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Military Transition and Jobs the focus of Front & Center: Military Talk Radio 18 Nov

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Front & Center: Military Talk Radio

Show No. 38: Nov. 18, 2011.

Listen to show here.

I Segment: Summary of military and vet stories making news on the Morning Report

1st Commercial break

II Segment: Interview with Diane Hudson-Burns, a career coach and award-winning professional résumé writer. She is also an authority on Military Transitions, author and conference speaker.

2nd Commercial Break:

III Segment:

Officials from Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce’s Boots in Business program. There is no other program like it in the area. It truly is a one of a kind initiative.

Madonna May is the manager of the Boots in Business’ Military Mentoring Initiative that helps service members at Camp Pendleton and their spouses transition into the civilian workplace. Madonna has more than 20 years of experience administering business, economic, and workforce development initiatives.

Kevin McQueen, Pulmonary Operations Manager at Tri-City Medical Center. Ti-City Medical Center is a participating business in the Boots in Business program and one of two companies part of the pilot program.

This is Front & Center: Military Talk Radio, the right news right now for Southern California and San Diego County. I’m Rick Rogers.

Segment I: Opening

Good morning San Diego County and Southern California and welcome to Front & Center: Military Talk Radio. Episode No. 38 in my never-ending pursuit of delivering the finest military and veterans’ news available.

I’m your host Rick Rogers.

If you’re new to the show, Front & Center: Military Talk Radio focuses on military and veterans issues and news important right here right now.

And no place is this information more vital than here in San Diego County and Southern California, home to more than 500,000 veterans, dependents, reservists and active duty members.

San Diego County is also home to eight of the 10 largest defense contractors in the entire nation.

So nowhere in the country are defense, military and veterans’ issues more important that right here.

Today’s show is all about jobs for veterans. How to find the work you want; how to write that resume to get that interview and how to nail that interview to land that job.

In a few minutes, I’ll talk to Diane Hudson-Burns, a career coach, award-winning résumé writer and an authority on Military Transitions.

Then, ladies and gentleman, I chat with two guests about a terrific new Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce program that allows service members and spouses to shadow workers in the careers they are interested in pursing.

It’s called Boots to Business and there are high hopes that this program might be copied elsewhere across Southern California.

So, a very educational show is headed your way today. I hope you can stay for the entire hour of military talk radio that matters.

But if you can’t, Front & Center: Military Talk Radio episodes are just a click away at

The Society of Professional Journalists honored with two awards this year for excellence.

You can also read my work Fridays in the military section of the North County Times.

Or if you want to read my column and everything else I write for free go to

This week I wrote about housing programs the CDVA is rolling out to combat vet homelessness and near homelessness.

I do believe I am the first reporter to write about what could be a very interesting experiment in community development here in California. Oceanside is being considered for a such a site along with places in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

Music Break

Front & Center: Military Talk Radio comes to you each Friday 11 to noon and Mondays 6 to 7 a.m. at the home of the military in San Diego County and Southern California, AM 1000 KCEO.

The show is supported by:

REBOOT, helping veterans transition to civilian life and find meaningful employment.

And the American Combat Veterans of War with offices in La Jolla, Camp Pendleton and Oceanside.

Music break

Before bringing out my guests, let’s run through some stories making headlines this week on the Morning Report.

Slight Pause

* Another cross controversy in San Diego County. What is it with crosses and San Diego County? As if the Soledad Cross battle that’s been playing out in the courts since 1989 wasn’t enough, now we have an atheist group objecting to a memorial cross at Camp Pendleton

A group erected a cross on the base on Veterans Day. Now an atheist group says the memorial to fallen troops is a Christian symbol that isn’t appropriate on federal land.

The Washington-based Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers said his group does not believe the cross put is constitutional and has asked base officials to explain why it is being allowed.

The 13-foot cross was pulled up a hillside and set in place by Iraq war veterans and two widows of Camp Pendleton Marines killed in combat.

It replaces a cross that was put atop a base hillside in 2003 by a group of Marines before they left for Iraq. The original cross was destroyed in a wildfire on the base.

Of the seven Marines who put up the first cross, three were later killed in combat.

Camp Pendleton issued a statement saying the cross has not been officially sanctioned.

“The memorial cross activity … was conducted by private individuals acting solely in their personal capacities,” the statement from the base public affairs office said. “As such, they were not acting in any official position or capacity that may be construed as an endorsement of a specific religious denomination by the Department of Defense or the U.S. Marine Corps.”

A Camp Pendleton spokeswoman said the concerns raised by the atheists is being “looked into by legal authorities on the base.”

A spokesman for the Godless group said giving allowing the group to put a cross up amounts to tacit approval.

The cross was dedicated in honor of Maj. Douglas Zembiec, Maj. Ray Mendoza, Lance Cpl. Aaron Austin and Lance Cpl. Robert Zurheide, according to a Los Angeles Times story.

The four belonged to Camp Pendleton’s 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, one of the units who fought to take the city of Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004.

Austin and Zurheide were killed in that battle, while Mendoza died was killed in action in 2005. Zembiec was killed in a 2007 raid in the city of Baghdad.

The widows of Zembiec and Mendoza took part in Friday’s effort.

* Seeking to Contain China, US to Establish Permanent Military Presence Down Under

The United States Australia announced the US will begin a permanent military presence Down Under — part of strategy to contain the rise of China in the Pacific.

By mid-2012, between 200-250 Marines will be stationed at an Australian military base in the Northern territory.

That force will ramp up to 2,500 Marines in the coming years. In addition, the US Air Force will use Australian Air Force facilities much more than it does now.

The Chinese are not pleased.

* Your tax money at work: Though the U.S. military has more than 200 programs devoted to brain injuries and the mental health of its men and women in uniform, no one knows whether any of them work because the great majority of them have not been evaluated. And of course there is no sharing of findings, according to a study commissioned by the Pentagon.

The Rand Corp. study said programs overlap and the proliferation of programs creates “a high risk of a poor investment.”

The stew of programs developed because each service branch can create its own programs and then each local commander can tweak them as he or she sees fit.

The Rand study identified 211 military programs for brain injuries and PTS. In some cases researchers didn’t even know whether anyone else in the military had similar programs or whether those programs worked, the study said. It recommended a centralized collection of findings readily available to all.

The study also recommended that the Pentagon find a systematic way to evaluate such programs to see if they work. Only a tenth to a third of the programs targeting any branch of the military had been evaluated in the previous 12 months for effectiveness, the study said.

Online: The Rand study is at

* A very well-done story by Eric Newhouse in the publication Truthout: He writes that more than half of America’s former warriors are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with medical and mental problems that need treatment, according to new statistics from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“These are unprecedented numbers,” said Dr. Sonja Batten, assistant deputy chief of patient services care for the VA Mental Health Division.

But they’re surprising numbers, in some ways.

While they bear out the controversial 2008 Rand Report that one soldier in three will return home with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI), the TBI component is dramatically less than predicted.

Batten said that 1.3 million of the 2 million-plus soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002 to June of this year, about 700,000 of them (or 53 percent) had sought health care from the VA

The main complaint was joint pain. The VA has treated 396,552 vets for musculoskeletal complaints, about 30.5 percent of the returning soldiers.

But the second largest complaint has been with mental health issues.

According to the VA’s not-yet-published statistics, 367,749 Iraqi and Afghan vets have sought mental health care treatment. That’s 51.7 percent of the total caseload – and also 28.2 percent of the returning 1.3 million vets – a number that’s sure to grow larger as those who returned home recently begin acknowledging cases of delayed PTSD. It’s common for vets not to begin experiencing combat stress until after the euphoria of being home has waned, typically six months to a year or more.

PTSD was the most common mental health complaint with 197,074 or about 15 percent of the returning vets. The second most common complaint was depression, 147,659 vets or 11.3 percent of the total returning. Third was anxiety disorder, with treatment provided to 126,673 vets or 9.7 percent.

The most surprise number was the unexpectedly low number for TBI.

Four years ago, the Rand Corp. projected that 19 percent or 20,000 soldiers at that time would experience a probable TBI. But the VA says only 54,070 vets (a little over 4 percent of the returning vets) qualified for that diagnosis.

* Support for the Taliban among Afghans might be declining, if you believe a recent survey funded in part by the U.S. government.

The survey released this past Tuesday by the nonprofit San Francisco-based Asia Foundation

found that an overwhelming majority of Afghan adults, 82 percent, back reconciliation and reintegration efforts with insurgent groups. The number of people who claim to sympathize with the Taliban, according the survey, had dropped to 29 percent compared to 40 percent last year and 56 percent in 2009.

* JPMorgan Chase and leading U.S. companies launched the 100,000 Jobs Mission with a goal of hiring 100,000 transitioning service members and military veterans by 2020. A check of the Facebook page tracking the hires said that 2,675 have been hired so far. What are these jobs? If someone knows, please let me know.

* An interesting item here. Service members who spend more time at home between deployments may have a greater chance of being diagnosed with a mental health disorder than those with briefer dwell times, a Defense Department analysis has revealed, but officials urge further research.

The study, conducted by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, revealed that the percentage of service members diagnosed with mental health disorders after repeat deployments – their second through fifth — increased as dwell times prior to the deployments lengthened, surveillance center officials explained.

The study encompassed more than 1 million male and more than 150,000 female active-duty service members who deployed at least once in support of operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom or New Dawn.

Possible reasons behind the dwell time findings: Longer dwell times may offer service members the opportunity to completely readjust to being home, they suggested. It then may be more difficult to transition back to a warrior mindset on the next deployment. In contrast, service members who are home for a brief time may not fully adjust and, as a result, are better able to psychologically handle subsequent deployments.

Air Force Col. Christopher Robinson, deputy director for the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, suggested the longer service members are home, the more likely they are to seek services or that a spouse or friend will encourage them to seek help.

* Eleven of 28 Marine suicides this year had Pendleton ties

Eleven Marines who have taken their own lives this year were stationed at Camp Pendleton or assigned to a unit headquartered at the base, an official with the service’s suicide prevention program said this week.

The 11 suicides represent just less than 40 percent of the 28 self-inflicted deaths reported in the Corps as of Oct. 31, according to the figures provided by the Marine Corps’ Suicide Prevention Program.

The Marine Corps does not routinely report the specific base assignment or location where suicides take place, but provided the information at the request of the North County Times.

Music Break

Time to take a break. But stay tuned because I’ll be talking to none other than Diane Hudson-Burns. Who is she, you ask? She just might be the person who helps you land that JOB. We’ll be right back. You are listening to Front & Center: Military Talk Radio with Rick Rogers on AM 1000 KCEO.

1st Commercial Break

Welcome back to Front & Center: Military Talk the right news, right now. Heard every Friday 11 to noon and Mondays 6 to 7 a.m. at the home of the military AM 1000 KCEO.

Joining me is Diane Hudson-Burns, a career coach, award-winning professional résumé writer and an expert on Military Transitions, including job-hunting for exiting service members and their spouses. You should check out her website  

Diane, welcome to Front & Center: Military Talk Radio.

* You have written in depth on how service members and spouses can best transition into the civilian jobs market. But talking to you earlier this week, you said that some basic things are overlooked. So let’s start at the beginning. What are the basics?

* The big question is what are employers looking for? When some company is looking for an aerospace engineer they want someone with an aerospace engineering degree. But aside from specific skills, what types of basic attributes or skills are valued?

* For example, how important are so-called soft-skills such as showing up on time or not missing work due to sickness? Are they good things to play up?

* Are there hurdles that veterans have to clear that civilians do not? In government hiring, veterans get a leg up. But is there a leg up when it comes to getting hire in the civilian workforce?

* How much pay should you ask for? You don’t want to price yourself out of the job, but I’ve learned the hard way that undervaluing your work has a substantial downside as well?

* This is a tough economy, has been for about three years now and will be for some time. Is it better to take any job available at any salary or is it better to wait?

* At what point do you jettison a career and go back to school? And if you do go back to school, what do you study?

* OK, so you’re coming out of the military and you have a substantial GI Bill at your disposal. You might be nterested in many things. How do you narrow it down to find a job that you both enjoy and has a future? Are there any tests you can take? How do you know what job is right for you?

* A big question is the value of an online education. Do employers value them? Are some better than others?

* When looking for a job, what are three Dos and what are three Dont’s?

* We’ve all seen in the news these companies promising the hire all these vets by a certain year. Should veterans or soon-to-be veterans put any faith that they’ll see any of these jobs? What is the value of job fairs or sending resumes for a job found on Monster or some other online job site?

* What fields are the future growth fields?

* I’ve talked to military job experts who say that human resource managers are fearful of hiring young combat veterans because of TBI and PST concerns. Have you found this to be so? If yes, how does a young man or woman allay those fears? What if by chance they do have PTS or a mild TBI? Do you disclose that?

* I know a lot of service members struggle with putting their military skills into language that employers understand. Can you give some examples of ways to bridge this gap? Are there any good sources to help with this transition?

* Along the same line, spouses can with job forms because they are sometimes stay-home parents. What is the answer for them?

* Coming up in a few minutes, I’ll be talking to local Chamber of Commerce members about a new program that allows service members and spouses to job-shadow those in professions they might want to pursue. What do you think of this idea? What questions should they ask the person they are following?

* What about veterans staring their own businesses? What kind of background do they need for that?

Diane Hudson-Burns, career coach, award-winning professional résumé writer and Military Transitions expert, her website, thank you so much for being on Front & Center: Military Talk Radio.

Time to take a quick break. But don’t touch that dial. When we get back, I’ll be talking with guests about a new program from the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce that might get companies the employees they want and employees the careers they need.

You are listening to Front & Center: Military Talk Radio with Rick Rogers on AM 1000 KCEO.

2nd Commercial Break

Welcome back to Front & Center: Military Talk with Rick Rogers heard every Friday 11 to noon and Mondays 6 to 7 a.m. at the home of the military AM 1000 KCEO.

The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce announced just yesterday a partnership with Camp Pendleton to allow service members and spouses to learn about careers through job shadowing and mentoring program.

It’s called Boots in Business, and there is no other program like it in the area.

Joining me now to talk about it are Madonna May, the Boots in Business’ Military Mentoring Initiative manager, and Kevin McQueen from Tri-City Medical Center. Tri-City is a

participating business in the Boots in Business program and one of two companies part of the pilot program.

Welcome, both of you, to Front & Center: Military Talk Radio.

* Madonna May, give our listeners some background on this program. What sparked it and what does it hope to achieve?

* When was the pilot program? How many people? What was learned? Where any changes made?

* Kevin McQueen, why was Tri-City interested in taking part in this program? What types of jobs were shadowed at your hospital?

* Now that Tri-City is part of the program proper, how many jobs what types of jobs are going to be available for a test drive of sorts? Are there going to be people in the hospital once a week, a month, what?

* Madonna May, how many occupations will be made available to folks from Camp Pendleton? Is there a list somewhere for people to see? How would someone go about signing up to take part?

* Are there any occupations that you are still hoping to add to the jobs list?

* Have any trends emerged? Maybe a lot of interest in health care or security jobs?

* How would an interested business get involved? How much time would participation in this take?

* The program’s goal is to help vets make smart career decisions. The program also helps put their resumes in order. How long is the course?

* Kevin McQueen, you served in the Air Force and because of your experience following your service, you decided to get involved in Boots in Business. What was that experience?

* Having served in the military, what potential do you believe employers are missing out on by hiring more military?

* What will military folks and their spouses learn in the program that they didn’t know about civilian work before?

* What will civilian employers learn about the military?

* Madonna May, how long is this program expected to last?

* The unemployment rate among vet 18 to 27 is nearly 30 percent. Every year 8,000

* What does success look like?


On a personal note, my daughter Jackie turns magical 21 Tuesday. Happy birthday, honey. Hope you like your gift.

I’d like to thank my guests: Diane Hudson-Burns, from; and Madonna May from the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce’ Boots in Business’ Military Mentoring Initiative manager and Kevin McQueen from Tri-City Medical Center.

That about does it for another edition of Front & Center: Military Talk Radio with me Rick Rogers. Please join me next week, Friday 11 to noon and Monday 6 to 7 a.m. on AM 1000 KCEO

as we explore more military and veterans issues. Have a great Thanksgiving, everybody.

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