Free food on Veterans Day, more than just a meal

Over the weekend and into Monday, many veterans waited in lines to get into restaurants offering free meals to veterans to thank them for their service. Veterans appreciate the gesture, but sometimes it can be about more than just free food.

My husband and I, both veterans, chose to go to the Golden Corral. Something happened toward the beginning of the evening that I will save for the end of the post. That incident is the type of thing that made me want to start this blog in the first place. But, I prefer to talk about the pleasant things first.

Golden Corral has been honoring veterans for 17 years. However, their military appreciation night has not only served 5.4 million meals to veterans as of 2017, it has also raised of $14 million for Disabled American Veterans.  I look forward to seeing how high that number climbs once this year’s amounts are counted.

So, I have to say, I love that the DAV was there raising money. Continue reading “Free food on Veterans Day, more than just a meal”

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Female veterans fought the good fight – Results

Although not all results are in from the midterm elections, but most districts have already made the call. For the women veterans I covered, some won, some lost, and one is still too close to call.

I’ll start with that one, since it’s still kind of exciting.

As of 2 p.m. today, Air Force veteran Gina Ortiz Jones was only 689 votes behind GOP U.S. Rep. Will Hurd in Congressional District 23. According to the Texas Tribune, all precincts have been counted. Ortiz Jones is not calling for a recount at this point.

gina ortiz jones

But what makes it exciting in my eyes is that many service members serving overseas or living outside their home-of-record state always hear they should fill out an absentee ballot. Some do, and some don’t. Many feel like their vote won’t be counted. In this case, it will.

In the article, Noelle Rosellini, a spokesperson for Ortiz Jones said that they won’t stop working until every provisional, absentee, military, or overseas ballot has been counted. That goes to show that every vote really does count. Continue reading “Female veterans fought the good fight – Results”

Women veterans can make changes in government

Midterm elections are here, and this year a baker’s dozen worth of female veterans are running for office.

Before getting into it, I just want to be clear that no matter what I say in this post, I am not endorsing any of these candidates. This is just about the fact that they made it through the primaries.

These 13 women are part of the 172 veterans running for Congress. Since the Vietnam conflict, the percentage of veterans in Congress has declined significantly. According to an article in The Washington Post, Congress was 75 percent veterans. Now, it is less than 19 percent. There could be an entire college thesis for the reasons for this alone.

One might think that having more veterans in Congress would mean there are more lawmakers supporting war. However, the opposite is true. The Washington Post article points out that veterans are more likely to question the White House on use of military force.

So, while veterans act as the military watchdog on the White House, female veterans can also work on initiatives that help the military, women in the military, and women overall. They bring a mix of leadership experience in stressful situations, as well as the skill set to survive or even thrive in a male-dominated environment. Continue reading “Women veterans can make changes in government”

PT – It’s good for you, it’s good for me

My biggest struggle during my time in the military was physical fitness. Specifically, it was maintaining weight standards, but it’s all tied together.

My first posts on this blog all seemed to focus around women who did things it often seems like no mere mortal could do. Yet, there they were. I love writing about them because they have done the things that I believed women were capable of doing, even if I had no actual proof, since I couldn’t actually do it.

I know I was not alone in my struggles, so today’s post is going to be about physical fitness.

One of the first things to think about is that command PT is less about getting into shape and more about team building. I’m sure there are a lot of commands out there that want to go hard and really get a workout, but when there are so many different fitness levels, you get three groups of people.
1. There are those who feel like they’re dying because it is so hard. While chances are they won’t, many feel like they will literally die.

did you die
2. There are those who feel frustrated because they’re not getting a workout at all. They feel like they are just wasting time where they could really be “getting some” in the gym. Continue reading “PT – It’s good for you, it’s good for me”

Women make progress in combat, must keep pushing

At the end of September, a lot of military women’s advocacy groups were mad about comments made by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, including the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN).
While their anger is understandable and justified, I’d like to play devil’s advocate for  a moment and talk about where Mattis is coming from and where we need to go to help the “jury” make a decision.

A cadet at the Virginia Military Institute asked Mattis about whether or not he thinks females in combat arms makes us more combat effective.

Only a few parts of his comments were pulled in the mass media, which made him come across as very sexist.

mattis vmi

At the beginning of his answer, Mattis said “Because it goes from some people’s perspective of what kind of society do we want. You know, in the event of trouble … you’re sleeping at night, in your family home, you’re the dad, mom, whatever, and you hear glass break downstairs. Who grabs the baseball bat and gets between the kids’ door and whoever broke in? And who reached for the phone to call 911. In other words, it goes to the almost primitive needs of a society to look out for its most vulnerable.”

Before even getting into the rest of his comments, we have to break this down. In a lot of society, I’d even dare say in most of society, in a nuclear family, the husband is going to grab the bat and the wife is going to call 911. But, as society changes, so does that family dynamic. One dynamic alone is single mothers. They do what they have to do to protect their loved ones, the most vulnerable, their children. Continue reading “Women make progress in combat, must keep pushing”

Kavanaugh, Ford coverage sends negative messages about getting help

Before I even get started, I want to state that I firmly believe that victims of sexual assault should reach out for assistance, whether or not they ever choose to report it.

Having been in the Navy for 20 years, I am very familiar with the effects that sexual assault has on our forces. I was never a victim advocate because I never felt strong enough to support people who needed it. So, I applaud all of the victim advocates.

As a sexual assault command representative, I did attend the same training as the advocates. I also got involved in trying to educate and prevent sexual assault through public information campaigns.

That is why I find the coverage of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations of sexual assault again Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh so distressing.

Regardless of how people fall politically, or whether they believe Ford or whether they believe Kavanaugh, I believe that many Americans, victims of sexual assault, and future victims of sexual assault have been done a huge disservice in how all of this has been covered both in the media and on social media.

Two very negative messages about reporting sexual assault have been sent. Both have elements of truth to them, and both are bad.

  1. If you are accused of a sexual assault in the media, you will be found guilty in the public eye.
  2. If you report a sexual assault, and there is any record of you ever having made a bad choice in behavior, you will be publicly shamed.

Continue reading “Kavanaugh, Ford coverage sends negative messages about getting help”

Uniforms at the ball are for women too

Scrolling through Facebook, I came across a post I wish I had seen a long time ago. Before I even get started, I have to admit, I never wore a uniform to a service ball. I loved getting all dressed up in my finest gown. I never realized until now that I was part of the problem I’m now trying to fix.

Fleet Master Chief (retired) JoAnn Ortloff said it so much better than I ever could so most of this will be in her words. I’ll just chime in every now and then.

First of all, she is so shocked by the fact that many women don’t want to wear their uniforms to the ball that it is breaking her heart. Then she points out why.
“I understand some of you may feel that you can only have fun and look sexy or pretty in a gown and make up. But I would tell you, your beauty in uniform comes through in your commitment to something bigger than you.”

Marines ball

In this photo, Reserve Marine Sgt. Kelsey DeSantis took Justin Timberlake to the Marine Corps ball. She is proudly wearing her uniform, and looks beautiful doing so. Continue reading “Uniforms at the ball are for women too”