Joining Forces Blog
- Posted byon August 8, 2013 at 3:04 PM EST
August 7th was National Purple Heart Appreciation Day, dedicated to those service men and women who put their lives on the line and were awarded the Purple Heart for their bravery and sacrifice in combat. The exact number of service members who have received the Purple Heart is unknown, but estimates place the number around 2 million with over 55,000 of those coming from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yesterday evening, to honor America’s Purple Heart recipients, New York City residents and visitors alike witnessed the top of the Empire State building illuminated purple.
- Lights mentioned on the Empire State Building Home Page: http://www.esbnyc.com/
- Military Order of the Purple Heart: http://www.purpleheart.org/DownLoads/MOPHToday.pdf
- Posted byon August 1, 2013 at 1:40 PM EST
Recently, Orion International gathered Honeywell, Siemens, The Hershey Company, and WWE on Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, FL to deliver an on-station hiring event. Serving the sailors of the USS Gettysburg, USS Vicksburg, USS Philippine Sea, and Naval Station Mayport, the event focused on interviewing service members and their spouses for positions in IT, operations, sales, and leadership.
The companies visited the base at an opportune time for the crew of the USS Gettysburg, which embarked on a nine-month deployment only days after the hiring event concluded. As David Coe, the Vice President of Strategic Programs at Orion International said, “For many of these Sailors, the opportunity to interview for a post-military career would not have been possible for many months without this event, which has brought the opportunity directly to the base. We are so thankful for the support of the Command of Naval Station Mayport and great participation from our client partners seeking to add military talent to their company ranks.”
The representatives from each company were given a tour of the USS Gettysburg upon their arrival, but the real excitement for these expert recruiting teams was in the talent of the service members they came to interview. Anna Serafin, Senior HR Business Partner with The Hershey Company described her team as “[T]hrilled to be a part of this event,” adding that “…career transition support to service members and their spouses at a major military installation like Mayport is something that not only helps them and their families – it also helps us and our business.”
Like The Hershey Company, Siemens also recognizes the tremendous talent available to them in former service members. Eric Spiegel, President and CEO of Siemens USA states: “The U.S. military is arguably one of the most high-tech organizations in the world and the extensive technical training and experience these men and women gain through their service make them uniquely qualified for many positions in Siemens.”
Each of the organizations attending the event continue to hire veterans and their spouses because of the quality of the candidates they find when visiting installations like Mayport. Their experiences support the message of the Administration: that hiring a veteran is not only good for the veteran, but it is also smart business decision.
Colonel Morales is the Executive Director of Joining Forces
- Posted byon July 17, 2013 at 11:46 AM EST
Last night, at the 84th Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game, the First Lady and Dr. Biden introduced a special group of America’s heroes. MLB and PEOPLE Magazine, through their “Tribute for Heroes” campaign, assembled a list of 90 incredible veterans that were then voted on by the American public. The list was refined to 30 whose stories were chosen to garner the national spotlight. Represented in the 30 are men and women from the four branches of service; they include wounded warriors, Paralympic record-holders, and Navajo code talkers, with compelling narratives of service from WWII to Afghanistan.
The All-Star weekend provided VIP treatment to each of the honorees: guided tours of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, admission to both the All-Star Game and the Home Run Derby, and a reception aboard the USS Intrepid. In the video airing at the All-Star game, the First Lady and Dr. Biden encouraged fans to find ways to give back to those who have given so much. As Dr. Biden stated, “It’s our turn to step up and serve them as well as they have served our country.”
Colonel Rich Morales is Executive Director of Joining Forces
- Posted byon July 12, 2013 at 9:30 AM EST
Yesterday, at the White House, we hosted the first-ever Veterans and Military Family Mental Health Conference, bringing together Administration leaders, Veteran Service Organizations, military service organizations, nonprofit and nongovernment organizations along with mental health professionals, and leaders from the Departments of Defense and Veteran Affairs. This event served as a precursor to the 152 Department of Veterans Affairs’ Mental Health Summits convening across the country in an effort to continue this conversation at a local level.
The Administration is committed to raising awareness and improving care for Veterans and military family members in need. Last summer, President Obama signed an Executive Order focused on military and veteran mental health, calling upon the government to increase awareness, build treatment capacity, invest in research, and significantly increase access to mental health care.
In 2012, more than 1.3 million Veterans received specialized mental health care from the VA. Based on this growing need, the VA is continuing to hire more mental health professionals and expand the use of innovative technology to serve Veterans in both urban and in rural or underserved areas. For instance, the Department of Defense’s Military Family Life Consultant program provides over 6 million counseling sessions per year to service members and their families throughout the deployment cycle. As a former battalion commander, I know first-hand the value that this special group of providers brings to our military. Similarly, the Veterans Crisis Line, highlighted at yesterday’s event, continues to be a life-saving resource for our nation’s veterans.
- Posted byon July 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM EST
Joining Forces is pleased to welcome its new Executive Director, United States Army Colonel Rich Morales. Leading Joining Forces resonates strongly with Rich. His 20-year military career as a Colonel, husband and dad provides not only insights into the challenges of serving in hostile fire zones, but also an awareness of how families and communities support service members, and one another, on the home-front.
Over the course of his career, Colonel Morales has served in cavalry, armor and infantry units in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. He was a platoon leader in the Gulf War, company commander in Germany, and led a United Nations peacekeeping force in the Balkans. Rich served multiple year-long tours in Iraq as a Battalion Executive Officer, Brigade Operations Officer, and as the commander of an 800 soldier Combined Arms Battalion, Task Force Knight, in Iraq’s Mada ‘In and Diyala provinces and later across 1/3 of Baghdad, Iraq.
Colonel Morales is a graduate of parachute, air assault, reconnaissance, and United States Air Force air-ground operations schools and recently completed the Defense Strategy Course. He has earned meritorious and valorous unit awards and medals for merit that include Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart.
Rich earned a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering at West Point, a Master of Business Administration from the Yale School of Management, and masters degrees from the Naval College of Command and Staff (Mahan Scholar) and the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy. He also studied systems analysis, organizational learning, and military innovation at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University and is currently a doctoral candidate at the Centre for Strategy and Performance at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
- Posted byon July 9, 2013 at 4:22 PM EST
In 1941, more than 260,000 Filipino soldiers responded to President Roosevelt’s call-to-arms and fought under the American flag during World War II. Many made the ultimate sacrifice as both soldiers in the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East, and as recognized guerrilla fighters during the Imperial Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Later, many of these brave individuals became proud United States citizens. However, because of the Rescission Acts of 1946, most Filipino World War II Veterans did not receive compensation on par with United States veterans for their service to the United States.
President Obama recognizes the extraordinary contribution made by Filipino veterans. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which the President signed into law, included a provision creating the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund. Eligible veterans who are U.S. citizens receive a one-time payment of $15,000; eligible veterans who are not U.S. citizens receive a one-time payment of $9,000.
To date, we are pleased that over 18,000 claims have been approved. However, many Filipino Veterans still believe that their claims were improperly denied, or that they did not receive a satisfactory explanation as to why their claims were denied. To address these concerns, in October 2012, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, in collaboration with the Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council, created the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund Interagency Working Group (IWG) comprised of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and the National Archives and Record Administration. The IWG was tasked with analyzing the process faced by these Filipino veterans in demonstrating eligibility for compensation in order to ensure that all applications receive thorough and fair review.
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