A Message from Rich Jones, Chief Veteran Officer
Each year, we are called to reflect upon the cost of our freedom, a freedom that has a profound and great price. As 2019 comes to a close, we pause to recognize our military veterans and their selfless service to our great nation. For over 246 years, men and women from all walks of life and from each successive generation have answered this most solemn, honorable and sacred call. What is asked of us?
First, we must never forget the sacrifice made on our behalf. The aftermath of war casts a long shadow and has implications that last generations. 2019 marks the 43rd anniversary of our all-volunteer military and is the 101st anniversary of the Armistice that was signed on Nov. 11, 1918, ending World War I (116,516 lives lost). More of this year’s milestones:
• Jan. 17: the 28th anniversary of Operation Desert Storm (293 lives lost) • Jan. 21: the 51st anniversary of the Battle of Khe Sanh (274 lives lost) • March 4: the 17th anniversary of the Battle of Takur Gahr (7 lives lost) • April 24: the 39th anniversary of Operation Eagle Claw (8 lives lost) • May 11: the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Hamburger Hill (72 lives lost) • June 6: the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion (2,502 lives lost) • June 27: the 14th anniversary of Operation Red Wings (19 lives lost) • August 6: the 8th anniversary of Extortion 17 (30 lives lost) • Oct. 3: the 10th anniversary of the Battle of Kamdesh (8 lives lost) • Dec. 16: the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge (19,276 lives lost)
And, on Oct. 7, we marked the anniversary of Operation Rhino and the 18th year of continuous combat in the Gulf War on Terror.
Since Operation Enduring Freedom commenced, 7,031 of our finest citizens have died in service to our country, 35 this year alone. (Click here for the names of the fallen.) The cost of freedom continues to be heartbreakingly great.
As a ViacomCBS family, we remember the sacrifices of our brave and selfless journalists. Since the end of WWI, 7,059 journalists have lost their lives while covering war and conflict in the darkest places throughout the world. All who sacrifice for the sake of a free press and justice must never be forgotten.
Secondly, we must continue to act. Our nation’s veterans need our energy and passion in addition to our gratitude and compassion. Thanks to the efforts of ViacomCBS and its many caring professionals, who have given of their time, talent and treasure, our nation’s veterans have the support and mentoring that is so critical to a successful transition.
The statistics on veteran transition have improved significantly since we began the work of the ViacomCBS Veterans Network over a decade ago. For example, in 2009, the unemployment rate for returning veterans was nearly 18 percent; today it is 3.9 percent. We should all be so proud of the positive and accurate portrayal of veterans on our Networks. Shows like SEAL TEAM, BLUE BLOODS, MADAM SECRETARY, NCIS, MAGNUM, P.I. and 68 Whiskey are considered the gold standard by the military and veteran community. As history tells us, and the various milestones that we marked this year remind us, we must always stand at the ready, as there is still more that can and must be done.
Finally, as we reflect on what we can do to honor the service and sacrifice of our brave and selfless men and women in uniform, let us be inspired to take action and make an impact right in our own backyards. In the same way that our military has brought light to the darkest places on countless battlefields throughout the world, we can do the same by getting involved to solve problems, lift spirits and better the lives of our fellow citizens. Your country needs you, and there is no better way to honor their great sacrifice! I am reminded of my own difficult transition from the Army many years ago. Without a doubt, I would not be where I am today if it had not been for the help and guidance of so many caring people. Because of them, I went from being a career Army Ranger who was seriously injured, was then medically retired undergoing years of surgeries and rehabilitation to becoming a Certified Public Accountant, then a lawyer and then having the good fortune of working for ViacomCBS as its General Tax Counsel. Unfortunately, far too many of our nation’s amazingly talented veterans don’t have the support and mentoring that is so critical to a successful transition like mine. They are now looking to us for guidance and inspiration. How will we respond?
To the over 1,000 veterans working at ViacomCBS, to their family members and to the countless others who have worked with the company over the years, on behalf of the ViacomCBS Veterans Network, I want to wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season and a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. As you know, at ViacomCBS, every day is Veterans Day, and we thank you, we treasure you and we salute you!
This past November was declared the National Veterans and Military Families Month, and we had a full slate of activities that were planned to honor service and close out 2019. It is important to highlight the amazing work that is being done at every division by passionate and caring people who selflessly give of their time, energy and talent. Please visit the ViacomCBS Veterans Network website (Click Here) and Instagram (@ViacomCBSVetNet) to keep up to date on our events and for more information about how you can get involved. If you, a family or friend need help or assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone at 212-975-2978.
Sincerely, Rich Jones Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Ranger (Retired) EVP, General Tax Counsel, and Chief Veterans Officer, CBS
ViacomCBS Veterans Network hosts 6th Coffee with Veterans in New York City In its third installment in New York City, ViacomCBS Veterans Network and CBS 2 hosted a “Coffee With Vets” event in a local coffee shop, Apes & Peacocks on Broadway, to thank veterans for their service. At this event we collected ~400 toys for Marine Toys For Tots. “It was a huge success and we are excited and we are excited that we can make a difference in our local communities for the holidays”, says Betty Diaz and Hill Pluviose of ViacomCBS Veterans Network. The event featured CBS News Anchors Chris Wragge and Cindy Hsu who networked with all of the guests and veterans. It was a spectacular event full of gratitude, networking and holiday giving.
Smithsonian’s “MEMPHIS BELLE IN COLOR” screened across several cities ViacomCBS Veterans Network and Smithsonian Channel held a series of private screenings of the “MEMPHIS BELLE IN COLOR”. Locations included the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City, the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., and the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio where the Memphis Belle resides, and various other locations from Hartford Connecticut to Los Angeles, California.
American Corporate Partners (ACP) attend a taping of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert During National Veterans and Military Families Month, ViacomCBS Veterans Network and American Corporate Partners (ACP) attended a taping of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in New York City.
ViacomCBS Veterans Network supported and attended Variety’s Annual Salute to Service ViacomCBS Veterans Network supported and attended Variety’s Annual Salute to Service Luncheon which honors military veterans as well as those in the entertainment industry who use their platforms to support servicemen and women. The event was created by Gerry Byrne, Penske Media Corporation Vice Chairman and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. The third annual event was emceed by Jim Axelrod, CBS News’ Chief Investigative and Senior National Correspondent. Among the honorees were the cast of SEAL Team, award accepted by Actor and Producer, David Boreanaz, Blue Blood’s Donnie Wahlberg and CBS Evening News’ Norah O'Donnell.
ViacomCBS Veterans Network hosts Haircuts for Vets ViacomCBS Veterans Network hosted Haircuts for Vets, partnering with Christopher Styles Barber Spa this last Veterans Day in Studio City, CA offering Veterans free haircuts and shaves.
ViacomCBS Vet Net Members & SEAL Team Cast members attend Military Support Day in Pittsburgh! ViacomCBS Veterans Network Members attended Military Support Day on Saturday, September 21, 2019 in Pittsburgh. CBS local station, KDKA, and their partners with the Mall at Robinson provided knowledge of the valuable resources available to assist current and former military members and their spouses with the transition back into the private sector! CBS SEAL Team’s Toni Trucks and Judd Lormand were in attendance and held a fun Q&A session. Fans were able to ask questions related to the show. Toni Trucks and Judd Lormand were excited to be part of such an impactful event!
CBS Sports welcomed surviving family of US Navy PO3 Michael Vecchio to THE NORTHERN TRUST On Sunday, August 11, 2019, CBS Sports welcomed surviving family of US Navy PO3 Michael Vecchio to THE NORTHERN TRUST golf tournament at Liberty National in New Jersey. The family was given a production tour and ride out to the 18th Tower. They also had the opportunity to see the behind the scenes and what it takes to put golf on the air. The Vecchio family really enjoyed being behind the scenes experience, while the on-air talent prepared for their commentary.
ViacomCBS Veterans Network Hosts A Veteran Career Panel Session Moderated by Jim Axelrod On Thursday, July 25th, 2019 ViacomCBS Veterans Network held a Career Panel session in New York City for ViacomCBS Veteran Members and Colleagues. The special guest panelists were: Richard M. Jones, Mickey Carter and Chanel Lamb. Attended by more than 75 people, the impactful event left many with inspiration, appreciation and gratitude.
ViacomCBS Veteran Members attended a Military Funeral to honor Homeless Veterans ViacomCBS Veteran Members attended a Military Funeral to honor Homeless Veterans who received a proper burial through the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program, in partnership with Missing in America Project and the Long Island National Cemetery. Five Veterans were buried at the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale NY on the afternoon of July 11, 2019.
Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, USA PATRIOTS ViacomCBS Veterans Network members alongside their family and friends attended the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, USA PATRIOTS, game on Friday, June 21st and Saturday, June 22nd in Long Island, New York. On Friday, the USA PATRIOTS played against CBS Sports’ and Showtime’s Inside the NFL’s Boomer Esiason (and his All-Stars). Saturday, the team played against Long Island All-Stars. This is the sixth year the team plays in New York. The Team travels the country playing able-bodied teams in competitive and exhibition softball games, bringing their unique brand of softball, courage, and inspiration to communities nationwide to raise awareness and fundraise. Their primary reason for fundraising, outside of the Veteran space, is to support their annual Kids Camp where they bring in 20 children (between 8-12 years old) with amputations for a week-long camp. The team is comprised of competitive, athletic veterans who have lost limbs in combat and non-combat related injuries. While some are still in the service, others are attending college and others have moved on to new careers.
ViacomCBS Veterans Network
Our Story, A Long History of Service
The ViacomCBS Veterans Network represents the manifestation of hard work, commitment and sacrifice of the amazing people who have worked at the Company. We are merely the stewards of a mission that began long ago. Since its founding in 1928, CBS has always answered the call. The likes of Edward R. Murrow, Larry LaSueur, Eric Sevareid, Howard K. Smith, Walter Cronkite, Kimberly Dozier, Paul Douglas, James Brolan, Cami McCormick, George Syvertsen, Gerald Miller, Ed Bradley, Bob Simon, Morley Safer, Dan Rather, Henry Schuster, Mark LaGanga, Chuck Rainey, Scott Pelley, Richard Threlkeld, Lara Logan, Bruce Dunning, Liz Trotta, Andrew Clarke, Ray Bribiesca, David Miller, Holly Williams, Charlie D’Agata, Deborah Patta, Seth Doane, Elizabeth Palmer, Agnes Reau, Randal Joyce, Justin Redman, Steve Berriman, Erin Lyall, Andy Stevenson, Thorsten Hoefle, Abdi Cadani and Ian Robbie and countless other courageous journalists have gone to the dark corners of the world to bravely cover the military conflicts that have shaped and scarred the past 90 years.
ViacomCBS also has a long history of being the home to some of our Nation’s most distinguished and notable veterans. Our former Chairman and Viacom founder Sumner Redstone, CBS’ founder William Paley, Frank Stanton, Steve Kroft, Andy Rooney, Daniel Schorr, Mike Wallace, Don Hewitt, Harry Reasoner, Bob Schieffer, James Aubrey, Jack Schneider, Jim McManus, Howard Stringer, Bruce Morton, Joseph Wershba, Jay McMullen, Bill McLaughlin, Austin Goodrich, Rod Serling, Tom Selleck and Drew Carey, just to name a few. The Company is what it is today because of their service, their sacrifices and their amazing talent.
Today, we are very proud of the more than 1,000 veterans that are currently employed at ViacomCBS. Their dedication and sacrifice remind us all that the highest expression of citizenship is military service. They continue the great legacy of those who came before them and, in ways big and small, make ViacomCBS the great company that it is.