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Jeffrey Backus - Signed Articles of Agreement January 9, 2009, 8th Learner

United States Marine Corps

This is my beginning to My Life, My Lineage, My First Paperback Book. I invite you to read my journey as I compose each chapter of the 14 Level Reintegration Program. My success is your success and our community's success. Thank you for your courage and support. To post comments you must register with our community. You can view this outline  I am using to map out my progess. Thank you for your comments, I value them.

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  • Thursday, December 01, 2016 11:58 | Jeffrey Backus

    Just a note.  Time goes by much faster as one ages. 

    Colorado has been good for us, so far.  We did not freeze to death the first winter and have hope to survive our second winter here.

    I have become a full time student at a local community college (Front Range Community College).  They have close ties with Colorado State University and a couple of other smaller State Colleges in the area.

    I'm using the Post 911 GI Bill (Ch 33?), which so far has been pretty responsive, other than spotty Housing Allowances.  Apparently, the VA does not pay the Housing Allowances for Winter Break and Spring Break since the students are not in the classroom for a week.  This is one thing that the VA should change since the students housing situation remains the same during the week long breaks.  Hopefully, the week breaks are not included in the number of months of paid tuition as that would "extend" this fine benefit for an additional 6 weeks or so.

    I was able to transfer in with 45 Credits (the max that they would accept).  Those included 12 College credits from 1979 and 1992!  The rest were from my Military Schools and Marine Corps Institute Courses.  So that people don't naysay MCI's, one of the courses I took transferred to FRCC as "College Trig".  (I think it was "Fundamentals of Digital Logic", but I'm not sure as they didn't specify where the credits came from).  Since I detest math, this was certainly a nice surprise for me.

    I will "graduate" at the end of my third semester with an AA in General Studies.  I'm also about half way through an AAS in Horticulture.  The HLT AAS comes with at least one job certificate, that I have not decided on yet.

    I have also become a member of the Marine Corps League, Loveland, Colorado detachment number 1250.  This is a worthy organization to participate in since one of the purposes is to support the local veteran community.  I'm still getting snapped in, but have been able to participate in several events to include a parade where I nearly burned the engine up in my 37 International Pickup.  We were also able to attend the 2016 USMC Birthday Ball that Det 1250 sponsors each year.  I was humbled to be in attendance with several true hero's.  There are quite a few Viet Nam Vets, a couple DS/DS Vets, a few Korea Vets and one WWII Vet that are regulars at the monthly "meetings", oh, and there are also several Cold War Vets.  I plan on "shipping over" as a Lifetime Member after my first year of probation is completed.

    There is a pretty good VA Medical presence in the area.  The region is covered by the Cheyenne, Wy Veterans Hospital (about 70 miles up I-25 from Loveland).  The closest VA Clinic is about 20 minute away in Fort Collins and another in Greeley, which is about 30 minutes away. My few medications all come in the mail is a very timely manner, which is appreciated.

    My only complaint about the VA Medical is that they are usually overbooked and it takes a month or six weeks to get an appointment. This makes it pretty annoying when the Medical Staff calls in sick or has some sort of priority other than their job, since it usually takes another month to get in to see them.  I still have the Retired Tri-Care option if I need faster service though.




  • Tuesday, December 08, 2015 10:11 | Jeffrey Backus

    Well, it's about time to get re-started on this quest.

    We finally got moved to Colorado.  It was a hectic and expensive move in more ways than one.  I might even bore you with the details at some point.


    More importantly; I'm wondering if anyone even reads these posts?

    Is anyone still actively writing?

    If so, please make a comment, so I can find you without searching through every blog.

    Semper Fi and Merry Christmas.





  • Tuesday, November 18, 2014 17:18 | Jeffrey Backus

    My how time flies.  Instead of six months between updates, it's been about 18 months.  Of course, not much has changed except the pages of my calendar.  I am in the same job, doing the same things as before, only more experienced.  

    My wife and I have made the decision to finally make the move to Colorado.  I will use my Post 9-1-1 GI Bill to get educated, in what I'm not sure.  After that, I will either work or not work.  I am sure that I will have time to volunteer though.

    On a sad note:  Ms Carol Grice has moved on to Heaven and I'm sure is getting that place squared away.  Rest in Peace.



  • Saturday, April 20, 2013 09:52 | Jeffrey Backus

    Not much is new with me.  I'm still working the same job, still enjoying going to work and making progress on most of my projects.

    One project that I need to work harder on is finishing the outline for this book, then fleshing it out.  It is hard to believe that I have been "working" on it for more than four years!  I can't make any excuses for not working harder, just laziness. 

  • Saturday, August 11, 2012 17:33 | Jeffrey Backus

    Networking:  Can you spell "FACEBOOK"?  I spend too much time there that I need to spend here! 

    SWVBRC.  Since the SWVBRC's are dedicated to supporting Veterans, this should be at the top of everyone's list.  I know that the membership has grown over the past three years, but WE need to expand and get more folks registered and participating.

    Facebook has become a huge social site where I have reconnected with family, friends, co-workers and other acquaintences.   I occasionally am contacted asking if I am interested in this job or that job OR do I know anyone who might be interested.  I would recommend that you try and seperate your fun times from your professional life though, as many employers are looking at your Facebook page to see what you do on your off time. 

    My Space = Dead space.  Apparently this formerly popular social site has become irrelevent.

    Togetherweserved.com .  Each Service has a TWS site where you can sign up and insert your service dates and reconnect with old friends.  They also have a jobs section.

    Twitter.  I am a member, but have not been involved at all.  Job openings can be sent to your "followers" quickly.

    LinkedIn.  I am a member, but have not taken advantage of its offerings.  LinkedIn connects you with others in your profession ect.

    Address Book.  I still maintain a printed address book.  I actually went back to a printed version after my computer crashed and I lost contact information on many acquaintences.

    Telephone technology.  I recently invested in a new "I-Phone".  It allows me easy access to the internet, the ability to take and post pictures and files to web sites and I can still make phone calls.

  • Saturday, August 11, 2012 17:17 | Jeffrey Backus

    Although it has only been an hour or so since I worked on Chapter 6, I feel a need to update what's been going on with me recently.

    Work:  I've been on the night shift since October 2011.  It has not been as much fun as the first night shift rotation, but time is still flying by.  We were supposed to rotate back to the day shift after the 4th of July Holiday, but the powers decided to "hold off".  Apparently there is a new schedule in the works; we have been informed that the work schedule will return to a "3 Platoon Watch" working four 10 hour shifts each day... ie 4 10's.  Each person will be assigned to a squad that works four days in a row the three days off either on "days, midshift, or nights".  Upside is less hours worked each day, downside is more days worked per month and very little overtime.  (Losing the overtime equates to about a 30% pay cut).  I can't complain too much because I do have a job that I enjoy.

    I did have a great opportunity for a promotion to Police Sergeant.  Everything looked good until I choked during the Interview.  Although I am at least as qualified as about one half of those selected for promotion, I realize that I do not have the experience required to perform as a Sergeant.  My heart is also not into moving into a supervisory position;  I am willing to accept those duties and learn "on the job", I just do not desire to do it. 

    Home:  Not much if any changes here.  We still plan on moving to Colorado after I "retire" from my current job OR find a similiar job in Colorado.  My yard has become very overgrown, I will have to devote many "off days" this winter to trimming trees and bushes.

    Hobbies:  My '37 International Pickup project has moved forward significantly;  I finally addressed the rusty gas tank issue by replacing it with a new aluminum fuel cell.  Now I can drive about 150 miles between stops.  Except that now I have to take care of the loose sheet metal and worn out rear suspension that I was able to ignore when the truck just sat in my shop between 5 mile "test runs".  (I had to change the fuel filter every 20 miles or so due to the rust in the gas tank).

    _______________________________________________________________________

    27 Sept 2012 - Remembering (or trying) what I was doing the last two days of my civilian life.  I was probably packing and storing my "stuff", saying goodbyes or seeyalaters and wondering if I made the right decision about my future life.

    I am now working the morning shift, 0500 until 1500 Friday through Monday, with Tuesday through Thursday "off".  I enjoy the "short" days, but not so much the "short" paychecks.  The new schedule does not offer much, if any overtime, where the old schedule (12-14 hour days) required 10 to 15 hours of overtime every two weeks. 

  • Saturday, August 11, 2012 16:03 | Jeffrey Backus

    Benefits and resources.  Since I am a Veteran, the Veteran's Administration is my number one asset and resource.

    VETERANS ADMINISTRATION (VA)

    The VA, like every other Government entity is bound by numerous rules, regulations and procedures; is either under funded or barely making ends meet;  and has a huge buracracy.

    My limited experience with the VA has been mostly positive.  Compared to some stories about VA Disability claims taking many months or even years to be completed; my VA Disabiltiy claim was completed in almost exactly six months. 

    I started the process by sitting down with a Disabled American Veteran representative who screened my medical records and highlighted several ailments that I didn't realize counted.  The DAV Rep also pointed out that I did not have much of a Medical Record for having served 30 years.  I mentioned that I usually self medicated or "sucked it up" until the pain fixed itself.  The DAV Rep told me that I should get everything that had ever happened to me documented before my retirement date.  I was fortunate to have a very senior U. S. Navy Nurse that was the Officer In Charge of my Battalion Aid Station who concured that I needed to get my aches and pains into my record book.  Three (single spaced) typed pages later, I returned.  Each of the ailments was checked out and commented on during my final physical.  I was also diagnosed with a couple of obscure ailments (each good for a "zero percent") and confirmed some others (Tinitus - good for a 10%) for example.  I even had a sleep study done to find out if my snoring was "sleep apnea" which was inconclusive.

    The VA also administers the "Post 911 GI Bill" and other education and training programs.

     

    DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS (DAV)

    I can't say enough good things about this organization.  The DAV Representatives are well schooled and capable of negotiating the VA claims processes.  Everyone should either donate a few dollars or become a dues paying member.

    SOUTHWEST VETERANS BUSINESS RESOURCE CENTERS

    Thank You Al Renteria for bringing this Organization into fruition.

    STATE RUN VETERAN PROGRAMS

    Many of the states also have Veteran programs.  Although I have not explored or taken advantage of California's "CALVET Program", I have heard that they provide assistance with Veteran's home buying ect.

    FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS

    The Federal Government offers a Veteran's Preference for most Federal jobs.  There are various criteria that define the levels of Veteran's preferences.

    5-Point Veteran's Preferance

    Five points are added to the passing examination score or rating of a veteran who served:

    • During a war; or
    • During the period April 28, 1952 through July 1, 1955; or
    • For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955, and before October 15, 1976; or
    • During the Gulf War from August 2, 1990, through January 2, 1992; or
    • For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001, and ending on the date prescribed by Presidential proclamation or by law as the last day of Operation Iraqi Freedom; or
    • In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized. Any Armed Forces Expeditionary medal or campaign badge, including El Salvador, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Southwest Asia, Somalia, and Haiti, qualifies for preference.

    A campaign medal holder or Gulf War veteran who originally enlisted after September 7, 1980, (or began active duty on or after October 14, 1982, and has not previously completed 24 months of continuous active duty) must have served continuously for 24 months or the full period called or ordered to active duty. The 24-month service requirement does not apply to 10-point preference eligibles separated for disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, or to veterans separated for hardship or other reasons under 10 U.S.C. 1171 or 1173.   (Extracted from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) VETGUIDE).

    10-Point Veteran's Preferance

    10-Point Compensable Disability Preference (CP)

    Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of:

    • A veteran who served at any time and who has a compensable service-connected disability rating of at least 10 percent but less than 30 percent.

    10-Point 30 Percent Compensable Disability Preference (CPS)

    Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of a veteran who served at any time and who has a compensable service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more.

    10-Point Disability Preference (XP)

    Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of:

    • A veteran who served at any time and has a present service-connected disability or is receiving compensation, disability retirement benefits, or pension from the military or the Department of Veterans Affairs but does not qualify as a CP or CPS; or
    • A veteran who received a Purple Heart.

    10-Point Derived Preference (XP)

    Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of spouses, widows, widowers, or mothers of veterans as described below. This type of preference is usually referred to as "derived preference" because it is based on service of a veteran who is not able to use the preference.

    Both a mother and a spouse (including widow or widower) may be entitled to preference on the basis of the same veteran's service if they both meet the requirements. However, neither may receive preference if the veteran is living and is qualified for Federal employment.   (Extracted from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) VETGUIDE).

    AMERICAN LEGION

     

    VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS (VFW)

     

    Job Search Web Sites:

                USAJOBS

                Hiremilitary

                MCSSCP.com jobs

     

  • Tuesday, December 06, 2011 15:25 | Jeffrey Backus

    [Edited to read] Swirling the Drain - Been there done that - Got through it.  Because evidently, I'm still not "over it".

    News at 10.

    Apparently, I either forgot to write what was on my mind, or I wrote it and it didn't "save".

    News at 10.

     

     

  • Tuesday, November 15, 2011 20:23 | Jeffrey Backus

    Once again, 6 months have managed to evaporate between my thoughts.  Not much has changed though, my trees are overgrown, the veggie garden is full of weeds and my projects have stalled. 

    At the end of November 2011, it will be three years since my retirement from active duty. It doesn't feel like three years, more like nine months or so. On the bright side, I'm three years closer to moving on to my next life adventure.

    Apparently, another one of Al's prophecy's has become reality.  Shortly after I started my hiring process, Al talked to me about going in another direction.  He told me that my job would consume most of my time and that my contributions here would be much less.  I replied that I did not think that would happen, but it did. 

    As of 15 November 2011, there are approximately 93 learners in Eleven states.  Most of us have posted at least one time, a few more have posted two or three times and another few have posted regularly (irregularly in my case).  I have crossed paths with a few of my fellow learners on rare occasions.  The Boothe's, Ms Price  and of course Ms Grice.  I have been neglecting my duty to encourage my fellow learners to write and hope that I will do a better job of it in 2012.      

    Please spend a few minutes and bang out a paragraph or two on your own blogs, and maybe make a few short comments on the others while you are logged on.

         

     

  • Wednesday, May 25, 2011 11:35 | Jeffrey Backus

    Once again, I cannot believe how fast the time is going by.  In the past several months, I managed to get promoted to GS-08, Police Field Training Officer (FTO) and bought a house in Colorado.  The 4/10 shift experiment did not end well, so we are back on the 12 hour shifts with the average shift being 14 hours.  On the bright side, I am on the day shift, so the ongoing tiredness has worn off, somewhat.  As a Police FTO, I now spend most of my work days patrolling the Base.   I haven't had a trainee for a few months since the Department is in a hiring freeze. 

    Colorado:  My Wife and I intend on settling in Colorado either when I can get a job there or after I retire.  Our "new" house is in Loveland, CO and is a ranch style with a finished walkout basement.  There is room in the front yard for a nice sized work shop and the back yard is big enough for our dog.

     

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