Video produced by Pam Young. Best viewed in full screen:
Please also see our Daily Veterans Newsletter
Video produced by Pam Young. Best viewed in full screen:
The recent unveiling of Goodyear’s newest blimp, The Wingfoot One, has people once again talking about this fascinating mode of transportation. The blimp has played many roles throughout history, some of which may surprise you. Here are just a few significant points of interest along the zeppelin’s journey through the modern era.
Although concepts for a floating carrier aircraft have been around since the time of Leonardo Da Vinci, the modern blimp as we know it was invented by Jacque and Joseph Montgolfier, two French brothers who successfully flew the first hot air balloon to a height of 6,000 feet in 1783.
Within a year, fellow Frenchman Jean Pilatre de Rozier made the first manned flight. These early balloons were great at going up and down, but the wind was responsible for which direction you travelled. It was another 70 years before Henri Giffard successfully flew the first airship, which used an on-board steam engine for steering.
The next major advancement in blimp technology occurred in 1900, when Germany’s Ferdinand von Zeppelin developed a rigid airship with a metal framework, a tail fin and rudders, and an internal combustion engine. Prior to this invention, the blimp was viewed by the larger public as a kind of curiosity — something you might see at the fair or read about in the paper. The “zeppelin” changed that, as blimps quickly became a primary form of transportation for civilians and military.
In many ways, the blimp is a precursor to the modern airline industry, and it helped warm people to the idea of air travel. DELAG, a German airline, was established in 1909 and was making regular transatlantic flights by the 1930s. Blimps also played a major role in early part of World War II. Three airborne carriers, the Shenandoah, Akron and Los Angeles, conducted several long-range scouting missions. Although these ships were vulnerable to attack, their ability to move quietly and take off and land vertically make them a precursor to advances military radar systems.
The role of the blimp as a form of commercial travel came to a sudden end with the crash of the Hindenburg in 1937 during the ship’s 63rd flight. Caused by an electrostatic discharge which ignited leaking hydrogen fuel, the disaster killed 35 people and is responsibly for one of the most dramatic bits of video footage ever recorded. Although blimps had been involved in serious accidents prior to the Hindenburg, the widely publicized image of the ship’s steel hull engulfed in flames had an effect on the public opinion of blimp safety. Within a few years, the majority of blimps, including the DELAG, were retired from civilian service.
Although the blimp ceased to be a primary form of civilian or military transportation, it remains an important symbol of human ingenuity and the power of flight to bring people together. The tire manufacturer Goodyear flew its first blimp over a national televised event in 1955 at the Tournament of Roses Parade. By the early 1960s, the Goodyear Blimp was a staple at sporting events across the country. Spanning 246 feet, Wingfoot One is just the latest in a long line of iconic blimps, and the company plans to add an additional two to its fleet in the coming years. Certainly, the blimp’s past is full of highs and lows, but with Goodyear in the driver’s seat, the future’s looking bright.
The Consumer Sentinel Network reported that in 2014, almost 100,000 military members and veterans were targeted for financial crimes. This statistic, along with the many scammers known to prey on military and veteran supporters, prompted the Better Business Bureau to issue a warning to these groups over Veteran’s Day. Thieves often target veterans for their government benefits and look to take advantage of the patriotism shown by their families and supporters. The following is an overview of some of the most commonly known scams targeting military veterans and those that support them.
Although there are many charities doing great work on behalf of veterans and their families, the generosity generated by these legitimate non-profits has prompted sham charities to pop up with more and more frequency. These scammers often imply money donated will go toward veterans and even have the words “veteran” or “military family” in their names but then will actually use very little or even none of the funds to benefit veterans, according to stopfraud.gov. The prevalence of illegitimate groups shouldn’t curtail charitable giving, but should prompt supporters to investigate a charity’s credentials using websites such as Wise Giving Alliance register or Charity Navigator.
Veterans are often the target of phone phishing scams where a person claiming to be with the Veteran’s Administration will call and request updated credit card, bank, Social Security numbers, or financial records. To avoid this scam, any veteran contacted should ask for the employee’s name and department and then call the Veteran’s Administration to verify the legitimacy of the request.
Veterans looking to qualify for benefits or collect their military pension should be wary of financial brokers, insurance agents and attorneys who falsely promise free work that will bring big financial returns. The danger with using these brokers is that they often do not disclose valuable information and may actually pressure veterans into making decisions that cause them to lose Medicaid services or delay benefits. Avoid a broker who offers to evaluate eligibility for benefits or to complete your pension or benefits application for free, or who offers guarantees of eligibility. Be wary of anyone who pushes a particular financial product and does not discuss the downside of the proposed plan, particularly as it pertains to your Medicaid benefits. To find a legitimate benefit adviser, search the VA’s list of accredited advocates and double check they have a current license.
Military records are available for free, yet there are services that will charge veterans to access these records. If you are a veteran who needs your records, contact the VA or your service unit and they will provide them to you at no cost.
In this scheme, scammers post fake rental or real estate property ads, often using actual addresses and photos, and promise a deep military discount to veterans. The veteran is then asked to wire a security deposit or down payment to secure the property and the scammer steals the wired money. A veteran should never transfer money before seeing a property in person and verifying the agent’s right to lease or sell the property offered.
Remember, criminal tactics are constantly changing, so if you are a veteran or supporter, one of the best ways to protect yourself is to use a trusted resource like Lifelock to keep up with the latest security news and information. Then, with this knowledge, you’ll be better able to spot a scam when you see it.
Betty Tisdale, ‘Angel’ of Saigon orphan airlift, dies in Seattle – Seattle Times – October 9, 2015
Operation Babylift – compiled by Pam Young
If you’re preparing to leave the military and re-enter the civilian world, you’ll find that many things have changed since you first joined up. Even if you’ve been stateside, there have been changes in everyday life you know about but haven’t had to deal with. For example, you can’t put off health insurance decisions anymore, credit is harder to get from banks (but many places will go the extra mile for veterans) and you have more choices for services that demand more of your time to review.
Does your car qualify for your state’s “historic” license plate? It may really be a beauty, but is it something you can drive all over, in all kinds of weather? If you’re going to be interviewing for work, you want a reliable ride to get you around. Even if you’re retiring, you still need dependable transportation. Don’t insist on a new car. You can get great deals on late models through places like DriveTime. Drive Time’s Military Merit program guarantees a car for veterans regardless of their credit score. They also offer a generous leasing program for those who prefer to have a new ride every few years.
If you have a mobility-related disability, check out USAA, the financial services firm created for veterans and military families. It has negotiated discounts with manufacturers who modify vehicles to accommodate disabilities.
The Affordable Care Act requires the VA to notify the IRS of veterans’ enrollment status. Shortly before your separation date, you will get a letter from the VA explaining your health insurance options. In addition to the VA, you may be eligible for TRICARE, Indian Health Service care or Medicare. You can combine VA care with these and other plans you enroll in through the Healthcare Marketplace or at a job. Or you can leave the VA entirely.
If you have a job lined up that provides insurance, review it carefully to make sure it covers you and your family’s needs. Some employers are now offering cash incentives for employees to find insurance on their own through the Marketplace.
Just be sure you do enroll in a health insurance plan. There are small, pro-rated penalties for each year you are not enrolled in a plan. A few people may be able to get an exception, but odds are pretty high that you or a family member will need medical care at some point. Paying out of pocket for medical care is extremely expensive, so get coverage.
Most businesses are actually quite eager to interview veterans. Your mission is to convince them that you are the best hire for them.
Creating a civilian resume may be a bit daunting. MilitaryOneSource recommends these preparation steps:
To communicate effectively in the civilian business world, you need to “civilianize” yourself, recommends Bradley-Morris, a firm that specializes in placing veterans in civilian jobs. This means translating your resume into language a non-military HR rep can understand.
IMPORTANT – PLEASE READ [published circa 1969 or April 1970]
In May of 1919 at Dusseldorf, Germany, the allied forces obtained a copy of the Communist Rules for Revolution. 50 years later, the Reds are still following the rules. As you read, stop after each item and think about the present day situation where we live – and all around our nation. We quote the Red Rules:
• A. Corrupt the young, [get them away from religion,] get them interested in sex. Make them superficial; destroy their ruggedness.
• B. Get control of all means of publicity, thereby get people’s minds off their government by focusing their attention on athletics, sexy books and plays, and other trivialities.
• C. Divide the people into hostile groups by constantly harping on controversial matters of no importance.
• D. Destroy the people’s faith in their natural leaders by holding them up to contempt and ridicule.
• E. Always preach true democracy, but seize power as fast and as ruthless as possible.
• F. By encouraging government extravagance destroy its credit, produce fear of inflation with rising prices and general discontent.
• G. Promote unnecessary strikes in vital industries, encourage civil disorders and foster a lenient and soft attitude on the part of the government toward such disorders.
• H. By specious argument cause breakdown of the moral virtues, honesty, sobriety, continence, faith in the pledged word.
• I. Cause the registration of all firearms on some pretext, with a view to confiscating them and leaving the population helpless.
How many of these rules are being carried out in this nation today?
The Communist Takeover Of America – 45 Declared Goals From Greg Swank
Join us on our vacation to the ocean in September 2015, at the Sandpiper Beach Resort on the Washington coast – Roger & Pam:
Like last year, Pam took video of the fleet arriving for Seafair this year! GO NAVY!
Our 2014 Video:
Hackers, unscrupulous lenders and fraudulent credit card companies are targeting veterans with misleading offers and outright scams. This is, of course, on top of the everyday fraud we read or hear about, including the recent theft of 21.5 million Social Security numbers belonging to federal employees. Read on to learn how veterans in particular can better protect themselves and family members from fraud.
While many organizations and businesses provide special discounts for veterans, take particular care with those that promise additional benefits. Here are a few cited by AARP’s Military Monday column:
In addition to the resources above, check out the LifeLock website for more information on current and emerging scams and tips for safeguarding personal information.
Remember that old credit card ad that asked “What’s in your wallet?” It’s a good question. What are you carrying around?
There is absolutely no need to carry every credit card you own. If you use credit cards to earn reward points, just carry one or two. You don’t need a Costanza-like wallet bulging out to force you to sit sideways.
Similarly, don’t carry your Social Security card. Lock it up in your home safe along with your extra credit cards. You can’t cancel a stolen Social Security card, and getting a number changed is a long and difficult process.
Don’t carry the following: a list of sensitive information (PINs, SSN, account numbers), copies of your birth certificate (or the actual form) and any banking information, including the blank check your parents advised you decades ago to keep in your wallet.
It’s practically impossible to remember all the accounts, PINs and passwords you might use on a regular basis. Here’s an idea: Enter them in a note on your smartphone, and keep the phone locked. This way, you only need to remember one PIN that should, of course, be random and not associated with birthdays, anniversaries or addresses. Some people use their childhood phone numbers, which they can remember more easily than their own.
Also, invest in a password protection program. These programs are often free on desktops, and track your passwords for you. They alert you when it’s time to change one, or if you log on to a site that has the same password as another. Best of all, they create crazy new passwords for you, and automatically enter them when you visit a password-protected site.
The catch? You do have to remember a single PIN to get in the program.
Now that you’re retired it’s time to get out there and enjoy yourself. But where are the best destinations for the activities you enjoy the most? From fishing and hunting, to relaxing on sandy beaches, there are just so many choices. If you’re having a difficult time deciding on the best place to visit for your next vacation here are some ideas to inspire you.
There are a lot of things to consider when researching the best hunting and fishing destinations. Visit the Fox River Valley which has some of the best whitetail deer hunting in the United States. Bucks killed within a 50-mile radius have broken (or come close to breaking) the record for largest Whitetails in Wisconsin. But hunting Whitetail deer is just one of the many attractions in Appleton.
Lake Winnebago isn’t far away, and the Fox River runs right through town. Both the lake and the river are fantastic walleye fisheries. Thirty miles to the north is Green Bay, which is heavily populated with smallmouth bass. Nicolet National Forest plays host to deer, bear, geese, and grouse, and is considered one of the last true wildernesses in the Northwoods.
If you’re looking to get out of the country, Vancouver Island in British Columbia is one of many BC hot spots for fishing enthusiasts and thrill seekers. The city itself is located on an island tucked in a cove and surrounded by mountains of the Northern Cascade Range. While the city of Vancouver has a thriving culture, it’s nice to get out on the open water for some fishing and fun. Off the coast you can catch halibut, different kinds of salmon and more. If you’re looking to get even further outside the city, about 50 miles east is the Fraser River which is a fly-fisherman’s dream, with beautifully clear river water surrounded by mountainous terrain.
While fishing is a generally low-key pastime, being on open water is always risky, so it’s important to have the right permits and training for operating a boat. Whether you’re parasailing, or just relaxing with your line out, you’ll need the correct permits before you debark from the dock. While this may seem like a hassle, peace of mind that you can keep yourself and your passengers safe is invaluable.
While it’s fun to get out into nature and experience the great outdoors, sometimes all you want is to lounge on the beach, go swimming, and from time to time, toss out a line to see if anything is biting.
There are many beaches known for surf fishing in Florida. Relax with a good book and enjoy the sinking of the sun as you tan. Enjoy the night life of South Beach with drinks and wonderful sea food. Swim off the coast of white sand beaches and take a load off. The beaches of Florida offer so much relaxation as well as some great surf fishing. While staying in Florida, don’t forget to ask about veteran discounts at hotels, restaurants and merchant shops. Many establishments can help you save money if they know you’ve served in the armed forces.
Not only do the beaches of Florida provide you with ample opportunity for surf fishing, you can also take up spearfishing, which is more involved and adventurous.
This is certainly NOT the message we hear from President Obama today as the world faces barbaric terrorism that is only spreading… – Roger Young, co-editor
As a veteran, you are probably aware of some of the benefits to which you are entitled. Most veterans know about the medical care services that you can receive through a VA hospital, and you might already be familiar with education programs that you can apply for through the G.I. Bill.
These more common programs are at the tip of the veteran benefit iceberg. From help with mortgages, to assistance with figuring out your taxes, and even identity theft protection, there is a nice variety of benefits that veterans can and should take advantage of.
As a veteran, both you and your spouse are eligible for long-term medical care. You already know about medical benefits, so the keywords here are “long term.” As the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs notes, should you ever become housebound due to medical issues, you might be eligible for additional payments in addition to the monthly pension you are already receiving. The Aid and Attendance program applies to veterans who need help from others to do basic everyday tasks like bathing and dressing, as well as veterans who are in a nursing home, and/or have limited eyesight. In addition, the Housebound program involves an increase in your monthly pension when some type of disability confines you to your home for most of the time. Your surviving spouse may also be eligible to receive funds to cover long-term costs. In order to apply for these benefits, write to the Veterans Affairs office that handled your initial pension claim.
As a veteran, you spent part of your life protecting our country. Thanks to a discount that is available through LifeLock for Veterans of Foreign Wars members, the identity theft protection company will protect your personal information and private data. Right now, members of the VFW can save 10 percent on new identity protection services, which will keep vital information like your Social Security number, military ID, and other account numbers safe both here and overseas.
As a side note, the VFW website is an outstanding resource for veterans; its Member Benefits page lists dozens of discounts that you will receive for being a member. These include deals on everything from travel-related services to haircuts.
As anyone who has ever tried to organize piles of receipts and W2s knows quite well, preparing taxes is a cumbersome and confusing job. As Military Benefits notes, veterans and their families can get help with their taxes—all at no cost. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance offices are typically found on military bases and are staffed with people who can help prepare your tax return. In addition, the IRS offers free tax returns for elderly veterans who need help figuring out the complicated military tax forms.
As a veteran, you can also get help to become a homeowner through the VA. Active service members and surviving spouses can also fulfill their American dreams of homeownership. In addition to various programs like refinances, interest rate reductions, and guaranty benefits, the VA website features helpful information and advice on how to apply for the various benefits. VA Home Loans are funded through many traditional private lenders like banks and other financial institutions.
If you are a first-time home buyer and have questions about the process, Veterans United Home Loans is also a terrific resource that can help guide you through everything and offer accurate advice on your various mortgage-related benefits.
Joining the military is an honored and respected tradition in this country, often following from generation to generation as children see the good that their parents are doing and seek to emulate that sense of duty. Training to join the military can be, however, a challenge. The physical fitness requirements of military service are demanding and grueling.
Take the U.S. Marine Corps, for example: the physical assessment for a young man in his early 20s includes running three miles in under 28 minutes, doing 50 crunches in under two minutes and nine unassisted full-body pull-ups. This may not sound like a lot on paper, but if you haven’t practiced and conditioned your body for these challenges, they will be more than difficult.
Take the proper steps and get prepared. Joining a gym or hiring a trainer is an option some take, but for the truly dedicated one of the best options is to build your own backyard boot camp that you can use whenever you want. Below are a few tips and suggestions to help you get started.
This classic exercise requires taking used tires (at least 10) and staggering them so that as you run your feet land within the tires. Place your hands behind your head and lift your knees as high as you can to work not only your thighs but your core and stomach as well.
Use a long row of elevated bars to help strengthen your forearms, shoulders, biceps and triceps, as well as get your body used to supporting itself in that position. For increased difficulty and training, do the bars one at a time with a pull-up at each bar.
While most backyards don’t allow room for a full track, set up an area to do wind sprints. Practice these high-speed, short-distance runs to quickly increase speed, stamina, and strength. To take it to the next step, consider getting a harness and attaching a tire or other weight behind you as you run.
This simple but effective exercise requires a great deal of upper body strength and coordination, and help to increase strength and stamina in your forearms and grip.
These are great for increasing your balance as well as working your core. For greater difficulty, increase your speed across the beam or hold weights out to either side of your body.
This exercise requires you to alternate jumping over a hurdle and crawling under an obstacle. This is a full-body workout, and is great for working your core and increasing all-around stamina and endurance.
Many of these obstacles like the wall or the monkey bars require you to build large, durable structures that can withstand the strain you put on them during training. If you are comfortable doing it yourself, rent a scissor lift and other equipment that can make the task much easier. If construction isn’t your thing, don’t be afraid to hire someone to assist.
Whatever service you are going into, remember that the biggest advantage you have is mental discipline. Be sure to prepare your mind as well as your body, and know that your service and dedication is always appreciated.