Veterans Roundup: Veterans Earn Higher Wages Than Non-Veterans, the United Kingdom Launches an Office of Veterans’ Affairs, and More

Posted by Fred Wellman

Research finds veterans earn more than non-veterans
Military Times, Brian Mackley (@brian_mackley)

A pair of professors from the University of Akron set out to find if veterans earn more or less on average than their peers in the civilian sector and found that not only do they make more but by a significant amount. The “veteran wage differential” study found that military veterans’ wages were nearly $26 an hour while non-veterans averaged just $21 an hour after looking at average wages of veterans and non-veterans across the U.S. between 2005 and 2015. They cite factors including that veterans have higher levels of work experience, are often older and are more likely to be married and have children. Other factors, according to the study, may be that they choose occupations and industries that requires more education and higher skill sets, like engineering, health care and government. In the end this is probably surprising to a lot of people who accept the narrative that veterans are hamstrung in the workforce compared to their peers. Instead we continue to see that military service leads to a very successful post-service life based on that unique experience of growth, learning and service. -Fred Wellman, CEO & Founder of ScoutComms

New office to improve support for military veterans

It is always interesting to step back from our own immersion in the business of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to look overseas and see how our allies are dealing with their own veterans’ populations. I did not realize, until this week, that the United Kingdom had no true national veterans affairs office. What they have had is Veterans UK, which falls under the Ministry of Defence and exists primarily to “administer the armed forces pension schemes and compensation payments for those injured or bereaved through service.” Now, with the launch of a ministerial Office of Veterans’ Affairs, the UK will move closer to imitating the full VA functionality, as the new office will address everything from mental and physical health to education and employment. No word yet on staffing and funding, so it will likely deal with policies and publicity at first, as well as improving coordination between government departments, local authorities and charities. The office is not without controversy though, as the new minister selected to head it, MP Johnny Mercer, has in the past been paid nearly $100,000 a year to work 20 hours a month for a veterans cyber security training academy. Additionally, the office will work to protect from prosecution veterans accused of committing war crimes in Northern Ireland, arguing that they are being harassed unfairly. It will be interesting to see how this office evolves, and whether it lasts beyond Boris Johnson’s stint as prime minister. -Brian Wagner, President of ScoutComms

11 Brothers From Alabama, 158 Years of US Military Service
The Associated Press, Adrian Sainz (@asainz22)

Raised on a farm in Alabama, 11 brothers have a combined total of 158 years of service to the U.S. military. Seven of the brothers recently reunited at a casino in Mississippi, where they discussed growing up in a family with 16 children and “reminisced about what it was like to be black in the U.S. military in the 20th century in America.” When asked if veterans are respected as much today as they were in the past, the brothers all agreed that they are not.

VA, DoD tout major progress in effort to join electronic health records systems
Military Times, Leo Shane III (@LeoShane)

The joint electronic health record managed by Center Corp has seen greater progress with the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The VA has transferred millions of health records, including lab results and pharmacy prescriptions, and this is the first step in getting the VA on the same records system as the military. Lawmakers have expressed concerns over the connected electronic health record efforts due to their cost and scope, but both departments have maintained that the end result will provide a lifelong health file for service members from enlistment and throughout their lives as veterans. 

Veterans could be genetically vulnerable to PTSD, research shows
Connecting Vets, Abbie Bennett (@AbbieRBennett)

In a study of more than 165,000 veterans, Yale and the University of California scientists analyzed the voluntarily provided veteran DNA to gain a better understanding of the underlying biology of PTSD. Led by Dr. Murray B. Stein of the San Diego VA Health System, and Dr. Joel Gelernter of the Connecticut VA Health System, the scientists looked specifically for genetic links related to the most common symptom of PTSD, “intrusive re-experiencing of trauma.” They found specific genetic “risk factors” to PTSD, and identified eight distinct genetic regions with strong ties between PTSD and how the brain responds to stress. In a UC news release, Dr. Stein stated that they “can test hypotheses about drugs that might be useful for PTSD,” with further research. 

‘In every uniform is a human being’- an Air Force vet is on a mission to take portraits of 7,500 veterans in all 50 states
Task and Purpose, Doug MacCash (@dougmaccash)

Stacy Pearsall, a retired Air Force staff sergeant, began her “Veterans Portrait Project” as a self-therapy tactic while recovering from trauma experienced in Iraq in 2007. She continues to lean on her project for her emotional and physical support and now has a mobile photo studio in the Boeing Center atrium at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. While the veterans pose for her photographs, she asks them questions about their experiences and they open up to share their stories. Her goal is to travel to all 50 states to capture black-and-white photographs of more than 7,500 military veterans by the time Veterans Day rolls around in November. 

The military is kicking out foreign recruits it needs-  for having foreign ties
The Washington Post, Alex Horton (@AlexHortonTX)

The military is denying immigrant recruits due to their foreign ties. The idea behind the Pentagon program under which these service members were recruited – Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) – is to “enlist immigrants to harness strategic language and medical abilities in short supply among U.S.-born troops, calling the skills of immigrants a national security imperative.” However, the denials started late 2016, with the reason always being familial ties. According to Jessica Maxwell, a Pentagon spokeswoman, the screening process is time-consuming due to their limited ability, hence why these members are being turned away.

Fred Wellman

Fred Wellman, CEO and Founder of ScoutComms, brings us his weekly review of veteran news via The Scout Report. Fred served over twenty years as an Army officer in both aviation and public affairs. Follow Fred on Twitter @ScoutComms

This entry was posted on Monday, August 05, 2019 11:26 am

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