Borne the Battle

Department of Veterans Affairs

Hosted by Marine Corps Veteran Tanner Iskra, Borne the Battle recognizes each battle, challenge, and sacrifice our Veterans endure during and after their service, as well as spotlighting important resources, offices, and benefits VA offers our Veterans.

The Department of Veterans Affairs does not endorse or officially sanction any entities that may be discussed in this podcast, nor any media, products or services the

All Episodes

For many Veterans, readjusting to civilian life after leaving the military can be difficult. That's what Aaron Quinonez found when he left the Marine Corps, as he soon faced divorce, homelessness and the inability to secure a long-term job. Over time, his mental health steadily deteriorated as PTSD ravaged his mind. For Quinonez, life seemed to always get worse, and on one July 4th afternoon, he parked in an empty lot, pulled out his SIG Sauer and prepared to end his life. In this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Quinonez shares his journey from being homeless and on the brink of committing suicide to becoming an entrepreneur, sharing how he developed new programs and a mobile app to help Veterans suffering from PTSD and suicidal thoughts.

Sep 21

103 min

Veterans (Army) Jason Hoge and (Marines) Joseph Schmitt cover how their personal experiences help guide them to help others who face a debt repayment. They also break down the assistance provided to Veterans during situations such as natural disasters and COVID-19.

Sep 14

54 min

This week's episode of Borne the Battle features Green Beret Veteran Tony Temerario, who was a 9/11 responder to the Pentagon and is a current AT&T executive.

Sep 7

53 min

Army Veteran Blake Hall shares what life was like after leaving the Army, insight to the future of online identification, and shares what a lot of entrepreneurs forget to do when pitching their ideas to investors.

Aug 31

79 min

Army Veteran Florent Groberg, received the Medal of Honor in 2015 for actions during the War in Afghanistan. He has since become an business leader for LinkedIn, Boeing and Microsoft - and has also been made a playable character in Call of Duty: Warzone

Aug 24

92 min

This week we go back in time and revisit, Duke and USA Basketball legend, Coach K's interview on Borne the Battle.

Aug 17

20 min

This week's episode of Borne the Battle features Marine Recon Veteran Alex Calfree, the co-founder of OpLign, a website that uses artificial intelligence to connect veterans to employers.

Aug 10

69 min

Army Veteran and former VA employee, Terrence Hayes, is the VFW’s National Director of Communication. In this episode, Hayes discusses what he’s learned about the VFW since starting his new position.

Aug 3

49 min

An estimated 2,200 Native Alaskan Veterans who served during the Vietnam War, or their heirs, can soon acquire up to 160 acres of federal land in Alaska. Representatives from the Bureau of Land Management and VA break down the Alaska Native Veterans Program of 2019 and how you can help them identify eligible veterans.

Jul 27

61 min

Air Force Veteran Blake Stilwell a former combat photographer and current staff writer for whose work has appeared on Business Insider, Fox News, ABC News, NBC, HBO, and at the White House.

Jul 20

59 min

Army Veteran Erik Schlimmer has camped over 1,000 nights, climbed over 2,000 summits and hiked over 15,000 miles. In 2010 he hiked the entire Trans Adirondack Route – which spans over 230 miles – over just a few weeks. Schlimmer believes that hiking is one of the best ways for anyone – Veteran or otherwise – to improve their health and their happiness.

Jul 13

100 min

Marine Veteran Ben Killoy struggled with the challenges of being a father. He found online communities of other men going through the same struggle, connected with the and in doing so, was able to better connect has a husband and as a dad. He spent years learning to blog, write, and connect with other people. Killoy then founded his Military Veteran Dad Podcast in 2018. He shares stories and helps Veteran fathers be more present for their families.

Jul 6

68 min

Breakdown on how the VA is addressing the challenge of homeless and at-risk veterans during COVID-19 with 300 million dollars in emergency funding provided by the CARES Act.

Jun 29

42 min

This 200th episode of Borne the Battle features Air Force Veteran Aerial Johnson, better known by her wrestling name “Big Swole,” Aerial shares her time in the military and how she transitioned into civilian life to eventually became a professional wrestler.

Jun 22

52 min

Army Veteran Josh Strickland is a family man, the lead singer of the Phoenix-based band the Bayou Bandits, and a registered nurse who has worked through the COVID-19 pandemic in some of the hardest-hit areas of the United States.

Jun 15

74 min

Marine Corps Veteran Beau Higgins shares his story of how he started working for Amazon, and talks about the current employment landscape during COVID-19.

Jun 8

70 min

While most events and clubs can’t function as normal, Army Veteran Luke Wade and the KC Crew have found ways to keep people and communities connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jun 1

50 min

"Navy Veteran Bryan Bergjans is bridging the educational gap of the VA Home Loan Program by educating future veteran homeowners, and realtors."

May 25

78 min

This week's episode of Borne the Battle features Prince Taylor's journey from a rough transition with entry level jobs to VA HR to organizing TEDx Veterans Affairs. 

May 18

66 min

COVID-19 update on VA benefits (GI Bill, Home Loan, etc.) featuring Undersecretary of the Veterans Benefits Administration, Dr. Paul Lawrence.

May 16

24 min

Marine and Gulf War Veteran G. Michael Hopf shares his journey from joining the Marines to signing with the largest book publisher in the world.

May 11

60 min

Through founding Team RWB, Army Veteran and Team RWB Executive Director, Mike Erwin, discovered that he didn’t have to be in the military to continue serving. He has since founded more nonprofits and has co-written a book.

May 4

56 min

LTG Raymond Mason says that receiving help in times of struggle is a sign of great strength. Today, he's the Director of the Army Emergency Relief (AER).

Apr 27

51 min

Marine Corps Veteran / Sniper Brian Marren is an expert in Human Behavior Pattern Recognition and Analysis. He has trained Tier One military units, Fortune 500 companies, schools, churches, as well as local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Brian explains how Human Behavior Pattern Recognition and Analysis is a scientific form of human behavior profiling--not based on race or religion but rather on how all humans behave.

Apr 20

81 min

The director and director of operations for the VA's Debt Management Center break down how they are executing the president's directive to suspend or extend all VA Debt Collection due to COVID-19.

Apr 13

21 min

Two new VA coronavirus websites are online. Update on the Wheelchair and Golden Age Games. VA suspends debt collection. Update on COVID-19 support from New Jersey Medical Center. Interview with Army Veteran Chad Butters, who early on, transformed his Pennsylvania distillery into a hand sanitizer production facility.

Apr 8

24 min

While they only knew him for one day, Army Veterans Phil Hall and Fred Navarro remember the man that sacrificed his life for them and their fellow brothers in Vietnam. They both signed statements of recommendation to upgrade Airman William H. Pitsenbarger’s Air Force Cross to the Medal of Honor. In December 2000, 32 years after the Battle of Xa Cam My, Phil and Fred were able to attend Pitsenbarger’s Medal of Honor ceremony. The film, The Last Full Measure, is based on both battles that Phil and Fred faced, both in Vietnam and in DC.

Apr 6

41 min

Updates on SBA loans for affected small businesses, where you can find Veteran Health Administrations COVID-19 Response plan and FAQs, VA's medical support to New York City, where mobile vet centers are currently being deployed to, and an interview with two of the mobilized on-the-ground Vet Center directors currently operating in New York City and New Orleans.

Apr 1

29 min

Founder and host of the podcast Beyond the Uniform, Navy Veteran, Justin Nassiri shares his journey from the Navy to his own business. Through his podcast, he advises and encourages Veterans as they transition from the military into civilian life.

Mar 30

45 min

Included in this episode: GI Bill Changes, National Cemetery Information, Update on rehiring retired VA medical staff, VA Home Loan assistance website.

Mar 25

10 min

Navy Veteran Darlene Iskra was the first woman to command a US naval ship. She now works as an ambassador for Women In Military Service For America Memorial to help Americans discover the military women who have served our country.

Mar 23

56 min

An in-depth breakdown of VA Public Health's coronavirus website and a message from the chairman of the board of veterans appeals.

Mar 18

6 min

Before she transitioned into civilian life, Johnston followed her (pioneer) mother’s footsteps by becoming a Black Hawk helicopter pilot. Through her work as a board member at Carry the Load, Johnston helps provide a way for Americans to honor their military, Veterans and first responders – by never forgetting the true meaning of Memorial Day.

Mar 16

51 min

A quick update on VA's responses to COVID-19 / coronavirus pandemic and where to find information as it gets released.

Mar 12

6 min

This week’s Benefits Breakdown features Army Veterans Dr. Eric Shuping and Vincent Mitchell. They discussed the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry - why it's important, who's eligible, and how you can sign up and take part.

Mar 9

46 min

National Vietnam War Veterans Day is fast approaching (March 29). Army Veteran MG (ret) James T. Jackson is the director Vietnam Commemoration. Directed by Congress and executed by the DoD, the commemoration’s goal is to reach out and thank those that never got a proper welcome home, our Vietnam Veterans. Listen as MG Jackson lets you know how you can help him execute this important mission.

Mar 2

55 min

Marines Veteran Hiram Murray is a film military advisor and actor in LA. Murray discusses his journey from NYPD police officer on 9/11 to the USMC, to the LAPD and how those experiences led him to his current roles in Hollywood.

Feb 24

47 min

This week Borne the Battle's guest started with a recipe handed down from her grandfather, a $25,000 investment, and turned it into a successful business that launched on Amazon this past November.

Feb 17

58 min

Secretary of Veteran's Affairs, Robert Wilkie talks gives the Secretary's "State of VA" address where he talks about the department's 2019 successes and his priorities for 2020.

Feb 10

28 min

This week’s Borne the Battle begins where episode #169 left off, featuring guest Cheryl Mason, Chairman of the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). In this Benefits Breakdown, Chairman Mason talks about the third lane of Appeals Modernization. Chairman Mason oversees the Board’s 1100 personnel, its budget, and ensures the Board conducts hearings, decides appeals for Veterans and their families, and ensures a Veteran’s voice is heard.

Feb 3

41 min

What does the VA Home Loan Program, the VA Office of Faith and Opportunity, the VA Assistive Technology Program, Vet Centers, Appeals Modernization Office and VA’s diabetes training and self-management have in common? They were all featured as benefits breakdown episodes on Borne the Battle in 2019.

Jan 27

42 min

If you've never heard an episode of Borne the Battle, this is a great place to start. Marine Veteran Tanner Iskra shares some meritorious segments from 2019. Segments include soundbites from NC farmer Valroy Williams, actress Jennifer Marshall, Postal Inspector Carroll Harris, Carry the Load's CEO Veteran Stephen Holley, Professional Wrestler Jan Ohrstrom, Pearl Harbor survivor William Bonelli, Camp Valor Outdoors' Denise Loring and Dan Duitsman, PopSmoke Media's Daniel Sharp, SecDef's Flight Surgeon and 9/11 first responder Dr. John Baxter, NASCAR Driver Jesse Iwuji, Wreaths Across America's Chairman Wayne Hanson and Actor Dale Dye.

Jan 20

44 min

“1917” and “The Last Full Measure” will soon be coming to a theater near you. These military movies have been carefully crafted to capture an authentic look at life in the military. Fortunately, many military films have been carefully crafted with the help of Veterans like Dale Dye, Travis Wade, Jennifer Marshall, and Hiram Murray. They came on Borne the Battle to discuss the business of making military films in the current Marvel and Call of Duty era.

Jan 13

70 min

BONUS for subs! A panel of three Marine Veterans making a difference in their new respective fields. Sam Meek, CEO of SANDBOXX, Martha MacPhee, Director of Special Projects for Susan Davis International and Richard Cardona, Video Content Strategist. Panel was conducted at the Modern Day Marine Expo and was presented by the Military Times.

Dec 2019

61 min

Should every American Citizen serve in the military? Should women be required to register for the selective service (draft)? What should the future of the Selective Service look like? Navy Veteran Shawn Skelly and Marine Corps Veteran Ed Allard are commissioners for the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service ( Their mission is to recommend answers to these and many more questions, to Congress by March of 2020. Ed and Shawn came on Borne the Battle to talk about the two years of data that @inspire2serve has gathered to answer these questions. They would also like to receive input from you – and the deadline is December 31, 2019.

Dec 2019

80 min

According to our guest, 25% of Veterans receiving VA care have been diagnosed with diabetes. Mary Julius, a PM for Cleveland's VA diabetes self-management and education training program, (and also diagnosed with Type I diabetes) breaks down devices, tools and education available to diabetic veterans both in-person and online.

Dec 2019

47 min

Wreaths Across America is a national campaign that coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at over 1,700 national cemeteries, culminating at Arlington National Cemetery. The three-fold purpose of WAA aims to remember fallen U.S Veterans, honor those who currently serve, and teach children the value of freedom. Here, Hanson explains WAA’s humble beginnings and its rise into the national organization that it is today.

Dec 2019

40 min

Marine Veteran Dan Duitsman is Camp Valor Outdoors’ Shooting Sports Program Director. His role is to get disabled veterans into competitive shooting – no matter the disability. Currently, Camp Valor Outdoors’ shooting teams compete in professional matches all over the country.

Nov 2019

41 min

From reservation to the Army and later to Hollywood, Primeaux describes life as member of a Lakota tribe, his service during the Vietnam War, and shares the Four Cardinal Lakota Virtues in hopes of helping other Veterans. He credits the Lakota Four Virtues he had been taught as a young man for helping him recover from the war as well as from car accident.

Nov 2019

65 min

Army Veteran Benjamin Breckheimer discovered mountain climbing after his service and is now aiming to be the first Purple Heart recipient to climb the Seven Summits of the world. Breckheimer details on how he survived an IED blast, a divorce during his four-year recovery and the 2015 Nepal earthquake while on Mount Everest.

Nov 2019

68 min

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