Front & Center: Military Talk Radio
Show No. 50, Feb. 24, 2012
* Marc Van Buskirk, CEO and founder of GovX.com. The company sells exclusively to troops, law enforcement and military retirees at deep discounts.
* Duane Hardesty, a retired Army colonel and military outreach ambassador for Northrop Grumman’s Operation Impact – Injured Military Pursuing Assisted Career Transition.
Hello everybody and welcome to Front & Center: Military Talk Radio.
The No. 1 source for military and veterans’ news and information in Southern California and San Diego County. I’m your host Rick Rogers.
On today’s show, we’ll catch up on stories you might have missed this week, including new information on the controversial shooting of a Camp Pendleton Marine by an Orange County deputy sheriff that’s sparking outrage in the military.
Also, in just a few minutes, an interview with the CEO of a new San Diego company that’s selling goods at deep discounts exclusively to the military, retirees, reservists and others.
GovX.com sounds like an idea that could be particularly popular here in San Diego County and Southern California.
And then, a segment you really need to hear.
Ever wonder about the futures of vets recovering at San Diego Naval Medical Center or the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Camp Pendleton? How are going to make a living for the next 40 or so years of their working lives?
Well, one company did more than think about it, it did something about it right here in San Diego County and Southern California.
Just after the bottom of the hour, Duane Hardesty from Northrop Grumman will talk about how the defense giant is putting wounded veterans – or even their family members — to work.
They’re not finding them jobs, they are making them jobs.
You don’t want to miss that. Might even want to have a pen handy to take notes. This segment coming up in about 30 minutes might change lives.
So, an excellent show headed your way.
I hope you stay for the entire hour of military talk that matters, but if you can’t, Front & Center podcasts are ready when you are at defensetracker.com.
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Today’s episode is the Big 5-0 in my never-ending quest to deliver our troops, veterans and family members right here in San Diego County and Southern California the best and information in the world.
They deserve no less. If not here, where? And if not now, when?
Before getting to my guests today, let’s take a look at stories making headlines this week on the Morning Report.
The morning report is brought to you by our good friends at the American Combat Veterans of War with offices at the La Jolla VA and next VA clinic on Seagate Way in Oceanside.
Folks, ACVOW is doing yeoman’s work counseling and mentoring our returning combat veterans.
Their volunteers are on the front lines every day making a difference in combat veterans’ lives.
If you are looking for a non-profit organization to help, consider the American Combat Veterans of War. Their information is coming up at the break.
Front & Center: Military Talk Radio is also brought to you by National Veterans Transition Services Inc., which runs the very popular REBOOT workshops.
There’s a waiting list for REBOOT workshops because they are FREE and very much worth waiting for. I strongly encourage any vet out there to sign up.
Let’s start with some stories close to home.
* Absolutely horrible news Thursday that two Marine helicopters collided in Yuma, AZ, killing seven Marines training for deployment to Afghanistan later this year.
The accident reportedly occurred during night training. Six of the Marines were from Camp Pendleton and the other was stationed in Yuma. It will be months before we get a full accounting of what happened.
This comes on the heels of three Camp Pendleton Marines killed in a car crash a few weeks ago and another shot to death by a sheriff’s deputy. More on the shooting in a few minutes.
* From the NCT: Marine sold stolen military weapons, gear, feds say
Authorities seized guns, bulletproof vests and other gear from a Marine’s storage unit in San Marcos after he allegedly sold stolen military equipment to law enforcement.
Undercover Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents, according to a NCT story, bought the stolen goods from Lance Cpl. Foster Laing, who kept the weapons and gear at San Marcos storage unit.
Laing belonged to the 1st Marine Logistics Group at Camp Pendleton.
The NCIS search warrant affidavit said Laing sold undercover agents bullet-proof vests, helmets, gun-sight optics and weapons on more than one occasion.
After one buy, NCIS agents raided the San Marcos storage unit on Jan. 25 and seized nearly 100 items, the affidavit said.
This isn’t the first time this has happened and likely isn’t the last.
Remember the former Coronado-based Navy SEAL Nicholas Bickle was found guilty in Las Vegas of conspiring to sell machine guns and other firearms smuggled into the country from Iraq and Afghanistan.
He’s still awaiting sentencing.
Then there was the case of former Camp Pendleton Marine Gary Maziarz who had a bunch of war booty in a Carlsbad storage unit that he shouldn’t have had.
I remember that case well because I was subpoenaed to testify in it. But that is story for another time.
* The Supreme Court is deciding whether it’s legal to lie about receiving military decorations. The Supremes are deciding whether to uphold the 2005 Stolen Valor Act. This is a real hot button issue here in San Diego County for obvious reasons. Lower courts have split on whether lying about medals is crime or not.
During arguments this week, the justices were keenly interested in knowing whether upholding the Stolen Valor Act could lead to laws against such things as lying about an extramarital affair, a high school diploma, college degrees or to impress a date.
“Where do you stop?” Chief Justice John Roberts asked.
A decision is expected by late June.
* Another week and another PR disaster for the military. This one is costing lives while doing nothing to further our national interests in the Islamic part of the world.
Can’t we just get through one week without a video of Marines urinating on dead Taliban, or soldiers being involved in beating a goat to death with a baseball bat or a photo of Marine snipers posing next to a flag that is ominously similar to Nazi SS logo? Just one week. Please?!
Apparently not. This week brings news that U.S. soldiers burned Qurans at a U.S. base in Afghanistan.
This sparked protests that have killed about 20 people so far.
* In case you didn’t hear, Qurans and other Islamic religious materials were burned at a detention facility at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.
Soon as news leaked out, demonstrators massed outside the base, chanting “Death to America! Death to the Afghan government! Long live Islam!”
“This is not who we are,” Marine Gen. John Allen, who commands U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
* Ever wonder who the schmucks are that who punish reservists who leave their jobs to go on active duty to do the nation’s bidding?
Well, in many cases it’s the US government, according to a Washington Post story.
Now, it’s against federal law for employers to penalize service members because of their military service. And yet, the U.S. government has withdrawn job offers to service members unable to get released from active duty fast enough; in others, service members have been fired after absences.
In fiscal 2011, more than 18 percent of nearly 1,550 complaints arising from Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act involved federal agencies, according to the Wash Post.
Some federal employers have forced reservists to leave military service as a condition of hire, which is also against the law.
* At least 100 military families are getting homes this year under a partnership between JPMorgan Chase and the nonprofit group Operation Homefront.
This is part of Chase’s commitment, announced last year, to donate 1,000 homes to service members and veterans over a five-year period.
Of course this story leaves out the little fact that JPMorgan Chase has also admitted to illegally foreclosing on the families of 27 active-duty military members in 2011.
The bank also agreed to pay $27 million in cash to about 6,000 active-duty service members who were overcharged on their mortgages.
For more information call, 210-659-7756; or toll free at 800-722-6098. The contact name is Amy Palmer.
* Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Outreach —- Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest will hold a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Outreach for qualified veteran-owned firms at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton; 8 a.m.; Feb. 28; South Mesa Club, 202850 San Jacinto Road; 760-763-7345.
* And but not least, the tragic case of Marine Sgt. Manuel L. Loggins has taken another twist. He is the Marine father of three and one child on the way who Orange County Sheriff’s deputy Darren Sandberg shot to death back on Feb. 7 at the San Clemente High School by deputy Darren E. Sandberg.
Well a key part of that story might be extremely overblown. It’s been widely reported that Loggins crashed his SUV through a gate at the school. But I have seen photographs and video suggesting that there was no gate smashed through in the way we think of it. The ‘gate’ instead is a hollow swing arm barrier or a chain.
It’s going to be very interesting to see how this case plays out.
Time to take a quick break, but stay tuned. In a few minutes, learn about a new online business based right here in San Diego named GovX.com that’s delivering premium lifestyle products at 20 to 40 percent off to military, law enforcement and government workers.
You are listening to Front & Center: Military Talk Radio with Rick Rogers heard every week on AM 1000 KCEO and AM 1320 KKSM Palomar College.
1st Commercial Break: ACVOW, REBOOT and Promo.
Welcome back to Front & Center: Military Talk Radio.
Coming up in about 15 minutes a great interview about a Northrop Grumman program that finding jobs for severely wounded vets, including those recovering at Camp Pendleton and San Diego Naval Medical Center.
But first a segment on a remarkable new online business that sells everything from paddle boards to pistol holsters to sunglasses and much, much more at 25 to 40 percent off retail.
But those deep discounts aren’t for everyone. Only service members, law enforcement officers and government personnel and their families.
It’s a great idea and joining me to talk about it is Marc Van Buskirk, CEO and founder of GovX.com.
Marc, welcome to Front & Center: Military Talk Radio.
Every week I get emails from people wanting to come on the show and pitch this or that. But what really caught my eye about GovX.com is its concentration on the niche military, government and law enforcement market.
* Tell our audience about GovX.com and where you came up with the idea.
* You are a new company. When did you launch?
* Looking at your website a few things jump out: the website looks great and is easy to navigate; your quality products run the gamut from tactical to just plain fun; and the experience of the GovX.com management team is quite impressive with long histories of marketing successes. Why did you pick this market?
* So, who is eligible to buy online at GovX.com and what is involved?
* I see that subscribers need a .gov or .mil email address to register. What about retirees, reservists or the family members of military or government workers? Are they left out?
* Is there any chance that the general public might one day be able to buy items on GovX.com?
* How does the registration process work? It seems pretty straightforward.
* Is there a registration fee involved?
* So, if someone buys something, how is it shipped? What is your return policy?
* Tell our audience about GovX.com’s giveback program that benefits military associations and the families of both the armed forces and law enforcement.
* GovX.com is based in La Jolla, but your scope is nationwide, right?
* So the website is GovX.com and the phone number for questions is 1.888.468.5511 and is staffed Mondays through Fridays, 8 to 5 PST. And as an added bonus, they’ll even tell you the best place to surf in La Jolla.
Marc Van Buskirk, CEO and founder of GovX.com, thanks for being on the show. Hope to have you on again soon.
Time to take a quick break, but stay tuned. Coming up a segment on a very special program at Northrop Grumman that finding jobs for our most severely wounded vets, including those recovering at Camp Pendleton and San Diego Naval Medical Center.
You are listening to Front & Center: Military Talk Radio with Rick Rogers heard every week on AM 1000 KCEO and AM 1320 KKSM Palomar College.
2nd Commercial Break: ACVOW, REBOOT and Promo.
Welcome back to Front & Center: Military Talk Radio heard every week 11 to noon on AM 1000 KCEO and Mondays 5 to 6 p.m. on AM 1320 KKSM Palomar College.
Defense giant Northrop Grumman employs more than 4,000 employees across San Diego County.
Some of the projects being worked locally include the Global Hawk, a high-altitude, long-endurance drone Global Hawk and drone helicopter named Fire Scout for Navy use.
But it’s another program that’s getting rave reviews. One that’s not just finding wounded warriors jobs, but literally creating jobs for them.
And if that sounds incredible, it’s also finding work for family members of service members too injured to work.
Here to talk about Northrop Grumman’s Operation Impact is Duane Hardesty, a retired Army officer and outreach ambassador for Operation Impact.
Duane is no stranger to those recovering at Camp Pendleton and San Diego Naval Medical Center and has found several of them work.
Duane Hardesty, welcome to Front & Center: Military Talk Radio.
* What is Operation Impact, how did it get started?
* As of the end of October 2011, 96 wounded vets or family member had landed jobs through Operation Impact and 135 job offers were extended; more than 125 were being trained for placement. What are those numbers now?
* Any of those folks from Camp Pendleton or Naval Medical Center San Diego?
* What kinds of jobs are these?
* What caught my eye was the fact that it’s not just the vet themselves who Northrop Grumman is hiring, but also their family members. In fact I believe I read that the first hire was related to severely wounded troop.
* I know that a lot of vets and their families listening are probably getting excited about the prospect of landing a job with a $25 billion company like Northrop Grumman. But there are prerequisites. What are they?
* Is there a waiting list? How does someone apply? Is it a competitive process?
* Who is a good candidate for the program?
* How is it decided how the jobs are divvied up by geographic location and where those selected work?
* Northrop Grumman is not alone in hiring wounded veterans. Other companies have joined it to form the Network of Champions. What is the Network of Champions?
* Are these programs stove-piped meaning that they run their own programs or does applying for one get vets into the system for potential hiring for all?
* Are all the Network of Champions businesses solely focused on hiring vets disabled at 30% or higher or are some of them also looking to hire able-bodied vets as well?
* You’ve spoken to job-creators, is there anything holding them back from hiring combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan other than a sluggish economy?
* How are the vets and family members doing who have been hired so far? What are they bringing to Northrop Grumman and the other companies?
* What does the future look like for Operation Impact and the Network of Champions? It is gaining steam? Is it sustainable?
* If listeners are interested in Operation Impact or the Network of Champions, how would they get started? What are some good contacts?
Well that does for this edition of Front & Center: Military Talk Radio. Like to thank my guests, Marc Van Buskirk and Duane Hardesty.
Podcasts of this show will be up later today at DefenseTracker.com.
Want to congratulate Serena Reid and Zeb Navarro from KKSM AM 1320 Palomar College radio for winning 1st place in the recent Broadcast Education Association awards contest for their “September 11th: Ten Years Forward.” The piece won for best specialty program in the Student Audio Competition.
Join me next Friday as we talk about more military and veterans’ issues that matter right here, right now in San Diego County, Southern California and beyond.
Have a great weekend and see you on the radio next week for more Front & Center: Military Talk Radio.