Military veterans are emerging from the pandemic into a new world in 2021, and a lot has changed -- some things decidedly for the better. On this episode, host Hope Hodge Seck is joined by Air Force veteran Blake Stilwell of Military.com and Marine Corps veteran Jeff Daly of the American Legion's Tango Alpha Lima podcast to discuss the five things that every veterans should know about in 2021 -- and how the world is beginning to see military veterans and their potential in a different light.
Editor's Note: Since this episode was recorded, a new law passed allowing all veterans and spouses to receive the COVID-19 vaccine through the VA.
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The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Left of Boom:
Hope Hodge Seck 0:00
Welcome back to Left of Boom. I'm your host, Military.com managing editor Hope Hodge Seck. And we're doing a very special episode today where we're taking a look at 2021 -- this mysterious and hopeful year, and most specifically, its impact on and highlights for military veterans. As we all learned last year, predicting the future can be a very risky thing. But we have some really smart veterans on today who really know their stuff, and would probably be pretty handy in an alien invasion, just in case 2021 doesn't turn out the way we're expecting. With us today are Blake Stilwell, Military.com's veteran jobs and military culture writer. Blake has previously worked at We Are the Mighty and he served in the Air Force as a combat photographer. He may well be the most educated person on Military.com's entire staff. He has degrees in graphic design, television and film, international relations, public relations and Middle Eastern affairs. We're also joined today by Jeff Daly. He's a Marine Corps veteran and host of the American Legion's Tango Alpha Lima podcast. He's a photographer and short film director and producer. And I also understand that he has a background in stand-up comedy. Blake and Jeff, welcome to the show.
Jeff Daly 1:15
Thank you very much.
Hope Hodge Seck 1:16
So the first topic I wanted to get into today was burn pits. We have a story of this month from staff writer Steve Beynon bout how 2021 could be a game-changing year for veterans who believed they were sickened by burn pit exposure. If I could turn to Jeff first. For those who don't know, what are burn pits, and what is the big issue here?
Jeff Daly 1:38
I didn't know that there would be testing. So burn pits are what they sound like. They're big pits with fire that are used to dispose of things that that people have a hard time disposing of. So I mean, tires, chemicals, metals, all the stuff that you wouldn't want to be near the fire if those things were burning, in case that you inhaled them, because it's not good.
Hope Hodge Seck 2:08
And so it seems pretty straightforward that you inhale these things, and people are saying that they're getting sick as a result. So what's the holdup here? What's the blockade between these veterans and kind of any disability or benefits that they deserve?
Jeff Daly 2:24
In my perspective, it's a shame. First of all, if there is anything in the way, let's get that out of the way. It's absolutely unconscionable that people are put into a situation where they didn't have a choice to be there or not to be there. And their lungs and their body didn't have a choice about what was entering into them. And yet, there were things in the way. The most unfortunate piece of that is that the Veterans Administration was in the way. And I do realize that they are a government agency, and they have budgets to live up to, but it's the Department of Veterans Affairs, it's the Veterans Administration, they should be the advocates for any type of issue that affects veterans. If they don't have the budget, then what they should be doing is going full speed ahead and making the case for veterans, instead of you know, celebrities and everybody else coming out. and having to do that grunt work for the VA. This should definitely have been in their wheelhouse. And I personally feel they let down their constituency by not being on the forefront of advocacy for this.
Hope Hodge Seck 3:38
It's interesting, my background, my first job in journalism was at the Daily News of Jacksonville, North Carolina. And eight out of 10 calls that I got to my desk line were from people in the community who believed that they had been made sick by toxic water, toxic drinking water from back in the 1980s when these dry cleaning chemicals seeped into Camp Lejeune wells and made a lot of people sick. So it's interesting how this issue keeps cropping up decade over decade with service members exposed to different substances and getting sick as a result, and then the arduous process of proving that and hopefully, getting what they need before you know, really kind of toxic consequences.
Jeff Daly 4:30
I think with the Camp Lejeune thing and I'm sorry that you had to be there, but that was kind of not known. And if I'm remembering the story right, it wasn't known about until decades later. The burn pits, they're, there. You see them, and you know what's being put into them. And you know that those, those things are not meant to be inhaled. So to me there's is a big difference between the two. I think the water thing is unfortunate, but I don't think it was negligent in the same way as burn pits. I think everyone involved with burn pits, every person on the chain of command at any level, knew that it was not a great thing. And I just think there's there is that there's kind of a difference. And I'm not just saying that because Camp Lejeune's my beloved Marine Corps, I'm saying that because one was a seepage, an accidental seepage, the other was a very purposeful burning, and you know, like everyone knows about tires, I mean, and, and things like that. So it wasn't unknown to people. So I see them kind of differently.
Hope Hodge Seck 5:49
That's definitely fair. So I know one of the things that the VA has done, they consider themselves kind of in the research phase and there's this registry where veterans can go online and say, I believe I was exposed to toxic substances through burn pits, and here's my information, and use my data. So I understand, Blake that you recently went on to the registry and checked it out.
Blake Stilwell 6:17
Yeah, so I was deployed to Iraq, and I was at Camp Victory, but the nature of my job sent me to a number of locations. So I never really thought to join the burn pit registry. But I, you know, I read on Military.com that it was a data collection tool. So I decided to do it. First of all, it there's a lot of, you know, security involved with just signing up for the site, you have to use your old addresses. And sometimes the addresses aren't the same. Like I guessed, luckily, at the address, they were actually trying to get me to use to confirm my previous address. And then you have to accept a text message confirmation. And then you have to accept an email token and confirm. The email that they had was my old Air Force email, I haven't been in the military in 14 years. And the only email address they had for me was charleston.af.mil. And then, when it came time to actually like see my, my record, they had me in Iraq for a month, and the date was after I'd already left the military. So I had to go and update my deployment records first. And then once you actually get to the questionnaire, it took me a half an hour just to get to the questionnaire. To me, it's clear that it is a data collection tool. But for a lot of people, it's very, very long. And when you're designing surveys and whatnot, one of the things you have to be conscious of is fatigue. After a while people get sick of answering questions. And this one, understandably, is long, but it's so long. And when you're designing surveys, you know, one of the things you have to be conscious of is the length, because people will get tired of taking the survey will eventually either give up, because it's so long, or they will just start clicking buttons just to get through it. And I know that the nature of it is this particular survey is very important. But I mean, still that's a risk you run. So if the VA is usually using this as a purely data collection tool, then, you know, they may not be getting the data that they're seeking due to the length of the survey. And at the end of it, one of the last questions is, Do you use the internet? Well, if you didn't use the internet, you would never have made it that far. If you didn't text you to never made it that far. If you didn't have email, you'd never made it that far. So it's I don't know that it was very well designed.
Hope Hodge Seck 8:55
That's really good insight. So a bit of a wild card with that issue is that we have now a President, Joe Biden, who believes that his son Beau was sickened by burn pit exposure. So we have a story up on Military.com about some of the factors that could make 2021 a game-changing year. There's also legislation in Congress and prominent advocates like Jon Stewart, but it's very interesting to have that kind of close connection in the White House itself. So thanks for your insight on those topics. I wanted to roll into something a little bit more uplifting. And that's something that Jeff brought to my attention when we were talking a little while back: the unintended impact of the pandemic for good when it comes to veterans and getting connected with other vets. So Jeff, can you talk a little bit about what you're seeing there?
Jeff Daly 9:48
It's funny, I was not around burn pits but my memory's fading. I don't remember that exact part of our conversation. But the sentiment I can connect with, I do think that one of the unintended consequences is the, you know, the rise of Zoom and Teams and other things like that. And we have more people going, I mean, the American Legion, we have more people going to district meetings than typically do, we have, my post has virtual bar nights on Thursday, that's super productive and amazing for society to have adult beverages on camera with each other. So what could go wrong. So I do feel as though even though we are separated, and it's in, it's not great, I feel like we're making some, we're adding some depth to the relationships that that we have here, because it was easy to go to a meeting and say Hi to somebody, you know, because you know their name, and you know, their face, and you say Hi, and kind of move on. Now you have the opportunity to, strangely and ironically, add some depth with a very less dimensional form of communication with an array of less dimensional forms of communication. I've probably gotten five texts since we've been on here right now. And I would like bonus points for not checking them. We, talk to people on the phone, we do this Zoom thing. And then it's it's weird. It was it was kind of exciting at first, and then there was fatigue: the fatigue, like, don't ever video, call me ever again. And then we kind of eased into it as a new normal. I think the interesting part is going to be what happens next, like at the end of 2021, when we will, hopefully, I'm crossing my fingers here, hopefully, be able to meet in person again, hopefully be able to do activities and go on hikes and do all the things that people do together. Is this going to stay? Is this going to be a part of, not just the greater nation's life, but more specifically, is it really going to stay a part of veterans, veteran service organizations and how we interact, how we do business? How we disseminate information? I'm writing more articles out for for the Legion now. Our listenership for podcasts is going up. I think some of these things are here to stay. I don't know for sure, I'm not Nostradamus or anything, but I kind of can feel that people's habits are changing. And you can see it and things not necessarily related to the military. You know, the number one spending of this first stimulus package? Do you know what it was?
Hope Hodge Seck 12:46
No, I have no idea.
Jeff Daly 12:48
It was bigger TVs. You might think that sounds frivolous. And what could you draw from that conclusion? What I'm drawing from that conclusion is that people are more comfortable watching movies and gathering content at home. The seats are more comfortable, the popcorn's cheaper. You have your own selection of snacks and beverages. Why would I go to a crowded theater with dirty people and expensive things? So I think we're seeing things shift into a new normal. And I think the veteran space is going to have to deal with it. The Legion, for instance, you know, we have most places in their bylaws, you have to meet in person, you have to be there in person to vote. Those things are suspended right now and I'm wondering, what's next for us?
Hope Hodge Seck 13:36
Well, I know a lot of people have sort of an outdated idea in their heads of even what a veterans service organization is. I'm sure there are people saying, I cannot believe the American Legion has a podcast. I thought they had you know, smoke-filled bars that kind of old timers gathered up. But you are part of the Hollywood chapter of the American Legion. Is that, is that right? And from what I understand it's a very hip trendy place with a lot of younger veterans. I mean, can you talk about what that community is like?
Jeff Daly 14:07
Yeah, Hollywood Post 43 is it is a unique and kind of awesome post. If you can believe this, it was that way before I got there. So it's only gotten better. So the Hollywood, the Hollywood post is interesting, because I believe we have more post 9/11 veterans than we do Vietnam veterans and that is not that is not the norm for for posts. We have a diverse membership in terms of ethnicity, sexual orientation, where they come from, you know, we have a lot of people from all the branches except Space Force. And if you're in the LA area ,and you're in Space Force, I need you to join my post, because the boot branch needs to take some of the heat. Because I'm tired of the crayon jokes for Marines. So if I walked into a different post, and it was that old smoky guys sitting around telling war stories that may or may not be true and drinking their shots of whiskey, I don't know that I would have been involved. but I went to Hollywood Post 43, I got involved because they're doing things. We do food drives, blood drives, volunteerism, we do physical things, we participate in community sports leagues. We do all of the things andit became a home so that was really important to me. And then that led me to, you know there's a lot of steps in between but that led me to getting to the Tango Alpha Lima podcast, which i'm also really proud of and we had an amazing guest not too long ago in the name of you, Hope. you were an amazing guest and that's how I got here is because we had such a good time on the Tango Alpha Lima podcast. And yeah, there's a lot of people that were really surprised that the American Legion would allow someone as crazy as me and the others, and Ashley and Mark to just kind of go on with no script and no pre-approved topics. And we kind of talk about everything and anything having to do with the military and veteran space and it's being really well received. And I think we're starting to be one of the ingredients of change in the perception of veterans service organizations. Because your podcast is, you know, you're so smart and you have Blake with all those degrees. And then the American Legion podcast they got, you know, me and so it's a little less, it's a little more on the entertainment value than it is pure straight information. But i think we're getting a good mix of the two and then we bring on when we need when we need credibility we bring we bring the Hopes of the world and to elevate our status, so thank you for that.
Hope Hodge Seck 17:06
Right, well I'd like to say that this is why I don't record video on my podcast, but honestly you are the only guest who's ever tried to make me blush. Most people don't don't assume it's worth their time to butter me up, so thanks for that. Blake, I did want to turn to you. The next topic is in your wheelhouse and I know you've just done a deeper dive on this at Military.com. So we all know that employment absolutely cratered with the 2020 start of the pandemic and it has climbed back quite a bit, even though larger economic impacts continue to be felt. But veterans' employment tends to follow its own trends, and in fact trends for post 9/11 veterans are different from those of previous eras. What are you seeing right now, and what can you predict for the future in terms of veterans jobs and employment?
Blake Stilwell 17:55
Well before I get into that, I just want to say that i can also be entertaining and not just informative. Academics can be fun. As far as veteran employment goes, around this time last year veteran unemployment was in double digits and now though, in February 2021, the unemployment rate for vets was 5.2% So we're seeing a swift turnaround and I think a lot of that is due to the kind of hopeful outlook that Jeff was talking about. A lot of veteran training programs and a lot of better job placement programs, both nonprofit, government etc., have quickly turned around and made their programs available via Zoom. Microsoft just went took its military training academy completely remote, when before it used to require veterans to come into to be trained, now they can do everything they used to do from wherever they are in the country. And there's a lot of positive things about that. Once-local programs are now open to veterans all across the country. They have also adapted in terms of COVID-19 preparations, so programs that definitely require you to be on-site have been condensed to a shorter time. Like the Utility Workers Union will train any military person, anywhere in the last six months of their service. They'll fly them out to Chicago, put them up, train them over six months the equivalent of five years of on-the-job training, and then place them in a utilities job, a union utilities job, all while they're still getting paid by the military. And so because of COVID-19, they had to condense it, they had to make the application process more available. And good things come of it. So a little bit of innovation,a little bit of a creative solution from both the civilian nonprofit sector and from veterans has gone a really long way. And we're starting to see programs that a couple years ago, were just like, unheard of. So, yeah, there is a lot of positive outcomes turning out from the pandemic restriction.
Hope Hodge Seck 20:15
That is really encouraging. Okay, Jeff has a point.
Jeff Daly 20:18
I do. It's weird. So Blake, you, you kind of hopped on to something that I didn't know I was gonna talk about. But there's this thing with veterans where when things get sticky, they, they stick together, I'm in Los Angeles, and we have an organization that we partner up with a lot. It's called Veterans in Media and Entertainment, they're actually a footprint across the country. And one of the things that they talk about a lot is this service gap. You know, it's like if somebody moved out here to be a camera man, or do whatever at 18, and they're gung ho, they're living on scraps, and you know, for a few years, and they're making the connections and getting the skill acquisition that they need to become successful. Where as the service person during those 4, 8, 12, 20, whatever years, they're doing something completely different, they get out, and then now they need to get a civilian job. I'm just happening to speak about the entertainment business, because that's where I'm at. And that's, those are the things that I do. So VME speaks all the time about this service gap and how they're trying to close it. So they have, they have partnerships with studios and corporations that sponsor these things so that they can kind of fast-forward the connections that they make, they can kind of in a very intense way, get the skills that they've missed out while they were serving. And I think that helps. And I think the numbers that Blake was talking about, going from double digits down into five, I think some of that might be because of programs like that, that are ramping people up with their civilian skills during a time when there's high unemployment. And then when there is a comeback, you have a person that has all of those things, plus the intangibles that come with being in the military. So like you were entertaining, as well as inspiring, sir. So now you have all of the degrees. And now you're, you're poaching on my entertainment sector of this whole thing. So kudos to you. But yeah, you just reminded me of that program and how what you're saying has a reality in what I'm what I'm seeing as well.
Blake Stilwell 22:31
Entertainment is one of the few areas where I haven't really been able to take a deep dive for the Military.com audience to help find training programs and employment program opportunities directly for veterans. But I would love to expand on that for us. But it seems like you can find a job placement program or training program in almost any sector, from the Army itself offers career skills programs, you can find jobs in manufacturing, solar energy, health care, it seems like anybody will take on a veteran training program and even help them find jobs if they just, you know, know where to look. And I think part of that has also been highlighted by pandemic restrictions. We have time now to sit and you know, really do a deep dive into some of these opportunities.
Hope Hodge Seck 23:22
How does the array of opportunities out there today compare with what you encountered when you left the military? I think more than a decade ago, right?
Blake Stilwell 23:32
Yeah. Well, I kind of got lucky in my transition, I kind of forced my way into Syracuse University six months after the application deadline, and I took the university's job opportunities from there, so I didn't really get a chance to scout the landscape. But I will tell you that my TAP class, Transition Assistance Program class wasn't as great as I had hoped it would be. Like, I wasn't even proficient at writing a resume by the time I left. But now you can find resume-writing services and job-hunting services and all sorts of things long before you get out. They don't think of it as like a month before you leave checklist. The idea of it now is, a month before you go, six months before you go, there are nonprofits that will pair you for a mentor as you're entering the military and you can prepare for getting out the whole time you're in. So the idea of military service has changed from one of I'm going to be in forever, and then I'm going to suddenly stop and think about what I'm going to do, to, this is a stepping stone to a further career. It may be the military, but I'm looking at other options the whole way through. And I think the military has responded positively to that, especially the Army. And they create opportunities that every every chance they get. It's just our mindset about service has changed.
Hope Hodge Seck 24:59
That is our really fundamental change. Transitioning on, perhaps the biggest transition for veterans in 2021 has been leadership turnover at the VA. So we've got a new VA secretary, Denis McDonough, who's one of the very few non-veterans to hold the post. But he's also been fairly active on diversity, saying he wants to fight like hell for veterans, particularly women and minority vets. He's also ordered a policy review of any structures that might not be welcoming to LGBT veterans and employees -- fairly active already on the job. Jeff, what do you think veterans are hoping to see in terms of change at the VA?
Jeff Daly 25:39
That's a long list, I could probably submit a spreadsheet, I could pick from different things. I do think we're seeing some bigger-picture things like you just talked about. The extremism that's running rampant in the military, and rooting that out, and trying to find out what's causing it, and then getting rid of it. And that stuff is important. The esprit de corps requires that people get along and trust each other and see each other as not just equals, but as their saviours, you know, we save each other all the time. And things that I would like to see from the VA itself -- From the VA, I have some really simple things I would be so ecstatic about. And I hope that they're listening. Because right now, if I want to pick up my phone, the thing that I use for probably 80% of my communication, and I want to go into the messaging with the VA, like messaging with my doctors and see things and records, you can't really do that in a centralized way. They have a lot of random apps, most of which I don't use, they have a launch pad thing that will if basically just opens web versions of things that aren't super optimized for the phone. I really, really just want to see some technology, upgrades from the VA, I would love to just see a singular app that does what MyHealtheVet does. Everything that's in MyHealtheVet in a singular app, and the data is there, they just need somebody to work on the UI so that it's not overly cumbersome, I would love to see that. I would love to see a streamlined way of dealing with things that come up like burn pits, I would like them to take on aggressively the role of advocacy. And, you know, I was encouraged when he said, I'll fight like hell for the veterans. I'm hoping that that's true, because I think that's their Number 1 or 2, maybe 3 level of why they're there. I mean, to administer the funds to distribute benefits to veterans is, is a top thing. I think with advocacy, they're different audiences as well, right. So there's the legislative audience that they need to connect with to get things done. And then there's, there's the general public audience, what Blake talked about earlier, is, the view of veterans has changed. That is huge. Because it wasn't very long ago that I had a friend of mine actually tell me that the military is really for people who can't get into school, and don't come from a lot of resources, and whatever. And she went to this great school and I pointed out to her that they have, they have a really great, large active ROTC program. So some of her classmates who do come from resources, and were able to get into school are interested in the military. But there's that perspective, there was, I think it's kind of gone away. Now. I would love the VA to take a lead in things that aren't just benefit. We need those and they're decent at that. Let's advance in technology. And let's get them advocating for us on every level with every audience.
Hope Hodge Seck 29:03
Blake, what's on your list?
Blake Stilwell 29:04
I would love for the VA to accept the way things go and learn from past mistakes. So for example, learning from past mistakes, talking about the burn pit registry. I mean, it seems like every generation of veterans has its own debilitating health problem that is prevalent. In Vietnam you had Agent Orange. Desert Storm has Gulf War syndrome. Post 9/11 has the burn pits. And we're we're sitting here talking about like whether or not you know this is a real thing sometimes or know what conditions are can be associated with it. Just accept that it happened. You could see the burn pits from almost anywhere on these bases. In Agent Orange, like, the chemical defoliant started causing problems with people almost right away. And Gulf War syndrome. They fought that for years too, but now they're finding physical evidence of neurological disorders in Gulf War veterans. So stop fighting it, start recognizing that it's a problem and take care of it. That's what I would like to see from the Department of Veterans Affairs. And as far as accepting the LGBTQ community, they exist there in the militaries ranks, accept them, and address those needs. So many viewers complain, you know, about how much it costs to support the transgender lifestyle. A lot of people come with medical problems and issues of their own, and we don't single them out, nor should we single out the transgender community. And speaking on what Jeff was talking about, joining the military is career stepping stone, if you use it the right way, I interviewed the Team Rubicon founder not too long ago, and he called the military, the greatest middle-class jobs program in American history. And if you think about it, he's right. You can come from any background, anywhere, learn a new skill, use benefits wisely, to step up your career, step up your personal goals and advance your life. And the military gives you every opportunity, the Veterans Affairs benefits give you every opportunity to get out of it when you put into it. And that mentality is probably, that change of mentality is probably the best stepping stone we've had in the last 20 years.
Hope Hodge Seck 31:25
Finally, a big thing a lot of people are looking forward to in 2021, is the vaccine. And this is not specific to veterans, this is all of us. The VA has actually been pretty effective at getting doses out. That said they're using an algorithm to distribute doses. And some people have complained about disparities and confusion and places where the algorithm goes wrong. Jeff, I wanted to turn to you first. What are you hearing about how well the overall distro effort is going with the vaccines.
Jeff Daly 31:58
It's up and down hope I have the vaccine, I am not 65. I am not a frontline worker. I don't have any debilitating health issues. And yet, I was able to get it. What happened was I had went to the VA, and someone had told me if you go into the standby line, they're having a big problem with no-shows. And you know, you have to follow these things out. And they only last a few days or whatever. So if you go there, there's a chance you could get it. So we go in, there's a gatekeeper, and they like you're not 65. And I said you don't know, I moisturize well, I drink a lot of water. Then he asked about debilitating underlying conditions. And my friend was with me and she said, I don't want to discuss my medical things in public. We'll go talk to the nurse. So he lets us past and then the nurse doesn't ask us a single question. She just gives us the clipboards to fill up the information. And we got the shot. So we texted people, Get down here and get in the standby line. They basically breezed right through, and three of my friends did it that day. And the next day, another friend waited and they just said, Oh, we got in trouble for that yesterday. So we can't let anybody pass at this point. And it concerned me because of the scuttlebutt that had been going around is that that was a thing, because doses were being wasted. And then I had to ask myself, are they wasting doses just to stick to a very thin algorithm, I don't know what else to call it, or just the rules, they just want to know the rules say, You have to do this, this, this and this. And I will say it's kind of, it's changing. In fact, the VA had a couple of locations, here in Los Angeles, it was any age, any veteran in the system in the VA system could go on those specific days and you could be 18. They don't care, you're a vet, you're in the system. Go get em. So they are getting it out there. And if you're willing to go and wait in a line like that, you can get it done.
Hope Hodge Seck 34:05
Hmm. Blake, I know you pay a lot of attention, in fact, maybe more than anyone I know, to military veterans cultural issues. In fact, it's in your job description. So are there any narratives going around that are unhelpful or were counterproductive when it comes to veterans and getting the vaccine that you've seen?
Blake Stilwell 34:26
I was a little dismayed personally that some apes at the San Diego Zoo got the vaccine before I did, but then I looked into it and I guess they have a special vaccine for apes. So now, there's nothing really other than the usual, you know, Bill Gates is tracking me through the virus kind of rumor. I think everybody is pretty, for the most part, accepting that the vaccine is a good thing. The people who are skeptical of it are worried about long-term effects for vets. You know, we get a lot of that vaccines that the general public doesn't get while we're in the military, like, I had smallpox and anthrax myself. You know, you hear stories all the time about, you know, the anthrax vaccine has long-term side effects that I don't know, I'm not. I'm not a doctor. That's not one of my degrees. But you know, you just hear things through the community that, Oh, yeah, this person got this from the anthrax vaccine or smallpox did this. The only thing I know for sure is that, apparently, getting that first shot is harsh. People feel pretty terrible the first day they get it, but it goes away pretty quickly. And I imagine that it goes away a lot more quickly than COVID-19 does. So nothing. Nothing besides the usual crazy conspiracy theories surrounding the vaccine right now. But you know, give us time. We're still, like I said, we're still talking about what the anthrax vaccine did to us 10 years ago. In 20 years, we can talk about how Bill Gates is still tracking us through the COVID-19 vaccine.
Hope Hodge Seck 36:04
Oh my goodness. What a great conversation. This has been. I have learned so much. You guys are fantastically well informed and very smart. And just fun to talk to you to boot. So thank you so much for being on today. And hopefully we'll have to have you back sometime.
Thanks for joining us once again here at Left of Boom. Spring is heating up and I hope everyone listening has reason to be optimistic about the future. Coming up soon we'll have a show with two of the best known military futurists of today, Peter W. Singer and August Cole. We'll also have an upcoming look back at Operation Warp Speed, the 2020 military vaccine distribution effort headed up by an Army four-star general. If you have ideas, requests or even rants, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear from you. And while you're waiting for hot new episodes to drop, remember to get all the news and information you need about your military community every day at Military.com.