From Veteran News Now Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. They hold themselves to a higher standard, both in the products they deliver and in the way they conduct themselves throughout the entire customer experience. Because, after all, they are in the business of securing a great deal more than just their place in the market. The mission is to be at the forefront of technology and innovation, delivering superior capability in tandem with maximized cost efficiency. The security solutions they provide help secure freedoms for the nation as well as those of our allies. Squarely meeting obligations, fiscally and technologically, isn’t just a business goal, but a moral imperative. To that end, as Northrop evolves as a company, the responsibility they feel for their country and the citizens and troops they help support grows with them. ​ Northrop employs thousands of veterans worldwide and is committed to hiring and assisting military-experienced candidates and employees. Veterans bring a unique set of skills to their company, and have a first-hand appreciation for their business, products, and services. They value the training and leadership development that candidates gain from their military service and experience. Click Here To View And Apply To All Of Northrop Grumman’s Available Job Opportunities!
  As reported on Programs Designed to Help Transitioning Servicemembers and Veterans Develop New Skills and Credentials WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today launched two new no-cost training programs, Accelerated Learning Programs (ALPs) and VA Learning Hubs, to help transitioning Servicemembers and Veterans from all eras learn skills, earn credentials, and advance in civilian careers following separation from service.  ALPs and Learning Hubs are part of VA’s Veterans Economic Communities Initiative (VECI), promoting education and employment opportunities for Veterans through integrated networks of support in 50 cities. VA launched the VECI program in response to President Obama’s August 2014 challenge to help Veterans and families integrate with their communities and find meaningful jobs that can lead to economic success. Under VA Secretary Robert McDonald’s MyVA transformation, VECI is now in place in cities across the United States. “My message to transitioning Servicemembers is simple: Plan early and stay engaged, because transition is the mission,” said McDonald. “These two new resources provide no-cost opportunities for our transitioning Servicemembers and Veterans to learn new skills and earn credentials, which can increase their competitiveness during their transition.” ALPs offer transitioning Servicemembers and Veterans the opportunity to build on their world-class training and technical skills gained through their military service, and earn certifications in high-demand fields. VA is piloting ALPs this summer with seven courses focusing on building skills and certifications needed to advance in high-demand careers in information technology (IT), as part of the President’s TechHire initiative. Each ALP course is offered at no cost and includes free referral and support services..  The first ALP cohort includes seven courses covering a range of IT-related topics, including: Coding/Programming Boot Camps; 80+ IT Certifications in Hardware, Software, Networking, Web Services, and more; Network Support Engineer Job Training and Certification; Cybersecurity Training and Certification; IT Help Desk Job Training; and IT Boot Camps for Desktop Support and Windows Expertise. Transitioning Servicemembers and Veterans from any era are invited to apply to their choice of courses. Applications will be accepted starting August 17, 2015 – seats in the pilot cohort are limited; applicants are encouraged to apply early. ALPs do not involve use of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.. Students are able to participate in these programs while also pursuing other programs of study using Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Visit the ALP website to learn more about each program and apply. VA is also launching Learning Hubs in 27 cities across the country this year in partnership with the American Red Cross, The Mission Continues and Coursera, an online education platform. Transitioning Servicemembers and Veterans can take advantage of both online and in-person study. Each week, online course modules will be completed outside the classroom while class sessions, led by Learning Hub facilitators, provide opportunities to discuss course materials with peers, hear from subject matter experts, and network. Upon completion of the program, Servicemembers and Veterans may elect to receive one free verified certificate issued by Coursera. For more information about the VECI or to learn more about VA ALPs and Learning Hubs, contact ### Click Here to learn more.
By National Commander Michael D. Helm The government rationale for the latest round of defense cuts is sequestration. I prefer to call it abdication. After the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, politicians often accused one another of having a “pre-9/11 mentality.” Yet now, with the Executive Branch controlled by the Democrats and the Legislative Branch controlled by the Republicans, we are cutting our military to pre-World War II levels. As the national commander of The American Legion, I have been visiting U.S. military bases around the globe. Just last month a three-star general asked me ‘what’s it going to take for people to wake-up, Paris burning?’ And this was before ISIS inspired terrorist attacks in three continents on a single day. In addition to ISIS and al Qaeda, nations such as Russia, North Korea, Iran and China have all engaged in provocative and threatening acts. In fact, the Washington Times reported that China recently test-fired a new submarine-launched missile with the capability of inflicting nuclear strikes against all 50 states. Lest you think that China is simply an economic threat, consider that its state run newspaper published in 2013 that a nuclear JL-2 missile strike on the western United States would kill 5 million to 12 million people. The American Legion is committed to keeping America safe. A strong national defense is one of the pillars upon which our organization was founded. Yet, the 2016 defense budget is projected to be 31 percent less than it was in 2010. The Army plans to cut an additional 40,000 troops. These cuts are irresponsible and they are dangerous. Unless Congress spares the military from another sequestration round, annual training will again be slashed. While we cannot definitively blame sequestration for the deaths of servicemembers, I cannot help but recall a military investigation that revealed that a 2013 training accident at a Nevada mortar range was caused by human error and inadequate training. It cost 7 U.S. Marines their lives and wounded several others. Then there are the personnel costs associated with these budget cuts. While a strong argument can be made that a military draft would lighten the burden from the less than one percent of the brave Americans who are already defending our freedom, a strong all-volunteer force would be more cost-effective. Yet military members are noticing the chipping away of their pay and benefits that has been occurring at an alarming rate over the years. In 2009, a Military Times survey indicated that 91 percent of military members rated their quality of life as “good” or “excellent.” In 2014, only 56 percent felt that way. Moreover, 70 percent now predict that the quality of life for servicemembers will decline. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has said that the military must make the services attractive to young people. He has plenty of work to do. In order to make military service a viable option to this tech-savvy generation, he can begin by shelving a recommendation of The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission which would eventually eliminate the current pension system for those who make a career of the military. While it has become fashionable to compare private sector 401-k plans to what our military retirees receive, let’s dispel the myth that the pension system is somehow overly generous. Unlike private sector careerists, those who spend 20 years or more in the military have been required to change duty stations every two or three years, frequently separate from their families, risk life and limb in combat zones, rigorously train in brutal conditions, uproot their children from schools and friends, interrupt careers of their working spouses, and subject themselves to a military justice system that can imprison them for disrespecting their boss. If you compensate military service in the same manner as the private sector, don’t be surprised when the best and brightest choose the private sector. Just as importantly, we should not allow our national and elected leaders to pit personnel costs and benefits against weapons modernization and training. We can and must do both. We owe it to every man and woman in uniform that we will never send them in harm’s way without the resources to win. Our nation deserves it and our Constitution requires it. - See more at:
As reported by Most military veterans are well aware of at least some of the many health care and education benefits available to them, but there are still some lesser-known benefits and programs that may have gone under their radar. This is just a handful of some of the veteran benefits that you may not know about. Aid & Attendance Aid & Attendance is an excellent benefit for older or disabled veterans who may not be able to physically take care of themselves. This is an increase to your monthly pension to cover the costs of personal care, and it may be available to you if you require the assistance of another person for bathing, feeding, getting dressed or other personal functions required for everyday living. Those who are bedridden, confined to a nursing home or have corrected eyesight limited to 5/200 acuity or less may also qualify for this benefit.  Aid and Attendance is a tax free VA benefit that can be received while receiving Medicaid.  For those who qualify the monthly benefit can be as much as $2056! Caregiver Support Although someone providing personal care to a veteran may not receive monetary support, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs does provide a free support line to caregivers who need help navigating military benefits or simply dealing with the stress of working as a caregiver. Death Benefit When a veteran dies, family members have some unique benefits available to them. One significant benefit is that the Department of Veteran’s Affairs provides free grave markers to veterans upon request.  Other veteran’s death benefits include requesting a United States flag draped over a casket for the funeral, and they may request a Presidential Memorial Certificate to honor the deceased. Certification Programs Most veterans know about using the G.I. Bill to cover the costs of receiving a college degree, but they may not be aware that the bill can be used to pay for vocational or certification programs as well. This is an incredibly useful benefit for veterans who wish to change careers that don’t require earning a college degree. Transferrable G.I. Bill Credits Unused credits earned through the G.I. Bill can be transferred to the spouses and dependent family members of veterans. Service limits do apply, but this is still a great benefit for veterans who don’t plan to attend college yet don’t want their G.I. Bill to go to waste.   By Richard Dorrough
Best of the Best in the USVI    Lynda Brooks consdiders herself to be compassionate, empathetic and a good listner. It may be because of those traits that she has quickly learned the skills needed to successfully manage the newest funeral home on St. Croix, Divine Funeral Services.     She runs the place on a day to day basis,\" said owner Eldon Rey. \"She\'s very knowledgeable and caught on fast with the whole staff.\"     As General Manager of Divine Funderal Sevices, Brooks oversees an operation that takes care of every detail in the passing of a loved one.     This is what I was made for,\" Brooks said.    Brooks explained how she and her team remove the burden from grieving family members during a difficult time.    \"The difference between us and other places is that we offer everything,\" she said. \"We do every single thing.\" Even if a loved one dies in the states or another island, we take care of the paperwork.\"    Rey echoed Brooks statement.    \"The team that I have here with the families, gives them exactly what they are looking for,\" Rey said. \"I think I was blessed to have these skilled ladies, and also the gentlemen, around me during these difficult times. The way they carry the load and step up to whatever task is at hand, they have it mastered.\"    Divine Funeral Services can customize funerals to match the personality of any client and offers unique solutions.    For those people who would like to remove any burden from loved noes, Divine Funeral Services also offers preplanning funerals.    To furthern enhance their services, Brooks has been an integral part of planning for a new creamatory at the funeral home.     We will be the first funeral home in the territory to construct a creamory,\" she said, adding that the company has received permits for the construction from DPNR and plans to have the creamatory up by March.    \"We are the newest and most modern funderal hom in the terriitory,\" she said. \"Another key point is our price; our lowest package is $3895. That includes everything.    We\'ve become popular not just because of the packages we create but also because our family environment. When someone comes here, you become part of our family.\"   Divine Funeral Services is located at 129 Peter\'s Rest and can be reached at or 773-0003.      
Some 250 veterans from throughout the region attended Stand Down 2015 last Friday in Lowell, calling attention to the issue of homelessness among veterans and providing supplies and services to the veterans . The event was hosted by the City of Lowell, the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center in Haverhill and the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (the Bedford VA). Stand Downs are collaborative events held nationally, coordinated between the VA and community-based homeless service providers, said Robert Cook, public affairs officer for the Bedford VA. The Stand Down began with a ceremony on the steps of Lowell Memorial Auditorium, featuring the University of Massachusetts ROTC color guard and the Lowell High School Singers performing the National Anthem. Lowell Mayor Rodney Elliot commended the Bedford VA, city officials and the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center for hosting the Stand Down in Lowell, and encouraged the nation to make veterans its highest priority. “We should want to serve our veterans after they have done so much for us,” Elliot said. Bedford VA Hospital Director Christine Croteau reminded those in attendance that homeless and at-risk veterans do not fit any stereotype and are often the people we would least suspect of being affected by those issues. “Stand Down represents one of many ways Bedford VA wants to serve our veterans better than they have ever been served before,” said Croteau. John Ratka, executive director of the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center of Haverhill, and his staff greeted veterans at registration, provided breakfast and lunch and organized and distributed donations of clothing and supplies. They also supplied supportive services for veterans and families through case management on site. Veterans also received shelter referrals, health screenings and VA and Social Security benefits counseling. Bedford VA buses later transported interested veterans to the Bedford VA campus to participate in specialized workshops and to camp overnight, followed by breakfast to start Day 2 of the Stand Down.  
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) - A convoy of military vehicles and veterans will travel through the Upstate on Wednesday and Thursday on a coast-to-coast tour. The tour is part of the Spirit of ’45 celebration, marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and the 95th anniversary of the U.S. Army's 1920 Transcontinental Motor Convoy route. Eighty military vehicles and a bus load of veterans will cross into South Carolina Wednesday morning and travel through the state along U.S. 29. The Military Vehicle Preservation Association vehicles are following the same route as the 1920 convoy. The convoy will stop for lunch at the WestGate Mall around noon. Spartanburg police will escort the vehicles through the city. Local veterans groups will also provide escorts and line the highway to show their support as the convoy passes through communities across Spartanburg, Greenville and Anderson Counties. Greer officials said all crossroads will be blocked off as the convoy passes through that city around 2 p.m. The convoy will stop for the night in Anderson and then continue along U.S. 29 into Georgia on Thursday. The cross country trip, dubbed “America’s Longest Veteran’s Day Parade” began in Virginia on Sept. 19 and will end in San Diego, CA on Oct. 18. Click here to read more about the Spirit of ’45 celebration, the coast-to-coast convoy, and the stops the group will be making along their journey.  
BRAZIL, Ind. (Sept. 23, 2015)-- Adam Jay Perkins II, 8, has a birthday request that might be a little different than wishes of other boys his age. The Van Buren Elementary second grader is asking all of his friends to skip the presents and give a gift to veterans. "My mom asked me if I wanted to do a charity and I said, 'Yes,'" he said. "She said, 'Do you want to do Disabled American Veterans?' I said, 'Yes, my dad's a veteran.'" His father, Adam Jay Perkins, is a disabled veteran who served in the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Not only do the Perkins' share the same name, but nearly the same birthday. The father was born on September 11 and the son on September 10. Outside of his friends and family, Adam is extending the invitation to everyone to donate to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization. DAV is a veterans advocacy and assistance group dedicated to empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. "We accomplish this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America's injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life," DAV's website states. If you'd like to help fulfill his wish, checks or money orders can be sent to: DAV, 2439 W 16th St, Indianapolis, IN 46222. Please note in the memo line on check or money order, "Adam Jay Perkins II," so that he is recognized for the donation. To learn more click here.  
Rosa Moore struggled to put into words the importance of her visit to Washington, D.C. She had served as an Army supply clerk during World War II, and now she was celebrating that service in her nation’s capital. Rosa was part of a historic trip to Washington, D.C., for 140 female veterans. The women, ranging in age from 28 to 96, composed the first all-female Honor Flight. “I'm just so excited I can't talk. It was more than I expected, and I thoroughly enjoyed being here,” Rosa told ABC News. AP Sources: Marines Seek to Keep Combat Jobs Closed to Women How the Army Is Responding to the Female Rangers' Critics Inside Army Ranger School With First Female Soldiers The Honor Flight Network and its regional hubs help veterans visit their respective war memorials in Washington, D.C., at no cost to them. Until now, no local Honor Flight had ever included more than five female veterans. “It's like being born back again in the Marine Corps. It's fantastic,” said Henny Steinriede, who served in Vietnam. “I didn't expect that it could be so wonderful.” The Honor Flight trip included 70 women who served in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars both overseas and stateside. They were medics, combat nurses and interpreters, among many other roles. The senior women were accompanied by 70 “guardian” veterans who are more recent service members. The whole group was honored with a special tour of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, where they met with Secretary for Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald. “Events like today are the reason we come to work. It's the reason we do what we do for veterans,” McDonald told ABC News. “To get to talk to a veteran who was responsible or at least helped with breaking the Nazi code during World War II? Who knows? We could all be speaking German if she hadn't done that job. So I mean this is what we live for.” McDonald said he hoped this all-female Honor Flight would be the first of many. The historic trip took place as the military debates the role of women in combat positions. The results of a Marine Corps study released earlier this month found male units significantly out-performed gender-integrated ones. That study led the Marines to recommend last week that some combat jobs remain off limits to women, a position at odds with the other military services that are expected to recommend opening all combat positions to women. Defense Secretary Ash Carter will have until the end of the year to decide whether women should continue to be barred from some combat units. To learn more click here.
FREMONT — A former congressman who is biking and walking from Michigan to Washington D.C. stopped in Fremont on Wednesday on his trip to help support veterans and ask their state representatives to improve their health benefits. Kerry Bentivolio, 64, of Milford, Mich., who served his country during conflicts in Vietnam and Iraq, decided to make the 570-mile trip to Washington in hopes of waking up the American people and Congress to the urgent needs of veterans in the country. “I saw it firsthand when I was in the service. A fellow soldier died in a stateside military medical holding unit I was in and nobody noticed for four days,” Bentivolio said. “More than 300,000 American military veterans likely died while waiting for healthcare, and nearly twice as many are still waiting, according to a new Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general report.” Bentivolio, who served as congressman from 2013 through January 2015, said talking about the issue has not gotten the veterans any closer to getting the aid they need. It is time for action, he said. “We have a lot of World War II veterans who are dying at 80 or 90 years old, but we have Vietnam veterans who can’t make it past 70 years old. We have Marines that were stationed in Camp LaJune in the ’50s and ’60s and they found out all that water was contaminated,” Bentivolio said. “Congress said they were going to take care of these guys but they’re not.” While at home in Michigan, Bentivolio said he realized he could not sit at home and do nothing while veterans were not given an opportunity to receive the care they need. “I started walking, and next thing I know I’m 21 miles from home and I said ‘I will walk to Washington (D.C.),’” he said. While on the trip to D.C., which Bentivolio said he hopes to reach in 30 days, he is talking to people he meets along the way and urging them to speak to their congressmen and women to spark change. “Hopefully we’re going to have a lot of people gather and it’s is going to snowball,” Bentivolio said. In Fremont on his sixth day of travel, Bentivolio said he tries to walk between 15 and 20 miles and bike another 25 to 30. Heading east, Bentivolio will pass through Clyde and Norwalk before heading for the Akron area, where he will meet with Rolling Thunder, an advocacy group for prisoners of war and service members who are missing in action. “I’ve just went 120 miles so a lot of that aggression has drained from my body. Every day in the morning, I wake up angry as hell because we’re more worried about 80,000 refugees coming from the Middle East and all these illegal aliens and we’re going to take care of them and give them food stamps,” Bentivolio said. “We can’t even take care of veterans who served our country. I’m just fed up.” Bentivolio wants to put his former House colleagues to task by asking for solutions to help veterans. “Everybody’s lives matter. We have to put our priorities right. Take care of the veterans and soldiers. If you can’t do that, don’t bother asking us to serve anymore,” Bentivolio said. More soldiers are dying from self-inflicted (wounds) or suicide than on the battlefield. It’s time to kick butt and take names.” Donations can be made to Bentivolio’s walk at For more information, head to To learn more click here.