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Retired Air Force Colonel With Three Graduate Degrees Is Homeless And Sleeps In A Van

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Blue Van - Photo by SuperTank17What advice would you give to a retired Air Force Colonel that has three graduate degrees and that cannot even find work as a janitor?  59-year-old Robert Freniere once served as a special assistant to General Stanley McChrystal, and he has spent extensive time in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  But now this man who once had an office in the heart of the Pentagon cannot find anyone who will hire him.  In addition to his story, in this article you will also hear about several other middle-aged professionals that cannot find work in this economy either.  Despite what the Obama administration and the mainstream media are telling you, the truth is that there has been no employment recovery in this country.  What you are about to read is absolutely heartbreaking, but it represents the reality of what is really going on out there in the streets of America today.

A lot of unemployed Americans believe that they cannot find work because they don’t have enough “education” or enough “experience”.  Well, the truth is that there are a whole lot of people out there like Freniere that have lots of both and still can’t even get hired as a janitor

After a 30-year military career in which he earned three graduate degrees, rose to the rank of colonel, and served as an aide to Pentagon brass, Robert Freniere can guess what people might say when they learn he’s unemployed and lives out of his van:

Why doesn’t this guy get a job as a janitor?

Freniere answers his own question: “Well, I’ve tried that.”

Freniere, 59, says that his plea for help, to a janitor he once praised when the man was mopping the floors of his Washington office, went unfulfilled. So have dozens of job applications, he says, the ones he has filled out six hours a day, day after day, on public library computers.

So Freniere, a man who braved multiple combat zones and was hailed as “a leading light” by an admiral, is now fighting a new battle: homelessness.

You can read the rest of that article right here.  This just shows how badly the private sector in the United States is failing.  Someone with Freniere’s education and experience should be able to find work easily if our economy truly was healthy.

And of course Freniere is far from alone.  Just consider the story of 59-year-old Nancy Shields

Earlier last year, the 59-year-old Shields lost her townhouse and now rents a single room in her Southern California town. At one point, she managed a team of 60 people for a large retailer. She lost that job in 2011 but took another one—and a 20 percent pay cut—some months later. When that store closed in 2012, her luck ran out, and she has been looking for work ever since.

“My federal [unemployment] benefits (were) about $1,200 a month, and that’s all I get. … I have been very dependent on the generosity of my family members,” Shields said.

Her retirement savings exhausted, Shields said she doesn’t know what she’ll do if Congress doesn’t eventually authorize an extension.

As I have written about previously, a lot of unemployed Americans are going to lose their last lifeline now that their extended unemployment benefits are being cut off.  In fact, it is being projected that a total of 5 million unemployed Americans will lose their benefits by the end of 2014.  Many of those unemployed workers will end up losing everything.  One example of this is 53-year-old biotech researcher Vera Volk

Massachusetts resident Vera Volk also has a master’s degree, but the 53-year-old biotech researcher lost her job at the end of May and has been selling prized possessions in order to stay afloat.

“We’ve had to cash in everything that we could potentially cash in,” Volk said. “We’ve got our water heater down to the lowest we could potentially tolerate.” Volk’s extended unemployment benefits of $480 a week are the couple’s sole source of income. They’re four months behind on their mortgage, and although she and her husband have chronic health conditions, they couldn’t afford to keep paying for health insurance.

What would you do if you lost your job and couldn’t find another one no matter how hard you tried?

How would you stay afloat?

For 37-year-old Jeremy Botta, it is probably going to come down to selling off his most important possessions…

The pickup truck will probably be the first thing to go. 

It’s the first new car that Jeremy Botta has ever bought, using his savings from working for more than 14 years at the same auto repair shop. “I bent over backwards—I worked almost a 100 hours a week on my salary to turn that store around,” said Botta, 37, who was laid off in April after the shop changed owners.

Have you ever worked 100 hours a week?

There are many Americans out there that put in crazy hours month after month and end up with nothing to show for it.

Now Botta is facing the very real possibility that he will have to sell his house just to survive…

“If it comes down to it, I’ll have to sell the house,” says Botta, who bought the place in Bend, Ore., just months before he suddenly lost his job, which netted him as much as $60,000 in a good year. Having already raided his retirement savings, Botta thinks he’ll need to take three or four part-time jobs, working 60 to 70 hours a week just to get by without the unemployment checks.

“I don’t know how people make it on minimum wage,” says Botta. Having applied for nearly 100 jobs without luck—including cashier’s positions at Home Depot and Lowe’s—Botta expects he’ll be pumping gas if he’s lucky.

In a previous article entitled “15 Signs That The Quality Of Jobs In America Is Going Downhill Really Fast“, I detailed how the quality of the jobs in the United States is rapidly deteriorating.

And these days it is not just those with little education that are being forced to work low paying jobs.  In fact, the number of college graduates working minimum wage jobs has doubled since 2007.

In addition, according to a National Employment Law Project study about 60 percent of the jobs that have been “created” since the end of the last recession pay $13.83 or less an hour.

But you can’t support a family on that kind of an income.  In millions of homes in America today, both the father and the mother work multiple jobs and there still isn’t enough money at the end of the month.

The middle class is being systematically destroyed and poverty is absolutely soaring.  In some areas of the country, more than 40 percent of the people live below the poverty line.  You can check out an interactive map which shows where the highest levels of poverty in America are right here.  As you can see, the southern half of the nation has been hit particularly hard.

In a desperate attempt to stay afloat, more Americans than ever are turning to emergency loans.  I have written about the payday loan scam previously, but now a new twist on that scam has emerged.

They are being called “workplace loans”, and companies all over America are beginning to offer them as “benefits” to their workers.  But the effective annual percentage rate on these loans can be as high as 165 percent

Arizona Restaurant Systems Inc., a Scottsdale, Ariz., company that operates 28 Sonic locations in the state, allows workers to take out loans ranging from $150 to $500 that typically last two weeks.

The fees, ranging from $8 to $25 plus interest, don’t go to the restaurant franchisee, but to a lender called Think Finance Inc., which makes the loans. Based on the fees, the loans carry an effective annual percentage rate of 100% to 165%.

Please don’t get trapped in any of those loans.  They simply are not worth it.

Unfortunately, this is just the start of our economic problems.  We are in the midst of a long-term economic decline that will soon greatly accelerate.

And despite relentless propaganda from the mainstream media about how “good” things are, most Americans are very pessimistic about where things are headed.  According to a survey conducted in December by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 54 percent of all Americans believe that life in America will “go downhill” as we approach 2050, and only 23 percent believe that life will improve during the next few decades.

Also, Americans seem to have very little faith in the federal government at this point.  According to a shocking new poll that was just released, only one out of every 20 Americans believe that the government is functioning well and needs no changes, and 70 percent of all Americans do not have confidence that the government will “make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014.”

If you are waiting for our politicians to fix everything and save the day, you can quit holding your breath.  They are way too busy having fun and raising money for their next campaigns.

For example, despite the fact that our country is falling apart all around us, Barack Obama just took an extended holiday vacation out in Hawaii and played his 160th round of golf since taking office.

Our “leaders” are not going to rescue us from what is coming.  That is why it is imperative to get prepared for the coming storm while you still can.

Time is running out.

Blue Van - Photo by SuperTank17

  • Me


  • Jenn

    I was surprised that a reporter here in MA was talking on his segment about unemployment figures… He said that on the surface, the numbers looked good, but that if they were calculated the way they used to be, it would be at 10% or more. The way he said it was almost sotto voce, as if he disagreed with the upbeat nature of the news segment he was reporting, and that he wanted to maintain his integrity, but wasn’t sure if he should be saying that on-air.

    • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

      Once in a while the truth does leak out. 🙂


      • Mondobeyondo

        Yes it does. But it’s like pulling teeth to get the truth out.

  • Mondobeyondo

    It is sad and tragic the way this nation treats its veterans. They served this country with courage and valor, and the country has failed them. Heck, if General Douglas MacArthur were alive today, he’d probably be living in a tin shed….

    • John Willow

      At least you have a neutral mind to the story. Some of these bloggers are blaming the vet for his pension.

      And yet when a female teacher gets caught with her panties down with her students, people like Gary2Gary demand that everyone pay their fair share for the public school teacher’s severance pay.

      • Toni Bauer

        Ridiculous generalization. I am a female and a feminist and I say throw those female teachers in jail along with any males doing the same! And forget taxpayer support for them.

    • Velocitor

      General Douglas MacArthur went from military retirement to an executive job at Gillette. (the razor company) He probably made more in first year out of the military than his preceding 10 years.

    • tfb

      Just google benefit army to see what a great guy McArthur was.

  • Stev

    Something doesn’t smell right.

    I have a hard time believing a 30 year retired Air Force Colonel can’t make it.

    I checked the AF pay site and it states a 30 year Colonel makes 126K a year active duty. If the retirement for 30 years is 75% of that, it means he should be getting about $94,000 a year ($7,833 per month). Even if he only makes 50% retirement he would be getting $63,000 a year ($5,250 per month). Yet the article link states he only makes 40K a year ($3,333 per month)?

    Am I missing something???

    Heck I did 20+ years in the Army, retired as an enlisted E-7 and I make $19,200 a year ($1,600 a month) in retirement. I know if I had a pension of 40K a year I would not have to work.

    Tell the kids to study and get scholarships. Kids leave the parents alone with their retirement/pension and don’t suck your folks dry because your too lazy to study! Put in for scholarships or, LORD FORBID, work AND go to school at the same time! I congratulate the Colonel for making the sacrifice and put his kids thru college but if its at the cost of you being HOMELESS thats extreme. Yes our govt screws its vets and its despicable.

    Now I do know people who have degrees and have a hard time getting employment; some have been told they are ‘over qualified’ which is crazy. Some people just need to move to a better place. Now obviously many cannot but that is where personal charity comes in. Jesus said the poor would always be with us and I guess He was right.

    However I feel the example of the retired AF colonel is an extreme exception and not the norm; seems too sensational for me; I personally wouldn’t use it in this piece.

    Otherwise I enjoyed the article – Michael, keep up the good work.

    • Don

      If he is getting a pension in the amount you mention above then why can’t he rent a small studio apartment? Something does not make sense and I do not think we are getting all the facts.

      • KB37

        In the article that Michael linked to, (on the philly site that is), it says the following…

        Spots are hard to come by. Freniere, like many of his fellow
        down-on-their-luck veterans, does not match any hat-in-hand Hollywood image of homelessness. He receives an annual pension from the military
        of more than $40,000.

        His struggle to find a job after retiring from the Air Force collided with the end of his marriage nearly two years ago. Unable to return to the home he shared with his estranged wife, and faced with expenses including bills for two sons in college and debts that mounted when he maintained a nicer lifestyle, he took up a
        nomadic existence.

        So basically, Colonel Freniere does get his 40k a year pension, however because of an ill timed divorce, combined with living high on the hog when times were good (and his kids’ college payments), is why he had to resort to this living out of a van lifestyle. Possibly until he can pay off his debts.

        • Don

          Seems to me he needs to tell the kids to work while going to college, reduce his lifestyle and quit with the sob story b.s. There are many people out there who would love to get a pension of 40,000 a year and who are only making a fraction of this man’s income.

          Personally I get really tired of people not learning how to live on less and trying to maintain a lifestyle no longer maintainable and then have them featured in an article about homeless vets. He it seems is homeless by choice. There are many vets who are homeless because they have no choice. There is a BIG difference between these 2 things.

          • KB37

            I was only pointing out what the article said, seeing how it’s likely that many won’t read it themselves. At first to me, it sound very fishy myself as to why he had to resort to this way of life, and by reading the link(s), one sees why.

          • chris scott

            obviously his lifestyle is reduced, he’s living in a van!

        • awka

          Is he legally required to pay college costs for the kids? That might also factor in. If he has a choice, then I agree there are other options. College shouldn’t make your parent homeless. Kids could live in a van or at home or work and pay as they go.

    • Malcolm Reynolds

      You beat me to the math.
      If you read the rest of his story at the link, he recently got divorced and his wife apparently soaked him for everything they had, gave him all the debts and then foisted all the college bills on him.
      Don’t quote me, but she prolly seized half his pension, which would put him close to the 40K quoted in the story.
      Sorry, I don’t feel sorry for him.
      See: Dave Ramsey.

      • Guest

        Whenever I hear Dave Ramsey’s voice, whether on TV or the radio, I turn the TV or radio off or change the station. I can’t stand him. He lives in a multi-million dollar home that he paid cash for.

        • Malcolm Reynolds

          LOL, gee envy and jealousy much?
          Meanwhile, I’m not a multi-millionaire and put his principles to use in my life and have owned as many as 4 homes at once.

          • Guest

            That’s great, Malcolm! I’m not rich by any stretch of the imagination. And, no, I’m not envious of Dave Ramsey. I don’t like him because he’s arrogant. The principles he espouses are just common sense. I was using them as a child to manage my money.

          • Malcolm Reynolds

            “I can’t stand him. He lives in a multi-million dollar home that he paid cash for.”

            Well, you fooled me. I’m sorry, Rush Limbaugh is arrogant. Dave Ramsey, not so much.

          • Guest

            LOL! I actually like listening to Rush Limbaugh. You know, I think Limbaugh has more discernment than Dave Ramsey. Dave Ramsey seems to imply that if you follow the principles he teaches that you’ll become as rich as him. Uh, sure.

          • JustanOguy

            Lol… exactly. All Dave does is preach common financial sense, got syndicated and now makes a ton of money.

            Spend less then you make and don’t go into debt… DUH!!

            On another note.. it’s amazing how much money you can make just by keeping it simple. 😉

    • idiots

      idiot,,,i saw your nasty children,making fun over a jet fighter pilot in youtube,,,,interesting to see how you treat your warriors….get the hell out of here……………….

      • Mondobeyondo


    • Imaplaneiac

      Stev, as a fellow military retiree, and another E-7, I trust your numbers for a retired, 30 year, Colonel. gone2pot, above, must have been smokin’ some of it when he wrote his comments.

    • none

      I think I solved the problem.
      He’s probably living in N.Y. or Chicago.
      The high cost of living?

  • robert

    This story smells. Full colonel? This is how he ends up? His fault. Period. Know many guys who dumped the first wife and got a trophy wife to show off. First wife likely got half his pension. Adding on debts from second wife and kids and lifestyle was stupid. No sympathy. None.

    • Mondobeyondo

      Being retired a full colonel with all the perks, benefits, etc – you’d think his situation would be much better. But it can happen to ANYONE. Ever hear those stories of multi million dollar lottery winners who ended up bankrupt a few years later?

      • robert

        Sure. What is your point though? People make bad decisions but it is their decisions. They have had every opportunity but blow it. I also know good people who have lost jobs, cannot find one and if they do it never pays what they were earning. Not their fault. This colonel is an idiot. His pension is substantial. Far above the average working American.

        • Mondobeyondo

          Well, true, many people make bad decisions in their lives that cost them. But many people make good decisions in their lives too, and it costs them,

          But it is extremely unusual for an Air Force colonel to be in the shape he’s in. I need to vet the story a bit further.

        • k

          what makes you think this colonel dumped his first wife for a second trophy wife?

        • Mary Crandles

          He NEEDS a JOB and in this economy is unable to get one.

  • K

    These folks have multiple things working against them. 1. Age discrimination, which you can not get anyone to enforce. 2. Mangers who are barely functioning idiots. They will never hire anyone they suspect is smarter than they are .In the Colonel case there may be a third. 3. Recently retired Vets all have mental problems, and may go off at any time. Hard to believe in this Country people think that way, but I have seen it myself.

    • Mondobeyondo

      “Recently retired vets all have mental problems”

      I don’t know any retired veterans, but you’re kinda painting the entire retired U.S. military with a very broad brush.

      • K

        You misunderstand my statement. I have run into more than a few people, who believe that nonsense.

        • Mondobeyondo

          Okay, I did misinterpret it.

    • Dave

      Age discrimination for certain. I have been going through it and it is very real and very much alive. It’s an unfortunate reality I struggle with daily.

      • Mondobeyondo

        But age discrimination is illegal.

        • Orange Jean

          Almost impossible to verify, I’m afraid. I’ve seen it in my workplace… there were witnesses also, but they were ALL young people who (when I cautiously inquired what they thought about comments being made) didn’t see a problem with it and would never support anyone trying to make a claim to that affect. I’m talking about a big boss who said out loud on more than one occasion he “prefers” to hire young people!

          Not worth complaining about because that would be putting a big red bulls eye on your forehead … and there is always some “budget” excuse to get rid of people.

          • K

            Yes I remember that conversation. I do not think I understood how out of hand things had gotten until then. I worked in many places, that would have been considered a hostile work environment. But even then, there were some people you could rely on. Those young folks do not understand, they will not always be young..

          • Orange Jean

            So far I’m finding it works better just to keep my lip zipped.

            Not necessarily always what I’d LIKE to do, but what is practical to do. Let the dirty water flow over my back like a duck, so it won’t stick to me!

        • Jim Davis

          Good luck trying to get a lawyer and even if you do proving it.

        • JustanOguy

          I know ONE person who got this on and sued Hilton some years back but that’s after he was with them for several years and numerous “older” people were all laid off at the same time and replaced with younger people. (It was extremely obvious.) This was back when Hilton used to give it’s employees a Pension after being with them for a certain amount of years.

          Problem nowadays is that employers can find numerous OTHER reasons to age discriminate when it comes to “hiring”.

          Big difference — just about impossible to prove age discrimination when hiring.

        • Dave

          Perhaps if i had the proof, I would. Fact is, I don’t ..although I have every reason to believe it was the case as I’m sure many others have. Besides, my efforts at present are focused on securing a job so I let all else roll off my back. I happen to believe in what goes around, comes around and someday they’ll get theirs.

      • Hammerstrike

        And often stupid too.

    • JustanOguy

      That’s why you do everything possible to get out of the jobbie job world by properly investing and/or start your own business before you find yourself in the situations you mention above.

      Saw it first hand with my Mom. Bankster Executive with 35+ years of bankster experience “laid” off from a bankster corporation she had been with for over 20 years. Even though she was financially well off, (modest lifestyle, no bills and plenty of savings) she was bored out of her mind and looked for other jobs just to do something besides sitting around and couldn’t get a job.

      Ended up hiring her to do my books and to keep my business in line. She nags me about spending money on garbage which is a great thing.

  • Missy5537

    I don’t see anything anywhere in the article that states he gets any type of pension, but you people are citing one? In which paragraph does that appear? Certainly w/30 years, one would think he would get one.

    • Tim

      He does receive a pension. Read the off-site article. There’s a link to it in the article above.

      • Missy5537

        Thanks Tim – I did not initially see the link, but it explains his situation a lot more. $40K is great for a pension these days, and it’s unclear what support he is giving to his wives and sons. It’s too bad he can’t find a job, but really, the pension he receives sounds generous.

        • Tim

          I agree. There are consequences to the decisions we make in life.

  • Tim

    I read the off-site article about the retired Air Force colonel. It says that he is separated from his second wife, is helping put his sons through college and has debts from when he tried to live a nicer lifestyle. So he’s living with the consequences of decisions that he has made in life. I’m not criticizing the man. I’m just saying.

    • Lisa

      Here’s a tip for Colonel num nuntz….stop getting married!

    • John Willow

      Do you even know the circumstances which made him re-marry? He is a good father to financially support his sons, but people in the likes of Lisa and Gary openly support a female teacher who was caught with her students doing some ungodly activities.Heck, Gary would even demand that we pay our fair share to pay legal fees for those female teachers.

      • Tim

        No, John, I don’t know the man’s circumstances. That’s why I said in my comment that I wasn’t criticizing the man. But this man is homeless by choice. Read the off-site article, and you’ll see that.

      • Lisa

        What are you talking about. This post has nothing to do with pedophile teachers raping their students. The point is that this man is making poor life choices, yet we are supposed to feel sorry for him because he can’t live off of 40,000 a year. We are also supposed to think he is a great father because he is paying for his kids college instead of providing himself a place to live. His children had they been taught should be helping their father, not taking handouts from the man.

        Most parents today give their kids everything without teaching them to work for anything.

        I guess because he is a vet he somehow deserves more than the average man or woman unable to get a job in today’s economy? Why? He is already getting a pension. To me that is enough.

        Now quit your crying and learn to write a resume specific to the job you are seeking. *For example if you are apply to be a janitor don’t include on your resume that you have 3 degrees.

  • Bob74

    What I don’t understand is why the retired colonel is homeless and living in his vehicle. I’ve known some people that retired with 30 or more years of military service and all drew a pretty nice pension, especially if they had a higher rank. There has to be more to his story than we’re being told.

    • Lisa

      He is living in his van because he is a moron and a loser. Although the good news is that now that he is homeless perhaps he won’t marry for a 3rd time.

      • John Willow

        It takes one to know one Lisa. I bet you would be the first of the fakewomenssuffrage pack to defend some female teacher who had her bed rocked by one of her students. And Americans & Canadians wonder why the education system is a mess and there aren’t enough jobs.

      • rita

        Too late. He was and now divorced for a third time.

    • Mondobeyondo

      Well, um – *sigh*

      You don’t become a colonel in the Air Force (or any branch of the military) without having to make some very important decisions.

      Now, the caveat…
      Those decisions aren’t financial. They’re military. Might work great in the battlefield, but for financial affairs – useless.

      However –
      If you’re smart enough to make important decisions in professional life, you should be smart enough to make similar decisions in your personal and financial life. SHOULD be.

      that’s often not how life works. Life can be a fickle mistress at times.

      • Annette Smith

        We are friends with a particular military family. He is a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel. He has become disabled and has a short time before he passes on. They live in a good section of Virginia. But, money is tight for them, too. His wife works as a teacher. She is in her late 60’s. It’s tough. I guess Mondo is right. It depends on the financial choices we make. However, he should have a pension to fall back on.

      • tf

        Maybe he got military on his wife.

    • seth datta

      Itd be great for the day when bankers, NSA and CIA employees are homeless and destitute.

      • Oldphartbsa

        No…It’ll be a great day when they are dead, hanging from streetlamps.

        • Hammerstrike

          Arise children of the fatherland
          The day of glory has arrived
          Against us tyranny’s
          Bloody standard is raised
          Listen to the sound in the fields
          The howling of these fearsome soldiers
          They are coming into our midst
          To cut the throats of your sons and consorts

          To arms citizens Form your battalions
          March, march
          Let impure blood
          Water our furrows

          What do they want this horde of slaves
          Of traitors and conspiratorial kings?
          For whom these vile chains
          These long-prepared irons?
          Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
          What methods must be taken?
          It is us they dare plan
          To return to the old slavery!

          What! These foreign cohorts!
          They would make laws in our courts!
          What! These mercenary phalanxes
          Would cut down our warrior sons
          Good Lord! By chained hands
          Our brow would yield under the yoke
          The vile despots would have themselves be
          The masters of destiny

          Tremble, tyrants and traitors
          The shame of all good men
          Tremble! Your parricidal schemes
          Will receive their just reward
          Against you we are all soldiers
          If they fall, our young heros
          France will bear new ones
          Ready to join the fight against you

          Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors
          Bear or hold back your blows
          Spare these sad victims
          That they regret taking up arms against us
          But not these bloody despots
          These accomplices of Bouillé
          All these tigers who pitilessly
          Ripped out their mothers’ wombs

          We too shall enlist
          When our elders’ time has come
          To add to the list of deeds
          Inscribed upon their tombs
          We are much less jealous of surviving them
          Than of sharing their coffins
          We shall have the sublime pride
          Of avenging or joining them

          Drive on sacred patriotism
          Support our avenging arms
          Liberty, cherished liberty
          Join the struggle with your defenders
          Under our flags, let victory
          Hurry to your manly tone
          So that in death your enemies
          See your triumph and our glory.

          • mobilebay

            Sounds like the translation of the French National Anthem, La Marseilliase – non?

          • Hammerstrike


        • ND52

          No @Oldphartbsa:disqus, it’ll be a great day when we irradiate the matriarchy from our divorce and family courts. This guy is destitute thanks to his now ex-wife……………..

      • Mondobeyondo

        “That’ll be the day, when you die”

        And you wonder why Buddy Holly died in a plane crash.

        Seriously, it WAS just a plane crash. Please, no conspiracy theories

        • seth datta

          We’ll see.

      • JustanOguy

        It’ll be greater when it’s the Politicians that enable all of the headaches to exist to begin with.

    • MeMadMax

      You are absolutely right. Being a vet myself, a whole bunch of red flags started popping up with this story. Something is not being told.

      • The rest of the story is that his second wife took everything he had. More a reflection of family courts than the economy.

        For a man in this country at this time, there is absolutely every incentive NOT to get MARRIED.

        • nekksys

          I totally agree! There is no benefit to getting married any longer. I know several women in my area who use marriage and divorce as a way of getting the money and things they want all the while remaining unemployed (and ever unfaithful).

    • justwondering

      I was thinking that he must be doing something wrong if he couldn’t live on a retired captains pay

    • Zechariah

      I agree. He should have at least 75% of base pay plus medical/dental. I am a civilian DOD retiree that saw many, many colonels retire over the course of my career. They all were taken care of. Indeed, some other factor is at play. However, this apparent exception by no means detracts from the fact that our economy is in a shambles and getting worse.

      • Hammerstrike

        What if they had asked the wrong questions? What if they had criticize someone they shouldn’t criticize?

        • Keebler

          It does kind of feel like a blacklisting.

    • death

      You’re right, there is – and that is the fact that the federal government has decided to slash veternas’ pension benefits. They will not rest until we are all on the streets.

    • JustanOguy

      Debts and bills / An Ex-wife and kids in college is why.

      More like poor financial planning and taking charge of his own life is the REAL problem.

      (Read the Original Story that Michael has linked to.)

      • ericwindow

        The real travesty is that a military spouse is entitled in any divorce settlement to 50% of his pension + health care after just 10 years of marriage by federal law.

    • jsgurl

      For some guys not having enough to retire on is caused by divorce! Luckly, my ex and I both agreed (legally) to leave each others military retirement alone. Nicest thing the ex every did for me.

    • Kevin Pevehouse

      Thats true-

      If he retired honorably he should be pulling close to 40-60 k a year full bnefits

    • ND52

      It’s actually really simple: his wife cleaned him out in divorce court!

      Marriage? Nooooooooooo thank you! Lol!

    • Hammerstrike k/news/uk-news/9000-ex-service-personnel-homeless-after-2071049

      greenpastures.n et/about/politics/184-one-in-ten-homeless-people-are-ex-military

  • krinks

    As much as I hate parasites, unemployment should be a permanent option to the over 55 crowd. They have no shot in today’s economy.

    • Mondobeyondo

      Urgh. Pour some more milk in my stomach, because my tummy’s about to churn butter!

      To say that people over 55 have no shot in today’s economy – is rather ignorant in my view. There are plenty of 55 and overs who have the ability, and who are willing to learn the skills, necessary to compete in this modern economy.

      Some of them even know how to use Google.

      • krinks

        Check the comments section to what ever article on expiring unemployment benefits you wish. They are full of tales of the over 50 that get laughed at when they apply for a job.

        • Orange Jean

          Now that I would agree on.. the trick is not getting laid off at that age. Also not taking any “grant supported”, “temp”, “term”, or “contract” job, as those are nearly a sure fire way to join the permanently unemployed crowd at that age.

          I know that’s easier said than done and I also have known several people (mostly women) who got laid off in their 50s and NEVER found another job…

          • DiscouragedOne

            Don’t take a contract job? You must be out of touch working for the government…it is the new “full time”.

          • Orange Jean

            Every one I know who took a contract job… couldn’t later ever get a non-contract job. Up to the person what they want to do… but I do think that puts you at greater risk for ended up unemployed when older. Sometimes people are lured into those contract jobs because they pay better, and yes most of the people currently working in my department are contractors. Wouldn’t trade places with them, however.

        • DiscouragedOne

          I am over 50 and have yet to be laughed at, although I am working at the moment. I will let you know if that ever happens.

          • krinks

            The key term is “you are working”.

          • DiscouragedOne

            Not really, I was 50 when I applied for the job, but I still got the job.

      • Orange Jean

        Very good points Mondo… although age discrimination is real and if you are over 50 or thereabouts, unemployed, and trying to find a new job – that’s usually when it kicks in.

        I am 63 and still working, have great skills, but always on alert… as there are people in my department always trying to “prove” that somehow with 20 yrs experience in my field… I can’t measure up to someone with no experience who just got out of school, and is prettier than me. So far so good..

        AND I recently mentioned to one of the big bosses at work… that his comment about “old people” having trouble using computers is not necessarily accurate. Some don’t but there are a lot of good computer programmers are in the 50+ range. And I have a friend in her mid 80s, retired.. but who builds her own computers, networks several together for more memory etc.

      • DiscouragedOne

        Some of us over 50 even work with computers for a living, like me, my husband, and a good chunk of our friends and family members. Yeah, I think we know how to use Google. 🙂

    • DiscouragedOne

      I really hope that you are wrong.

      • krinks

        Alas I am not. I have read more than a few accounts now.

    • Toni Bauer

      I went to nursing school at age 59. A hard struggle, made it through and got a much better job as a new nurse than younger grads because of my years of management experience. At the same time, am well aware of nurses who are long term hospital employees being laid off while new grads are hired and a much lower wage. There are no hard and fast rules about much of anything.

  • gone2pot

    Something about this doesn’t pass the smell test. A thirty year 0-6 retiree gets a monthly check of 6630. He must live in one hell of a nice van. My BS flag is at the top of the flag pole over this article. I’m surprised the economic collapse blog got sucked into this one.

    • libsarescum

      could be a mental illness similar to gary’s affliction

    • Killer Virus

      I agree. This doesn’t add up.

    • Imaplaneiac

      g2p, I FULLY agree with you – and blogger Lisa ( above ). Her comment about TWO failed ” marriages “. If the Colonel is SO smart, why did he NOT suffiiently prepare financially for his inevitable retirement!? I DID throughout my 22 years of Active Duty in the USAF! My Retirement pension, as a E-7 / MSgt. is LESS than one-third of the figure you specify above! The Colonel’s retirement is far above the Median Income in America nowadays! His two ” exes ” must have taken him to the cleaners!

      Michael, there’s DEFINITELY ” something wrong with this picture “!

      • BeenThere

        Not living in the USA I’m not sure, but I would have thought that you could live better than that on $40,000 a year. Provided you had a mortgage free home. However, the main point of the article is that will all those skills, he can’t get a job.

        • JustanOguy

          Plenty of places in the U.S. where you can EASILY live off of less then $30,000 a year.

    • ptetteroo

      He’s been married twice….

    • JustanOguy

      Red Flags popped up with me also and then I read the original story about this guy.

      He has a take charge of his own life problem if anything.

  • John Willow

    By reading this article, the point of the argument is…the vet CANNOT FIND A JOB along with the rest who CAN’T FIND A JOB!!!!

    I don’t understand why the majority of people who are blaming the vet for his pension are people with female names.

    But guess what, why doesn’t anyone complain about the fraudulent politicians in Congress or the newsmaker of the year–female public school teachers and their involvement with her students?

    Why should a female teacher be given leniency and her job after she was caught with indecent conduct with students………but millions of Americans and Canadians with NO CRIMINAL RECORD OR SEZZUAL DEVIANCE CAN’T FIND JOBS!

    • Gay Veteran

      awwww, what’s wrong, some mean woman make you feel small?

  • JulietteofOhio

    I find it incredible that 5% of the nation has any confidence in the Federal Government or any part of government at all.

    Yes, I’ve worked more than 100 hours in a week, back in the 1960s and 1970s as a divorced mother who did not get child support and took no government benefits, not that there were any to take at that time.

    We went through a long dry spell during the 1990s when my husband’s field was shrinking. He was unemployed for five years, but finally found a “niche” job in his area. We’re still behind from that five-year unemployment, but he’s still working at the age of 73 (I said it was a niche job.) and I just went back to work at the age of 68. We are both so sorry for this man, and yes, age discrimination is probably to blame. Either that or the general distrust of veterans fostered by this hideous administration.

    • John Willow

      Raising children are expensive, and the vet has to pay for his children college.

      Glad you have a neutral viewpoint and testimony as compared to the Gary2Gary KKKlan who demand that everyone pay their fair share for the politicians and their crony corporations.

  • John Willow

    Ever heard of alimony? In some states men are forced to pay for their ex-wives.

    It’s people in the likes of Gary2Gary who demand that everyone pay their fair share while the politicians and government class swindle all of our shares and the useless public schools corrupt the minds of students.

    • JustanOguy

      No doubt… have to pay my ex-wife even though she makes over $75K a year because of the crocodile tear system that’s been put in place by the bleeding heart libtards that actually ENCOURAGES divorce.

      What a great system!

      No idea why Gays want to get married… my advice to Men in the State where I live is to NOT get married and make sure you wear a cover!

  • skeptic

    A US Air Force colonel makes about $9-10K per month with a retirement package of about 50% of that. If he is living in a van he must have made some pretty poor choices after leaving the service

    • Tim

      He did.

  • Alan Whittier

    Sorry for asking this, but doesn’t he have enough money to retire after a 30 year career in military?

  • Mondobeyondo

    Makes you wonder… maybe a few too many days on leave at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas?! Just sayin’

  • themason90

    Where did the “van” photo come from…was NOT here.

  • Mondobeyondo

    Was he living down by the river?

    Sorry. I just had to go there. Oh boy, gonna get plenty of flak for that one. It’s okay though.

    • Mondobeyondo

      A nod to the late Chris Farley

  • Ben Robinson

    Have a degree but can not find work? I had no teaching experience except Sunday school before 2000 when I went to South Korea. If you have a degree and can speak English try this site ” Dave’s Esl cafe” . Thousands of real FULL time jobs even if you have NO experience. I left America May 11th 2000 from my state of Florida and have not wanted to come back.

    • chris scott

      Congratulations Ben for doing what it takes and willing to take a risk to leave your home. However the oriental countries Wont take you over 40 years old or some number like that. Am I correct that you are young?

  • Tim

    “That is why it is imperative to get prepared for the coming storm while you still can.”

    Absolutely. I want to share something that I witnessed today. While shopping at Trader Joe’s, I noticed that many inventory items were either not in stock or were very low. I had never seen that before at Trader Joe’s. I mean, they are always very well stocked. So I asked one of the employees about it. He said that they got “hammered” yesterday (Sunday) because of the weather forecast (extreme cold but no snow). Then I went to Whole Foods Market, and I noticed the same thing. The frozen food section had been hit hard. And there were very few eggs. During my final stop, at Publix, I asked an employee whom I’m acquainted with if the store was busy yesterday. She said yes.

    I think people are fearful of losing power during this cold spell that much of the nation is experiencing. The point that I’m trying to make is that in the event of an emergency–whether it’s financial, weather-related, etc.–the grocery store shelves will be empty in just a few hours. So, if you haven’t been prepping for such an event, you need to do so.

    • Annette Smith

      Hey, I have to reply to this. I went to Walmart for my medications I need, and while I waited I walked around the store. Wiped out in the basics.

  • Luis

    I worked hard and paid my own way through college long ago. Though times are tough, it seems to me the Colonel’s two sons should try to do the same. Besides, I can’t believe they would take money from their Dad who is sleeping in a van. On a different note, this man with multiple college degrees can’t get a job, but he thinks his kids will fair better once they graduate? Hasn’t he heard about all the college kids out there waiting on tables? This story does not add up….

  • GSOB

    Two sides to every story

    • Mondobeyondo

      Indeed there are.

  • Citizen X19

    Many retired military officers are double-dippers, living large. This guy must have some personal problems not being told here.

    • Trustme

      My guess is alcohol. I saw quite a few drunk lifers in my time.

  • cpgone

    Retired Air Force Colonel
    His pay was probably 80k or so/year. Retirement easily 30k with free medical. Maybe he lives in a van b/c he wants to and/or has finally realized he did the bidding of the military industrial killing complex?
    War is a racket. Gen. Butler

    • Imaplaneiac

      cpgone, As a reitiree, I can ASSURE you that Military Retirees DON’T have FREE medical or dental care!! ( My reruiter, back in 1969, assured me otherwise! ). I’ve spent BIG Bucks for dental work, over the years! As I mentioned above, I PREPARED for my retirement from active duty; anticipating the UNEXPECTED!

      • cpgone

        Medical care is 500/yr.
        MINE? 12K.

        • Imaplaneiac

          Oh, so that’s what you meant. I turn age 64 in a few days. Is your $500 amount accurate – or a guesstimate? In 2015, I’ll have to pay whatever amount it is instead of paying for TriCare

  • This whole country is in serious trouble

    • Mondobeyondo

      I just watched the “CBS Evening News”, and I can assure you, everything’s just fine. 🙂

      • You watch the main stream media, that tells me a lot about you.

        • JustanOguy

          He was being sarcastic..

          I also watch the lamestream media… gives me a good laugh every day and I learn a lot about economic “psychology”.

          The people running the lamestream media are WAY too smart to not know what’s really going on but they don’t tell the truth about it because of sponsors and other pressures.

          Big business wants the sheeple to be happy so they keep going out and buying garbage.

        • El Pollo de Oro

          Gordon Gekko: If you’d read any of Mondo’s previous comments, you would have picked up on the fact that he was being ironic. He was making fun of the mainstream media, capisch?
          So you shot your mouth off without understanding where Mondo was coming from.

          But you’re right about The Banana Republic of America being in serious trouble. We’re in deep, deep trouble, and the worst is yet to come.

  • cpgone

    And he has a son now in the military industrial complex, What a brainwashed sheeple. The last real war was WW2, all the rest is doing the bidding for the globalists.Send your kids as cannon fodder, not mine,

    • Mondobeyondo

      You are correct when you say the last real war was WWII.Real, as in a real purpose. Victory over an enemy universally loathed and despised (unless of course if you were fighting for the other side).

  • Gay Veteran

    LOL, likes it makes any difference whether the republicans take both houses. Both parties are two sides of the same coin.

  • Believe

    Feels good to have a few things stored for emergencies, and to have a bit more time to plan and add to supplies. Even if it’s my time to leave the earth tomorrow, my legacy will include a small cache of provisions for family or others in need. Seems the right thing to do in an ever darkening economic and moral landscape. My prayer is that God will protect the possessions of those who have planned and stored carefully, from those who will pilfer or assault to gain what is not rightfully theirs because they will be caught empty-handed for lack of heeding any of the warnings that are as ‘in our faces’ as high beams in oncoming traffic.

  • Jenny Murphy

    how is this possible? i see black family’s of 12 with not ONE single worker among them live in 120$ bungalows with a car and cell phone and food card..
    how do black folks manage to obtain all these amenities yet dont work and have no intention too?
    and here this guy lives in a van? somethings wrong

  • Raymond Chow

    This colonel is full of it. He’s retired from the Air Force which means he has pension plus he was hurt on duty so he has disability. Put those 2 together, he should getting a hefty sum of pension for the rest of his life. Where is he spending all his pension? Paying for his kids college education? That’s not so because they’re in a military school which means they have ROTC scholarships. Paying alimony to his ex-wives? That’s not also the case if they’re remarried or have no children under 18 with him. This colonel if he was even commissioned is full of it.

  • Mondobeyondo

    Well now! Okay then!

    The original story referenced states that the gentleman has some experience in intelligence agencies. Why isn’t he hired by the CIA? British intelligence agencies like MI5, etc? The same reason you can’t get hired at Sears or Home Depot, I guess.

    Public library computers? Oh yeah, I know about those very well. But back to the story..

    The story mentioned he has dyslexia. Does that by any means limit or prohibit him from finding gainful employment in the private sector?

    Just curious… anyway, I have my own long term unemployment issues. Maybe I should submit some essays to The Onion or something…

    • Mondobeyondo

      “Johann Perrier, Inventor of Water, Dies at Age 91”

      If you’ve ever been to The Onion site, you’ll know the kind of parody news they offer there.

  • 2Gary2

    I love this guy-he needs to be president of the USA.

    Other taxes already in place will bring the overall effective rate of French president François Hollande’s “millionaires’ tax”
    to 75 percent. Hollande first proposed a 75 percent top rate in his
    2012 presidential campaign. But France’s top court struck down, on
    technical grounds, Hollande’s first attempt to put his proposal in
    practice. How “insanely high” a tax burden do France’s rich now face
    from Hollande’s revised plan? A little perspective: In the 1950s,
    America’s top-bracket tax rate sat at 91 percent.

    • libsarescum

      Republicans will OWN the libs in the 2014 elections. DIG IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Imaplaneiac

        libsarescum, maybe NOT – as long as electronic / computer devices are used for voting! Rampant / widespread voting fraud in Nov 2012 assured OBEY-me the Dictator was re-elected!

  • 2Gary2

    More welfare for the rich–when will you conservative dolts get a brain and stop shilling for the 1%???

    One week into the new year, who has already stopped paying Social
    Security taxes on their 2014 income? Answer: the 199 Americans with
    over $50 million in paycheck income, a take-home that equals at least
    $117,000 daily. Paycheck income over $117,000 this year will face no
    Social Security tax. Removing the cap on annual income subject to Social
    Security tax, notes economist Teresa Ghilarducci, would leave Social Security fully solvent for generations.

    • libsarescum

      libs will be annihilated in the 2014 elections, laughing all the way as libs like you suck on the obama testicle

  • 2Gary2

    2014 needs to be the year the conservative cancer is removed from any position of power.

    In Massachusetts, nurses have collected over 100,000 signatures for an
    initiative that would levy fines against any hospital in the state,
    profit or nonprofit, that compensates its CEO over 100 times the
    hospital’s lowest-paid worker.

    State lawmakers now have until May
    to advance the nurses’ plan. If they don’t, nurses say they’ll collect
    the additional 11,000 signatures necessary to get their pay ratio plan
    on the November 2014 statewide ballot.

    Tax the rich and spread the wealth

    • libsarescum

      libs are going to get slaughtered in 2014, bwhaahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    • libsarescum


  • 2Gary2

    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in
    moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification
    for selfishness.”

    we need to be rid of the cancer of conservatism. This moral bankrupt belief system has caused more pain and suffering and needs to be gone.

    • libsarescum

      LIBS ARE TOAST IN 2014

      • 2Gary2

        Ok there Hoss–the republicans are so very popular and their [policies are working so well. NOT!

        • libsarescum

          Ok the hossfembot, LIBS ARE TOAST IN 2014

        • libsarescum

          garynomics has DESTROYED the USA. libs are toast in 2014, bwahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • 2Gary2

    All one needs to know about income inequality is that by 10:00 this
    morning, each of the 100 highest paid CEOs in America had earned as much
    – often more – than what the average worker earns all year.

    Tax the wealthy to keep us healthy.

    • libsarescum

      all you need to know is that gary despises the USA

      • 2Gary2

        ok Hoss–I guess you really told me. If you can read please re-read what I posted and point out where I said I hate the USA?

    • libsarescum

      why do libs share ideology with the nazi’s?
      – gun confiscation
      – love of death – abortion rules for a dem

      • 2Gary2

        hey Hoss–no one said anything about abortion or taking guns away. Stop drinking your own bathwater.

  • libsarescum

    gary needs to eat pelosi to see what is inside of her

  • libsarescum

    gary is human excrement of the year

  • libsarescum

    pos democrats lose the Senate in 2014. I CAN”T WAIT, how about you gary fembot?

  • libsarescum

    libs drink urine in 2014

  • libsarescum

    gary wins scumbucket of the year in 2014

    • Mondobeyondo

      If you didn’t have a libber, you’d be left with just a kiddney

      (sorry, best I can do. it’s late and I’m tired.)

  • libsarescum


  • libsarescum

    Gary’s America

    why does liberal dogma dovetail so nicely with that of the Nazi’s?

    1. gun control (aka confiscation) both wanted to disarm the middle class so they could control them

    2. health care – both wanted universal healthcare as a means of controlling the populace.

    3. disposal of the unwanted – nazi’s own the holocaust, libs love abortion

    4. and remember its for the children – both love to be photographed with children and use them as props

  • libsarescum

    hope you libs don’t cry too much after losing the senate this year

    • Mondobeyondo

      If I lived In Chicago, I’d tell you to take a dip in the Chicago River. But – I don’t. Be glad for that. Hee hee.

  • Mondobeyondo

    Wanna see a country fall apart, or more specifically a U.S. state, fall apart, Part 2?

    • Mondobeyondo

      Steven Seagal + Joe Arpaio..
      … the first time I’ve ever used the “plus” key on my computer keyboard. Seriously, though – this scares me…

  • Patriot One

    Looser, brown noser, suck up, would come to mind. It appears he spent 30 years in school getting degrees. I don’t have much use for an Air Force zero that can’t fly. He was an administrator, a bureaucrat, likely the only reason he wasn’t put out was his degrees. I mean really 30 years and no star?

    • Mondobeyondo

      What was his degree in? If it was “Anthropology”, then – you have a point there.

      • Tim

        Underwater Basket weaving. He graduated with honors. 🙂

  • GSOB

    PGS would allow the United States to strike targets anywhere on the planet, with conventional weapons in as little as an hour.

  • Tom_F

    This doesn’t really add up. 30 years in the service, retired? He should have a six-figure pension, plus medical. I would be very surprised if this guy took a janitorial job, even if it was offered. And I think he can afford hubcaps for the “van” and probably stay every night at the Four Seasons.

    • Roopods6

      Yeah, I wouldn’t worry too much about him as much as the other people who don’t have the ‘benefit’ of being high ranking military retirees.

  • Momof4

    Certainly, I don’t want to come down on a retired colonel in the military. However, his story isn’t adding up, and it does give more info in the article. He’s making his choices. He needs to stop paying the expenses for his sons in college. He’s not paying on the mortgage. He doesn’t want to move so he can stay closer to his sons. He took on a lot of debt. These are all decisions that he is making or has made. He’s also receiving $40,000 a year in pension money, and he can’t survive with even the basics on that. Something is wrong, yes, but this is truly not the fault of someone else.

  • TtT Engine

    Two divorces can result in mucho alimony and child support. $40K is probably what is left after the deductions. Is he on the run away from his debts ?

  • Hawaiianfive0

    While Obama was vacationing in Hawaii we have some major homeless problems in Hawaii that I doubt he paid much attention to while he was living the life of luxury and while Michelle Obama celebrates her birthday in lavish style on Maui there are several people on Maui that are living on the streets. There is one particular street that you can drive down and see all of the carts for several of the homeless people and they are stacked high with their belongings. There are many that are hanging out around the fast food restaurants even sleeping around them all. It has never been like this. It is really sad to see what is happening.

    • ME ME & Me

      Disgusting …Isn’t it?

    • JustanOguy

      Meanwhile, there are vacant buildings and homes all across the mainland — especially in the rust belt areas where they practically give away homes in some cities.

      Of course… the weather is not as nice..

      • Anonymous

        Why not allow the homeless to repair these places and live in them? Then, everyone could have a condo, apartment, home, etc. It is heartbreaking to see so many Americans living in poverty and homelessness, and it is unnecessary. Istead of letting buildings and neighborhoods rot, let the homeless build communities and have a roof over their heads.

  • ME ME & Me

    So…you go and fight one of their useless corporate wars and risking your A$$ for their greedy profit and the only reward that you get is homelessness and starvation :(!

    • Anonymous

      Read “War is a racket” by Smedley Butler. He tells it like it is.
      “There is nothing new under the sun.” The rich always send the poor’s children to wars to advance the rich’s agenda, always have and always will.

  • davidmpark

    A good friend of mine is a retired ARMY Colonel and kinda has the same problem. He does have a pension, but it doesn’t go far enough like it used to. He has a good plan, though. I’m using my tools and we are building him and his wife a combination year-round camper/transport trailer/workshop and a small homemade tractor, dry washer, foundry, etc. He’s a member of a few gold prospector’s clubs and has access to their claims. They’re planning to go from claim to claim mining for placer gold deposits. And he’s had a lot of experience at it; is quite good. Taught me how to pan and what to look for.

    And with what’s going on, he’ll probably end up richer than anyone if SHTF.

    • Roopods6

      And believe it or not you can still pan for gold too.

  • Brandon Bowers

    Living in a van on 75% of a colonel’s base pay? Something’s not right.

  • Mondobeyondo

    Regardless of how he arrived at his financial circumstances, I hope he’s not in an unheated van right now.

    Stay warm, people!!

  • Alan

    He probably brings in $3000 plus a month in retirement. No tears here.
    Now it is true that there are few good jobs. True lots of age discrimination, I am old and see it.
    I live in the south and the collapse has been devastating down here. At least we have a long growing season to grow food.

  • Ralfine

    Why didn’t he save anything while he was still employed and lived most of his time with meals, transport, healthcare and accommodation paid by the taxpayer in an area without shopping malls and expensive restaurants?


    I have a great idea. Let’s legalize the 20-30MM illegals already here who will bring another 20-30MM illegals in within 5 years. WE ARE DOOMED.

  • Jacob

    Was he dishonorably discharged?

  • El mico

    Live within your means people. If this guy, 30 year career high ranking military, couldn’t get it together, he has no one to blame but himself. That’s the problem with the peeps off the USA, can’t take responsibility for your own actions. Gotta blame someone.

  • Roopods6

    It says 59-year-old Robert Freniere is a “retired Air Force Colonel”. Believe me, he has enough benefits to live on for the rest of his life. Especially with no overhead except for gas and vehicle maintenance. If he has a laptop with wireless he can utilize free wireless connections in some areas. And yes, retired means Honorably Discharged. Believe it or not, some people choose to live in a van, or RV instead of a house they have to pay taxes on or else the state will take it away from them. Think about it people. Watch the videos of people who do this on the internet.

  • wize guy

    His pension, the colonel, should be something like 7500 + per month. He should be able to at least rent a place. I agree there is something here that he is not telling us.

  • MrsBulldoggy .

    There are a lot of hard-hearted people commenting today. Many of you have no idea what it is like to lose everything due to a job loss, divorce, illness or some other life event that comes at you without notice. There are many of us living, educated and experienced, living a Spartan existence because the jobs just aren’t there, period. And when a decent job appears, there are literally thousands of applicants vying for that one position. Forget the janitorial and menial labor jobs as you are told you are Overly Qualified for the position, and the supervisor interviewing you is worried you’ll take their job if hired. The economy isn’t recovering in this country, far from it. If this nation was recovering, there would not be a need to extend unemployment benefits…

    • Anonymous

      Excellent comment. I agree that many “hearts have waxed cold.”

      • DiscouragedOne

        The thing is, the focus should be on how to REALLY create jobs, bring back manufacturing, etc., but they just keep sending more jobs out of the country, bringing more illegals in to take low-skilled jobs and acting like all is well. So, the focus should be we need a new government, one that is really for the people instead of for themselves.

        • MrsBulldoggy .

          Yes, I concur. Creation of jobs, cutting the corporate tax rates, stop the regulations so that we can compete with other countries overseas, and on and on. But our administration is doing just the opposite. Why?

          • DiscouragedOne

            Because the government is for the elite, it stopped being for the people a long time ago.

      • Toni Bauer

        Mine hasn’t waxed cold at all. I do what I can to help the homeless, both individually and through organizations. I hate how poorly the economics of our country work. Nonetheless, cannot imagine that this man has too little to live on. Divorce decrees can be amended in many cases. Yes, lawyers cost money, but I am sure some former military member who is now a lawyer would take his case.

  • Mondobeyondo

    “We’ve had to cash in everything that we could potentially cash in”

    Yes, yes, YES. I TOTALLY get it.
    I’ve had to pawn a lot of stuff in the past year. And this year, once (when) I get back on my feet, I’m coming back to claim it. Yes, the Morgan silver dollars too,

  • awka

    These stories are sad and disgusting. However, they’re not that unusual. We need to help one another, and accept that things have changed–at least temporarily. Family and friends need to stick together. For those facing dire straits, or who like to be proactive, live together with extended family or friends to cut down on expenses.
    Sadly, many of us may have to sell off most of our valued possessions. (I’ve been there, personally during a terrible divorce paired with cancer, and was grateful I *had* things to sell.) The trick is realizing things ARE this bad, and use whatever money you can get to survive instead of trying to maintain your previous lifestyle.

    • Rita

      Sure I’ll help the retired Colonel if he wants to turn over his pension to me.

      I have lived below and within my means, so I have no sympathy for someone who made bad choices. You have to pay the price and suffer the consequences and he is far from a hard luck story in my opinion.

      Number One his kids should be helping him out not the other way around. Perhaps they need to stop going to college until they can pay for it themselves. But god forbid little Johnny or Suzy has to do without. After all they are entitled and deserve it.

      Raising your kids this way just turns them into selfish adults. I know a woman who gives her son everything. Even now that he is grown and married with a kid of his own. Yet he never offers any help to her. The one example that sticks out in my mind was when her furnace went out in the middle of winter (10 degree temps) and she did not call her son to ask to stay the night at his house and he lived 5 minutes away from her. Not that he offered either.

      • awka

        ITA about the kids. I posted on another branch in these hundreds of comments that if anyone has to live in a van, it should be the college kids. Or share a house with 12 friends, work their way through and so on.
        The bigger problem I see is one of “normalcy bias.” People often cannot accept that their change in circumstances may be permanent, so they make decisions that reflect–like being homeless while paying for your kids to go to college. Heart might be in the right place, but they all need to wise up.

        • awka

          Oh, and by helping one another, my point was families and friends need to stick together. (Multi-family housing or otherwise sharing might be a better long haul choice over everyone living alone in big houses and right on the edge financially.) NOT saying you or I should support people who have made bad decisions. This guy could rent something and share with the two college kids, as an example. The kids could work while in school, and it would probably be much more cost effective than what they do currently.

  • mtman

    So what is he doing with his retirement of between 71-126,000 + disability for his back injury? Something is not adding up here.

  • Wally

    This isn’t all that surprising. I think he probably lived like most of us, way above our means. When haven’t you heard of a professional athlete that has made millions and just a couple years out of their sport they are broke. As a Colonel I am sure he was living a very good life. A couple of wives, a couple of alimony payments, kids, etc and retirement money goes awful quick. This probably wasn’t the best story to use to make the point Michael was trying to make. I would make the case for the tens of thousands enlisted veterans who barely can make it, there are also a lot of homeless Vietnam vets. There are a lot of other examples to make your point.

    • Anonymous

      There are some people that actually study the ranks and pay when they are searching for a spouse. Some people even study how long they have to stay married to a military person to get half the retirement. I am not suggesting that this happened to him, but it does happen to some people and that may cause those people to end up homeless.

  • fail

    I try to tell people about stories like these, but they just keep saying “get a job” like it’s a mantra that will come true if you just believe in it…

  • TheSunDidIt

    Seriously folks, LEAVE THE EAST AND WEST COASTS if you want to work at a job. There’s plenty of oil-field jobs in S. Dakota and N. Dakota as well as in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. And, in today’s market, DO NOT only apply where there’s a job or a sign. SELL YOUR SKILL set. Take a class from a hooker. THEY know how to sell in a bad market. The fact is, you CREATE your opportunity. I’d say come to our doors but, we just expanded massively because business grew 33% last year. So, we’re pretty flush with employees. But, we hire and fire all the time because, despite the job situation, there are STILL deadbeats and placeholders out there pretending they want to work but, when you get them, that isn’t the case. Most important, PRAY and get God’s guidance on where to go and when. Beats government every time.

    • DiscouragedOne

      NY unemployment rate 7.7%, NJ unemployment rate 8.4%, MI unemployment rate 9.0%. You should specify MI is NOT one of the states to come to if you want to find a job.

      • Anonymous

        And those are just the numbers they admit to. I wonder what the real numbers are?

        • DiscouragedOne

          Much worse, just add 80% of the “discouraged workers” back in (at the very least).

          • TheSunDidIt

            My brother was unemployed so long that he’s now eligible for Social Security. Got to love those GREY AREA LAYOFFS.

  • guest

    this guy gets from somewhere between 60- 100 thousand a month in retirement PLUS extra “perks” because of rank. this story is bull. I have nothing but disdain for him any any other criminal officer.

  • Crusty Rusty

    His retirement was 6630 a month in ’06, plus cola, over 80k a year. Plus the article says he “has not lasted long at other jobs”. This stinks.

    • Anonymous

      How many former government employees would be long term employees in the private sector?

  • JustanOguy

    “What advice would you give to a retired Air Force Colonel that has three
    graduate degrees and that cannot even find work as a janitor?” (Who is living out of a van?)

    Get your act together and take charge of your own life is what I would advise.

    As sad as it may seem, he’s still getting a nice retirement check every month (far above the poverty level) along with pretty much free health care.

    His problem is that he got loaded up into debt, has an ex-wife probably taking a significant portion of that nice retirement check and some kids in college that need to help out.

    Sorry… no sympathy for a Retired Colonel living out of a van coming from me. My dad is retired Air Force and I’m also a Veteran (didn’t stay in long enough to collect retirement benefits) so I know what this guy is collecting every month.

  • Rob W

    Revolt is all that will remove this yoke from our necks. Just in time for a new one. “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” – The Who

  • Paul Kidd

    I am retired military. A 30 year retired Colonel draws 75% of his base pay, or about 6000.00 dollars a month. Sorry but he lives in a van by choice.

    • Dan

      I don’t know when he retired (if he really was a Colonel), but a Colonel with 30 years retiring today would have an $82,000 annual pension before taxes (75% of a base bay of $9,180 a month).

  • de malfosse

    The retired O-6 has to be a scam. His pension is more than my annual income.

  • Dan

    This is pretty sad reporting. A retired Col with 30 years would make over $60,000 a year after taxes. Even if he never invested a cent of his own money throughout those years (which is highly unbelievable), he is making double the national average.
    This guy is either not who he says he is, or has caused this problem himself.

  • JustanOguy

    “Earlier last year, the 59-year-old Shields lost her townhouse and now rents a single room in her Southern California town.”

    HIGH cost of living in Southern Cal. Shields needs to seek employment in another state like hundreds of thousands of other Californians have done.

    • DiscouragedOne

      She probably can’t afford to move.

    • Anonymous

      Remember that Californians bring their ideas and way of life to the new states. So, if you like the way California is, then welcome the Californians into your state. Ask anyone from Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Colorado what happened to real estate prices, job market, laws, and the cost of living when the Californians started flooding into their states.

      • JustanOguy

        You left out Nevada…

  • BornAgain

    The ages of all but one is part of the problem. I know it is unlawful to discriminate because of age, but it happens all the time.

    • DiscouragedOne

      This may be true, but if you interview for a job along with several others, how can you prove you didn’t get it because of age discrimination? I was actually told by management (verbally) on one of my contract jobs that they only hire younger people for the permanent jobs…but try to prove that. In my line of work, there are not a lot of permanent jobs to apply for, many jobs are by nature contract jobs because once the work is done the contract ends, they only keep workers as long as it takes to get the job done.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, there have been “off the record” comments made like: “We are waiting to see what we can get from the younger crowd.” or “We want someone in better shape.” or “You can’t discuss your religious beliefs at work even if that person asked you your opinion, so we have to let you go.” or “We only hire a specific gender for these jobs.” Some attorneys roll their eyes and act as if one is wasting their time when one brings it to their attention. Some state discrimination places won’t even help some people when people call to report it. Nobody cares until it happens to them. People are selfish and always will be.

      • BornAgain

        Right , and you further my point.
        I could explain to some extent how they get away with it legally. But , I’m afraid it would take several paragraphs. But, in a nutshell they are able to ask your age on the application because it serves the greater good.

  • HiddenRoad

    Yes, Michael, but when these people start takng welfare, then you demonize them. You are nothing but a two-faced hypocrite.

    • JustanOguy

      Michael demonizes the system and not the individuals… big difference.

  • otisrneedleman

    There are things in this story that just don’t compute. This guy says he has dyslexia and ADHD. What? He can’t read properly? Then how did he read all those papers and write all those papers, reports, etc., in the Pentagon and in other staff jobs? A “four-hour rambling conversation”? Something isn’t right at all with this poor man. Believe he needs help besides finding a job.

    • JustanOguy

      Older age could be the reason… For the rest of what you state — you are certainly correct.

    • Anonymous

      One might be surprised to learn how many executives, professors, and other “successful” people have dyslexia and ADHD. There are professors that have dyslexia and ADHD. If one researchs dyslexia, one might learn that some people that are very mechanical, artistic, and gifted have ADHD and/or dyslexia. There are blind people that are gifted quilters. There are deaf persons that have been composers. People are amazing.

      • DiscouragedOne

        You are 100% correct.

  • Highlander

    This is BS. A retired Col with 30 years? What about the pension? Was making about $10,844.00 a month? Should be brining in around $5000.00 a month retired?

    • Jay

      Thats the first thing I thought about. It says the guy was born in 1954 and joined the army in 1976, then he retired in 2006. That is 30 years of service and pension money which can be received after 20 years. He also served the pentagon. So why doesn’t this guy receive any money from the government.

      I’m curious as I really do not care because he signed up to be a pawn.

  • guest

    capitalism must end. not good for everyone..

    • DiscouragedOne

      Crony capitalism is not good, but it is not the same thing. What would you replace it with, Socialism, Communism, Marxism, are those systems you think are “good”?

  • Ron

    Yes..this does not make sense,a colonel with 30 years would generate about 10,000 retirement points..his retirement check should about 7-8K a month. This smells of sloppy journalism…

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for writing an article that shows that poverty and homelessness can happen to anyone. I get so tired of hearing people spew “The poor are poor because they deserve to be. The poor need to work harder and go into debt to get an education.” The book “Breakfast at Sally’s” was written by a once successful businessman that ended up homeless and living in his van. When one sits down and actually listens to a homeless or poor person, one learns that most of us are not immune, and we learn that it can happen to anyone.

    • DiscouragedOne

      Of course it can, even if you have savings it can be depleted, there is no real security, except maybe for the 1%, but they could get hit by a bus tomorrow and they can’t take it with them.

  • luke

    He has to be getting his pension after 30 years,

  • luke

    Or maybe this is get out of jail card,free advertisement,write a book or reality show

  • ian

    this dude is probably a pedophile, that’s why he is in a van.

  • rusty shackleford

    There is something sriously wrong with this. A retired Colonel with 30 years makes over $6000 a month in pension. Even if he is divorced and has to share 50% that is still over $3000 a month. Hardly live in your van income.

  • Hammerstrike

    The parasites have sucked so much blood out of the host that its organs are beginning to shut down.

  • Hammerstrike

    Hopefully, just as willing to revolt!

  • Stev

    The article presents truth when it comes to the condition of our country – like others the retired Col. did raise some red flags. Sounds like he wanted the same pay he got while in service (and it obviously doesn’t always work this way).

    With that said, as a retired E-7 I knew I would have to start over after I retired. I spent time as a handyman, rehabbing houses, cutting grass, was unemployed for a while but I didn’t take welfare (I kept looking for work), then I finally worked my way into a state job; even then I had to start at the bottom with crappy positions and worked my way up. When I retired it took me 7 years of different jobs and hard work to get the good paycheck I have today. Now did I love and enjoy all those jobs? Hell No, but I sucked it up and kept working doing stuff I hated – but I realized it was just a stepping stone to something else that didn’t suck as much.

    What I don’t like is the fact these are examples used by communists, socialists & community organizers (obama) as proof the state should provide for the people; to end the poverty, blah, blah, blah.

    Fact: there will always be poor people.

    What obama and past pol-idiots (idiot politicians) have done is create legislation that drove manufacturing jobs OUT of the U.S. We borrowed too much and now we have to pay the price because nothing is free. The point is not that a retired, 2 time divorced, air force col. lives in a van down by the river. Even during the best times in america you could find similar stories of people who made bad choices or where victims of something; what is happening now is we are reaping what we sowed and there will be more collateral damage down the road.

    Fact remains the Constitution and Bill of Rights does NOT guarantee anyone a right to retire comfortably. So grow up, do what you can, help those around you and pray for wisdom. Tell your kids to get scholarships &/or work while going to school. Parents stop spending your retirement on your kids – I have heard tons of stories of parents that paid for their kids college and they ended up never working in that area they studied. Nor did they repay their parents or help them out later in life when they needed it. So much for helping family.

    So stock up on food, water, meds, guns, ammo, etc in the mean time and do the best you can. I imagine that as things get worse, more and more people will live in communities as we saw with the fall of Russia; where 2-4 families lived in one house, grew their own food, etc to help minimize expenses.

    Sad state of affairs but what else can you do?

  • Orange Jean

    I live in a military area and this story was posted late this afternoon for a time.. (on the Pilot online, out of Norfolk). At that time there were about 15-20 comments and ALL of them agreed with those of you who said the story didn’t pass the “sniff test”… for similar reasons as what you guys mentioned. Since then they took the story off the website.

    Unfortunately we had more tragic news locally, a Navy helicopter crashed into the Atlantic just outside Norfolk about 11:30AM. 5 sailors went down into the water… 1 confirmed dead, 1 missing (with 20 degree F temps, highly suspected they did not survive either). 1 is reported in surgery, 2 are stable. I do feel more for these sailors and their families than the guy in the van story. Darn cold day and I cannot imagine how scary it must have been to know you were crashing into the ocean in that weather.

  • BornAgain

    I’m with you friend ,but the only problem is age discrimination has been around a long time. The only difference now is We’re both complaining about it because we’re both 50 . As I stated in my first post. The law allows for the employer to ask your age on your application. The way to fix this is to change the law. This will at least allow the 50 somethings a chance to at least get interviewed. That’s all I’m asking for. I believe if employers start denying applicants after their interviewed. It will only be a short matter of time before employers start to get sued for age discrimination where the defendant can actually show proof .

    • DiscouragedOne

      My Manager/co-workers didn’t know how old I was until I started working there, and not until I told them (I answered honestly when asked in casual conversation)….I know, I didn’t have to answer, but heck you can look up my white pages and see my age range.

  • Tom Smith

    President Obama was asked about this homeless veteran.
    His response:
    “We need to provide a Path to Citizenship for the undocumented.
    It will help the economy”.

  • Adam Rickman

    He has too many bills due to divorce. His ex-wife was apparently a succubus. He’s supporting two kids going to college also.

    I suggest for him to find a boyfriend and live there till his bills are payed.

  • charles

    Your right, the pension of a Colonel with 30 years service is $128k a year. He must have some enormous debts.

  • Carpenter E

    The officer receives an enormous pension that most people would be happy to have. We’re supposed to feel sorry for him because the story keeps repeating “janitor” several times?

    I feel much worse for the other people in the story, Nancy and Vera and Jeremy, who had real jobs producing goods and services that people needed.

    If the military hadn’t spent many trillions of taxpayers’ dollars attacking the Israeli lobby’s targets for more than a decade, maybe these people would have jobs now. The money could have stayed in the private economy, as part of the process of creating real wealth.

  • lrrpranger

    Something smells here this guy should be getting a ton of money..over 4 grand a month or maybe more

    • Richard Einstein

      Not only that, but billions in cash disappeared in the war zones. It was sent there by the planeload, pallets of $100 bills there for the taking by high ranking officers and private contractors.

      As always the Israelis stole most of it but at least 1/4 went to Americans. The pentagon accounting/finance department is always run by Israeli citizens. This is why the $8.5 trillion missing is never mentioned, questioned and will never be investigated.

  • Georgiaboy61

    A retired colonel (O-6) or Lt. Col. (O-5) would have a decent, if not extravagant pension – and would be getting a check from the govt. every month. It would be enough to buy this man adequate housing. Something doesn’t add up here.

    • Nickelthrower

      Exactly what I was thinking. My father is retired military and is doing quite well for himself. This guy must have done something wrong.

  • tf

    Hey, maybe living in a van isn’t such a bad idea. Consider the savings, and freedom from most societal trappings. You’d have to be a bit rugged, though.

  • Toni Bauer

    I am sorry that the colonel, along with many others, are unable to find work. He, however, appears to be in a far better position than many working people who keep roofs over themselves and their families for far less than $40,000.00 a year.

  • gawxxx

    but that is what is coming to this cesspool ,

  • rita

    Like all of these stories, a publisher or a political party cherry picks the facts that proves their point. There is more to Mr. Freniere’s story as to why he is where he is now. Mostly self inflicted.

  • 0jr

    quit hitting the pipe and get a job.they get better housing programs ect than anybody this art. is BS

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