Friday, May 30, 2014

Secretary Shinseki Resigns

Current press conference - ongoing now

POTUS:  "...misconduct not limited to a few VA facilities but many across the country...totally unacceptable.  (Sec. Shinseki)...firing many of the people responsible" and has cancelled possible bonuses.

Secretary Shinseki offered his resignation and the President accepted.

Ranger tabbed veteran and former USO President Sloan Gibson takes on acting VA Secretary position.

Later in the press conference POTUS says the problem "predates his administration" then says he knew about it when he was a Senator.  He has "thrown significant resources at the problem".  Deeds not words.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nomadic Veterans

30 May UPDATE:  Give 'em some motivation and make a per mile donation.

27 May UPDATE:  Here's the Nomadic Veterans' Indiegogo page.

A couple'a Rangers contacted me about a week ago and told me they were planning this amazing Ranger trek - I'll let you see what they're up to.  It's going to be a lot of fun to see where they end up and how they accomplish getting there.

Also I have to say - I have great respect for these two men and am deeply honored at their support of our efforts to help Rangers transition peacefully, smoothly, and successfully.  The most important part of their trip will be the awareness they (with your help) are able to raise.  If Rangers (and other veterans) don't know about GallantFew, they won't volunteer as mentors or reach out for a connection as they transition.  Too many try it on their own, and it's not a one-man (or woman) patrol.  You always need a Ranger buddy, a Battle buddy.

Here's our interview:

See or listen to more TNAV.

Carrick Brain Center - Dallas Texas

Good Afternoon! 

I am writing on behalf of the Carrick Brain Center located in Irving, Texas. We are seeking Texas veterans who are currently experiencing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress to participate in our treatment program. Currently, we are able to offer the program at NO COST to the veteran.   

A formal diagnosis of PTSD is not required. Carrick Brain Center is not affiliated with the VA or DOD and the treatment program is funded by the State of Texas. 

Veterans who are interested should complete this short survey and we also invite everyone to view the attached testimonials. 

If you have veterans who you believe will benefit or be interested in this program, please feel free to disseminate this email or have them contact Shara Hegr or Kara Williams at:

Office: 940-735-2618

Very Respectfully, 

Shara H


Ryan Newell, U.S. Army Veteran

Ryan Parrott, U.S. Veteran

Jason McClure, US Marine Corp. Veteran:

SSG Dahlke Adventure Challenge - Benefiting the Sua Sponte Foundation (1st Ranger Battalion)

Rangers and Family Members
Bring Home the Honors - Picture your company and team on this plaque

Please support the SSG Jason Dahlke Adventure Challenge
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Fort McCallister, Richmond Hill
1030 - 1430 (10:30am - 2:30pm)

Bring the Family - Sign ups still available for teams

Free BBQ:  Ribs, pulled pork, brisket, hash - drinks
Leopold's Famous Ice Cream, cookies, cotton candy

Events for Kids 1000 - 1300

For More Details:

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Weekend

This post write up is from a buddy of mine Matt Bushong who wanted to remember his friend from high school who was KIA in Mosul Iraq in 2008. We both knew William Rudd, but Matt Bushong knew him the best. He spent years with him growing up and playing ball together. I met Bush after I left Ranger Battalion and signed into the 82nd. What I didn't know was that we both were impacted by Ricky in many different ways. This Memorial Day I would like to remember my brother SGT William Ricky Rudd. Serving with you was a true honor and I will never forget your sacrifice. Keep em cold brother.

 Those of us who grew up with him in small town western Kentucky knew him as 
“Patch.” To his brothers in Ranger Regiment he was known as “Ricky.” To a grateful nation he will always be remembered as Ranger SGT William Patrick Rudd of B Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. 

SGT Rudd was killed in action on his eighth combat deployment near the town of Mosul, Iraq on October 5, 2008. He had previously been deployed seven times in support of the War on Terror, five times to Iraq and two times to Afghanistan. During his time with Ranger Regiment he served as a rifleman, grenadier, and team leader. His awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Purple Heart, and Bronze Star. 

Growing up with Patch it was easy to see that he had a special quality, something that set him apart from everyone else. Maybe it was his uncompromising commitment to putting others before himself, maybe it was his friendliness and acceptance of everyone he met, or maybe it was simply his nature. Writing this it is hard to pin down exactly what that quality was. It is indefinable yet I believe that it served him well while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment. I believe that his brothers whom he fought and died for recognize it. And I believe that though difficult to put a label on, this quality defines what it is to be a United States Army combat soldier. 

Like so many others who have answered the call of service and who have paid the highest price, this fallen Ranger should be foremost in our minds. His sacrifice and the sacrifice of so many others have given us the privilege of remembering them not only for what they gave, but also for who they were. Any stories, comments, or remembrances that you may have regarding SGT Rudd are very welcome. Please feel free to post them in the comments section. 

Matt Bushong

Sunday, May 25, 2014

TNAV Memorial Day Edition

From a Gold Star Family Member:  Family and friends, this weekend is a tough one for us Gold Star Families as we remember our loved ones who died in service to this country. As you are enjoying this weekend listening to the Indy 500, having a family BBQ, or doing whatever you are doing, remember you can do these things because of those who have fought and died for our freedoms throughout history. Us Gold Stars and Battle Buddies have holes in our hearts that will never fill, but we persevere because we are proud of our loved one or battle buddy. Please do not say Happy Memorial Day, it is not happy for many of us.

Thank you my Gold Star family for our loved ones' sacrifice. May we continue to persevere, one day at a time, until we meet meet our angels.


Remember don't say "Happy Memorial Day", rather say "Honor Memorial Day".



There is a special Vets On Media TNAV broadcast tomorrow, Monday, May 26 at 1:00pm Central Time.

Karl has two guests scheduled for the show.  First up is Mr. Martin K.A. Morgan author of "The Americans On D-Day - A Photographic History of the Normandy Invasion".  This June 6th marks the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, and Mr. Morgan joins us from Fort Benning, where he is spending the day at the US Army Airborne School.

Following that, Gold Star Mother Jill Stephenson - mother of Corporal Ben Kopp - joins us.
July 20, 2009
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Corporal Benjamin S. Kopp, 21, of Rosemount, Minnesota, died July 18, 2009, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington of wounds suffered July 10, 2009, in Helmand province, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.  He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia.
Corporal Ben Kopp Memorial Ride is July 25-26.  Also if you haven't heard about how The Heart of a Hero Beats On, go here and read the story.

 Ben is buried at Arlington National Cemetery

Remember you can catch TNAV in several ways.  LISTEN LIVEWATCH LIVE, or catch the archive at BlogTalkRadio, Vets On Media, or search the iTunes podcast for GallantFew.  Shows will be available for download approximately an hour after the show's live conclusion.

Other Memorial Day items:

The Honor and Remember Flag

Remembering Danny...

220,000 American flags posted at Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day

Memorial Day 2014 Quotes: 14 Sayings To Honor The Armed Forces

History Channel - Memorial Day

Honor Memorial Day ~ Karl

Monday, May 19, 2014

MOH Recipient on VA Health Care and TBI+College Degree = better recovery?

Medal of Honor recipient has an interesting solution to the VA problem, and in my opinion it has merit.  Leave the VA to the bureaucratic process of managing eligibility and let the Tricare system coordinate the actual health care delivery.  (Video)

Want to increase your chances of recovering better from a TBI?  Have more education:
New research suggests that people with more education recover significantly better from serious head injuries.
Scientists from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found that adults with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries who had earned at least an undergraduate degree were more than seven times as likely to completely recover from their injury than those who didn't finish high school. (read more)

Looking Back

After two and a half years I finally completed my Bachelor of Science in Human Services Psychology. Something I was told from the get go after I was injured was that, "your brain does not function the same as it used to," and "you will be lucky if you will ever run again." Since those words came from a doctor, I made it my personal goal to show them the difference between a person who gives up and a person who strives to better him or herself. Fortunately, having a strong network and some of the nations top veterans in my corner I have made a lasting impact on myself, my family, and the people who doubted my success.

Completing college has been difficult but nothing compared to some of the longest days I experienced in the Army. Trying to convince me that I was not going to perform well, only added fuel. That fuel raged inside of me. I spent almost a year seeing a Speech Therapist to retrain my brain to get back to functioning where it used to. Was it easy? No, nothing easy is worth doing. I needed to expand my knowledge and re-tool myself to better fit the civilian world. Has it been seamless? No, there have been some ups and downs, actually a few times I had to walk away from college in order to stay focused on the objective. Is school going to be the last obstacle I face in this world? Absolutely not. Understanding that life is full of obstacles and challenges is key to staying on a successful path. You have to learn to analyze the risk involved and see if the suffering is worth it. If its not, walk away. Reorient yourself on a new azimuth and move the f*** out.

Is sitting in a classroom full of 18-21 year olds that bitch about things that are absolutely irrelevant difficult? Yes, being a chameleon in the classroom is imperative to getting out of there without everyone hating you. Have I wanted to make the walls sweat with every little "XBOX malfunction issue" and "its too early comment," you bet your ass I did. But leaving my comments to myself and understanding that when I was 19 I was jumping out of airplanes and blasting the enemy in the face. Something most people at that age will never experience. I look at myself as a person that has a skill set, high above the rest. What I learned throughout my military career is more than most learn in a lifetime. I can choose to walk away from those skills or carry them with me only to use them in the necessary situations. College tested me in a dynamic capacity, it is over now but a test is something that keeps us all honest, our work ethic fine tuned, and gives us an opportunity to succeed on the outside. As a veteran, I know the odds are against us, striving to raise the bar is something we need to keep burning inside of us.



Saturday, May 17, 2014

Armed Forces Day 2014

Armed Forces Day isn't a day to thank Veterans for their service, it's a day for all of us to thank those who continue in their service to our country.  If you haven't done it yet, reach out to someone serving and offer your thanks.  km

President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.

On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days.

The single day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense. (source US Department of Defense)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

TNAV Broadcast May 14 - Rangers Machado and Streeter

Here's the video link to the show featuring Sergio Machado (Army Ranger, 101st combat veteran and BJJ Black Belt/World Champ) and Michael Streeter (Army Ranger, 2nd Ranger Battalion and veteran advocate).  If you don't have time to watch the video, download the podcast at iTunes (search gallantfew in the podcast directory).

TNAV May 14, 2014

After a short rant on the VA, I bring Sergio on.  Sergio talks about friends he lost in Iraq and the effect it's had on him, as well as how he's overcome serious and significant injuries to become a World Champion Brazilian Jiu Jitsu master and owner of his own fight academy.  Sergio's website and Team 3 Fight Academy

Second half of the show features Michael Streeter. Michael broke his back in a parachute mishap and spent the following twenty years in anger and strong liberally prescribed narcotics.  Listen and learn how we took charge of his care, turned down meds (VA doc quote:  "then you must not be hurt as bad as you say, if you don't want the meds") and turned around his life.

The Charleston VA article on Michael Streeter - Army Veteran finds peace with alternative therapy.  Ranger Streeter is featured on these News 2 Special Reports - The War at Home Part One and Part Two.

On the show I mention this new book - retail price is $45, you can get it through GallantFew for $30 plus shipping (OK on Amazon Prime can get it for $32 - and if you do, make sure you start at and enter gallantfew for the charity).  It's an awesome book and $8 goes to GallantFew for each book you order.  Email me with your contact information and number of books you want and I'll get back to you ASAP.

This just in!!! On Memorial Day I'll interview Mr. Martin Morgan, author of "The Americans on D-Day".  Don't miss!

There are also brief cameos by Ranger Matt Eversmann and the son of a WWII Ranger Battalion Commander.  You have to listen to know who it is!

No show next week - I'll be at the USSOCOM Care Coalition Conference in Tampa to present GallantFew's work and collaborate with other agencies helping Special Operations veterans.  Currently planning two shows for the following week - one on May 26 and one on the usual Wednesday, May 28.  Know someone I should interview?  Let me know.

Finally, some scrutiny of the VA begins.  Obama names one of his senior advisors to oversee the VA review.  Too bad he couldn't have found a veteran to do this, although at least Rob Nabors is a military brat (although my optimism is reduced as I watched the Senate hearings I heard Sec. Shinseki express pleasure at Nabors' selection as Shinseki is old and dear friends with Nabors' father and mother).   Overall the Senators appear bi-partisan in their questioning and are not in the mood to continue as-is.

Latest Unemployment Numbers and Analysis

The latest unemployment numbers are out - this data comes straight from the Department of Labor.

My quick analysis:

Overall trends are that unemployment is declining, except for female veterans.  Female veterans' rate has risen steadily since December 2013.  


On a rolling twelve month average (May 2013 - April 2014), compared to a person who never served in the military:
  • a veteran is 9% more likely to have a job
  • a Desert Storm veteran is 36% more likely to have a job
  • a Post 9/11 veteran is 34% more likely to be unemployed
For just the month of April, compared to a person who never served:
  • a veteran is 2% more likely to have a job
  • a Desert Storm veteran is 21% more likely to have a job
  • a Post 9/11 veteran is 16% more likely to be unemployed

So as the overall economy rates drop, so do the veteran rates (unless you're female), but the gap between new veteran and non-veteran remains concerning.  This makes it all the more critical that those of us (pre 9/11) veterans engage with these young men and women coming home to our communities.  We have jobs, we have networks.  Put those networks to work, and let's get our newest veterans to work - especially the women.

To quote GEN Wayne A Downing (RIP):
"There's a two word solution for PTSD.  You're hired."

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Non-waiting Waiting List

The saga continues.  I believe we'll find the secret waiting list to be standard operating procedures in VA's across the country.  I bet they are scrambling right now to hide those secret waiting lists before they get inspected.

UPDATE:  CBS News - Is VA Secretary Shinseki at fault?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Jobs in North Dakota

A GallantFew advisor forwarded this article to me - opportunities in North Dakota!

Oil booms and man camps, life in North Dakota

'“While the rest of the country stumbles and looks for work, it seems North Dakota can’t fill enough jobs,” explains Getty Images photojournalist Andrew Burton.
North Dakota is currently experiencing an economic heyday, in part due to an oil boom that has helped the state maintain the lowest unemployment rate in the country since 2008...' (read more

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Deeds Not Words (or We, We, We All the Way Home)

Today Military Times published an interview with VA Secretary Shinseki.  The headline quote is "VA is here to care for you"

Couple quick comments (writing this in between six month old grandson duty).
"He acknowledged frustration over the controversies, but said he has no intention of resigning and worries that the recent headlines will discourage veterans from seeking care in the system."
It's not the headlines that discourage veterans from seeking care in the system.  It's the amount of time it takes to get a claim approved, the amount of time it takes to schedule an appointment (and yes, secret waiting lists have existed in virtually every VA hospital for years), and it's the runaround a veteran gets whenever he or she tries to access anything VA.
"Any time allegations like these come up, we’re going to take a look. We take them seriously. When we heard about these allegations, in congressional testimony, that afternoon I invited the inspector general to go down to Phoenix and get to the bottom of things, do a complete and thorough review and get me a response as soon as possible. So that is underway."
All due respect, General.  Where's the "I" in this?  Is that how you led on active duty?  Everything I was taught as an Army officer was to be at the critical point - the decisive point - personally.  Not relying on someone else to collect, filter and report.  You can't send someone else on a leader's recon.  Do you realize the increase in esteem you might gain from appearing to be personally involved and caring about the deaths of these veterans?
"As this is happening, I just want veterans to know that VA is here to provide care for them. That’s our only mission. We intend to do that well. Care has everything to do with quality, quality of service and quality of benefits. They’ve earned them, and we’re going to deliver them."
Deeds not words.
(when asked his personal reaction) "We didn’t have any details. This came up in testimony. There apparently is a list with 40 veterans’ names on it. We tried to acquire that, we were never given that list. So we asked the IG to get involved in a formal review. He has those lists, and we’re waiting for those outcomes."
The interviewer asked for his "personal reaction".  PERSONAL.  Where's the personal reaction?  We, we, we.  "We were never given that list." Why, sir, are you waiting to be given that list?  I suggest eyes on the target, get to Phoenix.

I have a suggestion, dress in jeans, ballcap and a tee shirt and go to a VA - any VA system using a different name.  See how the experience matches up to what you've said in the interview here.  Maybe you could do an episode of Undercover Boss?

Here's the link to the entire interview.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

American Legion Calls for VA Officials' Resignations, VFW Disagrees

Yesterday the American Legion held a press conference and issued this statement:
'In front of local media and a live Internet audience, American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger today called for the resignations of Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, Under Secretary of Health Robert Petzel and Under Secretary of Benefits Allison Hickey.
Dellinger cited poor oversight and failed leadership as the reason for calling for the resignations – something The American Legion hasn’t done regarding a public official in more than 30 years.
“Gen. Eric Shinseki has served his country well,” Dellinger said. “His patriotism and sacrifice for this nation are above reproach. However, his record as the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs tells a different story. The existing leadership has exhibited a pattern of bureaucratic incompetence and failed leadership that has been amplified in recent weeks.”' (Read more)

The VFW responded:

"WASHINGTON -- America’s largest combat veterans’ organization, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, does not agree with a call made today for the resignations of Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey, and Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert A. Petzel." (Read more)

One of my favorite quotes that I received once in a Fortune Cookie read:  "Recognize and deal with reality, no matter how unpleasant that may be."  Seems to me keeping secret waiting lists (as I wrote earlier, that's not a new practice and it happened to me) indicates a culture internally that discourages the open identification of issues either to avoid the unpleasantness of the dirty laundry or to secure that fat bonus.  Either way there is a serious issue, veterans are dying and the survivors are frustrated, and there appears to be no accountability.  It doesn't help that the two largest veteran organizations disagree.

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