VBC programs connect and heal,
educate and inspire.
Everyone is always welcome.

The Veterans Breakfast Club (VBC) is the nation’s premier non-profit for connecting veterans with their fellow Americans through inspiring stories of service.

Our goal is to build a nation that understands and values the experiences of our military veterans so that every day is Veterans Day.

We do this by bringing together–in-person and online–men and women from all walks of life, all ages and eras, and every branch of service to talk about what they’ve seen and done. We want to hear how people’s military service has shaped them. “Every Veteran Has a Story” is our slogan. We want to hear every one.

We share the stories we hear in our weekly VBC Bulletin email newsletter and our quarterly VBC Magazine. We also record a weekly podcast, The Scuttlebutt, about military culture from the people who lived it.

We do all this because we believe the best way to thank a Veteran is to listen.

Listening is what the VBC has been doing for the past 15 years, when we held our first small event outside of Pittsburgh. Since then, we’ve held over 1,000 programs in-person and online and have welcomed over 20,000 different people at our events, Veterans and non-Veterans coming together to listen.

We value every veteran’s experience, no matter who they are or when or how they served. We’ve seen up close the power of storytelling, as the memories shared at VBC events connect, heal, educate, and inspire an ever-expanding circle of listeners.

At any given event, you might hear from the newest members of Space Force to a 101-year-old World War II veteran.

We’ve welcomed Tin Can Sailors and Montford Point Marines, Vietnam Sky Soldiers and Cold War intelligence officers. We’ve heard stories from the Horn of Africa to Antarctica, the Bering Sea to Diego Garcia, and all points in between.

LORAN Coast Guardsmen and Radar Station Airmen have told us about serving in some of the most remote places on earth.

Korean War veterans have borne witness to their “forgotten war.”

Other “forgotten warriors” shared their memories of Beirut, Grenada, and Mogadishu.

Some of the first women authorized for combat shared stories of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and of the Purple Hearts they received.

Join us at our events and help keep these stories alive.

All you need to do is listen.

Every Veteran Has a Story.
Hear Them Now.

WHAT WE BELIEVE
OUR PROGRAMS
OUR MISSION

UPCOMING EVENTS

The Challenges Facing Military Spouses

Date: July 15, 2024
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, Facebook, YouTube
Events | Online Events
Military Spouses

When one half of a couple joins the military, the other does also, in a sense, by default. There can be a sense of abandonment, as well as a troubling intimation that the military will always come first.

Military spouse Simone Gorrindo joins us to talk about her experience as captured in The Wives: A Memoir. Her book is an intimate and evocative account of the challenges that come with her husband’s deployment.

Initially resistant to the idea of military life, Gorrindo stuck with her boyfriend, Andrew, when he decided to join the Army.

That meant leaving a vibrant life in Manhattan to a rented house near Fort Benning. In time, Andrew left with a special operations unit in Afghanistan.

Gorrindo, who holds a master’s degree in journalism and has a background in editing, felt the constraints of her new role. She found military culture to be one of dependency which, along with the oppressive heat of Georgia, the mundane routine of her days, and the abandonment of her professional life in New York City surrounded her in a curtain of isolation.

Her company consisted primarily of other military wives, each dealing with the challenges of their husbands’ deployments. These women, thrown together by circumstance, navigated a life filled with uncertainty, emotional strain, and the need for resilience.

The uncertainty, anxiety, dependency all recalled Simone’s childhood, one dominated by her mother’s alcoholism. The sense of longing and stability, the desire for connection, pervades her account. Her own background flooded the foreground as she progresses in her pregnancy.

Each deployment felt like a betrayal. The adrenaline and purpose that guided Andrew’s life were absent in hers. As an Army wife, Simone was expected to be compliant and accommodating. The gulf between her and Andrew widened.

Yet, Simone knew her job was to maintain the household and construct a sort of family stability, even as the Army spun plans of its own, of which she was left entirely unaware.

When Andrew returned from a deployment, he had changed. But, she had changed also.

In detailing her story with courageous candor, Simone Gorrindo gives us a opportunity to talk about the dilemmas and difficulties faced by military spouses. It sheds light on the emotional labor, the sense of isolation, and the resilience required to navigate life in the shadow of military deployment.

Through her personal narrative, Gorrindo gives voice to the collective experiences of military wives, arguing for the recognition of their strength and the importance of their own transformations.

We’re grateful to UPMC for Life and Tobacco Free Adagio Health for sponsoring this event!

How the Allies Almost Lost the Air War in Europe

Date: July 18, 2024
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, Facebook, YouTube
Events | Online Events
Air War Over Europe

In 1939, the US Army Air Corps was a modest force with 26,000 personnel and 1,200 outdated aircraft. By 1944, it had expanded a hundredfold, becoming the world’s most formidable air force. This transformation was largely inspired by Brigadier General Billy Mitchell’s vision of strategic bombing. Mitchell argued that long-range bombers could cripple an enemy’s industrial base and demoralize its population, thus ending wars swiftly. His concepts were embraced by key figures like Major General Haywood Hansell, Henry “Hap” Arnold, and Carl Spaatz, who pushed for the mass production of heavy bombers like the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.

The B-17, equipped with the advanced Norden Bombsight for precision bombing, became central to the Bomber Mafia’s doctrine of Daylight Precision Bombing. However, initial raids revealed the doctrine’s flaws. German fighter aircraft, such as the Focke-Wulf FW-190 and Messerschmitt ME-109, along with effective anti-aircraft defenses, inflicted severe losses on American bombers. Notable failures included the Schweinfurt-Regensburg raids in 1943, where substantial losses forced a reevaluation of tactics.

The turning point came with the introduction of the P-51 Mustang, a long-range fighter capable of escorting bombers deep into enemy territory. The P-51’s superior performance enabled it to protect bombers effectively, leading to a dramatic shift in air superiority. This change was crucial for the success of operations leading up to D-Day.

Operation Argument, also known as “Big Week” in February 1944, marked a significant resurgence of the Allied bombing campaign. Over 1,000 bombers and 600 fighters launched daily attacks on German industrial targets, dealing a crippling blow to the Luftwaffe. This operation demonstrated the strategic importance of air power and set the stage for the successful D-Day invasion in June 1944.

The Allied air war’s success was supported by immense production capabilities and the relentless efforts of those on the home front. The United States produced over 30,000 heavy bombers, while Britain manufactured over 7,000 Avro Lancasters despite constant enemy bombings. However, the human cost was staggering. The Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command lost 57,000 men, nearly half its force, and the Eighth Air Force saw 26,000 killed.

The physical and psychological toll on airmen was profound. Many suffered from Traumatic Stress Reaction, and the brutal conditions at high altitudes caused severe frostbite. Despite these hardships, the courage and sacrifice of these airmen were instrumental in achieving air superiority and, ultimately, victory in Europe.

The air war over Europe in WWII was a unique and significant chapter in military history. It highlighted the transformative power of air warfare and the incredible resilience and bravery of those who fought in the skies. Their contributions were vital to the Allied victory and remain a testament to the strategic importance of air power in modern warfare.

We’re grateful to UPMC for Life and Tobacco Free Adagio Health for sponsoring this event!

 

VIEW ALL

PAST EVENTS

Streamed live on July 8, 2024 Our Scuttlebutt Open Conversation covers a lot of ground this week as we discuss the job of Drill Instructor with retired SGM Roy Lewis, who served over 40 years in the US Army. One of SGT Roy’s jobs was Basic Training Drill Instructor, which...
Streamed live on July 8, 2024 Our Scuttlebutt Open Conversation covers a lot of ground this week as we discuss the job of Drill Instructor...
Streamed live on July 11, 2024 #wwiihistory #battleofbritain #worldwarii In preparation for our September VBC trip to England for a tour of English air fields...
Streamed live on June 27, 2024 Astronaut Jan Davis talks about her life in aviation and the legacy of service in her family. Her memoir...
Streamed live on June 24, 2024 Jack McLean joins us again to talk about his new book, Found: A Veteran Story which tells how he...
WATCH MORE PAST EVENTS

Thank You Sponsors!

Become a VBC Sponsor

GET INVOLVED TODAY

The mission of the Veterans Breakfast Club is to create communities of listening around veterans and their stories to ensure that this living history will never be forgotten.  We believe that through our work, people will be connected, educated, healed, and inspired.

INTRODUCING THE VETERANS HISTORY PROJECT

Preserving veterans’ stories so that this living history is never forgotten.

We pair passionate VBC volunteers with military veterans for one-on-one oral history interviews over Zoom. If you are a veteran, or you know a veteran, who would be interested in sharing his or her story with us, let us know. If you are someone interested in conducting these interviews, please reach out!

GET INVOLVED

Your weekly dose of veterans’ stories, military news, and the latest headlines, all in one place

Watch and listen to the Scuttlebutt, the VBC’s podcast dedicated to understanding military culture. Hosted by Shaun Hall, Director of Programming. New episode every Monday at 6AM ET.

MORE EPISODES

Get the latest on military headlines and VBC news sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for the VBCBulletin! 

SIGN UP

Latest Blog Posts

Written by Todd DePastino The VBC returned from its trip to Karlovac, Croatia, to meet with veterans of the Croatian War of Independence, 1991-1995, and...
Written by Lee Kikel James M. Gavin (National Archives) VBC member Lee Kikel wrote a book, Perseverance: One Holocaust Survivor’s Journey from Poland to America,...
Written by Todd DePastino VBC members Becky Nyren and Andy Nigut, with USAF OED veteran Charlie Warner III, present a wreath in memory of the...
Tom Pennie in Vietnam Written by Tom Pennie Steve Hecht teaches writing at LaRoche University in Pittsburgh. Last fall, he had Vietnam veteran Tom Pennie...
VIEW ALL BLOG POSTS

Check out the latest issue of VBCMagazine! 

Don’t receive VBCMagazine?
Contact us to get your copy!

VBC Magazine of Veterans Stories
LATEST ISSUE