“We had a Navy Lt. Commander come talk to us in high school about ROTC as an option to pay for school, so my twin sister and I both signed up and were accepted. I’m glad we went that route because we had time to go to school, do extra curricular activities, and fulfill our ROTC duties once a week. My junior year, I decided to switch over to the Marine Corps. After graduating and completing training, I commissioned and was stationed in North Carolina. I deployed in 2004 and that deployment was particularly tough on my parents because my…


“I grew up on eastern Long Island and watched a lot of CHIPS so I knew I wanted to be a pilot or cop. Once I realized how much math was involved to be a pilot, it sealed the deal on becoming a cop. I knew I wanted to do police work but my dad convinced me to do at least two years of community college before applying. The departments on Long Island were two of the hardest to get into so I started applying elsewhere. A friend of mine told me about the Arlington, VA police department and I’ve…


“Growing up in Connecticut I never thought I’d follow in my dad’s footsteps of becoming a Marine; however, I fell in love so I decided to skip out on playing baseball and enlist in the Corps. I enlisted in 1995 which was a peaceful time, and it wasn’t too long afterward when things changed. I was in Hawaii when 9/11 happened and there were a lot of concerns that another Pearl Harbor could be coming. I was in the intelligence field so it wasn’t too long after the attacks that we deployed. I was initially based on a ship and…


“Almost everyone in my family has served. We cover every branch of the Armed Forces, but I was the first to become an officer. My original plan was to go to NC State and walk onto their football team. My rec league football coach and mentor asked me if I would consider West Point. It just so happened that a coach from West Point was recruiting in the area and offered me a full scholarship a few weeks later. However, the one thing I wasn’t prepared for was 9/11. It happened my freshman year and I can remember my mom…


“My one grandfather was a Marine in WWII and the other was in the Army and always told a handful of stories that became family favorites. In coming from that lineage of service, I knew I wanted to serve as well. I originally wanted to be a Marine after seeing that commercial where the guy pulled a sword out of a rock, but my dad said anything but the Marines. My sister happened to be in the Army and she was able to help me navigate some of the typical recruiter shenanigans and get me into basic in 2005. When…


“I’m born and raised in Georgia and very proud of all things Atlanta. I would say for the first ten years of my life, there was a lot of uncertainty; a lot of police calls at the house, living in shelters, living in my mother’s car, and my mother working multiple jobs to take care of me and my younger brother. But the one thing that was constant is that my mom taught us to believe in the value of education. Despite growing up in the projects and being surrounded by drugs and dysfunction, I buried myself in books and…


I grew up in Brooklyn; eight kids in a two bedroom apartment in Sunset Park. My father was a cop and he’s one of seven brothers and sisters with all of the brothers going on to serve. I joined the Marine Corps because it was the best option for me at that time. I did two years of school and then went right to Guantanamo Bay. I was attached to minefield maintenance and mine detectors were my life. I like to say we were Cold War Marines because we were under Reagan in Guantanamo. At the time, It was the…


“I grew up just outside of Seattle in a rather economically depressed community. The military offered a unique vehicle out of that situation and I knew college wasn’t in the cards for me. I joined the Navy in 1999 at 17 years old. As an Aviation Boatswains Mate, I was responsible for the safe movement, launch, and recovery of aircraft. In September 2001, my aircraft responded to New York on 9/11. We watched the second tower crumble from our satellite television and then were called back to the flight deck to prepare to head north. We woke up in the…


“After graduating college, I enlisted in the Navy because I’m from a long line of service members stretching back to the Revolutionary War. Almost every generation of my family served in all of the major wars of their era. I joined as an Intel Specialist and my first assignment was overseas. I got to Spain and was sent to Kosovo to help on missions over there. In 2000, I decided to crossover to OCS (Officer Candidate School) and do things from more of a leadership perspective. Ironically I was in a counter terrorism class when 9/11 happened so all the…


This Veterans Day, Starbucks is honoring those who have served with a free tall (12-ounce) hot brewed coffee for veterans, military service members and military spouses at participating U.S. Starbucks stores on Nov. 11. Starbucks is also donating 25 cents for every cup of hot brewed coffee sold nationwide on Nov. 11 to be divided evenly between Team Red, White & Blue and Headstrong to support the mental health and the wellbeing of military communities.

“COVID brings a whole new host of stresses and challenges, especially for veterans and military families,” said Matt Kress, senior manager of Veteran and Military…

Headstrong Project

Healing the hidden wounds of war

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