Career transition program expands to cover spouses

WASHINGTON — Spouses of troops and veterans are now eligible for courses through the Veterans Career Transition Program, a host of online courses designed to boost job seekers’ resumes.

The program, run by Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families and funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co., offers courses in professional skills and information technology. Organizers will also offer human resources courses starting in January.

Team Rubicon sends veterans to help with Philippine recovery efforts

WASHINGTON — The disaster relief veterans charity Team Rubicon has rushed 15 volunteers to Manila to help with rescue and recovery efforts following the massive typhoon in the Philippines.

The group has been coordinating with the State Department on its part in the U.S. relief role and hopes to have a second team of volunteers in country within days.

Walmart: 20,000 veterans hired since May

WASHINGTON -- Officials from Walmart say they have hired more than 20,000 veterans since Memorial Day, following their commitment to find a job for any veteran who recently left the military.

“We’re very gratified to be able to do that,” said Gary Profit, senior director of military programs at the retailer. “We’re happy to be able to tell veterans there’s a place for them at Walmart.”

Veterans Day deals

Korean War veterans salute during a ceremony at the Pentagon on June 18, 2013.<br>Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo/Department of Defense
Korean War veterans salute during a ceremony at the Pentagon on June 18, 2013.

There are lots of ways to honor servicemembers on Veterans Day — parades, salutes, all-you-can eat pancakes or a free all-American burger.

To mark Veterans Day on Monday, restaurants around the country are offering free morsels and retail stores are discounting services. Some discounts are strictly for vets; others include active-duty and retired troops. Call ahead to make sure your local places are participating — and ask what you need to bring to identify yourself. Check to make sure what exactly is included in the offers. For example, beverages and gratuities are often not covered at eateries.

Navajo Code Talker to be honored Saturday

Twenty-nine men gathered together and created a code that was unbreakable. They brought it with them as they entered the battlefields of World War II. The Japanese tortured the men they caught in an effort to break the code, but they couldn’t.

Chester Nez is the last living member of the 29 original Navajo Code Talkers. About 400 other Native American men would eventually join the program, and of those, about 30 are still alive. On Saturday, the American Veterans Center will be recognizing Nez as one of its seven 2013 honorees.

Suggested Veterans Day viewings

WASHINGTON -- Veterans Day weekend TV doesn’t have to be all mattress sale ads and sitcom marathons. Here are a few veteran-themed pieces set to air this weekend that are worth watching to remember the purpose of the holiday.

  • “Taking the Hill” special report, noon Nov. 10, MSNBC.
    Network contributor Patrick Murphy -- the first Iraq War veteran to serve in Congress -- will host a one-hour discussion on veterans issues live from the National September 11 Memorial in New York. The show will also feature the premiere of the documentary “Wounded: The Battle Back Home,” produced in conjunction with the Wounded Warrior Project.
  • “Gold Star Children” 8 p.m. Nov. 11, Pentagon Channel and AFN.
    This documentary, about child survivors of war casualties, is told through the eyes of a 9-year-old girl who lost her father in the Iraq war and the adult-children survivors of the Vietnam War. The film also features the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors and its work to help grieving families.
  • “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” 9 p.m. Nov. 11, HBO.
    The documentary looks at the operations inside the Veterans Crisis Line, which receives more than 22,000 calls each month from people struggling emotionally or contemplating suicide. According to VA statistics, a veteran dies by suicide in America every 80 minutes.

Study: Community service helps with veterans reintegration

WASHINGTON — Veterans who participate in community service have fewer problems shifting from military to civilian life, according to a new study from the Mission Continues and the Center for Social Development.

Of 400 veterans tracked by the groups, 90 percent said the volunteer work helped improve their job performance, 45 percent said it helped with family relationships, and more than half of those diagnosed with depression said it helped lessen symptoms.

How should civilians recognize Veterans Day?

Veterans Day 2012 at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.<br>C.J. Lin/Stars and Stripes file photo
Veterans Day 2012 at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON — Parades and solemn memorial ceremonies are scheduled throughout the country to mark Veterans Day next week. But is that really what civilians who never served in the military really should be doing to mark the holiday?

We want to hear your thoughts.

VA promises new data on Iraq, Afghanistan war injuries soon

WASHINGTON — VA officials said they aren’t trying to hide the total number of veterans in their care who were injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But they are trying to update their systems.

On Friday, a report in the International Business Times noted that VA has likely reached the grim milestone of 1 million injured Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in their system. But, because updates of VA data on the topic stopped earlier this spring, there’s no way to know for sure.

Congressman: No work for veterans on Veterans Day

WASHINGTON — Veterans shouldn’t have to work on Veterans Day, according to Rep. Bruce Braley.

The Iowa Democrat this week reintroduced legislation mandating that employers give veterans a day off for the holiday, even if the rest of the company is working. Braley called the idea “just one small way of showing our gratitude for their commitment and service.”