Sunday, June 26, 2022

Alexander Jefferson, member of Tuskegee Airman, dies at 100

Alexander Jefferson, a member of the Tuskegee Airman who helped America win two wars, has died at 100. Lt. Col. Jefferson passed away this week after a long life of service to his country. Jefferson turned 100 last November and spent his birthday ...

Alexander Jefferson, a member of the Tuskegee Airman who helped America win two wars, has died at 100.
Lt. Col. Jefferson passed away this week after a long life of service to his country.
Jefferson turned 100 last November and spent his birthday at Rouge Park, where the Detroit native spent much of his childhood and the city rededicated Jefferson Airfield in the park in his honor.

Jefferson flew 18 missions escorting bombers during his military service. At one point he was shot down and was a prisoner of war.

In 1942, Jefferson was sworn into the United States Army Reserves and in April 1943, he reported to Tuskegee Army Air Field to begin flight training.
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Alexander Jefferson, member of Tuskegee Airman, dies at 100 was sent to you on 2022-06-25 13:40:12 UTC by B.L.A.C.K

Friday, June 24, 2022

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

MVAA Director Adams: Supporting women veterans is a mission we can all get behind

Michigan Veterans News

From Baghdad to Manistique, women veterans are writing their stories – and supporting one another

Rhoda Daniel

Retired Army Col. Rhoda Daniel shares her story of leading her soldiers through a chaotic firefight and rescue mission in Baghdad. She spoke at the MVAA Women Veterans Conference in Lansing. Photos courtesy of Michigan National Guard.

One Friday night in Baghdad, Lt. Col. Rhoda Daniel was driving back to base from an executive meeting when she saw her young soldiers scrambling around in a panic. As she pulled up, she realized they were taking fire from insurgents and that two of her soldiers were pinned down on a rooftop.

Daniel's most experienced fighters, her noncommissioned officers, were nowhere to be found. They had decided to hold a surf-and-turf dinner in the mess hall.

She kicked into combat mode, shouting orders to take cover and secure the area. She learned that one of the pinned-down soldiers was a 19-year-old private she had recruited to the unit for his IT expertise.

"This night is now personal," Daniel says. "I'll be damned if I'm losing anyone tonight."

Order was restored. Discipline returned. Daniel got the soldiers down safely from the rooftop and made the call for Apache helicopters to lay down fire on the insurgents. She would lose no soldiers this night because of her quick, decisive actions.

"This night cemented in my mind what can happen in the absence of leadership," Daniel says. She then asks: "Does leadership have anything to do with gender?"

The answer, as she so aptly proved, is no.

Participants at Women Veterans Conference

Women veterans listen to Rhoda Daniel. Nearly 150 attended the conference.

This is who we are

Daniel spoke at the MVAA's first Women Veterans Conference – one of 144 women veterans who came together to share testimonies, connect and support one another. The crowd was a mixture of young and old; combat and non-combat vets; grandmothers, moms and daughters; LGBTQ vets; black, brown and white faces from all over Michigan.

So who are we?

We are Rhoda Daniel, a decorated combat veteran who served 34 years in the Army, rising to the rank of colonel and commanding a unit of 3,000 soldiers. Daniel is now a yoga and Pilates instructor in Freeland. She has PTSD and remembers the soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice – including a young NCO to whom she taught yoga in Iraq. He survived two deployments, lost friends in battle, then returned home and died by suicide.

"Sometimes," Daniel says, "war doesn't kill right away."

We are Elsie Carlson, an Army veteran and Veteran Service Officer for Schoolcraft County in the Upper Peninsula. Carlson is one of the only Black people in the Manistique area. She's had veterans who didn't want to work with her because the color of her skin and says she's struggling to attract women to a veterans group even though she knows they're out there. Despite these challenges, Carlson continues, year after year, to fight for her fellow veterans.

We are Meghan Shellington, an Army veteran and National Guard member who not so long ago was homeless with three young children and didn't know where to turn. She eventually got help, got on her feet and became a staunch advocate for veterans, spreading the word on veteran-specific services. "Now I make sure everybody knows what's out there and what's available," she says.

We are Theresa Robinson, a Navy veteran who experienced frequent sexual harassment in the military and now serves as a mentor for the Kent County Veterans Treatment Court. Robinson says she recently sat and cried with a young woman veteran over their painful experiences in the military.

"I am totally committed to making a change for female veterans," she says. "People overlook us all the time. I want females to be able to serve and serve safely, to be able to climb the ranks and to be able to be recognized as veterans."

Elsie Carlson 2

Elsie Carlson is an Army veteran, a Veteran Service Officer in the Upper Peninsula's Schoolcraft County and a longtime advocate for veteran families.

Theresa Robinson, Meghan Shellington, Andrea Norton2

Navy veteran Theresa Robinson speaks about her role in MVAA's influential She is A Veteran campaign. Air Force veteran Andrea Norton, left, and Army veteran Meghan Shellington, right, were also featured in the campaign.

Write your own story

And there is me: Zaneta Adams, an Army veteran who suffered a near-crippling back injury while preparing to deploy to Iraq. I was dismissed for years because my injury didn't happen in combat. Temporarily confined to a wheelchair and unable to care for myself, I became depressed and decided to end my life. My young daughter saved me, simply by being there, and I would eventually find my calling at a women veterans retreat. I got my law degree and have spent most of my adult life advocating for veterans of all stripes.

Sunday marked my three-year anniversary as director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. I am the first woman veteran in Michigan history to be appointed to a governor's cabinet position. I say this not to toot my horn, but to emphasize what women veterans are capable of when we step up. When we lead by example.

Be authentic. Be strong. Be confident. When you walk into that room for a job interview, don't be modest. Sell yourself and sell yourself well.

One of our presenters, Lansing consultant Lisa Fisher, asked of our women veterans, what is your superpower? The answers came pouring out: Handling pressure. Empathy. Communication. Organization. Compassion. Analyzation. Resiliency. Leadership.

Women often forget their gifts and talents, Fisher says. We let society's limiting beliefs get in our heads and hold us back.

"Don't let those naysayers write your story," Fisher says. "Write your own story."

Yes. Women veterans are 43,000 strong in Michigan and 2 million strong nationwide, and our ranks are growing. But if we're going to get better women veterans' health care, if we're going to grow membership in veterans' groups, if we're going to attain more positions of power, we first have to believe that we can. And then we have to work for it, and work together, no matter how exhausting or difficult it gets.

Let's tell our stories and do our very best to improve women veterans' standing and services. I'm confident that's a mission all veterans can get behind.

Call 1-800-MICH-VET (1-800-642-4838) or visit to learn more about women veteran services and resources. You can also join the Military Sisterhood Initiative to connect with fellow women veterans in your area at

Director Adams' signature

Zaneta Adams
Director, Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency

DA at conference

MVAA Director Zaneta Adams speaks at the Women Veterans Conference. On the far left is Erika Hoover, MVAA's women veterans and special populations coordinator, who spearheaded the first-ever conference.

Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1


The Veterans Crisis Line is staffed by caring, qualified crisis responders who are there to help. Many of these responders are veterans themselves.

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Friday, June 3, 2022



Sunday, May 29, 2022

Michigan Veterans News

Michigan Veterans News

Ways to honor our fallen over Memorial Day

Many communities across Michigan are having parades and other activities over the Memorial Day weekend to honor U.S. military personnel who died fighting for our country.
From the Saturday parade in Mackinaw City -- which bills itself as the state's largest -- to a host of local parades in Oakland County, there are plenty of parades to choose from, along with 5Ks, barbecues and other events.
In addition, after two years without gatherings, VA national cemeteries will host public Memorial Day weekend ceremonies this year. The list includes two ceremonies in Michigan on Sunday, May 29 -- at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta (2 p.m.) and at Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly (11 a.m.). Read more in VA's VAntage Point blog.
Check out what your community has to offer. And happy early Memorial Day. May we never forget the ultimate sacrifice that so many American service members gave for our freedom.
Memorial Day


Michigan DAV
With more than 1.2 million members nationwide, the DAV is an organization of veterans helping veterans. The DAV receives no government funding and is proud of its 90-plus-year history of helping American veterans, proud of its record of fighting for their rights and proud of working alongside other nonprofits and advocacy organizations to make sure that we fulfill our promises to the men and women who have served.
Among its services, the DAV:
  • Helps returning veterans transition back to civilian life by linking them with services that address their physical, emotional and financial needs.
  • Provides free, professional assistance to veterans of all generations in obtaining VA and other government benefits earned through service.
  • Fights for veterans' rights on Capitol Hill.
  • Links veterans to job training and job assistance programs.
  • Funds rehabilitation programs for veterans with severe disabilities, such as blindness or amputation.
The DAV is open to any man or woman who served in the armed forces during a period of war or under conditions simulating war; was wounded, disabled to any degree, or left with long-term illness as a result of military service; and was discharged or retired from military service under honorable conditions. To learn more, visit the MI DAV contact page, fill out a membership application or call (586) 415-8610.

How to be a participant, supporter or vendor at the MVAA's first-ever Women Veterans Conference

The MVAA's first Women Veterans Conference is not only a great opportunity for women veterans to connect with one another, but for organizations and companies to engage with women veterans as well.
  • The conference, June 10-11 at the Lansing Center, is for women veterans. Registration is just $60 and is available at Eventbrite. Registration ends at noon on Friday, May 27.
  • You can support women veterans in your organization by sharing the conference information and/or sending them to the conference and paying for registration or hotel or both.
  • You can participate as a vendor and are encouraged to do so if you are not a woman who served in the military.
    • Vendor booth space is available at the Lansing Center on Friday, June 10. Booths need to be set up by 7 a.m.; the day ends at 4 p.m.
    • Cost is $25 per person staffing the table.
    • Vendors are welcome to eat breakfast and lunch at the event.
    • Connect, generate leads and follow up with participants through the Whova app before, during and after conference.
    • To be a vendor, contact Katy Golden at
MVAA's Women Veterans COnference

Researchers: We've found the cause of Gulf War Illness

After nearly 30 years of trying to prove a theory -- that an environmental toxin was responsible for sickening roughly 250,000 U.S. troops who served in the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War -- Dr. Robert Haley says new research confirms that sarin nerve gas caused Gulf War Illness.
Following the Gulf War, nearly one-third of all who deployed reported unexplained chronic symptoms such as rashes, fatigue, gastrointestinal and digestive issues, brain "fog," neuropathy, and muscle and joint pain. Federal agencies spent years broadly dismissing the idea that troops may have been suffering from exposure to chemical agents, with many veterans experiencing symptoms sent to mental health providers.
But a new study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives used genetic research and survey data to determine that U.S. service members exposed to sarin were more likely to develop Gulf War Illness, and those who were exposed and had a weaker variant of a gene that helps digest pesticides were nine times more likely to have symptoms.
"Quite simply, our findings prove that Gulf War illness was caused by sarin, which was released when we bombed Iraqi chemical weapons storage and production facilities," said Haley, director of the Division of Epidemiology in the Internal Medicine Department at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
"There are still more than 100,000 Gulf War veterans who are not getting help for this illness and our hope is that these findings will accelerate the search for better treatment," Haley said.
Read the full story in

Army veteran volunteers with bomb tech crews in Ukraine

Retired Army Lt. Col. John Culp walks the streets of Kyiv wearing body armor and looking for unexploded ordnance left behind from Russian assaults on the city. He picks up and moves shells and removes fuses, working alongside bomb technicians from the explosive ordnance disposal, or EOD, team of the National Police of Ukraine.
When Culp arrived in Ukraine in early April, he expected to initially assist from behind the scenes, but he was prepared to put his EOD background to use. After all, that background is what brought him the more than 5,000 miles away from home to a war zone. The retired special forces officer and EOD tech is volunteering with the organization Bomb Techs Without Borders, or BTWOB, a 501(c)(3) founded in 2018 "to prevent casualties caused by landmines, IEDs, and other explosive remnants of war."
"Can you imagine being shelled day and night and probably 20% of the ordnance not exploding?" Culp said. "That's exactly the situation they have here [in Ukraine]."
Read more in Military Times.

Careers in law enforcement, corrections and security are focus of InvestVets' virtual event this week

Interested in a position in law enforcement, corrections or security? InvestVets focuses on the most significant barrier to veteran employment: the military and civilian cultural gap. They connect employers with military/veteran talent by offering activities that reduce the high expectations and stress that are common with traditional job fairs.

InvestVets hosts a virtual networking event each Thursday at 2 p.m. EST. 

This week's event focuses on careers in law enforcement, corrections and security. Register for the May 26 virtual networking event at InvestVets' Zoom link

Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1


The Veterans Crisis Line is staffed by caring, qualified crisis responders who are there to help. Many of these responders are veterans themselves.

Online Resources



Call 1-800-MICH-VET



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This email was sent to using GovDelivery Communications Cloud on behalf of: Michigan Department of Military & Veterans Affairs · 3411 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. · Lansing, MI 48906