Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans - We Are The Mighty
Veterans

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans

Retired Navy Lieutenant Curt Kline had been suffering from the after-effects of childhood and service-related trauma for years. A revolutionary new technology is curing his worst symptoms.  

Enlisting in the Navy in 1994 was an easy decision for Kline, although he really wanted to join the Marine Corps. His mother wouldn’t sign for him unless he changed his branch of service, so the Navy was it. “I was 17 and was in my senior year. It was my fourth high school and I knew I didn’t have a lot of opportunities with college,” he shared. He wasn’t a military brat, either. “We were just poor…we moved around quite a bit.”

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans

From that young teenager emerged a dedicated sailor. Kline was eventually commissioned as an officer not long after he was made Chief. He would go on to train potential SEALs out of the Great Lakes. Later on he was sent to Japan, again. It was there  he’d witness the terrible earthquake and tsunami of 2011. “You could see the flat ground moving like the ocean waves,” he said. Over 15,000 people died and he was close to retirement when he realized the event was causing deeper problems for him than he’d realized.

In 2017 he planned out how he was going to end his life. He had everything he needed and the place was decided. At the last moment, he decided to go to the hospital in a last ditch effort to get help. They saved his life. 

His trauma went back further than his time in the Navy, though. When he was five years old, his mother left his father when she caught him giving marijuana to Kline. Although he’d stay away from alcohol and drugs, he soon realized he’d become anchored to something else. “My drug of choice was the Navy. It was a distraction from all the things I grew up struggling to understand and process,” he explained. 

When Kline retired after 25 years of service, the pandemic hit. He was without his anchor and isolated, a combination which led to a terrible chain of events. The decline led to a deterioration in his marriage to Catalina, a Marine Corps veteran. Finally, after struggling with depression, paranoia and suicidal thoughts for over eight months, he knew he needed help. 

Kline went through TRICARE and the VA for support, but it seemed as though everyone was too busy or didn’t know what to do. “I did find help with Head Strong. Their mission is to provide therapy without any barriers to treatment,” he explained. “That helped tremendously, giving me the foothold to take the next step.”

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans
The Ohio Veterans NOW program is studying the effects of TMS on depression symptoms.

His path ahead wasn’t anything he could have imagined. Kline stumbled upon a social media post discussing a new FDA trial at Ohio State University with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) on veterans. Named Veterans Neuromodulation Operation Wellness (NOW), it was a study that was sponsored and funded by Ohio’s state senator in Bill 166. Senator Frank Hoagland is a former Navy SEAL himself and remains dedicated to serving veterans. 

As soon as the trail was open to candidates, Kline made a phone call to see if he could get on the trial. Only a week later, he traveled to Ohio to begin the program. “Basically, it takes your brain waves and starts to even them out with magnetic pulses,” he explained. 

The human brain is 85 percent water, allowing the TMS pulses to have an almost recharging effect on the mitochondria. This is an area of the brain that creates the energy for cells, around 90 percent of what our body’s cells need to survive. What many outside of the scientific community may not realize is that trauma itself causes our mitochondria not to function properly. Studies have found reduced mitochondria in combat veterans and those suffering from severe PTSD. By recharging the mitochondria, the TMS technology has the potential to eradicate the symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans
The CloudTMS machine is reported to help alleviate depressive symptoms without medication. (CloudTMS, Twitter)

The therapy begins by recording the baseline of brain activity for the patient using electroencephalogram (EEG) readings. This shows the doctor what parts of your brain are operating well and which ones aren’t. From there the CloudTMS™ machine coordinates an individualized plan for magnetic pulses into the brain. 

“After about three weeks of treatment I noticed that I started to sleep more than a couple of hours a time…for me that was a huge difference. One of the things that medication never did for me with my depression was help my motivation,” Kline said. He described his depression as a fog that covered him, making it hard to move. The treatment lifted that fog and reduced the consistent feelings of anxiety he’d been battling. His wife soon joined the program as well and had similar success.

Although Kline is continuing completing his 30 sessions of treatment, the program was paused. This led to confusion on his part because the study was fully funded for two years but appeared to have been stalled due to internal issues. When Kline received the phone call on March 5, 2021 that the study had been stopped indefinitely, it didn’t sit right. 

Through his own research, Kline believes it was stopped because something this impactful has the potential to shift veteran care away from pharmaceuticals. He implores the VA and veteran allies to continue to push for alternative therapies and move away from the drugs that are making many veterans unrecognizable or causing addiction. 

Jacob Burns was a struggling Air Force veteran when he applied for the program after it had paused. Shortly after being denied entry, he drove his truck into a tree and killed himself. He was only 35 years old. Although Kline isn’t blaming the pause on Burns’ suicide exactly, he wonders if getting help rather than being turned away could have changed things.

Kline is now back home in Virginia and working for the first time since retiring from the Navy. He’s continuing to progress every day and is endlessly grateful to the Veterans NOW program and supporters he met along the way. It’s his hope that through continued media coverage of the veteran TMS study, the already funded veterans program will restart and continue healing veterans. 

As we continue to lose more and more veterans to suicide each day, the time to act on viable solutions is now.

MIGHTY TRENDING

NovaPoint Capital provides investment management with integrity

Joseph Sroka isn’t just an investment specialist, he’s a military veteran and business owner with a passion to assist the veteran community. He is the Chief Investment Officer of NovaPoint Capital, a firm he co-founded, which provides investment management for individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations.


Before getting into the number crunching and chart watching of the investment world, Sroka served as an infantry officer in the Army. After graduating from West Point in 1988, he was stationed in Berlin, Germany and was witness to the iconic fall of the Berlin Wall, reunification of Germany, and collapse of the Soviet Union. As a person who was inspired to serve by Ronald Reagan, seeing the end of the “Evil Empire” seemed like a good time for a career change.

“I grew up in the aftermath of the Vietnam war and was in middle school during the Iran hostage crisis,” Sroka recalls. “President Reagan brought pride back to the country and the military. I was proud to serve.”

After earning his MBA, Sroka spent time working in equity research at investment banks, hedge funds, and asset management firms in Chicago, New York, and eventually Atlanta, the city he now calls home. The investment management industry has proven as lively as the military. Sroka was working at 4 World Financial Center, across the street from the World Trade Center, on 9/11 and helped evacuate his colleagues at Merrill Lynch from the building. He has also managed through the volatility of the markets during the 2008 financial crisis.

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans
Joseph Sroka

His deep experience in the industry helped him develop the tools he needed to go into business with his partner, Alan Conner. Together, they decided the goal of NovaPoint Capital was to provide individuals and institutions with disciplined and transparent investment management.

We’ve both seen the ugly side of the business over the years,” Alan explains, “Excessive fees and complicated investment products seem designed to benefit the investment firms and the brokers, rather than the clients. It is very satisfying to run a firm where we truly put the client first.

As a boutique firm, they offer an aspect that is often lost when dealing with larger firms: the opportunity to build a personal one-on-one relationship directly with their clients. This structure provides clients with direct access to the manager who is handling their money and not sales representatives or relationship managers who are twice or three-times removed from the actual investment.

They recognize that a lot of trust that comes with handling investments. NovaPoint seeks to provide all clients, large and small, with complete transparency in how their money is invested. They have used technology to simplify the process and give clients a window into what the team at NovaPoint is doing every day.

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans

NovaPoint shows they are purposeful and disciplined when it comes to the strategies they put forth. Both owners understand discipline. Sroka as a West Point graduate and Army Ranger, Conner as an endurance athlete and three-time IRONMAN triathlon finisher. Conner sees “the discipline in our investment process as a simple extension of the discipline we have in our everyday lives.”

Being a veteran-owned business, NovaPoint understands the value the veteran community provides to the country’s economy and wants to encourage other veterans to pursue their investment and financial goals. To help veterans achieve these goals NovaPoint Capital takes a few proactive steps. They offer special discounts on standard fees as well as waiving minimum investment requirements for veterans. They extend these offers to include retirement plans for other veteran-owned businesses as well as non-profit organizations that serve the veteran community. Additionally, NovaPoint contributes one day of revenue every six months directly to veteran charities.

Beyond discounts and waived requirements, Sroka personally continues to serve veterans in his community by being a mentor through organizations like Veterati and FourBlock. “I am a huge believer that the current generation of transitioning veterans are going to be the leaders in the U.S. economy for decades to come,” Sroka said. He is also working to bring a Bunker Labs chapter to Atlanta to help military and veteran entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses in the area.

Articles

WH recommends vets ‘set aside’ bitterness over Pearl Harbor attack

News that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is attending the ceremony remembering the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack has drawn some interest.


Unfortunately, it also seems to have drawn some advice from White House Spokesman Josh Earnest directed toward veterans of the surprise bombardment.

During a recent press briefing, Earnest said that World War II veterans should “set aside their own personal bitterness” over the unprovoked attack on Dec. 7, 1941, that left 2,403 Americans dead and over a thousand wounded.

Japan has refused to apologize for the attack, which sank or damaged 19 American vessels, including eight battleships and destroyed or damaged over 300 aircraft.

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans
A rescue operation underway from the burning USS West Virginia after the Japanese attacks. (U.S. Navy, December 7, 1941)

“If I were a World War II veteran who was drafted by the United States military to go and fight for our country overseas in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack, I might feel quite embittered. And I think it would be a perfectly natural and understandable human reaction to not be particularly satisfied with the words of the Japanese Prime Minister,” Earnest said during the Dec. 5 briefing.

“There may be some who feel personally embittered,” he added. “But I’m confident that many will set aside their own personal bitterness, not because they’re personally satisfied by the words of the Prime Minister, but because they recognize how important this moment is for the United States.”

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans
USS Arizona (US Navy photo)

Abe is the first Japanese Prime Minister to visit Pearl Harbor, declaring his intent to “mourn the souls of the victims” of the attack. American forces shot down 29 Japanese planes, and sank five midget submarines and one submarine.

Fifteen Americans were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions during the attack, while 51 received the Navy Cross, four received the Distinguished Service Cross, and 53 received the Silver Star.

It is estimated that 161,000 American military personnel were killed in action while fighting in the Pacific Theater. The war lasted for three years and nine months, with the end taking place when Japan signed surrender documents on board the USS Missouri (BB 63) on Sept. 2, 1945.

MIGHTY TRENDING

VA mental health therapy in your living room

Veterans receiving care at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas, can now connect to mental health services remotely using a computer, smartphone or tablet. The system, called telemental health, has helped nearly a thousand Houston area veterans get the care they need.

telemental health uses the VA Video Connect app, which provides a secure connection between veteran and provider no matter where the veteran is located. Seventy-five Houston VAMC mental health providers are equipped to provide remote services.

“The technology is ideal for veterans who live far away, have medical problems or find it difficult to leave the house,” said Houston VAMC psychologist Dr. Jan Lindsay.


“Often, coming to the clinic is a big burden for our veterans. Barriers include child care, traffic, parking, taking off work or feeling anxiety when leaving their homes for treatment.”

telemental health eliminates those barriers. “When we provide psychotherapy via telehealth, some veterans report that being at home makes it easier to focus on the work being done and acquire the skills they need to engage their lives more fully,” said Lindsay. “They feel safer at home.”

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans

Houston VAMC social worker Veronica Siffert places a consult for a veteran to receive telemental health services.

“It is actually easier than coming into the facility,” said Air Force Veteran Christopher Banks. “I can be in my own home, which helps me with sharing.”

Banks, who has trouble walking, often had to cancel his in-person mental health appointments. When he did make it to the provider’s office, he had to fight traffic to get there. “I’d get so stressed from the drive that I would spend 90 percent of my therapy talking about why I’m so angry,” he said.

telemental health is “a major benefit for those with mobility issues,” agreed Dr. Kaki York, deputy clinical executive with the Houston VAMC Mental Health Care Line.

“We have vets with ALS or Parkinson’s or who have had a stroke, who for whatever reason cannot get here to continue treatment. Also, family therapy services. Have you ever tried to coordinate an entire family? It’s very difficult. Video allows them to get in the same place at the same time instead of getting all of them to the VA.”

Veterans who travel for work also benefit from using telemental health. “Houston has a lot of oil field workers who live here for part of the time but somewhere else the other time,” said York. “They’re here for three months, then travel for six months. If they have an internet connection, we are here for them.”

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans

(Photo by Christin Hume)

For Banks, another plus is that reading material his therapist recommends is right at his fingertips. “When I was with the providers, they would recommend different links or health guides and I had to wait to get home to pull it up,” he said. “With telehealth, it’s right there. Memory is not the most reliable, especially with some of us vets. At home, I can open a search bar and go straight to it.”

There are advantages for clinicians as well. For example, during an office visit, if a therapist asks a veteran what medications she is taking, the veteran might not remember them all. Using remote video, the veteran can just show the therapist her medication containers.

“It’s up to each veteran how much he or she uses remote services,” said Lindsay. “If you like coming into the clinic to see your provider, you can continue to do so and only use video telehealth when convenient,” she said. For veterans who lack the means to connect remotely, equipment is available to use for the duration of treatment.

“Our goal would be that any mental health clinician at the main facility will be able to provide telehealth services when the patient wants it and provider thinks it would be helpful,” said York. “We are not quite 100 percent there yet, but we are getting close.”

This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

Veterans

5 reasons to maximize your potential at the Military Influencer Conference

There’s something about a conference. Maybe it’s the swag. Maybe it’s the sessions. Maybe it’s the thrill of ordering new business cards and finally meeting your online heroes in real life. Likely, it’s some combination of them all. At a good conference, you can’t walk into the main space without hearing the excitement. But when you walk into a great conference, not only do you hear it, you can feel it.

This year, the one conference that has to be on your radar and your calendar is the Military Influencer Conference in Orlando, Florida, from September 23-25. After the inaugural conference brought together over 300 veteran and military spouse influencers in Dallas last year, this year’s MIC promises to not only match last year’s magic, but to top it.

Here are our top 5 reasons you can’t miss MIC Orlando:


Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans

Military Influence Conference founder, Curtez Riggs, speaks at MIC 2017.

The mission

As most incredible things begin, the Military Influencer Conference started with one person and a vision. Founder Curtez Riggs wanted to connect the different corners of the military space, from the business owners to the bloggers, the freelancers to the designers, inclusive of veterans and military spouses. He knew the passion behind the entrepreneurs and the savvy of the content creators, and the power in bringing them together. And so he did. The result in Dallas was an extraordinary exchange of ideas with promise only to build, and MIC Orlando will do just that. Attendees will learn how to grow their business, no matter what stage it’s in, and how to incorporate giving back to our community into their business model.

The expertise

Often times at a conference, you’ll see one or two headliners and then sessions that warrant more of a coffee break than continued interest. That is anything but the case for MIC Orlando. While keynotes like Jim Koch of Sam Adams, our own David Gale, and Janine Boldrin of Military Spouse Magazine should be enough to draw you in, there is a tremendous depth of expertise in the panel sessions. With tactical takeaways like how to develop e-courses, social media strategies, financing your business, launching a freelance career and so much more, you’ll be learning from and interacting with the best of the best. It’s rare to have such breadth of experience in your network, let alone within arm’s reach. From the MIC website:

With more than 21 educational sessions and a wide range of dynamic, inspiring speakers, this event gives digital entrepreneurs an unprecedented opportunity to find the resources and connections needed to grow your online business. Time and time again, you’ll be introduced to bold new ideas and proven strategies for both short and long-term growth.
Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans

The opportunities

Sure, you’ll meet so many incredible people, but if that isn’t reason enough, MIC Orlando could forever change your business. StreetShares, who has partnered with Sam Adams Brewing the America Dream, will be announcing three Veterans Small Business Awards, for a total of ,000. There will be a live pitch competition where succinctly explaining your business model could garner investments, and an opportunity for service organizations to have a roundtable with The Veterans Trust. We don’t want to put the pressure on you and say these are “once-in-a-lifetime” chances, but, well… let’s call a spade a spade: these are once-in-a-lifetime chances.

The network

Some of the best takeaways from a conference aren’t in what you learn, but in who you meet. MIC Orlando has some of the biggest names in the military space, and not only are those folks attending, they’re there to connect, to collaborate, to network. That’s right: they want to meet you! Don’t miss the opportunity to share a drink and your dreams with some of the most prominent influencers, who are genuinely interested in what you’re doing and how they can help elevate you.

In addition to the impressive speakers and fellow attendees, the sponsors of MIC Orlando are second to none. With companies like USAA, Comcast, Military By Owner, GovX, Amazon, Crosby Marketing, Military Fresh Network and Life Flip Media sponsoring the event, you’ll have an unprecedented opportunity to talk about partnerships, branding, and so much more.

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans

(Rosen Shingle Creek)

The location

Honestly, we’d attend MIC 2018 no matter where it was being held after last year’s experience, but the fact that it’s at a world-renowned resort certainly doesn’t hurt. We’re guessing a lot of collaborations will happen over drinks at the pool, on the golf course, and at one of the resort’s many lounges or restaurants. With pristine grounds, extravagant amenities and beautiful accommodations, the Rosen Shingle Creek is reason enough to go. Add on the incredible benefits of MIC Orlando, and it becomes a “can’t miss.”

We know you won’t regret buying your ticket to MIC Orlando, but you might regret if you don’t. You’re worth the investment. We can’t wait to see you in Florida.

MIGHTY TRENDING

These 15 Medal of Honor recipients are headed to Super Bowl LII

Chad Hennings, Kevin Greene, and Roger Staubach are just a few of our brothers-in-arms that happened to also be incredible football players who earned themselves Super Bowl rings.


For more than four decades, the NFL and the military have shared a special relationship that involves the posting of the colors during the National Anthem and historic flyovers.

This week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the league has invited 15 Medal of Honor recipients to participate in the official on-field coin toss ceremony before Super Bowl LII officially kicks off.

Related: This veteran A-10 pilot has three Super Bowl rings

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans
Members of the Armed Forces Color Guard and drummers from the U.S. Air Force Band, all based in Washington, D.C., perform during the Super Bowl XLV game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Feb. 6, 2011. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25. (Image from Wikipedia Commons)

Also Read: 6 military veterans who played in the Super Bowl

Medal of Honor recipient and World War II veteran Hershel “Woody” Williams, who earned his distinguished award during the Battle of Iwo Jima, is scheduled to conduct the traditional coin flip at Sunday’s game.

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans
Medal of Honor recipient and Marine veteran Hershel Moody with two of his brothers-in-arms. (Image from DoD)

The other Medal of Honor recipients in attendance include:

  • Bennie Adkins: Army, Vietnam (award delayed 9/15/2014)
  • Don Ballard: Navy, Vietnam (awarded 5/14/1970)
  • Sammy Davis: Army, Vietnam (awarded 11/18/1967)
  • Roger Donlon: Army, Vietnam (awarded 12/5/1964)
  • Sal Giunta: Army, Afghanistan (awarded 11/16/2010)
  • Flo Groberg: Army, Afghanistan (awarded 11/12/2015)
  • Tom Kelley: Navy, Vietnam (awarded 5/17/1969)
  • Allan Kellogg: MarinesVietnam (awarded 10/15/1973)
  • Gary Littrell: Army, Vietnam (awarded 10/15/1973)
  • Walter Marm: Army, Vietnam (awarded 12/19/1966)
  • Robert Patterson: Army, Vietnam (awarded 10/10/1969)
  • Leroy Petry: Army, Afghanistan (awarded 7/12/2011)
  • Clint Romesha: Army, Afghanistan (awarded 2/11/2013)
  • James Taylor: Army, Vietnam (awarded 11/19/1968)
  • Woody Williams: Marines, WWII (awarded 10/5/1945)

To date, the NFL has partnered with several veteran organizations to raise support and awareness, including the Pat Tillman Foundation, TAPS, USO, and Wounded Warrior Project.

Super Bowl LII kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, live from U.S. Bank Stadium.

MIGHTY TRENDING

This Sailor needs your help to make his NASCAR dreams happen

Matt Perry wouldn’t be the first active-duty Sailor to make the jump to NASCAR, but he would be the first to make his debut by crowdfunding it.


The south Georgia native has been bombing around dirt and asphalt since the tender age of six. As a teen, he became an amateur drifter, making his way around the region while drag racing in the dirt of northern Florida. When he graduated from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, becoming a fourth-generation service member.

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans
Perry after joining the Navy.

His passion for motorsports never went away, though. He competes in AutoCross while training for the big time at places like Willow Springs International Raceway and Irwindale Speedway.

Perry’s first stock car race came in September 2017, when he competed in the Whelen All-American Series at Meridian Speedway. He made history by becoming the first enlisted U.S. Navy Sailor to compete in NASCAR. He finished in the top ten as a NASCAR rookie.

Matt Perry is now looking to enter the 2018 season racing Super Late Models as well as Modifieds in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and he strives to make the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. But he needs helps — an enlisted sailor doesn’t make a lot of money.

“It has been an incredible journey to make it into NASCAR,” Perry says. “But sadly, the cost to race is too high for me to manage it by myself. I have a lifelong dream to make this a full career and won’t stop until we, as a team, have reached my goal.”

If you want to help Matt Perry reach his dream of being a NASCAR driver, check out his fundraising effort. You can also find him and Live Free Racing on Facebook and Instagram.

MIGHTY MILSPOUSE

6 common VA interview questions and how to prepare for them

Landing a job interview is one of the most exciting and potentially nerve-wracking parts of job hunting. While it’s thrilling to move on in the selection process, it can also feel like a lot is riding on one conversation.

Preparation is key to soothing those pre-interview jitters. When you’re prepared, you’ll feel relaxed and confident so the conversation can flow naturally.


Too bad you can’t get a sneak peek inside the interviewer’s head and learn the questions ahead of time!

Or… can you?

No mind-reading abilities required! We asked two of VA’s national recruiters, Hillary Garcia and Timothy Blakney, for information on VA’s interview process. Here are the six most common VA interview questions and tips on how to prepare for them.

Question: How have you developed and maintained productive working relations with others, even though you may have had differing points of view?

Tip: Come armed with an example or three. In this case, you’ll want to discuss how you worked as a member of a team, including the role you played and how the group interacted.

Question: Tell us about a time where you worked independently without close supervision or support.

Tip: At VA, you’ll sometimes need to make a decision on the fly, so an independent streak is a good thing. Play up your self-directedness. Also, when you describe past examples, don’t forget to mention the result and how your efforts made it possible.

Question: Describe a time when you went above and beyond your job requirements. What motivated you to put forth the extra effort? What was the result of your effort?

Tip: Many interview questions at VA have several parts, like this one. Consider bringing a notebook to jot down notes as questions are being asked so you answer them in full.

Question: Describe a situation where you have not communicated well with a co-worker, supervisor, management official or union official. What was the situation? How did you correct it? What was the outcome?

Tip: Communication abilities are often front and center in a VA interview, so be sure to think about your skills in this area ahead of time. You’ll probably be asked about a professional area of improvement or a time you could have changed how you responded. Answering this type of question thoughtfully demonstrates that you can reflect on and work to perfect your professional roles.

Question: Compare what you know about the job you are interviewing for with your own knowledge and skill. In what areas do you feel you already excel? What areas do you feel you will need to develop?

Tip: Make sure you read over the job announcement closely, especially the duties and specialized experience sections. Then review your own resume and previous experiences, paying particularly close attention to anything that makes you unique.

Question: Tell us about a time you briefed a supervisor or senior management official about bad news and/or results they did not like, along with recommending a different course of action. How did you persuade them to move in a new direction? What were the results?

Tip: Interviewers often ask questions about how you handled a difficult situation, and this can be a tricky one to navigate. You’ll want to think of a tactful example that demonstrates those vital communication abilities, as well as problem-solving and strategic thinking skills. If this was a negative experience, try to give it a positive spin by treating it as a learning opportunity.

Work at VA

Now that you’re feeling ready for a potential interview, a rewarding VA career is just a few steps away!

This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

MIGHTY TRENDING

6 reasons why vets are the best to go on vacation with

As the summer months come rolling around, families all over the nation will get together and begin planning trips. From hitting sunny beaches to visiting majestic national parks, there are tons of great places to visit this summer. After compiling a list of exciting locations, the next most important part aspect of a vacation is to consider the company you’ll keep.


When coming up with a list of potential vacationers, you’ll need to make sure you well mesh with everyone invited. For the best trip, you’ll want to bring people with a wide variety of characteristics and talents. Here’s a quirky idea: Make sure you invite one of your buddies who served in the military.

Why? We’re glad you asked!

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FSEre9eirTBgdO.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Fi.giphy.com&s=789&h=b3fee8fd13bfa841c5a9f7173629e196f9470031e928f7b4eebd2fb200171e9d&size=980x&c=2644825035 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FSEre9eirTBgdO.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fi.giphy.com%26s%3D789%26h%3Db3fee8fd13bfa841c5a9f7173629e196f9470031e928f7b4eebd2fb200171e9d%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2644825035%22%7D” expand=1]

You’ll always have someone to drink with

Veterans love to drink; it’s no secret. Some of us are beer drinkers while others like to pound a glass of whiskey. While you might have to bribe a veteran to get them to try a new type of food, you can simply put a tasty drink in front of them and watch that f*cker disappear.

It’s like a magic trick — but better.

They’ll have plan ‘b’ through ‘z’ in mind — just in case

Troops are trained to always have contingency plans and that characteristic invariably follows them when they reenter civilian life. Even if you and your buddies are simply visiting a new pub or restaurant, the veteran is going to first locate the exits and identify any potential threats — just in case.

It’s just our way.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Fu7c0J0dmV0ZJm.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Fi.giphy.com&s=798&h=a6e00501c6d24888188096621f1d6f2a19c163274613fd007b53de160d846612&size=980x&c=3830948059 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Fu7c0J0dmV0ZJm.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fi.giphy.com%26s%3D798%26h%3Da6e00501c6d24888188096621f1d6f2a19c163274613fd007b53de160d846612%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3830948059%22%7D” expand=1]

They will always ask for a veteran discount

Who doesn’t like saving money? Having a veteran in the group could knock a few dollars off the bill at the end of the night. If you’re okay with paying full price for everything, then we don’t want to go on vacation with you.

They don’t have a problem waiting in lines

In the military, we often do this crappy thing called, “hurry up and wait.” It’s a sh*tty aspect of military service, sure, but it’s a realistic one. If your group wants to get into a club, the veteran among you is the best candidate for waiting out the long line.

Don’t exclusively use your veteran for waiting in lines, though — that’s just plain mean. But it is plus to have a vet who is willing to wait it out for the good of the group.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2F26gJyEBhfuz3ncQfu.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Fi.giphy.com&s=786&h=02a245ef4fcd5d4438bf2d25594f7b5662453822dd0fbb02858d936741defef2&size=980x&c=3373518905 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252F26gJyEBhfuz3ncQfu.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fi.giphy.com%26s%3D786%26h%3D02a245ef4fcd5d4438bf2d25594f7b5662453822dd0fbb02858d936741defef2%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3373518905%22%7D” expand=1]

They will always find their way

Troops are trained to find their way around to finish their mission. In the civilian world, that mission might be locating a specific pub or a way out of the camping grounds.

Regardless of the situation, the vet will pull their skills together and find their way — especially if there’s alcohol at their destination.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Fyln3Bc97mXurm.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Fi.giphy.com&s=594&h=0e6c8a3318d1db6820b562217c60fb9b91ca9c233aa07c04f20a8e6376974e8a&size=980x&c=2601567221 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Fyln3Bc97mXurm.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fi.giphy.com%26s%3D594%26h%3D0e6c8a3318d1db6820b562217c60fb9b91ca9c233aa07c04f20a8e6376974e8a%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2601567221%22%7D” expand=1]

Taking one for the team

The military instills in its troops the importance of the team in every way, shape, and form. It’s just how we get sh*t done.

So, if one of your fellow vacationers wants to hook up with someone who has a lonely friend, you can rest assured that the vet is going to step in and take one for the team.

Articles

These veterans-turned-models have 100 combined years of service

Throughout the pandemic, award-winning nonprofit Pin-Ups For Vets has continued to serve hospitalized veterans and deployed troops with medical equipment and morale-boosting care packages. 

Now the organization is releasing its 16th annual calendar that will continue to raise funding to support its various initiatives for the military community. Featuring twelve outstanding female vets, the 2022 Pin-Ups For Vets calendar includes medics, a Navy JAG, a Blackhawk pilot, a radiology technician, avionics technicians and more. 

Their distinguished military service is varied but one thing they all have in common is a deep pride in having served their country as they look forward to continuing their service to veterans and troops as Pin-Ups For Vets volunteer Ambassadors.

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans
Vanessa Dance, United States Army (Pin-Ups for Vets 2022 calendar image)

Calendar model Vanessa Dance reflected on her service then and now explaining, “I was in the Army for eight years. As a physician in the Army, I experienced an environment of providing excellent care with compassion and a level of camaraderie like no other. I had the honor of serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 3rd Infantry Division’s Medical Support Battalion. I will always remember all the brave soldiers that we cared for while in Kuwait and Iraq. I am excited about giving back to our Veterans through the Pin-Ups For Vets organization.”

Many of the veteran ambassadors have shared their desire to embody the notion of “service after service” while also connecting with community again, something that many vets struggle with after transitioning to civilian life.

Dance shared, “Through this organization I have met some outstanding fellow female veterans and it is so satisfying to see them thriving in their civilian careers. These women are mothers, wives, attorneys, cyber security experts, actors and physicians, to name a few careers. They are using the skills they learned in the military to make this a better world. I look forward to being a Pin-Ups For Vets Ambassador and bringing a smile to our hospitalized Veterans.”

The organization, inspired by classic pin-up nose art on World War II aircraft, takes pride in bringing bright colors and smiles to dull hospital rooms while also helping female vets reconnect with their femininity. 

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans
Tes Sabine, United States Air Force (Pin-Ups for Vets 2022 calendar image)

U.S. Air Force radiology technician Tes Sabine observed that balancing act well. “Pin-Ups For Vets is an organization that amplifies the femininity and diversity of female veterans. Our femininity is often swallowed whole by the image of a service member blending into a uniformed group with purpose. We served and faced adversity, hardship and fear. Women are capable of so many complex talents forged in the face of difficulty. Pin-Ups For Vets takes us as women and gives us personality, beauty and fun which seemingly juxtaposes our military grit each one of us embody.“

Pin-Ups For Vets has donated over $80,000 to help hospitals purchase new rehabilitation equipment and to provide financial assistance for veterans’ health care program expansion across the U.S. The nonprofit is usually in the middle of a 50-State VA Hospital Tour but due to the pandemic, Pin-Ups For Vets is now shipping out care packages enclosed with gifts of appreciation to hospitalized veterans around the country and continues to ship morale-boosting care packages to deployed U.S. troops around the globe.

The 2022 calendar can be purchased online or by check to: 

Pin-Ups For Vets
PO Box 33
Claremont, CA 91711.

MIGHTY CULTURE

This Navy SEAL wants to inspire kids to reach their full potential

Marc Lonergan-Hertel grew up in Massachusetts with the dream of becoming a Navy SEAL — a dream he made into a reality. But he had a long way to go before achieving such a feat. He decided he needed to toughen up first, so he joined the Marine Corps, where he eventually found himself in Force Recon.

His military career took him through some of the toughest training the military has to offer. And he wrote about it in his memoir, Sierra Two: A SEAL’s Odyssey in War and Peace.

But Lonergan-Hertel didn’t stop there. He continued a life of adventure and service after leaving the military and today, he wants to call attention to real-world heroes he met along the way. He wants his transformative journey to help inspire others — namely, our nation’s youth — so they can maximize their full potential and achieve their dreams.

He calls himself a Protector.


Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans
Lonergan-Hertel’s Book is available on Amazon.

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans

Lonergan-Hertel and 1st Force Recon.

(Courtesy of Marc Lonergan-Hertel)

Those who fight monsters inevitably change,” Lonergan-Hertel says, explaining what he means by the title “Protector.” It’s from a popular saying about post-traumatic stress, written by an unknown author. The quote goes on to note that if you stay in the fighting long enough, you will eventually become the monster. The former Navy SEAL wants to keep Protectors from getting that far.

“There is a cost to being a protector. Love is the only way to heal the wounds [that change you]. Remember this: As a protector, you run toward the things that others run away from. You go out to fight what you fear. You stand between others and the monsters on the other side of the wall.”

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans

Lonergan-Hertel in his world-record paraglider flight, 70 South Antarctica.

(Courtesy of Marc Lonergan-Hertel)

You can read about his adventures fighting monsters in his book, Sierra Two. After his time in Force Recon, he left the military and worked as a Emergency Medical Technician in Los Angeles as well as a hunting guide in Colorado. Eventually, he decided to explore the Army and join the Special Forces. Shortly after joining the California National Guard, he was able to wear a maroon beret in support of 19 Special Forces Group and prepared to try out for Delta Section. He didn’t make Delta, but it did prepare him a selection packet he could submit to the Navy. He graduated from BUD/S in 1996 and joined SEAL Team Four. He left the military in 2000, but didn’t leave behind the adventurer’s life.

“My platoon chief recommended me for an around-the-world expedition through the Cousteau Society,” Lonergan-Hertel says. “I ended up getting the position as a team member and expedition leader and scout for NatGeo and Discovery Channel programs to Antarctica the Amazon jungle, where I had experience as a SEAL.”

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans

Lonergan-Hertel and his NatGeo Team. Lonergan-Hertel is center, in the cowboy hat.

(Courtesy of Marc Lonergan-Hertel)

During his military career and post-military adventuring, he began to question what he valued most in life. He began to look for his true purpose. As his journey sharpened his self-awareness, he was soon transformed into a new person. He became a Protector – and wanted to be the best Protector he could be. His life took him to rescue hurricane victims, assess the environment in Antarctica while diving under the ice shelves, hike up the Amazon River Basin alone and encounter endangered tribes along the way — he even lost his best friend to pirates along the same river.

“I wrote my book because I realized how much our life journey sharpens our awareness of what really matters in life,” Lonergan-Hertel says. “Real life experiences transform us as human beings and gives us an understanding of risk and sacrifice.”

He even has a line of survival gear, that includes a heat reflective thermal field blanket sleep system, called First Line Survival. Lonergan-Hertel calls it “base camp in a bag” and all the proceeds from First Line Survival benefit his Protectors tour.

But the longtime adventurer is more than just an author. He’s crossing the country with fellow Protectors to tell their stories in stage presentations, meant for school-age children but meaningful to parents as well. He wants children to grow up with the confidence to realize their abilities and potential, to see a personal path toward a positive future, and realize they have the power to do this within themselves at all times.

“I understand very clearly that the gift of life can be away very quickly,” Lonergan-Hertel says. “The best thing I can leave behind is to inspire others to have confidence in themselves and to help others who have a more difficult journey in life.”

MIGHTY TRENDING

This combat wounded Vietnam veteran has the spice to make anything nice

‘Tis the season for the giving of gifts. ‘Tis also the season of FOMUG (Fear Of Messed Up Gifting). We get it. It’s hard out there for an elf. Team WATM would like to offer you some guidance.


For the grill master or pit mistress:

~ a pack of spice rubs from the kitchen of a Vietnam vetrepreneur ~

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans

“One of the beauties of being a human being is that you have the ability to adapt.”

Gene (Cappy) Holmon is a force at a farmer’s market. I’d know. All it took him was five minutes talking to my wife about his local Los Angeles line of dry rub spices and she came straight home and put me in a headlock until I promised to include Cappy’s Dry Rub in the Mighty Holiday Gift Guide.

And she doesn’t really like meat. But she’s sure got a thing for Cappy.

I caught up with Holmon this week and got the 411 on how an Army veteran who was disabled during the Tet Offensive in 1968 first transitioned to a busy career as a FedEx Distribution Hub Director before pivoting to become the Meat Spice King of Los Angeles. Brace yourself. It involves losing an arm.

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans

Holmon had been in Vietnam about 6 months when he was injured in combat, suffering damage from both AK-47 rounds and what he assumes was an RPG. Medics amputated his right arm above the elbow in a field hospital before sending him to Japan for recovery.

“…I was pretty depressed…I think it was probably three days before I actually looked to see if my arm was still there…I was in an amputee ward and I saw a lot of guys, you know, like me but with both legs gone…or both legs and an arm or something like that and at that point I said, well, hey, I’m not that bad off…At that point I just decided to get better.”

Holman returned home to San Francisco and studied business management at USF on the G.I. Bill. Then he returned to his previous employer, UPS. He quickly rose through the ranks to Division Manager of UPS Hub Operations for all of Arizona, New Mexico and Southern Nevada. That’s when FedEx poached him to help implement their new Super Hub Distribution Center in Memphis.

And as he tracked across the American South for business, he sampled the many flavors of sauce, spice and smoke upon which Southern culinary tradition pins its most heartfelt pride.

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans
You’ll want to lick your palms. Probably wash your hands first.

By the time he retired, Holmon was experimenting with his own blends of dry rub spices, perfecting his grill skills, and winning praise for his cooking at family events. When California Cottage Law went into effect in 2013, Holmon’s wife Paulette urged him to offer his blends to the public and Cappy’s was born. But because Cottage Law permitting initially limits sales to direct-to-consumer, Holman found that he’d have to adapt from being the distribution genius behind the scenes to being a grassroots-level, Face-of-the-Brand at farmer’s markets and local boutique grocery stores.

It can’t have been too hard. Insider knowledge: Cappy is a peach. As soon as you meet him, you’re sipping the paprika-flavored Kool-Aid.

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans

Cappy’s has since expanded to online sales, which is where we wholeheartedly recommend that you go to order yourself one or several of his blends in time for Holiday cooking. Cappy’s Dry Rubs are great on meats, obviously, but check out how well they crossover to fruits and vegetables. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

The 2017 We Are The Mighty Holiday Gift Guide is sponsored by Propper, a tactical apparel and gear company dedicated to equipping those who commit their lives to serving others. All views are our own.

Speaking of Propper, they’re giving away twelve tactical packs filled with gear from our Holiday Gift Guide. Click this link to enter.

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans

Articles

A firefighter’s secret identity reveals a Marine veteran – and gourmet chef

Fighting fires is hungry work. And since firefighters spend long hours, even days, at the fire station, it naturally falls to some schlub rookie to lace up an apron and put food on the table. That’s normally how it goes.

But Meals Ready To Eat doesn’t profile normal.


In South Philadelphia, there’s a fire station where things go down a bit differently. That’s because the members of Philly’s Fire Engine 60, Ladder 19 are lucky enough to count a gourmet chef among their ranks. In fact, he outranks most of them. He’s Lieutenant Bill Joerger, he’s a former Marine and this kitchen is his by right of mastery.

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans
The two sides of Lt. Bill Joerger… (Go90 Meals Ready To Eat screenshot)

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans
…and both are delicious. (Meals Ready To Eat screenshot)

It is a little weird for a ranking officer to spend hours rustling the chow. It’s a little strange that he goes to such lengths to source ingredients for his culinary art. It’s a bit outlandish when those meals are complex enough to necessitate a demo plate.

But Bill Joerger doesn’t care about any of that. When not actively saving lives, he cares about honing his cooking skills, eating well, and creating — in the midst of a chaotic work environment — some small sacred space where everyone can relax and just be people together.

“You have the brotherhood in the Marine Corps, and it’s the same as being in the firehouse…it’s some satisfaction for me to know that I’m producing a good meal for these guys after the things that we deal with on a daily basis.”

Meals Ready to Eat host August Dannehl spent a day with Joerger at the firehouse, experiencing the often violent stop-and-start nature of a firefighter’s day and, in the down moments, sous-cheffing for the Lieutenant. The story of how Joerger found his way from the Marine Corps to a cookbook and then to the firehouse kitchen is a lesson in utilizing one’s passion to impose some order in the midst of life’s disarray.

Retired Navy officer touts life-changing alternative treatment for wounded veterans

Watch more Meals Ready To Eat:

These military chefs will make you want to re-enlist

This veteran farmer will make you celebrate your meat

This is why soldiers belong in the kitchen

This Galley Girl will make you want to join the Coast Guard

This is the food Japanese chefs invented after their nation surrendered to the Allies

Do Not Sell My Personal Information