Meet Fellow Brandy Baxter

August 8, 2014

We invite alumni of The Mission Continues Fellowship Program to speak at each pre-fellowship orientation. Fellow Alumna Brandy Baxter addressed the newest class of Mission Continues Fellows at their orientation in May of 2014. 

Brandy Baxter 1

“My Mission Continues Fellowship partnered me with a non-profit organization that teaches financial education to families with limited financial resources.  I had started teaching financial classes at our last duty station, so this was a perfect match for me.

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The Purple Heart: By The Numbers

August 6, 2014

This is Part III in a series on the legacy of the Purple Heart. The medal, originally called the Badge of Military Merit, was established by George Washington on August 7, 1782. The date is now recognized annually as National Purple Heart Day.

3: The number of medals presented by General George Washington as the Badge of Military Merit, the forebear of the Purple Heart. They were the only three ever awarded.

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Extraordinary Fidelity

August 5, 2014

This is Part II in a series on the legacy of the Purple Heart. The medal, originally called the Badge of Military Merit, was established by George Washington on August 7, 1782. The date is now recognized annually as National Purple Heart Day.

The Purple Heart has spent more than half of its 232-year history in relative obscurity. Following General Washington’s establishment of the medal in 1782, the medal would be not be issued again for another 150 years. The medal was revived after World War I at the behest of General Douglas MacArthur, and officially established as the Purple Heart following an Executive Order from President Herbert Hoover. The date chosen to issue the Executive Order was February 22nd, George Washington’s 200th birthday.

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The Purple Heart

August 4, 2014

The Purple Heart












“The General…directs that whenever any singularly meritorious actions is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear on his facings over the left breast, the figure of a heart in purple cloth.”

– General George Washington introducing the “Badge of Military Merit” on August 7, 1782

By the summer of 1782, the war of independence was in its final evolutions. The House of Commons had voted to end Britain’s participation in the conflict that spring. The Great Seal of the United States was agreed upon by the new Congress in June, and the Bald Eagle was adopted as the national bird. The people’s attention was finally turning from war to building a new nation.

Aware that the conflict was nearing its end, Gen. Washington sought to create a medal recognizing “not only instances of unusual gallantry, but also of extraordinary fidelity and essential service” to the new nation. From his headquarters in Newburgh, New York, he introduced the Badge of Military Merit, the forebear of today’s Purple Heart.

Awarded to only three soldiers in its original incarnation, more than one million service men and women have since been  recipients of the Purple Heart. More than 57,000 men and women have received the Purple Heart as a result of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Many veterans groups and civic institutions now recognize August 7th each year as “Purple Heart Day.”  As the nation’s attention presently shifts more and more from the conflicts of the past decade, it is equally imperative that we recognize the most recent instances of unusual gallantry, extraordinary fidelity and essential service of our veterans.

Join us this week in recognizing the men and women who have earned our nation’s oldest military decoration.


Photo source: U.S. Army

1st Platoon Los Angeles Builds a Community

August 2, 2014

“I know the kids are going to go crazy on Monday, the ones that are here are already smiling, that somebody says there are people who love you…It makes them feel good. We feel like that just because you’re in the inner center doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the best.”

The veterans of 1st Platoon Los Angeles recently deployed to Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center. The center provides a safe and nurturing environment where boys and girls ages 8 to 18 can participate in academic enrichment programs and recreational activities exploring a world of opportunities.


Welcome to The Mission Continues’ New Blog

Every day, our team is privileged to hear stories of service direct from the source – the cadre of Mission Continues Fellows, Service Platoon members, volunteers and supporters who have made it their missions to report for duty in their communities.

Every day, they share stories of compassion – a veteran working one-on-one with a young student and motivating them to make positive choices and pursue their education. They share stories of action – a team of veterans coming together to demo a wall, build a garden and refurbish a community center in one afternoon. They share stories of innovation – an 11-year old who wanted to make a difference, so he raised enough money to fund a fellowship by knocking out more than 600 push-ups in an hour in exchange for donations.

Our goal is to put our action into words. You can expect to hear from veterans across the country and from all walks of life. We’ll examine what it means to be a post-9/11 veteran and how service can play an active role in a service member’s transition home. We’ll open up the discussion to hear from community members, corporations and foundations. We’ll ask you to participate along the way too. So, join us in this year of storytelling, and help us change the national conversation about veterans so that this generation leaves a legacy of service and success.

Moving Beyond the Battlefield

Zachary Bell
August 1, 2014


On February 12, 2007 I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, pledging to defend my country against all enemies foreign and domestic. I knew that my life would never be the same, but I still wanted to serve my country as so many great men and women had done before me. I could have never imagined in my wildest dreams where this would take me and what was yet to come.

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