Veterans Day Hiring Pledge

First off, let me say happy Veterans Day to everyone out there–veterans, active duty military, military spouses, national guardsmen, reservists and all of our supporters as well.American Flag with Blue Sky Backdrop  I attended a Veterans Day tribute ceremony at my daughter`s elementary school this morning and it was very moving.  I`m happy to report that there are still schools and communities that take the time to pay tribute to those who have served and those who still serve.  America is still great because of our veterans and patriots.  Thank you to those who respect the military and veterans and who say “thank you” to veterans.  We appreciate the simple words of thanks more than you know.

Take the Pledge

I recently watched a documentary called, “Jobs for G.I.s: An AT&T Original Documentary.”  I found it on the “Audience” channel on DirecTV, for those of you who are interested in watching it, and I highly recommend this (click here to watch the 45 second trailer on YouTube).  It documents the challenges faced by veterans looking for work in Los Angeles, California, but these are the same challenges faced by veterans everywhere.  It was heartbreaking to watch people in the documentary visit the homeless to ask who were the veterans.  It is alarming how many veterans end up homeless and this is something we must put an end to in this country.  People who are willing to die for their country should receive more support than they are currently getting when they return.

I ask everyone out there who reads this post to take a pledge to help veterans in any way you can to find jobs and transition to civilian life.  Simply pointing someone in the right direction may be enough to change their life for the better.  The documentary shows how many veterans are not even aware of the help that is available.

Help IS Available

Two organizations that help veterans find jobs are the Call of Duty Endowment and Hire Heroes USA.  In addition to helping with a job search, they also help veterans write resumes, network, find training and education they need to be more competitive in the work force.  I have personal experience with Hire Heroes USA and they are a great organization, and I have heard wonderful things about the Call of Duty Endowment also.  PLEASE help veterans find organizations like these and ask for the assistance they need and deserve.  Only if we all pitch in will every veteran who deserves an opportunity get one.

Please feel free to contact me at should there be anything I can help with or questions I can answer.  Even if I do not know the answer, I will help you find one, I can promise you that.

Happy Veterans Day everyone!

From Civilian to Soldier…and back

One of my favorite people in American History is Henry Knox. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Henry Knox was a book store owner in Boston when the American Revolution kicked off.  He had no military training whatsoever and only knew what he read in books.  However, that did not stop him from becoming a General in the Continental Army and our first Secretary of War under President George Washington.

Henry Knox completed one of the most astounding feats in U.S. military history.  He volunteered to bring approximately 60 tons of cannons from Fort Ticonderoga in New York all the way to Boston in the dead of winter.  People forget how difficult tranportation was in the 1770s, but ox drawn sleds were what he had to go with.  Not to mention he had to cross numerous bodies of water.  Pretty good for a book store owner.  He completed the task and became one of George Washington`s most trusted officers in the process.

(For those of you history buffs out there, like me, a couple of great books that include stories about Henry Knox are 1776 by David McCullough and Washington`s Circle by Jeanne and David Heidler.)

Citizen Soldiers

It is part of our military history that citizen soldiers are essential and critical to success.  Beginning with the French & Indian War and all the way up to present day, with the Reserves and the National Guard, it is the part-time soldier who makes or breaks our American military. I have so much respect for reservists and guardsmen and they do not get the credit they deserve.  Henry Knox was one of the first in a long line of citizen soldiers who made this country great.

What makes the citizen soldier so unique is that he or she does not get paid as a full-time soldier and must earn a living in the civilian world like everybody else.  But when called to service, they are the ones who fight our wars alongside career military officers and soldiers.  George Washington himself was basically a reservist.  He only served when called upon to do so.  He was actually a farmer by trade, as were most Revolutionary military officers.

Reservists and guardsmen need help too.  They have to support their families as civilians, most of the time, and then they are called to war.  They sacrifice much, as do active duty military people.

Green Light a Vet

During this Veterans Day season, let us not forget the citizen soldier. Green Light a Vet The National Guard, the Reserves, the Henry Knox`es of this day and age.  The “green light a vet” movement is spreading right now and I call you all to join this tribute to our military and our veterans.  Active duty, guardsmen, reservists–we appreciate you all.  Thank you for what you do every day for our great nation, and God Bless America.


Service Dogs for Veterans

I remember my first deployment to the Middle East back in the fall of American Flag in Texas Wind2002.  I was planning missions in Afghanistan during the early stages of Operation Enduring Freedom, working at the Air Operations Center in Saudi Arabia.  We had Patriot missile batteries posted right outside our building, pointed at Iraq, in anticipation of Saddam Hussein launching “SCUD” missiles in our direction.  A colleague said to me one day, “when the war kicks off, this place is going to get chemmed.”  We had to carry our chemical gear with us wherever we went.  Everyone thought that when Saddam got attacked, he would retaliate by resorting to chemical warfare.

The good news is that the chemical warfare everyone feared did not happen.  Saddam was ousted and the invasion was initially successful.

The bad news is that it has been a long 14 years since September 11th, 2001 and we are still fighting battles against terrorists across the globe.  The war wages on and there are veterans returning every day with severe injuries, PTSD and hundreds of other ailments, in addition to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.  We owe them all a debt of gratitude.

Help From Man`s Best Friend

Recently, I was sent an article that truly made me happy.  I was unaware of the value of service dogs to disabled veterans.  I`ve always had dogs and they comforted my family when I was deployed, but the dogs I`m talking about now are very special.  Dogs that are specifically trained to assist and provide comfort to veterans who need support.  Please read this article from Petco for details.  It is a truly fabulous article about a wonderful program.

Here is some more information about the program.  It is programs like this that make me proud to be an American and even more determined to continue to write for and about veterans, our true American heroes.

Click to Enlarge Image

Service Dogs: Helping Those Who Served Our Country


Managing Expectations when Transitioning from Military to Civilian

One of the major issues we all have to deal with when transitioning C-17 Globemaster Landing in Iraqfrom military life to the civilian world is expectations.  Especially as they pertain to income, benefits, bonuses, etc.  It is true that few people get rich in the military and pretty much none on military pay alone.  But we forget the little things we don`t have to worry about while serving:  health care, medical insurance, housing allowance.  All of those things that are taken care of for us when we serve.

The Civilian World

The civilian world is different.  When my daughter was born, we spent a month and a half in the hospital and did not pay a dime because of TriCare.  That doesn`t happen in the civilian world.  Tax free, hazard pay, flight pay, variable housing allowance.  It was difficult to get used to not having these things anymore.

That`s not to say that military people don`t deserve those little perks.  I wholeheartedly agree that people who risk their lives for their country deserve all that and more.  If a congressman who serves one lousy 2 year term gets a pension for life (which he does), what our men and women who serve receive pales in comparison and it`s wrong.

But now that I`m out, I realize that those who DID serve, but do so no longer, receive much less support and it is a difficult job market.  Finding a job with great benefits is hard to do.  Finding a job with great benefits and lasting til retirement is almost impossible to do.  Inevitably, a for-profit company will find a reason to get rid of you if you start making too much money.

Be Ready

I only mention this as a warning.  Be ready.  Temper your expectations for salary, position, responsibilities, etc.  You may very well find a great job making more money than you were making when you were in.  I truly hope and pray that you do.  But it didn`t happen for me and I have accepted jobs that I was completely overqualified for.  I swallowed my pride and did what I had to do to support my family.  I have no regrets when it comes to that and take pride in doing whatever it took to put food on the table.

Once again, having supplemental income through a home based business is something worth looking into, whether you are getting ready to leave the military or you already have. Please read my recent post on this subject to learn more!

Terrible C-130 Tragedy in Afghanistan

Tribute fo Fallen C-130 Aircrew
Tribute to Fallen C-130 Aircrew

Friends, the other day a C-130 cargo plane crashed in Afghanistan and we lost several brave Americans, along with contracters and others on the ground. It is a sad day for all their families, the C-130 community, and the good people at my former base and airlift group (Dyess Air Force Base, 317th Airlift Group, 39th Airlift Squadron). Please keep their families in your prayers.  There is a tribute video, containing clips from the memorial ceremony held just the other day at a deployed location, available on YouTube at this link.

I write a lot about veterans and those who served, but sometimes it is easy to forget that there are thousands of people CURRENTLY serving across the globe.  Please keep them in your prayers as well, for they fight for our freedom every day.

It is an Air Force tradition to honor fallen airmen with the 3rd verse of the Air Force song, sung slowly, honorably, and in hushed voices.  At the Air Force Academy we would hold hands and sing this tribute at the end of every football game.  To those who lost their lives and to those who lost loved ones the other day, “Here`s a toast…”

Here`s a toast to the host of those who love the vastness of the sky

To a friend we send a message of his brother men who fly.

We drink to those who gave their all of old

Then down we roar to score the rainbow’s pot of gold.

A toast to the host of men we boast, the U.S. Air Force!

Learning the VA Home Loan Program

The best thing about being a mortgage loan officer, or “loan originator” as was our official title, was that I learned a LOT about mortgages in a very short period of time.  Stuff that nobody is interested in and would make for a very boring post on this website, but also things that are critical for people to know when they are applying for a home loan.

What makes a VA home loan different?

Uncle Sam and BenefitsWhat almost every mortgage loan officer will, or should, tell you is that the VA home loan is the best mortgage product available to anybody–AND IT IS ONLY AVAILABLE TO VETERANS.  This is one thing the government got right when it came to providing benefits to veterans.  Yes, there are some veterans who don`t need a VA loan and a good mortgage loan officer would never recommend a VA loan or any other type of loan before getting the facts about the prospective borrower first.  But here are some facts about VA home loans:

  • It DOES allow for 100% financing of a home, up to and including the total appraised value of the home (verified by an independent, certified appraiser assigned by your mortgage company).


  • It is NOT applied for directly through the VA.  The VA only INSURES the loan, they do not lend the money.  A bank does that.


  • Contrary to popular belief, you can actually own more than one home with a VA loan.  It is a complicated rule that should be discussed with a VA mortgage professional, but it IS possible to purchase one home, live in it for a while, then purchase another home with a VA home loan even if you still own the first.

What are some other benefits of a VA home loan?

Lower credit score requirements.  When I was a loan officer, you could have a 620 credit score and still qualify.  However, there are other variables, such as collection items on your credit report or late payments on revolving credit accounts, that could disqualify you even if your score is good.

Zero cash to closing.  This, too, is tricky and I would say that you should always be ready to at least bring a couple of hundred dollars to closing, but if keeping your closing costs low is a priority, it is something you should discuss with your loan officer AND your realtor.  It needs to be addressed in the contract stage of the home purchase process by asking the seller to pay closing costs, even if that means a higher sales price.  A few thousand more in sales price can be divided up over 30 years of payments and mean very little to your monthly payment, while not having to bring thousands of dollars to closing is something that may make a bigger difference to you.

If I am looking to buy a home using a VA loan, what is your advice?

I have two very important pieces of advice:

  • Find a mortgage loan officer who understands and has experience doing VA loans.  Most loan officers don`t know VA loans very well and assume they are just like FHA loans.  They are not.  I would be happy to refer anyone to a VA mortgage expert–I know several.  Contact me at if you would like me to refer you to a VA mortgage loan officer who can help.


  • Read “Mortgages For Dummies”.  When I first walked in the door at PrimeLending, my new manager, Todd, told me to pick up this book and read it.  He said if you read this book, you will know more than 90% of the population about mortgages.  He was right.  It is a great resource and very easy to read.

Good luck to everyone and contact me if you have questions!  There is a lot more I can share on this topic and I will in future posts.


My Military Civilian Transition Story – Part II

Landing the First Job

So where did I leave off yesterday–oh yes, I was on the verge of finding my first job post-military, which I did with the help of Lucas Group.  However, there is a little more to it than that, so here we go with…

Part Two of my Military Civilian Transition Story

I vividly remember driving down the highway south of Dallas, Texas, imagewhen I received a phone call from a representative at Edward Jones, telling me I was being offered a position as a financial advisor with their company.  From the beginning, this company was my first choice and I went directly to them to begin the job application process when I left the military.  I was excited!

But something happened to me in Dallas that gave me pause.  Through Lucas Group I had met a man named Todd who ran the branch of a mortgage company called PrimeLending.  Todd was a Marine and I would come to know him as one of the sharpest and most eloquent salespeople I have ever known.  He impressed me greatly and he too would offer me a position.

When I walked into Todd`s branch at PrimeLending, I felt like I was walking into a scene from the movie “Boiler Room” with Vin Diesel or “Glengarry Glen Ross” with Alec Baldwin.  “Coffee is for closers only!”  I could almost hear the words coming out of Todd`s loan officers mouths, as they walked around the office shouting encouragement to one another.Boiler Room

It seduced me, but in a good way.  Although I wanted to be a financial advisor and Edward Jones is a great company, I would have generally been on my own at that job.  But with Todd, I`d be part of a team.  And a largely ex-military team at that, for Todd loved to hire fellow veterans.  It was a great environment to learn sales and although mortgages are different than investment securities, I would still be learning an aspect of banking.  I was sold.Glengarry Glen Ross

So I went to work for Todd at PrimeLending and my transition from military life to the civilian world had begun.

Not to mention I`d be working with other veterans.  What a great place to be!


My Military Civilian Transition Story – Part I

A Leap Of Faith

So a friend of mine recently reviewed my website and had this advice for me: make it more personal.  I want this website to be useful to YOU, so I am providing useful information based upon my experiences.  But perhaps it would be better if I told my story first, in a way that can benefit you, the veteran who is making a transition to civilian life yourself.  So here it is…

My Military Civilian Transition Story, Part One

Dan Ready to RollThe same month I made the decision to voluntarily separate from the U.S. Air Force, the stock market collapsed and we had all those “bailouts”.  Far be it for me to get into a discussion about that fiasco, but my concern was that I had a 2 year old daughter at home and I was staring another possible deployment to Afghanistan in the face, so it was time for me to leave military life for my family.

I did not actually separate until the following summer, so although the economy was still bad, things had calmed down to some extent by that time.  I knew what field I wanted to be in (financial planning), so that was what I applied for, but I used some of the military to civilian job hunting companies that are out there too, specifically Lucas Group and Orion International.

Job Recruiters

Allow me to digress and enter into a discussion about companies like Lucas Group and Orion that recruit from the military for corporate America.

Even before I left the military, I was talking to a guy named Dan at Lucas Group.  He was a great guy and a true professional.  We later became good friends and I still talk to him today.  I have nothing but good things to say about Dan and Lucas Group, and I would be happy to speak with anyone who is thinking about working with Lucas Group or another company–just e-mail me at and we can have a private conversation if you would like.

The one thing I will say about working with Lucas Group or similar military recruiting companies is that you have to be flexible.  The more  open you are to moving to different areas of the country, interviewing for different jobs in different fields, the better off you will be.  Lucas Group does not charge you for their services, but companies only pay Lucas Group when they sponsor you and then you get hired.  It`s a business and you have to be willing to consider anything Lucas Group throws your way, even if it is not necessarily your dream job.

I found that the best way to use Lucas Group is to accept any interview they are able to find for you and then worry about the particulars of the job itself IF you get the job offer.  It does not hurt to do as many job interviews as possible, if only for practice and improvement purposes.

If you want to read more about Lucas Group, clink on this link to go to their website.

(Full disclosure:  I am not affiliated with Lucas Group in any way, I only provide the link for convenience purposes.)

The Story Continues…Tomorrow

Dan in Business AttireSo, in the end, working with Dan at Lucas Group allowed me to achieve the job offer that I ended up accepting.  More on that tomorrow…stay tuned for Part Two of my story.

Why is it so Hard to Find a Veteran Job Opportunity?

I may cry by the time I finish this post.  It hurts a lot to talk about this topic, not only because of what I have been through, but because of what I know YOU are going through out there too.  It`s not right.  We come home from fighting wars not of our choosing.  Wars chosen by politicians who, more and more, have never worn the uniform.  It used to be that if you wanted to run for President, you HAD to have served your country at some point.  It was an unwritten rule.  No longer.  We get sent to war by people who never served themselves, and that scares me.  But that`s another topic for another day.  So back to today`s topic:  why is it so hard to find a veteran job opportunity?

Why Can`t I Get Hired?

Dan in Combat ZoneHere`s why: 3 Reasons Why Companies Don`t Hire Veterans – Fortune Magazine article

Did you read that article?

Did it make you sick?

It made me sick.

It made me angry.

Misunderstood skills.  Fear of future deployments.  PTSD.

Let`s think about that for a second.  Take a minute or two.  What`s the word that comes to your mind?  There`s only one that comes to my mind:


Plain and simple ignorance.  Ignorance and an unwillingness to use common sense.  And cowardice.

Listen, brothers and sisters, I have seen this first hand.  I knew a manager at a job who respected police officers but had nothing good to say about veterans.  He thought we were all damaged.  All had PTSD and that prevented us from being good employees.  I can`t tell you how angry this made me.  I wanted to report him to HR and do something about it, but I couldn`t prove it.  He was smart enough to hide his prejudice, but I knew it was there.  I know there are others out there too.

What should I do?  What can I do?

You have to do what the Fortune article says to do.  We have to play their game.  An experienced friend of mine told me recently that the interviewer has something you want and they know it.  They have the power, however little power that is in this world, and sometimes you have to sit there and take it, if you want the job.  Play the game.

What else can I do?

You can start your own business.  Use Wealthy Affiliate to create a website and profit from affiliate marketing.  Yes it is a long journey and something you have to commit to, but I have done so by creating this website and reaching out to veterans.  This is my passion in life–to connect with and help fellow veterans.  I love doing this and if you want some little bit of financial independence in your life, you should consider it too.  If your passion or expertise is fixing cars or building boats.  Hunting, fishing, golf, anything.  Write about the thing you know the most about and love to do.  People will read it.

Please read this blog post to learn more: Part Time Jobs for Military Veterans — Work from Home!

Good luck, fellow Veterans and patriotic Americans. God bless America. image7

Part Time Jobs for Military Veterans — Work from Home!

Okay fellow veterans, I am finally now getting into some real flag1advice…especially for those who want to work from home, create some residual income on the side, or simply make money online.  I can tell you that I have searched far and wide for the solution to this problem of how to make money from home and I have finally found it–it`s called WEALTHY AFFILIATE!

Here are some reasons why Wealthy Affiliate is far and away the best website out there for online home businesses:

  • The training is second to none.  When I began with Wealthy Affiliate I had never done a blog or created a website.  Wealthy Affiliate`s training programs gave me step-by-step, easy to follow instructions and I was able to have a new website created just the way I wanted it in less than a week (you can actually create a website in 30 seconds on Wealthy Affiliate, but I wanted to take the time to learn the steps first and do it right).


  • This is not a get-rich-quick scheme.  It is not a scam and nobody is there to take advantage of you.  The founders, Kyle and Carson, want you to learn and they love to teach.  They will help you BUILD A BUSINESS that will generate income over weeks, months and even years.  This is a long term solution to making money problems and is the best idea I have come across in a long time.


  • The community is amazing.  So many people on Wealthy Affiliate are there to help.  Every time I get stuck, I ask a question or post a new blog entry and somebody responds with a thoughtful, well-educated response that helps me get over the hump.   I would rather spend my time on Wealthy Affiliate than any other website or social network.  The people are phenomenal.


  • It is FREE to start and create your own account.  You can even create a website for free–that`s unheard of!  Obviously, if you like what you see and realize the tremendous value that Wealthy Affiliate has to offer, then you can convert to a paid account for a nominal monthly or annual fee, but I can tell you that it is worth the money spent several times over.  But don`t worry about that–sign-up for a free account first and see what I`m raving about.


  • Webhosting.  Wealthy Affiliate will host, protect, and monitor your website for you.  Along with the fantastic online training, you could not ask for a better value to go along with your Wealthy Affiliate account.

There is so much more I could say about Wealthy Affiliate, but I prefer not to make my posts too long.  If you have questions, PLEASE leave a comment and I will respond, or e-mail me at  I will respond to e-mail quickly.

For now, I strongly encourage you to click on this link to WEALTHY AFFILIATE and open a FREE account.  Good luck and keep in touch!