We recently learned that former Navy SEAL Brett Vernon is now doing a different kind of “service to others”. As a Navy SEAL, Vernon has served in the Middle East, Iraq included, as well as the Horn of Africa. He left Navy SEAL life behind in May 2004 when he was honorably discharged, and he moved to San Luis Obispo, California and joined the family business: construction. He eventually moved to Santa Barbara, still helping to manage construction projects while going to school. He earned a degree in Business and Managerial Economics in December of 2008.

It was while working in construction when Vernon thought about his new venture. He had repeatedly faced difficulties finding new contractors and sub-contractors to work with. A search of phone books yielded outdated results, and a search on the Internet can go on forever; the thing with the Internet is it can have everything but that everything is all over the place. Vernon knew very well that the contractors he needed were out there, one just needed an organized place to look for them. This led to his development of JobTrio.

The website is a place that people can turn to for profiles, reviews and articles on contractors and construction companies. According to the press release, a Yahoo study from last year indicated that 63% of homeowners who looked online for contractors ended up hiring them. These days, the place to be is the internet, as an increasing number of people are turning to the worldwide web for convenient information searching. JobTrio will effectively serve consumers looking for contractors online with a database of more than a quarter of a million licensed contractors, the result of a lengthy research conducted by Brett Vernon.

Homeowners can search on the site for free. Contractors who would like to have a presence online can subscribe to JobTrio for a minimal monthly fee, which will allow them to build a profile on the site that can include their company’s description and specialty, among others.

Navy Week at Des Moines, Iowa!

Posted April 25th, 2009 by USNavySeals

Iowa may be right smack in the middle of the country where you will never get to catch a glimpse of the ocean, but it has not stopped its sons from becoming part of the erstwhile “Masters of the High Seas” – the U.S. Navy. This is why the state, through the town of Des Moines, is one of the hosts for this year’s Navy Week celebrations.

The Des Moines Navy Week is being celebrated almost concurrently with that of St. Louis. It is being celebrated as part of Earth Day and around the centennial running of the Drake Relays at Drake University. On Earth Day, the Navy Band Great Lakes “Horizon” performed for the Levitt Boys and Girls Club.

The spokesperson for Des Moines Navy Week is Rear Admiral Michael T. Franken, the Deputy Director for Strategy, Plans and Policy of the United States Central Command. Other Navy sailors who hail from Iowa will also be at the celebrations, as will Lt. Andrew Baldwin, MD of the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. He is probably most remembered as having appeared on the ABC reality series “The Bachelor” on the show’s tenth season, which was appropriately termed “An Officer and a Gentleman”. Baldwin spoke about his experience as a doctor in the Navy through an open speaking engagement at the University of Iowa Medical Center.
Baldwin was also interviewed via phone on a radio show at KDDI 102.9 FM, where conversation inevitably steered towards the pirate-SEAL rescue and Baldwin’s appearance on “The Bachelor”. Navy Week definitely came at an appropriate time, as people are all not only appreciative at this time of the Navy’s work and efforts but are also looking forward to learning more about the inner workings of the Navy. Baldwin, in his radio interview, was able to share quite a bit of his experiences and deployments in the Navy and talked about his next assignment — humanitarian work aboard a Navy hospital ship.
The Des Moines Navy Week will last through Sunday, April 26.

Navy Week Goes to St. Louis!

Posted April 24th, 2009 by USNavySeals

In keeping with the tradition of celebrating Navy Week in conjunction with another town celebration, St. Louis, Missouri is celebrating three festivities from April 18 through 26: Navy Week, St. Louis Family Fitness Weekend and Earth Day.

The Navy Week activities were kicked off last Monday with an opening ceremony at the Soldier’s Memorial. A St. Louis native, Navy Counselor 1st Class Generald Wilson, performed the National Anthem.

One of the week’s highlights was the spectacular arrival of Navy SEALs into St. Louis on Wednesday. Reminiscent of the way the SEALs arrived on the USS Bainbridge in preparation for the rescue of Capt. Phillips, members of the Navy Leap Frog Parachute Team started their demonstration with a free fall from 6,000 feet above the Gateway Arch.

The show was a rare treat, as not only did people meet the Leap Frogs – who are mostly composed of SEALs with a lot of combat experience – the demonstrations also gave people a clear visual of the skills and techniques that saw actual action in the Indian Ocean only a few weeks ago. These jumpers can reportedly reach speeds as high as 180 miles per hour.

Members of the Navy Parachute Team also spoke with the students of Riverview Gardens High School about life in Naval Special Warfare as well as the different opportunities that are available should one choose to embark on a career with the Navy. With the recent clamor for news and information on the SEALs, they most probably had to deal with a lot of questions about the SEALs from interested students.

Other events lined up for the week is a talk from Vice Admiral David Venlet, the commander of the Naval Air Systems Command; performances by “Freedom”, a Navy rock band; visits by the crew of the latest fast attack submarine which is the namesake of the state of Missouri; the Navy flight simulator; the Navy Accelerate Your Life Experience; and visits of the EOD Mobile Dive Tank to various schools.

North Carolina Teen Signs Deal for Navy SEAL Training

Posted April 23rd, 2009 by USNavySeals

One of the good things that came out of the pirate hostage-drama off the coast of Somalia is that it served as an inspiration to quite a number of people to either provide support for the Navy SEALs and their families – or to join the elite special forces team themselves.

Seeing the drama and watching it unfold online or on CNN sure beats tales told during SEAL Fitness Challenges and recruitment gigs. Simply hearing stories, though not in any way less valid, leaves a lot of things to speculation and to the imagination. In contrast, the rescue of Capt. Phillips was actually something that, in one way or another, some people actually got to live through.

For an 18-year-old who has dreamed of joining the SEALs, the story of the SEALs’ Easter rescue will be more than enough to seal the deal and prompt him to take the necessary steps towards actually becoming one. Such was the case for a senior in Croatan High School in Newport, North Carolina.

JD Jackson, a member of the Croatan High School Cougars Baseball Team, recently signed a contract to start SEAL training in August this year. Jackson chose taking a shot at being a SEAL over offers of baseball scholarships from some colleges, and has his sights set on eventually becoming a SEAL sniper – in fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Before Capt. Phillips and Maersk Alabama and Somalia, this is what he wanted to become; the SEALs bravery only served to deepen his resolve.

The 18-year-old signed a six-year contract with the Navy, with the opportunity to receive a $40,000 signing bonus once he completes his SEAL training. August will mark the beginning of an eight-week ordeal for Jackson – a regimen so intense that only 20% of hopefuls normally make it through.

JD’s father has complete faith, though, that his son will make it. So does JD himself. Hopefully, this is a scene that is being played in towns all across the country. After all, the SEALs need all the able recruits it can get.

Heroic Rescue of Capt. Phillips Becomes an Online Game!

Posted April 22nd, 2009 by USNavySeals

It is a known fact — art imitates life, for where is media going to get inspiration for the various things it has to offer other than from real life? And with technology taking news to a global scale in a matter of minutes, it is no longer surprising to witness art imitating life almost instantaneously.

We waited more than half a century since the Second World War to see “Saving Private Ryan” – and all we could even do is watch. Now, in a matter of days, gamers can already try their hand at “Saving Captain Phillips” – online! From mere spectators, one can actually try and be the courageous Navy SEAL on a high-profile and dangerous rescue mission.

The game is from Games2win.com, one of the global Top 50 online games companies. According to the company’s co-founder and CEO Alok Kejriwal, the game was released in an effort to honor the bravery of the U.S. Navy SEALs and Capt. Phillips. Kejriwal further expresses that the game is one way to involve the youth in current events, and perhaps subliminally ingrain in them the importance of such missions and what their significance is in history. It is also the company’s hope that games such as these will help build awareness among the youth regarding the issues currently faced in society.

As the title suggests, the game is wholly inspired by the hostage-drama of Somalia’s coast over the Easter weekend. It starts with Capt. Phillips heroically volunteering to become the pirates’ hostage in order to save his crew. Users can then take on the persona of the Navy SEAL snipers and take their shooting positions. They can then proceed with trying to take aim and cleanly shoot the pirates who are, as in the real hostage incident, aboard a moving boat, while at the same time making sure that Capt. Phillips is kept safe.

Games2win.com already has plans for other games that will have political, historical and global themes.

Who Were the SEAL Snipers Behind Capt Phillips Rescue?

Posted April 21st, 2009 by USNavySeals

They were SEALs, and that’s as far as you or I will ever know. We will not even get to know their names, let alone see them on Larry King, Oprah or Ellen. To put it simply – that’s just not how they roll. Maybe it is because of this meaningful phrase in the SEAL creed – “I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions”.

I read Michael Stetz of The Union Tribune’s feature on the SEALs and couldn’t agree with him more. It is certainly refreshing to find heroes of the truest sense right in our midst. Let’s face it, in this day and age, media is equated with glamour. Not too few people would like to get their shot at fifteen minutes of fame. Just looking at the proliferation of reality shows, where people even go as far as letting others invade what ideally should be the privacy of their homes is testament to the pull of media fame and popularity – and that never ceases to amaze me.

But it is already more than a week since Easter, and we haven’t even seen the shadows of any of the three SEAL snipers who pulled that famed rescue. As Stetz so accurately pointed out, if it had been anyone else, then we would certainly be hearing them tell their stories. Not that we are undermining the bravery of these other people – after all, it will probably be a rarity for anyone to be out searching for someone to rescue just so one could have that spot on national TV.

Then again, what may be amazing for us is all in a day’s work for the SEALs. This is something that they have trained long and hard to do, and this is probably why it is not something that they need to talk about. It does not make the job any easier – but it is not something to brag about either. Because bragging is not part of their job description. Their careers, their safety and the safety of their loved ones depend on it.

So, for now, the most we can do is be very vocal about our appreciation for the good that the SEALs do, not just for Easter’s rescue but for the many untold stories that we have not heard, for we might never get to see the day that we can thank them face to face.