Dec 16

12 Days (12 Weeks) of Christmas Video: USMC Boot Camp Style

Did you see the Marine Corp’s new Holiday video?  “Over the course of 12 weeks the recruit label is shed, and the Eagle, Globe and Anchor is earned. Explore the many ways to serve with #SeasonOfServing.”


12 days of christmas boot camp style Marine Corps 300x165 12 Days (12 Weeks) of Christmas Video: USMC Boot Camp Style

Dec 12

Honoring Grief During the Holidays

Did you miss my latest article on Military1?

Especially this time of year, it’s important to help family and friends remember those they’ve lost.

Wreaths across america honoring grief Honoring Grief During the Holidays

Wreaths are placed on the headstones of military veterans during the 3rd Annual Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Evergreen Washelli Cemetery in Seattle, Dec. 15, 2012. (Photo courtesy of DVIDS)

Oftentimes, it feels as though we in the military community are more conscious of the delicate nature of life and the reality of death because we regularly face separations and hardships. The highs and lows seem more vivid, and we get caught up in our beautiful hectic life. Sometimes, though, something horrific happens that stops us in our tracks, and we have to say goodbye to our loved ones unexpectedly. Life becomes unbearable.

When that happens to someone you love, many just don’t know what to say to you. There’s no playbook to consult, and everyone deals with grief differently. Should they acknowledge the pain you’re going through? Do they just avoid the subject for fear of making things worse?

I can only tell you my experiences and provide advice based on my life. I was moving forward as any military wife could — and suddenly I was planning a funeral for my one-year-old son.

What not to say to someone grieving

Life didn’t make sense, and I couldn’t understand why my son was taken from me. No parent should ever have to pick out a grave site or plan a memorial service for their child. But things were made worse when others said, “I know how you feel.” They didn’t. They hadn’t lost a child.   Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 11

Which is Better: Should I Lease or Buy a Car?

Should I lease or buy my next car.png 277x300 Which is Better: Should I Lease or Buy a Car?With the exception of a home, buying a car is probably the largest purchase most Americans will make. But there is another option instead of buying a car: leasing. What is leasing, and is it right for you?

When you lease a car, you are essentially renting it long-term, typically for about 3 years. There are good and bad things about that, but the primary thing to remember is that you don’t own it. You’re going to have to give it back to the dealer in an acceptable condition, at an agreed upon date.

Another way to look at leasing a car is as if you were buying it with borrowed money (a monthly payment), and selling it back to them for fixed price. That explains the most attractive feature of leasing: the lower monthly payment. Here’s why.

Why a Monthly Lease Payment is Less Than a Loan Payment

For the same exact car let’s say you have the option to lease it for 3 years, or buy it with a 3-year loan. With the lease, at the end of 3 years you have to give the car back to the dealer; you no longer have a car. On the other hand, when you pay off your car loan in 3 years you still have a car but no payments. See the difference? At the end of a loan you still have an asset; at the end of a lease, no asset. So of course it’s going to cost more for the situation where you end up with a car, an asset, that you can still use, drive, sell, or whatever you feel like.

The question you have to answer is: which is better for you? Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 08

Contact Your US Senators Today #KeepYourPromise



Sessions, Jeff (R – AL)  (202) 224-4124     @SenatorSessions


Shelby, Richard C. (R – AL)  (202) 224-5744     @SenShelby



Begich, Mark (D – AK)  (202) 224-3004  @SenatorBegich


Murkowski, Lisa (R – AK)  (202) 224-6665  @lisamurkowski


Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 07

Sh!t My Marine Corps Recruiter Said

Join the Marine Corps. It would be fun, they said.  Is this spot on?  Or way off?


Shit my USMC Recruiter Says 300x162 Sh!t My Marine Corps Recruiter Said

Dec 07

VIRAL: Wife surprises Marine after Afghan tour

Have you seen this video of the military spouse surprising her Marine at Camp Pendleton? Sara Taylor was living in Maryland but traveled to California to surprise her Marine husband after he served a year in Afghanistan. This video has more than 1 million views on YouTube and counting.

Sara Taylor of Odenton shot the video Nov. 6, when her husband arrived to California’s Camp Pendleton from Afghanistan. Taylor flew to the base as a surprise, and says her husband, 31-year-old Fort Taylor, didn’t expect to see her until Thanksgiving.

The now-viral video shows Sara Taylor sneaking up behind her husband soon after he lands. When he finally spots her, he puts his hand over his eyes and begins sobbing.

Another soldier grabs the camera and films as the Taylors hug and kiss, reunited after what they say is the longest year of their lives.

Welcome Home Reunion 300x180 VIRAL: Wife surprises Marine after Afghan tour

Dec 07

God Bless the USA Tribute in Christmas

Did you miss this tribute? Check out how a family designed and made a tribute to all those that have served and sacrificed so that we have the freedom to celebrate Christmas.

God Bless the USA1 300x163 God Bless the USA Tribute in Christmas

Dec 07

Marine staff sergeant becomes first amputee to graduate from grueling swim school

SSgt Adam Jacks 198x300 Marine staff sergeant becomes first amputee to graduate from grueling swim school

On Nov. 25, Staff Sgt. Adam Jacks became the first amputee to graduate from the Marine Combat Instructor of Water Survival course. Over the three-week course the students swim 59 miles, complete timed drills and swims, and learn rescue techniques. They are now certified as MCIWS instructors and Red Cross lifeguards.
Photo by Maj. Eve Baker

QUANTICO, Va. – The Marine Combat Instructor of Water Survival course is a grueling training evolution that requires Marines to swim a total of 59 miles over three weeks. The course that graduated on Nov. 25 started with nine participants, but only six were able to complete the challenge. One of those six had the deck stacked against him from the beginning but overcame adversity and graduated with his classmates.

Staff Sgt. Adam Jacks, company gunnery sergeant for Headquarters and Service Company at The Basic School, is a motivated, extremely fit, infantry Marine who said he quickly volunteered to attend the course when approached by the chief instructor trainer, Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Marshall. The fact that Jacks’s right leg was amputated at the mid-thigh in 2011 did not faze either Marine.

Jacks, a native of Newark, Ohio, was serving in Afghanistan with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, located in Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, when he stepped on a pressure plate on April 3, 2011, and was hit by an improvised explosive device blast. Among other injuries, Jacks suffered a traumatic brain injury and lost 2/3 of his right leg.

Though he could have easily been medically retired, Jacks said he “fought pretty hard to stay in” on active duty, feeling he had much more to contribute to the Marine Corps. “Why I wanted to stay in is pretty simple: I wasn’t ready to hang up the uniform and turn the page into a new chapter. I felt that I had a lot of fight left in me, and that I could help shape the Marine Corps into this new age style of fighting, even with half of a leg, and to show Marines of all ranks and ages that it still can be done.”

Jacks requested to be placed in an expanded permanent limited duty status, something that can only be granted by the commandant of the Marine Corps. Jacks said he met the commandant, Gen. James Amos at the time, and Amos said to him “If you want to stay in, I won’t push you out.” After eight to nine months of evaluations and paperwork, Jacks was granted permission to continue serving on active duty. Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 06

Not all Drill Instructors are Created Equally

An Unexpected Gift to an Ailing Marine Mom

Graduation Marine Corps 300x200 Not all Drill Instructors are Created Equally

Pfc. Zachary P. Boyer, honor graduate of platoon 2066, awaits graduation at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., Sept. 5, 2014. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Stanley Cao) Note: This is not the Marine featured in the story.

I’ll always remember that night. It was April 20, 2014… the evening I off dropped my son at the hotel as he prepared to process into the Marine Corps. I didn’t sleep well as I was worried about how he must be feeling. The next morning I awoke and drove to the MEPS station so I could spend the morning with him before he shipped out to San Diego.

MEPS brought a lot of hurry up and wait but I was grateful to spend time with him. As we chatted and ate a sack lunch, his nervousness was visceral. We talked about everything and nothing… except saying goodbye. They called formation near the end of our meal and the young men quickly picked up their lunch in one swift swoop and threw everything in the trash. My future Marine got in line. We parents watched and waited; we were told we’d have a minute to say goodbye before they left.

We stood by, patiently waiting as our young men received their orders. Finally they were processed and the line moved into the back room to await further instructions. We waited patiently some more, but it seemed that it was without end. I finally went back and took a peek into the room where they were being briefed, but no one was there. I asked where the recruits were and was greatly saddened when I learned they had been taken through the back elevator, loaded onto the busses, and were now in route to the airport. Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 04

5 Hacks for Succeeding in Your Online Classes

5 Hacks for Succeeding in Your Online Classes 300x197 5 Hacks for Succeeding in Your Online ClassesSo, you’ve done it. You’ve applied for (and been accepted to) an online degree program. Congrats! Making the decision to further your education is never an easy one—especially if you’re deciding to go to class while you’re also working. As an instructor for an online master’s program, I run across all types of students from all walks of life. It probably goes without saying, but many of my students don’t realize this very real truth until it’s too late: online classes are different. Unlike attending a lecture in a physical classroom, it’s much easier to put off your online classes (either intentionally or not) and because you’re sometimes separated by thousands of miles from your professor and classmates, it’s easier to fail them.

Time and time again, I see my students struggling with fundamental organizational and communication skills that if mastered could truly improve their academic success. Here’s how to make the most of your online class experience—and how to make sure you don’t fall through the cracks: Read the rest of this entry »

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