I hope everyone had a pleasant holiday and has some fun, safe plans for New Years. Our final episode of 2016 is with Blayne Smith. Blayne is an Army Veteran and currently serves as Executive Director at Team Red, White, and Blue.

Blayne works closely with Team RWB’s board members, staff, and volunteer leaders to develop and implement programs that serve veterans across the country. He provides strategic and operational guidance to the organization while building and managing key partnerships. Blayne is a West Point graduate and former Special Forces officer with combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon leaving the military, he worked at Quest Diagnostics while earning his MBA at the University of Florida. Blayne currently resides in Tampa with his two boys and leads the Team RWB Tampa chapter.

Covered in Episode Eleven:

  • Veterans Crisis Line
  • Interview with Army Veteran Blayne Smith
    • Blayne’s decision to join the military.
    • Experiencing 9/11 in the military
    • His transition out.
    • Joining Team RWB
    • The physical benefits of Team RWB
    • The social benefits of Team RWB
  • Succeeding with your new years resolution with VA
  • #VeteranOfTheDay World War II WAVES Veteran Edith May Crisman Yantis

The #VApodcast is now available in iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and Spotify. Search “Borne the Battle” in your podcast app of choice to subscribe.

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Published on Dec. 30, 2016

Estimated reading time is 1.1 min.

Views to date: 79


  1. Thomas Poe January 8, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    I am a 79 year old retired Army veteran. Last June, I received a letter from VA awarding me 30% disability on one of my appeals, retroactive to November 2009. After such a long fight and much frustration, I decided it wasn’t worth it to fight a 2nd appeal for my damaged left shoulder.

    Included with the June letter was a chart of back pay I was to receive. After waiting a couple of months, I called wanting to know when I was going to get the back pay. I was told that since I was receiving retirement pay already, I would not be getting ANY retro funds. I understand that VA should not pay double; however, when the calculations are done, there is a net of a few $’s in my favor.

    FirstI don’t understand how my appeal was retroactive to November 2009 with absolute “zero” back pay. I would appreciate any insight you may have.

    Thomas Poe

  2. James Tobleck December 31, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    I prayed Bob McDonald was going to clean the VA bureaucracy out of self serving bums , he failed at his job .I watched congressman, senator’s ask him what he needed to clean up the VA . He had no answer . The pictures of new programs in San Diego, or other big cities looks like typical ad materal. The only program thatade it to me in west Michigan is 40 mile rule that set up bogus clinic’s with nothing but pictures of Obama, McDonald. It made going to a real medical facility let alone close to home impossible. So we have to drive to Wyoming MI for a x-ray, glasses, not the 5 miles to Mercy Health Hospital. P.S. Detroit John Dingle dropped from a lousy # 1 to a death house zero ! I’m selling my house ,hiring an attorney, going homeless but I’ll expose the rotten part of the VA to any and all. Bob you failed me and every vet that has to file appeals because staff find it easier to reject knowing they will never see or hear from vet again. That’s how they get bonuses, promotion. W

  3. Richard W Whaley December 30, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Hello Brother,
    My name is Rick I live in Idaho and also have had some issues with the VA but my issues were over my not being awarded my Vietnam Service and Vietnam Campaign Medals..
    I wrote letters for 41 years asking Why this happened. I always received the same reply. Their
    reply was “I had to have done 2 tour’s to Vietnam. They would also send a copy of my disaplanary actions that I received from a couple of bar room brawl’s in the Philippines.
    About 2006 a young woman I had met told me to call her Congressman Sally. I did just that and he had was given a different reason. It was that I didn’t arrive in Theatre until 2 week’s after the Peace Treaty was signed.
    That’s a crock. My Carrier group lost 13 aircraft After the Treaty was signed March 1973. The conflict went on until 1975.
    I’m telling you this because I finally spoke with a Captain in the Army National Guard and he filled out some paperwork for me requesting a change in their decision and to award medals to me. It’s been 3 months and have not received a reply. It figures, right?
    So, my suggestion is that you contact a Military Attorney because you do have that available to you.
    The VA has been falling on their face for quite a while now, and it’s a crying shame that so many of our brothers and sisters have been suffering and dying we get unsatisfactory treatment over and over.
    Good luck to you brother.
    Your brother in arms.
    Fighter Squadron VF-51 Screaming Eagle’s Vietnam USS Coral Sea CVA 43 1973
    Rick Whaley Plane Captain F-4 Phantom on the flight deck.

  4. Angela Morriaon December 30, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    I am testing to see if this sit is working as I am assisting an elderly Veteran

  5. Richard Raymond LaFleur December 30, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Why am i denied veterans benefits after fighting with them since 1969.I recived an honorable under medical discharge.For Gods sake ,i did nothing wrong.I have a claim against them for getting cancer from drinking the wayer at Camp Lagune.I had a nervous breakdown and they had me on meds for this and signed papers that i didnt understand. I get nothing from them.I’ve never could keep a job for a long time, so i romed the country and still do.I quit school to become a Marine.I signed for avation guarantee. I ended up in the infantry. To me that was a breech of contract. I need someones help.It’s hard living on less than a thousand dollars a month.I’m getting pld now and i need help.

    • EDWARD A. MACKAY January 1, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      Richard, I read your comment of a compliant to the V.A. So I am sending you some information that might help you get some compensation for being a Veteran who had cancer. Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick. LTD 401-331-6300 800-544-9144. There Team Are Hard Workers I myself have a Claim With Them Edward A. MacKay God Bless & Prayers to you.

Comments are closed.

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