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Borne the Battle

Hosted by Tanner Iskra, Borne the Battle recognizes each battle, challenge, and sacrifice our Veterans endure during and after their service, as well as spotlighting important resources, offices, and benefits VA offers our Veterans.
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Apr 17, 2019

Danny Chung is an positive example of a Veteran that found a way to give back to the transitioning active-duty community. 

Danny’s team is trying to do is fill a gap in the civilian workforce. At any given time, there are over 500,000 open jobs in the computer industry. The current education system is producing only 49,000 computer science majors a year. Danny’s goal is to fill the gap with a portion of the 250,000 service-members that leave active duty every year.

One solution is the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA). It is an 18-week course that active duty can take on base towards the end of their service. They offer training in high demand fields like cloud development, cloud administration, cybersecurity, databases and business intelligence administration. In addition, graduates are guaranteed an interview with Microsoft or an industry partner. There are currently 15 military bases that offer the MSSA.

Currently, Danny’s biggest drive is to help military spouses find gainful employment in the technology industry. The Military Spouse Technology Academy is an effort by Danny’s team to combat the military spouse 18% unemployment and 53% underemployment rates.

In addition, we talk about his service, difficulties transitioning during the Great Recession, and his feelings on artificial intelligence taking over the planet.

Enjoy.

#BTBattle Veteran of the Week:

Army Air Corps Veteran Dick Cole

https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/37196/veteranoftheday-army-air-corps-veteran-richard-dick-cole/

ADDITIONAL LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE:

military.microsoft.com

https://www.hiringourheroes.org/

https://www.troops2transport.com/

https://worldwide.erau.edu/microsoft-software-systems-academy/

https://www.stmartin.edu/academics/programs-schools/hal-and-inge-marcus-school-engineering/areas-of-study/microsoft-software-and-systems-academy

Apr 10, 2019

Navy Veteran Jennifer Marshall joins us on the show. Since transitioning from active duty, she’s been hustling out in Hollywood.

She’s a veteran of some movies and shows you may have seen:

Stranger Things”

Hawaii Five-O”

A Dog’s Way Home”

Timeless”

Game Shakers”

Most notably, she’s an actress, but she also hosts red carpets, hosts shows, models and volunteers for various causes in and around the area.

Jennifer talks about why she joined the Navy and why she had to exit earlier than she anticipated. She also talks about her husband’s transition and trying to bridge the military-civilian divide. She also shared how the military community in Hollywood helped her gain her sea-legs as she started on this new journey.

Finally, we discussed how a military mindset can help you achieve your goals, the misadventures of motion capture for her first (and probably last) video game, and current volunteer projects that she is passionate about. Enjoy.

Additional Links For This Episode:

https://www.hollywoodpost43.org/

https://vmeconnect.org/

https://www.pinupsforvets.com/

https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/fgib/VetTec.asp

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week is Air Force Veteran William Andrews:

 https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/58577/veteranoftheday-air-force-veteran-william-francis-andrews/

 

Apr 3, 2019

There are many veteran entrepreneurs in the coffee industry. Today we focus on a local roaster in the Northern Virginia area that is making waves in the coffee industry. 

In this episode, Sean talks about his unique military career. Starting out as a merchant marine and as a reservist, Sean explains how he switched between a couple of different occupational specialties before coming onto active duty as a Naval Intelligence Officer.

We also break down Sean’s transition from the Navy, and how he started a business on active duty and turned it into a $500,000 revenue-generating business within six years.  

Enjoy

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week

Marine Corps’ Veteran and soon-to-be WWE Hall of Famer Brian James is this week’s Veteran of the Week.

Additional Links for this Episode:

http://www.campvaloroutdoors.org/

Mar 27, 2019

I love finding Veterans who are out there working to bridge the military-civilian divideThis week’s guest is continuing to serve by connecting Veterans to communities as the military relations manager at the second largest private company in the United States.  

While in the Army, John Buckley, II was an infantry commander for soldiers in combat and peacekeeping operations. In addition, he directed two of the Army’s top schools. Commissioning as a 2nd lt. in the reserves at the age of 19, John began serving in the Kansas Army National Guard, eventually earning a regular army commission. He is a graduate of the Infantry Basic and Advanced Courses, the Army Command and General Staff College, the School of Advanced Military Studies, the Armed Forces Staff College and the Army War College, receiving a special degree in national security policy. John also holds a master’s in military arts and sciences and a master’s in military science. 

Today, John teaches transition courses, gives presentations, writes about the military career transition, and continues to mentor current and former military service-members.

Furthermore, John is involved in the local Veteran community of Wichita, KS as the:

Co-chair of the Wichita Community Veteran Engagement Board

Board member of the Veteran Providers' Coalition of Sedgwick County

Currently, the boards' current focus is on Veteran unemployment and homelessness. Their future goals are to create a Veteran-friendly medical transportation system.

John is also a board member of the non-profit, Passageways. They battle Veteran homelessness within and around the city of Wichita. For their Phase II, Passageways is looking to develop a 30 home community focusing on providing homes for the local female veteran community and their families.

Hope you enjoy this week's episode.

Additional Links for Week's Episode:

https://bit.ly/2usvnJ9

https://bit.ly/2FzlBeG

https://bit.ly/2vtH4Q6

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week: https://bit.ly/2Tw1fXE

Mar 20, 2019

How does a Navy submariner from Hollis, Queens, NY, become a farmer in North Carolina? That is exactly what Valroy Williams did after over 30 years of dedication between the Navy and Army. 

In this episode we talked about his service, how he learned to farm and the camaraderie of the Veteran farmers in North Carolina.

Links For More Info:

https://bit.ly/2TMSfCk

https://bit.ly/2UIP9vo

https://bit.ly/2CoRTqU

https://bit.ly/2Teb8sI

https://bit.ly/2uhqrGV

 

Mar 13, 2019

Tanner’s first guest is Emmy award winning director of photography and cinematographer, Rick Robinson, who was a huge influence on Tanner’s career.  In this episode, Rick shares his experiences on his deployments, drops knowledge on how he broke into Hollywood without knowing a soul, lets us in on how teaching film changed his life’s pursuits and tells us how he ended up in the South Pacific for over seven years. Rick also shares his journey back to the Marine Corps, and how he currently spends his time developing the next crops of military visual information specialists.

______________________________________________________

In the episode: 

Appeals Modernization

Rick Robinson's:

IMDB

Instagram

IndustryJump

Feb 27, 2019

This episode is a humbling one for me. Episode 134 is the last episode I will produce as the host of Borne the Battle. I launched the podcast in 2016 under the title "This Week at VA," renamed it Borne The Battle about a year later, and have interviewed an impressive set of Veterans and their loved ones. However, while I may be moving on from the podcast, the podcast is remaining and will be hosted by a newer member of my team, Tanner Iskra.

Tanner Iskra is a United States Marine Corps Veteran who served as an intel analyst in OIF III and later as a combat videographer/photographer. During his military career he deployed to OIF III as well as Romania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Spain as part of the Black Sea Rotational Force. After leaving active duty, Tanner was a Senior Post Production Editor with NASCAR Productions. Tanner is a graduate of the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Media Studies and holds a Certificate in Military Motion Media from the Newhouse School of Journalism at Syracuse University. Joining the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in October 2018, Tanner is a video producer with the Digital Media Engagement team focusing on producing, editing and shooting content that tells the Veteran’s story.

Tanner joins the show so we may learn about his service, his creativity, and his vision for the podcast moving forward.

Feb 8, 2019

Vet Centers are one of VA's most valuable and crucial resources. Vet Centers are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional readjustment counseling to eligible Veterans, active duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve components, and their families. Readjustment counseling is offered to make a successful transition from military to civilian life or after a traumatic event experienced in the military. Individual, group, marriage and family counseling is offered in addition to referral and connection to other VA or community benefits and services. Vet Center counselors and outreach staff, many of whom are Veterans themselves, are experienced and prepared to discuss the tragedies of war, loss, grief and transition after trauma.

While I was in Dallas, visited the Vet Center in Arlington, TX and sat down with Vet Center Director Joel Chaverri for an interview. Joel tells us about his time in the Marine Corps, his path to becoming a social worker, and what everyone needs to know about how Vet Centers serve Veterans and their families.

Jan 31, 2019

Since I joined VA in April 2016, we have avoided alcohol themed content in our production. However, with so many Veterans involved in the industry through craft beer, distilling, wineries, and more, I decided it was time to feature a Veteran inside the industry. Brent Thompson is a Navy Veteran and Head Brewer at Texas Ale Project in the City of Dallas. I originally visited his establishment as part of the Military Influencers Conference. When I returned to Dallas a year later, I knew I wanted to interview him about going from Navy to co-founding a successful brewery.

Brent sat down with me in his tap room to record our interview. Over his shoulder I could see a tap handle designed in digital camouflage that read "Good to Go," the name of his pale ale. Though subtle, signals like that are evidence of a culture transcending one's life, bringing vernacular from the past into the present.

Brent spoke to me about his decision to enlist in the Navy, the major influence his father had on him, and the journey he's been on founding a successful brewery.

Jan 23, 2019

Back in October I interviewed Ozzy Ramirez, an Army Veteran that is pursuing an acting career in Hollywood. Ozzy's interview got buried in a swarm of interviews conducted in that time span and I just discovered it again last week. When I went back to listen to it, I remembered how great of an interview it was and how valuable it is for us to hear stories like his.

Ozzy joins Borne the Battle to discuss his time in the military, which allowed him to not only help support his family, but also become a U.S. citizen, and his bold decision to head to Hollywood in pursuit of the silver screen. You can see Ozzy's full body of work on his page at IMDB.

Jan 16, 2019

This week we have a unique episode. One of my interns, Zach Wheeler, conducted an interview with one of his professors at Johns Hopkins University. Zach is a sophomore and is studying International Studies. His professor, Robert O. Freedman, is an adjunct professor at Zach's university. Mr. Freedman served during the Vietnam War and joins Borne the Battle to discuss a great leader he had in the military, his philosophy on giving your country two years of service, and his career in academia which includes time at West Point.

Jan 11, 2019

Our week of podcasts focused on student Veterans is coming to a close. On Monday, we spoke with Student Veterans of America president Jared Lyon. Then, Tuesday through Thursday we had a conversation with three groups of Student Veteran of the Year finalists. Today, we feature the 2018 Student Veteran of the Year, Alexandria Sawin. Alex is the president of the UNLV Rebel Veterans Organization at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She speaks with us about her service in the Air Force, becoming a leader in her community, organizing a ruck march across the state of Nevada, and her best practices in her student Veteran chapter.

Jan 10, 2019

Today, we continue our discussions with Student Veterans of America’s Student Veteran of the Year finalists. This episode features Angela Peacock, Kyle Venable, and Carlos Caro. We learn about their chapter’s success in 2018, their philosophy on outreach, and how to include other military personnel on campus.

Jan 9, 2019

Today, we continue our discussions with Student Veterans of America's Student Veteran of the Year finalists. This episode features Chanel Powell and Tyler Freeman. We learn about their chapter's success in 2018, their philosophy on outreach, and how to include other military personnel on campus.

About Chanel:

Chanel is a paralegal specialist in the New York Army National Guard for the past 3 years and continues to serve. She deployed with the 1156th Engineer Company to Kuwait and Iraq in 2016-2017. Promptly after returning home from deployment she started her first semester at the University at Buffalo just last spring. During her first semester she was elected SVA chapter President and the following semester they became nationally recognized within the Student Veterans of America, making their chapter one of the newest. Her plan is to continue her education in law school a little over a year from now.

About Tyler:

Tyler was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and joined the United States Marine Corps in 2008.  He was stationed in the Carolinas shortly thereafter with military occupations primarily involving helicopter squadrons as an Aviation Maintenance Supervisor and a CH-53E Helicopter Crew Member.

After 5 ½ years of service and three deployments (2 to Northeast Africa and 1 to Afghanistan), Tyler received an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps in April of 2014 to pursue undergraduate studies at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While enrolled, he held a concurrent full-time position at Ameriprise Financial in various operations and project management roles. He completed a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Magna Cum Laude) at UNC Greensboro in December, 2017. Tyler then relocated to Atlanta after he was accepted to Emory University’s Goizueta Business School & Emory Law School, where he began the full-time MBA/JM Dual Degree program in August 2018.

Jan 8, 2019

Each year, Student Veterans of America selects a "Student Veteran of the Year." They receive hundreds of submissions for consideration and narrow the field down to ten finalists. Year after year, these ten finalists prove to be exceptional individuals. I had the opportunity to sit down with the finalists this year and talk to them about the success they've had with their respective chapters and on their campuses. Today's group of student Veterans include David Cote, Katherina Pratt, and Wesley Wilson.

Jan 7, 2019

I just returned from the 2019 Student Veterans of America (SVA) National Conference (NatCon). It was my fourth conference in five years. I've been to two as a student Veteran, and two on behalf of VA. Each year this gathering proves to be more powerful than the last. SVA saw a 30% attendance boost since last year's conference, hosting more than 2,300 student Veterans and stakeholders. The three-day event featured keynotes from Secretary Robert Wilkie, Medal of Honor recipient Ryan Pitts, and President of SVA, Jared Lyon.

Jared has been on the podcast a few times in the past, including a sit-down I had with him at last year's NatCon. Each time he speaks with us, he has the same passion and excitement about the success of student Veterans as he did the time before.

In this year's interview, that we recorded at NatCon 2019, Jared shares what it means for SVA to be "left of bang," tells us about the amazing group of Student Veteran of the Year finalists, and what SVA's priority in 2019.

Dec 19, 2018

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University is a key contributor in the support of Veteran entrepreneurs and research on transitioning Veterans. In the past, we have spoken with IVMF's Director, Mike Haynie, and their Manager for Managing Director for Programs and Services, Jim McDonough. This week, we talk with Nicholas Armstrong, IVMF's Senior Director for Research and Policy.

Nick began his career as an Army field artillery officer upon graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2000. In the Army, he served seven years on active duty, including nearly three years deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia with the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), during which he received two Bronze Star Medals and the Combat Action Badge, among other commendations. In addition, Nick served as a speechwriter to the commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum, NY, as well as aide-de-camp to the division’s deputy commanding general. Nick is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Airborne, Air Assault, and Ranger Schools.

Serving in his current role since 2014, Nick developed and leads a multi-disciplinary team comprised of social, behavioral, and data scientists, student analysts, and an extended network of affiliated scholars and experts. He manages a broad portfolio of sponsored research, program measurement, and evaluation efforts to inform the social, economic, wellness, and related policy concerns of the nation’s veterans and their families. In addition, Nick is responsible for the IVMF’s data analytics, quality, and decision support activities that guide the Institute’s operations to serve, annually, more than 20,000 veterans and family members nationwide and abroad.

Nick joins Borne the Battle to discuss his experience in the Army, his efforts at IVMF, and some key research from the institute that provides essential information on transitioning Veterans.

Dec 5, 2018

Every once in a while I'm pleasantly surprised to discover that someone famous is a Veteran. A couple months ago, a story came out about William Daniels when he fended off an intruder in his house. When I saw his age, I wondered if he served in World War II. Sure enough, I learned that he spent a couple years in Italy shortly after the bomb dropped in Hiroshima. So, naturally, I wanted to speak to him about his service and invited him to join me on Borne the Battle.

Many of you probably recognize him as the voice of KITT on Knight Rider, Dr. Craig on St. Elsewhere, and, the role he's most commonly recognized for, Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World.

Mr. Daniels and his wife Bonnie joined me for a short phone interview to share his experiences as a drafted soldier in World War II, using the G.I. Bill to attend Northwestern University, being a recognized actor, and how important his relationship with Bonnie has been through it all.

Nov 28, 2018

To round of National Caregivers Month, we feature Sarah Verardo. Sarah is the CEO of Independence Fund and a caregiver for her husband, an Army Veteran. Sarah also authored the children's book, Hero at Home.

Founded in 2007, The Independence Fund is committed to empowering our nation’s catastrophically wounded, injured, or ill Veterans to overcome physical, mental, and emotional wounds incurred in the line of duty. We are dedicated to improving the lives of both our Veterans and their families. Through our Mobility, Caregiver, Adaptive Sports, Advocacy, and Family programs, The Independence Fund strives to bridge the gap of unmet needs for Veterans and their caregivers.

Sarah also recently announced Independence Fund's new program, Operation Resiliency. The program will team with VA to host suicide prevention reunion retreats with the Veterans of high suicide rate military units.

Sarah joins this week's podcast to discuss her experience as her husband's caregiver and her efforts at Independence Fund.

Nov 23, 2018

Today's podcast features a Veteran spotlighted by NCA's Veterans Legacy Program.

Kenneth Holliday, who joined us on episode 106, joins us today for the unofficial debut of Veterans Legacy Program podcast. Today, he tells us about Terrence Halligan.

Terence Patrick Halligan was born in Northern Ireland on April 3, 1922. He is an Army Air Corps Veteran of World War II. During a combat mission over Italy, his plane was shot down and Halligan was never found.

Visit cem.va.gov/legacy for more or follow @VANatCemeteries on Twitter.

Nov 21, 2018

Everyone needs a break from time to time. Borne the Battle - and, more importantly, its host - decided to take a short break from production. It's been a month since our last episode was published, but I was still recording interviews in that span of time. A couple of the interviews I did were with caregivers. With November being National Caregivers Month, and with this week being Thanksgiving, I decided to bring the podcast back to full form with two episodes featuring caregivers. Not only to spotlight their efforts, but to show our gratitude for the role they play in Veterans' lives.

First up is Liz Rotenberry. Liz joined me at VA Central Office after the Elizabeth Dole Foundation showed interest in collaborating on a podcast. I didn't know much about Liz before we started the interview, but by the end of it I felt I had just recorded one of the more valuable interviews in the podcast's two year history.

Liz, is a military caregiver for her husband, a Marine Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom & Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran. As an Elizabeth Dole Fellow Alumna, Liz works to advocate not only for herself and her family, but for all Military and Veteran Caregivers. Liz joined the Elizabeth Dole Foundation as their Caregiver Community Program Coordinator and is now the Foundation’s Fellows Program Coordinator.

Prior to becoming a military caregiver, Liz graduated from the University of Delaware with a BAS in Art and Art History. Liz worked in the architectural field as a designer for schools, medical, offices to government and military facilities, including the test sites on Proving Grounds in Arizona. The work Liz experienced with the Proving Grounds in Arizona provided an eye opening experience to what our Military train for in real life theater every day. Liz is honored to have been a part of the training and implementation of the Joint Experimentation Range Complex. It is important for Liz to represent not only the Veteran but especially the Caregiver.

Liz and I talk about being a military spouse during her husband's service and how she experienced transition when her husband separated from the military. That, plus plenty of insight on her role as a caregiver.

Oct 10, 2018

After a short break, Borne the Battle is back. This week we bring on Marine Veteran Elliott McKenzie.

After returning home from a deployment to Ramadi, Iraq, Elliott started showing signs of having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). By 2008, his symptoms were spiraling out of control. He had severe anger, depression, anxiety, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and hyper awareness. It was severely affecting his life and the lives of those around him. By 2009, his PTSD was so bad that he ended up homeless. After sleeping in his car for a period of time, he applied to a veteran's homeless facility in Long Beach, CA.

Elliott soon after got connected with VA and began his long road to recovery. That road to recovery included creating music, which he used as a coping mechanism and as a way to express himself.

He joins us on this week's podcast to discuss his time in the Marines, the difficulties of his transition, and how his music career has been so powerful in his recovery.

Sep 19, 2018

September means back to school, even for Veterans. Being a student Veteran on campus is a unique experience. Student Veterans are typically older than traditional students, they have more life experience, and they can even have families at home. One resource available for student Veterans on campus is student Veterans group, often an official club with officials and board members. These groups can be great places for Veterans to gain friends, have a community, and get connected with more resources on campus.

This week's podcast celebrates going back to school. Our three panelists discuss their experiences and what they've learned as best practices for Veterans themselves and the clubs they're a part of.

I'm joined by the President of Student Veterans of America, Jared Lyon, the president of Mason Veteran Patriots at George Mason University, EJ Delpero, and last year's Student Veteran of the Year Finalist, Kirsten Battocchio. EJ and Kirsten bring their own perspectives and Jared compliments with SVA's guidance and insight.

Aug 29, 2018
About 30 episodes ago, we spoke with Michael Haynie, the Founder & Executive Director for the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. The IVMF is higher education’s first interdisciplinary academic institute, singularly focused on advancing the lives of the nation’s military veterans and their families. This episode, we hear from Mike's colleague, James McDonough, managing director of programs and services for IVMF.
 
James tells us about his service in the Army, a great leader he served under, and the decision to begin transition out of the military so he could care for family. Then, we learn about two powerful programs worked on at IVMF: AmericaServes and Onward to Opportunity. AmericaServes is the country’s first coordinated system of public, private, and non-profit organizations working together to serve Veterans, transitioning service-members, and their families. Onward to Opportunity is a free, comprehensive career training, certification and employment program designed to launch you into your next career with over 30 industry-recognized career tracks and courses.
 
IVMF is a highly respected organization in the Veteran community, and James does a great job adding on to what we originally learned from Mike. Enjoy!
Aug 22, 2018

Music is a great way to communicate one's feelings and cope with experiences. Veterans have been using music in these same ways as a way to come to terms with some feelings they have and to tell their audience their story.

Petey Ace is a Marine Corps Veteran and a hip hop artists based out of Los Angeles. He joins Borne the Battle to talk about a recent song he did to express those feelings, and how he has joined a group of Veterans that are using basic camaraderie to reconnect with fellow Veterans. We also talk about his time in the Marine Corps and his thoughts on fatherhood.

 

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