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Mark Twain wrote an essay, which was not published until after his death, called “Cornpone Opinions.” In that essay, he appropriates a saying from a childhood friend, who was a slave, regarding the connection between community and opinion.

I saw a deeper meaning in the saying Mark Twain appropriated from an anonymous Black man. So in today’s opening segment, I will talk about how cornpone can help us with our reintegration into civilian life after military service.

I hope that after you listen to this episode, you’ll take a critical look not just at where you get your “cornpone” but also at what kind of “cornpone” you are making for your self, your family, and your community.

My interview this week is with Tony Williams.

Tony and I chewed some of the same dirt at Ft. Hood, Texas, although we didn’t know it at the time. Tony has spent decades in the military, and surrounded by military culture. We talk about an array of topics – the differences between tribalism, racism and white supremacy, veterans counseling veterans, and where the VA falls short in helping veterans of color after service.

Be sure to check out Tony’s video broadcasts on Military Sexual Trauma recovery and treatment, and more, on his LinkedIn page.

I hope you hear a little of yourself in our conversation.

We’ll close the episode highlighting a non-profit called “Veterans Counseling Veterans.” You can check out their website, and learn more about their mission and how you can help, by clicking here

Veterans Counseling Veterans is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that seeks to bridge the gap of understanding between the civilian population and military veterans by providing a space for military veterans and spouses of military veterans serving in the behavioral health profession to collaborate, and by providing training, education, advocacy, mentorship and service to veterans and their families in the areas of mental wellness and suicide prevention.

Please support the sponsor of this episode, without whom The Real Veteran™ podcast would not be possible:

Attig | Curran | Steel, PLLC – This veterans law firm isn’t looking for easy cases to churn for a fee. They are looking to give veterans from marginalized communities a fair shake with the VA by connecting them with the disability compensation benefits that provide a real opportunity to more fully reintegrate into civilian life.

Veterans Law Blog® – The Veterans Law Blog® teaches veterans how to prove, and hopefully win, their own VA disability compensation claims and appeals. The Veterans Law Blog’s 8-step approach to improving your VA claim or appeal has helped thousands of veterans find their way out of the VA Hamster Wheel and put an end to years of fighting with the VA.


To the veteran community – veterans, survivors, dependents, advocates and allies – welcome to the third episode of the Real Veteran® Podcast.

In the Real Veteran® podcast, we are going to kick open the doors on the veteran community, let in the sunlight of fresh ideas and faces, and explore what it means to be a Real Veteran.® If you want to learn more about the goal of the podcast, and what inspired it, please listen to Episode 0 (click here).

If you find this podcast to be helpful or interesting, or learned something from it, I ask that you please leave me a 5-star rating on Apple podcasts – it will really help me out.

The theme for the first season is “Identity.”

I’m going to explore veterans’ lived experiences in their lives after military service, and try to understand how race, gender, gender identity or ethnicity shaped or influenced each veteran’s experience. If you are moved by the show and want to be a guest, or have ideas of people I should talk to, shoot me an email at

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