Realizing a Life Well-Lived

Valerie Ormond ready to fly off the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72) ,in the ES-3A Shadow , Indian Ocean, 1995

Valerie Ormond ready to fly off the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72) ,in the ES-3A Shadow , Indian Ocean, 1995

I looked out the window and knew if I died that day, I still lived a full life.

It surprised me how calm that thought made me – almost peaceful. After grasping the severity of the situation, my body and brain filled with warm thoughts, and I understood how blessed my short life had been compared with the longer lives of others. I had no regrets.

When assigned as an intelligence officer to a naval aviation squadron, I had the opportunity to earn my passenger flight qualifications. That meant if I needed to, I could fly in the back seat of our squadron’s jets. I attended naval aviation physiology training and didn’t drown, so months later I found myself launched off the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean experiencing a triple flight emergency. With my limited aviation knowledge, I knew from the visible and audible signs that things weren’t looking up. [Read more…]

Small Business Resources – You Are Not Alone

Veteran Writing Services, LLC logo In March of 2014, I founded and became Chief Executive Officer of my own business, Veteran Writing Services, LLC. I was fortunate to attend a program for women veterans within Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. The Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program gave me the tools, training, and guidance to transform what I had been doing part-time into a full-time successful woman, veteran-owned small business.

Recently, several people have asked me advice about starting and managing a small business. So, I decided to share some resources I’ve used over the past year. I know there are many more out there, but I’ll stick to those with which I have personal experience. The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my first year in business is this: you are not alone, if you know where to look. [Read more…]

Military Women Veteran Authors and Speakers Collaborate to Motivate in Business, Professional & Academic Settings: Offer Award-Winning Literature for Women’s History Month

As the nation’s schools, libraries, government agencies, universities and corporations prepare to celebrate Women’s History Month in March, published authors who are members of the National Women Veterans Speakers Bureau are elevating their unique voices as women veterans, sharing leadership experiences through motivational speaking engagements and literature.

“Women Vets Speak” literature pack is an extension of the bureau’s mission to inform the public about the positive aspects of military service and to share women’s insights into leadership, mentoring and successful team building in corporate environments. [Read more…]

Lessons from a Humble Warrior

George Ormond, 1917, a proud member of "New York's Division"

George Ormond, 1917, a proud member of “New York’s Division”

In honor of Veterans Day – a story about my grandfather.

George Ormond’s pale blue eyes watered until the day he died. But he never complained about the Great War. Word was that mustard gas got him, but in those days, people didn’t talk much about injuries, follow-on treatment, or post-traumatic stress. My grandfather died when I was 21, about the same age he was when returning from the war. I wish I’d had adult conversations with him about his experiences, but it’s obviously too late. He likely didn’t realize how interested people might be in a blue-collar kid from Brooklyn’s renditions of his encounters on the front lines. [Read more…]

Military Writers Society of America Conference – Phoenix

Welcome to Guest Blogger and Author, Michael Wood

I recently met Michael Wood at the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) conference in Phoenix. After seeing how well he captured the essence of the conference in words and photos, I asked if he’d be willing to share with this blog’s readers. So please welcome fellow Navy veteran Mike over from his Travel Photo Escapades blog, and enjoy this virtual visit to the 2014 MWSA conference.

 This is my first year attending one of these MWSA conferences. [Read more…]

Farewell Shanghai

Shanghai 3 Please join me for the final installment of Vic Socotra’s thoughts on one of our Congressional trips to Asia, and a farewell to China.

We wandered down the street and over a couple of blocks. We found the entrance to the subway and went down. It was gleaming and shiny and not at all what I expected. We went down and got to the platform.

The little guy on the subway could have been sixty or he could have been eighty. He could have walked with Mao on the big swing around Chiang Kai Check’s Nationalists, and on to eventual victory in 1948.

He wore a little Mao hat and his gaze was implacable. He was staring at Val’s chest, or he was staring past her chest at me in my trench coat because he was exactly that tall. It was hard to tell. But it was a penetrating gaze, neither friendly nor particularly hostile. It was an intense and unwavering look, like that of a hawk on his prey. I leaned over to Val. [Read more…]