Thursday, December 15, 2016

20 veterans groups petition for McDonald to remain VA secretary

ICYMI: 20 veterans groups petition for McDonald to remain VA secretary: Leaders of 20 veterans groups are appealing to President-elect Donald Trump to retain Bob McDonald as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In a letter sent to Trump on Wednesday, the groups said the veterans community “cannot afford to start over” on a transformation of the VA that McDonald has initiated in his two years in the post. They noted McDonald’s “MyVA” reform program, which has been touted as improving veterans’ trust in the agency.
“We decided to come together, we decided to lead on this, because we’re committed to helping President-elect Trump succeed,” said Bill Rausch, director of the nonprofit Got Your 6. “We looked at all the candidates and our conclusion was that Bob McDonald was the best to move forward to reform the VA.”

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

20 vets group urge Trump to keep McDonald at VA

20 vets group urge Trump to keep McDonald at VA: Twenty veterans organizations urged President-elect Trump on Wednesday to keep on Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald in the next administration. The groups sent a letter that voiced support for those who have proven their commitment and qualifications to getting it right and asked that McDonald be able to stay in his role after leading the largest transformation in the department's history. As you make your selection for VA secretary, then, we advocate for an approach that recognizes and builds upon current progress, the letter says. Given the challenges we face, we cannot afford to start over. The letter was organized and led by Got Your 6 executive director Bill Rausch. The groups supporting it include AMVETS, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, the National Military Family Association, the Service Women's Action Network, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors and Wounded Warrior Project.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Storytellers 2016 Montage -- New York City

Got Your 6 Storytellers showcases the exemplary talents and ideas of some of our country’s brightest and most groundbreaking veterans. Join us in celebrating their accomplishments and become #VetInspired by their stories of leadership.

Please watch our 2016 Storytellers NY sizzle reel and share widely to help everyone become #VetInspired this holiday season!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

"Don't Just Thank, Vote!" PSA

TODAY is Election day and Got Your 6 has one word for you - VOTE. In celebration of November 8th's General Elections, Got Your 6 has partnered with attn:, Rob Riggle, David Eigenberg, Joe Manganiello, JW Cortes, Tom Arnold, Bill Rausch, Kate Hoit and more, to launch our latest PSA, showing the importance of exercising this valuable freedom and driving as many people to the polls as possible. More information about Got Your 6 here:

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Veterans to America: Thank us by Voting

As an Army Captain, I deployed to Baghdad in May 2006, just a few months after the historic December 2005 Iraqi election. During my time in Iraq, I met countless Iraqis who proudly showed me photos of themselves and their family members holding up purple-stained fingers signifying they had voted in that election.
These men and women faced down roadside bombs, suicide bombers, and rooftop snipers, all for the chance to participate in a free and open election. Eighty percent of the Iraqi electorate turned out that Election Day. Over the past 100 years, Americans have not even come close to that level of turnout. Lately, it has been even worse.
In the 2012 presidential election, of the 235 million eligible voters in America, only 129 million – around 55 percent -- bothered to show up to the polls. That’s without having to dodge sniper bullets.
So Election Day 2016, which lands just three days before Veterans Day, those who wore the uniform are issuing Americans a challenge: Don’t just thank veterans for our service. Honor our sacrifice by voting.
I joined the military to defend the American way of life and the freedoms we seem to increasingly be taking for granted. But while I understand that not everyone can serve this country in uniform, every eligible voter can embrace the responsibility to serve by voting.
That’s why today the veteran empowerment organization Got Your 6 joined the media company ATTN: in launching a new nonpartisan public service announcement, “Don’t Just Thank, Vote!”
The PSA features former U.S. Navy Petty Officer Seth Smith who once voted on an aircraft carrier floating in the middle of the Persian Gulf, former U.S. Army Specialist Kate Hoit who voted by absentee ballot while getting ready to deploy to Iraq, and U.S. Air Force Reserves Staff Sargent Corrina Ramos who has voted in every election.  
Additionally, the PSA includes actors and veterans Rob Riggle, David Eigenberg, and J.W. Cortes, actors Tom Arnold and Joe Manganiello, who are using their celebrity to get the word out about our challenge. 

Finally, the campaign is being supported through the online fundraising platform Omaze, which is selling “Don’t Just Thank, Vote!” t-shirts to raise funds and awareness to support the campaign.
We know that veterans are more engaged in the democratic process, but even if all 21.8 million veterans were to cast a ballot in November, we still wouldn’t reverse our nation’s poor voter participation rate. However, as veterans, we feel it is our responsibility to lead from the front.
Veterans are already statistically more likely to vote this Election Day. Got Your 6 recently released our Veterans Civic Health Index, which shows that veterans 15 percent higher voting rates in local election compared to their non-veteran counterparts.
So this Election Day, we are encouraging all Americans to do their duty. We want actions, not words. Don’t just thank, vote!
For more information, visit
Bill Rausch is an Iraq War veteran and the Executive Director of Got Your 6. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

VCHI Confirms the Civic Strength of our Veterans

If you were one of the 16,000+ people who watched our SiriusXM event on Facebook Live, you know that last week Got Your 6 unveiled the findings of its second annual Veterans Civic Health Index. The report confirms exactly what we already know: that veterans are the civic assets our country has been searching for! Veterans volunteer, engage with local governments and community organizations, vote, and help their neighbors, all at rates higher than their non-veteran counterparts. For more information about the report, visit: We released the 2016 VCHI at an event titled “Veterans: America’s Greatest Assets” at SiriusXM’s Washington, D.C. studios. The morning kicked off with a panel that included VA Sec. Bob McDonald and Janaia DeShields from Points of Lights.

We also used the day to highlight some of our outstanding nonprofit leaders, including Dave Landymore of Baltimore’s The 6th Branch, Heather Boyd of Team Red White & Blue, and Lourdes Tiglao of Team Rubicon USA.

The report has already been featured in the Washington ExaminerMilitary TimesStars and Stripes, and We Are The Mighty, and it is making the rounds on social media:

Listen to “Veterans: America’s Greatest Assets” airing on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel 124 from now through veterans day. While yesterday wouldn’t have been possible without the support of all of Got Your 6’s amazing partners, I want to specifically thank the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and American Express for their support with the 2016 VCHI. As we work to change the way Americans think about our veterans, days like yesterday remind me why I signed up to lead Got Your 6, and I hope it reinforces why all of our supporters are advocates for this great cause. One team, one fight. #BOOM! Bill Rausch is an Iraq War veteran and the Executive Director of Got Your 6. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Veteran Transition: Hear from Got Your 6 Executive Director Bill Rausch

SEPTEMBER 13, 2016
Bill Rausch, Executive Director of Got Your 6
This week, the Bush Institute's Military Service Initiative is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative and the United Service Organizations (USO) to host an event that highlights the resources and careers available to transitioning service members, veterans, and their spouses.  As we dive into this important issue, the Bush Institute is publishing a series examining the important role that employers and non-profits play in veteran transition and recommendations on how to leverage a veteran's leadership talent.
Today, Bill Rausch, the Executive Director of the non-profit Got Your 6 and a former Army Major, discusses why hiring and investing in veterans isn't simply the right thing to do, it's the smart thing for business leaders and employers to do.
Can you give us some background on how/why Got Your Six was formed?
In 2012, Got Your 6 was created to empower veterans to lead a resurgence of community across the country. The campaign unites cross-sector partners who believe that veterans are uniquely suited to tackle society’s most pressing challenges. Through service to others, we serve ourselves.
Leveraging a coalition approach, we work to integrate these perspectives into popular culture, to engage veterans and civilians together to foster understanding, and to empower veterans to lead in their communities. We know that most veterans leave the military seeking new challenges, and the campaign ensures that in doing so there are opportunities for them to continue their service.
This campaign is for all Americans—because all Americans should benefit from veterans’ leadership and skills. For civilians, Got Your 6 helps to dispel misconceptions and myths about who veterans are and what they have to offer. For veterans, Got Your 6 ensures that they are empowered to lead by uniting the nation’s best veteran empowerment organizations. 
In your experience in working with veterans who are transitioning, what would you say is the number 1 issue they face when they began applying for jobs?
The biggest issue I see veterans face when transitioning is the same issue I had; finding a community and sense of purpose again. Despite having a supportive family and strong network, I struggled being part of a community again and that negatively impacted my transition. I went to several programs designed to help me transition. But no matter how good a transitioning service member becomes at writing their resume, updating their LinkedIn profile, or applying for jobs, having a support group is truly a game changer for veterans. Communities or networks provide us with relationships that can be leveraged for internships, interviews, and job opportunities.
A great way for veterans to build community and find job opportunities is by volunteering. Joining a veterans group or local organization is a way to meet and connect with neighbors. It’s also a great way to meet with potential employers and hiring managers. Even with the perfect resume, it can be difficult to make it past Human Resources and to the hiring manager so building community is important. It’s a way to feel part of a team again. Check out our list of nonprofit partners to find out more about what’s happening in your community!
Can transitioning service members effectively use the skills they gained in the military in the private sector? If so, how?
Absolutely! I served over 10 years as a Field Artilleryman and although I’ve never fired a howitzer or rocket in the civilian sector the values and skills I learned as a leader in the U.S. Army have helped me lead a successful career out of uniform.
Simple skills like showing up early to work, leading by example and having a can-do attitude is the foundation I have built my career on. Working long hours in a stressful environment every veteran is used to and the values we embodied in the military are the framework for success in any job, in any industry.
Remember, nearly 250,000 service members leave the military each year and re-enter civilian life. We believe that it’s crucial for Americans to see veteran reintegration as an opportunity, because veterans are uniquely suited to solve some of our nation’s most difficult challenges. Not only have they have acquired skills from their military job. But they’ve acquired a vast amount of other skills. They have leadership experience, a sense of teamwork, a vast network, and a sense of humor (which is always a plus in the workplace). And when you think about it, taxpayers have paid for veterans’ training. We should see the potential for veterans to strengthen our communities and embrace their service in the private sector.
Can you outline for employers why hiring veterans will benefit their company?
I’ve worked in politics, the private and nonprofit sector and I can say with absolutely certainty that there is a clear ROI in hiring veterans and family members. In addition to the values and leadership experience nearly every veteran possess, we know that veterans are also more likely to go the extra mile. Later this month, Got Your 6 is launching the 2016 Veterans Civic Health Index (VCHI) that validates that veterans are more civically engaged than our civilian counterparts. We vote, volunteer, and know our neighbors at much higher levels. These traits equate to veterans starting affinity groups at work, organizing community service projects, and just being more engaged in their communities.  
In a recent survey, when global business leaders were asked what they value in their colleagues (i.e. drivers for being employed/promoted), the top three were; honesty, dedication and being organized. And veterans have all those attributes.
What would you say to a veteran who may be struggling with their transition?
You’re not alone. No matter what you did in the military or how many years you served, three years or thirty, transition is tough for all of us. I’ve been there and I’ve gotten through the tough times but I didn’t do it alone. Reach out to your friends and family. If that’s not an option join a veteran empowerment organization that can connect you to your community and give you the tools, experience, and confidence needed to provide you with a sense of purpose again.
I vividly remember the days and nights longing to be back in Baghdad. I used to think back to the “good times” in Iraq but not remembering the horrible and difficult moments of my deployment. I longed for a mission again, a sense of purpose, a higher calling. I remember feeling empty not being around people I could trust completely with my life and feeling like folks didn’t understand me. We’ve all been there but we can get through it. We have the ability and the opportunity to reach a point in our lives when we stop looking back to the deployments and assignments we were given and start looking forward. We have the potential and opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those around us. Our service doesn’t end when the uniform comes off.
We took a one team, one fight approach to every mission in the military and that’s the same approach we need to take back here at home. That’s the key to our transition and success.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

This is how Bill Rausch and the ‘Got Your Six’ team works with movie makers to get it right

Podcast, Veterans
The mission of Got Your Six is to normalize the depiction of veterans on film and television and dispel common myths about the veteran population. Together with partners in the entertainment industry, business, and politics, it casts a wide net of influence and social change.
In this episode of the We Are The Mighty podcast, Got Your Six executive director Bill Rausch and WATM’s Logan Nye discuss the depiction of veterans in mainstream entertainment.
Hosted by:
  • Logan Nye: Army veteran and associate editor
  • Orvelin Valle (AKA O.V.): Navy veteran and podcast producer
Bill Rausch photo courtesy of Got Your Six.
Bill Rausch is a former Army Major with over 10 years of service, including 17 months in Iraq serving under Gen.s Casey and Petraeus while assigned to the Information Operations Task Force. Prior to joining GY6, Bill was Political Director at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America where he oversaw policy and advocacy campaigns.
More about Bill Rausch’s experience on his Got Your Six profile page.

Selected links and show notes from the episode:

  • [01:30] Got Your Six’s mission.
  • [02:15] How and why Got Your Six got involved in the entertainment industry.
  • [03:15] How Got Your Six helps movie makers tell the veteran experience.
  • [07:40] How Got Your Six works with business and politics.
  • [10:40] What Got Your Six certified means in the entertainment industry.
  • [13:00] Why Got Your Six is less interested in military standards and more interested in telling the veteran experience.
  • [15:15] Why military families are just as important as the service member.
  • [19:50] What it’s like working with celebrities.
  • [21:20] How Melissa Fitzgerald helps veterans and military families.
  • [22:45] How combat veteran J.W. Cortes (best known for his recurring role in Gotham) is giving back to the veteran community.
  • [23:40] Upcoming Got Your Six projects.
  • [27:40] Bill Rausch’s favorite military transition movie: The Best Years of Our Lives, 1946.
This is how 'Got Your Six' works with movie makers to get it right