Rash of Fall Colors by Dennis Hicks Photo by Jeremy Lock

The United States Veterans’ Artists Alliance (USVAA) is an award-winning, multi-disciplinary non-profit arts organization, founded in 2004 by military veterans and artists. USVAA provides opportunities for veterans in the arts by highlighting the work of veterans in the arts, humanities and entertainment industry along with the contributions veterans have made to the rich cultural history of our nation since the Revolutionary War.

Additionally, USVAA networks with veterans, artists, supportive individuals and organizations within the arts and veterans’ communities to find funding and support for individual artistic projects in theater, film, television, the visual/fine arts and a wide variety of crafts.

Where possible, USVAA strives – as spokespersons in the veteran’s community and in our endeavors as artists – to address issues of concern to veterans and their families via artistic endeavors and platforms. These issues include the transition from military to civilian life, education, employment, the effects of wartime and military service injuries such as PTSD, TBI and Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and homelessness among veterans.

For more information about our work please visit our ABOUT PAGE.

Aaron Carew in conversation with Timothy Wurtz

We cordially invite you to join us for the USVAA and Onward Press
IN CONVERSATION Series via Zoom

Monday, August 16th 6:00pm-9:00pm PDT


IN CONVERSATION is part of our newly expanded, free, monthly workshop series for military veterans who write screenplays, teleplays, novels, memoirs, and short stories.

This event is open to the general public. Capacity is limited and priority is given to military veterans.


Aaron Carew is a writer and television producer.

In the military, Aaron served in the Army for seven years, most of which was at Fort Campbell. Go Screaming Eagles! He completed two tours in Iraq and was honorably discharged as a Sergeant in 2009.

Soon thereafter, Aaron made the transition into screenwriting. A graduate of USC Film School’s Peter Stark Producing Program, Aaron was personally chosen byMichael Mann to work with on his most recent feature for Universal Pictures.

Aaron was a writer on Fox’s Lethal Weapon, Taken, Dirty John (for which he was nominated for a Writers Guild Award), L.A.’s Finest, the upcoming Power spinoff, FORCE and is currently a writer/supervising producer on Walker, the CW reboot of
Walker, Texas Ranger.

Aaron completed the Veterans Writing Project retreat in 2011 and has since continued to be deeply involved in the veteran/writing community. He’s also a new dad to baby, Maya!

Timothy Wurtz is a screenwriter, USVAA Colleague, a co-founder, and the Publisher of Onward Press, an imprint of USVAA.



Aaron Carew (left) and Timothy Wurtz (right)

BAGHDAD UNDERGROUND RAILROAD with Colonel Steve Miska




Help support the most bipartisan issue on the hill concerning veterans: the effort to exfiltrate thousands of translators and their families from Afghanistan before their inevitable slaughter. These Afghan allies have laid their lives down for our sons and daughters and it’s time we support them with a safe haven. To withdraw with dignity, respecting the military’s ethos of leave no one behind. For more information on what you can do, purchase Baghdad Underground Railroad, the debut memoir from veteran author Col. Steve Miska (ret.). Baghdad Underground Railroad is available for purchase on Amazon and was published by Onward Press, the publishing imprint of USVAA.

Steve Miska is the Director of the nonprofit First Amendment Voice. Since retiring as a Colonel after 25 years of service in the military and three combat tours in Iraq, Steve founded Servant Leader Citizen Consulting, Inc. which helps clients understand national security and counterterrorism issues in an increasingly global environment. Previously, he served in the White House as a Director for Iraq on the National Security Council. In 2007, he led a team that established an underground railroad for dozens of interpreters from Baghdad to Amman to the United States. He earned top academic honors as a Counterterrorism Fellow at the College of International Security Affairs and has taught national security at Marine Corps War College.

Maria Ferrari in conversation with Timothy Wurtz

We cordially invite you to join us for the USVAA and Onward Press
IN CONVERSATION Series via Zoom

Monday, July 19th 7pm-9pm PDT


IN CONVERSATION is part of our newly expanded, free, monthly workshop series for military veterans who write screenplays, teleplays, novels, memoirs, and short stories.

This event is open to the general public. Capacity is limited and priority is given to military veterans.


Maria Ferrari is the Executive Producer/Creator of the hit CBS series UNITED STATES OF AL.

Maria began her career as a script coordinator for the television series “Blue Collar TV” and “How I Met Your Mother,” on the Network. She went on to write multiple scripts for both shows before joining “The Bill Engvall Show” as a staff writer.

Next, Ferrari joined “The Big Bang Theory,” on the Network, where she rose to executive producer and was nominated for three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series. Additional television credits include “Young Sheldon,” also on the Network.

Ferrari is a graduate of Northwestern University and resides in Los Angeles.

Timothy Wurtz is a screenwriter, USVAA Colleague, a co-founder, and the Publisher of Onward Press, an imprint of USVAA.



Maria Ferrari (left) and Timothy Wurtz (right)

Washington Post Live Event Featuring Gen. David Petraeus and Col. Steve Miska



Monday, June 28 at 9:00am ET

The longest war in U.S. history is coming to an end with the planned withdrawal from Afghanistan. But what and whom will America be leaving behind?

Join Washington Post Live on Monday, June 28 at 9:00am ET, when columnist David Ignatius interviews General David Petraeus (Ret.), the former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Col. Steve Miskaauthor of “Baghdad Underground Railroad: Saving American Allies in Iraq” (Onward Press/USVAA) and Fraidoon Akhtari about the withdrawal and his concerns regarding the personal safety of Afghans who helped America on the ground for much of the past two decades. Petraeus will lay out his fear of an “indelible stain” on the U.S. unless we take care of those who helped us, including interpreters and contract workers.

To Register for this event please visit Washington Post Live.

CNNi: Steve Miska Discusses Strategies to Protect Afghan Interpreters with Michael Holmes



Miska, a leading advocate for Afghan and Iraqi Military Interpreters and author of the new memoir “Baghdad Underground Railroad” (Onward Press) speaks with CNN’s Michael Holmes about what the United States owes its allies in-country allies in Afghanistan ahead of U.S. withdrawal.

Click on the blue play button on the embedded Tweet to watch the video. 



WHAT DOES AMERICA OWE TO VETERANS OF ITS 21ST-CENTURY WARS?

A Zócalo/Pacific Council/USVAA Event

TUESDAY, JUNE 1st, 2021 9:00 AM PDT


Moderated by Emma Sky, Director of the Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program, and a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute


We may never know the full toll of the post-9/11 wars. The staggering cost of the two-decade-long conflict, and its future consequences, are only just beginning to be understood as the United States prepares to fully withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Iraq before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. As the final chapter of America’s longest war nears, what are the biggest problems facing veterans returning home? What does it mean to be a military vet in the U.S. today? And what does the U.S. government owe local allies, such as the translators and interpreters who served alongside American forces?

Steve Miska, a United States Army veteran who retired as a Colonel after 25 years in the Army, led the “Baghdad Underground Railroad” that helped dozens of interpreters escape sectarian violence in 2007. The author of a new book chronicling that experience, Baghdad Underground Railroad: Saving American Allies in Iraq, he is currently the executive director of First Amendment Voice, and conducts pro bono work to support nonprofits that help former interpreters. Miska visits Zócalo to discuss the cost of war.



Steve Miska (left) and Emma Sky (right)

STEVE MISKA’s ONWARD PRESS BOOK
“BAGHDAD UNDERGROUND RAILROAD”
IN THE PRESS
USA TODAY – As U.S. troops exit Afghanistan, ‘leave no one behind’ must include military interpreters

In Iraq, I witnessed our former interpreters, their families, and other allies in a fight for their lives.


San Clemente Times – Local Veteran Publishes Book on Operation to Save Foreign Allies
A new book by Col. Steve Miska of San Clemente offers a first-person account of how he and his teammates worked to overcome policy failures and broken policy failures and broken promises while protecting the nation’s most reliable combat partners in the War on Terror: foreign military interpreters.

Jalysa Conway in conversation with Timothy Wurtz

The USVAA and Onward Press Veterans Writing Workshop Series via Zoom

Monday, May 17th at 7pm PDT


This workshop is part of our newly expanded, free, monthly workshop series for military veterans who write screenplays, teleplays, novels, memoirs, and short stories.


Jalysa Conway spent five years working as a Cyber Warfare Officer in the U.S. Air Force, and has been read into things that’d make you want to crap your pants. Since then, she’s traded in her Top Secret Clearance for a career as a professional television writer. She has written for GREY’S ANATOMY and POWER BOOK IV: INFLUENCE, a short-lived spinoff of Starz’s top drama. She currently writes for Fox’s #1 new drama, 9-1-1: LONE STAR. But true to her inner nerdy self, she has also freelanced for LAST KIDS ON EARTH, an animated Netflix zombie series for kids, and has written a futuristic action short for SOLDIER STORIES, a Top Cow military veteran-themed comic anthology. Her life’s goals are world domination and to bring fresh, diverse, and inclusive tales to genre television.

Timothy Wurtz is a screenwriter, USVAA Colleague, and the Publisher of Onward Press, a publishing imprint of USVAA.



Jalysa Conway (left) and Timothy Wurtz (right)

ONWARD PRESS PUBLISHES
“BAGHDAD UNDERGROUND RAILROAD”
by Steve Miska


USVAA’s publishing imprint, Onward Press, is proud to present our latest book, Baghdad Underground Railroad by Steve Miska. In this compelling memoir that illustrates humanity and compassion in the midst of war, Steve Miska highlights the plight of local allies, who are essential to the American cause in foreign wars but are often left behind. He also offers an insider’s look at the complex and frustrating political reality of Iraq facing U.S. commanders and policymakers following the downfall of Saddam Hussein.

You can read more about the book and purchase it on Amazon.

Tony Camerino in conversation with Sam Wolfson

The USVAA and Onward Press Veterans Writing Workshop Series via Zoom


Monday, April 19th


This workshop is part of our newly expanded, free, monthly workshop series for military veterans who write screenplays, teleplays, novels, memoirs, and short stories.

Tony Camerino is a writer known for his work on all five seasons of the hit CBS drama Person of Interest. He has written on three other television dramas (A.P.BTaken, and The Enemy Within), and developed original projects for Netflix, Amazon, and Fox. His feature script Landslide (co-written with Will Staples), based on his military memoir How to Break a Terrorist, made the 2015 Blacklist. He also authored Kill or Capture (St. Martin’s Press).

Camerino is a combat veteran (Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq) and retired with 20 years of service in the Air Force and Air Force Reserves. As a senior military interrogator for a Special Operations Task Force in Iraq, he personally conducted or supervised over 1,300 interrogations. Camerino was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his achievements, including leading the interrogations that located Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the notorious Al Qaeda leader and ISIS founder, who was killed in a subsequent airstrike. An outspoken critic of torture, he frequently appears as an interrogations expert on television and radio and has published Op-Eds in The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Los Angeles Times, and a cover story, “Martyrdom, Interrupted,” in The National Interest. Camerino has trained U.S. Army interrogators, US Marshals, and foreign interrogators from 15 countries. He is also a Fellow at UCLA’s Burkle Center for International Relations.

Sam Wolfson is an established screenwriter, playwright, and actor. He’s the co-creator of JEWTOPIA, one of the longest running and fastest recouping productions in Off-Broadway history. Wolfson co-penned the book based on the play, Jewtopia: The Chosen Book for the Chosen People, and co-wrote the screenplay for the 2012 JEWTOPIA movie adaptation starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. Wolfson’s second original comedy play, PLAYDATES, ran for over a year in Los Angeles to sold-out crowds. He wrote for all three seasons of the hit MTV drama “Finding Carter.” He served as both writer and co-producer all for three seasons of the groundbreaking Disney Channel comedy “Andi Mack,” which introduced the first gay character in Disney Channel history.


For any questions please contact Keith Jeffreys at keith.jeffreys@usvaa.org


COVID-19 Crisis Resources for Artists


We hope this finds you well in this extraordinarily difficult time.

We have added a COVID-19 Resources page to our website. So far, we have added links compiled by the Headlands Center for the Arts and Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Anousha Sakoui, as well as resources courtesy of Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager. Our many thanks for their efforts.

We trust that you already have access to VA and local resources, but if you don’t and need assistance, we’re here to help you.

Also, we’re in close contact with officials at the municipal, county, state and federal level in the Los Angeles area as well. We’re happy to reach out to those representatives to advocate on your behalf for needed services.

Additionally, we’re available to contact those representatives in your local area should you be experiencing difficulty with local and regional service providers.

Please be safe and feel free to contact us should you know about additional emergency resources for artists in your state and we’ll add them to our growing list.