Boots On The Air

On the second Monday of each month, Reflections of Community Outreach will produce and present Boots On The Air … news and public affairs programs for and about veterans, especially those in Austin and central Texas.

If you are a US military veteran, this program is for you. Join former Army Specialist 4 Michael A. Brown, and KOOP’s Greg Ciotti and Bob Dailey for veterans’ news and good conversations with people and organizations dedicated to veterans’ well-being. Tune to 91.7 FM in Austin, worldwide at www.KOOP.org

Monday, April 8, 2019 from 1:30-2:00pm CST.

The first half of the program included the news stories described below plus a discussion of those stories. The second half featured interviews with four female veterans honored recently by the Texas Veterans Commission in their “I Am Not Invisible” photo exhibit at the Texas State Capitol. The veterans told of their active duty experiences, their lives afterwards, and their suggestions for young women considering military service.

The news stories:

  • VA claims handling self-critique vs. reality
  • Vets groups form alliance to revoke war powers act
  • Vets groups say no VA $ to predatory colleges
  • Business Insider web site: what not to say to veterans during job interviews

Interview segments

  • Anna Baker, US Air Force veteran
  • Octavia Harris, US Navy Veteran
  • Tina Lee, US Air Force veteran
  • Col. Denise Zenecchia, US Army veteran

Monday, March 11, 2019 from 1:30-2:00pm CST.

The March theme was an update on veterans’ health services in central Texas. The show included veterans’ news reported by MichaelA. Brown, followed by our conversations with Dr. Val Rosen, a psychiatrist at Seton family of hospitals specializing in PTSD and trauma. Also Dr. Suzanna Hupp, who along with her colleagues at Texas Health and Human Services have introduced a new mobile app for veterans to easily access health and other information.

The news stories:            

  • Disabled vets targeted in education scam - bad guys plead guilty
  • Hello Girls of WWI finally get veterans status and honor
  • VA expands vets’ access to private care without plan to pay for it

Monday, February 11, 2019 from 1:30-2:00pm CST.

The show included veterans’ news reported by Michael A. Brown, followed by our tribute to Armed Forces Radio in conjunction with World Radio Day. We featured a truckload … a boatload … a planeload (depending on your branch of service) of recordings from Armed Forces Radio worldwide over many years.

The news stories:            

  • New geography rules for vets’ access to medical care
  • Blue water Navy vets finally get agent orange benefits
  • Elite colleges still with very few veteran students

Special thanks to the Television Academy Foundation Interviews for permission to include an excerpt from their interview with former US Army SP4 Pat Sajak. The complete interview is available at https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/interviews/pat-sajak

Monday, January 14, 2019 from 1:30-2:00pm CST.

The show included veterans’ news reported by Michael A. Brown, followed by discussion with University of Texas History Professor Bill Brands about how best to respect and honor veterans without excessive adulation and without glorifying militarism and war. We also presented a feature about George Washington’s troops at Valley Forge. Co-hosts were Perry Jefferies, Michael A. Brown, Greg Ciotti, and Bob Dailey.

The news stories:            

  • Gen. John Murray honors WWII veteran Richard Overton at Overton’s funeral
  • Funds for vets’ anti-suicide program go unspent
  • VA drops caregivers without notice despite law

Guest: Prof. WH (Bill) Brands, University of Texas History Dept. hwbrands@austin.utexas.edu

Monday, December 10, 2018 from 1:30-2:00pm CST.

The show included veterans’ news reported by Michael A. Brown, followed by discussions with two Army veterans about their remembrances of times away from home and family during the holidays … AND the joyous return from deployments just in time for the holidays. The show also featured a classic USO holiday performance by Bob Hope and a USO Christmastime convoy in Afghanistan. Co-hosts were Perry Jefferies, Michael A. Brown, and Greg Ciotti.

The news stories:            

  • Veterans GI bill payments delayed - vets suffer big time
  • Vets with ALS denied health care benefits
  • Move to update Dept. of Veterans Affairs motto

Guests:

Monday, November 12, 2018 from 1:30-2:00pm CST. 

The show included veterans’ news reported by Michael A. Brown, followed by discussions about World War 1 Armistice history and local commemorations. Co-hosts were US Army veteran Perry Jefferies and Bob Dailey.

The news stories:            

  • Veterans Win Many Seats in Last Week’s Election
  • Opioid OD Antidote to Be Added to VA Defib Cabinets
  • Many VA Hospitals Rank Very Low in National Ratings
  • Elvis Stuff on Display Near His Grafenwoehr Duty Station
  •  Announcements about VetFest and "Boots On The Air" Winning the Excellence in Media Award granted by the Texas Veterans Commission               

Guests:

  • Prof. Jeremi Suri, University of Texas history professor, discussing what it was like in America as the “War to End All Wars” came to a close. suri@austin.utexas.edu
  • Bob Ward, who chairs the Travis County Historical Commission, which is heading-up the local World War One commemoration activities. bobward7@gmail.com
  • Terri Mirka, who led the effort to locate and flag the graves of World War One vets here in Travis County. tmirka@aol.com

Monday, October 8, 2018 from 1:30-2:00pm CDT.

The show included veterans’ news reported by Michael A. Brown, plus discussions with guests covering updates in veterans’ law and legal matters, and the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces program. Co-hosts were Greg Ciotti and Bob Dailey.

The news stories:            

  • White House VA hotline needs a hotline of its own
  • Austin homeless veterans update
  • Tough time restarting immigrant recruitment program

Guests:

  • Tim Gasaway, attorney at Texas Veterans Legal Services organization; update on veterans’ law and legal matters   tgasaway@tlsc.org
  • Wade Walrond, American Red Cross Austin chapter Regional Director of Service to the Armed Forces  wade.walrond@redcross.org

Tuesday, September 11, 2018  (in the Community Pilot time slot)

The show included veterans’ news reported by Michael A. Brown, plus a discussion hosted by Greg Ciotti with guests from the Reaching Those Who Served program and related scholarships for vets at University of Texas.

The news stories:            

  • Austin vets get more options for intensive medical care
  • World’s richest man donates $10 million to put vets in Congress
  • Veterans at Vietnam wall respect McCain
  • WH acts to limit financial protections for military members
  • Google adds job search by MOS function

Guests:

Monday, August 13, 2018 at 1:30pm CDT (1330 hrs).

This entire edition was comprised of veterans’ news, reported by Michael A. Brown with commentary by KOOP’s Greg Ciotti and Bob Dailey, and these guests:

The news stories:            

  • Robert Wilkie’s first moves as new VA chief
  • “Shadow rulers” at the VA
  • Army stops discharging immigrant soldiers
  • Truman desegregates military 70 years ago
  • NY Times says VA won’t back medical marijuana
  • Vets in Congress put country first
  • Baltimore barbershop for homeless veterans

Special feature: Victory at Sea TV show story + music + reminiscences

Monday, July 9, 2018 show: hosted by Michael A. Brown, Greg Ciotti, Bob Dailey, Betty Sandefur (guest host from TexVet) Sandefur@tamhsc.edu

Veterans news reported by Michael A. Brown

Discussion Topics:

Update on Veterans Employment in Central Texas.
In-studio guest
Bob Gear from the Texas Workforce Commission Bobby.GearJr@twc.state.tx.us

Heroes Night Out veterans service organization and BBQ gala
In-studio guests
Wes and Judy Pierce, founders wes@heroesnightout.org jlpierce54@gmail.com
Mike Sharman, CEO mikesharman1@gmail.com

Monday, June 11, 2018 show: hosted by Michael A. Brown, Perry Jefferies, Greg Ciotti, Bob Dailey
Topic: … Real Stories of Real Vets Rising Above Adversity.

Veterans news reported by Michael A. Brown

In-studio guests:

  • US Army veteran Mark Sekaz, Veterans Outreach Coordinator with Catholic Charities of Central
  • Texas, 'Mark Sekaz' mark-sekaz@ccctx.org
  • US Navy veteran Carrie Sconza, Director of the TexVet organization, sconza@tamhsc.edu

Monday, May 14, 2018 show: hosted by Michael A. Brown, Perry Jefferies, Greg Ciotti
Topic: … What’s New for Veterans in Central Texas. Discussion of latest program and benefits offerings.

News segment included interview with oldest WWII veteran Richard Overton, plus update on April stories about the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

In-studio guests:

Monday, April 9, 2018 show: hosted by Michael A. Brown, Perry Jefferies, Greg Ciotti, Bob Dailey
Topic: … Whether and How the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Can Recover and Advance. Usually, we begin Boots On The Air with a segment of veterans news. Today, the entire program featured veterans’
news and discussion about veterans’ news … and that’s because the Department of Veterans Affairs is very much in the news.

In-studio guest:
Jeremy Schwartz with the Austin American-Statesman newspaper, where he is on the investigative team and focuses on military, veteran, and border security issues. jschwartz@statesman.com

SPECIAL DAY / TIME: March 13, 2018 show: hosted by Michael A. Brown, Perry Jefferies, and Bob Dailey.
Topic: … Veterans Relatives: Stories From The Folks at Home.

  • Relations’ tales from before, during, and after their loved ones’ service; wives, siblings, parents, widows and widowers
  • Kids having to deal with what they couldn’t/can’t understand (absence, wounds, disabilities, deaths)
  • When the veteran returns: families’ positive steps toward recovery and enjoyable lives

Veterans’ news reported by Michael A. Brown

In-studio guests:

  • Leila Levinson: daughter of a World War Two veteran and the author of “Gated Grief” … a bookabout her family’s trauma as a result of her dad’s experiences. leilalevinson@yahoo.com
  • Ronda Englander: leads Comfort Crew for Military Kids, helping ease the youngsters’ hardship oftheir military parents’ deployment. Rhonda is a Gold Star daughter whose dad served inVietnam. ronda@comfortcrew.org
  • Pia Villalon: a military spouse and manager of CenterPoint Vets, which serves veterans and theirfamilies right here in Austin. pvillalon@cpinc.org

Monday, January 8, 2018 show: hosted by Michael A. Brown, Perry Jefferies, and Greg Ciotti.
Topic: … Scams Run on Veterans and How to Not Be a Victim. Our guests know all about scams and offered guidance against them and how to recover if you do get scammed.

Veterans’ news reported by Michael A. Brown

In-studio guests:

Monday, December 11, 2017 show: hosted by Michael A. Brown, Perry Jefferies, and Greg Ciotti.
Topic: “Christmastime in Uniform” … featuring great radio and TV moments from holidays seasons all the way from World War II to the present. Plus special guest World War II Navy veteran Joe Barger.

Veterans’ news reported by Michael A. Brown

In-studio guest:
Joe Barger. No contact info. Appearance arranged by Chris Garcia, vchrisg@stedwards.edu

Monday, November 13, 2017 show: hosted by Michael A. Brown, Perry Jefferies, and Greg Ciotti.

Topic: “Over There … Back Here” a discussion with veterans of different eras and different conflicts from World War Two to Iraq and Afghanistan. We asked them how they came to be members of the armedforces, what they did and where they did it “over there,” and what their lives have been like “back here” after their service.

Veterans’ news reported by Michael A. Brown

In-studio guest: Don Dorsey, former USMC President of Texas Association of Vietnam Veterans  dondorsey@sbcglobal.net

Call-in guest: John Panaccione, former US Army President of VetToCEO www.vettoceo.org

Monday, October 9 2017 show: hosted by Michael A. Brown, Perry Jefferies, and Greg Ciotti.
Topic: “Veterans Financial and Legal Services” … all about what’s available from the City of Austin, local organizations, and non-profit businesses to guide and assist vets with their money and law-related matters.

Veterans’ news reported by Michael A. Brown

In-studio guests:

Monday, September 18, 2017 show: hosted by Michael A. Brown and April Sullivan.

Topic: People Who Make Veterans Laugh, including classic comedy bits from TV and USO shows all the way from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan. Plus the real “Good Morning Vietnam” guy and live laughs with a present-day funny man who also is a vet.

Veterans’ news reported by Michael A. Brown

Recorded comedy bits:

  • Dayton Allen as General Zugsmith on Steve Allen TV show
  • Bob Hope in South Pacific USO show during WWII
  • Abbott and Costello “Who’s On First” from stateside USO show
  • Bob Hope in Korea USO show
  • Adrian Cronauer “Good morning, Vietnam!” on AFVN

Live via phone: veteran and comedian Joe Zieja, 'Joe Zieja' joe.zieja@gmail.com

Closing music: “Over There” by George M. Cohan performed by James Cagney

Monday, August 14, 2017 show: hosted by Michael A. Brown, April Sullivan, and Perry Jefferies www.TexVet.org

Topic: Keeping Veterans Alive … what’s needed and what’s being done regarding longevity for vets of different eras and different conflicts.

Veterans’ news reported by Michael A. Brown

Texas General Land Board

Guest: Kathy Johanns, program administrator for the GLO’s State Veterans Homes Program (Kathy.Johanns@GLO.TEXAS.GOV)

Physician who works soldiers who are transitioning out of military service, as well as with veterans

Guest: Dr. Candace Bellamy (cbell4770@gmail.com)

Monday, July 10, 2017 show: hosted by Michael A. Brown, Greg Ciotti, and Perry Jefferies www.TexVet.org

Topic: Veterans Organizations Then and Now. We discussed who has joined over many years, who stays, the differences between the groups, and how participants view the current state of veterans and military matters.

Veterans’ news reported by Michael A. Brown

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Guest: Allison Jaslow, Executive Director Contact/Info: 978-289-2376; Haley Scott haley@iava.org

Veterans of Foreign Wars Guest: Paul Theobald, Commander Contact info: Paul Theobald (paul.theobald_HC@house.state.tx.us)