Getting out of the military is a great day for most. You’ve been anticipating this day for years and it’s finally here — but now what?
Is it all peaches and cream once you’re on the other side? It might be, but there are some bleak possibilities that many veterans face on the other side of service. Now, we’re not here to frighten you, but these are things you should be aware of.
Sadly, homelessness is as real a possibility awaiting veterans as a life of prosperity. Homelessness in America is a serious issue — and the homeless population is about 11% veteran, according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. Of that total, 70% are on drugs, and 50% suffer from some type of psychological ailment.
There are programs in place to help, but you can only offer help to those who seek it, and there’s a general mistrust of these organizations in the veteran community.
Considering that the veteran population accounts for around 1% of the country, the amount of homeless veterans is extremely alarming. If you or anyone you know is homeless or on the verge of homelessness, there is help for you.
2. The mysterious misadventures of the VA
Going to the VA is a key part of post-service life. For many, it’s the only form of health insurance we have in the years immediately following service and is an absolute must if you experienced any adverse or lingering effects of service.
The VA is supposed to help, and for the most part, it does, but navigating the many avenues can be daunting. Hell, knowing where to start can be a task by itself. Setting up an appointment can take months and filing for your proper disability rating can take years… literally.
The best advice for dealing with the VA is patience and perseverance.
3. School daze
One of the best things about honorably serving your country is that you get the opportunity to go to school afterward (mostly) on Uncle Sam’s dime. But going back to school isn’t as easy as showing up for class and doing your assignments. Depending on where you land, you might feel like you stand alone as the only adult in an ocean of children.
The fun part comes when you realize that you’re closer in age to your classmates’ parents than your classmates themselves.
4. Unsure wonderland
Leaving the military is different for everyone. Some have planned for their exit for years; others never considered a life outside of the military. It isn’t uncommon for veterans to take a few years to get themselves truly together and on track.
Be ready for a period of self-reflection. Figuring out what you actually want to do can take more time than anticipated, and that’s fine. Try not to feel like you need to be at a specific point just because you’re a certain age or you’ve been through certain things. Trust me, I know this is easier said than done, but as long as you keep moving and searching, you’ll find your way.
While women have made important strides in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers, research has shown that these fields remain predominantly male.
This is rapidly changing at VA, where diversity and inclusion aren’t merely a box to be checked but essential to our organization. Along with meeting the needs of women Veterans by providing them access to high-quality women health services, we also seek out opportunities to hire these heroes as they transition into civilian life following their military service.
In an effort to reach more of the 2 million female Veterans, the Office of Environmental Programs Service (EPS)/Healthcare Environmental Facilities Program (HEFP) is encouraging female Veterans to apply for the Environmental Management Service (EMS) Technical Career Field (TCF) Trainee program. This 24-month opportunity cultivates management trainees and guarantees non-competitive placement upon successful completion. Applications will be accepted until May 7.
We’re looking for female leaders to help our facilities provide a clean healing environment that’s safe for Veterans and their families in Long Beach, California; Denver, Colorado; St. Louis, Missouri; Amarillo, Texas; Dallas, Texas; and Madison, Wisconsin.
Explore VA environmental management leadership opportunities
Within VA, EMS oversees the following program functions:
Health care sanitation
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Textile Care Management (TCM)
Waste management and recycling
Interior Design (ID)
Environment of Care (EOC) monitoring
An EMS leader uses knowledge and experience to ensure adherence to statutory, regulatory and VA requirements. In pursuit of becoming an EMS leader, the TCF trainee will gain expertise to serve as a regulatory and technical subject matter expert and assist VHA in solving complex environmental and compliance issues.
Great careers, great benefits
You’ll join a tight-knit team of highly qualified and driven management professionals working to improve the overall Veteran experience by providing a safe, clean and healing environment for their care. When you join VA, you’ll have access to plenty of perks, including regular salary step increases, job security and work/life balance. In addition to these benefits, you’ll receive:
Generous time off: Earn up to 26 vacation days each year, accrue unlimited paid sick leave and enjoy 10 paid federal holidays.
Robust federal retirement plan: Enjoy a defined benefit plan (pension) after only five years of vesting and a 401(k)-type plan with up to 5% in employer contributions.
Education Support: We can help you repay student debt, reimburse you for tuition and help you earn free continuing medical education (CME) credits.
You’ll also be part of a deeply rewarding mission — improving the quality of life for the brave men and women who risk so much to protect our freedom.
Work at VA
Help Veterans, their family members and your fellow employees stay safe at our facilities. Submit your application for a new environmental management services career today.
It’s not every day that the mild-mannered janitor at your school turns out to be a bad ass Medal of Honor recipient. But that was exactly the case for thousands of cadets at the United States Air Force Academy.
The story starts in Italy in 1943. Pvt. William Crawford was serving as a scout in I Company, 3rd Battalion, 142nd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division, as it fought its way up the Italian peninsula.
After landing at Salerno, Crawford’s unit was advancing against stiff German resistance. Just four days after the landings, I Company launched an attack against Hill 424. Once his platoon gained the crest, they became pinned down by intense German machine gun fire.
Ignoring the hail of bullets, Crawford advanced on the German position and silenced it with a hand grenade.
When his platoon was once again pinned down, Crawford didn’t hesitate to charge forward, this time to destroy two machine gun emplacements.
He first attacked the machine gun to the left and destroyed it and the crew with a hand grenade. He then worked his way to the next machine gun under intense fire. When he was in range he again tossed a hand grenade that sent the crew running.
Later during the intense fighting in Italy, the Germans captured Crawford. His status was listed as missing, presumed dead.
When his Medal of Honor was approved in 1944, it was presented to his father, posthumously.
However, Crawford had in fact survived and in 1945 was liberated from a German POW camp by advancing Allied forces.
Crawford was discharged after the war and returned home before marrying in 1946. He decided to reenlist in 1947 and served another 20 years before retiring with the rank of Master Sergeant in 1967.
His next career move would prove fateful. He took a position as a janitor at the Air Force Academy in his home state of Colorado.
Despite his courage in combat, Crawford had always been rather mild-mannered and didn’t care much to talk about himself. As such, the cadets at the Academy paid him no mind, assuming he was just any other janitor.
Crawford carried on his duties until 1976 when one cadet, James Moschgat, noticed a picture in a history book about World War II.
Moschgat couldn’t believe what he was seeing and showed the picture to his roommate saying, “I think Bill our janitor is a recipient of the Medal of Honor.”
The next day Moschgat and his roommate confronted Crawford to ask if it was truly him that was talked about in the book. According to Moschgat’s account Crawford simply looked at the picture and replied, “Yep, that’s me.”
Astonished by what they had just learned, they quickly asked why he had never mentioned it before. Crawford’s reply once again showed his humility. He simply said, “That was one day in my life and it happened a long time ago.”
Word quickly spread around campus that there was a Medal of Honor recipient in their midst.
The story could have easily ended here with a known recipient of the Medal of Honor working as a janitor at the Air Force Academy. Most people would have never heard the story.
However, the cadets weren’t done.
They eventually found out that because of the circumstances, mainly that Crawford was a POW at the time, he had never had a formal ceremony to present him with his medal.
So, when the Class of 1984 reached graduation they invited Crawford as their special guest. And they had a special surprise in store for him. President Ronald Reagan was giving the commencement speech at the Academy that year.
On April 7, 2003, three weeks into the Invasion of Iraq and day four of the nine-day Battle of Baghdad, twenty-eight year-old Captain Kim Campbell (callsign “Killer Chick”) of the 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron was on her way in from Kuwait on a close air support mission when she got a call for immediate assistance from the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division.
The 3rd Infantry was attempting to take the North Baghdad Bridge, which was an essential maneuver for capturing the city and cutting off reinforcements, when they found themselves in a desperate Rebel Guard situation.
Upon receiving the call, Campbell and her A-10 Warthog (no need for “Thunderbolt II” pleasantries here) re-routed and readied the BRRRRT.
“We were originally tasked to target some Iraqi tanks and vehicles in the city that were acting as a command post, but on the way to the target area we received a call from the ground forward air controller or FAC, saying they were taking fire and needed immediate assistance,” she told Women’s History Month Luncheon guests.
With only seconds to identify the enemy location and — friendly troops — in a blazing war zone, she unleashed bullets on the enemy from the 19-foot long GAU-8 Avenger Gatling gun strapped to the nose of her A-10, followed by 2.75-inch high-explosive rockets.
She immediately became a target for Iraqi anti-aircraft weapons and she took heavy fire.
The Warthog’s tail was struck by a missile, impairing both hydraulic systems and sending it spiraling towards the city of Baghdad. Campbell had to react quickly.
She switched the jet into manual reversion (which basically looks like one of those old “Flying Machine” Da Vinci sketches – just a bunch of hand-cranking cables and wires rigged to the flaps and rudders of the aircraft).
She manually wrangled her mighty steed and mechanically regained control like some sort of god d*mn puppet master.
Heading back to her base in Kuwait, Campbell had the option of ejecting from the aircraft but decided to manually land the A-10 instead, hoping to keep the rig in one piece.
Only twice before this had manual landings like this been attempted: the first time ended with the pilot crashing to his demise, and the second time the pilot had to be rescued by fire crews after the plane broke in half and caught fire…
Crash recovery teams surrounded the base as Campbell made her descent, but against all odds, she landed her battered up beast.
“I was impressed,” said Lt. Col. Mike Millen, chief of the 355th Fighter Wing Commander’s Action Group and a fellow A-10 pilot. “Kim landed that jet with no hydraulics better than I land the A-10 every day with all systems operational.”
Despite this near fatal mission, the very next day Campbell was up and running on another rescue mission over Baghdad, completely unfazed by the events that had only just transpired.
“I never really had time to think about the fact that I was going back to Baghdad where just the day before I had escaped a possible shoot down,” she shared. “In my mind, the only thing that I could think about was that I had a job to do. I knew that the search and rescue alert crews were there for me the day before and I was going to do the same for this pilot.”
A U.S. Navy veteran who served in the Pacific during World War II finally received his service medals April 12 at the American Legion in Fort Smith, Arkansas — 71 years to the day from when he honorably discharged.
James Donald Neal Burnett, 91, of Alma was presented several medals, including the World War II Victory Medal, by U.S. Sen. John Boozman.
The senator called Burnett among the “greatest generation” and thanked him for his service.
“It’s a real honor to pat Mr. Burnett on the back and thank him for his service,” Boozman said before a large group of veterans gathered at the American Legion Ellig-Stoufer Post 31. “We do want to thank this special generation that went off and did incredible things, ordinary people who did extraordinary things, came back and just went back to work. They not only rebuilt our country but provided the protection for Europe and much of the rest of the world so they can rebuild. We forget about this sometimes.”
The veterans were there to have a closed-door discussion about their issues with the Veterans Choice health-care program. Boozman is a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and is hosting a series of listening sessions with Arkansas veterans. Boozman also had listening sessions two other local cities.
Before presenting the medals, Boozman also thanked the veteran’s wife, Imogene Burnett, and their family because “being in the service regardless of how long…is a family affair and we always want to remember the families that sacrificed.”
One of the Burnetts’ sons, James Alan Burnett, gave the ultimate sacrifice in 2002 on the Kate’s Basin fire in Wyoming. He was the first Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Forestry Services employee to lose his life fighting a fire.
Kathy Watson, constituent services manager for Boozman’s office, said many World War II veterans did not receive medals simply because they went home after the war and did not apply for them. Boozman said his father, a B-17 waist gunner during WWII, also didn’t talk much about the war, and when asked to talk about his experiences would usually only offer a short description: “It was cold.”
James and Imogene Burnett’s son, Bob Burnett, said his father was among those who simply came home after the war and did not request the medals. A relative, state Rep. Rebecca Petty, District 93, “got the ball rolling” on Burnett’s medals after a family visit last year, Bob Burnett said.
In the recent 91st General Assembly, Petty entered House Resolution 1039 to honor Burnett for his service from 1943-1946 as a motor machinist’s mate third class on the USS Oak Hill LSD 7. He entered the Navy a few months after his 18th birthday, Nov. 11, 1943.
Anita Deason, Boozman’s senior military and veterans liaison, read a commendation letter in Burnett’s file for the ship’s crew from Capt. C.A. Peterson, dated June 14, 1945: “At Okinawa, Oak Hill participated in one of the largest and most important amphibious assaults in the history of warfare. Then for a period of 71 days, this vessel shared in the hazards of supporting armed forces on that island, often under continuous attacks by enemy planes. One suicide plane apparently aimed for this ship was splashed by the fire of our gun crews. By the cheerful cooperation of all hands, every mission assigned this ship was successfully carried out.”
The letter goes on to say that “outstanding” work was done in particularly by the repair force in the task of maintaining landing ships and craft in operation condition.
“Higher authority at first considered this job beyond the capacity of this ship, but by efficient administration and hard work it was done and earned high praise for the task force commander,” Peterson wrote.
Burnett, who was born Aug. 31, 1925, at Clayton, Okla., served two years, four months and 25 days in the Navy. He was honorably discharged, coincidentally, on April 12, 1946.
In addition to the WW II Victory Medal, the National Personnel Record Center also authorized Burnett to receive the Combat Action Ribbon, China Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Honorable Discharge Button, and Honorable Discharge Lapel Pin.
Burnett is also eligible for the Philippine Liberation Ribbon, a foreign award that is not funded by the Department of Defense.
Due to American Rescue Plan, copayments paid April 6, 2020, to present will be refunded
In March 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and President Joe Biden signed it into law. As a result, all copayments for medical care and pharmacy services provided during the period of April 6, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2021, are canceled, along with any fees or interest.
VA wants you to know that supporting your financial well-being is one of our top priorities.
Key facts on how the ARP will impact Veterans:
Cancel copayments for medical care and pharmacy services incurred on and after April 6, 2020.
No assessment of copayments for medical care and pharmacy through Sept. 30, 2021.
VA is working quickly to process those cancellations and refund Veterans who have been making payments on their accounts for medical services received during this period.
Continue to send statements for information only through Sept. 30, 2021. These statements keep Veterans informed of their balance, which will be due when collections resume in October 2021.
The mailing of patient statements and collection of copayments for health care and prescriptions will resume on Oct. 1, 2021.
Your VA health care continues
There will be no change in the quality and availability of VA health care during this time. You can schedule appointments and communicate with your providers in the same manner you have been.
If you are concerned about copayments you owe for health care and pharmacy provided prior to April 6, 2020, you an apply for a debt relief program.
VA will work with all Veterans who apply for debt relief to determine the best possible solution.
For information on charges owed for care and prescriptions prior to April 6, 2020, debt relief options and/or account number information, Veterans can call the VHA Health Resource Center at 1-866-400-1238.
The Census Bureau says there are 3.8 million wounded veterans living in America today. That’s as many wounded veterans as there are people living in the states of New Hampshire, Hawaii, and Maine combined.
What’s even more heartbreaking, though, is that many of these veterans feel ignored and misunderstood by the country they gave their blood and bodies to serve.
Working Pictures, an independent film company dedicated to producing content with purpose, wants to help change that with the release of Wise Endurance, a documentary profiling two brave veterans — and the collective of stem-cell physicians providing them with cutting-edge treatment for their combat injuries.
One of these veterans is Roger Sparks, a former Air Force Pararescueman and Silver Star recipient who served during the bloody Operation Bulldog Bite in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province. Sparks is now a veteran advocate who is seeking stem-cell treatments for his and his fellow combat veteran’s blast-induced, traumatic brain injuries.
This specific treatment is called autologous stem cell therapy, where stem cells are harvested directly from the patient’s own fat tissue. The removed stem cells are separated from the fat and reintroduced intravenously to boost healing.
During the film, both Sparks and his 14-year-old son, Oz (who has Cerebral Palsy and type 1 diabetes), experienced noticeable results from their stem cell treatments. Oz’s results are visible — the show follows Oz as he moves from non-verbal to speaking. The results, captured on film, lead the collective to encourage other doctors to offer the same service to veterans, with a plan to use the findings as part of a national study and database to further the treatment of concussive injuries using adipose derived stem cells.
Sparks introduces Pararescueman team member Jimmy Settle, who was shot in the head during Bullbog Bite (Settle’s memoir, Never Quit, is a national best-seller). The treatment was so effective for Settle that he began to heal his inability to freely touch his face. The former track champion also was able to resume running again, which he had previously been unable to do.
These successes in autologous stem cell therapy have inspired Sparks to become an advocate for his fellow combat servicemen. As a result, Sparks, Cell Surgical Network’s doctors, including Dr. Kyle Bergquist, Dr. Mark Berman, Dr. Elliot Lander, and Dr. Larry Miggins, and the filmmakers have established Healing Our Heroes Foundation — a non-profit organization whose goals are to treat combat veterans with adipose-derived stem cells and study the initial, promising results.
Because there are no medical treatments for TBI, stem cells could be a real game-changer in the health of our wounded warriors.
A national network of providers have already committed to treating a significant portion of the population of former combat veterans through the efforts of the Wise Endurance team, and further fundraising is being planned through the sale of the documentary and donations.
The film is available online for purchase on the film’s website. Proceeds will go to fund the Healing Our Heroes Foundation, which will provide treatment, travel, and accommodation for the veterans, as well as cover the costs of studying the outcomes.
The world knew Rob Guzzo as an elite SEAL; a wonderful father; a talented actor; an ambitious student; and a skilled athlete.
But to me, he was all these things and so much more.
Unfortunately the world lost Rob Nov. 12, 2012 — a man who succumbedto the wounds that many do not see but are often more painful than those that bleed and scar.
Even in the midst of his pain, Rob made others happy. It was hard to know Rob’s struggle because you likely wouldn’t see it unless you knew him well or caught him in a moment he was talking about it.
But this is how I remember Rob Guzzo, and the man I had the honor to get to know and have in my life.
Rob made everyone smile.
Rob was the guy who was always smiling. Whether he was dressing up as a Teletubby, Irishman, or making a singing lessons video, Rob did anything to get a smile out of those around him. You simply couldn’t be around Rob and not smile. He would do goofy things to make people laugh and have a little fun.
Rob was a go-getter and driven.
This is a given, since we all know being a SEAL is no easy feat. Not only was Rob a SEAL, but he was in school to get his masters in addition to pursuing an acting career. He took his craft of acting seriously, and it was obvious he had the talent to soar. Rob was an inspiration to those around him, setting the example to go after your dreams.
Rob was an animal lover.
He loved his dog Sammi. He treated this dog like a princess. The depth of his love could be seen in the way he cared for Sammi and how he treated her.
He was protective of those he loved.
Rob would make sure I was OK if anyone bothered me, even if it was something that wasn’t a big deal. He did the same for others around him. He would make sure those he cared about were ok, even when he wasn’t.
He was loving and sensitive more than he let on.
Rob had a wonderful, giving heart. Sometimes he put up emotional barriers, so the full extend of his loving and sensitive side wasn’t always seen. But it’s who he was. When he did open up, he was one of the most loving and emotionally aware people I knew. It was an honor to get to know the deeper side of Rob, and I will always cherish that I got to see how deep he truly was.
Rob loved his family.
Rob spoke about his mom often, and when his daughter, Jena Mae, was born, it was obvious he loved this beautiful little girl that was his twin. He also loved his military family, and you could tell in the way he talked about Marc Lee that he would have given anything for his family.
He made the world brighter.
Whether Rob was out partying, on set, with people he didn’t know or his best friends and family, he was a ray of light. No matter what Rob did, he was a ray of sunshine. His smile and personality lit up any room or environment.
The world might have lost Rob Guzzo, but it didn’t lose his memory.
These are just a few things I remember and cherish about Rob. He forever impacted my life, and he is impacting many others through his story. He is still giving back even after he has left this Earth.
Let Rob’s passing remind us that even when our brothers and sisters bring us so much sunshine, they may be fighting battles we do not see. Check on each other — even in the times that seem great.
You might not know when your buddy is drowning, and one small act of friendship and brotherhood can be the thing that saves them.
Rob’s story will be featured on “The Warfighters,” a marathon event airing Veterans Day on the History Channel. Tune in to honor this amazing man and learn more about who he was.
Rob was beyond a SEAL, and his impact will go well beyond the time we got to have him here with us.
In this episode of No Sh*t There I Was, Nye sets off on a fools-errand with a bunch of high brass and a very stressed out guy charged with detecting IEDs. When they hear a call on the radio that a potential insurgent is fleeing a checkpoint, they take off running to intercept — leaving the metal detector behind.
“Pass the guy protecting us from IEDs…because there are too many probable IEDs on the ground…?” Nye’s inner monologue reflects that of everyone who has ever had to deal with an overly-enthusiastic boss.
Luckily, the rag-tag group of heroes didn’t encounter any IEDs that day, but they did stumble upon something else much more…groovy? Check out the video at the top to see what it was.
Oh, and to my fellow officers out there, let’s try to get in the way of the experts a little less, shall we?
On behalf of the upcoming film Last Flag Flying, Amazon Studios partnered with We Are The Mighty to donate two World Series tickets to a lucky veteran in the Los Angeles area.
When Army veteran Greg Alaimo was told he’d won tickets to the World Series, he couldn’t believe it. “You won’t believe it either!” he told We Are The Mighty.
Alaimo, a Vietnam War veteran and Bronze Medal recipient, had assisted the Los Angeles Dodgers in finding recommendations for Vietnam War veterans for their Hero Of The Game. After Alaimo received the final list (which includes men like Medal of Honor recipient Ray Vargas and Charlie Plumb, who was a POW for 6 years during the war), he realized he wanted to meet the men on it.
“The heroes they chose are amazing. I called my contact and thanked him for allowing me to participate. I then asked if I could purchase two tickets. He regretfully indicated no tickets were available. I wanted to visit with those chosen for this is the first time the Dodgers have honored Vietnam veterans at a World Series.”
That’s when Amazon teamed up with We Are The Mighty to give out another set of tickets.
“When I was contacted about winning the tickets I thought it was a joke. I’m holding two great tickets for [Game Two] and I’ll meet those representing all Vietnam Vets — amazing.”
They’re not the only “amazing” ones. Alaimo has an impressive service history himself — during Active Duty and beyond. After fighting in Vietnam with the First Infantry Division, Alaimo returned home and became “the go-to guy” if veterans need help. A member of American Legion Hollywood Post 43, Alaimo says it’s important for him to connect with the veteran community because he doesn’t want them to be treated the way he was after he returned from Vietnam.
“They need to know we respect them and are grateful for their sacrifice, as well as the sacrifice of their families.”
Alaimo will be taking his good friend, and fellow veteran advocate, Charlie Cusumano with him to the game. We asked who they’ll be rooting for:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the day the world rejoices, the skies part and veterans are offered countless freebies. This year, retailers across the country are offering deep discounts on everything from car washes to televisions. Make sure you double check the official site information and specific rules before heading out to claim your discount. You’ll need to bring your CAC, be in uniform or have proof of your veteran status to get the discounts. Some promotions include fine print that indicate participating locations only, so call ahead or reach out on social media first.
Dining discounts available all November
Eat’n Park All active and former United States military personnel will receive a special 10% discount for the entire month of November.
Golden Corral From November 1 – November 30, 2020, all active and former military members can pick up a free “thank you meal” promotional card that’s good for one free lunch or dinner buffet and beverage. The promotional card can be used Monday – Thursday after 11am from November 1 – May 31, 2021. One promotional card per person.
McCormick and Schmick’s Free Entree Veterans and Gold Star families (parents and spouses) can enjoy a half priced lunch or dinner at McCormick and Schmick’s on Sunday, November 8th, 2020.
Texas de Brazil Veterans receive 25% off dinner Monday, November 9 through Thursday, November 12.
Tucanos Free Churrasco Meal with the purchase of another Churrasco meal or a ½ price meal available for veterans dining solo). Plus, post a selfie at Tucano’s and get a free dessert certificate. Mon., Nov. 9 through Wed., Nov. 11.
Dining discounts available on Wednesday, November 11, 2020
54th Street Grill & Bar Free entree up to $12 on Veterans Day (Wed 11-11-20) for Veterans + Active Duty who dine inside 54th Street. #54supportsvets
7-Eleven Get a free coffee or Big Gulp on Memorial Day, July 4th, and Veterans Day. Download the 7-Eleven app and sign in or register.
Ahipoke Bowl On Nov. 11, veterans and active-duty military receive 50% off poke bowls. Dine-in or take out.
Applebee’s Veterans and Active Duty Military can select a free meal from a limited menu on veterans Day. Provide proof of service required.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Military personnel and their families receive 20% off on food and retail purchases.
Buffalo Wild Wings Free Wings Veterans and active duty military who dine-in at their local B-Dubs can receive a free one order of boneless wings and a side of fries.
Calhoun’s All veterans and active duty military members can enjoy a free meal.
California Pizza Kitchen On Veterans Day, all veterans or active duty military personnel will be able to select a free entree from a special Veterans Day menu including pizza, salads and pasta. Please come in uniform or bring your military ID or other proof of service.
Cantina Laredo Veterans and active duty military can receive a complimentary meal on Wed., Nov. 11.
Cattlemens Steakhouse Cattlemens Steakhouse offers current and former military members a complimentary 8 oz. Sirloin Steak dinner.
CentraArchy Restaurants CentraArchy Restaurants are showing their gratitude by honoring veterans and active duty military service members with 50% off an entrée.
Chicken Salad Chick Chicken Salad Chick is offering a free Chick Special and regular size drink to any veteran or active-duty military personnel who visits.
Chili’s Grill & Bar All veterans and active duty military personnel can choose a complimentary meal from a select menu on Veterans Day 2020.
Cicis Pizza Free adult buffet with valid active duty or retired military ID on 11/11/20.
Coco’s Bakery & Restaurant Receive a free slice of pie for all Veterans and Active Duty Military with proof of service plus buy one get one free entree for breakfast, lunch or dinner on Veterans Day.
Colton’s Steak House Veterans eat free from 11am-4pm. Free entree valid for all active, former, or retired military when ordering from Veterans Day menu.
Connors Steak & Seafood Connors Steak & Seafood locations in TN, AL, and FL are offering 50% off any dine-in lunch or dinner entree to all active duty and retired service members with military ID or in uniform.
Cotton Patch Cafe Veterans and active duty may enjoy a free Chicken Fried Steak or Chicken Fried Chicken on veterans Day.
Country Cookin All active, reserve, retired, and honorably discharged members of the U.S. military are invited to dine and receive a free salad bar or $5 off any entree.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store During Military Family Appreciation Month Cracker Barrel will offer in-store specials on Veterans Day for military veterans and promotions throughout November to support military families in partnership with Operation Homefront. On 11/11, veterans can receive a free slice of Double Fudge Coca-Cola Cake with their meal.
Denny’s All active, non-active or retired military personnel at all participating Denny’s restaurants nationwide will receive a free Build Your Own Grand Slam breakfast on Wednesday, Nov. 11, from 5 a.m. to noon. Diners must show ID to receive this offer.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Free Pulled Pork Classic Sandwich this Veterans Day. To redeem in-store, veterans and current military personnel must present a military ID or valid proof of service.
Drake’s Veterans and active duty military will receive a complimentary meal at participating locations.
Dunkin’ Donuts On November 11, Veterans and active duty military can enjoy a free donut at Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants nationwide, no purchase necessary.
Einstein Bros. Bagels On 11/11/20 veterans and active-duty military get a free hot or iced medium coffee.
Famous Dave’s On Nov. 11 in honor of veterans Day all former and current military personnel will receive a free two meat Combo. Dine-in or To-Go.
Farmer Boys Wednesday, Nov. 11 veterans and active duty military with valid proof of service get a free big cheese cheeseburger.
Firebirds Complimentary meals to active duty military and veterans on Veterans Day.
Friendly’s Free Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner Friendly’s is treating veterans and active military, with a valid military ID or honorable discharge card, to 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. The burger can be upgraded to a cheeseburger for free.
Glory Days Grill Free appetizer or a regular order of boneless or grilled boneless wings.
Gold Star Chili Enjoy a free 3-way and drink on Veterans Day. For all who served.
Green Mill Restaurant and Bar Veterans and Active Duty Military will receive a free lunch or dinner dine-in meal at participating locations. Must show proof of service, and beverages and gratuity are not included in free meal.
Hamburger Stand All veterans and active duty with a valid military ID receive a free hamburger, regular fries, and a small Pepsi.
hopdoddy burger bar Free Classic Burger with Cheese for veterans on 11/11/20. Redeemable for in-store dining or to-go orders placed by phone.
Houlihan’s Receive a free entrée from a select menu with proof of veteran status or active service in the military.
Huddle House Huddle House is offering a free MVP Breakfast Platter to all active military members and veterans with proper I.D.
Huey Magoo’s Treat a veteran or active military member with proper I.D. to a free meal for one when you purchase a meal for one and two beverages on Veterans Day.
Hy-Vee Free Breakfast Enjoy a free curbside pickup breakfast for veterans and active military members November 11, 2020 from 6 – 10 a.m.
IHOP All active duty and Veterans are invited to come in and enjoy Free Red, White, & Blue Pancakes on Monday, November 11, from 7 am to 7 pm.
J Christopher’s Wednesday, November 11th, those who served receive a free meal.
Joe’s Crab Shack On November 11th, all veterans can enjoy 20% off. Valid for parties up to 4.
Juice It Up! This Veterans Day all veterans and active military will receive a free 20oz Classic Smoothie.
Kolache Factory Enjoy one free kolache (any kind) and one cup of freshly brewed Katz coffee (any size). All veteran and active military with government-issued military photo ID or DD 214.
Kwikfill November 11th veterans receive free coffee at Kwik Fill locations.
Lamar’s Donuts Free donut and a 12oz coffee for all veterans and active military on Veterans Day.
Little Caesars Pizza On Wednesday, November 11, from 11am to 2pm, veterans and active military members can receive a free Lunch Combo, which features four slices of Little Caesars popular Detroit-style DEEP!DEEP!™ Dish pizza, paired with a 20-ounce Pepsi product.
Logan’s Roadhouse On Nov. 11, all active duty and retired U.S. military personnel are invited to enjoy a free meal from the American Roadhouse menu in honor of Veterans Day. This offer is available from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at all Logan’s Roadhouse restaurants nationwide.
Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que On Veterans Day (Nov. 11), active and former military can enjoy a complimentary dessert, and a 20% discount with proof of service. Veterans receive 20% off the entire month of November for ‘Military Family Month.’
Luna Grill Luna is offering a “Buy One, Get One Free” deal from Wed., November 11 through Fri., November 13 to any active duty or veteran member of the armed forces at all locations.
Macaroni Grill This Veterans Day, 11/11, all veterans and active military receive a free Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs + Spaghetti with military ID.
Max & Erma’s On Veterans Day, participating Max & Erma’s locations are celebrating veterans and active military personnel with a free cheeseburger, endless fries, fountain drink and a chocolate chip cookie.
McCormick & Schmick’s Veterans of the Military, National Guard, Gold Star Parents and Gold Star Spouses can enjoy a half priced entrée off a select menu on Sunday, November 8, 2020.
Menchie’s Free Frozen Yogurt On Veterans Day, all Veterans and military personnel with a military ID or proof of service will receive a free six ounce frozen yogurt any time of day on Veterans Day 11.11. Show a valid ID or be in uniform to receive.
Mission BBQ Veterans and active duty will receive a free sandwich on Veterans Day, 11/11/20.
MOD Pizza Sign to receive a buy-one get-one free MOD-size pizza or salad with military ID by November 8 and MOD will send you a coupon on November 9 to redeem on #VeteransDay.
Mountain Mike’s Enjoy 15% off any large pizza this Veterans Day. (coupon code: 178130)
Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub On 11/11 from 11am – 5pm, Veterans and active military can receive a free entrée from a special Veterans Day menu with the purchase of any other entrée. Dine-in only.
O’Charley’s All active and retired military service members are invited to enjoy a free meal from O’Charley’s. Restaurant participation may vary by location. O’Charley’s also offers military discount of 10 percent off all year long.
Perry’s Steakhouses Free pork chop dinner to U.S. active military and veterans with the purchase of a dinner entree.
Petro Stopping Centers All active duty military, veterans and reservists with proof of service can enjoy a complimentary meal from a select menu at any participating Country Pride or Iron Skillet restaurant nationwide.
Pie Five Pizza On Veterans Day get a free personal pizza at participating locations. Dine-in only.
Pilot Flying J/U.S. Pilot All active-duty and retired military veterans get a free breakfast including a coffee, Monday through Sunday, Nov. 9-15. The offer is available via the app.
Quaker Steak & Lube All military veteran, active duty and reservist service members receive free or discounted meals (up to $15) plus a free non-alcoholic beverage at participating locations on 11/11/20.
Rapid Fire Pizza Veterans and active duty military get a free dessert pizza or Cheezy Bread with purchase of an entree on Veterans Day this Wednesday, November 11th.
Red Lobster On Wednesday, November 11th to thank Veterans, active duty military and reservists, Red Lobster will offer a free appetizer or dessert from their select Veterans Day menu. To receive offer, show a valid military ID.
Red Robin All Veterans and Active Duty Military get a free dine-in Red’s Tavern Double Burger and Bottomless Steak Fries. For 2020, to reduce crowding, this offer is available Nov. 12 – Nov. 30.
Rock & Brews Rock & Brews is offering all active duty military, veterans, and first responders a free pulled pork sandwich or strawberry fields salad on veterans Day at participating locations nationwide.
TA Stopping Centers All active duty military, veterans and reservists with proof of service can enjoy a complimentary meal from a select menu that includes a beverage on Wed., Nov. 11, 2020, at any participating Country Pride or Iron Skillet restaurant nationwide.
Taco John’s On Wednesday, Nov. 11, all active, reserve, retired and honorably discharged members of the U.S. military can get a free small Beef #1 Combo Meal who redeem the offer in the Taco John’s App.
Tap House Grill On Veterans Day, all active, inactive and retired military personnel can get a free meal and a Sam Adams pint while supplies last.
TCBY First 6oz are free for veterans and active military on 11-11-20.
Texas Roadhouse is handing out vouchers for a free meal to all Veterans and Active Duty military from 11 am to 2 pm on Veterans Day. Vouchers will be distributed in the parking lots at Texas Roadhouse locations.
Torchy’s Tacos On Nov. 11, veterans and active military can enjoy a complimentary taco and beverage from a select Veterans Day menu.
Twin Peaks In honor of veterans Day, all veterans, active duty military and reservists can eat for free from a select menu on Wednesday, November 11th.
Uno’s Pizzeria & Grill 11/11/20 military members (past and present) can enjoy a free entree or individual pizza.
Wendy’s Wendy’s nationwide are offering a free small breakfast combo with valid military ID. No purchase necessary.
Wienerschnitzel On Veterans Day, 11/11, Wienerschnitzel is offering a free Chili Dog with a small fry and a small Pepsi to Veterans and Active Duty Servicemembers. Bring your military ID or dress in a uniform.
Yard House Veterans and active duty military will receive a complimentary appetizer on November 11 with valid military ID. Offer is valid for dine in only.
Ziggi’s Coffee Veterans get a free 16 oz drink on November 11, 2020 at all Ziggi’s Coffee locations.
buybuy BABY — Veterans, active-duty military and spouses get 25% off their entire purchase in-store and online, November 11 to 14.
Columbia Sportswear — Military personnel receive 20% off at all Columbia brand and outlet stores on November 11.
David’s Bridal — Active and retired military members and their immediate families (and fiancés) get an additional 10% off the entire in-store purchase from November 9 through 11. Not valid online.
Rack Room Shoes — Military personnel and their dependents get a 20% discount off the entire purchase on November 11.
Army & Air Force Exchange Service — On November 11, MILITARY STAR card holders will receive various deals, including 10 cents off every gallon of fuel purchased at Exchange Expresses, double rewards points on online and in-store Exchange purchases, $10 off Exchange mall concession or kiosk purchases of $25 or more and 15% off food orders at participating Exchange restaurants. Beyond MILITARY STAR card-exclusive offers, Exchange Expresses and participating restaurants will be serving free coffee on November 11. Exchange Redbox video rental locations will also offer two movies for the price of one November 6 through 13.
Big Lots — In honor of Veterans Day, Big Lots announced they are offering a year-round 10% “Always On” discount for active military personnel and veterans who are members of the company’s Big Rewards program.
While Kill Cliff normally offers a 15 percent discount, on Veterans Day they’re extending it to 30 percent off for veterans. Many of their products purchased result in 100% of proceeds donated to specific military charities.
Target — Active-duty military personnel, veterans and their families get a 10% military discount between November 1 and 11. After eligibility has been verified online, an exclusive, one-time use 10% Target Circle offer will be available to use in-store or online.
Health and Fitness
Academy Sports + Outdoors – Military receive 10% off their entire purchase through Nov. 11. This deal is available in stores and online.
Great Clips – Retired and active service members can receive a free haircut or a card, which is redeemable through Dec. 11, for a free haircut. Nonmilitary customers who get their hair cut on Nov. 11 will also receive a card, redeemable for a free cut, to give to a service member.
Sport Clips – Some locations will offer free haircuts to veterans and active-duty service members and will donate $1 for every haircut provided that day to the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Help a Hero Scholarship fund.
Office Depot/OfficeMax – Veterans, active-duty military, retirees, reservists and their dependents get 25% off eligible purchases in stores when they present valid military ID or military dependent ID. This offer runs Nov. 11 to Nov. 13. Some items are excluded, including gift cards, appliances, certain consumer electronics, certain brands and other restricted items.
Samsung – From Nov. 6 to Nov. 11, active-duty military members and veterans can register on Samsung’s site for special deals, including an extra 10% off smartphones, tablets, wearables, mobile accessories and PCs.
Staples – Active-duty military personnel, reservists, retired or disabled veterans and their immediate families get a 25% discount November 8 through 14.
Mattress Firm – From November 11 through 17, veterans and active-duty military members can take advantage of Mattress Firm’s Black Friday Sale and receive an additional 10% off their entire purchase, for total savings up to 60% off.
Sleep Number – Military members can verify their identity on Sleep Number’s site to get a promo code they can use for an extra $100 off smart beds and adjustable bases through Nov. 16.
Home Depot — Home Depot offers a 10% discount to all veterans on November 11. Home Depot offers a 10% discount year round to active duty and retirees.
Grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations
Pilot/Flying J – From Nov. 9 to Nov. 15, Pilot and Flying J locations will offer veterans a free coffee (any size) and one free breakfast item. Redeem this offer through the Pilot Flying J app.
Publix – Veterans, active military members and their families can get 10% off groceries on Nov. 11. Some items are excluded, including tobacco, gift cards, alcohol and lottery tickets. You must present a valid military ID to get this offer.
Walgreens — Veterans, military and their families get a 20% discount on eligible regular priced items, November 11 through 15. This in-store offer is only valid in Walgreens or Duane Reade stores.
Travel and Recreation Discounts
9/11 Memorial and Museum — Veterans will receive free Museum admission as well as half-price tickets for three family members from November 7 to 18.
Akron Zoo — Veterans, past and current, receive free admission and immediate family members receive 50% off admission November 7 through 11 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
B&Bs for Vets — The innkeepers participating in the 2020 B&Bs for Vets program will offer a minimum of one room for one night and totally free. Most innkeepers will give their free rooms away on November 10, but offers vary.
Birmingham Zoo — Veterans, active and retired military and their dependents receive free admission from November 11 until 15.
Caesars Entertainment — Veterans and active-duty military who book future travel on Caesars.com from November 4 to 15 get up to 40% off.
Capital Wheel — On November 11, active and retired service members ride free. Accompanying family members are eligible for the military discount. Onsite only.
Cincinnati Zoo — All members of the military will receive free admission on November 11. The offer also allows military personnel to purchase up to six half-price admission tickets for members of their immediate family.
Colonial Williamsburg — Military families can receive a free admission ticket during Veterans Day weekend.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium — Military personnel, both past and present, and their immediate family get free admission on November 11 with military ID or proof of service.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum — On November 11, active-duty and retired armed services members get free admission (including up to three immediate family members), and a 10% discount at Circa: The Museum Store and the Hatch Show Print retail store. Advanced reservations are highly recommended.
Harley-Davidson Museum — Active military, veterans and their families get free admission on November 11 and 12.
Jefferson Lines — Veterans and active military members get free tickets anytime between November 1 through 11. Free tickets are available for travel departing on November 11 through November 26 for both one-way and round-trip tickets. Veterans and active military members are welcome to return on a different date for round-trip tickets anytime through December 31.
La Quinta by Wyndham — Eligible military members get 12% off the Best Available Rate at participating La Quinta by Wyndham hotels. Plus, Wyndham Rewards members receive 500 bonus points for qualified stays booked by December 7 and completed by December 8, 2020.
Montgomery Zoo — Veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their dependent family members receive a 50% discount on regular daytime admission to the Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Learning Museum November 8 through 14.
Monticello — Veterans get complimentary admission November 11. Admission is for the Monticello Self-Guided Pass.
Montpelier — Veterans get a free “Highlights of Montpelier” tour and Museum Shop discount, November 7 and 8.
Mount Vernon — All active-duty, former, or retired military personnel are admitted for free on November 11.
Pro Football Hall of Fame — Veterans and active military plus a guest get free museum admission and parking from November 1 through 15. A 20% off discount in the HOF Store will also be offered in November.
San Antonio Zoo — Active-duty, retired, veteran members of the military, National Guard and Reserves get free admission throughout November. Plus, up to four immediate family members can receive 50% off single day tickets on date of visit.
Sanderling Resort — Current and former military receive discounted rates of $129 per night from November 11, 2020 through March 19, 2021 with an additional 20% off all food, spa and retail.
Sedgwick County Zoo — All military personnel, veterans and their immediate families get complimentary admission on November 11.
Super 8 by Wyndham — Active and retired military members, veterans and their families can enjoy 15% off the Best Available Rate at participating Super 8 by Wyndham hotels. Plus, Wyndham Rewards members receive 500 bonus points for qualified stays booked by December 7 and completed by December 8, 2020.
True REST Float Spa — Veterans and active-duty military get a free 60-minute float on the 11th of every month, including November 11. For Veterans Day, True REST is also providing appointments to veterans only on November 11.
Woodland Park Zoo — Active, retired, and veteran military personnel and their spouses get free admission on November 11.
World of Coca-Cola — Active duty, reserves and retirees get free admission year-round, and from November 2 to 12 members of the Armed Forces may purchase up to four general admission tickets at half-price for their friends and family. Tickets must be purchased online.
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts — Active and retired military members, veterans, and their families save up to 15%, plus receive 500 Wyndham Rewards bonus points for qualified stays booked by December 7 and completed by December 8, 2020.
Zoo Atlanta — Veterans, active-duty, retired and reserve members get free admission and $4 off general admission for up to six accompanying guests on November 11.
Delta Sonic Car Wash — Veterans and active-duty military save $25 on any oil change service throughout November.
Enterprise Car Sales — Active-duty military members, veterans and their dependents who purchase a used vehicle from Enterprise Car Sales are eligible to receive $300 off their vehicle purchase, November 1 through 30.
GM — GM offers special savings for the military November 3 through 30. Grace for Vets — Car washes from around the world who join this program offer free car washes to veterans and service members on November 11.
At age 25, Monica Rosario was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer, a diagnosis that would start her on a personal battle, not only for her future as a Soldier, but for her life.
“When they told me, I felt very numb,” Rosario remembered. She was a first lieutenant serving as a company executive officer in the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Bragg, North Carolina at the time.
It never occurred to Rosario, now a captain at Fort Leonard Wood awaiting her pickup in Engineer Captain’s Career Course, that the reason for her frequent visits to her doctor could be so dire. Doctors kept telling her she was just dehydrated and needed to go home and rest.
During one emergency room visit in January of 2015, however, a doctor inquired about Rosario’s frequent medical issues, and her responses prompted him to recommend a colonoscopy.
Her mother and father, who lived not far away in her hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina, accompanied her to the appointment. That’s when they learned it could be cancer. The diagnosis was confirmed at a follow-up exam.
“It really hit [my mom] harder than it hit me,” Rosario said. “She was more emotional than I was because I had no idea what I was getting into.”
Rosario’s mentor and commanding officer at the time, Capt. Chinyere Asoh, said she understood what Rosario was about to endure.
“I served as a commander and, each day, I heard news of Soldiers going through the worst unimaginable concerns of their lives, but I stayed strong for them and their families,” Asoh said.
When Asoh heard the news her executive officer had cancer, she couldn’t hide the emotion.
“For me, this was different,” Asoh admitted. “My fighter [Capt. Rosario] was going down, and there was nothing I could do. The day I found out, I called my battalion commander as I cried.”
Rosario approached her situation from another perspective — one inspired by former ESPN anchorman, Stuart Scott, who fought a seven-year battle with cancer. Scott lost that battle in 2015 at age 49.
“Whenever you are going through it, you don’t feel like you are doing anything extraordinary because you are only doing what you have to do to survive,” Rosario said.
Rosario confessed that, while she was undergoing treatment, it made her uncomfortable when people called her a hero. There was nothing she was doing that made her special, she believed.
“When you have to be strong and you have to survive, you don’t feel like you are doing anything special,” she said.
The Army provided Rosario with the time and support she needed in order to devote herself to recovery, she said.
“I can say the Army served me when I needed it most, and I am forever grateful,” she said. “I know there were many times I could have quit. I could have settled for someone telling me I should medically retire. But I knew the Army had more in store for me.”
Rosario said it took about two weeks to recover from her surgery before she could start chemotherapy. Following six months of chemo, it took another two months before she was able to resume her physical training.
She fought hard to keep herself ready to return to full-duty so she could continue her career. Her will to fight was an inspiration to her husband.
“My wife is literally the strongest person I know,” said Bernard McGee, a former military police officer. “She has been through it all and has mustered the strength to take on even more challenges. She is a true warrior.”
“Monica is a true fighter, and I am happy to state that she is a survivor,” Asoh said. “Her illness did not define her. Rather, it broadened her view of life.”
Rosario credits positive thinking and the support of her Army family for keeping her in the Army so that she could make it to Fort Leonard Wood to complete the Engineer Captain’s Career Course.
“The Army’s resiliency training has instilled in me the ability to stay strong and stay resilient in all aspects of life,” she said. “Being resilient has helped me and still helps me on a daily basis. Seeking positive thought, and staying away from negative thoughts impact how we feel and how we live every day.”
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society announced that Medal of Honor recipient Wilburn K. Ross died on May 9, 2017. According to a press release, Ross, who was working in a shipyard before he was drafted, was 94 years old and is survived by six children.
According to his Medal of Honor citation, Ross’s company — assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division — had taken heavy casualties in combat with elite German troops near St. Jacques, France, on Oct. 30, 1944 – losing over 60 percent of the troops. Ross then set his machine gun 10 yards ahead of the other Americans and used it to hold off German forces for eight attacks – receiving less and less help as the other troops ran out of ammunition.
Ross, too, was running low. After the eighth attack, Ross was also out of ammunition. As American troops prepared for a last stand, salvation came in the form of a resupply of ammunition. Ross was able to use that ammunition to defeat the ninth and final German attack.
A profile of Ross on a VA loan site adds some more background. Ross was a dead shot, practicing a trick shot that involved using a .22 rifle to light a match. He later described how he had selected his position beforehand. He also related that he had no idea that a dead soldier he’d been shooting over wasn’t dead at all – it was an Army lieutenant who was alive, and who reported Ross’s actions.
Ross would be presented the Medal of Honor on April 14, 1945. During his service in World War II and in the Korean War, he’d be wounded four times. He served in the Army until 1964, when he retired as a Master Sergeant. Afterwards, he settled down in DuPont, Washington, where he raised his kids. A park in that town was named in his honor, and includes a monument that displays his Medal of Honor citation on a plaque.