<![CDATA[The Corps Justice Novels - Veteran Spotlight]]>Wed, 25 Nov 2015 20:29:39 -0800EditMySite<![CDATA[Interview with Ron Aiello: United States War Dogs Association, Inc.]]>Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:15:46 GMThttp://www.corpsjustice.com/veteran-spotlight/interview-with-ron-aiello-united-states-war-dogs-association-incOrganization: United States War Dogs Association, Inc.
Interviewee: Ron Aiello
Website: www.uswardogs.org
I served in the United States Marine Corps from 1964 to 1970. During that time I had the honor to be one of the first of thirty Marine Scout Dog Teams to be deployed to Vietnam. It was the first time the the 1st. Marine Scout Dog Platoon was deployed since WWII.

In 1998 while attending a Dog Show in Philadelphia, I met 4 other dog handlers who served in Vietnam. I'd never met them in Vietnam.
Having the same interest in promoting Military Dogs, we decided to form the United States War Dogs Association.
In the year 2000 we formed our Military Non-profit organization.

Our background in military War Dog service and our dedication to honoring the memory of the service and sacrifice of the US Military Working Dogs gives us a unique perspective that we use to educate the public on the history of Military War Dogs.
1. Education – With the use of our Traveling U. S. War Dog Exhibit, bring the history of all U. S. Military War Dogs from all Wars to the general public.
2. War Dog Memorial – Help raise funds to establish War Dog Memorials.
3. K-9 Corps Commemorative Stamp Drive - Sign on for petitions to have the Postal Service issue a commemorative stamp for all Military Working Dogs.
4. National Memorial – Help to establish a National War Dog Memorial in Washington, DC.
5. Support Through our fund raising: service dog organizations such as Military Working Dogs, Police K-9 units and Search and Rescue units.
6. K-9 Adoption – Help in the process of adopting retiring Military and Police Canines.
7. Support – Post-deployment outreach for returning troops.
Ron and his dog Stormy in Vietnam.
What led you to serve in the military?
My grandfather served in the Marine Corps during WWI and my uncle Served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. I was always very proud of them for their service in the Marine Corps and to our country. I felt it was only fitting that I follow in their footsteps to be a Marine and serve our country.

Describe one of your fondest memories from active duty.
One of my fondest memories was when I was in Vietnam. My dog Stormy and I were leading a search and destroy mission. We stopped for the night and set up camp within a village. It was the monsoon season and there wasn't a dry spot in sight, just plenty of mud. I found an old box spring, and I mean spring because that was all that was left of the box spring. I figured I could put my poncho on it so that Stormy and I could possibly get some sleep.

One of the village men came over to us, trying not to get too close because of my dog Stormy. He didn't want take a chance of getting bit. He motioned for me and Stormy to come to his house and motioning something about eating. I realized he was inviting us to dinner. Stormy and I walked over to his home. Now you have to remember their homes were not like ours. It was made of bamboo and straw. Most of the house was open with just the sleeping area enclosed.

Their dinning room was fully open with a old wooden table and four old wooden chairs. Both he and his wife motioned for me to sit at their table which I did with Stormy sitting by my side.

It was the man, his wife and two children. One was a little boy who must of been about 2 years old and a small child who was only a few months in age.

We all sat and had a fantastic stir fried dinner of mainly vegetables. It was wonderful.

During the whole meal we kept looking at each other, nodding our heads and smiling. It was our way of communicating.

Before leaving I gave the young boy some candy and gum and gave the man and his wife some c-rations that I was going to have that night.

Spending that hour or so with their family told me that I wasn't wasting my time in Vietnam, that there were many families in South Vietnam who wanted us there. That was one family who reached out to me and Stormy. It was their way of thanking us. It has been 47 years and I remember their faces and that hour we spent together. I always think of them and pray that they stayed safe.
What was the most life-changing lesson you learned in the military?
The most life changing lesson was when two of my Marine comrades were killed in Vietnam. I had never lost a friend in war. It reminded me that we are not indestructible and that life should not be taken for granted.

What do you miss most about being in uniform?
I miss the unit cohesion of the Marine Corps.

In your opinion, what are the most important traits of a hero?
A hero is someone who who would cover your Six, no matter the danger to themselves.

Honoring one of the many heroes.
If I gave you one-million dollars, how would you use it to help veterans?
I would set up a program to train canines to be service/companion dogs for the men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces who are currently dealing with PTSD.

Thoughts from Carlos:
Thanks to Ron and the United States War Dogs Association for the all that they do. To hear Ron talk, you feel the passion, the drive to help. From finding homes for retired dogs to raising funds to pay for lifetime prescription costs, these guys are the real deal.

Please check out their website HERE and visit them on Facebook.

Other ways you can help:
- Send care packages to teams serving overseas.
- Donate HERE
- Help with nationwide fundraisers
- Become a volunteer

<![CDATA[William Hubbard - Student Veterans of America: "...providing military veterans with resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education..."]]>Fri, 07 Mar 2014 15:39:25 GMThttp://www.corpsjustice.com/veteran-spotlight/william-hubbard-student-veterans-of-america-providing-military-veterans-with-resources-support-and-advocacy-needed-to-succeed-in-higher-educationOrganization: Student Veterans of America
Interviewee: William Hubbard - Vice President of External Affairs
Website: http://StudentVeterans.org
William Hubbard - VP of External Affairs
About Student Veterans of America:
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the U.S. launched Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq). As OEF and OIF veterans returned home to use GI Bill benefits, they found that their campuses did not provide adequate support services to assist student veterans as they worked towards their educational goals.

Lacking support, student veterans decided to organize on campuses across the country.  These groups began to connect through social media with one another- spreading best practices, sharing success stories, and supporting one another to further strengthen the student veteran community. In 2008, members from various chapters formalized this grassroots movement and Student Veterans of America was born.

A little bit about William Hubbard.

Mr. William Hubbard joined the professional staff of Student Veterans of America in February 2014. He received his bachelor's degree in International Studies from American University. After graduating, he spent several years serving government agencies to include the Department of the Navy, Department of State, and the State of Indiana Department of Revenue in his role as a Federal Strategy & Operations Consultant. As a National Executive Committee Member of Deloitte’s Armed Forces Business Resource Group, he was dedicated to the achievement of veterans, and led the successful proposal of two veteran-focused pro-bono projects. Previous to his career in consulting, he co-founded a successful startup business in the snack food industry, which continues to prosper in the greater Chicago area today.

Mr. Hubbard joined the Marine Corps at age 17 and initially served with 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines. He continues to serve with the 4th Marine Logistics Group as a drilling reservist out of Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. He has served SVA at both the chapter and national levels, and has been passionate about veterans issues since entering the armed services.

What led you to serve in the military?
In 2006, our country had been at war for just a few years. Many of our country's leaders who made the decision to commit our troops to war had no personal experience in or with the military. With an interest in serving our country, I felt military service was my duty.

Describe one of your fondest memories from active duty.
I recall early in my career finishing a ruck march at Camp Pendleton one time, and we set up our hooches at the top of a slope. As we settled in for the evening, the sun was setting and the ocean was lit up like a photograph. Ships were just off the coast and I learned to appreciate the beauty in any situation thereafter.

What was the most life-changing lesson you learned in the military?
Nothing goes according to plan, and patience can not be undervalued.

In your opinion, what are the most important traits of a hero?
Humility and integrity.

If I gave you one-million dollars, how would you use it to help veterans?
I would invest in research on what makes veterans successful in transitioning from the military to higher education and distribute that information widely.

Thoughts from Carlos:
First, thanks to Will and to Student Veterans of America for everything they do to support student veterans. I know a lot of former military members who've taken the leap back into school, and it's not always easy. It's comforting to know that there is a serious organization out there helping those men and women transition into higher education.

What's so amazing to me is that they've taken the concept of brotherhood and extended it to college campuses by connecting veterans who attend the same school. Awesome.

If you or anyone you know are a veteran, currently (or looking to be) in college or grad school, and would like to connect with one of almost 1,000 nationwide campus chapters, please reach out to Student Veterans of America.

Semper Fidelis,

<![CDATA[Adventuro-Us: "No month was ever the same as the last..."]]>Mon, 17 Feb 2014 12:13:29 GMThttp://www.corpsjustice.com/veteran-spotlight/adventuro-us-no-month-was-ever-the-same-as-the-lastPicture
Company: Adventuro-Us
| Website | Facebook |
Owner: Ted Nanko (USMC)

Tell us a little bit about your business:

 I buy old campers destined for the scrap heap, and turn them into off road capable, base stations of fun and enjoyment. They can actually follow your big 4x4 into the woods and don't have to be parked at a "campground" and they can be built to support whatever your favorite activities are, such as mountain biking, hunting, or even birdwatching!
What drew you to serving in the military?

 I had a variety of reasons, but lack of direction was the biggest. There were so many choices for my future that I just couldn't seem to decide. After sitting idle for a few years I decided that something challenging is what I really needed....I sure got it!
Describe one of your fondest memories from active duty.

 My time in Camp Lejeune North Carolina, with Small Craft Company. Infantry Marines, on the water driving boats instead of humping a pack. It was literally a dream job for me, I loved being on the water and still having the challenge that the Infantry provided me, it was the best of both worlds.
What was the most life-changing lesson you learned?

 The best thing that I took away from the Marine Corps is the lesson that the majority of actions that people take, are because they think that its the best thing to do. Even if I didn't always agree with the decisions that were made, I appreciated the fact that they were doing what they thought was best at the time. I'm finding the same thing to be true with civilian life as well, and that's eye opening.
What do you miss most about being in uniform?

 The ever-changing landscape of my life. No month was ever the same as the last, or the next. Something new was always on the horizon, and if you were getting bored, all you had to do was wait a few weeks and things would change.
What would you have changed or done differently?

 I would have put more effort into my education, both professional and personal. I gave away a lot of opportunities because education wasn't "convenient" at the time.
In your opinion, what are the most important traits of a hero?

 The most important trait is being humble. Whatever action was taken by the hero to rate that moniker, someone or something taught them to react that way. They need to always be mindful and appreciative of that.
If I gave you $1-million dollars, how would you use it to help veterans?

 I would use it to track down veterans who had given it their all during there service, whether that was to career progression or education, and who have subsequently lost their momentum for one reason or another. I would pull support agencies together to help give them back that momentum. Sometimes all it takes is a small push to get someone back on track to achieving something truly great.

Visit former Marine Ted Nanko and his company Adventuro-Us HERE.

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