4 Vietnam War heroes you've never heard of - We Are The Mighty
Veterans

4 Vietnam War heroes you’ve never heard of

There was no shortage of heroes in the Vietnam War. Whether fighting in the pitched battles of the Ia Drang, in Hue City, or in the skies above, American troops served with valor.


Here are four lesser known heroes of that conflict:

1. Drew Dix — U.S. Army

 

4 Vietnam War heroes you’ve never heard of
President Johnson poses with four U.S. servicemen to whom he presented the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam. Left to right: Navy Lt. Clyde E. Lassen, Marine Maj. Stephen W. Pless, President Johnson, Air Force Lt. Col. Joe M. Jackson, and Army Staff Sgt. Drew D. Dix. January 16, 1969. (Photo: Dept. of Defense)

Maj. Drew Dix holds a unique place in military history. He was the last of four men from the city of Pueblo, Colorado, to receive the Medal of Honor and he was also the first Special Forces soldier to receive the Medal of Honor.

If there is indeed “something in the water,” as President Eisenhower said, then Dix must have had more than his fair share. Dix first enlisted in the U.S. Army hoping to join Special Forces but had spent three years in the 82nd Airborne Division before being accepted.

By 1968, Dix was a Staff Sergeant serving as a Special Forces advisor in Vietnam. On January 31, 1968, the first day of the Tet Offensive, Dix was stationed near Chau Phu when the city was attacked by two heavily armed Viet Cong battalions.

Supervising Vietnamese soldiers, Dix led his small group on an attack into the city. Receiving information that civilians were trapped, Dix systematically, and sometimes single-handedly, attacked multiple buildings, killing or driving out enemy forces and rescuing some fourteen civilians from the battlefield.

Over two days of fighting, Dix, while leading his small group, was also credited with fourteen enemy killed and possibly as many as 25 more while capturing a further twenty enemy.

2. George “Bud” Day — U.S. Air Force

4 Vietnam War heroes you’ve never heard of

Col. George Day’s story starts the day his F-100 was shot out of the sky over Vietnam on August 26, 1967.

Then-Major Day was leading a Misty Forward Air Control flight when his plane was crippled by anti-aircraft fire. He ejected but was badly injured in the process. Not long after reaching the ground, he was captured and taken to a small POW camp.

According to his Medal of Honor citation, he tricked the guards and made a break for it into the jungle.

Despite his injuries, and incurring more, Day traveled south towards the DMZ. He survived on berries and raw frogs. He made it very close to American lines but was unable to signal several American planes overhead.

Suffering from delirium, he began wondering aimlessly until he was recaptured by the Viet Cong who shot him in the hand and leg in the process.

Once in captivity, Day offered nothing but maximum resistance to the enemy and kept the faith with his fellow POWs. Along with receiving the Medal of Honor for his bravery in escape and resistance also received the Air Force Cross for his staunch refusal to cooperate.

To date he is the only man to receive both awards.

3. Jay Vargas — U.S. Marine Corps

4 Vietnam War heroes you’ve never heard of
Jay R. Vargas, USMC (retired); recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions during the Vietnam War. (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Col. Jay Vargas was a Captain leading Company G, 2nd Battalion, Fourth Marines, when he assaulted the village of Dai Do on May 1, 1968.

The previous day he had already received painful wounds but had refused to be evacuated. Despite his wounds and a large volume of enemy fire, Vargas successfully maneuvered his company and two others through open ground to gain a foothold in the village.

When his men became pinned down, Vargas personally led the relief effort and then led the attack into the village. Wounded for a second time, Vargas again refused to be evacuated and continued the fight to ensure that the objective was secure.

No sooner had Vargas secured the perimeter than enemy counterattacks and probes began, but the Marines held through the night.

After receiving reinforcements, the Marines again went on the offensive. When a massive enemy counterattack threatened to drive back their position, Vargas remained in the open, offering aid and encouragement to the beleaguered Marines.

He was then hit for a third time in as many days. Ignoring his wounds once again, Vargas continued to lead his Marines until he saw his battalion commander go down.

Charging through a hail of gunfire, Vargas successfully evacuated his commander to safety before rejoining his Marines and reorganizing their defense.

For his actions over those three days, Vargas received the Medal of Honor.

4. Thomas Norris – U.S. Navy

Lt. Thomas R. Norris and Petty Officer 3rd Class Nguyen Van Kiet. Norris was awarded the Medal of Honor and Kiet was recognized with the Silver Star. 

On April 2, 1972, an EB-66 carrying Lt. Col. Iceal Hambleton was shot down near the DMZ and right in the middle of the North’s Easter Offensive. Hambleton’s extensive knowledge of critical information made him a high priority for rescue.

However, efforts by air led to the loss of additional aircraft and more airmen killed. Finally, an attempt by ground was ordered.

The man in charge of the mission was U.S. Navy Seal Lt. Thomas Norris. He initially led a five-man team into hostile territory and was able to recover another downed flyer, Lt. Mark Clark – son of WWII General Mark Clark, who had been shot down searching for Hambleton.

Norris then led another mission but was unsuccessful in locating Hambleton. With time running out Norris devised a daring mission.

Norris, accompanied only by a South Vietnamese Commando, Nguyen Van Kiet, disguised themselves as fishermen and traveled deep into enemy territory. Patrolling through enemy infested jungles, Norris was able to locate Hambleton.

He loaded Hambleton into their sampan and covered him with bamboo and successfully navigated their way back to American lines while evading North Vietnamese patrols.

Just as they were reaching their base, they came under intense enemy fire, which Norris neutralized with a well-placed air strike.

For his highly successful, highly classified mission Norris was awarded the Medal of Honor. Nguyen Van Kiet became one of the few Vietnamese to receive the Navy Cross.

Articles

Buzz kill: States might have legalized pot, but the feds still haven’t

4 Vietnam War heroes you’ve never heard of
Marijuana, along with nine other substances, is specifically prohibited under Article 112a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and penalties for its use can range from a general discharge to dishonorable discharge (for positive results of a urinalysis) and even imprisonment for possession.


During election week, four states legalized medicinal marijuana use, joining a list of 40 states and the District of Columbia in saying “Mary Jane is a friend of mine — in some form or another.”

The federal government, however, is saying “not if you value your 2nd amendment rights.”

Currently, marijuana is legal for recreational use in Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Washington D.C.

Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota all voted last week to allow medical marijuana use, joining 17 other states who acknowledge the medicinal value of cannabis.

Outside of those 29 states, limited medical marijuana use (which generally refers to cannabis extracts) is legal in 15 other states.

The states that don’t allow any type of marijuana use are Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Indiana, and West Virginia.

While the Veterans Administration admits that it hasn’t conducted any studies to determine if medical marijuana can successfully treat PTSD, they do admit that there seems to be anecdotal evidence to support that claim.

Use of “oral CBD [cannabidiol] has been shown to decrease anxiety in those with and without clinical anxiety” the VA notes.

The VA goes on to explain that an ongoing trial of THC, one of the compounds in cannabis, shows the compound to be “safe and well tolerated” among participants with PTSD, and that it results in “decreased hyperarousal symptoms.”

According to an investigation by PBS’s “Frontline,” marijuana’s “danger” label came about predominantly as a result of a smear campaign against immigrants between 1900 and the 1930s.

The network acknowledges a report from the New York Academy of Medicine that states that, despite popular opinion, marijuana does not “induce violence, insanity or sex crimes, or lead to addiction or other drug use.” That report has not been refuted by scientific research to date.

In 1972, President Nixon ordered the Shafer Commission to look at decriminalizing marijuana use, and the commission determined that the personal use of it should, in fact be decriminalized.

President Nixon, according to PBS, rejected that recommendation.

To this day, marijuana use and possession is a federal crime, despite being overwhelmingly accepted by nearly all of the country in some form or another.

So why does this matter to the military and veteran community?

It all comes down to federal law. While a majority of the country recognizes the benefits and harmlessness of cannabis, the federal government does not.

In fact, the feds say marijuana users immediately forfeit their Second Amendment rights by consuming cannabis.

On September 7th the Washington Post reported that the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that federal law “prohibits gun purchases by an ‘unlawful user and/or addict of any controlled substance.’ ”

The court claims that marijuana users “experience altered or impaired mental states that affect their judgement” and that this impaired judgement leads to “irrational” behavior, despite the findings by both the New York Academy of Medicine and the Shafer Commission to the contrary.

Background checks for firearms purchases require buyers to acknowledge whether they are a “habitual user” of marijuana and other illegal drugs. If they truthfully answer “yes,” they are barred from buying a gun. That means gun buyers in states that legalized marijuana use had better not indulge in the new right.

Will this change any time soon?

To answer that question, one needs to look at how legalization has impacted the finances in the states that have made pot kosher. After-all, money makes the world go ’round.

According to CheatSheet, Oregon banked $3.5 million in its first month of recreational marijuana sales. Washington State hit the jackpot with $70 million its first year, and Colorado rolled a fat one with $135 million in 2015 alone.

That was enough for the U.S. Congress to pause and say “let’s think about this.” Currently sitting in the Senate right now is S.683 , or the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARES).

Introduced by Democrat New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker in March 2015, the act moves to transfer marijuana from a schedule I to a schedule II drug, protect marijuana dispensaries from being penalized for selling marijuana, and directs the VA to authorize medical providers to “provide veterans with recommendations and opinions regarding participation in state marijuana programs”, among other things.

To give an idea of what a schedule II drug is, the U.S. Department of Justice lists ADHD medication as a schedule II drug.

So when will marijuana use be decriminalized on a federal level? It’s too soon to tell.

Until then, veterans will have to choose between our pot and our guns.

Articles

This Marine vet took his sick dog on a life-changing road trip

Marine veteran Robert Kugler traveled with his dog, Bella, across the country and throughout the East Coast after doctors told him that Bella’s bone cancer would kill her within a year.


Now, 16 months after that notice, Kugler and Bella have proved the doctors wrong and are still moving together and making the most of what time she has left.

My ball now, suckas!! #GoBellaGo #JustKeepSwimming #LiveNowTour

A photo posted by Robert Kugler (@robkugler) on Jul 25, 2016 at 4:59pm PDT

Kugler was getting ready to graduate college on the GI Bill in 2015 when he heard the news that Bella had bone cancer. A May 2015 amputation of Bella’s front left leg bought her some time, but veterinarians were still pessimistic about her chances. That’s when Kugler decided that he wanted to give her a proper send-off.

“I just was kind of looking at her, and just imagining her being gone when I came home from work,” he told WATM. “I just said, ‘You know what? Let’s take off for a little while.'”

A photo posted by Robert Kugler (@robkugler) on Jul 28, 2016 at 7:59am PDT

Since that decision, Bella and Kugler have been traveling together around the country. Like Kugler, Bella loves being in nature.

“We were in the Adirondacks, in upstate New York,” Kugler said. “That has been some of our best nature time together during this period. … Our hikes in the Adirondacks are probably some of my favorite times that we’ve had together, like near Lake Placid.”

Bella, who Kugler adopted in 2007 with his then-wife, is great with people and is known for enthusiastically greeting almost anyone she meets.

“Bella’s still very independent,” Kugler said. “She wants to meet new people, but she’s also just very curious about how they smell, if they have food for her. ‘You got food? Who’s got food? Do you have food for me?’ She gets a little spoiled.”

This has allowed Kugler to meet and help encourage people he wouldn’t have connected with otherwise.

“We meet a little girl in a wheelchair that just falls in love with Bella before she even realizes that she has three legs. Bella stands up, and the girl is like, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s like me,’ ” Kugler said.

A photo posted by Robert Kugler (@robkugler) on Jul 16, 2016 at 2:21pm PDT

As Kugler describes it, he and Bella are just, “Out exploring the world with my dog, and encouraging people to get outside and drop their social barriers and their boundaries, to just live on this tiny blue speck together as one.”

While Bella has done brilliantly on their trip, staying active and outgoing despite her cancer, Kugler says that traveling with Bella has helped him nearly as much as it has helped her.

“When I’m with her, and I’m paying attention to her, I’m outside myself, and I’m focusing on giving her the best life, I feel at that point in time that I am the best version of myself,” he said. “That is one of the reasons I like really spending time with her and doing our thing.”

Kugler is overjoyed that Bella has been able to fight for so long and has helped so many people, but he keeps people updated on her progress in his Instagram feed where he acknowledges that Bella is still facing death.

Our adventures in the western slopes were a great refresher of what we love to do and see. Get out into the wild, be a little wild, and meet a few more wildlings along the way. Now, today’s adventure begins. We’re on our way back to Ft. Collins to visit with Vets at CSU Animal Cancer Center for a consult for the CT scan. The plan is to actually get 2. One, focused on her mouth to see exactly where the cancer is and how far it’s spread. The second, a full body scan to see if she’s healthy enough for treatment. Though I’m not abandoning hope, I am prepared to hear the words “there’s nothing we can really do.” See, Bella started coughing recently. It’s a cough that starts from the chest and ends with a hack. Usually it doesn’t produce anything. This morning, and one other time last week, she actually hacked up some bloody phlegm. Again, my first and utmost priority is her quality of life, her comfort, and her happiness. We will be okay, as we have each other. Obviously I won’t have her in the flesh form forever, but she’ll have me by her side until the moment she closes her eyes for the last time. Again, I’m not abandoning hope, rather preparing for reality. I’d like to share a perspective that helps me with the grief associated with death. What can keep my spirits up and prevent me from being a blubbering indecisive mess. See…impending death isn’t the “worst news.” Bella has lived an incredibly adventurous and joyous life that should be celebrated. The end shall not define her legacy. Death is a chapter in all of our books, but definitely not the last. It is this perspective, that allows me to appreciate every day with her and to walk into CSU today without the fear of losing her, because I never will. She is mine, and I am hers, forever.

A photo posted by Robert Kugler (@robkugler) on Sep 21, 2016 at 6:31am PDT

Hopefully, Rob and Bella have a lot of great adventures left together. But Bella has made a lasting impact on plenty of people either way.

In addition to his Instagram feed, Kugler posts photos of his road trip with Bella and other adventures at his website, RKLifeIllustrated.com.

Articles

Iraq Army veteran continues the fight, this time for his Vietnam veteran brothers and sisters

Over 58,000 Americans gave their lives in service during the Vietnam War and over 150,000 were wounded. When troops returned home, it wasn’t to fanfare. Instead, they were labeled baby killers and spit on. It’s a stain on history one modern veteran refuses to let go. 

Steve Downey was a combat medic in the Army who deployed to Iraq at the height of the conflict. When he looks back at how Vietnam veterans were treated and his own time in service, it leaves him both disgusted at the world and proud of how the troops handled it. “They were spit at and ridiculed. But what do soldiers do? They don’t lay down, they say here’s my new fight, let’s go,” he said. 

When Vietnam War troops returned home, there were almost none of the promised GI benefits of today. The government had left them behind. Following the war and through the decades of tireless efforts of surviving Vietnam War veterans, Congress was forced to make changes to honor those veterans and the ones who would come after. 

It wouldn’t be until the first Gulf War when American attitudes would shift. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 would increase patriotism and appreciation for troops tenfold. 

“We veterans who came after Vietnam Veterans owe them a debt of gratitude for our increased quality of life, care and veteran benefits,” Downey explained. “Every iconic image of war or the military is either modern day troops or World War II veterans. Vietnam and Korean War veterans are being skipped and it seems like we don’t care. It’s insulting when you really get into it.”

Downey came back from his Iraq deployment and began working at Walter Reed in the organ transplant department. After separating from the Army, he’d also leave medicine and discover a passion for technology which led him to opening his own business. In 2020, he’d join the marketing part of the team at Berry Law, headquartered in Nebraska. 

4 Vietnam War heroes you’ve never heard of
John Stevens Berry Sr., the founder of Berry Law firm, receiving his Bronze Star (Wikimedia Commons)

Founded in 1965 by Vietnam War Veteran and Bronze Star recipient John Stevens Berry Sr., The military law division serves veterans in all 50 states and is tirelessly dedicated to the military community. In 2020, the team began to talk about ways to honor Vietnam Veterans. Operation Triumphus, an initiative under Berry Law Firm, was established, with Downey at the helm of the project. 

“The idea here is to allow Vietnam Veterans the opportunity to preserve their stories, their legacy and then we can provide their triumphant return home they deserve. It’s a deserved celebration led by every veteran that came after them,” Downey explained.

The website for the initiative states “Our objectives are to provide an interactive museum which helps share the stories of Vietnam Veterans; to help connect our lost brothers and sisters in arms; and to inspire ongoing gratitude for a generation of Veterans who were spat upon and ridiculed when they came home. We cannot replace the feelings of betrayal and loss that some Veterans felt on their return, but we can correct the course of sentiment to make sure that future generations understand and honor their legacy. The Vietnam generation said ‘Never Again!’ and fought hard to get better treatment for Veterans. Their actions helped future service members and Veterans get better treatment, and we feel it is our duty to repay them for their sacrifices and vigilance.”

After building the site from scratch, he’s got his eyes on engaging the military community next. “One of the biggest target audiences for me right now is not just the Vietnam veterans but their spouses and families,” Downey said. 

With the experiences most Vietnam War veterans faced, many are hard pressed to share their stories openly. He’s hoping by engaging with spouses and other family members about this project, it’ll be a healing experience for the veterans. It’s long overdue for these heroes and their families. 

This statement featured on the organization’s website truly drives home the mission of Downey’s passion project for the firm: “We are Veterans of wars in Vietnam and the Middle East. We are sons paying tribute to fathers. We are a grateful nation determined to provide an eternal Triumphal Procession these Vietnam Veterans deserve.”

To learn more about Operation Triumphus or to share your Vietnam War story or your loved one’s, click here.

Veterans

2020 Veterans Day free meals and restaurant deals and discounts

The following is a list of Veterans Day discounts at restaurants for 2020. Visit often as the list is now being updated as new discounts come in.

All of the discounts have been confirmed, either through press release or direct communication with the company. Check out all the other discounts being offered this Veterans Day.

Keep in mind that most businesses require proof of military service. What identification do you need to prove that you’re a veteran? Click here for a few common options.

Not all franchise locations participate in their national chain’s Veterans Day programs — be sure contact your nearest establishment to make sure they are participating.

Make sure to visit the Military.com Discounts Center for more discounts and articles. And sign up for the Military Deals and Discounts Newsletter to get even more discounts and information in your inbox on how Military Families can save big.

2020 Veterans Day Restaurant Discounts:

54th Street Grill — Veterans and active-duty military get a free meal up to $12 on November 11. Dine-in only.

7-Eleven — Active-duty, retired, veteran, guard, reservists and family members get a free coffee or Big Gulp on November 11. (7-Eleven app and Veterans Advantage membership required.)

Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant — Veterans and active-duty military can choose one free entrée from the Veterans Day menu on November 11 at select locations.

Bandana’s BBQ — Veterans and active-duty military get a free Budget Buster Meal on November 11

Bar Louie — Active or retired military get a free craft burger or flatbread of your choice on November 11. Dine-in only.

BJ’s Restaurant and BrewhouseOn November 11, all current and former military members receive a free entree up to $14.95 plus a free Dr. Pepper beverage. Dine-in only.

Black Angus Steakhouse — On November 11, veterans get the All-American Steak Plate for $10.99. This deal is available for restaurant dining and takeaway orders.

Bob Evans — Veterans and active-duty military get a free meal from a select menu on November 11. Dine-in only.

Brick House Tavern + Tap — Veterans get 20% off on November 11. Dine-in only.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. — Military personnel and their families receive 20% off on November 11. Dine-in only.

Buffalo Wild Wings — Veterans and active-duty service members get a free order of 10 boneless wings and fries on November 11. The offer is available for dine-in or takeout.

California Pizza Kitchen –Veterans and active military get a complimentary meal from a select menu. Dine-in and walk-in takeout only. 

Casey’s General Stores — Service members both past and present get a free coffee on November 11 across its over 2,200 locations.

Cattlemens — Active, inactive, and retired military personnel get a complimentary 8 oz. Sirloin Steak dinner on November 11.

CentraArchy Restaurants — Veterans and active-duty military members get an entree from the full menu at any location for half price on November 11. Guests are encouraged to make reservations.

Chili’sVeterans and active-duty service members get a free meal from a select menu on November 11. Available for in-restaurant only.

Cicis Pizza — Active and retired military get a free adult buffet on November 11. Dine-in only. Coupon required.

Coco’s — On November 11, veterans and active-duty service members get a free slice of pie, along with a “Buy One, Get One” free deal at all locations. The offer is valid for dine-in or take out orders; online and delivery not included.

Country Kitchen — Active and retired military get a free Country Scramble on November 11 at participating locations. Dine-in only.

Cracker BarrelVeterans get a complimentary slice of Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake when dining at any location on November 11.

Eat’n Park — All former and current military personnel and their families will receive a 10% discount for the entire month of November. Dine-in only.

Einstein Bros. Bagels — Veterans and active-duty military get a free hot or iced medium coffee on November 11.

Famous Dave’sMilitary personnel get a free Free Georgia Chopped Pork Sandwich + Side at participating locations on November 11. Valid for Dine-In, To Go, and Online Ordering. Not valid for call in orders.

Farmer Boys — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free Big Cheese cheeseburger on November 11 at participating locations.

Friendly’s — Veterans and active-duty military get a free All-American meal for lunch or dinner, which consists of the All-American Burger, served with a side of fries and a drink on November 11. Dine-in only at participating locations.

Frisch’s Big Boy — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free meal, all day, up to $10 at participating locations on November 11. This tribute is available at Frisch’s dine-in, drive-thru and carryout.

Golden Corral — Golden Corral Restaurants’ Military Appreciation Night free dinner will be available on November 11. Military retirees, veterans, active-duty, National Guard and Reserves are all welcome.

Green Mill Restaurant and Bar — Veterans and active-duty military get a free menu item at participating locations on November 11. Dine-in only.

Hamburger Stand — Veterans and active-duty military get a free hamburger, regular fries and a small Pepsi on November 11.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar — On November 11, veterans and active-duty service members get a free Classic Burger (with or without cheese). This offer is redeemable for in-store dining or to-go orders placed by phone. 

Houlihan’s — Veterans, active-duty military and military families get $10 off a $30 food purchase at participating locations on November 11. This offer is valid for in-restaurant dining or for carryout. Orders made via houlihans.com or a third-party delivery service are not eligible.

Hy-Vee — Veterans and active military members get a free curbside pickup breakfast November 11 from 6 – 10 a.m.

Kolache Factory — Veterans and active-duty military get a free kolache and a cup of coffee on November 11 from 6 a.m. – 2 p.m.

LaMar’s Donuts — Veterans and active-duty military get a free donut and 12 oz. coffee at participating locations on November 11.

Little Caesars — Veterans and active military get a free HOT-N-READY Lunch Combo at participating stores on November 11, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Logan’s Roadhouse — On November 11 between 3 and 6 pm, veterans and military personnel receive a free meal from a special menu.

Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQActive-duty personnel and veterans get a free Lucille’s Original Pulled Pork Sandwich on November 11.

Luna Grill — Veterans and active-duty service members get a “Buy One, Get One Free” deal from November 11 through 13, valid for dine-in or to-go orders. (Not valid online or delivery.)

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants — Veterans, National Guard, Gold Star parents and Gold Star Spouses can enjoy a half priced entrée from a special menu on November 8. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Menchie’s — Veterans who visit stores on November 11 get their first 6 oz of froyo free.

Mission BBQ — Veterans and active-duty military get a free sandwich on November 11.

O’Charley’s – Active-duty military and veterans can enjoy a free meal on November 11. Dine-in only.

Pilot Flying J — Veterans get a free breakfast combo at participating locations November 9 through 15 through a special offer in the app.

Red Lobster — Veterans, active-duty military and reservists get a free appetizer or dessert from a select menu on November 11. Dine-in only.

Red Robin – Veterans and active-duty military who are Red Robin Royalty members can redeem a free Tavern Double Burger with Steak Fries any time between November 12 and 30 for dine-in or to-go. The offer will be automatically uploaded to your dashboard.

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery — Active-duty service members and veterans get a free meal from a select menu November 11. Dine-in only.

Sagebrush Steakhouse — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free meal on November 11. Dine-in only.

Shari’s — On November 11, veterans and active-duty service members get a free slice of pie, along with a “Buy One, Get One” free deal at all locations. The offer is valid for dine-in or take out orders; online and delivery not included.

Shoney’s — Veterans and active-duty service members get a free All You Care To Eat, Freshly Prepared Breakfast Bar on November 11 until 11 am. Dine-in only.

Starbucks — Veterans, military service members and military spouses get a free tall (12-oz) hot brewed coffeeat participating stores on November 11.

Tap House Grill — Veterans and active-duty military get a free meal on November 11. Dine-in only.

Wienerschnitzel — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free Chili Dog, small fries and a small drink at participating locations on November 11.

Yard House — Veterans and active duty military receive a complimentary appetizer on November 11.

2019 Veterans Day Restaurant Discounts:

151 Coffee — Military personnel are invited to bring your family for free drinks on November 11.

Ahipoki — Veterans and active-duty military receive 50% off any bowl at all locations across Arizona and California on November 11

Another Broken Egg Cafe — Veterans and active-duty service members can enjoy a free Patriot French Toast Combo and coffee on November 11.

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza — Veterans and active military get a complimentary 12″ pizza on November 10 and 11.

Applebee’s — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free meal from a special menu on November 11.

Army & Air Force Exchange Service — The Exchange will feature one-day only specials on November 11, including a free coffee for all shoppers at Express and participating Exchange restaurant locations. And MILITARY STAR cardholders will earn double points November 11 andadditional discounts with their card.

Aroma Joe’s Coffee — Veterans and active-duty military get up to a 24oz drink for free on November 11.

Aspen Creek Grill — Veterans and active-duty military get a complimentary meal from a special menu from 11 a.m. to close on November 11.

Back Yard Burgers — On November 11, veterans get a free Classic Burger.

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free BD’s All American Burger and side on November 11 at participating locations.

Bagger Dave’s — Active, non-active, reservists and retired personnel get a free Great American Cheeseburger and Fries on November 11.

Bakers Square — Active-duty military and veterans can enjoy a free meal on November 11.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s — Veterans will be offered a free meal with purchase of equal or greater value up to $10 on November 11

BIBIBOP Asian Grill — Veterans and active-duty military get a free bowl on November 11.

Biggby Coffee — Veterans and active-duty service members get a free brewed coffee up to 24 oz. on November 11.

Bombshells Restaurant and Bar — Veterans and active-duty military get free meals and soft drinks and a 20% discount for accompanying family members on November 11.

Bonanza Steakhouses — Veterans and active military get buffet specials at select locations on November 11.

Bruegger’s Bagels — Active-duty military members, veterans, reservists and military spouses get a free bagel with cream cheese on November 11.

Buffalo Wings & Rings — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free “Pick 2” Lunch Combo on November 11 between 11 am and 3 pm.

Burntwood Tavern — Veterans and active military get a free lunch or dinner on November 11.

Calhoun’s — Veterans and active-duty military get a free meal on November 11.

Cantina Laredo — Veterans and active-duty military get a complimentary meal up to $20 at participating locations on November 11.

Carrabba’s — This Veterans Day weekend, veterans and active-duty military receive a free calamari and 10% off on all future visits.

Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse — Veterans and active-duty military get a free entree from a special menu from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm. on November 11.

Chicken Salad Chick — On November 11, veterans and active-duty military will receive a free Chick Special and Regular Drink.

Chipotle — Active-duty military, reserves, national guard, military spouses and retired military get a buy-one-get-one (BOGO) deal on November 11.

Chop House — On November 11, active-duty and retired service members get 50% off any dine-in lunch or dinner entree.

City Barbecue — Veterans and active-duty military get a free sandwich, two sides, and a regular beverage on November 11.

Claim Jumper — On November 11, veterans and active-duty military get a free entree up to $15 from a special menu.

Coffee Beanery — Veterans and active-duty military get a free tall cup of fresh brewed coffee all day on November 11.

Connors Steak & Seafood — On November 11, active-duty and retired service members get 50% off any dine-in lunch or dinner entree.

Cotton Patch Cafe — Veterans and active-duty military get a free chicken fried steak or chicken fried chicken on November 11.

Country CookinActive, reserve, retired, and honorably discharged members of the military receive a free salad bar or $5 off any entree on November 11 when showing a valid military ID and filling out the service card.

Crooked Pint Ale House — Veterans and active-duty military get a free menu item on November 11 at participating locations.

Cumberland Farms — Veterans, active-duty, reserve, National Guard or honorably discharged military personnel get a free coffee on November 11.

Denny’s — Veterans and military personnel get a free Build Your Own Grand Slam on November 11, from 5 a.m. to noon.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit — Veterans and active-duty military get a free Classic Sandwich and choice of side on November 11.

Dunkin’ Donuts — On November 11, veterans and active-duty military receive a free donut at participating locations.

East Coast Wings + Grill — Veterans and active-duty military get a free meal from a selected menu on November 11.

Egg Harbor Cafe — Veterans and active military get a free meal on November 11.

El Chico — Veterans and active-duty military get a free entree on November 11.

El Fenix — Veterans eat free November 11, with your choice of Cheese, Chicken or Beef Enchiladas or Chicken or Beef Tacos, served with rice and beans.

Emmet’s Social Table — Veterans and troops get a free meal on November 10 and 11.

Fatz Cafe — Veterans and active military get a free World Famous Calabash Chicken basket on November 11. And from November 1 through 30, veterans and active military members will receive 20% off their entrée.

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill — Dine with a veteran or active-duty service member on November 11 and their lunch or dinner is free.

Fogo de Chão — Veterans will receive 50% off their meal, plus an additional 10% off for up to three guests, November 8 through 11.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers — Veterans and current military personnel get a free combo meal card on November 11 that can used until November 30, 2019.

Friendly Toast — On November 11, veterans and active-duty military personnel receive a free meal.

Furr’s Fresh Buffet — On November 11, veterans get a free buffet plus a non-bottled beverage at participating restaurants.

Ginger Monkey — Veterans and active-duty military will receive a complimentary entree up to $12.

Glory Days Grill — Veterans get a free appetizer or a regular order of boneless wings on November 11.

Gold Star Chili — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free 3-Way & drink on November 11.

Gordon Biersch — Veterans receive a free entrée from a select menu on November 11.

Greene Turtle — Current service members and veterans get a complimentary $14 meal on November 11.

Grillsmith — Veterans and active-duty military get a complimentary entrée on November 11.

Grub Burger Bar — Active, inactive and retired military personnel get a complimentary entree on November 11 at all locations.

Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream — Veterans and military personnel get a free single cone on November 11.

Hickory Tavern — Veterans and active-duty military get a free ‘Merica’s Burger on November 11 with the purchase of a beverage.

HomeTown Buffet — On November 11, veterans get a free buffet plus a non-bottled beverage at participating restaurants.

Hooters — Veterans and active-duty military get a free meal from a select menu at participating locations on November 11.

Hoss’s Steak and Sea House — Veterans get a free salad bar on November 11.

Huddle House — Active-duty, retired, and veteran military members get a free order of Sweet Cakes November 8 through 11.

Hurricane Grill and Wings — Veterans and active military get a free entrée from a special menu on November 11. Plus, participating guests will also receive a card for 10% off future visits through December 31.

IHOP — Veterans and active-duty military get a free red, white, and blueberry pancake combo on November 11 at participating locations.

IKEA — Veterans get a free meal November 9 through 11

Insomnia Cookies — Veterans and active-duty military personnel get a free traditional cookie all week, November 11 through 17.

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant — On November 10 and 11, veterans and active-duty service members get a complimentary burger or sandwich along with a non-alcoholic beverage.

J. Christopher’s –Veterans get a free meal at participating locations on November 11.

Jimboy’s Tacos — Veterans get a free meal on November 11 at participating locations. Meals have a $10 max value.

Joe’s Crab Shack — Veterans receive 20% off at participating locations on November 11.

Juice It Up — Veterans and active military receive a free 20oz Classic Smoothie on November 11 at participating locations.

K&W Cafeterias — Veterans and active-duty get a free meal on November 11 from 11 am until closing.

Kings Family Restaurant — Veterans and active military members get a free meal from a select menu on November 11.

Kwik Fill — Veterans receive a free coffee on November 11.

LongHorn Steakhouse — Veterans get 10% off your entire meal and a free appetizer or dessert on November 11.

Lucky Girl Brewing — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free pulled pork or brisket sandwich with a side at Lucky Girl Brewing or a free flat bread pizza at B52 Winery on November 9, 10, and 11.

Lucky Strike Entertainment — Active, inactive and retired military personnel get complimentary 1 hour of bowling, as well as a burger and beer for $10 on November 11.

Macaroni Grill — Veterans and active military receive a free Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs + Spaghetti on November 11.

MacKenzie River — Veterans and active-duty military receive 25% off for their entire table on November 11.

Main Event — On November 11, veterans and active-duty military receive 30 minutes of game play that can be used on more than 100 interactive video games and a free entrée from a special menu.

Manhattan Bagel Company — All active, former and retired military personnel get a free bagel and cream cheese at participating locations on November 11.

Margaritas Mexican Restaurant — On November 11, veterans and active-duty military receive two complimentary entrees.

Max & Erma’s – Veterans and active-duty military get a free Cheeseburger, Endless Fries and Fountain Drink on November 11 at participating locations.

Metro Diner — Active duty and retired military get 50% off their meal on November 11.

MOD Pizza — Active military and veterans get a buy-one get-one free MOD-size pizza or salad on November 11.

Native Grill & Wings — Veterans receive a free entrée up to $11.99 on November 11.

Ninety Nine Restaurant and Pub — On November 11 from 11 am to 4 pm, veterans and active military get a free lunch from a select menu with purchase of an entree.

Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom — Active-duty service members and veterans get a free Specialty or up to 3 topping individual pizza with purchase, November 8 through 11 at participating locations. Not valid at OC Logan or OC Manhattan.

Old Country Buffet — On November 11, veterans get a free buffet plus a non-bottled beverage at participating restaurants.

On the Border — On November 11, active and retired service members receive a free meal from a select menu at participating locations.

Orange Leaf — Retired and active-duty military receive free froyo at participating locations on November 11.

Otter’s Chicken — Active, Guard/Reserve, retirees and former service members get a free meal at participating locations on November 11.

Outback Steakhouse — Veterans get 20% off November 8 through 11.

Paisano’s Pizza — Veterans and active-duty military get a free Large 1-Topping Pizza on November 11.

Pala Casino — Veterans and active-duty military get a free buffet on November 11.

Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille — Veterans and active-duty military get a complimentary 3-course pork chop dinner on November 10 from 4 to 9 p.m. Each veteran must be accompanied by at least one guest who purchases an entree or Sunday Supper Special.

Ponderosa — Veterans and active military get buffet specials at select locations on November 11.

Price Chopper Supermarkets — Veterans, active-duty, reserve and national guard military get a free 12oz. Coffee & Donut on November 11.

Primanti Bros. — Active or retired military can enjoy a free Primanti Bros. Almost Famous sandwich November 10 and 11.

Quaker Steak & Lube — Veterans, active-duty and Reservist service members get free or discounted meals at participating locations on November 11.

RA Sushi — Veterans, active and retired military can enjoy a complimentary shareable on November 11, available all day.

Rock and Brews — Veterans and active military personnel receive a complimentary pulled pork sandwich or salad on November 11.

Rodizio Grill — Veterans eat free November 11 through 14 with the purchase of at least one Adult Full Rodizio meal at participating locations.

Roy Rogers — Present a military ID or proof of service to receive 10% off your entire purchase on November 11.

Rubio’s Coastal Grill — Get a buy one entree get one free deal on November 11 with coupon and military ID.

Ruby Tuesday — Former and active-duty service members get a free Burger or Sandwich served with fries or tots on November 11.

Ryan’s — On November 11, veterans get a free buffet plus a non-bottled beverage at participating restaurants.

Sauce Pizza & Wine — On November 11, all locations will honor veterans with 25% off their bill.

Scooter’s Coffee — Veterans and current military personnel get a free drink of any size on November 11.

Shane’s Rib Shack — Active-duty military and veterans get a free sandwich, regular side, and 20-oz. beverage November 11 through 13 at participating locations.

Sheetz — On November 11, veterans and active-duty military personnel get a free 6 inch turkey sub and a regular size fountain drink. Sheetz locations offering car washes will also provide a free car wash to veterans and active-duty military.

Sizzler — Veterans get a free complete lunch from a special menu on November 11 at participating locations until 4 pm.

Smashburger — Veterans and active-duty military get a free double burger on November 11 with any purchase.

Smokey Bones — Veterans and active-duty military get a free dessert from a select menu on November 11.

Smoothie King — On November 11, veterans and active-duty military get a free 20 oz. smoothie.

Snarf’s Sandwiches — Active-duty military and veterans receive a free 7 inch non-specialty sandwich on November 11.

Sonny’s BBQ — Veterans and active-duty military get a free Pulled or Sliced Pork Big Deal combo on November 11.

Spaghetti Warehouse — From November 9 through 11, buy one entrée and get the second entrée free. Coupon required.

sweetFrog — Veterans and active military personnel get a free 12-oz yogurt on November 11.

Taco Mac — On November 11, active military members and veterans get a free 6-pack of wings with purchase a drink.

TCBY — Veterans and active military personnel get their first 6 oz. of frozen yogurt for free on November 11 with valid proof of service at participating locations. 

Texas de Brazil — Veterans receive 50% off dinner November 11 through 13 during dinner hours.

Texas Roadhouse — Veterans and active-duty military get a free lunch on November 11 from 11 am to 4 pm.

Texas Steakhouse and Saloon — Veterans get a free meal from a select menu on November 11.

Tijuana Flats — Active-duty military and veterans will receive 50% off all adult entrees on November 11.

TooJay’s — Veterans and active-duty military get a free entree from a special menu on November 11.

TravelCenters of America — Active-duty military, veterans and reservists get a complimentary meal on November 11 at participating Country Pride and Iron Skillet restaurants nationwide.

Tucanos Brazilian Grill — Veterans get a free Churrasco meal with the purchase of another Churrasco meal, November 8 through 12.

Twin Peaks — Veterans, active-duty military and reservists will eat for free from a select menu on November 11.

Village InnActive-duty military and veterans can enjoy a free meal on November 11

Wawa — Veterans, active military members, and family members get a free cup of coffee on November 11.

West Alley BBQ & Smokehouse — Veterans and active-duty military get a complimentary 1/2 rack rib platter with two sides on November 11.

White Castle — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free Combo Meal or Breakfast Combo Meal on November 11.

Wild Wing Cafe — Veterans get 6 wings or nuggets in your favorite sauce with a purchase of a drink on November 11 at participating locations.

WingHouse Bar & Grill — Veterans and active-duty military members get a free meal from a select menu on November 11 at participating locations. Beverage purchase required.

Yogurtology — Veterans and active-duty military personnel get free 5 oz. servings of frozen yogurt at participating locations on November 11.

Ziggi’s Coffee — Veterans get a free 16 oz. drink on November 11.

Zoёs Kitchen — Active-duty military and veterans receive a free entrée with the purchase of another entrée on November 11.

This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.

MIGHTY TRENDING

How one hotel brand is going above and beyond to show support to veterans

This article is sponsored by Super 8 by Wyndham.

When America’s big business lends its support to the men and women in uniform, it’s usually about giving a good, old-fashioned military discount. While military members and veterans alike love and appreciate getting a deal as a nod to their service, it’s always a surprise when someone goes the extra mile. Be it someone on the staff, a kind business owner, or a company policy, the appreciation given to service members and their families is always appreciated in return.

But what Super 8 by Wyndham does for military members and their families is more. Yes, right now, they’re offering a twenty-percent military discount and 500 Wyndham Rewards bonus points through December 10th to military members and their families, but they always go the extra mile for service members who are miles away from their homes.


Preferred Parking

This is one of those ideas that undoubtedly sprang from a big-hearted employee. The Super 8 in Adrian, Mich. had an employee by the name of Juice Majewski — a veteran. Majewski was the chain’s maintenance manager and his boss, Jennifer Six, came from a family of military veterans. Six honored his service by creating a veterans-only spot in the Adrian Super 8’s parking lot. When corporate leaders saw the initiative, they decided to take the idea nationally. Now, every Super 8 in North America features preferred parking for vets.

The Human Hug Project

Super 8 is a proud partner of the Human Hug Project, a non-profit organization with the goal of raising awareness for veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress. Members of the Human Hug Project visit VA facilities across the nation in order to spread love and awareness for veterans and their families.

Founder Ian Michael is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Gino Greganti is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, and Erin Greganti is a Marine Corps wife who knows exactly what service members’ families go through when a loved one returns home from war. Super 8 helps the HHP by providing places to stay as they make their way across the U.S. to visit all of the VA’s healthcare facilities.

4 Vietnam War heroes you’ve never heard of

ROADM8 Auction

Recently, Super 8 by Wyndham designed a one-of-a-kind Jeep to showcase the latest and greatest amenities found in their newly revamped guest rooms. From the built-in coffee maker to the upholstery that looks like one of the comfortable beds you’d find in a Super 8, this monster of a vehicle is a hotel room in a car.

But it’s more than just an awesome concept car. Super 8 by Wyndham auctioned off the ROADM8 to benefit one of the best charities around: Fisher House Foundation. Fisher House Foundation provides a “home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers.

4 Vietnam War heroes you’ve never heard of

Working with Vets

Super 8’s parent company, Wyndham Hotels Resorts, supports those who are working hard to make a living by using veteran-owned supplier companies.

From maintenance companies to security services to bedding manufacturers, it takes a full complement of amenities and facilities to make guests comfortable — Wyndham knows that by working with veteran-owned businesses, they’ll constantly achieve their mission of giving you a fantastic place to rest.

So next time you hit the road, whether it’s to visit an on-base family member or a spontaneous road trip, know that Super 8 is there to support you all the way.

This article is sponsored by Super 8 by Wyndham.

Veterans

VA expands Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits for dependents


For many, the opportunity to pursue education and training beyond high school is not easily within reach. When military members are asked why they serve, the available GI Bill® education benefits are often one reason why.

As a part of their earned benefits, active duty men and women can also transfer all or part of their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to their spouse and/or dependent children. This is called Transfer of Entitlement (TOE). Those wishing to transfer entitlement to a dependent must be sure to do this while still on active duty.

The option to transfer education assistance to dependent family members provides them with the financial means to pay for their education and training. However, until recently, this benefit was not available to all dependent children. With the recent passing of the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020, commonly referred to as Isakson and Roe, beginning January 6, 2021, service members can transfer all or part of their Post-9/11 GI Bill entitlement to their ward or foster child. This new law changes how VA administers education benefits, and more importantly, is a major step in recognizing the diversity of the Nation’s military families and their unique needs.

According to the Department of Defense, more than five million people are part of today’s military family. The men and women who serve in our Nation’s armed forces are a diverse group. So, too, are their families, to include spouses, children and other family members who represent varying demographics, experiences and needs. With the implementation of Isakson and Roe, VA is able to address the needs of more families and ensure that the GI Bill’s purpose is further realized.

Now, even more military dependents can receive help paying for tuition, books and housing using Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits. Eligible dependents, who are pursuing a degree or certification in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) field, can maximize their benefits through the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship. To help pay for higher out-of-state, private or graduate tuition that the Post-9/11 GI Bill doesn’t cover, the Yellow Ribbon Program provides additional assistance. In addition to education and training, GI Bill benefits can provide other assistance to eligible students, such as help with paying for certain test fees and help with deciding on the right school or program, using the GI Bill Comparison Tool.

The spring months provide the Nation with an opportunity to celebrate those who serve and their families. As we celebrate service members and their families during Month of the Military Child in April and Military Appreciation Month in May, this is also an opportunity to celebrate the uniqueness of military families. In continued celebration of our Nation’s military families, VA will continue to do its part to acknowledge the differences that make them unique, while ensuring that their unique needs are also met.

This article originally appeared on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

MIGHTY TRENDING

This tech-driven nonprofit developed an app to combat veteran suicide

Objective Zero is a mission-driven tech start-up that leads the pack in the fight against veteran suicide, connecting every veteran in America to suicide prevention support and resources. Their arsenal just got a powerful, new weapon.


The Objective Zero Foundation just launched a new mobile app that offers tools and resources to reduce the number of suicides within the military and veteran community. Research shows that social connectedness and access to resources are important factors in preventing suicide, both of which users can find within the Objective Zero app.

The nonprofit organization is comprised entirely of unpaid volunteers and leverages the latest technology and a crowd-sourced model to deliver services on a massive scale at a fraction of the cost. Roughly 92 cents of every dollar is put toward the Program Fund, used to sustain and improve the Objective Zero mobile app and train peer supporters.

The app connects veterans, current military members, their families, and caregivers to a nationwide support network of trained listeners via voice, video, and text message at the touch of a button.

(Blake Bassett | YouTube)The mobile app also connects its users to military and veteran-centric resources, as well as yoga provided by Comeback Yoga and meditation content through Headspace, to enhance user wellness.
“The only thing that stopped me was the fact that I thought putting that round in the chamber was going to wake my wife up,” says co-founder Justin Miller on his struggle with suicidal ideations. “I’m living proof that Objective Zero is going to work. When I was suicidal, a brother contacted me, and that conversation saved my life. With the Objective Zero app, we’ve built a platform where veterans can hit one button and be anonymously connected to other veterans who have lived and breathed the same things.”

Since then, the organization built a staff of veterans and an advisory board of clinical psychologists and counselors to launch their tech-driven strategy to help their community with what is arguably its biggest problem.

Objective Zero is built to save lives and empower veterans by connecting them and building camaraderie and solidarity.

You can sign up for the app as a user with an anonymous username or as an Ambassador. OZ Ambassadors receive calls, texts, and video chats from veterans and are there to be their pillar of support. You don’t need to be a veteran or behavioral health specialist to become an Ambassador.

4 Vietnam War heroes you’ve never heard of

Ambassadors spend time training to help veterans in need and they continue their learning after achieving the title. It requires dedication to the community but is a very rewarding process. Imagine fighting veteran suicide every day, just by using your phone to communicate as you would with a good friend or relative.

The Objective Zero app is now available to download for free in the United States on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

Please visit www.objectivezero.org for more information about the Objective Zero Foundation, the Objective Zero App, and the mission of preventing suicide within the military community.

Veterans

Military spouse juggles motherhood, business, and deployments

Flossie Hall has one of the hardest jobs imaginable. She’s a mother of four and an active duty Navy spouse. She’s also the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of the Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs (AMSE).

As a military wife, Hall has lived at 10 different addresses over the last 14 years. For much of that time, she’s also had to be a solo parent.

“Plan something and the military laughs,” Hall quips. “Business is the same way.”

After successfully navigating the financial challenges that come with new deployments, new homes, and newborns, Hall has dedicated herself to the business of helping other military families.

AMSE is an entrepreneurship program built by military spouses, exclusively for military spouses. It teaches men and women around the world how to start their own businesses. And military spouses are perfectly suited to be entrepreneurs because, as Hall puts it, “entrepreneurs have to curve and swerve every single day.”

Like many entrepreneurs, Hall was the first person in her family to graduate from high school – let alone college.

Today, she has a daughter in college whose education expenses weren’t budgeted for because Flossie and her husband were very young when they had her. As a result, they learned the value of proper financial planning.

The Halls’ three younger children will also likely attend college. This time around, Hall and her husband are prepared. They opened college savings accounts that will help pay for each child’s education.

They started 529 accounts for each of them. These special savings accounts have allowed the Halls to save over time in a tax-advantaged way for this specific financial planning objective. Money in the accounts grows tax free until withdrawn. When it is taken out to pay for specific education expenses, it also avoids taxation.

529 plans are offered by each of the states and many educational institutions. They don’t require account owners or beneficiaries to reside in the state offering the plan, but some plans do offer specific advantages to in-state residents.

Because there are no residency requirement, there is ample opportunity to shop around in order to find a plan that best suits the needs of the beneficiary.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind when comparing plans:

1)      Every state offers at least one type of plan.

There are two types: Prepaid Tuition Plans or College Savings Plans.

2)      Some plans allow others to contribute.

Most 529 plans allow people other than the account holder to make contributions to the beneficiary’s account.

3)      The account holder owns and controls the account.

The account holder may withdraw money. The beneficiary may not.

4)      Gift tax exclusion may apply.

529 plan contributions fall under annual and lifetime gift tax exclusions.

5)      Consider a UGift® account.

UGift lets you invite family and friends to contribute to a child’s 529 account.

For more information and useful financial tools visit VCM.com/military.

Articles

Mattis tells NATO to pay its fair share

Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned NATO defense ministers in a speech that the “impatience Secretary Gates predicted is now a governmental reality” when it came to America’s share of the military burden of the alliance. “Americans cannot care more for your children’s future security than you do,” he added.


According to a report by the European edition of Politico, Mattis was passing on a warning from President Donald Trump, who had been critical of the lack of defense spending by NATO allies.

4 Vietnam War heroes you’ve never heard of
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis talks with British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon during a North Atlantic Council meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Feb. 15, 2017. (DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)

“Disregard for military readiness demonstrates a lack of respect for ourselves, for the alliance, and for the freedoms we inherited, which are now clearly threatened,” Mattis told the assembled ministers according to the Defense Media Activity. Mattis particularly mentioned the events of 2014, including Russia’s seizure of the Crimean peninsula from the Ukraine.

Mattis wasn’t only there to spank NATO for being defense-spending cheapskates, though. Referring to the alliance as “my second home,” he noted that NATO “remains a fundamental bedrock for the United States and for all the transatlantic community” in his opening remarks.

4 Vietnam War heroes you’ve never heard of
M1A2 Abrams Tanks belonging to 1st Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade, 4th Infantry Division fires off a round Jan. 26, 2017 during a gunnery range. The Soldiers are completing gunnery ranges before taking part in combined exercises with their NATO counterparts later this year. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Corinna Baltos)

In remarks welcoming Secretary Mattis, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg cited Secretary Mattis’s past service as Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation, saying, “You made sure that NATO adapted to a new and more demanding security environment.  But NATO has to continue to adapt and that’s exactly what we’re going to address at our meeting today, how NATO continues to adapt to a new security environment.”

Stoltenberg also addressed concerns about NATO members paying their fair share, saying, “Our latest figures, which we published yesterday, show that defense spending among European allies and Canada increased by 3.8 percent in real terms in 2016.  That is roughly $10 billion U.S. dollars.  This is significant, but it is not enough. We have to continue to increase defense spending across Europe and Canada.”

4 Vietnam War heroes you’ve never heard of
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, front row, center right, and fellow defense ministers pose for a photo at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Feb. 15, 2017. (DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)

Politico noted that NATO has set a benchmark of 2 percent of GDP as the minimum size of a defense budget. An April 2016 report by CNN.com noted that only five NATO countries met that benchmark.

Articles

Veteran couple opens a distillery with military ties

Near Fort Bragg, North Carolina sits BHAWK — that’s short for Brad Halling American Whisky Ko. It’s a whiskey distillery brought to life by its namesake, Brad, and his wife, Jessica, in their goal to honor veterans from Southern Pines, NC. Veterans themselves, the pair knows what it means to serve. 

They also know what it means to sacrifice — Brad lost his left leg from the knee down in the now-famous “Blackhawk Down” incident in Somalia. Though the injury left him ineligible to remain on active duty, he dodged Army medical boards, fought for his position, and ended up retiring as a sergeant major, prosthetic leg and all. 

Now he and his wife are taking their history of service and sacrifice to a new level: making whiskey.

“Our brands will honor [veterans] as well as private citizens with demonstrated selfless service,” Jessica said in an interview with “The Pilot.”

They also added that the decision to offer whiskey went back to its versatility, and its deep ties to Americanism. 

“It is a vehicle to express so many different things,” Brad said. “The joy of promotion, the heartache of loss, the celebration of a change of command.” 

4 Vietnam War heroes you’ve never heard of

One feature to remind the public about the sacrifices of armed forces include the Gratitude Room, a living museum where guests will first enter. Their plan is to tell the story of various labels that are offered at the time, whether that be of a single soldier, unit or beyond, telling the intricate details behind the label’s name. Then, as they swap out for a new flavor, the Gratitude Room will also change to reflect the new piece of history. 

One thing that won’t change, they said, is the American Whiskey Company’s emblem, an eagle feather that represents fallen soldiers, as well as “quiet professionals” who have provided their dedication to the U.S. The hand-drawn image shows a simple, fallen feather, as a simple nod to patriotism and those who sacrificed along the way. 

As veterans themselves, the couple had long kicked around the idea of brewing as a business, but as laws began to change in North Carolina, they decided it was the right time to open up the distillery they had always dreamed of. 

Both joined the military while still in high school, taking on the responsibility at a young age. Jessica served in the U.S. Army until she retired from the Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg. She then began working as a local lawyer in North Carolina. As for Brad, he’s retired from special forces and still works on post as a civilian. He also works as a certified prosthetist. 

The distillery, which is still being built, is slated to host a medium-sized distillery plant, a cocktail bar, restaurant, retail space, a restaurant, and an outdoor stage. They will brew and sell their own concoctions of high-end whiskey variations, as well as spirits. Eventually, they plan to add bourbon, vodkas, gin and more. 

For more information on BHAWK or to follow their process, follow them on Instagram @hallingwhiskey 

Images courtesy of Halling Whiskey’s Instagram

Veterans

This vet is a shining example of the importance of believing in yourself

Don’t let anybody tell you, “you can’t do it.”

The kitchen puts Coast Guard veteran, Lamont Brown, at ease. It’s the place of early childhood memories and where he contemplates his next moves. It reminds him just how loved he was. That’s why he’s always been interested in cooking. It’s a way to hold on to his childhood memories.

Born into a big family in El Paso, Texas (at one point, there were 13 people in the house) Brown remembers how his mother would work tirelessly to help feed so many kids. But when he was just 8 years old, his father passed away.

The void that created led him on a slow slide downward. He ran with the wrong crowd down the wrong path. His teenage years were a blur of drugs and petty crimes. By adulthood, he couldn’t hold down a job and owed more than $10,000 in fines he could not pay.

One day, after not seeing his sister for four years, she knocked on his door.

She was in the Army at the time and Brown remembers the look of disgust on her face. Her searing words burned clear through him.

“Do something with your life!”

He did. He joined the Coast Guard.

Brown shipped out to boot camp the week before his 28th birthday. When he arrived in New Jersey, he realized that he was some 10 years older than the “bunch of kids” in his class. He felt isolated and alone. But his situation would change.

On one of his patrols, the cook needed to be relieved. The crew nominated Brown to replace him. In the kitchen, Brown found himself. The place brought back childhood memories that helped him reason and work through his problems. He knew he would open a restaurant after leaving the Coast Guard.

Sharing that dream with a shipmate didn’t produce the response he expected.

“You’re gonna become a drunk and a failure within two years!”

His immediate supervisor was no more encouraging. He told Brown he’d never pull it off. So, Brown did what any would-be restauranteur would do. He ignored the dress down.

Today, Maya’s is a neighborhood restaurant on the North Shore of Oahu. Brown named it after his daughter to further fuel his passion and to make sure he lives up to the standard he wants to teach her.

While the Coast Guard provided the means for Brown to open his restaurant, it didn’t provide him any financial training to help him understand a budget or to run a business. Without a network of investors to help finance Maya’s, Brown borrowed against his home.

His biggest financial hurdle was going 18 months without a paycheck. Still, the lessons his mother taught about stretching a dollar…complimented by a wife who supported his dream…have help Maya’s to embody Brown’s heritage and past. The menu is complete with the foods he ate as a kid; his mother’s recipes, with some refinements.

Maya’s sustains itself by supporting local farmers. When COVID hit, the neighborhood came out to support the restaurant. Today business is better than it ever.

Brown’s role as a restauranteur brings him instant gratification. When the food goes out he watches his guests smile as they eat. That’s why he cooks.

And he explains transitioning like this. “When you get out, you get to start all over again. Take the good of the military and put that into your next chapter. And never let anybody tell you, you can’t do it.”

Articles

Choice Program temporarily allows vets to seek private medical care

President Donald Trump signed a bill April 19 to temporarily extend a program that lets some veterans seek medical care in the private sector, part of an effort by the president to deliver on a campaign promise.


The extension will give Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin time to develop a more comprehensive plan to allow veterans to more easily go outside the VA health system for care. Under the bill Trump signed into law, the VA will be allowed to continue operating its Choice Program until the funding runs out, which is expected early 2018.

The program was scheduled to expire on Aug. 7 with nearly $1 billion left over.

4 Vietnam War heroes you’ve never heard of
(Photo: VA)

Trump said veterans have “not been taken care of properly” and that the program will continue to be able to see “the doctor of their choice.”

“You got it? The doctor of their choice,” he repeated for emphasis.

Shulkin, who attended the bill signing, has said the money is needed to pay for stopgap services while he works on the longer-term plan. He said April 19 that the plan is due in the fall. Congress would have to approve any changes to the VA health system.

Shulkin said the extension is important because it gives veterans another avenue for care.

“It’s this approach where veterans can get care wherever they need it that really is the way that we’re going to address all the needs and honor our commitments to our veterans,” he said after Trump signed the bill.

The Choice Program was put in place after a 2014 scandal in which as many as 40 veterans died while waiting months to be scheduled for appointments at the Phoenix VA medical center.

The program is intended to provide more timely care by allowing veterans to go outside the VA network only in cases where they had to wait more than 30 days for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles to a facility. Yet the program itself often encountered long wait times of its own.

Also read: The VA might actually be getting its act together

The new law also calls for changes to alleviate some problems by speeding up VA payments and promoting greater sharing of medical records.

Major veterans’ organizations and Democrats support a temporary extension of the Choice Program, but are closely watching the coming VA revamp of the program for signs that the Trump administration may seek greater privatization. Those groups generally oppose privatization as a threat to the viability of VA medical centers.

Trump had pledged during the presidential campaign to give veterans freedom to seek care “at a private service provider of their own choice.”

Mark Lucas, executive director of Concerned Veterans for America, commended Trump for upholding a campaign promise to make veterans a priority, but said more needed to be done. Lucas said the Choice Program was a well-intentioned “quick fix” to the Phoenix scandal, but that it remains flawed and has forced too many veterans to seek care at what he termed failing VA facilities.

“Congress now has some time to work with Secretary Shulkin on broader, more permanent choice reforms that will truly put the veteran at the center of their health care and remove VA bureaucrats as the middlemen,” Lucas said. “We look forward to supporting legislation that will let veterans go outside the VA for care when they want or need to.”

4 Vietnam War heroes you’ve never heard of

Sen. John McCain, R- Ariz., said more than 1 million veterans have made 7 million appointments with health care providers in their communities under the Choice Program. He said those appointments would have otherwise “lagged” in the VA scheduling system.

More than 1 million out of 9 million veterans in the VA system use some Choice care, with agency data pointing to even greater use this year.

McCain, a Navy veteran, said the extension “sends an important message that we will not send our veterans back to the status quo of unending wait-times for appointments and substandard care.” He said more work is needed, but called the legislation “an important first step.”

Shulkin has said he would like to expand veterans’ access to private care by eliminating the Choice Program’s current 30-day, 40-mile restrictions. At the same time, he wants the VA to work in partnership by handling all the scheduling and “customer service,” something that congressional auditors say could be unwieldy and expensive.

Associated Press writer Hope Yen contributed to this report.

Do Not Sell My Personal Information