Life After The Military: General (Ret.) Mike Eastman

Do you know that over 200,00 men and women exit the military every year? Do you know that problematic transitions are the #1 cause of veteran suicide? 

Do you know that the likelihood of a veteran committing suicide increases 2-3 Xs in the first 12 months of exiting the military? The Department of Veterans aAfairs has labeled this 12-month period the “deadly gap!”

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In this week’s episode of Life After the Military, Lee and Howie interview BG (Ret) Mike Eastman, the Executive Director of the Army ETS Sponsorship Program.

Mike talks candidly about the harsh realities and challenges of navigating the rough waters of the transition process if a transitioning service member waits too long to plan, prepare and execute like he did.

Mike provides valuable context about the vision and mission of the Army’s ETS Sponsorship Program. He describes how this program helps transitioning service members, their spouses and family members land more softly, successfully and with less stress as they start their post-military careers.


Show Notes

00:00 Lee opens the show, introducing General (Ret.) Mike Eastman to the PMM audience

1:44 General (Ret.) Mike Eastman tells us his transition story and discusses his role as the Executive Director of the Army ETS Sponsorship Program

3:24 Mike discusses the harsh realities of transitioning, and how the Army ETS Sponsorship program connects local, community-based sponsors to transitioning service members through its various unit-based offerings across the country

13:58 Lee points out how major or even seasonal transitions can affect the human psyche

16:44 Lee asks the question, would service members be negatively impacted if they began the transition process on the first day of service?

21:39 Howie reflects on Mike’s story, outlining some important additions to the Soldier for Life program

26:29 Mike Eastman explains the ingenious and complex way that the ETS Sponsorship program connects veterans to Veteran Service Orgs (VSO’s)

32:31 Lee and Mike discuss the “silent partner” in the military transition – veteran families

43:26 The group has a serious discussion about military transitions and military deaths

​​46:15 Howie describes his experience training to become an ETS sponsor

48:49 Lee presents Mike’s book title

50:37 Using the movie “300” as a reference, Mike encourages a healthier perception of service members

52:12 Mike tells the audience how he practices mental fitness on a daily basis

55:13 Lee, Howie and Mike close the show

Life After the Military: Pete Tingstrom, LTC (Retired)

If you are a transitioning service member getting ready to exit the military, check out our latest episode of Life After The Military with LTC (Retired) Pete “Aloha” Tingstrom.

In this episode, Pete candidly admits that he waited way too long to start his planning to exit the military and what that cost him by creating unnecessary stress.

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Pete shares how he leveraged the use of veteran services organizations to help him develop and execute his transition plan.

Learn how Pete used the power and value of networking, which not only helped him find his first job after military retirement, but also led him to start his own business as an entrepreneur.

Pete gives great insight on the different work experiences he had that included government contracting, entrepreneurship, and taking on the challenge offing the campaign manager for an Army veteran running for Governor of the State of Hawaii, Lynn Mariano.

Learn how Pete uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to strengthen his mental fitness and deal effectively with his challenges.


Aloha O’ahu Weddings:





Personal Social Media handles:






Show Notes:

00:00 Pete details his transition history; how taking a chance on LinkedIN led to his first government contracting role

08:15 Howie recaps the very important details and the steps Pete took to land his first contracting role; the group discusses the problem with feeling overly-responsible for your work

13:34 The discussion shifts to highlight the immense value of veteran service organizations (VSO’s)

18:35 Pete has experience in a variety of fields including government contracting, consulting, and even acting – in this segment he shares how his additional careers began and some strong lessons he learned in business

28:53 Howie reiterates Pete’s points, offering excellent advice on negotiating offers and self-valuation in government contracting

36:35 Pete dives into his work as a campaign manager for Lynn Mariano, candidate for Governor of Hawaii

42:23 Lee gives Pete the title for his autobiography (unwritten), then asks the question, “How do you manage and strengthen your mental fitness?”

49:53 The group remarks on servant-leaders like Pete, imploring the audience to help others

54:39 Lee closes the show

Life After the Military: Brad Thomas

What is your identity – how do you define yourself?

What is most important to you?

What can you do to stay true to your authentic self?

In this week’s Pivotal Moments Media Charlie Mike Channel episode of Life After the Military we talk with a combat veteran, 5-time Bronze Star awardee (one with a “V” Device for Valor), and former Ranger and Delta Operator, Brad Thomas.

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In this very candid, open, and transparent discussion, Brad shares how he balanced his role as a combat veteran with his role as a rock musician. 

A lover of music since his childhood, Brad never let his time in uniform completely define him. He always saw himself as a creative artist – whether writing and playing music or working on combat development projects to bring new, innovative equipment to the battlefield to make his combat colleagues more safe and more effective.

In this episode, Brad discusses

  • Staying true to yourself while serving in the military
  • Encourages veterans to see more in themselves than just their identity in a uniform
  • How he conceived of and patented body armor to help his battle buddies
  • Putting himself and his family first in his the decision-making process 
  • Giving back to the community from an intentional place
  • How the late 80’s – 90’s rock era influenced his love for music and his career as a musical artist
  • How his veteran rock band, Silence and Light, contribute directly to charity through their music sales
  • The importance of contributing to the community and maintaining your mental health


Show Notes:

00:00 Howie and Lee introduce Brad Thomas, a five-time combat medal recipient and founding member of the all-veteran rock band Silence and Light

1:53 Brad shares his perspective on military service and self-preservation

9:45 An origami gift was developed into an innovative combat gear solution, eventually earning Brad a US patent for special ops armor

12:55 The conversation shifts to the importance of keeping a sense of community, including how Silence and Light’s music directly benefits military charities

16:48 Brad discusses his earliest memories and connections with music, and how the band formed

22:57 Brad explains how the American grunge rock sound from the late 80s to mid-90s became the soundtrack to his life during active combat duty

25:51 Lee brings back a favorite game, giving a new title to Brad’s potential autobiography; the conversation shifts to selflessness

28:20 Brad explains the flow state he and his bandmates achieve when making music, and how it serves as a crucial form of therapy

30:54 Wise words about finding what keeps you mentally fit

33:32 Howie discusses survivor’s guilt

35:13 Lee adds the final book title and closes the show

Life After The Military: Jon King and Sam Dreyer

We are privileged to have Sam Dreyer and Jon King from Microsoft to share the challenges and victories they experienced while joining the workforce after the military. Together, they have a combined 20+ years of service, along with their own incredible stories of mental health experiences.

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Join us for an episode of 

  • Learning how to nurture your network even after committing to a job 
  • Exploring the MSSA program and why veterans MUST take advantage of it
  • Reinforcing that a medical diagnosis doesn’t define you


Help is always available. 






SAM DREYER: Since his exit from the Army, Sam has worked in multiple information technology positions with CompUSA, IBM, Wipro Technologies, and has spent the last nine years with Microsoft. He currently works as a Senior Customer Success Account Manager.


JON KING: Jon served in the United States Army as a rotary wing pilot and aviator. Like Sam, Jon currently works as a Customer Success Account Manager.

Life After The Military: Don Gleason and Matt Scherer; Military Transition Roundtable

Do you want to know a secret to success?

Do you want to follow a principle of the most successful people in the world?

Are you familiar with Napoleon Hill and his book Think and Grow Rich?

Ever hear of the Mastermind Principle?

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If you are a transitioning veteran or know any, you will get so much value from this week’s episode of Life After The Military with our guests and Air Force veterans Matt Scherer and Don Gleason – two highly successful veteran entrepreneurs who serve as the President and Vice President of the Military Transition Roundtable (MTR).

This veteran service organization applies one of Napoleon Hill’s principles of success: the Mastermind Principle. It simply states that if you want to achieve a level of success, you must surround yourself with people who have already achieved that level of success.


In the episode, Don and Matt explain how transitioning veterans will increase their transition success and lower their stress by doing the following:

  • taking control of your transition
  • Networking
  • Enrolling in higher education
  • Following through with connections
  • Researching companies and working to understand how their profits are made, and how your position fits into that equation


Matt shares why doing the following will increase your transition success:

  • Joining non-military groups
  • Volunteering in the community
  • Finding out the kinds of people you like to work with
  • Gaining technical skills in the military pre-transition/using LinkedIn to connect with people with those same skills


Learn more about the MTR:

  • The DISC personality assessment to start
  • How the group helps veterans understand what they want when searching for a new job
  • How having an accountability partner produces a staggering 500% uptick in the probability of reaching a goal



Don Gleason:

Matt Scherer:



Don Gleason: @DonGleason15

Matt Scherer:@Matt_scherer


The Military Transition Roundtable:

Scherer Communications:

Achieve New Heights, LLC:

Military Transition: From Combat Boots to Business Suits

Military officers spend a significant portion of their lives servicing our country to protect their fellow brethren. While transitioning to civilian jobs, military personnel have faced many difficulties, a severe issue for countries with big-armed forces like the United States.

After a time of service, such employees seek to develop a career, frequently without the credentials required for current or future employment openings. Military environments generally have their hierarchies and language, making it challenging for most veterans to transition into the civilian sector because of the stark differences.

In this podcast, Lee Elias and Howie Cohen interview Kriby Watson, a retired military officer for 30 years, shares his experience and the must-haves of being able to excel in your transition to civilian employment. His rich experiences have big takeaways for virtually anyone in the beginning stages of their career. Here are eight things to do to give yourself an edge in every interview.

Starting brand new.

Beginning a new journey is complex, and the anxiety often gets the best of us. Realizing that every transition benefits from your past experiences are critical; it’s always the same skills but applied differently.

Your previous career is over.

Having a goal-oriented mindset and an earnest desire to start in a new direction will help you but moving on from your previous career is equally essential to success. Having a sincere desire allows you to be open to new understandings that may differ from how things are in the military.

Mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

All three levels of your health are equally important. You will only be able to take care of others if you take care of yourself first. It is vital to take new beginnings as a challenge than a setback from your previous career.


When interviewing for new jobs, platforms like LinkedIn will come in handy as they will highlight common connections. The platform is also significant in building new relationships, which will help you understand the company culture you’re applying in.

Asking for help is okay.

Military veterans have a strong mindset that, believe it or not, can get in the way of success. Remember that success is all about the team; relying on your team and asking for help is okay. Together we are strong.

Ice breakers.

For your interviews, researching and looking up company leaders and the interviewer is vital to draw common factors to use as ice-breakers. Make a memorable impression.

Having an open-mind.

Military operations are very different from the civilian sector. Hence, applying the same principles might not work out perfectly, so having an open mind to new learning curves will play a significant role in your success.

Have compassion.

The emotional drive is essential for your team to thrive. This may sound like a cliche, but taking care of those around you and having compassion for your team will instill a positive value system. It will also help your team transition from a simple work environment to a family-oriented environment.

Watch to Learn More


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Life After The Military: Colonel (Retired) Kirby Watson

Do you want to learn the lessons of what to do and what not to do IOT to have a low stress and highly successful transition from the military to the public or private sector?

Did you say “YES?

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Then check out the newest Pivotal Moments Media, Life After The Military podcast with Army Colonel (Retired) Kirby Watson!

Kirby is one of the finest, most authentic, and genuinely caring leaders that our co-host, Howie Cohen, EVER served with during his 27+ year military career!

Kirby spent 33 years as an Army Signal Officer and candidly discusses everything he did right and wrong

  • what he did wrong while transitioning – overscheduling interviews, not focusing on one area of need, not properly informing colleagues of the transition
  • what he got right – focusing on finding a good team, taking advantage of the TAP program, being honest about his health state, sourcing colleagues and job applications and honest company reviews through his LinkedIn network, carefully preparing for interviews
  • Discusses how he transitioned out as a veteran by taking the initiative to seek out mentors and carefully going through each step leading up to the job search process

Howie, Lee and Kirby implore listeners to

  • Be honest about medical needs during the transition
  • Put yourself and your needs (and the needs of your family) first
  • Connect with colleagues on LinkedIn and extensively research positions
  • Focus on team building rather than resume building

Kirby also shares advice and guidance for veterans looking to enter the government contracting space and what mental fitness means to him


Show Notes:

00:00 Lee introduces Kirby Watson, a decorated 33-year Army veteran

3:08 After 33 years, Kirby discusses what he did to prepare to transition – focusing on the TAP programs and educational opportunities available at the Pentagon

6:44 Kirby gets specific about what he did wrong while transitioning – overscheduling interviews, not focusing on one area of need, not properly informing colleagues of the transition

10:46 Howie relays an important point, that transitions are just as important for long-time servicemembers once they believe their military career has ended

14:09 The discussion shifts to the need for servicemembers to sometimes put themselves first – a difficult task for those who are trained to serve others

17:48 Kirby discusses what he got right – focusing on finding a good team, taking advantage of the TAP program, being honest about his health state, sourcing colleagues and job applications and honest company reviews through his LinkedIn network

22:48 The group recaps Kirby’s most important steps during the transition – owning the process, taking advantage of LinkedIn, starting as early as possible

27:45 Kirby tees up his final important steps during transitioning: careful preparation for interviews

32:40 Howie shares parallels between Kirby’s story and his own, imploring listeners to speak up for themselves and their health during their transition

37:28 Kirby shares advice and guidance for veterans looking to enter the government contracting space: ask questions and seek to understanding the language of the place you’re at, find a good team and constantly expand it

45:03 Lee relates to Kirby’s lessons on the extreme importance of networking/network-building

48:00 Howie implores veterans transitioning to learn about basic business principles for for-profit companies, noting the difference in the employment model of the military

52:18 The discussion shifts to business acumen over time

54:36 Lee gives Kirby his created book title

56:40 Kirby answers the question, “what does mental fitness mean to you?” – surrounding yourself with good people, maintaining a sense of camaraderie, and being careful about what defines you

1:07:13 Lee and Howie close the show, “never verbalize a negative thought”

Life After the Military: Jai Salters

Do you know who David Goggins is?

Have you read or listened to his book Can’t Hurt Me!?

Have you seen/listened to any of his podcasts with Joe Rogan or Ed Mylett or the other great interviews he’s conducted over the last 3-4 years?

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If you answered Yes to any of these questions, I want to introduce you to the David Goggins of Veteran Service Organizations: Navy Officer Jai Salters, founder of ACT NOW EDUCATION!

If you answered NO to any of these questions, then check out David Goggins on YouTube, read or listen to his book, Can’t Hurt Me, then listen to or view this Pivotal Moments Media  podcast episode of Life After the Military with Jai Salers as our guest! Jai and his story is amazing!

Learn how Jai consistently did the following:

– Overcame repeated adversity in his childhood and his life as a child in the foster care system and built a life of pure grit and resilience

– Pursued education as a way to better himself

– Committed himself to help active duty service members, veterans, military spouses and family members thrive and successfully transition to life after the military by creating and leading ACT NOW EDUCATION

– Flexed his mental fitness muscles 

– Never hesitated to seek help when he needed it







InstaGram: @jai_salters


Show Notes:

00:00 Lee and Howie introduce Jai to the PMM audience, noting his work with ACT NOW EDUCATION, an organization that has helped over 14,000 military members and families with educational resources 

3:03 Jai discusses what motivated him to create the organization while he was an active duty officer, starting with a series of awkward presentations 

8:27 Jai tells the story of how his personal family history affected his early years and eventual enlistment into the military on September 11, 2002

11:00 Howie and Jai discuss the David Goggins story noting some of the parallels between he and Jai’s backstory

16:11 Jai shares very intimate details of his early beginnings and experiences in the foster care system and how it influenced his will to overcome painful circumstances

23:23 Lee and Jai discuss how Jai’s experience has equipped him to impact others, and to see the signs of a hurting comrade

33:27 Howie shares an anecdote of an important comrade in his life

37:08 Jai discusses his mentorship work with organizations like Veterati and ACP, and the process of onboarding mentees

43:37 Lee, Jai and Howie urgently implore all transitioning veterans to ‘do it NOW’; get started on the transition process ASAP 

55:05 Howie tells the story of how a chance encounter at a networking event led to his compensation package being almost doubled

57:32 Jai tells the audience some of what he does to strengthen his mental fitness – positive self talk, taking a mental pause, enlisting people who can help him with the problem, etc. 

1:06:15 Lee transitions to Jai’s prospective book title, and Howie takes a stab at it also!

1:09:54 Show closing

Life After The Military: Jay Santiago Jr. Colonel (Retired)

Does anyone ever say “Thank You for your service”  to you when they know you serve or previously served in the military? Ever hear a response like, “Thank You! You are worth it!” Well, you will hear it in this Life After the Military episode!

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This episode of Life After the Military, features Army Colonel (Retired) Jay Santiago – who represents three (3) generations of Army Officers (Jay, his father, and his two sons).

Jay provides his insights into the transition process, shares his lessons learned, and describes how he treated it as a “mission.” 

Unlike most transitioning senior officers and noncommissioned officers, Jay is still with the same company, Worldwide Technologies, that he joined over 11 years ago. Learn about the transition preparation and criteria Jay applied to make such a great choice!


Show notes

00:00 Lees introduces Jay Santiago, Jr.; Jay starts off the interview with very detailed advice for a smooth transition

08:37 Jay lists the things he did well during his transition, noting that the most important thing was to take the time to think, to understand the need, and to develop the right connections

13:20 Howie and Jay implore you to consider how important the transition will be for your family

18:00 Howie and Jay get specific; Howie drops a big tip about health insurance premiums for transitioning vets

20:48 Jay discusses how he carefully chose the company he transitioned into, World Wide Technology, and how he has been progressing with the company for the last 10 years

36:04 The extreme importance of community within and throughout any industry

40:55 Lee asks, “What advice do you have for the specific trajectory of government contracting?

44:26 Howie shares what went wrong during his experiences in contracting noting how a good mentor saved his career

51:35 The discussion shifts back into the need for developing relationships, asking for help, and becoming a lifelong learner

1:03:54 Personal mission and identity aren’t defined by military titles

1:08:43 Howie’s favorite part of the show

1:14:06 Jay details how following his faith and staying purposeful in a community adds significance to his life and aids with mental fitness  

1:21:09 Howie closes the show – “you reap what you sow”

Life After The Military: Dr. Crystal Redding

Crystal is a clinical psychologist who supported the Joint Special Operations Command, America’s premier counter-terrorism force.

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Crystal is a clinical psychologist who supported the Joint Special Operations Command, America’s premier counter-terrorism force.

This episode focuses on how Dr. Redding:

-Treats super highly skilled service members.

-Likens the journey of working with a therapist as a “sherpa”, helping humans climb the mountain to achieve mental wellness and fitness

-Discusses stigmas surrounding therapy for service-members, noting that the history of therapy includes labeling people

-Shares her view of modern view of psychology which must focus on help with everyday life and tasks

-That the first 3 years out of the military have the highest rates of suicide

-She describes the story of a military sniper who needed help with anxiety – how the sniper already knew how to use breathing queues due to their training, and how that was utilized in their diagnosis

-“Its ok to say, I need someone to have my six on this”

-“Leadership is key” – Dr. Redding explains how great leadership can assist healthcare providers by providing confidential recommendations and pushing service members to get help without fear of consequences


Show notes

00:00 Lee introduces the audience to Dr. Crystal Redding

3:28 Dr. Redding describes her experience as a clinical psychologist for the Joint Special Operations Command

6:27 Dr. Redding talks about the stigmas surrounding therapy and gives a brilliant analogy of therapy and mountain climbing

10:21 Howie explains the Joint Special Operations Command, America’s premier counter-terrorism force, giving context to Dr. Redding’s experience as a psychologist

12:20 Dr. Redding details her process for helping a soldier with their mental fitness

19:42 Howie and Lee get real about Howie’s experiences with mental health challenges

23:58 Dr. Redding addresses the serious confidentiality concerns of service members

32:18 Howie asks Dr. Redding – how can veterans take care of themselves?

33:45 Dr. Redding discusses how military skills can be translated and applied as healing tactics

37:45 Howie discusses how transitioning veterans sometimes don’t seek help

41:14 The conversation shifts to the incredibly important issue of problematic veteran transitions and its relation to veteran suicides

49:58 The ebbs and flows of mental fitness

55:12 Lee gives Dr. Redding her prospective book title and asks the final question

1:09:00 Dr. Redding tells us how she flexes her mental fitness by having clear boundaries

1:06:50 Show closing