Ms. Kemp

Good day hard-chargers!!

Today we have un-fortunate news.

Dr. Janet Kemp, a longtime Veterans Affairs administrator who established the Veterans Crisis Hotline Line, passed last week.



Kemp had an illustrious 30-year career at the department which featured numerous honors for her mental health work, including a 2009 award, Service to America Medal for her work on the veterans suicide prevention hotline.

Since the initial launch ten years ago, the Veterans Crisis Hotline has answered over 3 million calls and initiated emergency intervention in almost 75,000 cases.


It’s become the keystone of the department’s efforts, and employs more than 500 specialists.

Kemp oversaw much of that expansion, growing the program from small offices at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center.


In 2011, during a military suicide conference in Washington, D.C., Kemp admitted she did not initially think the hotline would be such a critical tool.



“I said, “I don’t think veterans will call … We have (other) crisis lines in the country. Why don’t we use those?’”. “And I have never been so wrong about anything in my entire life.


“Veterans do call. All genders, all ages, people with all sorts of needs. If the services are there and help is there, people are reaching out to get them. Now our main task is being available for the veterans in need.

At this point it’s working in all sorts of ways and shapes that we didn’t imagine.

Kemp worked as VA’s National Mental Health Program Director for Suicide Prevention from 2007 until 2014. From there she was Chief of Education for the VA Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention until retiring in 2016.


She was the lead author on numerous reports on mental health and suicide prevention at the department. Kemp earned nursing degrees from SUNY Plattsburgh and University of Colorado-Denver before starting her work with VA in 1986.


Ms. Kemp, thank you for your unwavering support and dedication to veterans. You’ve saved more lives than people can actually comprehend and for that you will never be forgotten.

May you rest in paradise ma’am.

Isaac J. Hall II



Forever G.I. Bill???

How we doing hard-chargers… 

I thought I’d break down the changes to the G.I. Bill and give you a better understanding of how it affects veterans.

Now you may have heard of the G.I. Bill, as it was started in 1944, and is law passed that provides educational and other benefits for people who had served in the armed forces in World War II.

Of course these benefits are still available today for those who serve and get out honorably.

I’m going to attempt to give you a better understanding thereof, bare with me vets.

Forever G.I. Bill


* Time Limits

One of the biggest changes would be the fact that the 15 year time limit has been removed for those using Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. This only goes into affect for veterans and dependents using transferred benefits, and they are eligible after January 1, 2018.

That means is you’re a veteran using the G.I. Bill  or active duty military planning to use the G.I. Bill or even a dependent of a veteran or active duty this does not apply to you.

As of now it still remains the same, pertaining to veterans, active-duty military, and dependents. As they still have 15 years from their discharge date to use up all their G.I. Bill benefits, or they will lose them.


* Reservists

Any Reservist called to active duty (When a Government request federal assistance in responding to a major disaster or emergency) are now eligible to use the new G.I. Bill.

Prior to only reservist called by the President as a result of a national emergency were eligible.This would apply to reservist who were mobilized after August 1 2009, Reservist can only receive payment for classes that start August 1st 2018.

* Dependents

Fry Scholarship recipients are now eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program.


Dependents Education Assistance (DEA) payments will increase to 50 percent, but the maximum number of months a dependent can get DEA decreases from 45 to 36 months and is effective Aug. 1, 2018.

Some changes will be made to the transferred Post-9/11 GI Bill to make it easier to reallocate transferred benefits if the sponsor or dependent passes away.

* Housing Allowance

Housing allowance is now based on the campus location where you attend classes.


* Institution Closings

For those attending a school that has closed or lost accreditation and you lose credit for the classes you took, you don’t have to pay back any G.I. Bill benefits you received at that school. It is not retroactive either.

* Benefit Tiers

G.I. Bill is currently based on the amount of active duty time you have. If one were to have less than 36 months of active duty you could possibly get less than the full amount. So the new law makes it where anyone who receives a Purple Heart will get the full G.I. Bill no matter how long they served active duty.

* STEM Classes

There is a huge emphasis on getting veterans enrolled in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs. The new G.I. Bill creates the

“Edith Nourse Rogers Scholarship.” 

2008_270_000 (Very important person, perhaps another post in itself)

This pays veterans $30,000 if they are enrolled in a STEM program, have used up all their G.I. Bill benefits, and have at least 60 semester/90 quarter hours credit toward a STEM degree, effective Aug. 1, 2018.

* Taxation

So from all of this we see clearly that more people are now eligible for the G.I. Bill, there is more types of training, and also more money paid to veterans.

This will be paid for by reducing the amount of monthly housing allowance the new users get.


A provision was  made in 2015 about slowing the increase of basic allowance housing, active duty no longer pays the full amount of the housing cost.

Active duty BAH is being reduced to 1 percent every year from 2015 to 2019, when 2020 hits BAH will only cover 95% of military members housing cost.

January 1st 2018, the G.I. Bill housing allowance will also decrease. So anyone eligible will get an average of about $100.00 less housing allowance.

Please feel free to let me know your thoughts about the new forever G.I. Bill, as I’ve already heard that a large majority of vets aren’t happy.

Many feel this is nothing more than a recruiting scheme to get younger people to serve yet nothing is being done for the actual current Veteran.

Isaac J. Hall II



Would A Military Draft Work In Todays Society???

Good day Hard-Chargers!!

It was brought to my attention that there is a plan being formulated in order to implement a military draft.

This draft, however, would be a bit different, I’m sure you’re wondering how it would work so let me give you further explanation.


The proposal is for young people to have two years on active duty or six years in the reserves. Either way, they’d first have to undergo basic training and MOS training.

If the draftee would rather attend college first, they must participate in a Reserve Officer Training program and from there serve. If they fail or quit ROTC, they then enlist.

No matter the option that is chosen, their obligation is fulfilled with a single combat deployment. 

There are lawmakers and others who believe that current wars have stretched the military to its breaking point. With more than a decade of bonuses and expanding benefits has brought personnel funding to its limits.

A big concern is that civilians are more disconnected from the military than at any time in history.

The American public ignores volunteers while military families are carrying the burden of multiple combat tours and suffering the consequences, including post-traumatic stress, divorce, addiction, injury and suicide.

Some feel its time for us to consider reinstating conscription. As it’s been more than a decade of all volunteer armed forces.

I’m not sure if this would do any better besides increasing numbers as volunteer force is better educated, more diverse, more professional and capable than the military has ever been.


There are those who also believe that conscription would sacrifice readiness in the name of vague notions of shared sacrifice.

Also a poor attempt to restructure how America fights its wars.

History of Draft

The nation moved from a lottery-based draft system during the Vietnam War to a full volunteer service in 1973.

This was pushed and driven by President Richard Nixon’s campaign promise to end the draft, which was a highly unpopular practice, in part due to a controversial war.

Over 2 million men were drafted during the Vietnam War-era period of 1961 to 1973.


More than 9 million served during the period, however, the majority of draftees served in Vietnam.

Among some draft boards, those with wealth or connections could find ways to avoid military service while those without those advantages could not.

Many argue this contributed to a larger distrust of the system that was sending men to war.

Multiple commissions and studies throughout the 1960s evaluated what a move to a volunteer force would mean.

Some cautioned that it would be too expensive and would divorce the citizenry from its armed forces, thereby increasing militarism.

Cost Of Volunteers

A combination of pay, benefits and other bonuses has contributed to a 41 percent increase in personnel costs.

This was in the decade following 9/11, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Now, recent plans to increase the size of the military call for re-enlistment bonuses across the force.


* The Air Force is offering up to $35,000 a year to keep pilots and $90,000 for enlisted airman in key career fields.

* The Army is offering up to $60,000 to non-commissioned officers from the special operations community.

All of the services are offering bonuses based on specific MOS and ranks.

Eliminating enlistment bonuses and reducing recruiting budgets would cut much of these costs.

Yet beyond cost lies a more fundamental concern which is the perception of an isolated military that is less and less understood or considered by a seemingly apathetic public.


The draft argument shouldn’t be considered until the nation and its leaders figure out what kind of military they want.


Are they wanting a small, highly professional force that fits a specific desired performance model or do they want a much larger body that requires adjustments but can also be reasonably effective on the battlefield.

These are things that need to be put into perspective.

The nation seems to send its all-volunteer military into conflicts more often. In the 27 years preceding the all-volunteer military, the U.S. engaged in 19 overseas military operations. Between 1973 and 2012, the military executed 144 operations.

Alternate Method

There are alternatives to the all-volunteer force, including national service, universal military training, conscription and continuing with the current setup. Would conscription be the most fair, efficient choice among these three options.


A “fifth alternative,” which would reduce the Army’s ranks by 200,000 soldiers and draw down the Marines by 28,000.

Adding 100,000 service members to the Guard and Reserve components of both while keeping the Air Force and Navy at current levels.

The shift alone would save taxpayers $75.3 billion annually.

Do we really want this and will we still remain efficient and ready when the time calls??

Isaac J. Hall II




Views From A Grunt

How we doing Hard-Chargers!!

Born in 1775 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s Tun Tavern, a disciplined group of bad asses would assemble a fearless fraternity and be remembered throughout history for their remarkable battles.


As well as their selfless attitudes and how they would easily put their lives down for this great country.

The Marine Corps, was built on men who were strong both mentally and physically. 

Physicality is a big part of the game as you’ll hike 20 some odd miles while carrying 40/50-lbs of gear.

You’ll patrol in 140′ weather everyday in a combat zone. 

Hell (God forbid) you may have to drag a wounded Marine out of a compound while taking fire from the enemy.

Once that adrenaline rush ordeal is over get ready to endure the same thing the very next day as you’re “in the shit” and the enemy is not letting up.


As a Marine, whose experienced a few things overseas as well as grueling training challenges in the states. 

I get very offended when spoiled kids give their “expert opinion” on things they aren’t familiar with.

A good majority of the time they’ll get hired at these prestigious companies because of the relationships their parents have with someone at that company.

Ok before I go further I wanna say I’m not butt-hurt about their successes or because someone said something negative about Marines.

I’m a bit perturbed because pieces like Toxic Masculinity in the Marine Corps, gets a great amount of attention. 

It’s just odd to me because the writer of the piece Alex Ward, is not a Marine, and he never was.


So how would he know anything pertaining to what Marines deal with on a daily basis in the states and also over-seas when fighting for our country.

He never went to recruit training, nor did he attend the School Of Infantry. 

He hasn’t endured 140′ weather with 50/60 pounds of gear on and he damn sure hasn’t fired any sort of rifle/ weaponry at enemy fighters.

So how does he seem to know so much about this fraternity/brotherhood.

He also has a problem with females not being openly invited to infantry battalions. 

As of now there are only 4 female Marines in total in infantry battalions.

Part of the reason why there aren’t others is because they can’t endure the training. 

They can’t carry the fighting load and they haven’t been successful at (IOC) Infantry Officers Course.


Keeping females out of Marine Corps infantry is not oppressing the rights of females or blockading gender equality.

It’s more-so about maintaining the most combat effective military.

U.S. hegemony is slowly dissipating and other nations are assembling conventional forces.

Our nation should be more concerned in creating the strongest infantry force to defend our national interests.

The Marine Corps will not lower its standards in order to make a few writers happy. 

Nor will it lower its standards in order to reach a quota to allow a certain number of females to enter infantry battalions.

There are about 900 Marines to a battalion, this includes 3 rifle companies, a weapons company, headquarters and service.

There’s also about 24 active infantry battalions in a whole in the Marine Corps.

That’s roughly less than 20,700 Marines in ground combat right now out of 182,000 active duty Marines.

That means there are literally less than 8% who are actually infantry.


This really gives hence to the slogan the few the proud.

Women who claim that they are not afforded traditional leadership opportunities by not being infantry officers are clearly not aware of the plethora of leadership opportunities in the Marine Corps elsewhere.

Maybe this should remain the only area of the military for males only.

Isaac J. Hall II



Marine Corps Rank Insignia

How we doing hard-chargers!!

Today we’ll discuss rank insignia in the Marine Corps, from the enlisted Private, all the way to the Officer General.


Still to this day we’re referred to as the backbone of the Corps, enlisted Marines with pay grades of E-4 and E-5 are non-commissioned officers (NCOs). While staff NCOs are most of the time career Marines serving in grades E-6 through E-9.

Together they work collaboratively  and are responsible to the commanding officer for the welfare, morale, and efficiency of Marines under them. The ranks of E-8 and E-9 each have two ranks per pay grade, with distinct responsibilities.

First sergeants (E-8) and sergeants major (E-9) serve as senior enlisted advisors  and they assist the commanding officer in matters  such as discipline, administration, and the welfare of the unit.

First sergeants serve as the senior enlisted Marine in a company, while sergeants major serve the same role in battalions, squadrons, or larger units.

Master sergeants (E-8) and master gunnery sergeants (E-9) provide technical leadership as occupational specialists in their specific MOS.

The sergeant major of the Marine Corps is the senior enlisted Marine of the entire Marine Corps, and he is personally selected by the commandant. The sergeant major of the Marine Corps and the Marine gunner are the only billets which rate modified rank insignia in place of traditional rank insignia.

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Warrant officers specialize in their respective fields, providing leadership and training to Marines in their military occupational specialty.

A warrant is approved by the secretary of the Navy for a sergeant (E-5) or staff non-commissioned officer (E-6 to E-9) to be appointed a warrant officer. Warrant officers become commissioned officers at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 2, they serve as technical advisors, providing expertise to commands and organizations in their field.

A chief warrant officer serving as an infantry weapons officer also carries the title, Marine Gunner, which does not replace his rank. Marine Gunners replace the chief warrant officer insignia on the left collar with a bursting bomb insignia.

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Commissioned officers are college graduates who have earned and accepted an appointment issued in the name of the president of the United States.

Their commission gives them responsibility of leading Marines as they defend the Constitution of the United States. Commissioned officer ranks are further subdivided into generals, field-grade, and company-grade officers.

The commandant of the Marine Corps and the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps are four-star ranks.

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You may want to practice and go over this a few times, I say this because if you address a Marine, by the wrong rank (specifically a motard) you’re gonna be in for a very special treat. I give you my word…

Isaac J. Hall II


Remembrance On Memorial Day

How we doing Hard-Chargers!!

When I think of memorial day, I don’t necessarily think of getting a day off from work, nor do I ever really think about how good the ribs are going to be at the barbeque.

I think of military men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country.


I get a mental visualization of a gorgeous setting that takes place at grave sites. Grave sites that are decorated specifically for veterans who signed the dotted line knowing that this could very well be the outcome.


I was a sophomore in high school, when the Twin Towers fell, the principal came over the intercom and said

“A tragedy has just happened, you all need to tune in immediately.” While seeing the gruesome footage I just kept thinking to myself how so many lives were changed in an instant because of this heinous act.

What people didn’t realize is that same night Air Force Parajumpers were in Afghanistan calling for fire and dropping bombs on enemy targets because the war had just begun.

There have been wars throughout history and there have also been people who are skeptical because of the many men and women who have been taken away from us.

Some even see war as a complete waste that will do nothing for either side.


There is an old saying which states “if you want peace you must go to war,” this has been evident since the Egyptians walked the earth therefore I don’t feel the lives lost were in vain.

I see this more-so as a testament to how faithful our men and women are to this country, being that they are willing to risk their lives by going to combat zones.

There is a father of 4 with a beautiful wife who made the sacrifice, there is also a woman who gave up a full ride at a great school because she wanted to follow the footsteps of her older brother.


I honestly get a bit chocked up when I spend time thinking about those who have laid down their lives as they fought for our country. This beautiful country filled with selfless people from all walks of life.

For those who have been taken away from us that did their time in the Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, Army, National Guard, and also Marines.

I want to sincerely say thank you.

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The standard was set because of you, with that being said your hard work and dedication will not be forgotten.

On this very day we celebrate your altruism and unconditional love for America.

Nothing you’ve done has been in vain as each and everyone of you played a pivotal role in the success of your specific missions.


You are greatly appreciated and will remain heroes in the eyes of the American, because you made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down your life for this country.

Isaac J. Hall II


No Growth For Marine Corps 2018

Good day hard-chargers!!

So we now have word that the Marine Corps is not expected to grow during the next fiscal year.

If approved by Congress, the Marine Corps’ fiscal 2018 budget will keep active-duty at 185,000. Recently funding for the Corps was approved in order to grow from 182,000 to 185,000 this fiscal year.


President Trump, last year, publicly endorsed the Heritage Foundation, calling for 12 active-duty Marine infantry battalions and one active-duty tank battalion.


The idea was to build a Marine Corps based on 36 battalions, the Heritage Foundation noted that this is the minimum needed to deal with major contingencies.


Many now wonder at this point if future budgets will call for the Marine Corps to become larger. The only answer to this staggering question is only time will tell.

President Trump has said he intends to increase the size of the military, however, other lawmakers don’t necessarily agree to increase the defense spending without first conversing in order to find non-military spending cuts.

It is believed that the Marine Corps must grow to 190,000 in order to successfully defeat adversaries.1858829.jpg

The force structure concluded that the Marine Corps needs to add more Marines for information environment operations, counter unmanned aerial systems and also air defense. Adding more Marines would help capabilities needed for 21st century warfare.

Marine Corps Commandant General. Robert Neller said “If you don’t have those things, whatever formation you put on the battlefield will not survive or be combat effective.

FUJI corpsmen 2.jpg

Another serious challenge the Marine Corps faces is the aging fleet of planes and helicopters.

There is a proposed budget, however, it does not accelerate the purchasing of new aircraft. Next year the Corps expects to purchase 353 F-35B Joint Strike Fighters and 200 CH-53K King Stallion helicopters and 67 F-35Cs which will replace the F/A-18 Hornets.

wasp-takeoff-news__main.jpgyourfile.jpg150113-F-SI788-048.jpgSo each CH-53K cost $87.1 million, but when research and development are included the price tag is up to $138.5 million per helicopter.

Colonel Hank Vanderborght said “We fight the war on cost everyday to get things at best and absolute value for the taxpayer.”

I for one was excited to see the Corps grow close to 200,000 strong, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer in order for this to take place. Until then, I urge you all to keep up with current events as you may be effected weather its good or bad.

Isaac J. Hall II


Trims To VA Benefits (Budget Proposal)

Good day hard-charges,

So there is a proposal budget from the White House in the amount of $186.5 billion for Department of Veterans Affairs operations next year.

Which includes over $13 billion for medical care outside the VA and $3.6 billion in savings from benefits trims/cuts.


The proposal, was released Tuesday and is facing much criticism. The proposal does, however, represent a boost for the department, which over the last decade has seen annual increases. While other government agencies have seen funding reductions.


President Trump’s plan calls for a $4.4 billion increase in discretionary funding for the department. That is a 6 percent increase from fiscal 2017 levels, the $82 billion total discretionary request is nearly twice as large as the department’s entire budget in fiscal 2001.


There are some who feel the VA spending request reflects that veterans’ access to timely, high quality health care is one of the administration’s highest priorities.

It was also promised to focus on providing veterans with the most efficient and effective care and benefits, and proposes several trade offs to pay for program expansions.

The most dramatic to all of these would be an end to Individual Unemployability benefits payments. These payments go to retired veterans, this move is expected to save $3.2 billion next year alone and $41 billion over the next decade.


The Individual Unemployability program allows the VA to award payouts at the 100-percent disabled rate to veterans who cannot work due to service-connected injuries.

This is even if the veterans aren’t deemed 100-percent disabled. The number of recipients have tripled since 2000, and numbers are upwards of 339,000 in the fiscal year of 2016.


President Donald Trump has proposed to stop payouts once veterans are eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. He argues that the practice amounts to the duplication of benefits. This proposal would impact more than 225,000 veterans receiving the payouts today.14205.jpg

Here is something else to be alarmed about, all veterans receiving benefits checks from the department would also be affected. Reason being is there is a plan to cut down cost-of-living increases to the nearest dollar, which was VA policy from the late 1990s until 2013.


Officials say the move would save $20 million in fiscal year 2018 and cost individual veterans $12 per year. This idea has lead to controversy in the past, and will most-likely face opposition from outside advocates.

Administration officials of the VA also hope to save another $42 million by capping GI Bill tuition payments to flight schools.gibillbanner.jpg

This is a provision which some veterans groups have supported in recent years. Tuition at these schools sometimes costs $100,000 a year. The new plan would limit payments to  $21,000 annually, the same as other private universities.

A large portion of these savings will go towards reauthorizing the controversial Choice Card program, which was established in 2014 and allows veterans to seek medical care outside VA if they meet certain eligibility requirements.


VA Secretary David Shulkin has promised an overhaul of the program later this year, but it needs congressional approval to go into effect. Administration officials have asked for $2.9 billion for the program in fiscal 2018 and $3.5 billion for the effort in subsequent years, lawmakers have questioned the usability of the program.RTS148X8-1024x651.jpg

The budget calls for $8.4 billion for mental health care and $1.7 billion for homeless assistance programs.

Lawmakers will get their first input on the budget later today, as Shulkin testifies before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on the funding request hearing.image.jpg

I urge you all to pay attention and keep up with current events as many of you can and most likely will be affected weather it be good or bad.

Much success to you all my dear hard-chargers.

Isaac J. Hall II


Bombing Brings High Death Numbers

Good morning Hard-Chargers!!

I’m sure you’ve heard the news as far as the suicide bombing in Manchester. The numbers have now climbed to 22 as far as deaths go and of course the Islamic State has claimed responsibility.


ISIS stated that one of its members ignited the explosion as Ariana Grande’s concert was ending which was about 10:33 p.m. local time therefore it was Monday.

British authorities identified the bomber as Salman Abedi, who is 23 years old. U.S. officials are not authorized to speak publicly as of yet.


Greater Manchester Police said children were among the victims, and that the attacker died at the scene.

Fifty-nine others were injured in the explosion, police said. They believed one man carried out the attack, however, authorities were trying to confirm whether he was working alone or as part of a network.

A 23-year-old man was arrested in South Manchester in connection with the attack, but no other details were immediately released.

Prime Minister Theresa May said authorities believe they know the attacker’s identity, but did not name him. She will travel to Manchester to meet with police, the mayor and emergency services in the next few days.


“It is now beyond a doubt that the people of Manchester, and of this country, have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack. An attack that targeted some of the youngest people in our society with cold calculation,” May said outside her London office.

Chief Ian Hopkins, of Greater Manchester Police stated “This has been the most horrific incident we have had to face in Greater Manchester, one that we all hoped we would never see.” “We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated causing this atrocity.”


President Donald Trump added “I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that’s a great name. I will call them from now on losers, because that’s what they are. They’re losers, and we’ll have more of them, but they’re losers, remember that.”

This very incident was the worst terrorist attack in Britain since the suicide bombings on London’s transport in July 2005 which killed 52 people and injured hundreds. The attackers were inspired by Islamist extremism.


Monday’s bombing follows a terror attack near the Houses of Parliament in central London, on March 22 that killed five people. The attacker, Khalid Masood, 52, rammed his car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before fatally stabbing a police officer.

Although this is not the first time Manchester, has suffered in this way, it is the worst attack the city has experienced, and the worst ever to hit the north of England.

Our thoughts be to those who were affected by such a heinous act.


Isaac J. Hall II


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