USAA recently conducted a poll of Veterans, active duty personnel and the general population. The survey centered on the topic of Veterans Day.  The results were surprising.  John Bird, USAA’s Senior Vice President of Military Affairs joins us to share more.


Some of the results were disturbing; 28% of the civilian respondents didn’t know or were unsure why we recognize Veteran’s Day.  Others shed light on generational disparities between Veteran populations. Seventy percent of younger Veterans said they felt uncomfortable hearing “Thank You for Your Service” whereas only 24% of Veterans sixty five and older felt similar. John says that early on his career he also felt uncomfortable until he realized that people were just expressing their appreciation that he volunteered to serve.

The survey has inspired a new USAA initiative; the “Go Beyond Thank You” campaign which encourages people to do more than just thank Veterans for their service. John shares examples such as having a deeper conversation with a Veteran, volunteering & contributing to non-profits that support Veterans and helping Veterans make the transition to the civilian workforce.

We also discuss the USAA “Face the Fight Foundation” which seeks to address the scourge of Veteran suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among post 9/11 Veterans. Their aspirational goal is to cut the suicide rate in half by 2030. Their website is a great resource for both Veterans and civilians to engage in addressing this important issue. USAA is also donating new exercise equipment centers in American Legion Posts to address the important connection between physical & mental health.

John is a 1977 graduate of the Naval Academy. He “double volunteered” to serve in the submarine fleet, retiring at the rank of Vice Admiral.

USAA was founded in 1922 by Veterans to serve other Veterans. They offer a variety of services including insurance products and financial services. They employ 37,000 persons across the country and last year donated $47.5 million to military family resilience programs.

TAKEAWAY: “The best thing I ever did, short of my wife and kids, was joining the Navy.”