It's November 11th: Veteran's Day. All of us vets are going to be inundated with thank yous and the like, but if you've worn the uniform you know being a vet isn't something that happens one day a year. It's with you for life.
We're lucky to live in a country that cares for its veterans. We can all level criticism at the VA, but it is getting better and there are plenty of good-hearted people willing to pick up the slack by offering their time, patience, and expertise.
I've written previously about job training and mobile applications that are just for veterans, and today I want to cover online resources. These five websites offer a lot for veterans of the US armed forces: Whether you need job training, a home loan, emergency help, or info on how to use your well-earned benefits, it's all right here.
This one-stop shop for all things military related delivers news, has information on benefits, maintains its own veterans job board, and features tons of other resources to make life as a veteran just a little bit easier.
SEE: Veterans in the workplace: What employers and vets need to know (TechRepublic)
If you're looking for a web portal to be your connection to military life Military.com is it. There isn't a whole lot it doesn't have, though other sites listed here do have a narrower focus that makes them more useful in certain circumstances.
Are you the kind of veteran who still sees military in everything you do? Just set Military.com as your homepage to stay completely connected.
The VA: Love it or hate it it's probably a part of your life now, and presumably for the rest of it as well. If you've been frustrated by the outdated, unfriendly, and downright labyrinthian layout of the VA's website you aren't alone.
The VA has been trying hard to reinvent itself, and Vets.gov is the face of that reinvention. This new face of the VA's web presence is simple to navigate, easy to use, and puts all the important questions front and center without the clutter of the old site.
If you want to use your VA benefits to their fullest Vets.gov is the place to go, but there is a caveat: It's new so you may not find what you're looking for. If that's the case the site directs you back to VA.gov—sorry.
Veterans Crisis Line
Operated by the VA, the Veterans Crisis Line is there to help those who need it the most. Those needing emergency help with PTSD, depression, suicidal thoughts, and other life crises can call 1-800-273-8255 (option 1), text 838255, or chat online through the site.
The Veterans Crisis Line also contains a number of resources for self-treatment and information on how to recognize the signs of a crisis in loved ones. It's an excellent resource for those suffering and those who care for them.
I'm guessing there are very few veterans who haven't heard of USAA. If you're one of them you're really missing out: USAA is an insurance, home loan, banking, investing, and life planning powerhouse. Their services are only open to veterans and their immediate families, and the rates are exceptionally good.
If you haven't at least looked into USAA's offerings you need to do so: It could change your entire financial situation for the better!
Hire Heroes USA
Looking for a job or job training? Hire Heroes USA is the site for you. The site offers a wide variety of training resources, job postings, and everything else vets need to find a new career after leaving the service of their country.
SEE: Indeed report: What cities are most profitable for these common tech jobs? (TechRepublic)
No veteran should go without work after ETS, and Hire Heroes USA wants to make sure that happens. Check them out if you find yourself lost on the path to a rewarding career.
Bonus: Veteran's Day 2016 freebies
Businesses around the country fall over themselves to give benefits to vets on Veteran's Day, so take advantage of them. Here's a list of some of the best offers. Lots of local businesses offer freebies too, which you can find sorted by state here.
From one vet to another, thanks for getting my six.
- The five military OPSEC steps that businesses can learn from (TechRepublic)
- The internet of military things: Logistics dream, security nightmare? (ZDNet)
- 10 pieces of military technology that changed the way the civilian world works (TechRepublic)
- Want a good tech job? Report says open-source skills are hotter than ever (ZDNet)
- Bob and Lee Woodruff on Stand Up for Heroes event to help wounded vets (CBS News)
Brandon Vigliarolo has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.