JULY 2017 Newsletter

Volume 1                                                                                                                                                                                               Issue 3


Iraq and Afghanistan Burn-Pits

What if I told you that the Department of Defense had purchased incinerators that were sent to Iraq and Afghanistan to replace burn pits? Knowing how the Defense Department has done on past shopping excursions, they more than likely spent twice as much as you or I would have. Then, God knows how much more they spent to get these incinerators to the war-zone where they sat unmolested for the duration of those wars which, in case you thought otherwise, are still going on.

And now, even our Secretary of Defense admits we are losing at least the war in Afghanistan. Anyway, why did these incinerators sit out the wars? Even though a young Air Force Officer noted that the air quality around these burn pits was toxic, that young officer was reassigned to counting snowflakes in Antarctica and his reports vanished – well, almost completely….but…I digress. The reason was quite simple: the civilian contractors who were running the burn pits were making more money running the burn-pits than they would running the incinerators.

Back when I was in the Army (right after Gettysburg!) everything the military needed was done by the troops. Now, many of these services are done by civilian contractors. Now the mess halls are catering halls. Now that’s one I wouldn’t really argue with…our Mess Sgt. probably killed more people than our artillery!

So the burn pits continue despite having a better and safer way to handle trash, which had already been purchased and shipped. And they continue killing people to this day.

Troops exposed to those burn pits will continue to die well into the future. Just like the Vietnam vets are still dying from cancers they contracted from Agent Orange decades ago. Agent Orange’s chief killing element was Dioxin. These burn pits also give off dioxin because of the plastics burned.

As of now, the Department of Veterans Affairs has agreed that Chronic B-cell Leukemia, Hodgkin’s Disease, Multiple Myeloma, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Prostate Cancer, Respiratory Cancers, Soft Tissue Sarcomas, Al Amyoidosis, Chloracne, Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, Ischemic Heart Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Peripheral Neuropathy Early Onset, Porphyria Cutanea Tarda, and other diseases are a result of Agent Orange. And that’s only taken 45 years and a class action suit against the manufactures of agent orange – Monsanto, Dow, Diamond Shamrock, etc. — because we all know you can’t sue Uncle Sam.

So if the timeline is the same for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, they should be where the Vietnam veterans are today, by about 2061, which is an even century from when we first dropped Agent Orange in Vietnam. I’ll be 113 years old if the dioxin doesn’t get me first.

So maybe it’s time that the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans put together a class action suit against the civilian contractors that ran the burn-pits…but that’s just my thought…

Jerry Donnellan

E-mail:  jerry@rockvets.com


Here’s what’s in this issue.
Iraq and Afghanistan Burn-Pits

 – The New Agent Orange, for the Post 9/11 Vets


From the “WTF were they thinking” desk

 – VA Backs Off Cutting Unemployability Benefit


Happy Birthday USA!

 – Charters of Freedom From National Archives

 – Declaration of Independence – July 4th, 1776


Provocation of the Month BLOG

 – Shooting Congresspeople


JOBS – Building up to our Jobs Fair

 – Tons of real jobs available right now

 – Why hiring managers aren’t getting back to you — and what you can do about it.

Issue of the Month – SLEEP
 – Most of us have sleep issues from horrific dreams, to not being able to get to or stay asleep.  Here are real videos of other vets overcoming it, along with actual tactics to use to help yourself.


Veteran Discounts

– Lots of them, just by showing your VA card


Spread The Word

 – send this link http://tinyurl.com/y9t3xxk2 in email, text and your social media so your buddies can sign up – FREE


Help Us Help Vets, Please!

 – We are now a legally recognized non-profit in California

 – Please help us provide a true Safety Net for our Vets, that the VA just doesn’t, by contributing.  Major credit cards accepted.  The button is at the bottom of the newsletter.




Jerry (peg leg) is retiring, after 30 years as the County of Rockland Veterans Service Agency’s Director. He doesn’t like to fish, so he will be devoting himself, full time, to the issue of Burn Pits and getting help for all you guys who need it, and will need it. More to follow.


Military Humor???

One quick story about Jerry. He lost his leg in his first government job, in VietNam. He got stateside and was given his prosthesis. A few years later he got a notice from the VA to report to a Medical Examiner to determine if he still had a problem with that limb?    Stop Laughing/Crying. I’m not kidding!



From the “WTF Were They Thinking” desk

VA Backs Off Cutting Unemployability Benefit 

From Stars and Stripes 

Article by Nikki Wentling – Published on June 14, 2017

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs is backing off a proposal in President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget to cut billions of dollars from a program that provides compensation to the country’s most disabled veterans.

VA Secretary David Shulkin told the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Wednesday that he was willing to work with lawmakers to find an alternative to the proposed $3.2 billion cut to the VA Individual Unemployability benefit. The announcement came after the country’s six largest veterans service organizations condemned the proposal.

“As I began to listen to veterans and their concerns, and [veterans service organizations] in particular, it became clear that this would be hurting some veterans and a takeaway from veterans who can’t afford to have those benefits taken away,” Shulkin said. “I’m really concerned about that. This is part of a process. We have to be looking at ways to do things better, but I am not going to support policies that hurt veterans.”

To read full story, use this link:



Happy Birthday USA

Charters of Freedom From National Archives

These three documents, known collectively as the Charters of Freedom, have secured the rights of the American people for more than two and a quarter centuries and are considered instrumental to its founding and philosophy of the United States.



Declaration of Independence – July 4th, 1776

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

To read the rest of the Declaration of Independence, view this link:



Provocation of the Month – BLOG

Shooting Congresspeople

Someone very close to me put out a Facebook statement in relation to the shooting of Republicans at a baseball field. I’d like to share it with you and get your thoughts and comments.

Preface: From The New York Times Evening Briefing of June 30, 2017, “ In Chicago, a new task force will tackle gun-related crimes. More than 760 people were shot and killed there last year, the most of any American city.”

“I am appalled that so much coverage is given to this DC shooting when so little is given to many times more who are killed and injured on a daily basis in Chicago and other cities.  These are the same people who have no compunction about sending young troops to their death and dismemberment because of their lack of knowledge of what they are doing and the use of “all other means”, first.  If this brings home to them, the horrors that their actions and inactions cause others to face constantly, here and around the world, maybe something good can come out of these senseless acts. Otherwise the beat goes on.”

What’s Your Take?  Hit the Blog Button on the top menu bar and vent at me.



JOBS – Building up to our Veterans Jobs Fair

Scores more will be at our November 4th Jobs/Career Fair in Downtown San Jose.  Stay tuned.

Department of Homeland Security: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking veterans for hundreds of job opportunities in mission critical and mission support occupations across the Department. DHS has an immediate need to fill these critical vacancies, and is the ideal employer to maximize the skills and training you acquired while serving your country.

Available career opportunities include:§ Law Enforcement (e.g., Physical Security, Police Officer, Sector Enforcement, Investigations) § Business Operations (e.g., Human Resources, Management and Program Analyst, Contracting, Public Affairs, Budget/Finance/Accounting) § Information Technology (Cybersecurity/Network)
Are you interested in continuing your service to America through a career with DHS?
Please join us for a free webinar to learn more about DHS careers, current opportunities, and how to apply. The next webinars will be held on Monday, July 10th, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. and on Thursday, July 13th, 2017 at 1:00 p.m.  This webinar will enhance your understanding of our vital mission and provide helpful tips on the federal hiring process. Webinar Highlights:§ Why DHS is the ideal place for you…Veterans hiring authorities…§ Federal resume tips…. USAJOBS – the Federal Government’s official employment site
To join the webinar, go to https://dhsconnect.connectsolutions.com/ochco/
Audio: 1-888-390-1069 access code: 8005734 (We highly recommend logging in prior to the webinar to test your connection).

For further information, check out the website link for the Department of Homeland Security:



JPMChase:  Please check out this link to current job openings at JPMorgan Chase in various locations: JPMC%20Current%20Openings_1%20MAY%202017.xlsx

They are looking for qualified veterans in careers in Accounting/Finance, Branch Banking, Customer Service, Compliance/Risk, Cyber/Technology, Operations, Project Management, Relationship Management/Sales and many other job categories. They have a dedicated team of Veteran Recruiters who are ready to assist with any questions on these opportunities.

Please reach out to them at http://military.recruiting@jpmchase.com/.
Jim O’Donnell, Executive Director, Military & Veteran Recruiting, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
FEMA: When disaster strikes, America looks to The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA has announced an Emergency Management Specialist vacancy in New York, New York.
In this position, you would serve as a Lessons Learned Advisor in an incident support role during disaster activation.  Typical assignments include: Deploying to disaster field locations to plan and execute data collection plans during declared disasters. Validating observations and identifying cross-cutting themes related to the efficiency/effectiveness of programs. Developing common methodologies, tools, and processes to translate operational experience into institutional knowledge and foster continuous improvement. Facilitating periodic reviews (“hot-washes”)

To access additional information and to apply for the Emergency Management Specialist position, please visit: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/465574100


Civil Service Exams:  Scheduled Examinations Open to All Qualified Individuals

These examinations are open to anyone who meets the minimum qualifications specified on an examination announcement. See the announcement(s) for details. You may apply for most examinations on-line or by using our paper application (form NYS-APP). See How to Apply on the respective announcement(s).  For further information, visit their website:




This is why hiring managers aren’t getting back to you

— and what you can do about it.

By Monica Torres

Jun 26, 2017

Published in Ladders Newsletter


We’ve all felt the frustration and disappointment of applying for a job, only to see the hiring manager dropping off of the face of the Earth. We get the callback, we get the enthusiasm of a manager talking about our qualifications, and then we hear…nothing.

It doesn’t make sense! Didn’t they like you? When you’re unemployed and bills need to get paid, this silence can feel especially excruciating.

Instead of stewing over these doubts, you can take action. There are better uses of your time than hovering over your inbox or waiting for a call that may never come.

Here’s what you need to understand about why no one is getting back to you and how you should respond.

  1. Managers are busy

Don’t take an employer’s silence as an immediate ‘no.’ In general, it’s important to not take an employer’s ambivalence or silence personally. While this job may be taking up all of your brain space, it’s helpful to understand that hiring is one of many jobs managers do — and it’s taking up the majority of their days.

You can make the waiting period less painful by asking for a clear timeframe to hear back during the interview process. After the end of a call or an interview, be sure to ask about when you should expect to hear back. Having a firm deadline will ease your mind. If no deadline was given or if the deadline passes without a response, you’re well within your rights to send a follow-up email after a week.

Remember to frame the follow-up email as a gentle reminder, not as an accusation. Restate your enthusiasm and interest in the role, then ask politely for any updates in the process.

This should all happen in four sentences or less. 40% of emails are opened on a mobile device where only about the first seven words will be read, so have a clear subject line like, ‘Following up on X position.’

  1. It’s not you, it’s bureaucracy

There are internal machinations within a company that have nothing to do with you personally, but could be delaying the hiring process.

Budgets can be slashed, hiring freezes can take hold, internal candidates can be vying for your crown, people in hiring positions can get moved or laid off—all of this company drama is unseen to an outsider but it can change an encouraging ‘get in touch with you soon’ into radio silence.

These case studies serve as a sobering reminder to never trust an offer until it’s in writing.

A follow-up email can clarify some of this, but sometimes we have to decide when to cut our losses. Better to move on to the next opportunity than to waste your time wondering what-ifs.

  1. Legal issues

There’s a Yiddish proverb that says “no answer is also an answer.” Sometimes a prolonged silence signals something is wrong, because it’s too awkward or rude for companies to take time to tell them the truth.

Sometimes, managers won’t get back in touch with you because they don’t have a clear reason as to why you’re not a cultural fit.

If you really want to know why they passed on you, you can ask for feedback on how you can improve. Make it clear in your feedback request that you won’t take the company to court and that you just want some informational help. Just be aware that some managers will still choose to stay silent because they see this as an opening for litigation.

One unnamed recruiter said that they use silence when they don’t have a good answer: “One reason I wouldn’t get back to someone is if I had to tell them something that they couldn’t ‘fix,’ such as their personality. If I didn’t like them, I’m not going to respond back.”

  1. Sometimes, people are just rude

The majority of the time hiring managers are well-meaning, busy individuals, who may not have the bandwidth to respond to each rejection personally and politely. But sometimes there are people who just don’t care.

It’s best to see these actions as a blessing in disguise, as a sign to refocus your energies towards a company that will respond in a timely manner. Bottom-line: if a company really wants you, they’ll find a way to get in touch with you quickly.

Monica Torres is a reporter for Ladders. She is based in New York City and can be reached at mtorres@theladders.com.






Issue Of The Month – SLEEP

Veterans find solutions for better sleep

The section under the “Welcome Tab” above, on Sleep, includes 4 videos of real vets who have been helped, along with definitions, symptoms and most importantly What You Can DoTo Do To Get Better Sleep.  It starts off with the following:

Veterans describe sleep problems such as being unable to get a full night’s rest, having nightmares, and waking up shouting or sweating. Trouble sleeping affected other aspects of their lives too. Reaching out for support helped them find treatment options that improved their sleep and overall health.

Do yourself a favor, and click.



Veteran Discounts

MANY stores, restaurants and entertainment venues offer Discounts of up to 15% to veterans.

And that includes local shops, such as my cleaning service.

For instance Home Depot and Lowes offer a 10% discount if you show them your VA card.

Just FYI, Lowe’s Stores Changes Military Discount Program

Lowe’s is expanding and changing its military discount program for veterans.  They will no longer ask to see your Veterans’ ID at the check-out counter.  Instead, veterans will sign up online and set up an account with My Lowe’s.  The discounts will be offered for all honorably discharged veterans.

To read further, use this link:




Spread the Word

If you appreciate what we are providing in these newsletters, PLEASE Spread The Word.  Post this link on your emails, texts and social media so that others can get their own monthly copy.  Know A Vet newsletter sign up http://tinyurl.com/y9t3xxk2



Help Us Help Other Vets, Please.

Please help us provide a true Safety Net for our veterans, that the VA just can’t.



Picture a combat vet returning home after several deployments, trying to re-integrate into a civilian life that is no longer comfortable for him/her.  You have no job, no income, you have PTSD (because no one comes home alive) you have trouble sleeping and you don’t know where or how to connect with people who have no idea who you are anymore and what you have had to do and see – for them!

The Vet Centers and the VA are wonderful, once you get through, perhaps months, to qualify.  In the meantime, and even after the VA and Vet Centers start to help, you have real-life survival issues.  If you have a kid, for instance, how do you look for a job or go to medical appointments, when you cannot afford a babysitter?  How can you go to the library to use the computers to search for work or receive emails, when you may be homeless, or at least watching every nickel?

That’s why we provide an Individualized Safety Net for the heroes who come to the San Jose Vet Center.

What we provide, through the Vet Center screening system, are the extras.

  • Transportation vouchers for up to a month after you find employment so you can get to interviews, work and all of the Mental and Physical health appointments you need, to get your best life back
  • Personal use of a laptop, including internet fees
  • A prepaid phone so you have a stable way to be found and reach out
  • Food vouchers, if needed, until you can get set up
  • Child care services, so you can take an interview or appointment any time or day
  • and more.

Your financial support of these services is critically needed to help our returning vets and turn the tide of 22 veteran suicides a day!


Please use this form to let me know what you think of this newsletter; what you want me to cover in future issues and how I can make it better.


Thanks, and see you next month.  Please note that all “editorial” comments in this newsletter are mine alone.

Neil Lichtman

Founder – Friends Of The Vet Center.

www.fotvc.com or www.KnowAVet.com

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