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This NY Vet Went From Enlisted Marine To CEO Of His Own Startup
Brendan Hart wanted to be a fireman, not a Marine. As a New Yorker who saw the devastation of the Sept. 11 attacks first-hand, he felt a burn that all veterans can identify with: the desire to serve. He immediately tried to join New York Fire Department, but so did a lot of other people in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.The waitlist was several years, forcing Hart to reevaluate his future.
With local service out of the picture, Hart — now a 34-year-old entrepreneur living in Brooklyn — decided to enlist in the Marines. Despite his initial reluctance, he knew he made a great decision marching across the parade deck at his boot camp graduation in 2002. His entire family gathered at Parris Island to see this unlikely event.
“Their expression said it all,” Hart remembers. “I realized that, to those who loved me, I would never be the same man.”
Hart was selected for the elite fleet antiterrorism security teams, or FAST, unit. He quickly realized that he was going to be an unusual FAST Marine. Hart knew that military leadership was about much more than squad movements and overwatch, and he was determined to expose his Marines to more than the traditional training.
Before his team’s second deployment, Hart assigned them “The Great Gatsby,” and then report back on what they learned. “Gatsby is aspirational,” Hart says. “It was also about as far away as possible from our reality at that point. I wanted my team to know there is more to life than guns and war.”
After working on his education part-time in the Corps, Hart transferred to Dartmouth College once he left the Marines in 2006. At Dartmouth, he was immediately tested. He had to prove he could perform in a high-stress, insular campus full of over-achievers.
“I was the old guy in a sea of young, prep school-trained students.” Hart says. But something clicked during his first term. “I realized that I was motivated by fear — the fear that if I didn't do well academically and socially, other service members would not be afforded the same opportunity.” He didn’t want to deny others the chance to compete at this elite level, so he pushed himself even harder.
And, slowly but surely, momentum began to build. “My fear led to engagement, and engagement led to confidence,” Hart recalls. “Once you realize that you deserve to be at the table, there’s no secret that everyone knows but you, then everything changes. My mindset shifted from surviving to thriving.”
Hart credits his expanding circle of friends as a major force in his post-service success. “After I got out, I quickly learned that I did not know much about life beyond the Marine Corps,” he says. This realization pushed him to search for new knowledge. He read hundreds of books and sought out people with different opinions, a pattern that continues to this day.
Today as the CEO of Prosper, Hart supports veteran-led startups in the New York City area. He doesn’t like to use the popular term “entrepreneur” when describing himself, though. “Like many veterans, I’m a problem-solver and builder,” Hart says. “I love working with talented teams trying to build great companies. At a fundamental level, I’m helping them solve complex problems.”
Harts wants to see more veterans try their hand at entrepreneurship, but he cautions against false optimism. “Starting a business is not sexy,” he said, “It is brutal.”
But veterans are still the best group of people when it comes to creating the great companies that will propel American economic growth. Why? Simple, according to Hart: “Veterans possess near limitless raw horsepower, a necessary ingredient for success. You need hustle, a bias toward action, and willingness to learn. Building a company will take everything you have — physical, emotional, spiritual — and then some. We’re here to accelerate that process.”
A group of vets are raising money for pay for a medal the Iraqi government awarded them, but never delivered
In June 2011 Iraq's defense minister announced that U.S. troops who had deployed to the country would receive the Iraq Commitment Medal in recognition of their service. Eight years later, millions of qualified veterans have yet to receive it.
The reason: The Iraqi government has so far failed to provide the medal to the Department of Defense for approval and distribution.
A small group of veterans hopes to change that.
For a cool $8.5 million, you could be the proud owner of a "fully functioning" F-16 A/B Fighting Falcon fighter jet that a South Florida company acquired from Jordan.
The combat aircraft, which can hit a top speed of 1,357 mph at 40,000 feet, isn't showroom new — it was built in 1980. But it still has a max range of 2,400 miles and an initial climb rate of 62,000 feet per minute and remains militarized, according to The Drive, an automotive website that also covers defense topics, WBDO News 96.5 reported Wednesday.
A doctor who treated accident victims has a radioactive isotope in his body. Russia says it came from his diet
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian authorities said on Friday that a doctor who treated those injured in a mysterious accident this month had the radioactive isotope Caesium-137 in his body, but said it was probably put there by his diet.
The deadly accident at a military site in northern Russia took place on Aug. 8 and caused a brief spurt of radiation. Russian President Vladimir Putin later said it occurred during testing of what he called promising new weapons systems.
Groundwater at the Air Force Academy is contaminated with the same toxic chemicals polluting a southern El Paso County aquifer, expanding a problem that has cost tens of millions of dollars to address in the Pikes Peak region.
Plans are underway to begin testing drinking water wells south of the academy in the Woodmen Valley area after unsafe levels of the chemicals were found at four locations on base, the academy said Thursday.