Rebel VETS Writers – Fall 2012

Hell & Back Again

Click on the image to be redirected to the registration page.  Register soon…space is limited!

Boots2Business – Employment/Training Opportunity for Las Vegas & UNLV Veterans

MGM Resorts International and the American Red Cross are collaborating on a special initiative called Boots-To-Business. The initiative supports our veterans through:

Pre-Employment Support Services Provided by the Red Cross:

  • Resume creation and review.
  • Interview preparation.
  • Management Training program overview.

Management Training Program:

  • 10-12 week program to prepare for Assistant Manager and/or Manager positions with MGM Resorts International comprised of classroom, on the job, and transition support training.
  • Reconnection Workshops – Small group discussions to unify military families after deployment or separation.
  • Transitional Leadership Workshop – Provides veterans with skills necessary to transition from a military command to a corporate environment.

Deployment Support Provided by the Red Cross: 

  • Services offered to support current MGM employees’ call to active duty.
  • Coping with Deployments Workshop – Provide skills to strengthen families during times of deployment and separation.

Ongoing Support:

  • MGM employee-led mentor group designed to further personal and professional development, promote diversity and strengthen networking among military employees and veterans.

To learn more about Boots-To-Business and to apply, please contact:

 Michael Ryan

Service to Armed Forces

Special Project Manager

American Red Cross

702.369.3038 (O)

702.591.4020 (C)

Graduation Coins & Honor Cords

Attention all graduating student veterans! The Office of Veteran Services, with support from the UNLV Student Veteran Organization and Las Vegas Rotary Club, is proud to offer FREE graduation honor cords and coins to each graduating student veteran. Stop by the Office of Veteran Services, SSC-A Rm 311, anytime before graduation to pick up your free gift, with our congratulations on another mission completed!

Questions? Call 702-895-2290 or email

Veterans Writing Conference – June 1-2, 2012

NOVS Header
Veterans Writing Conference
Las Vegas – June 2012
The Nevada Office of Veterans Services (NOVS) announces its first regional Veterans Writing Conference to be held June 1-2 in Las Vegas, NV. “We’re inviting veterans and family members to this event from the four state area of Nevada, Arizona, California and Utah,” said Caleb Cage, NOVS Executive Director.
VWC soldier writing origAttendees will be able to attend sessions with a group of well known and well published authors all from varying backgrounds of military life experience and all accomplished authors in creative writing.
“We had so much success with the first two writing projects within Nevada, we believe this free conference could be the catalyst for offering more educational opportunities like this one for veterans and their family members,” said Cage. “With six different notable authors and teachers conducting the two-day sessions, there is a wealth of knowledge and direction to be gained for those who would like to pursue creative writing.”
The conference will be held at New York New York hotel on Las Vegas Strip with space for the first 100 people that register. “This is our first undertaking of this kind with this level of scope. We’re not sure what kind of reception to expect, but if it is anything like the state level efforts, we should have good attendance,” said Cage.
As the NOVS continues to reach out to veterans in various organizations throughout each state, anyone receiving this email is encouraged to forward it through their own email network. “We know there is interest out there and we hope folks will help us spread the word of the conference and we appreciate their time in doing so.”
– Caleb Cage
Date: June 1-2, 2012

Location: New York New York – Las Vegas, NV
Click Herefor registration and conference information

Conference is free to attendees. Space is limited. 
Hotel reservations and food costs are the responsibility of attendees.
Download Conference Flyer for posting.
Conference Speakers

SallySally Drumm served on active duty in the United States Marine Corps from 1978 through 1998. During August 2005, having earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte while participating in a Veterans Administration education program for disabled veterans, Sally founded MilSpeak Creative Writing Seminars, a free creative writing program for military people. In 2009, Sally founded MilSpeak Foundation, a nonprofit organization working to raise awareness about creative works by military people. Through the foundation, Sally operates a number of military focused creative writing outlets. Along with MilSpeak Books, an eBooks publisher, MilSpeak Memo, a literary magazine, and other programs, Sally is a leader in promoting military people in the arts by developing and encouraging creativity among military people.

Lee BarnesH. Lee Barnes lives and writes in Las Vegas, where he teaches English and creative writing at the College of Southern Nevada. In his past lives, he was a soldier, a deputy sheriff, a narcotics agent, a casino dealer, and a martial arts instructor. His short stories have won the Willamette and the Arizona Authors Association fiction awards. Gunning for Ho, his first collection of short stories, was a finalist for the Stephen Turner First Fiction Award offered by the Texas Institute of Letters. In 2009 he was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.

David Abrams’s short stories have appeared in Esquire, Narrative, The Literarian, Connecticut Review, and other literary quarterlies. Abrams had a 20-year career in the active-duty Army as a journalist, was named the Department of Defense’s Military Journalist of the Year in 1994 and received several other military commendations throughout his career. He joined the 3rd Infantry Division in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His journal during that year formed the blueprint for the novel which became known as Fobbit, and is scheduled for publishing in 2012. He earned a BA in English from the University of Oregon and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

Siobhan Fallon, an army spouse, is the author of You Know When the Men Are Gone, “lean, powerful stories” (NY Times) set at Fort Hood, Texas. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Publishers’ Weekly, Women’s Day, Good Housekeeping, New Letters, and she is currently writing a monthly fiction series for Military Spouse Magazine. She earned her MFA from the New School in New York City.

Pinckney Benedict grew up in the mountains of southern West Virginia. He has published four volumes of fiction; his work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including 2009’s Home of the Brave: Stories in Uniform. He is currently at work on a thriller, the protagonist of which is a veteran of combat in Iraq who suffers from traumatic brain injury.

Matt Gallagher joined the U.S. Army in 2005 and received a commission in the armored cavalry. Following a fifteen-month deployment in Iraq, Gallagher left the army as a captain in 2009. The author of the war memoir Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War, he works at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) as a Senior Fellow and is an MFA candidate at Columbia University.

SERV Training: For UNLV Faculty & Staff

Today, the UNLV Office of Veteran Services is excited to announce the launch of SERV Training for UNLV Faculty & Staff.  Designed to help the UNLV community learn more about student veterans and military families, this one hour training will provide an overview of student veteran needs & challenges, as well as information about resources available on campus.

Those who complete the training will receive a SERV sticker to display proudly in the workspace, signifying to all veterans that the faculty or staff member is part of the effort to make UNLV more veteran-friendly.  If an entire department completes training, Rebel VETS will also provide a larger print poster for the department’s reception area to be sure veterans are aware of the effort.

This in-person, interactive training may be conducted for entire departments and will also be scheduled once a month for the remainder of the Spring 2012 semester (check back for dates/times).  Interested departments should contact Sally Caspers, Rebel VETS Program Coordinator, at 4-4611 or to schedule a training opportunity.

UNLV SERV Training: Serving Every Returning Veteran & Making UNLV a Veteran-Friendly Zone.

Suggested Reading

I was fortunate to attend the Student Veterans of America annual conference, held here in Las Vegas, last month and hear Gen. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, speak as the keynote. His speech was insightful and encouraging.  It was a challenge to SVA, and each of its 500 chapters, to step up and own the responsibility for excellence in our education and in our future endeavors.

Sixty-seven years ago, there was an original GI Bill that educated and trained nearly 8 million of the 16 million Veterans who fought and won World War II. That educational opportunity lasted from 1944-1956—just 12 years. The Veteran leadership that graduated under that program went on to catapult the U.S. economy to world’s largest and our nation to leader of the free world and victor in the Cold War.

Today, over 410,000 Veterans and family members, like yourselves, are enrolled in college under the new 9/11 GI Bill. Adding in all our other Veteran college programs brings that number up to over 920,000.

Each year almost 70% of high school seniors in this country enter college. Many of them don’t complete the first semester, let alone the first year. The graduation rate for all students entering 4-year colleges and universities in the United States is 57%. Remember, I am trying to isolate what we know from what we don’t know. Left to seek its own level, do we think that your graduation rates will be any better than the historic norm? I don’t know, and neither do you.

If you think this country owes you an education, you have an attitude problem. They didn’t do this for any generation since World War II—until yours.

If, on the other hand, you think you owe the American people and great folks like Bill and Melinda Gates and the VSOs, who have given you wings, your best performance academically, I think we’ll all come out much better—Veterans, SVA, and the country. More Veterans will graduate; SVA will be acknowledged as the force behind that. Veterans, collectively, will have embraced ownership and responsibility for their education. And one thing I know about this generation is that, if you own something, you deliver.

You see, that’s what happened on all those tough missions you took on—you took ownership, you got it done, you took care of one another, and you reset yourselves each day for the next go. So does SVA own the mission of shepherding this generation of Veterans through this educational experience, at a time when the country needs strong, bold, decisive, disciplined, and principled leadership to jumpstart its lagging economy? A country that is investing in your skills, knowledge, and attributes? Does SVA own this?

This year we expanded the new 9/11 GI Bill to provide vocational training and other non-degree programs to broaden the opportunity for Veterans who may not want to spend four years in a college classroom. If they want work skills that allow them to join the workforce today, that is now also available to them, as it was for Veterans under the original GI Bill. So who has the mission of organizing the students in this training effort? Do they fit into SVA’s structure?

Now, if the new 9/11 GI Bill follows the track of the original GI Bill, we could be more than two years into a 12-year opportunity. Hence, my earlier question, where does SVA think it will be in 10 years? Do you have momentum to produce, as the World War II generation did, or were they truly a unique, one-of-a-kind “greatest generation”?

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The United States has a long list of challenges, but our returning veterans are one of the great assets we will be able to leverage as we retool for the 21st century.  Those veterans who are also college students stand poised at the tip of the spear of all these great possibilities.  The challenge, of course, will be for you to step up, work hard, and excel.  If you are motivated and seek support, there is just nothing you can’t do.  If the Rebel VETS program can help or guide you to resources to help you improve, to be more excellent, please let us know what you need.

Spring 2012 – Welcome Back!

Welcome back, Rebel Vets!  With classes for the Spring 2012 semester starting next week (17 Jan), the campus is starting to wake up from our Winter Break quiet time.  We’ve seen lots of you in the Office of Veteran Services this week to turn in your Semester Enrollment Forms and get your GI Bill benefits flowing for another semester.  Rest assured that our VA Certifying Official is working hard to have your anticipated payments loaded on MyUNLV by the payment deadline.  Be sure to check your MyUNLV account activity (Finances or Financial Aid tab) to see if it’s been done before you call to check on it…every phone called answered means time not spent processing paperwork.

If you’re looking for a refresher on how the GI Bill works, have general questions about VA policy, or are thinking of changing tracks, you might check out this blog post from the official VA blog, VAntage Point.  Great resources there from a vet who is both a student and working at VA.

If you’re new to campus, please come visit the Office of Veteran Services sometime.  We’d love to meet you and set you up with lots of tools for success.  Also, be sure to reach out to the UNLV Student Veteran Organization when you’re ready to get involved and meet some of your peers.  You’ll find them on Facebook and Twitter (@svounlv) or on the web at

Looking forward to working with you all and here’s to a great 2012!

Rebel VETS Writers – Spring 2012

Here’s another great opportunity for students new to UNLV and looking to get started on your core education requirements!  This 3 credit English 101 class is reserved just for veterans and is on every VA-approved, GI Bill eligible undergraduate degree sheet at UNLV.   Such a great opportunity to get to know fellow veterans while you also knock out an important required class.  Contact Rebel VETS at 702-774-4611 to get released for enrollment!


Bootstraps to Briefcases