After War, A Veteran Learns To Thrive

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Like many Veterans, the war followed Brandon home. He used alcohol to cope.


“I had a really hard time with the transition from military to civilian life,” Brandon, a Marine Corps Veteran, explains.

Encouraged by loved ones, he sought care at the Minneapolis VA — and by using his VA benefits to receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and to get an education, Brandon built a new life and career.

“Anything that you might have going on, that’s what the VA’s for. And there are plenty of people there to help you.”

More than a quarter of all Veterans use VA health care; however, many are not aware of all the benefits VA health care includes. All enrolled Veterans who meet criteria have access to the following:

  • Preventive, primary and specialty care
  • Prescriptions
  • Vision and dental care
  • Mental health care
  • Home health care
  • Geriatrics and extended care
  • Medical equipment and prosthetics

Learn more about VA health care benefits.

In addition to health care, Brandon used VA’s Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) to earn two associate degrees, one in business management and one in marketing.

VA’s education benefits (including MGIB, Post-9/11 GI Bill® and others) assist Veterans in pursuing higher education degrees, certificates, and other education and training. Financial support can be used for flight training, non-college degrees, on-the-job training, technical training and more.

Find out more about VA education benefits.

The support Brandon received from MGIB helped to prepare him for entrepreneurship. He started his own production company and now travels the United States and Canada recording Native American music.

“I’m really happy where I’m at right now,” he says.

Watch Brandon’s story and learn more about VA benefits at Explore.VA.gov.

Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials are warning soldiers and military families to be aware of scammers using the Exchange's logo.

In a news release Wednesday, Exchange officials said scammers using the name "Exchange Inc." have "fooled" soldiers and airmen to broker the sale of used cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and boat engines.

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KABUL (Reuters) - The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility on Sunday for a suicide blast at a wedding reception in Afghanistan that killed 63 people, underlining the dangers the country faces even if the Taliban agrees a pact with the United States.

The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government.

Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. They are battling government and U.S.-led international forces and the Taliban.

The group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall in a minority Shi'ite neighborhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of "infidels".

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U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Brian Kimball

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.

In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.

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U.S. Air National Guard/Staff Sgt. Michelle Y. Alvarez-Rea

Frances and Efrain Santiago, natives of Puerto Rico, wanted to show their support last month for protesters back home seeking to oust the island's governor.

The couple flew the flag of Puerto Rico on the garage of their Kissimmee home. It ticked off the homeowners association.

Someone from the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association left a letter at their home, citing a "flag violation" and warning: "Please rectify the listed violation or you may incur a fine."

Frances Santiago, 38, an Army veteran, demanded to know why.

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Todd Rosenberg/AP

A West Point graduate received a waiver from the U.S. Army to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, and play in the NFL while serving as an active-duty soldier.

The waiver for 2nd Lt. Brett Toth was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who said that Toth signed a three-year deal with the Eagles. Toth graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2018.

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