that fellow students should avoid asking offensive questions related to the war, as a civilian may think the battlefield is an acceptable topic for conversation, while a typical veteran will probably not want to dredge up the recent past. The source noted that this same principle applies to political statements related to the military, as they may prick the feelings of a nearby veteran. As thousands of soldiers have used the GI Bill to pursue an education, this a great point to keep in mind.
Ways Veterans Can Integrate into Campus Life
According to Military.com, there are various ways a veteran on campus can get involved in campus activities, meeting friends and professors who share similar interests. The majority of veterans, about 47 percent, obtain a bachelor's degree, but smaller segments of veterans also pursue associate's and master's degrees. A veterans level of involvement will probably depend on time spent on campus, with the smallest level of involvement available through events like one day service trips, according to the source. If the veteran is satisfied with this, a move up to a semester-long commitment may be in order. An example of this could be joining a pep band if a veteran is a passionate instrumentalist, while an artistically inclined veteran can seek out local art galleries and attempt to make a mark. The source noted the innumerable ways to get involved.
Typical Majors Veterans Pursue
CNN suggested a variety of jobs that are excellent for using the rigorous skills a veteran learned in the military. Unsurprisingly, the source noted that law-enforcement is a common avenue that is pursued by servicemembers in life after military. CNN noted that a security manager is suited to the particular set of skills needed to succeed in the military. Another option for military men and women is the lucrative field of analytics. According the source, a senior policy analyst helps craft policies that affect an entire company. For a veteran, who may have commanded entire battalions during time in the military, this could present an easy shift. Making fast decisions can bring the fast paced and forthright life of a military policy maker to the equally competitive business world, creating a civilian role that a veteran can flourish in.
This information can be a helpful primer for a returning veteran, allowing insightful decisions to be made regarding what to pursue in post-military-life.
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U.S. Military Families by the Numbers
April 1, 2014
Much is made about the statistics of the U.S. Armed Forces - how many members, where they are stationed, what equipment they are deployed with, just to name a few. In fact, the U.S. military relies on effective intelligence regarding its military to ensure quick and efficient performance in the field.
For military families, the same may be true. By understanding the facts and figures about life married to a member of the military, both spouses and children can benefit from a view of the bigger picture of what it means to be part of a military family.
Marrying a servicemember
While some statistics about military families may seem fairly predictable, others run counter to the common images of servicemembers and their spouses. For example, 80 percent of all partners of servicemembers are women 35-years-old or younger. On the other hand, only 5 percent of military spouses are men.
This may fall in line with a preponderance of men in the Armed Forces, but a surprising number of active duty members - more than 50 percent - are married. The numbers is slightly greater for enlisted personnel - 53 percent – and even higher for officers - 65 percent.
Of course, there are rare cases where both spouses of a military family are active duty servicemembers. These military families make up 6.7 percent of all marriages in the Armed Forces.
The military family unit
Spouses only make up one part of the military family, however, and 38.7 percent of all families have married parents caring for children as opposed to 5.2 percent of single parents. The average family is 2.4 members, and the average age for children is weighted toward the younger side. Families with children ages 0 to 5 comprise 37.5 percent of the demographic, ages 6 to 11 account for 30.4 percent and ages 12 to 18 make up 24.9 percent of military children.
Living a military life
Military families may experience different life events than the rest of the population, with the time between relocations due to base closures or deployments occurring every two to three years on average.
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The Evolving Roles of Women in the Military
February 7, 2014
Although the Department of Defense lifted the ban on women serving in combat roles just one year ago, women have been valuable members of the military since the American Revolution. Whether disguising themselves as men - as Deborah Sampson did during the Revolutionary War - or following their husbands to the outskirts of the battlefields to provide medical care and assistance, women have long been finding ways to serve their country during wartime.
However, it wasn't until World War I when women were allowed to officially enter the ranks. According to the U.S. Army website, the National Service School was established in 1916 by the Women's Naval Service to train women in military operations. As the need for troops persisted, the Army, Navy and Marine Corps began soliciting female soldiers. Overall, more than 35,000 women served in World War I, with nearly 21,000 working in the Army Nurse Corps.
Although the Army Reorganization Act of 1920 issued officer status with "relative rank" to military nurses, women weren't granted permanent military status until 1948, according to the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation. The Women's Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 marked a turning point for female soldiers, as it made them full, active members of the regular and reserve forces.
Despite the ban on women fulfilling combat roles, which was instated by the Pentagon in 1994, The New York Times reported that hundreds of thousands of female soldiers were deployed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. As of 2012, more than 800 women had been wounded during the conflict.
Currently, there are more than 214,000 women soldiers, representing 14.6 percent of active-duty personnel, according to data compiled by the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The Army has the highest number of female soldiers - more than 76,000. Approximately 30 percent of active-duty female soldiers fulfill medical roles, while another 30 percent work in administrative positions.
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