About


VAntage Point is the official blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Here you will find stories from around VA and the Veteran community. These stories and blogs include coverage of health care, education benefits, VA careers, homelessness, recovery, mental health and messages from the Secretary.

Vantage Point is also the home of our daily #VeteranOfTheDay post, our Emmy® award-winning video series The American Veteran and our weekly Borne the Battle podcast.

Please, check out our posts, leave a comment with your thoughts, and share these important stories with your family and friends. You can view our social media policy here.  A reminder: inclusion of information about a program or service external to VA does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by VA or its employees.

 

Meet the Team:

 

Director
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ~ Read stories

Gary Hicks is the Director of Digital Media Engagement in VA’s Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs.  He joined OPIA in 2008 as the editor of the Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors handbook, VAnguard magazine and other internal and external print communications products used throughout VA. Prior to joining OPIA, Gary worked for VA’s Center for Veterans Enterprise as a community liaison officer and small business specialist assisting Veteran entrepreneurs with starting and expanding small businesses. Prior to joining VA, he was the director of command information at the National Guard Bureau and served as the editor of the Army and Air National Guard’s flagship publication, The OnGuard. Gary began his public affairs career as an Army photojournalist, deploying to Bosnia-Herzegovina. After the deployment, he landed a job as a staff writer at a daily newspaper – eventually working his way up the ladder to become the youngest managing editor in the paper’s 111-year history as well as the parent company’s chain of 300 newspapers. Gary’s wife is an Air Force Senior NCO stationed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

 

Producer
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Tass joined VA’s Digital Media Engagement team in September 2018. He is a U.S. Air Force Veteran who specializes in cinematography and photography. Recognized by the American Institute of Architects for his interiors, Tass’s photos have also been published in several magazines.

 

Senior Producer
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Ben is a visual storyteller with a comprehensive background in commercial filmmaking and broadcast television production. He began as an I.A.T.S.E. grip/electric in New Orleans’ feature film market before transitioning to television in 2004. Ben specializes in directing, cinematography and editing, and leads VA’s Digital Media Engagement production team. He holds degrees from Tulane University (BA, Media Arts) and University of Maryland (MFA, Creative Writing).

 

New Media Technologist / Public Affairs Specialist
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ~ Read stories

Dominique joined VA in 2013 and has supported a wide array of activities within the Office of Public Affairs. As a web developer, he helps manage pages across the VA.gov domain. He also manages the VAntage Point and VA Insider blogs. As the Intern Program Manager for the Digital Media Engagement team, Dominique leads a team that helps create content for VAntage Point, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Instagram. Dominique has a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from the University of San Diego, and a Master of Science in Information Technology from Southern New Hampshire University. Prior to his work in the federal government, Dominique spent 10 years in the U.S. Navy

 

Staff Writer
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ~ Read stories

In 2012, Jennifer Sardam joined VA as a public affairs specialist, where she produces blog posts, speeches and various internal communications products. Prior to joining VA, she worked in support of the U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command (USMCSC), as a senior editor providing quality assurance of programmatic documentation, and spent six years as a media analyst in the Pentagon, with the Army’s Office of the Chief of Public Affairs (OCPA). She is a U.S. Army Veteran who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn, providing real-time media monitoring and analysis reports and briefs, and print and photojournalism coverage. She retired in 2014, from the Maryland Army National Guard’s 29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, where she had served as senior editor for the unit.

 

Producer
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ~ Read stories

Tanner Iskra is the host of the VA’s podcast, “Borne the Battle.” He is a United States Marine Corps Veteran who served as an intel analyst in OIF III and later as a combat videographer/photographer. During his military career he deployed to OIF III as well as Romania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Spain as part of the Black Sea Rotational Force. After leaving active duty, Tanner was a Senior Post Production Editor with NASCAR Productions. Tanner is a graduate of the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Media Studies and holds a Certificate in Military Motion Media from the Newhouse School of Journalism at Syracuse University. Joining the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in October 2018, Tanner is a video producer with the Digital Media Engagement team focusing on producing, editing and shooting content that tells the Veteran’s story.

 

Photographer
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ~ Read stories

Robert Turtil is a public affairs specialist who produces still photography for a full range of Veteran and government related programs, personalities and events. He contributes regularly to VA’s digital efforts provides oversight to VA’s Flickr page. He works closely with VA internal and external customers, producing or procuring photos for news releases, executive and congressional reports, intergovernmental initiatives, leadership presentations and outreach projects, recruitment, training programs and field facility projects.

 

Josh Tuscher

New Media Technologist
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

As VA’s New Media Technologist, Josh Tuscher serves as the team’s creative director and ensures the Department uses the most current communications platforms to engage with Veterans. Prior to joining VA, Josh worked as a graphic designer and web developer in the private sector. During that time, he served for eight years as an infantryman in the New Hampshire Army National Guard and Army Reserve. In 2004, Josh deployed to Balad, Iraq with the 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment. After returning in 2005, Josh again mobilized—this time for duty in New Orleans assisting with relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina. While in Iraq, Josh kept extensive video footage, later contributing it to the combat documentary “The War Tapes” (for which he received a credit). The film went on to win “Best Documentary” at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. Josh graduated in 2006 with a BFA from Keene State College.