From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story - We Are The Mighty
Veterans

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

Former Chairman, CEO and Editor-In-Chief of Parade Magazine, author of five books and three plays, Walter Anderson served in 1965 as a Marine sergeant in Vietnam. What follows is a glimpse into his time in the Corps and how his training and experiences in the Marines led to his life’s successes. 

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Walter Anderson. Photo courtesy of annacarolinedrake.com.

In this continuing series which will feature former and retired Marines and their contributions to entertainment, We Are The Mighty asks Anderson to discuss how his past led to the present and the learning points along the way. And, of course, what he is most proud of.

Walter Anderson’s impact and influence has been felt in magazine and newspaper media as well as through his books: Meant To Be, The Confidence Course, Courage Is A Three-Letter Word, The Greatest Risk of All and Read with Me. He has written three plays: Talkin’ Stuff, a one-man show he performed at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, Almost Home, which was produced Off-Broadway in New York City, and The Trial of Donna Caine, which opened at the George Street Playhouse (NJ).The plays have their roots in the Corps and in Anderson’s own experience as a Marine. 

Anderson grew up in a tenement in Mount Vernon, New York, at the edge of the Bronx. His father was a violent alcoholic, his brother a boxer and his sister a street-gang leader. But a teacher who lived across the street believed in him. With her encouragement, he was accepted into a parochial school but he was later expelled. Undaunted, the teacher had Walter placed on scholarship in a private school in which he did remarkably well. 

Nevertheless, Anderson quit public high school two years later and joined the Corps at 16. He was not allowed to enter boot camp at Parris Island until a few days after his 17th birthday. His reasons for joining were, “I needed to feel pride in something. Whenever someone mentioned the Marines, it was with respect. I wanted to feel that respect. What I didn’t anticipate was the Marine Corps’ focus on education, which would become so important to me. I was moldable for sure and I had an ability to learn rapidly, he recalled. “Graduating boot camp was my defining moment, though. I was called a US Marine.” 

Anderson shortly after completing boot camp and infantry training December 1961. Photo courtesy of Walter Anderson.

After he completed infantry training at Camp Lejeune, he was ordered to the 8th Engineer Battalion where he was assigned to be a combat engineer. But it wasn’t long before he was chosen to be a student at the electronics school at the San Diego Recruit Depot. Despite not having the requisite math and science education, he graduated Number 7 out of 24 and, since he was in the top third, he was promoted to lance corporal. Anderson said, “It was a profound moment. For the first time in my adult life someone said, ‘I believe in you.’ A Marine would understand the power of that experience.” In the Corps he learned, “Leadership is the ability to inspire in others an eager willingness to contribute. I learned how to take responsibility for my behavior and my life. All that matters is performance in the Marine Corps. You are judged by what you do.”

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Anderson at China Beach, Vietnam, 1965. Photo courtesy of Walter Anderson.

While in Vietnam, “One night in October 1965, we were attacked by the North Vietnamese Army at Marble Mountain in East Da Nang, a helicopter strip where MAG-26 was located. The Viet Cong seemed to know everything about our camp. We were attacked with satchel charges in the copters at first. Thankfully, we were able to repel the NVA and VC. Soon after the attack I saw a young Vietnamese teen lying dead. Damn, I thought. Then a Marine was carried by me on a stretcher with half of his face blown off and in that moment all I cared about was the Marine.” He continues, “The next morning I found a typewriter in the rubble and, still agitated, I wrote a short piece that I called Just What Is Vietnam. I sent it home and forgot about it. But it appeared on the front page of a local newspaper and I got mail from scores of people for several weeks.”

Anderson worked his way into the media and print business post his time in the Corps. He sought a job as a reporter once he left active duty. He was given an opportunity by an editor who was a World War II veteran. He worked at the paper full-time and attended college full-time. He shared, “I told the editor who hired me that I would work for bus fare, if he would just let me prove myself. I was named night city editor within a year and six years later, after a variety of assignments, I became editor and general manager of the newspaper on which I began my career.”

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
Anderson in Da Nang, 1965. Photo courtesy of Walter Anderson.

Anderson believes the most important messaging he learned in the Corps is how to communicate with clarity, authority and substance. It’s clear he also profoundly values discipline and integrity, which he said is to be honest with yourself as well as with others. He said he learned in the Corps how and when to question authority: “The Marines taught me that honest and constructive feedback on leadership performance is invaluable. If people overheard Marines carry on after an operation or exercise, they would think we failed the challenge. But in reality, we encourage criticism so that we can improve.” 

One of Walter Anderson’s most significant memories on leadership while in Vietnam is, “We were on a small run at the base. Afterwards we were concocting a lunch of c-rations poured into helmets, laughing, cursing loudly exaggerating. You’d have thought it was Thanksgiving. But not 50 yards away were a group of soldiers. They were sitting there quietly, so quietly, and they were either eating alone or in small groups. I went over to see if there was a problem. Perhaps they had suffered a tragedy, I thought. The NCO in charge told me all was fine. The soldiers themselves were no different from us, just young guys trying to get through the day. But that unit deserved more inspired leadership, somebody giving those soldiers at least something to laugh about. In boot camp we heard the cliché “every day a holiday, every meal a feast.” Truth be told that line is never more important than when reality is anything but joyous. Our unit was closely-knit because of good leadership, from the C.O. to team leaders.” Anderson offered his insights on obstacles, “The Marines call their obstacle course The Confidence Course because its purpose isn’t to stop you but rather to teach you that you gain confidence by overcoming obstacles.”

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
Anderson after returning home from Vietnam in 1965. Photo courtesy of Walter Anderson.

We asked Anderson about his plays: “Almost Home is based on the stormy relationship I had with my father. Joe Lisi, a fine actor who is also a fellow Marine, played the character based on my father. When the main character, Johnny Barnett, comes home from Vietnam, can Johnny and his father resolve the tension between them? Will they finally get to know each other? The Trial of Donna Caine has nine characters. It is about the trial of a young female drill instructor. It was inspired by the Ribbon Creek incident of 1956. 

The Trial of Donna Caine was financially successful, which is not always the case when a play is produced. It received mainly encouraging reviews. Word-of-mouth from the audiences inspired more people to attend. The play seemed to hold people’s attention, which always makes a difference. Writing plays is both more rewarding and more challenging for me than any other type of writing.” He persuaded a sergeant major, who himself had been a Drill Instructor, to come aboard to inspire the actors for The Trial of Donna Caine. He recalls, “It was a lot of fun to see their faces when the sergeant major went into his Drill Instructor routine. Believe me, he had the full and undivided attention of the cast.”

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
Cast of “The Trial of Donna Caine“ with director, producer and playwright Anderson (on the far right with his hand on the producer’s shoulder).

He recognizes, “We need more Marines in entertainment.” He believes Marines can always improve their interaction and communications within the media and entertainment space. Senior officers might want to take a cue from senior enlisted on being more personable and less defensive when they deal with the press. He shared, “Especially effective and successful Commandants like General Chuck Krulak and General Jim Jones, though markedly different men, both had an excellent ability to deal with the media.” He further elaborated, “I suspect in a hundred years, long after I’m gone, the Marine Corps will still be thriving. And that will be assured if my fellow Marines hone their ability to speak with the press. Again, witness Krulak and Jones.” Walter shared his wisdom on how to get Marine stories told in Hollywood: “First, you need a really good and gripping story. And if you can get a notable actor interested in the project you may well get your project produced.” 

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
Anderson (left) with General James T. Conway (center), USMC Commandant and Senator Jim Webb (right), a fellow Marine as well. Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Anderson has decades of experience in dealing with teams and personalities across the full spectrum. He made Parade magazine more successful than it had been before and brought in key leaders and world-class talent to build the brand. He has much in the way of professional advice to offer:

“There are seven choices we make every day:

“Appearance: You paint the portrait others see. You select the clothes you wear, how clean and healthy-looking you choose to be.” 

“Language: No one on earth is more expert than you at finishing your sentences. You pick your words, finish your sentences and express yourself in gestures.” 

“Behavior: Disappointment, loss and tragedy occur in every human life. No one escapes. But such pain does not determine our character or the quality of our lives. What does determine our character and the quality of our lives is how we respond to disappointment, loss and tragedy and that is a choice.” 

“People: Whom do you choose to talk with? Whom do you allow to give you advice, comfort, friendship? Whom do you allow in,” ? 

“Information: Which messages do you choose to receive? Most of us live in a blizzard of words, sounds and pictures. What do you allow in? 

“Places: How do the places where you spend most of your time affect the quality of your life? Do they help you to feel fulfilled? While the world outside strives mightily to influence us, it is we ourselves who choose who, what, and why. And we also choose when.” 

“Time: You choose when to take action.”

He shared his support for fellow veterans: “Whenever I had an opportunity to hire a veteran I have. They are proven and they are appreciative of where they are in their lives. I want people with the most talent, of course, and that includes veterans. I admit, if he or she is a vet, he or she has a leg up with me.” 

Finally, he gives insight on what he said was his biggest challenge, dealing with anger: “It took quite awhile but I learned that anger is merely energy. We choose what we’ll do with our anger. We can displace it, that is to hurt someone or break something, or we can sublimate it, that is to do something creative, perhaps help someone or maybe fix a chair or write a poem. I believe all creative acts are inspired by anger, burning frustration about something. Again, it’s a choice: we can displace our anger, do something destructive, or we can sublimate it, do something constructive.”

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7 helpful habits that veterans forget

Being in the military requires you to quickly adapt to a very strict code of conduct. The military lifestyle prevents laziness and forces you to maintain a consistent, proper appearance. When troops leave the service, however, their good habits tend to fly out the window.

Now, that’s not to say that all veterans will lose every good habit they’ve picked up while serving. But there are a few routines that’ll instantly be broken simply because there aren’t any repercussions for dropping them.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone. Maybe you’re that Major Payne type of veteran. If so, good job. Meanwhile, my happy ass is staying in bed until the sun rises.


From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

We’re also probably not going to make our beds with hospital corners any more, either.

(Photo by Cpl. Octavia Davis)

Waking up early is an annoying, but useful, habit

The very first morning after receiving their DD-214, nearly every veteran laugh as they hit the snooze button on an alarm they forgot to turn off. For the first time in a long time, a troop can sleep in until the sun rises on a weekday — and you can be damn sure that they will.

When they start attending college or get a new job, veterans no longer see the point in waking up at 0430 just to stand in the cold and run at 0530. If class starts at 0900, they won’t be out of bed until at least 0815 (after hitting snooze a few times).

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

Finding time after work to go to the gym is, ironically, too much effort.

(Photo by Lance Cpl. Dave Flores)

Exercising daily

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with waking up early. The morning is the perfect time to go for a run — but most veterans are going to be catching up on the sleep they didn’t get while in service. Plus, the reason many so many troops can stay up all night drinking and not feel the pain come time for morning PT is that their bodies are constantly working. It’s a good habit to have.

The moment life slows down and you’re not running every day, you’ll start to feel those knees get sore. Which just adds on to the growing pile of excuses to not work out.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

Don’t you miss all that effort we used to put into shaving every single day? Yeah, me neither.

(Photo by Senior Airman Erin Piazza)

Shaving every day, haircuts every week…one of the most annoying good habits

If troops show up to morning formation with even the slightest bit of fuzz on their face or hair touching their ears, they will feel the wrath of the NCOs.

When you get out, you’ll almost be expected to grow an operator beard and let your hair grow. Others skip shaving their chin and instead shave their head bald to achieve that that Kratos-in-the-new-God-of-War look.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

“Hurry up and wait” becomes “slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”

(Photo by Lance Cpl. Aaron S. Patterson)

15 minutes prior

If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re 14 minutes early, you’re still late. If you’re 25 minutes early, you’ll be asked why you weren’t there 5 minutes ago. It’s actually astonishing how much troops get done while still managing to arrive 30 minutes early to everything.

Vets will still keep up a “15 minute prior” rule for major events, but don’t expect them to be everywhere early anymore. This habit is one we don’t really miss.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

Civilians also don’t get that when you knifehand them, you’re telling them off. They think you’re just emoting with your hands.

(Photo by Sgt. Bryan Nygaard)

Suppressing opinions is a hard habit to break

Not too many troops share their true opinions on things while serving. It’s usually just a copy-and-paste answer of, “I like it” or “I don’t like it.” This is partly because the military is constantly moving and no one really cares about your opinion on certain things.

The moment a veteran gets into a conversation and civilians think they’re an expect on a given subject, they’ll shout their opinion from the mountaintops. This is so prevalent that you’ll hear, “as a veteran, I think…” in even the most mundane conversations, like the merits of the newest Star Wars film.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

Except with our weapons. Veterans will never half-ass cleaning weapons.

(Photo by Airman Eugene Oliver)

Putting in extra effort

Perfection is key in the military. From day one, troops are told to take pride in every action they perform. In many cases, this tendency bleeds into the civilian world because veterans still have that eye for minor details.

However, that intense attention to detail starts to fade over time, especially for minor tasks. They could try their hardest and they could spend time mastering something, but that 110% turns into a “meh, good enough” after a while.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

In the military, everyone looks out for one another. In the civilian world, it’s just too funny to watch others fall on their face.

(Photo by Alan R. Quevy)

Sympathy toward coworkers

A platoon really is as close as a family. If one person is in pain, everyone is in pain until we all make it better. No matter what the problem is, your squadmate is right there as a shoulder to lean on.

Civilians who never served, on the other hand, have a much lower tolerance for bad days. If one of your comrades got their heart broken because Jodie came into the picture, fellow troops will be the first to grab shovels for them. If one of your civilian coworkers breaks down because someone brought non-vegan coffee creamer into the office, vets will simply laugh at their weakness.

MIGHTY TRENDING

A new campaign will tell the stories of vets and their connections to refugees

Many veterans have a unique perspective on the state of the world — with continued deployment tempos to foreign countries (especially those impacted by conflict), our veterans are exposed to life outside the continental United States. They also work alongside our allies and build relationships with them.


On Veterans Day 2017, Human Rights First’s Veterans for American Ideals project is launching the #WhatIFoughtFor campaign to tell the stories of U.S. veterans with deeply personal and profound connections with refugees. 

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
U.S. Air Force Colonel Len Profenna, left, chief of internal medicine, and Major Nathan Piovesan, a general surgeon from the 96th Medical Group, screen earthquake victims in the University of Miami medical tent Jan. 25, 2010, at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The doctors are screening 27 patients to be medically evacuated to the United States following a 7-magnitude earthquake that hit the city on Jan. 12, 2010. (DoD photo by Master Sgt. Jeremy Lock, U.S. Air Force)

Veterans have seen firsthand the devastation of war. According to #WhatIFoughtFor, “many of them have worked in communities around the world that have suffered from violence and oppression. They have even fought alongside many of these individuals as allies during wartime. They understand why refugees flee their homes, and that refugees want the same safety and opportunity for their families that we do.”

As a result, many veterans believe that commitment extends beyond their military service. Veterans for American Ideals is one such organization, and their mission is to stand with refugees, to tell their stories, and to help the American people make educated and informed decisions about America’s relationship with refugees.

Also read: This artist brought together Iraq refugees and war veterans for a pretty cool radio project

According to their website, “Veterans for American Ideals is a nonpartisan group of military veterans who share the belief that America is strongest when its policies and actions match its ideals. After taking off the uniform, we seek to continue serving our country by advocating policies that are consistent with the ideals that motivated us to serve in the first place: freedom, diversity, equality, and justice. It is those same ideals that make the United States a beacon to the world’s refugees.”

The campaign chronicles seven stories of family, friendship, brotherhood, and camaraderie between U.S. veterans and refugees. You can find more information about the Nov. 11, 2017 launch on Facebook or Twitter

Check out the trailer for the campaign below:

MIGHTY TRENDING

Veteran’s Last Patrol honors veterans in hospice. Here’s how you can, too

In 2019, retired Army Colonel Claude Schmid founded the nonprofit Veteran’s Last Patrol. Its mission is to forge vital connections and support for hospice veterans in their last days on earth, honoring them as they complete one last patrol.

“My last assignment on active duty I was the Chief of the Wounded Warrior Flight Program, which was an operation where we brought back our casualties from overseas. I recognized that when someone is in great adversity, they, more than ever, need friendship and companionship,” Schmid said. He explained that when he retired, he remembered his mother spending time visiting patients in hospice. It was there that he decided to devote his time to honoring veterans in their last days.


From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

Schmid recognized that many nursing home and hospice care residents were deeply lonely and struggling. Knowing that veterans who served this country at great personal sacrifice were experiencing that didn’t sit well with him. “We decided we’d put teams together nationally to bring friendships to veterans in hospice care… When you go into end of life, it’s nationally to bring friendships to veterans in hospice care… When you go into end of life, it’s one final fight and their last patrol,” he explained.

This is where active duty members and retired military can lend their support, one last time. “The veterans’ community is particularly bonded because of the special work and abilities we have. When veterans move away and fall out of those connections they may be hurting more than most because they are used to that teamwork and support network,” Schmid explained. “Our focus is this mission, the goal of bringing them friendships,” Schmid said.

The core of this nonprofit is to promote volunteerism and provide financial assistance to veterans in need. Veteran’s Last Patrol partners with medical providers to connect volunteers with veterans in hospice care. With many of these volunteers being veterans themselves, it opens the door to sharing stories of the patrols of the past, one last time.

“The national media covers the stories of veterans that have passed away and no one knew they served until they are in the mortuary. The question was, ‘What about before they passed away?'” Schmid said.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

Veteran’s Last Patrol also does formal honor ceremonies for the veterans and their families. “There’s been a number of times where within days of that ceremony, the veteran passed away. The family will tell us that they never had a better day than that day in the latter part of their life,” Schmid shared.

“Veterans are about service. We’ve served each other and our nation and this is one way you can continue to serve. I think it can instill future military service for the younger generation, too. As they see this kind of care throughout the life of the veteran and that deep commitment, they might be inspired by that,” Schmid said.

As the holiday season quickly approaches, Veteran’s Last Patrol has an easy call to action for every American to immediately and truly thank these veterans for their service. Operation Holiday Salute is a program to collect cards and letters for veterans in hospice for Christmas. By taking five minutes to write a message to a veteran, you could be making the world of difference. “It’s all about bringing holiday cheer – their last holiday cheer that these veterans will receive in their lives,” Schmid explained. Last year, Veteran’s Last Patrol sent over 4,000 letters to veterans in hospice care.

This year the goal is 10,000.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

With the pandemic still impacting things like volunteering in person, writing a letter is a simple and an accessible act of intentional kindness. GivingTuesday is on December 1, 2020, and this is the perfect way to give back to a population that dedicated their lives willingly for our freedoms.

Although its headquarters is located in South Carolina, Veteran’s Last Patrol has teams in 14 states. Anyone can raise their hand and pledge to do this in their own communities by simply contacting Veteran’s Last Patrol through their website. Schmid hopes that one day they’ll cover the country, serving veterans everywhere in their last days.

Veteran’s Last Patrol is dedicated to ensuring that the lives and sacrifices of America’s veterans are never forgotten, especially in their last days. There is no better way to truly say, “Thank you for your service,” than by giving your time to honor a veteran in hospice. Listen to their stories and breathe in their devotion to this country before they are gone, forever. What are you waiting for?

Mail your card or letter for Operation Holiday Salute to:
Veteran’s Last Patrol
140B Venture Blvd
Spartanburg, SC, 29306

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story


Veterans

This ‘Church of Patton’ immortalized the General and his Third Army in stained glass

Long before General James Mattis was canonized by his troops as Saint Mattis, patron saint of chaos, another legendary general was quietly immortalized in stained glass. His image atop one of his Third Army tanks shares a scene with one depicting the legend of Saint George slaying a dragon. Referring to it as the “Saint George Window” may make someone question which George is the saint in question – so they call it the Patton Memorial Window.


From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
The full Patton Memorial Window.

For decades, the Patton Family worshipped at the Church of Our Saviour, an episcopalian church in San Gabriel, Calif. The church itself was built in 1867 while the young Patton, born in 1885, was raised in what is now nearby San Marino. The window itself was commissioned by the Patton Family after his 1945 death.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
General Patton leading what is probably the most expletive-laden Sunday School ever.

The main subject is Saint George slaying a dragon but the rest of the window depicts the life and times of the four-star general. According to the Church, Saint George represents the general himself, while the dragon – complete with swastika-covered scales – is the Nazi regime he helped bring down.

Battles where Patton had command are depicted, including Metz, Coblenz, and Bastogne, also appear alongside towns he liberated from the Nazis. Those towns appear in the dragon’s claws.

Even though Patton’s remains are still interred in Europe, a statue of the man – hands on his famous ivory-handled revolvers – stands watch at the entrance to the cemetery, where other members of the Patton family were laid to rest.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
If the dead ever rise, they aren’t coming out of this cemetery.

If you want to make a Patton day of it, you can also visit the nearby Patton Tank Warfare Museum, just around the corner from the church.

MIGHTY TRENDING

How Veterans preference can help boost your VA application

You’ve probably come across the term “Veterans preference” at some point during your job search. But what does that mean exactly — and how can it help you land a job at VA?

Veterans preference means that, as a Veteran, you may move ahead of non-Veterans in the federal hiring process. Veterans who qualify for disability receive greater preference.

“Approximately 40% of our employees hold Veteran status, so we’re really proud of that fact and we encourage Veterans to apply,” said Dave Aragon, VA recruitment consultant, in a video on applying to VA.

However, Veterans preference is not a guarantee you’ll be hired. There are other groups — like military spouses and returning Peace Corps volunteers — who also receive preference for federal jobs. In addition, some jobs are open only to current federal employees.


Getting in the door

Because there are so many applicants – including other Veterans, for VA jobs – make sure you apply for jobs that are the best match for your skills.

“There are millions of Veterans in the U.S. and many of them want to work at VA, so there is a lot of competition for these jobs. You have the best chance of success if you apply for a job for which you are highly qualified,” said Darren Sherrard, associate director of VA recruitment marketing.

If most or all of your work experience is in the military, you may not feel you are highly qualified right out of the gate.

“One difficult thing for Veterans is to convert valuable military skills into those valued in the private sector as well,” Sherrard wrote in a blog post. “I encourage everyone to take the same winning steps and attitude that made us successful as warriors and apply them into our daily lives and our job searches.”

With a combination of a military health background and Veterans preference, there are a number of positions at VA for which you could meet the requirements straight out of the military.

Learn about these civilian careers — like intermediate care technicians (ICTs) or nursing assistants — through our Transitioning Military Personnel initiative. This program connects former service members with civilian careers at VA, the nation’s largest integrated health care organization.

But what if you don’t have military health experience? Consider applying for support service positions, such as housekeeper, transportation clerk or engineering technician. Veterans preference commonly gives you a boost in applying for one of these jobs.

Continue your education

Once you’re in the door, we’ll help you acquire the skills and training that you need to grow in any direction you want.

We offer several scholarships that can help you begin or continue your health care education without piling up debt, as well as the VA National Education for Employees Program (VANEEP) that pays your full salary and up to ,117 toward the cost of higher education.

Some VA medical centers pay for courses from nearby colleges and universities, while the VA Talent Management System provides access to thousands of online courses, learning activities and training. Mentoring and on-the-job training are also baked into our DNA.

Work at VA

Interested in a future helping your fellow Veterans? Use your Veteran status to secure a VA career.

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

Veterans

The ultimate, big bad list of 2020 Veterans Day discounts and freebies

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.

Arooga’s
Active Duty military and veterans with a valid ID can choose a free item from a special menu on 11/11/2020 at participating locations

Aspen Creek Grill
On Wednesday, Nov. 11th, all veterans and active duty military can select from a complimentary menu from 11 am to close.

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Veterans & Active Duty servicemen and women receive a free BD’s All American Burger & side with valid Military ID. In person only.

Bagger Dave’s
Active, non-active, reservists, retired personnel, and first responders with proof of military identification get one Great American Cheeseburger and fries. 

Bandana’s Bar-B-Q
Veterans and active duty get a free Budget Buster Meal on Wednesday, 11/11/20.

Bar Louie
Wednesday, November 11th Louie nation is offering a free craft burger or flatbread of your choice to all active or retired military.

Ben’s Soft Pretzels‏
Free pretzel for veterans and active military.

BIBIBOP Asian Grill
BIBIBOP is giving all Veterans and Active Duty Military a free bowl.

Black Angus Steakhouse
Participating restaurants will offer veterans and active military an All-American Steak Plate for just $10.99 plus all the fixings and a non- alcoholic beverage. 

BJ’s Restaurant
All service members can enjoy a complimentary entree up to $14.95, plus a free Dr Pepper, by presenting a military ID or proof of service.

Bob Evans
Bob Evans Restaurants are offering free select menu items to Veterans and Active Duty Military.

Brick House Tavern + Tap
20% off meal on Nov. 11 for veterans and parties up to 4.

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.

Casey’s General Store
Casey’s is providing free coffee across its more than 2,200 locations.

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.

Country Kitchen Restaurants
Free country scramble for active & retired military at participating locations.

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.

Crooked Pint Ale House
On Nov 11. veterans and active military eat free.

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.

Frickers Restaurants
Veterans get 10 free wings (boneless or traditional) on Nov. 11.

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.

Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants
Participating locations will offer veterans and active duty military a complimentary free entrée from a Veterans Day menu.

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.

Hoss’s Family Steak & Sea House
20% off meals on 11/11 for all veterans.

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.

Outback Steakhouse Free Bloomin’ Onion® and a beverage
This Veterans Day all military veterans, active servicemen and women can enjoy a free Bloomin’ Onion and Coca-Cola on November 11th.

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.

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
All veterans can enjoy a free entrée from a select Veterans Day Menu.

Rodizio Grill
November 9-12, veterans eat free, with purchase of at least one Adult Full Rodizio meal. Must show Proof of Service to receive discount. Dates may vary by location.

Sagebrush Steakhouse
All veteran and active duty personnel receive a complimentary meal from a select menu. Offer valid from 11am-10pm.

Shane’s Rib Shack
Military personnel and Veterans will receive a free sandwich combo meal at participating Shane’s Rib Shack locations. Offer valid November 11th through November 13th.

Shari’s Café
Free slice of pie and buy one get one free entrée for all current and former military on Veterans Day, November 11th. Valid for dine in and take out only.

Shoney’s
Shoney’s says ‘Thank You’ to America’s heroes by offering a free All You Care To Eat breakfast, to all Veterans and Active Duty Military members on 11.11.20 from open – 11 am.

Smokey Bones
Free desserts on Nov. 11 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. for active duty and retired military members.

Snarf’s Sandwiches
All active military & veterans receive a free 7” non-specialty sandwich. This in-store offer is only available 11/11/20.

Sonny’s BBQ
Veterans and active duty military with valid ID will receive a free Pulled or Sliced Pork sandwich plus a voucher for free BBQ Egg Rolls on a future visit.; Dine-in or takeout only.

Starbucks
Active duty service members, reservists, veterans and military spouses are invited to enjoy a free tall (12-ounce) hot brewed coffee.

Sticky Fingers Ribhouse
Wednesday, November 11 Veterans can enjoy a free pull pork sandwich and fries all day.

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.

Apparel

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.

Retail Discounts 

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.

Kill Cliff

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. 

Haircuts

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.

Tech 

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.

Mattresses 

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 Improvement

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.

Aquarium of the Pacific — Veterans and military personnel get free admission on November 11.

Arizona State Parks — Admission is free for veterans and active-duty military on November 11.

Army Corp of Engineers Recreation Areas — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will waive day use fees at its recreation areas nationwide November 11.

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.

Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) — Veterans and military personnel get free rides on November 11.

FantasyWorld Resort — Active-duty service members and veterans receive the Patriots Salute Package, which includes discounts on stays from November 1 through 30 (with a two-night minimum).

Hagley Museum and Library — Current military members, veterans, and their families get free admission on November 11. 

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.

Museum of East Tennessee History — Veterans, active-duty military, and their families get free admission on November 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

National Parks — On November 11, veterans will have access to over 100 National Parks that require entrance fees for free.

National WWI Museum and Memorial — Admission is free for veterans and active-duty military personnel November 7 through 15.

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.

Automotive 

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.

Articles

6 ways the Army was the perfect primer for ‘Batman’

The whole world mourned June 9 at the news that Adam West, the Army veteran and actor who brought “Batman” to the silver screen, had died at the age of 88 after a battle with cancer.


Adam West was born, and drafted into the Army, as William West. In the military, he was in charge of standing up TV stations at San Luis Obispo, California, and Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. But if it seems odd that the star of a farcical show like the 1966 version of “Batman” got his start in the Army, it was actually the perfect way to prepare for such a ridiculous show.

Here are six reasons why:

1. Renaming everything to some arbitrary standard like “bat cuffs,” “bat time,” and “bat channel,” makes sense for anyone who has had to relearn names for Velcro, Duck Tape, and zipper

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
Batman and Robin stand with their utility belts. (Photo: Greenway Productions, Public Domain)

Batman wore a bat belt that contained bat pills and bat cuffs which came in handy for the show that played twice a week at the same bat time, same bat channel. While all of that seems like nonsense to civilians, soldiers are used to fastening “hook and loop fasteners,” taping items down with “100 mph tape,” and securing their blouses with “slide fasteners and tab thongs.”

Those are ridiculous ways of referring to Velcro, Duck Tape, and zippers, which are all brand names that the Army can’t use in official doctrine. So young Billy West would have gotten used to using the Army names. It was probably easy to start calling everything “bat” later in life.

2. Dealing with a group of ne’er-do-wells like the “Batman” villains is old hat for anyone who has dealt with an Army squad

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
The villains of the 1966 Batman film. From left to right, the Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, and Joker. (Photo: Greenway Production, Public Domain)

Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, Archer, and other crazy villains were always hatching insane schemes in the Batman TV show. But, once again, the Army would’ve prepared the future Bruce Wayne for this.

Soldiers decide to get high with spice and bath salts? Yup, sounds about right. Troops smuggling liquor overseas by pouring it into Listerine bottles and mixing in food coloring? Seen it. Enlisted hijinks are basically Silver Age Batman ridiculous, just without the fancy gadgets and costumes.

3. Having to mentor a grown adult while treating them like a child is how all specialists deal with new privates

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
(Photo: flickr/BATMAN)

One of the more awkward truths about the Batman is that Robin, the Boy Wonder, was actually a 21-year-old man when the show began. The grown adult Adam West had to act like mentoring another grown man while treating him like a child wasn’t sort of weird.

But again, the Army is perfect preparation for this. After all, most specialists have only been in the military for a few years and they can be assigned responsibility of a private first class who has been in the Army a couple of years. So, 24-year-old  supervising 20-year-olds.

4. Spending all of your time with an attractive lady without giving in is easy for any NCO who had to ignore their co-ed lieutenant’s good looks

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
Adam West’s Batman and Catwoman almost kiss. (Photo: YouTube/InnuMaccaband)

One of Batman’s greatest villains was Catwoman, who definitely had a thing going on with Batman. But Batman refused to give in to it (though he almost kissed her once, and a later incarnation of Batman ran off to Europe with her).

But any specialist or sergeant who has pulled overnight duty with an even moderately attractive officer knows what it’s like to weigh the consequences of “fraternization” over and over. Chances are, young and attractive Billy West had to say no to a few female sergeants and officers, or at least find the right place to give in without getting caught.

5. Only in the military and “Batman” can the little stuff be crucial during an emergency

This is a small one, but most organizations will let little things go during an emergency. But Batman doesn’t accept any of that crap from Robin. Proper grammar is important, and Batman corrects Robin even as Catwoman tries to get away on a rocket.

You know, just like a sergeant major yelling about gloves during a firefight or reflective belts during literally anything.

6. Working within made-up rules is easy for anyone who has dealt with UCMJ and Rules of Engagement

Batman runs into some pretty stupid bureaucratic problems during the show, like that time the Riddler sues Batman (while using riddles to explain his scheme, because of course he did) for false imprisonment and assault.

While the details of the case seem insane, Billy West probably sat through the Uniform Code of Military Justice briefing where soldiers are told they technically can’t engage in anything other than “missionary”-style sex because of Article 125.

Really think anyone who was briefed on Article 125 will be thrown for a loop by Gotham’s insane judges?

Articles

This is why officers should just stay in the office

Army Sgt. David Logan Nye just wanted to do his job during his first combat deployment.


But that’s not how the military works.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
Who needs a metal detector when you have hopes and dreams? (Go90 No Sh*t There I Was Screenshot)

Also read: This is why the military shouldn’t completely outlaw hazing

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?

Watch more No Sh*t There I Was:

Why it sucks to report to the ‘Good Idea Fairy’

A Ranger describes what being a ‘towed jumper’ is actually like

Why you should never run through smoke you didn’t throw

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MIGHTY BRANDED

5 ways USAA is still the leading financial institution for veterans

There are a lot of choice for veterans to leverage their time in the military to get great financial services at a competitive cost. The fact that so many businesses and bank are geared towards veterans is a blessing but one institution stands out among the rest – and has for nearly a century.


The financial institution was founded in 1922 after a group of Army veterans took it upon themselves to secure their own need for auto insurance. In doing so, they provided for their fellow veterans. The USAA of today carries that tradition on, with 12.4 million members and offering auto insurance, along with insurance for homeowners and renters, retirement planning, and, of course, banking services. When other banks were teetering on the edge of failure during the financial crisis, USAA actually grew. This is an institution that is as solid as a dollar.


From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

Auto Insurance

USAA’s original purpose is still one of its best offerings – and one of the best offerings. Even in competition with the civilian world’s best insurers, going with USAA can save its membership at least 0 on their premiums, even for high risk drivers who may have a DUI or more on their records. JD Power even gave USAA a 5/5 rating on their customer service and satisfaction records.

They also offer a car buying service that can sometimes save their members money in buying any kind of vehicle.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

Credit Cards

Everyone knows too much credit debt is not a good thing, but having a card open with a low balance enlarges your purchasing power and is actually good for your credit report. Still, it’s important to be responsible with your credit. That being said, that kind of responsibility includes deciding which card is right for you. USAA offers a few credit cards designed to fit the lives of military members, veterans, and their families. The USAA Rewards American Express Card and Reward Visa offers the best cashback bonuses a military member can find. USAA’s credit cards also offer some of the lowest interest rates and APRs found anywhere.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

Easy banking services

Any bank or financial institution who says they offer the best interest rates on savings accounts may have a bridge to sell you. Most savings accounts can offer two percent at the most. While USAA doesn’t offer quite that much, its banking services are stellar. Since they have few physical locations or ATMs, the bank offers reimbursements on ATM fees and no monthly service fees. On top of that, there’s no minimum balance and their rates are still competitive. They also offer free funds transfers between accounts.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

Retirement services

If you’re planning for retirement and want a low-risk security, you could hardly do better than some of USAA’s mutual fund offerings. USAA manages its own mutual funds and, in the face of the 2008 financial crisis, the USAA Income Fund (USAIX) posted a 19 percent return while much of the rest of the market struggled to break even or even minimize their expected losses. The reason? While USAIX invests heavily in corporate debt, the fund’s mantra is still about minimizing risk.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

TV doctor pose!

Other services and support

There are a couple of life insurance options, including one for military members only if SGLI isn’t enough. On top of that, they can get great rates for health, dental, and vision insurance as well as umbrella insurance for protection against things not covered by other kinds of insurance, like legal judgements. For per month you can be protected from lawsuits up to id=”listicle-2640236181″ million. But this veteran-oriented financial institution does so much more

USAA sponsors amazing veteran-oriented events and organizations – like the Military Influencer Conference, a three-day conference of service members, veterans, and spouses who work to elevate the military veteran community. The 2019 Military Influencer Conference is sponsored by USAA and brings together the brightest stars in the military-veteran entrepreneurial community to learn and share their business-building knowledge.

popular

This common health concern hits vets more than anyone — but nobody talks about it

Not feeling “in the mood” when your partner is trying to get you there. Erectile dysfunction. Sexual dysfunction.

There are a lot of ways to describe it, but there’s no denying what it is. For many men, sexuality is tied to masculinity — it’s a part of a man’s identity — and not getting there can shake a returning veteran’s confidence at every level.

Despite all of the pharmaceutical ads that make the issue seem like it’s an “old man’s problem,” it hits younger veterans — even those in their 20s — at an alarming rate. It might not make the best dinnertime conversation, but there’s no shame in it. It’s a very real problem for veterans of all ages and it’s something that you shouldn’t avoid discussing with your significant other — or a healthcare professional, at the very least.


This article was created in partnership with hims, a men’s wellness brand dedicated to helping guys be the best version of themselves.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

The loss of confidence in one major aspect could be the catalyst in sending veteran spiraling downwards.

(U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Mauricio Campino)

There are two primary causes of erectile dysfunction: There’s the physiological component that affects blood circulation, preventing it from reaching the right spots at the right moment. This aspect is most common among older men, men who maintain sedentary lifestyles, and those who make unhealthy lifestyle choices — like smoking two packs a day, eating fast food five times a week, and generally avoiding exercise. A gym membership or walking the dog an extra lap around the block can do wonders for that, but that’s a conversation best held between you and a medical professional.

The problem that hits many returning veterans is rooted in psychological trauma — and it’s an often-neglected side effect of post-traumatic stress. It seems pretty obvious when you think about it, right? Nobody wants to think about sex when their mind is still back in the war.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

And, well, if your mind is here… it’s not in the bedroom.

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith)

Follow our logic here for a little more understanding: If you’re a veteran, think back to your days at boot camp or basic training. Chances are high that you didn’t sport wood a single time during the entire nine weeks. While there, you probably caught wind of some BS rumor about saltpeter being put in the drinking water to prevent it from happening, but the logical side of your brain knew that it was because of the stress you were enduring.

Take that same stress and amplify it by the daily struggles that veterans who live with post-traumatic stress deal with. Of course, the severity of the situation varies. It ranges from just having the occasional “bad night” that a veteran would rather just sleep off to replaying a single tragic moment over and over, like some kind of broken record from Hell.

It’s becoming a little easier to understand how common this issue really is among veterans, right?

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story

(U.S. Navy)

Whatever your case, not getting your private to stand at the position of attention really isn’t something to be ashamed of. Have an open dialogue with your significant other. Ask for their patience, their understanding, and their help in getting you to relax — foreplay is a two-way street, after all.

If you’re still having difficulties, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. It’s actually an extremely common thing brought up at the VA and there are plenty of treatment options out there.

If you’re interested in clinically tested medication, you can try the solutions offered by hims for just for the first month. hims will connect you with US-based, licensed doctors online so that you can find the right solution for you from the comfort and privacy of your own home.

And remember, there actually is a rating for ED that can only be brought up by talking to a medical professional.

This article was created in partnership with hims, a men’s wellness brand dedicated to helping guys be the best version of themselves.

Veterans

These 8 Black-American heroes received Medals of Honor decades later

While Black-Americans have been helping America win wars since the Revolutionary War, they have not historically been recognized for their heroism at the same rate as their white counterparts.


These 8 heroes received Medals of Honor for their actions decades after the battles:

1. Sgt. Henry Johnson

 

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
Photo: US Army

One WWI soldier was not bestowed his Medal of Honor until nearly a century later. Sgt. Henry Johnson, assigned to the “Harlem Hellfighters” of the 369th U.S. Infantry Regiment, came under heavy enemy fire on May 15, 1918, from a German raiding party in the Argonne Forest. Despite being wounded Johnson used grenades, a rifle, a knife, and his bare hands to hold off the German attack.

2. 2nd Lt. Vernon J. Baker

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
Soldiers with the 92nd Infantry, 1st Lt. Vernon Baker’s unit, pursue the German Army through Italy. Photo: US Army

2nd Lt. Vernon J. Baker took part in a company attack in Apr. 1945, near Viareggio, Italy. He personally destroyed four German positions that were pinning down his unit and then covered the evacuation of wounded personnel. The next night, Baker led an advance through enemy mine fields and heavy fire to capture a division objective.

3. Staff Sgt. Edward A. Carter, Jr.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
Photo: US Army

Sgt. Edward A. Carter was riding on a tank on Mar. 23, 1945 near Speyer, Germany when enemy anti-tank and rifle fire began flying in. Carter voluntarily led a three-man team against the position. He was wounded five times and an enemy squad attempted to capture him, but he killed six Germans and captured two.

4. 1st Lt. John R. Fox

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
Photo: US Government Archives

Near Sommocolonia, Italy on Dec. 26, 1944, 1st Lt. John R. Fox was directing defensive artillery fire to slow a German advance. He adjusted the fire closer and closer to his position until finally ordering it onto his own building as the Nazis drew closer. Later, Fox’s body was found with approximately 100 dead German soldiers around him.

5. Pfc. Willy F. James, Jr.

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
Photo: Wikipedia/Wammes Waggel CC BY-SA 3.0

On Apr. 7, 1945, Pfc. Willy F. James Jr. scouted a vital bridgehead while pinned down, then returned to his unit he assisted in developing a plan of maneuver to take the bridge. He led a squad, designating targets as he advanced, until he was killed by enemy fire while trying to aid his fatally wounded platoon leader.

6. Sgt. Ruben Rivers

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
Photo: German Wikimedia Commons

Sgt. Ruben Rivers was a tank platoon sergeant in World War II. On Nov. 16, 1944, he was leading a tank assault when he struck a mine and was severely injured in the leg. He refused to be medically evacuated and led another tank in to save his platoon.

On Nov. 19, Rivers’ wound was infected but he led another tank in a company assault despite his wounds. When an enemy anti-tank unit began firing from concealed positions, the rest of the company withdrew. Rivers spotted the Germans began returning fire alongside another tank. The rest of the company made it out but Rivers’ tank was destroyed, killing him and wounded the rest of the crew.

7. 1st Lt. Charles Thomas

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
Photo: US Army

 

Near Climbach, France on Dec. 14, 1944, 1st Lt. Charles Thomas’s armored scout car was subjected to intense enemy artillery and small arms fire. Although wounded by the burst of fire, Thomas, assisted the crew in dismounting before he took additional enemy fire in his chest, legs, and left arm.

Thomas directed his two antitank guns begin returning fire. Realizing he could no longer remain in command, Thomas stayed long enough to brief his subordinate officer on the enemy disposition. Only after he was certain the other officer was in control did he permit himself to be evacuated.

8. Pvt. George Watson

 

From Vietnam to Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, Marine Walter Anderson shares his story
Photo: US Navy

Pvt. George Watson was on board a ship near New Guinea on Mar. 8 when it was hit by enemy bombers. The order to abandon ship was given but Watson did not head to safety. Instead he began assisting soldiers who could not swim to a raft. Because of this, he was eventually pulled under the surface of the water by the suction from the sinking ship.

MIGHTY TRENDING

Running to prevent Veteran suicide – virtually

The Battle Creek VA Alive and Running VA5K for Veteran Suicide Prevention Awareness kicked off in a different fashion this year. Instead of having hundreds of participants together at once, the kick-off was done on Facebook live. The runners and walkers will be doing their part virtually to help raise awareness.

While it may be too late to register for a T-shirt and medal, it is not too late to do your part. Everyone can still participate virtually by walking, running or sharing information to raise awareness for Veteran Suicide Prevention.


Packets were distributed on Sept. 19, which would have been the normal day of the event.

“While this is not how we pictured our 8th Annual Alive and Running VA5K… we are so grateful we can come together like this to support our Veterans and Service Members while raising awareness for suicide prevention,” said Lindsey Cord, suicide prevention coordinator.

In the photo above, suicide prevention coordinator Mathew Raad presents a VA5k bib and medal to Jennifer Quinn.

You can participate until October 3

Even if you weren’t able to register for this event, you can still participate with us and go run, walk or ride 5K until Oct. 3. Tag our Facebook page and Hashtag #BeThere #AliveandRunningVA5k.

“Our team is focused on the community health approach to suicide prevention.” said Michelle Martin, medical center director. “Together, we can all Be There for Veterans. We appreciate the help of individuals, groups or organizations who help us raise awareness on this important topic.”

The Alive and Running VA5K is another way that the community can be involved. The event organizers hope to return to an in-person event next year but did not want to lose momentum on this important topic. Suicide is preventable. Together, we can all make a difference.

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

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