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January 16, 2006

If you are about to retire from the military...

...or have done so recently - buy this book.

What book?

The Military Advantage, by Chris Michel (even is he *is* a Squid).

You may have seen the book in your email lately if you get the email updates from Military.com.

First up - the caveat. I got this as a review copy from the publisher, though it came without any requirement to read, much less endorse and review. They asked, I said yes, it showed up. It's good to be the Armorer. I now have those privileges with *two* publishers. Now if I could only score the real Geek Military presses like Greenhill and St. Martins, among others. I've got a few more book reviews in the works, I'll let you know which ones were free to me, vice ones I paid for.

I read it. And I honestly wish that I had had this book before I retired. I'm sure the info contained in this book was out there - but when I was looking for it, it wasn't in one, easy to read, and MOST IMPORTANTLY CROSS-REFERENCED, one-stop-shop.

This is especially true as an easy-to-read-and-follow description of the VA Disability application and adjudication process.

The book covers all aspects of the pluses of a military career (we know the minuses already, eh?), in an easy to read (and did I mention, cross-referenced?) manner. It's easy to navigate, written in Real Person, not Gov't Bureaucrat - and in a nod to modernity and the ever-changing landscape of military benefits... gives you a website and password to get the latest updates as Congress and the Executive either scurry to pander to the passion of the moment, or is pushed, kicking and screaming, into honoring agreements long promised and little acted upon. Or acted upon, badly.

The active duty warrior or their spouse will find much useful here, especially if you are getting an assignment away from a major military installation and have to navigate the mysteries of TRICARE.

The Military Advantage, by Chris Michel. Published by Simon and Schuster. 389pps, $20.00 on the cover, $13.60 online at Amazon, I dunno what the PX is going to charge for it.

UPDATE: ARGGHHH!!! I was in a rush this morning, and saved the wrong version of this post. That error led to this question in the comments:

Sounds like a great resource. Would this also be useful to those leaving the military after 8-10 years, who I presume are not actually "retiring"?

The missing part is this:

This genesis for this book was Michel's experience when transitioning from active duty to the reserve. He had specific benefit questions, and when he asked a crusty old CPO, he got a concise, complete answer - unavailable anywhere else.

So Michel decided to become that "anywhere else." Thus, this tome. Yes, this book is a good reference for those entering the service, changing components, and as a "stay behind" reference for family members whose Warrior is deployed, not just us useless old farts who are know just a drag on the Defense budget providing no value added (good work if you can get it, though).

As I said, The Armorer was in a rush this morning, and regrets the error...