FT. BRAGG, NC (WBTV) - Secretary of Military and Veteran's Affairs Larry Hall looked at home on Ft. Bragg one day last week. Hall and Governor Roy Cooper visited the base to take part in several activities leading up to Memorial Day.
Hall and Cooper started their visit by watching a demonstration by the 82nd Airborne Division, which included fighter jets, paratroopers, and an air assault. Hall, the son of a paratrooper and himself a Marine, spoke with WBTV during the demonstration.
Since his appointment in January, Hall's main job has been to advocate for veterans and on behalf of military-related businesses in the state.
"Having our veterans here, first of all, is a blessing for the state. You know, they're trained, they're disciplined, they've got leadership skills," Hall said. "We want to help them, not only transition into the jobs market and employment or business but have them in our communities."
In addition to Ft. Bragg, which houses both Army and Air Force personnel, North Carolina is also home to Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and several Coast Guard Stations up and down the coast.
"We also have a mission in my office though to make sure we keep our bases strong, we keep our relations between the communities and our bases strong and we do economic development around that whole collaboration," Hall explained.
But, the secretary said, one question his office frequently gets is from veterans who are trying to access the benefits they earned through military service.
"The biggest request is always how to access the benefits they've earned and should have," Hall said. "We've got a new mentality that says you should get all the benefits you've earned and we should help you get all of them. They belong to you. We're not gatekeepers, we're facilitators to make sure you get them."
Hall said staff from his department work with veteran service officers in counties across the state to help veterans cut through bureaucratic red tape with the VA.
The North Carolina Department of Military and Veteran's Affairs' website includes resources to help veterans with a range of issues, including finding employment, getting an education, and helping with healthcare and VA benefits.