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No matter what branch you served in – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard – the purpose of basic training was the same: to break us of our individuality so that we can focus on the team. Basic training, more than anything, was immersion training in the military culture.

The longer we clung to our individuality, the more we resisted adopting the military culture, the harder it was to succeed in the military.

The same thing happens when we leave the service – the longer we cling to the military culture, the longer we resist becoming our authentic self, the harder it is to find peace and contentment in the civilian world.

Today’s episode is about fitting in and succeeding in the civilian world

In the opening monologue, I consider how letting go of the military culture – not our military experiences – and searching for our individuality is one of the keys to uncovering the best the civilian world has to offer, and succeeding in civilian life.

I ask you to consider what parts of the military culture you cling to, which parts help you and which parts of military culture are still holding you back as a civilian.

Our guest is Victoria Thompson, an amazing, inspiring and powerful Black woman.

She’s writing a book, works for the VA and is running her own non-profit, “We Steel Rise,” which gives female veterans the skills they need to transition to life after incarceration. We talk about a lot, including how Victoria navigates being a mom of three very unique children, a former military police officer, and a Black woman.

And we close out the show talking about a VA benefit:the HUD/VASH Voucher program.

This program is one of the most powerful weapons in the war against veteran homelessness, and is integral to helping homeless veterans and their families get back on their feet and figure out how to fit into the civilian world.

I hope you enjoy today’s show!

If you like today’s show, please give it a 5-star rating on Apple podcasts – it will really help me draw in advertisers. And the more advertisers I draw in, the more material I can provide through the podcast.

And here are the links to topics we discuss in the show:

If you’d like to learn more about Victoria Thompson, click here for her website.

Victoria’s book – “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing, but it works” – is scheduled for release in September 2021. Preorder your copy by clicking here. I’ve pre-ordered mind – have you?

You can find Victoria Thompson on Facebook, Instagram, and Linked In

Please share information about the HUD/VASH Voucher program with any homeless veterans you might know.  Click here to learn more about this amazing VA benefit. And the next time you see a homeless veteran, see if they’ll let you get them to a local Vet Center or the nearest VA facility to find out how to get in to stable – and permanent – housing through the HUD/VASH Voucher program.

And if you are a landlord, and want to serve your country by helping to end veteran homelessness while securing a guaranteed flow of rental income, click here to find your local Public Housing Agency (PHA).

Call your local PHA up and say: “I’m a landlord, and I want to accept HUD/VASH vouchers.”

Want to know more about Victoria Thompson?

Victoria Thompson veteran mother entrepreneur military culture

Toledo Commercial Photography

Victoria B. Thompson is an Air Force Veteran, Founder of We Steel Rise, Self-proclaimed Spokesperson of Law of attraction, Serial Entrepreneur, Future New York Times best sellers, and Future Philanthropist Featured in Success Magazine and Phoenix Voyage Magazine. Victoria has over ten years of experience in Law enforcement and held various positions, including Security Forces (Military Police), Ohio Corrections officer, and Texas Parole Officer. She has completed a Master’s in Criminal Administration focusing on prison reform and rehabilitation for Veteran mothers and their impacts on their families. Victoria also served for 11 years and one day in the Air Force.

Victoria’s first hands with women who were incarcerated was in the Department of Corrections of Texas. She learned invaluable lessons from various women related to their experiences and challenges in life, which led them to prison. After leaving parole, she started working in the Department of the Veterans Healthcare Administration in the Homeless program as a housing specialist. Victoria’s role as a Housing Specialist was focused on helping homeless veterans find affordable housing options.

The majority of the veterans she worked with had various credit issues and criminal convictions, making their housing search very difficult. She often had to find private landlords who were willing to give them a second chance. After working with over 200 veterans with similar issues related to securing housing, she realized there was a significant shortage of service and housing options for fellow veterans that were homeless. Out of the 200 plus veterans, 40% were women.

Based on her experience from both of my previous jobs, Victoria realized a higher rate of women veterans who were previously incarcerated and now facing homelessness compared to male veterans. In December 2018, after analyzing her previous experiences with homeless veteran women and women parolees, Victoria decided to follow her dreams and start a Re-Entry program for Veteran Women named We Steel Rise.


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 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

1 Comment

  1. Harold Register,Jr,

    Excellent Article!


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