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Welcome Home...
For those that just arrived, Welcome home! For those that have been here before welcome back. We are your hosts, BJ 'n Cindy. We own and operate this site as well as the sister sites.

As a retired Marine couple, we know just how new and puzzling, and sometimes how lonely or difficult it can be to find what you need. That is why we created this network and filled it with all kinds of resources to help you find whatever you may need... and to find one another.

So once again Welcome Home...

 


By Joe Lacdan, Army News Service August 25, 2017

FORT MEADE, Md. -- The Army reached a number of milestones over the past two years as it continued service-wide integration of female Soldiers into combat career fields and other areas of service.

This summer, women made history at Fort Benning, Georgia, graduating as the first female cavalry scouts and M1 tank crew members. Earlier this month at West Point, the U.S. Military Academy named the first African-American woman as First Captain of Cadets.

By US Army CID September 1, 2017

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command is cautioning the Army community to be on the lookout for charitable schemes and scams associated with "disaster fraud" donations.

With these scams, criminals will use manmade or natural catastrophes, such as the recent damage and flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, to get individuals to donate to charities claiming to support affected victims. Some of these organizations are fraudulent, or misleading at best because they do not have the infrastructure to support the affected disaster area.

By Lisa Ferdinando
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2017 — The Defense Department released guidance today to clarify the liberal consideration given to veterans who request upgrades of their discharge saying they had mental health conditions or were victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment.

The new guidance clarifies that the liberal consideration policy includes conditions resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, sexual assault or sexual harassment, said Air Force Lt. Col. Reggie Yager, the acting director of legal policy in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

Everyone’s college experience is unique—and probably not quite what they were expecting, but here are some tried and true tips on how to get through it.

1. Get involved.

This point may be the most overhyped, but it’s still valid. Go to your school’s activities fair if they have one; otherwise, keep your eyes open for opportunities to join different clubs or teams. Joining a club or team can often provide a much-needed relief from your everyday classes or responsibilities, and it’s a great way to meet new people or to try something new! Many schools even have niche groups such as unicycle clubs, quidditch teams (of Harry Potter fame), and virtual reality clubs. If you don’t find a club that aligns with your interests, you can always start your own!

2. Learn how to network.

By Joe Versen on July 31, 2017

The Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service works daily to make sure that those who serve have the employment support they need when they transition back into civilian life. Here are three ways we’re getting veterans back to work:

1. Transition Training

As a component of the Transition Assistance Program, or TAP, the Labor Department provides a mandatory three-day employment workshop, as well as an optional two-day Career Technical Training Track curriculum focused on licensing, credentialing and apprenticeship programs that lead to well-paying civilian jobs and meaningful careers. During the 2016 fiscal year, the department hosted over 6,300 employment workshops worldwide for over 184,000 participants.

By David McNally, ARL Public Affairs July 25, 2017

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Army scientists and engineers recently made a groundbreaking discovery -- an aluminum nanomaterial of their design produces high amounts of energy when it comes in contact with water, or with any liquid containing water.

During routine materials experimentation at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, a team of researchers observed a bubbling reaction when adding water to a nano-galvanic aluminum-based powder.

By Lance Cpl. Jake McClung, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

SAN DIEGO, CALIF. -- Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS) 373 supported the Veterans Village of San Diego during their 30th Annual Homeless Veteran Stand Down July 21 to 23, at San Diego High School in San Diego.

The stand down offered homeless veterans shelter and provided services such as medical care, dental care, legal assistance, haircuts and food for three days.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

1. Am I eligible for the Veterans Choice Program?

To be eligible for the program, you must be enrolled in VA health care and must also meet at least one of the following criteria:

By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Charlotte C. Oliver Defense Media Activity - Navy

CHARLESTOWN, Mass., July 24, 2017 — After a two-year restoration at historic Dry Dock 1 at Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston National Historical Park, America's oldest commissioned warship, the USS Constitution, was refloated July 23.

Since entering dry dock, May 18, 2015, ship restorers from the Naval History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston and teams of sailors have worked tirelessly side by side to bring Old Ironsides back to her glory.

The reality of paying for college is that many families find themselves struggling to cover the entire college bill, despite having already filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and receiving federal, state, and school-based financial aid and scholarships. If you find yourself in this position, here are some ideas to consider and places to look to help fill the gap between what your financial aid covers and what you owe your school.

TIP: The financial aid office at your school is an excellent resource. If you didn’t get enough financial aid, contact your school’s financial aid office. They can help you explore your options.

By: Tom Philpott July 13, 2017

Military Update: The Senate Armed Services Committee has voted to make permanent the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) set to expire next spring, and paid monthly to 63,000 survivors of service members who died on active duty or, more commonly, died of severe service-connected health conditions in retirement.

If the Senate initiative becomes law, the SSIA payments of $310 a month also would be adjusted annually, starting in 2018, by the same percentage cost-of-living adjustment used to keep military retirement from fading to inflation.

By Lance Cpl. Niles Lee | July 21, 2017

Sailors with 4th Marine Logistics Group and Expeditionary Medical Facility Camp Pendleton came together in support of Innovative Readiness Training Louisiana Care 2017, alongside members of the Air National Guard, to provide medical support to local communities in the Saint John the Baptist Parish, Tangipahoa Parish and Assumption Parish in Louisiana, July 10-24, 2017.

IRT Louisiana Care 2017 is providing Louisiana communities with medical, dental and optometry care at no cost to patients, while also providing service members the opportunity to work with other branches in a domestically deployed environment to prepare them for future deployments or mobilizations.

 By Ed Barker, Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval officers unable to pursue full-time graduate studies now have an additional education option with the FY-18 Graduate Education Voucher (GEV) program, announced July 11.

Detailed in Naval Administrative Message (NAVADMIN) 160-17, the GEV program offers eligible officers the opportunity to receive funded graduate education during off-duty hours. Through GEV, unrestricted line (URL) officers can apply to receive funding for Navy-relevant graduate education meeting the requirements of at least one sub-specialty code as specified by the Navy Sub-specialty System.

Recently married? Getting married soon? Congratulations! Weddings can require a lot of planning, and you probably already have a ton on your plate, but there is one item you may not have on your to-do list that I recommend you add—figuring out how getting married can impact your student loans.

Now that you’ve read the title, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Wait. Getting married impacts my student loans?” If you’re enrolled or interested in enrolling in an income-driven repayment plan, it sure can.

By Alan Zilberman on July 12, 2017

Do you follow any of your favorite brands on Instagram? Ever checked into a restaurant on Facebook? Tweeted at a company or government office about a customer service issue?

Social media is not only a tool for people to keep in touch; it has also become an important way for businesses, government and organizations to reach wider audiences. It provides a dynamic avenue beyond radio, television and other traditional forms of advertising to interact with clients or consumers directly.

By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2017 — The Defense Department has launched a comparison calculator for eligible service members to analyze their estimated retirement benefits under the legacy system and the new Blended Retirement System.

The tool walks members through five screens, allowing users to adjust 12 data fields and compare benefit scenarios under both systems, Air Force Maj. Michael Odle, the Defense Department's assistant director of military compensation policy, explained.

By Yan Kennon, Naval Hospital Jacksonville Public Affairs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Men can set a healthy example for kids, family and buddies by getting health screenings. Create a plan (based on age, family history, and personal medical history) with the primary care manager (PCM).

Prevention is the best medicine. Men can take charge of their personal health by getting health screenings, eating healthy, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, staying injury free, practicing safe sex, drinking in moderation, and being tobacco free.

By Suzanna Brugler, NAVSUP GLS, Deputy, Office of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs


SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Naval Supply Systems Command Global Logistics Support (NAVSUP GLS) Household Goods (HHG) provided information and moving tips directed toward Sailors and their families who will be executing a HHG move during the current peak season May 17.

HHG peak season runs from the beginning of May through August.

Start the process early and be flexible.

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs


WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Following passage of the 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act, the Navy announced today that Sailors should continue to expect to receive permanent change of station (PCS) orders with approximately two months or less lead time through the end of the fiscal year.

While the Navy will make every effort to ensure PCS orders are released as expeditiously as possible, the service does not have sufficient funds to allow for longer PCS orders lead times.

By Mary Kay Gominger, GCVHCS Public Affairs Officer
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Air Force Veteran Christopher Bramblett has an appreciation for national parks and public lands that goes back to his youth. Members of his family were large National Park and public land supporters so he grew up hiking, camping, and spending time in the outdoors. Bramblett, resident of Ocean Springs, Miss., said his mom was also a seasonal park ranger and a Veteran (Air Force) as was his grandfather (WWII, Army), so in keeping with family tradition, he joined the armed forces.

Bramblett served 10 years in the Air Force. Using the GI bill, he started working toward his degree in U.S. history. The transition from military to civilian life wasn’t as smooth as he had hoped and soon Bramblett found himself in, as he describes it, a dark place.

By Mika Cross on May 30, 2017

Bradley served 10 years in the U.S. Army as a military police officer, but when he left, the civilian job market he found was less friendly than the one he remembered. Looking for a leg up, he visited an American Job Center in Las Vegas, where he received help updating his resume and determining how to present his military skills in a way that would appeal to potential employers. Soon, he was back to work as a regional representative in the Las Vegas office for Sen. Dean Heller.

Bradley is one of more than 800,000 veterans who get help at the Labor Department’s American Job Centers every year. One of the most important ways our Veterans’ Employment and Training Service supports transitioning military service members and their families is by ensuring a successful transition to a meaningful civilian career, once they have completed their time in service.

GENUINE is casting People with Limited Travel Experience

For example:
· Have you never traveled beyond your immediate community?
· Is the distance you have traveled limited to your state or just beyond?
· Have you only traveled to "tourist destinations"?
· Do you want to travel, but have not had the opportunity?

By Ed Barker, Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- For service members interested in pursuing or continuing their education while on active duty, Navy tuition assistance (TA) is designed to help.

"Two of the questions we get asked most often are 'How do I get started with my education?' and 'How do I pay for it?'," said Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center Voluntary Education (VOLED) Program Director Ernest D'Antonio. "The answers are easy. 1) Start with the Navy College Program (NCP) website or Virtual Education Center (VEC), and 2) Talk with your Navy College Education Counselor to ensure TA eligibility, and 3) Apply."

From Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NNS) -- The Navy's 7th Annual Veteran and Wounded Warrior Hiring and Support Summit will offer workshops, career resources, and hiring opportunities Wednesday May 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Seattle Airport in Seattle.

The summit will provide active duty, veterans and Wounded Warriors with an opportunity to speak with more than 65 employers from the Navy, government, and commercial hiring managers, offering jobs and careers in the Pacific Northwest and around the country.

By Staff Sgt. Peter Reft, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

ORMOC CITY, Leyte --

U.S. military and Philippine Army engineers at Don Carlos Elementary School have worked nonstop for the past month to build not only a new classroom for local children, but also friendships that will last for years to come.

Despite sweltering heat and torrential downpours, curious children and villagers passing by might not have been able to tell how tired and exhausted military engineers were when they gathered as friends to laugh and smile.

By Janay Powell Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) is partnering with the National Wildlife Federation to host its second annual Great Navy Campout June 24-Sept. 3.

Sailors and their family members are encouraged to take this fun, summer-long camping pledge and enjoy some of nature's most scenic campsites on Navy installations, which can offer soaring mountain views, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear lakes. The Great Navy Campout coincides with the National Wildlife Federation's Great American Campout, and aims to inspire participants of all levels to hit the trail and get active.

Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to multiple schools. Now you need to determine which schools are most affordable so you can factor school cost into your decision. If you listed a school on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and have been offered admission by that school, the school’s financial aid office will send you a financial aid offer. The amounts and types of aid you’re offered will likely vary from school to school, so it’s important to compare your financial aid offers. Here are a few tips and resources to make understanding and comparing your financial aid offers easier.

The birth of a baby is a life-changing event that can trigger all kinds of emotions from happiness and joy to jitters and fear. It can also lead to something you might not expect - postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression - a depression that occurs after having a baby - is the most common complication of giving birth. It affects one in seven new mothers. Left untreated, postpartum depression can have long-lasting negative results, harming the health of new mothers, their babies, and their families.

By Ms. Argie Sarantinos-Perrin May 15, 2017

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's science, technology, engineering and mathematics outreach program reaches students from kindergarten to college.

Knocking down a stack of blocks, then backing up to switch directions, a robot effortlessly moves around a local school as a group of children watch and wait for their turn to operate the remote control. The children marvel at the hodgepodge of whirring motors, nuts and bolts, the culmination of their hard work in a STEM robotics competition.

By Col. Aaron Burgstein, Air Force Public Affairs

Editor’s Note: Air Force Col. Aaron “Chewy” Burgstein wrote this unpublished commentary in the fall of 2014 while undergoing medical treatment for a brain tumor. He unfortunately passed away on Jan. 27, 2015. In recognition of Military Spouses Appreciation Day on May 21 and Memorial Day on May 31, Air Force News is publishing Col. Burgstein’s commentary in remembrance of his contributions to Air Force Public Affairs and as a reminder of the timeless contributions made by military spouses every day around the world.

In my nearly 20 years of military service, I have moved 12 times. It is more frequent than most service members, but yet not that unusual. Along the way in my career, I picked up a spouse. She has moved a total of nine times in our 13 years of marriage. Our children are just breaking into double digits and they have moved six times.

By Senior Airman Sergio A. Gamboa 325th Fighter Wing

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., May 11, 2017 — The 325th Force Support Squadron and the base Family Readiness Center gave military children the opportunity to experience what their parents go through when they deploy overseas during the annual Jr. Raptor deployment experience event held May 6 at the Tyndall Youth Center and Silver Flag Field here.

Jr. Raptor is a program that has been going on for over a decade, benefiting military children by providing educational and hands-on activities with what some of their parents do to support the Tyndall mission.

By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2017 - With military children gathered around him, Vice President Mike Pence saluted military families at an event at the White House yesterday.

"We're grateful that you're here at the White House today," Pence said. "We hope you leave here today with your hearts full of the assurance that the American people are grateful for those who serve in uniform and just as grateful for the families who stand by their side."

DOD Announces Winners of the 2017 Commander in Chief's Annual Award for Installation Excellence
Press Operations
Release No: NR-166-17  May 8, 2017

Secretary of Defense James Mattis recently announced the 2017 recipients of the Commander in Chief's Annual Award for Installation Excellence:

. U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, Germany
Commander: Colonel Glenn K. Dickenson

. Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
Commander: Brigadier General Thomas D. Weidley

From the Office of the Chief of Information

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Acting Secretary of the Navy Sean J. Stackley released All Navy Message (ALNAV) 021/17, April 18, which updated Navy regulations, making it unlawful to share an intimate image of someone without his or her permission for personal gain or to humiliate, harm, harass, intimidate, threaten, or coerce the depicted person or with reckless disregard of harm to the victim.

The new regulation "serves to underscore leadership's commitment to eliminating degrading behaviors that erode trust and weaken the Navy and Marine Corps team," Chief of Information Rear Adm. Dawn Cutler said in a statement. "It provides commanders another tool to maintain good order and discipline by holding Sailors and Marines accountable for inappropriate conduct in the nonconsensual sharing of intimate imagery."

US Department of Labor to establish HIRE Vets Medallion Program

New program created to recognize employer efforts in supporting the veteran community

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor announced it will establish the HIRE Vets Medallion Program to recognize employers who recruit, retain, and employ veterans, and who offer charitable services in support of the veteran community. The department is establishing the program under the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act, or HIRE Vets Act. President Donald J. Trump signed the act into law today.

By Senior Airman Jordyn Fetter
11th Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS) -- For the first time, Gold Star Base Access ID cards were issued to three family members of fallen Airmen at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 1, 2017.

These cards are part of an Air Force initiative allowing Gold Star families unescorted access to Air Force installations to visit buried loved ones, attend base events and stop by Airmen and Family Readiness Centers for immediate and long-term emotional support.

By Suzanna Brugler, NAVSUP GLS

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Naval Supply Systems Command Global Logistics Support (NAVSUP GLS) Household Goods (HHG) explained specific benefits concerning authorization to ship household goods afforded to military retirees, May 3.

"Our military retirees are entitled to many HHG benefits that they might otherwise not be aware of, or might not even consider, as they contemplate how they will spend the next chapter of their lives after a career of honorable Naval service," said Deborah McGlennon, NAVSUP GLS HHG program manager.

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2017 — The Defense Department has rescinded its 2016 policy allowing military service academy and ROTC athletes to be recruited directly into professional sports, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White announced yesterday.

"Our military academies exist to develop future officers who enhance the readiness and the lethality of our military services," White said in a written statement. "Graduates enjoy the extraordinary benefit of a military academy education at taxpayer expense."

By Cheryl Pellerin, DoD News, Defense Media Activity May 2, 2017

WASHINGTON -- Heads of military centers and programs targeting post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury in service members and their families reported progress Friday in the timely recognition and treatment of these and related health conditions.

Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee's military personnel subcommittee on Defense Department clinical research and program assessment for PTSD and TBI were Navy Capt. (Dr.) Mike Colston, director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, and Air Force Col. (Dr.) Steven Pflanz, deputy director of psychological health for the Air Force.

WASHINGTON — Nearly 800 Veterans of age 55 and older will join volunteers and rehabilitative professionals from across the country for the 31st National Veterans Golden Age Games, scheduled May 7-11 in Biloxi, Mississippi.

This annual competition organized by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and supported by national sponsor Veterans Canteen Service, is the only national multi-event sports and recreational senior competition aimed at improving the quality of life for all older Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities as a senior adaptive rehabilitation program.

By Kat Bailey, Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs April 27, 2017

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- Female Airmen now have up to 12 months after having a baby to request separation from the service under the Air Force's new Diversity and Inclusion initiative.

This policy change, effective April 26, 2017, gives female Airmen more time to better understand and assess how they can balance a military career and family needs, ensuring they have the opportunity to contribute to mission success.

By Staff Sgt. Michael Hughes, 180th Fighter Wing Ohio National Guard April 28, 2017

SWANTON, Ohio - The men and women who serve in America's armed forces have often been called heroes for their courageous acts and warrior ethos.

These men and women in uniform know that our nation's biggest heroes can come in the smallest sizes and make the biggest sacrifices -- our military children.

By Capt. Megan Hoffmann April 18, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Children are typically carefree, no job, no bills to pay, no worries. However, that is not true for the military child.

Military children don't typically fall into the carefree category. At any given time their lives can be in a state of change; living in a single-parent or no-parent household with parents deployed or geographically separated due to military obligations, changing schools and living in turmoil are just a few things military children deal with on a regular basis.

By Staff Sgt. Jannelle McRae, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs / Published April 07, 2017

Washington (AFNS) -- Eighteen-year-old Jamal Braxton has a busy schedule. The high school senior holds various leadership positions with the Red Cross, participates in multiple varsity sport programs and is a lifeguard. He accomplishes all this as a military child and the challenges inherent in military family life.

Because of his accomplishments, Braxton was presented the Operation Homefront 2017 Air Force Military Child of the Year award by Air Force Assistant Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Stayce Harris April 6, 2017, in Washington D.C. 

By Kenneth Fenner on April 11, 2017

Joy, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, lost her business amid the 2008 financial crisis, and was forced to live out of her van. Being homeless made even relatively simple tasks complicated, but over time, Joy found that she was growing accustomed to homelessness, making it even harder for her to get back to work. It wasn’t until Joy enrolled in the Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency’s Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program, or HVRP, that she was able to get back on her feet. The center helped her find a home and a sense of purpose, and even hired her as a veteran outreach specialist.

Funded by the Labor Department, HVRP provides services to help homeless veterans reenter the workforce, which in turn gets them back on track in other aspects of life.  Services include occupational, classroom and on-the-job training, as well as job search and placement assistance, including follow-up services. Real employment opportunities help veterans reach both financial stability and independence.

By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2017 - The Veterans Affairs and Defense departments are introducing to service members who have Servicemembers Group Life Insurance an online enrollment system called the SGLI On-line Enrollment System that enables active duty and eligible reserve and National Guard members to manage their group and family coverage online. 

SGLI provides $400,000 in automatic life insurance coverage to service members when they enlist. SGLI members get automatic coverage for dependent children and non-military spouses under the family SGLI program.

By Cheryl Pellerin
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2017  The Veterans Affairs and Defense departments are introducing to service members who have Servicemembers Group Life Insurance an online enrollment system called the SGLI On-line Enrollment System that enables active duty and eligible reserve and National Guard members to manage their group and family coverage online. 

SGLI provides $400,000 in automatic life insurance coverage to service members when they enlist. SGLI members get automatic coverage for dependent children and non-military spouses under the family SGLI program.

By Carla M. McCarthy, Center for Information Warfare Training Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Sailors continue to benefit from the Navy Credentialing Opportunities On-line (COOL) program with the latest Navy COOL app update uploaded to app stores, March 28.

With more than 24,000 downloads so far, the app matches the most recent information found on the Navy COOL website. 

By Rhonda Burke on March 28, 2017

While in high school, Josiah Hernandez came to a difficult crossroads in his young life. Twenty credits short of graduation and struggling with academic and self discipline, he dropped out. Just a few months later, in search of direction, he found the U.S. Department of Labor’s Job Corps program.

Job Corps was a second chance for Josiah. He used it to set his life on a path toward prosperity.

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Cory Asato, Navy Public Affairs Support Element Det. Northwest

SILVERDALE, Wash. (NNS) -- Marine Corps Security Force Battalion (MCSFBn) graduated its newest batch of junior noncommissioned officers (NCO) at the command Corporals Course, March 17.

The mission of the course is to provide the Marine corporal with the education and leadership skills necessary to lead Marines. The local battalion chooses to send Sailors integrated into their platoons through the course, as well, promoting unit cohesion and leadership abilities.

 

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Navy junior officers interested in serving as a White House social aide can now apply through April 30. 

The White House social aides have supported presidents and first ladies since the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt, and are represented by all branches of the military. They help manage guests who attend social functions at the White House, and also facilitate interactions with the president and first lady. 

By Jessica Myers DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2017 — The selection of the 2017 Women’s History Month theme, “Honoring Trailblazing Women,” falls in perfect harmony with the centennial anniversary of the first enlisted woman to enter into military service. The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services and the Veteran Affairs Center for Women Veterans co-hosted an event at the Women in Military Service for American Memorial yesterday, celebrating the historic enlistment of Loretta P. Walsh, March 21, 1917, exactly 100 years ago to the day.

In the spring of 1917, the United States began preparing for the inevitability of war. However, men were not enlisting in sufficient numbers. On March 19, 1917, Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels determined that women could be enrolled in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force and issued an order authorizing their enlistment.

By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2017 — Karen Pence, the wife of Vice President Michael R. Pence, honored military women today as part of events for Women's History Month.

"We just wanted to say 'Thank you,'" she told three dozen service members at an afternoon reception at One Observatory Circle, the vice president's residence at the Naval Observatory here.

By Luke Murren March 22, 2017

The jobless rate for all veterans edged down to 4.3 percent in 2016 from 4.6 percent in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recently released annual Employment Situation for Veterans. This continues a downward trend from the peak of the recession in 2011, and brings the veteran unemployment rate near pre-recession levels.

Some highlights from the 2016 report include:

By Suzanna Brugler,
Naval Supply Systems Command Global Logistics Support, Deputy

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Naval Supply Systems Command Global Logistics Support (NAVSUP GLS) Household Goods (HHG) added 15 more webinars to its series of live, interactive webinars that assist Sailors and their families in facilitating military moves, March 10.

The total number of webinars offered since Jan. 10 is 65, up from the original 50 scheduled early this year.

VA’s rule establishes presumption of service connection for diseases associated with exposure to contaminants in water supply at Camp Lejeune VA to provide disability benefits for related diseases

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) regulations to establish presumptions for the service connection of eight diseases associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, are effective as of today.

By Jeremy Beale/Staff Writer, Marine Corps Base Quantico

Forty-seven year old, retired Marine Maj. Shalisa Davis, returned to Quantico Marine Corps Information Operations Center, where she works, after becoming the first African American woman to finish seven marathons in seven days across seven continents.

Pushing through sleep-depravation, physical exhaustion and illness, Davis ran over 183 miles, thus completing a seven part marathon series.

By C. Todd Lopez March 6, 2017

WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- The standard issue combat boot most Soldiers wear today, the one most commonly worn in Iraq and Afghanistan, is great for sandy dunes, hot dry weather, and asphalt. But it's proven not so good in hot and wet environments. So the Army has developed a new jungle boot that some Soldiers will see this year.

In September, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley directed the Army to come up with a plan to outfit two full brigade combat teams in Hawaii, part of the 25th Infantry Division there, with a jungle boot. The Army had already been testing commercial jungle boots at the time -- with mixed results -- but didn't have a specialized jungle boot, so Program Executive Officer Soldier, headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, had to get a plan together to make it happen.

By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Liah Kitchen 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., March 2, 2017 — Transitioning out of the military can be a difficult and stressful time for service members. Many go back to their hometowns to be with their families, while others find work in the area of their last duty station.

Planning for life after the military is one of the key elements in a smooth transition. For retired Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Junior Hamilton, this means exchanging his uniform for business attire.

WASHINGTON - Military Outreach USA, a partner of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), recently launched a program to encourage communities to connect with local VA facilities and help VA provide support to homeless or recently homeless Veterans and their families.

The Adopt-a-VA program, which began in February, connects individuals and community organizations, such as schools, faith-based groups and businesses, with a local VA Homeless Program case manager at the VA Medical Center or community-based outpatient clinic in their area to help meet Veterans' non-medical needs.

By Donna Cipolloni, Naval Air Station Patuxent River

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md., March 3, 2017 - Following the last of the female yeomen leaving active duty at the end of World War I, only a small number of Navy nurses represented their gender in naval service. But World War II would change all of that. In the early 1940s, the Navy prepared to accept not only a large number of enlisted women, but also the first female commissioned officers who would supervise them.

On July 30, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Navy Women’s Reserve Act into law, creating what was commonly known as the WAVES — Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service — a division of the U.S. Navy created during World War II to free up male personnel for sea duty. Little did anyone know that the resulting influx of women in the U.S. Navy would last far beyond the World War II “emergency” for which they had been recruited.

By Mika Cross on March 2, 2017

Imagine if you drove trucks for the military in some of the world's most dangerous and challenging terrain, in every kind of weather, day and night. After years of serving your country, you decide you want to go home, be closer to family and get back to work.

As you begin to transition from service, you make a surprising discovery: Suddenly, it doesn't matter that you were promoted three times, won service medals and logged hundreds of thousands of miles driving. Employers require you to re-certify and re-train for the very same work you performed in the military. Even though you've got the skills, it's hard to get a foot in the door. For too many veterans, this is a real problem.   

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Lockwood, Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- "How can history inform our maritime strategy today?" Your answer to that question may be the basis for an entry in the Chief of Naval Operations 2017 Naval History Essay Contest, recently announced in NAVADMIN 024/17.

According to the message, CNO Adm. John Richardson directed the contest to further understanding of how lessons from history inform the Navy's way ahead.

By Kristine M. Sturkie, Navy Exchange Service Command Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Beginning Veteran's Day, Nov. 11, military exchange online shopping privileges will be extended to all honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. military.

The Department of Defense announced this policy change as a way to recognize the contributions of service members who served in the military and to thank them for that service.

Congratulations! You just found out your next duty station is in a land far, far away. Your excitement for new adventures may be tempered by questions about what life will be like in a new location and how you’ll get your family there. The good news is that there are resources available to assist families just like yours. Start with a Military OneSource spouse relocation and transition consultation. The consultant can:

from the MilitaryOneSource newsletter

Many service members and their families benefit from the multitude of state laws passed each year. Who is responsible for working at the state level to address the specific needs of military families?

The answer to that question is the Defense State Liaison Office. The DSLO, located in Washington, D.C., was established in 2004 by the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. At that time, the department did not have processes to resolve state issues for service members and their families. DSLO was established to “level the playing field” and remove barriers for service members and their families. As the department continues to transform service member and family support programs, DSLO also provides an opportunity to forge new ways of addressing requirements and aligning support with the programs implemented by states and communities.

from the MilitaryOneSource newsletter

Would you like to spend time whitewater rafting, hiking, rock climbing, winter camping, backpacking, exploring the environment, running ropes courses, or practicing wilderness skills? What if you could do these activities with other military youth just like you?

Military teens (14-18 years old of Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, and Retired personnel) will have an opportunity to participate in adventure camps scheduled May 2016 through February 2017 at little to no cost. These high energy, high adventure, and high experience camps are planned across the United States from Washington to New York and the states in between. This is the perfect chance for you to experience the outdoors as you never have before!

from the MilitaryOneSource newsletter

When school's out for summer, it's helpful to have some activities planned to keep your kids busy, engaged and having fun. Department of Defense summer camps may be a great addition to your child's summer lineup. Make it a summer to remember by checking out these potential camping experiences:

Teen adventure camps

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2017  Even after 100 years, the world still feels the effects of what was known at the time as The Great War. 

The current situation in the Middle East owes much to the divisions imposed on the region as a result of World War I. The U.S. civil rights effort grew out of the segregation and discrimination African-Americans were subjected to as they strove to serve their country in combat.

WASHINGTON — Researchers know of aspirin’s benefits in preventing certain ailments — from cardiovascular disease to most recently colorectal cancer. But while the link to those two conditions was made, researchers also questioned how and if this “wonder drug” could work to ward off other types of cancers. 

Thanks to a team led by Dr. Vinod Vijayan at the DeBakey Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Houston and Dr. Lenard Lichtenberger of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center, new studies verify their theory of cancer-prevention benefits based on aspirin’s effects on platelets—blood cells that form clots to stop bleeding. The findings appear in the February 2017 issue of Cancer Prevention Research journal.

By Mark DeWolf  March 1, 2017

This Women’s History Month, we’re taking a look at women’s contributions to the U.S. labor force.  Here are some noteworthy statistics we’ve rounded up!

Women are Integral to Today’s Workforce

By Ed Barker, Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Career-minded officers interested in developing language skills and regional cultural knowledge are encouraged to apply for the fiscal year 2019 (FY-19) Olmsted Scholar Program, announced Feb. 17 in NAVADMIN 038/17.

Currently available to unrestricted line, Information Dominance Corps and Supply Corps officer designators, the Olmsted program is a unique scholarship opportunity offering two years of graduate study using a foreign language, while providing overseas cultural and travel opportunities and often leading to a graduate degree at a foreign university.

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs 

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy announced Tuesday that first-term Sailors on sea duty now have more time to request extension of their expiration of active obligated service (EAOS) to complete their sea duty assignment known as their prescribed sea tour (PST).

The deadline for Sailors to submit their requests was extended to Dec. 31, 2017, from Feb. 28, as was first announced in NAVADMIN 004/17. This initiative allows first-term Sailors to match their projected rotation date (PRD) with their EAOS and helps alleviate unnecessary gaps at sea.

Customer Service Representatives

Join our team of upbeat, friendly Customer Service Representatives for day or evening shifts, you choose, what a convenience.  

Need additional income, without the hassle of leaving home, no additional cost of a babysitter and no other out of pocket cost money you can save

By Lt. Col. Janet Herrick | U.S. Army Human Resources Command February 22, 2017

FORT KNOX, Ky. - The most recent Regular Army Call to Active Duty program is expanded for commissioned officers and warrant officers this year. The program allows Army Reserve and National Guard members in select grades and specialties to go on active duty.

"The Army looks to retain the talent, skills and experience of quality officers who are fit, resilient and ready to serve America's Army," said Brig. Gen. Joseph R. Calloway, director, Officer Personnel Management Directorate at Human Resources Command.

By Courtesy Story, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, California -- There is no greater story teller than a veteran of war. However, it is often difficult for them to articulate the things they had seen in a way that the average civilian might understand. Sometimes the story gets lost in the details. Sometimes the humor or significance of a certain situation is lost on the listener. The term “you just had to be there” is far too often an understatement. Damaso Sutis found a friend to share his story. In fact, he found two.

Retired Gunnery Sergeant Damaso Sutis began his day boarding a bus heading to Camp Pendleton for the 72nd Battle of Iwo Jima Commemoration Tour. The tour made stops at the Santa Margarita Ranch House and the Mechanized Museum that houses military vehicles past and present. 

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy announced Friday that it is beginning a beta test of a new web portal designed to aggregate several personnel, training and education websites into one location. 

Today, the content and applications Sailors need to access their personnel information is spread across multiple websites. Over time, that capability will be integrated into My Navy Portal.

From Naval Health Research Center Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Recent research from Naval Health Research Center's (NHRC) Warfighter Performance Department found physical activity may diminish the risk of major depressive disorder (MDD) and suicidal ideation (SI) in individuals with a genetic predisposition.

Study findings were published online in the January issue of "Psychiatry Research."

By Demetria Mosley (Fort Jackson)
February 17, 2017

It's day zero and the heat at Fort Jackson in July is sweltering.

A group of new initial entry recruits stand at attention, forming a sea of green in their newly issued OCP uniforms as they wait with looks of anticipation on their faces for the first glance at their drill sergeant.

By Sgt. Tiffany Edwards, III Marine Expeditionary Force

BAN CHAN KREM, Thailand - U.S. Marines with 1st Platoon, Echo Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit conducted Military Operations in Urbanized Terrain (MOUT) training with the Royal Thai Marine Corps Feb. 14, 2017 at Ban Chan Krem, Thailand. The Marines and Sailors traveled to Thailand to participate in Exercise Cobra Gold 17, a co-sponsored, multi-national exercise between the Kingdom of Thailand, United States, and 27 other nations.

"The Royal Thai Marines requested this specific training, which is the foundation of (MOUT)," said 1st Lt. Christian Talarico, platoon commander for 1st Plt., Echo Co., BLT 2/5. "Our Marines are well versed and more than capable to teach this training, which will provide a good foundation for the Thai Marines to build on and increase their proficiency." 

February 21, 2017

It’s not easy to talk with youth about sensitive topics such as cybersafety, healthy relationships, and bullying. To help facilitate these discussions, the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC), in partnership with the youth leadership group, P.O.P! (The Power of Prevention), created the site, “100 Conversations.”

The goal of “100 Conversations” is to increase safety and reduce sexual violence for all youth, and in particular for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning. The site’s “Topics” section has links to 100 conversations categorized into 10 major topics including “Boundaries & Values,” “Consent & Laws,” and “Bystanders & Resources.”

By Tom Cramer
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A VA psychologist in Indiana is exploring the effects yoga might have on Veterans suffering with posttraumatic stress disorder.

“There’s just not that much research out there yet about the effect of yoga on PTSD symptoms,” said Dr. Louanne Davis, a clinical research psychologist at the Indianapolis VA and an associate scientist in clinical psychology at the Indiana University School of Medicine.  “But we know that yoga is soothing.  Yoga is very meditative and emphasizes being aware or mindful of your breathing and how your body feels moment to moment. This type of practice stimulates the calming branch of the nervous system and helps to reduce the hyperarousal that is one of the symptoms of PTSD.”

WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has awarded three university contracts to research and share local history through the diversity of Veterans' experience found in VA national cemeteries, officials announced Feb. 16.

"The award of these three contracts signifies the VA National Cemetery Administration's (NCA) dedication and commitment to providing enhanced memorialization and lasting tributes that commemorate the service and sacrifice of Veterans," said Interim Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Ronald E. Walters.

By Mika Cross on February 15, 2017

At the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, we know that training veterans for skilled work or helping them prepare for their next interview enhances their ability to live the American dream. A steady, meaningful job provides security for both veterans and their families.

Providing support to military spouses is an equally important part of the department’s goal to expand opportunities for all U.S. workers. Like veterans and transitioning service members, military spouses deserve assistance to achieve their personal career goals.

By Sgt. Laura Gauna, III Marine Expeditionary Force

 OKINAWA, Japan -- The world’s first supersonic short-take-off, vertical-landing aircraft just landed in the Pacific this month, launching the Marine Corps into a new era of expeditionary aviation.

Brig. Gen. John M. Jansen, the deputy commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force, expects the new F-35B Lightning II to provide new dimensions of range, speed, stealth and lethality to commanders throughout III Marine Expeditionary Force.

By Sean Kimmons February 16, 2017

WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- Access to quality child care is an essential benefit for service members with children, especially for those with spouses who work full time or are seeking employment. But with more than 5,500 children waiting to get into Army child care programs, senior leaders are worried the backlog could affect the readiness of military parents.

"This is a huge concern for us," Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey told lawmakers Tuesday. Child care is "critical to our success and something we have to continue to invest in for the future."

By Richard Salomon, Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs / Published February 17, 2017

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- For months, about 100 Air Force wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans have honed their skills in their chosen sport, with many overcoming significant hardships, in preparation for the Air Force Trials Feb. 24 to March 2 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

The Air Force Trials is an adaptive and rehabilitative sports event designed to promote the mental and physical well-being of participants. The trials’ events include wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, air pistol and rifle shooting, rowing, archery and cycling.

By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity 

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2017 — The Defense Department’s newly modernized electronic health record system was recognized as successful after a week-long deployment at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, officials there said today.

Fairchild’s  92nd Medical Group became the first military hospital or clinic to use MHS Genesis, a single, integrated electronic inpatient and outpatient health record that transforms health care delivery within DoD’s Military Health System, officials said.

By Army Sgt. Noshoba Davis Louisiana National Guard

PINEVILLE, La., Feb. 16, 2017 — The Louisiana National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force providing an aviation asset in assisting several law enforcement agencies in removing nearly $2 million worth of drugs from the streets of Alexandria, Louisiana, last month.

After a month-long investigation into alleged illegal drug activity, Derrick Felton, 37, of Alexandria, was arrested for possession of nearly 70 pounds of illegal narcotics and a large amount of cash.

DALLAS - There may be several weeks left in the march to spring, but that doesn't mean military families have to wait to start making their yards an outdoor paradise.

Every Friday in 2017, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service will award one lucky winner an outdoor living gift package valued as high as $1,499.99 at facebook.com/shopmyexchange. To enter, authorized shoppers simply like and share each Free Friday post and comment with their name and local Exchange.

By Lance Cpl. Ashley Lawson, II Marine Expeditionary Force

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- An open field where injured dummies lie was suddenly crowded as the recorded sound of a bomb reached the eardrums of corpsmen on a patrol nearby during a training exercise. With quick, sharp looks and a feeling of urgency, they each rushed to a wounded “Marine” to save their brothers’ lives.

Corpsmen with 2nd Medical Battalion participated in a Tactical Combat Casualty Care training exercise February 6-10, 2017, at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

By Air Force Airman 1st Class Ryan Lackey 92nd Air Refueling Wing 

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash., Feb. 15, 2017 - Four NASA astronauts trained with U.S. Air Force Survival School instructors in water survival and recovery at the fitness center pool here. 

The astronauts underwent the training in preparation for anticipated test flights of the new commercially made American rockets, the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and the SpaceX Dragon.

By Lance Cpl. Breanna Weisenberger, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit

 Okinawa, Japan --

Marines with Fox Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, completed training at Jungle Warfare Training Center, Camp Gonsalves, Okinawa, Japan, Feb. 3, 2017, in preparation for an upcoming spring deployment.

BLT 2/5, usually stationed at the Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton, California, is currently the Ground Combat Element for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. 

 From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy announced Thursday that some Sailors who are considering orders to sea-duty squadrons at Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore may be authorized Assignment Incentive Pay (AIP).

AIP is a temporary compensation tool used to incentivize voluntary assignment to billets determined to be historically difficult to fill.

New Documentary Series Wants To Capture That Special Moment When You Hold Your Baby For The First Time

Are you returning home from a deployment, job, etc. to meet your baby for the first time? Do you have a partner who is coming home to meet their baby in the coming months? A Major Cable Network is working on an inspiring new project and we want to hear your story!

*Please note, there is compensation for those selected. *

WASHINGTON — Ten women Veteran artists have been selected to showcase their work at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers around the country in March, to coincide with Women’s History Month.

“It is our hope that this exhibit will provide insight into the diverse experiences of women who serve our country, through their respective lenses,” said Director of VA’s Center for Women Veterans Kayla Williams. “This effort to enhance the awareness of those who serve women Veterans — in VA and in the public — will contribute to improving how they are regarded when they come to VA for care and benefits, and how they are treated in their communities.” 

Hud Charges Oklahoma Landlords With Discriminating Against Veteran With Disabilities

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging the landlords of a Moore, Oklahoma rental home with violating the Fair Housing Act by denying the reasonable accommodation requests of their tenant, a veteran with disabilities. Read the charge.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to persons with disabilities, or from refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices for people with disabilities. This includes waiving pet fees for persons with disabilities who use assistance animals.

From Center for Information Warfare Training Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- A new application for mobile devices designed to support Navy personnel and their families stationed or deployed abroad with cultural awareness and language resources became available for download, Feb. 3.

The app initially provides material for six fleet concentration areas: Bahrain, Italy, Japan, Spain, the Republic of Korea, and the Philippines. The Navy Center for Language, Regional Expertise, and Culture (CLREC) plans to continue adding resources on language, history, geography, people, ethnic groups, religious institutions, societal norms, behaviors, etiquette, and culturally-appropriate behaviors for more additional countries as resources allow.

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy released NAVADMIN 025/17, Feb. 6, reminding female Sailors that the third cycle selections for conversation to Submarine Force ratings closes April 1.

This cycle's conversions will be for the 2018 initial enlisted integration of the USS Ohio (SSGN 726) submarine crews in Bangor, Washington.

By Cpl. Nathan Wicks, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION, IWAKUNI, Japan -- Aviation ordnance Marines with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 225 are receiving, equipping and inspecting F/A-18D Hornets at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, to support exercise Cope North, scheduled for Feb. 8 - March 8, 2017.

 Cope North is a multi-national, bilateral training event including the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, Royal Australian Air Force, and Japan Air Self-Defense Force. 

By Lisa Ferdinando, DoD News, Defense Media Activity
February 3, 2017

WASHINGTON -- With the tax season upon us, service members and their families can access free tax-filing software and consultations to help them navigate the task of submitting their annual taxes.

Military members and their families can visit the Military OneSource website or call 1-800-342-9647 for the no-cost "MilTax" software, explained Erika Slaton, a program analyst with Military OneSource.

By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity
February 2, 2017

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2017 -- The Defense Department has launched mandatory training for eligible service members about their options under the "Blended Retirement System" nearly a year before that new system goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, Defense Department officials said.

The new military retirement system is "one of the most significant changes to military pay and benefits that we've had over the past 70 years," said Anthony Kurta, who is performing the duties of undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

By Don Wagner January 30, 2017

FORT MEADE, Md. (Army News Service) -- Soldiers Broadcasting is launching its newest video series called "Soldiers" Tuesday on Defense TV, YouTube and the new Soldiers webpage.

"These videos showcase the American Soldier in action, preparing for and conducting missions every day around the globe," said Maj. Gen. Malcolm B. Frost, Army chief of Public Affairs. "Soldier skills, grit, commitment and character will be on full display. You will be inspired by the Soldiers who defend our nation as part of the greatest team on earth."

By Byron Zuidema on February 3, 2017

Are you unemployed and searching for work? An employer trying to meet your human capital needs for skilled workers? Maybe you’re just entering the workforce and looking for your first job, or have been working for years but interested in switching fields or gaining a new credential.

In all of these cases, an American Job Center near you can help.

By Tami Faram, Marine Corps Base Quantico

QUANTICO, Virginia -- As thousands will be setting their sights on the 42nd Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 22 in Arlington, VA and throughout the nation’s capital, special Four Star registration packages offering a spectacular weekend at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, MD will soon be available. 

The Four Star packages are limited in number and will open for registration at www.marinemarathon.com starting tomorrow, Feb. 1 at noon Eastern. 

By C. Todd Lopez
January 26, 2017

WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- With just 18 hours of notice, the 82nd Airborne Division can deploy and conduct a forcible-entry operation in support of U.S. interests. But the division wasn't always that ready, and they weren't always airborne.

With 2017 marking the division's 100th anniversary, the 82nd is now launching a series of initiatives to commemorate its history, share the story of how it became the unit it is today, and celebrate all that the paratroopers have done for the United States and the world.

By U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command Public Affairs - February 2, 2017

QUANTICO, Va. -- The Army Criminal Investigation Command is cautioning Soldiers to beware of a form of cyber extortion in which criminals engage in online sexual activities with a victim and then demand money or favors in exchange for not publicizing potentially embarrassing information.

In these "sextortion" scams, the extortionist will convince a Soldier to send a compromising photo or engage in a sexually explicit video chat, then threaten to send the compromising images to the Soldier's command, family and friends unless "hush money" is paid, according to CID's Computer Crime Investigative Unit (CCIU).

By Pfc. Gabino Perez, I Marine Expeditionary Force

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- It was a breezy Friday afternoon, Oct. 30, 2015, as the USS Boxer was underway, moving through choppy waters off the coast of Southern California. Marine Sgt. Zachary L. Piepenhagen stood on the smoke deck to take a brief break from work and enjoy a cigarette with his peers when he noticed someone climbing over the guard rail of the ship.

Piepenhagen, without hesitation, sprinted across the weather deck of the ship, jumping over the separation rope, and grabbed the sailor who was attempting to jump to his death. They grappled for a few seconds, the sailor resisting him in an attempt to escape, as both lives were in imminent danger of falling off the ship. Piepenhagen was able to pull the sailor off the ledge and back onto the ship, with the help of two other Marines, holding him against the ship’s bulkhead until help arrived.

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Samuel Weldin

SAPPORO, Japan (NNS) -- Sailors stationed at U.S. Naval Air Facility (NAF) Misawa and its tenant commands began work on a snow sculpture as part of the 68th annual Sapporo Snow Festival, Jan. 30.

This is the 34th consecutive year the Navy has sent a team of Misawa Sailors to Sapporo to create a sculpture and take part in the world's largest snow festival.

By Kellen Leech
January 31, 2017

As thousands of American employers know, hiring veterans is a smart move. There are more than 7 million veterans in the U.S. labor force, meaning they’re either employed or actively looking for work. If you’re curious about working with veterans, here are three great reasons to hire one:

From a Defense Commissary Agency News Release

FORT LEE, Va., Jan. 30, 2017 — Commissary savings now will be reported more often and better reflect the cost of living where patrons shop, the director and CEO of the Defense Commissary Agency said.

We have updated how we measure patron savings at the commissary, Joseph H. Jeu said. This enhanced way of calculating savings doesn’t change the actual dollars that patrons save, but it will give patrons a better understanding of price comparisons in their local area.

Release No: 013  -  Feb. 2, 2017 
By Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas â€" According to an Air Force Policy Memorandum for Appearance and Accession Standards Review, revisions for tattoo standards applicable to the Total Force take effect Feb. 1.

The guidance, which will be incorporated into Air Force Instruction 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel, and several others, applies to all members of the Regular Air Force, as well as Reserve and Guard components.

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- A new application for mobile devices designed to enhance financial literacy for Sailors is available today and helps provide the latest info on the Blended Retirement System (BRS) that goes into effect in 2018. 

The app is designed to provide Sailors with anytime, anywhere access to both training and resources that will help them make informed decisions about their financial future, which is especially critical as the military gets ready to begin BRS Jan. 1, 2018. 

By Tom Cramer
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Are you in a violent relationship?  Are you scared of your significant other?  Or is your significant other perhaps scared of you?

If so, VA has a program called Strength at Home that may be able to help you.

“Veterans appear to be experiencing higher rates of physical or verbal abuse in their relationships,” said James Haskell, a social worker and group therapist with the Baltimore VA’s Strength at Home Program.  "The military trains you to react quickly to a threatening situation when you’re in combat.  But in a relationship, reacting quickly isn’t always the best option.”

By Chief Logistics Specialist James Hawley,
Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group Public Affairs

MCMURDO STATION, Antarctica (NNS) -- After four long days of travel, Sailors from Navy Cargo Handling Battalion (NCHB) 1 arrived safely at the National Science Foundation's McMurdo Station in Antarctica, where they will be participating in Operation Deep Freeze 2017.

The annual mission, which NCHB 1 has been participating in for more than 50 years, resupplies the U.S. Antarctic Program's largest base on the most remote continent. NSF manages the Antarctic Program.

By Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Today, the Navy released NAVADMIN 004/17 that now allows first-term Sailors on sea duty the ability to elect to extend their expiration of active obligated service (EAOS) to complete their sea duty assignment, known as prescribed sea tour (PST).

Here are five things you need to know:

1. Why this is important to the Navy. First-term Sailors make up approximately 60 percent of the Fleet and about half that percentage separate at the end of their first enlistment. This initiative allows first-term Sailors to match their projected rotation date (PRD) with their EAOS and helps alleviate unnecessary gaps at sea. This is designed to help reduce gaps at sea and support Fleet Manning that will be created as the large FY13 enlisted cohort begins to leave sea duty. 

01/23/2017 11:00 AM EST

For the upcoming Super Bowl, The Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO) is offering the opportunity to share short, recorded shout-outs (15-20 seconds) with a Navy key message from Sailors to support their favorite team. Call 1-855-OUR-NAVY (1-855-687-6289). Wait for 3-5 second pause after voice directions and record message. Once you hang-up, the audio file will automatically be sent to NAVCO. Speak clearly.

By C. Todd Lopez
January 24, 2017

WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- Female Soldiers may now wear dreadlocks and male Soldiers whose religious faith requires beards and turbans may now seek permanent accommodation.

Army directive 2017-03, signed earlier this month, spells out changes to Army Regulation 670-1, the uniform policy, for the turban, worn by male Soldiers, the under-turban; male hair worn under a turban; the hijab, which is a head scarf worn by females; and beards worn by male members.

Us Labor Department, Amazon To Establish Registered Apprenticeship Program To Train Veterans For Technical Careers

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that it has signed an agreement with Amazon to establish a registered apprenticeship program to train veterans for in-demand technical careers at the online technology giant.

Deputy U.S. Secretary of Labor Chris Lu and Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition at Amazon Web Services Ardine Williams joined in a ceremony at the department's national headquarters to mark the occasion

By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 2017 — The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors sponsored 200 surviving military family members from across the country who marched in today’s inaugural parade to honor their departed loved ones as well as all the nation’s fallen service members.

The parade commenced after President-elect Donald J. Trump took the oath of office as the 45th president of the United States.

WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that it is amending its regulation regarding fertility counseling and treatment available to eligible Veterans and spouses.  VA currently provides certain infertility services other than in vitro fertilization (IVF) services to Veterans as part of the medical benefits package.  This interim final rule authorizes IVF for a Veteran with a service-connected disability that results in the inability of the Veteran to procreate without the use of fertility treatment. It also states that VA may provide fertility counseling and treatment using assisted reproductive technologies (ART), including IVF, to a spouse of a Veteran with a service-connected disability that results in the inability of the Veteran to procreate without the use of fertility treatment.

Coast Guard, Law Enforcement Agencies Provide Security For Inauguration

WASHINGTON - U.S. Coast Guard units and partner agencies provided waterside security for the 58th Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C., Thursday. 

Crews from Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Teams New York and San Diego and Coast Guard Cutters Chock and Heron worked with crews from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies as part of a comprehensive port security operation to protect people and waterways around the District. 

By Airman 1st Class Tristan Biese, 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs /
Published January 19, 2017

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. (AFNS) --

Four Air Force fighter jets practiced for the inauguration flyover at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Jan. 19, 2017.

Two generations of fighter aircraft are scheduled to fly in a close formation during the inauguration of President-elect Donald J. Trump at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2017.

By Steve Marshall | National Guard Bureau
January 19, 2017

ARLINGTON, Va. - The day before Donald J Trump raises his hand to take the oath as the 45th president of the United States, National Guard members from all over the nation and territories were rehearsing their roles to support the 58th Presidential Inauguration.

At last count, more than 7,500 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were expected to serve with the specially created Joint Task Force -- District of Columbia.

By U.S. Army CID Public Affairs Office
January 18, 2017

WASHINGTON -- In today's digital age, when most individuals communicate regularly with family and friends over social media platforms, one should always be aware that online predators and scammers are lurking on those same platforms, actively stalking their next unsuspecting victims.

Now that the holidays are over and Valentine's Day is fast approaching, Special Agents with the Army Criminal Investigation Command, also known as CID, are anticipating a different type of holiday frenzy -- an increase in "romance scam" reports.

January 18, 2017

Over the recent holiday season, the old adage “caring is sharing” often comes to mind. Sharing gifts. Sharing time with family and friends. Sharing food (perhaps a cookie or two). These are all wonderful ways to show others that we care about them, and excellent skills to be teaching our children.

But caring is more than sharing, and is fundamentally important to helping raise our children to be empathetic, responsible, successful, and ultimately happy young people and adults. From improved social relationships to success in the workplace, when we are concerned for others and care, we all benefit.

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Julia A. Casper,
2017 DoD Warrior Games Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The 8th annual Department of Defense Warrior Games, hosted by the U.S. Navy, will kick off this summer in Chicago as more than 250 wounded, ill, and injured from all branches of service compete in Paralympic-style athletic games in the Windy City, June 30-July 8.

The DoD is inviting support from all service members, veterans, organizations, families, caregivers, and all who support wounded warrior athletes to participate in the 2017 DoD Warrior Games Spirit Poster Challenge. 

My father was away on a business trip; I was 5 years old at the time. My mother had just tucked me in and gave me a hug wishing me a good night.

After my mother left the room, I remember something feeling different.   My father usually comes in with my mom to say goodnight, tonight he was away.  As I lay in bed,  I kept thinking about my Dad and how I wished he were home with mommy and I.  I wondered what he was doing?  If he was also thinking about me?

By David Vergun January 10, 2017

WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- Beginning in January 2018, a new Department of Defense enterprise-wide retirement system will go into effect.

The blended retirement system, which was instituted by the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, will take effect for all Soldiers joining the Army beginning Jan. 1, 2018, and some current service members will have the option to opt into the new system.

The new blended retirement system is a three-pronged program:

By Tech. Sgt. Erich B. Smith | National Guard Bureau
January 17, 2017

ARLINGTON, Va. -- For many National Guard members, training, deployments and other events may strain relationships with spouses and families, hampering the member's ability to remain mission-focused. One way Soldiers, Airmen and their families can lessen that strain is through the Strong Bonds program, a chaplain-led initiative that teaches relationship resiliency skills and helps build greater relationship sustainment.

During Strong Bonds events, participants engage in a variety of hands-on activities, ranging from team-building exercises to group discussions -- facilitated mostly by military chaplains -- all with a focus designed to open communication lines, prevent toxic relationships and enhance established relationships.

HUD And VA Secretaries Join DC Mayor And Advocates To Open New Housing For Homeless Veterans

First of its kind development brings affordable housing and architectural flair to DC's NOMA neighborhood

WASHINGTON - U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Robert A. McDonald and District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser joined advocates and housing professionals today to open the John and Jill Ker Conway Residence, an architecturally striking apartment building with 60 units of permanent supportive housing for veterans exiting homelessness and 64 affordable and low-income units. The 124-unit mixed income building is among the first of its kind in the country to have full-time, onsite VA case managers. The soaring structure represents an unusual effort to bring outstanding architecture and design to housing for low-income and homeless populations.

BALTIMORE - The Coast Guard will establish a temporary security zone in designated waters of the National Capital Region for the 58th Presidential Inauguration effective January 15 through January 24. 

Security Zone 1 will include all navigable waters of the Potomac River, from shoreline to shoreline, bounded to the north by the Francis Scott Key (US-29) Bridge, at mile 113, and bounded to the south by a line drawn from the Virginia shoreline at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport eastward across the Potomac River to the District of Columbia shoreline at Hains Point, including the waters of the Boundary Channel, Pentagon Lagoon, Georgetown Channel Tidal Basin, and Roaches Run.

By Sgt. Elizabeth Pena Texas Army National Guard
January 12, 2017

TYLER, Texas -- Disaster can strike at any time. Citizen-Soldiers of the Texas Army National Guard are taught to always be prepared.

Texas Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Aaron Dias, recruiting and retention officer for the Recruiting and Retention Battalion, Region II, Team VII in Tyler, was driving back from the Military Entrance Processing Station in Shreveport, Louisiana, to his armory in Tyler with his recruit when disaster struck.

By Sgt. Ian Leones,
Marine Corps Forces Reserves

PHOENIX, Arizona -- On a sunny December afternoon in Tempe, Arizona, Gabriel R. McInnis, a sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve, thought he was on a routine drive to serve on a funeral honors detail. 

While passing through a residential area on Dec. 27, 2016, he heard a woman scream.

January 12, 2017

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW), which will take place Jan. 23-29, 2017, is an annual opportunity to raise young people’s awareness about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. Sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, this year’s campaign has the theme “SHATTER THE MYTHS.”

Organizations can visit the NDAFW event map to see whether any events are planned for their area or plan their own NDAFW event by following these five steps recommended by NIDA.

By U.S. Naval Academy

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Jan. 11, 2017 - A U.S. Naval Academy [ https://www.usna.edu/homepage.php?source=GovDelivery ] midshipman received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal Jan. 9 in front of the entire Brigade of Midshipmen assembled in Alumni Hall.

Midshipman 3rd Class Jonathan Dennler, a member of the academy's 20th Company, received the medal -- the highest non­combat decoration awarded for heroism by the Navy -- for his heroic actions while leading a Boy Scout troop in July.

By Courtesy Story,
III Marine Expeditionary Force

OKINAWA, Japan -- Four Marines were traveling toward a Yokosuka train station on their way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Tokyo, when they heard a call for help. Without hesitation, they sprinted toward the scene, weaving between pedestrians on a crowded street.

“We were running as fast as we could,” said Lance Cpl. James H. Flores, from West, Texas. “We just started to go toward the crowd. At that point, we just headed straight over there and saw the accident, and immediately we did what we could to help.”

Applications to be accepted for 2017 National Veterans Golden Age Games Event Takes Place in Biloxi, May 7-11

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will accept applications from Veterans interested in competing in the 2017 National Veterans Golden Age Games beginning Feb. 1. Veterans ages 55 and older and enrolled in VA health care may complete applications online at www.veteransgoldenagegames.va.gov. Applications will be accepted through March 1.

“VA is committed to offer sports and fitness as an integral part of a successful healthcare program, and I encourage every eligible Veteran to take advantage of this opportunity,” said Carla Carmichael, National Veterans Golden Age Games director. “There are significant health benefits to leading an active lifestyle, and in keeping with the Games motto, we want every Veteran to achieve 'Fitness For Life.’”

 New Year, New You: Navy Medicine Encourages Sailors, Marines, Families to Partner in Health in 2017
By James Rosenfelder, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (NNS) -- Navy Medicine is encouraging Sailors, Marines, and their families to become a partner in their health in 2017.

Throughout the new year, Navy Medicine will provide Sailors and Marines information on how they can be proactive partners in their health and make healthy lifestyle choices.

"There is no better time than now to improve your readiness by improving your health," said Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED). "Living a healthy lifestyle is essential to mission readiness and can prevent health problems before they occur."

By Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Today, the Navy released NAVADMIN 004/17 that now allows first-term Sailors on sea duty the ability to elect to extend their expiration of active obligated service (EAOS) to complete their sea duty assignment, known as prescribed sea tour (PST).

Here are five things you need to know:

By Richard Salomon
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas - The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program will host a Warrior CARE Event Jan. 9 -13 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph where about 120 wounded, ill or injured service men and women from across the nation are expected to participate.

CARE events provide recovering service members, veterans and their caregivers focused and personalized service through caregiver support training, adaptive and rehabilitative sports events, Recovering Airman Mentorship Program training, employment and career guidance, music and art therapy, as well as other training and therapy opportunities.

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Cynthia Oldham

In addition to patrolling the waters in and around Boston, local Coast Guard members are bringing their nautical expertise ashore for a new, special mission in the city's Seaport District.

Walking into the Community Boat Building center is an instant escape from the city. The smell of newly sanded wood introduces the bright workspace filled with unfinished rowboats, neatly organized tools, and busy children using noisy power drills. 

By Karen Parrish
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2017 — Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook announced operational deployments that will boost U.S. presence in the western Pacific and in Europe.

“Ships and units from the Carl Vinson strike group will depart San Diego for a regularly scheduled deployment to the western Pacific,” Cook told Pentagon reporters today.

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2017 - As tax season approaches, Defense Department civilians, military members, nonappropriated funds employees and their families will need to validate their minimum essential health care coverage as reported to the Internal Revenue Service, the Pentagon's top health official said in a phone interview Dec. 23, 2016. 

Dr. Karen S. Guice, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, performing duties as assistant secretary for health affairs, said the Affordable Care Act, which became law in 2010, extends the availability of health care insurance to ensure people are covered through health insurance market places or employers.  The Supreme Court upheld the law after it was challenged in 2012, she added.

By Sean Kimmons 
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2017 - The Army has enlisted the help of personal finance expert Suze Orman to educate soldiers and their families on money matters so they don't fall victim to predatory loans, mounting credit card debt and other financial issues.

Orman, a best-selling author and television personality, plans to offer her services free of charge to soldiers, including a seven-step online course, normally $54, and an upcoming video detailing the military's new retirement system.

By Sgt. Ian Leones,
Marine Corps Forces Reserves

OLATHE, Kansas -- With more than 16 million Americans who served in World War II, only a fraction of them still live today. Even fewer can claim to have reached the age of 100. John J. O'Leary, a retired Marine first lieutenant, is one of the lucky few.

He celebrated his 100th birthday at the Evergreen Community of Johnson County, Olathe, Kansas, Dec. 23, 2016. 

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2017 - Defense Department officials met the goal Defense Secretary Ash Carter set for establishing a process to handle resolution of bonuses paid erroneously to thousands of California National Guard soldiers several years ago, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters at the Pentagon today.

In October, Carter directed suspension of all efforts to recoup money from the soldiers, Cook said. "He also asked the department to come up with a streamlined, centralized process to ensure the fair and equitable treatment of our service members and the rapid resolution of cases by Jan. 1," he added.

By Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
December 29, 2016

ARLINGTON, Va. -- A recently signed law gives official veteran status to National Guard members who served 20 years or more. Previously, Guard members were considered veterans only if they served 180 days or more in a federal status outside of training.

"As long as you were deployed on active duty for at least 180 days and you didn't get a dishonorable discharge or a bad conduct discharge coming off those orders, then you could be considered a veteran," said Army Sgt. Maj. Matthew Krenz, a legislative liaison at the National Guard Bureau who provided background information to Congressional members working on the bill.

By Cheryl Pellerin, DoD News, Defense Media Activity
December 27, 2016

WASHINGTON -- The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is making available to military amputees the first production versions of a groundbreaking upper-limb prosthesis, according to a DARPA press release.

Dr. Justin Sanchez, director of DARPA's Biological Technologies Office, delivered the first two advanced "LUKE" arms from a new production line during a ceremony Thursday -- evidence that the fast-track DARPA research effort has completed its transition into a commercial enterprise, DARPA officials said.

By Spc. Tynisha Daniel
December 23, 2016

FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Every year U.S. and international service members conduct a joint airborne operation that provides toys to children who might otherwise not have any waiting for them under their tree on Christmas morning.

Founded by Sgt. 1st Class Randy Oler in 1998, the Operation Toy Drop is also an annual training exercise that prepares Soldiers to support the military in theaters of operation around the world. Each December at Fort Bragg, U.S. and foreign paratroopers gather to conduct the charitable training and airborne operation.

By Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Today, the Navy released an update to the Selective Reenlistment Bonus (SRB) award plan for active component (AC) and full time support (FTS) Sailors in NAVADMIN 212/16.

This update, NAVADMIN 284/16, increases 16 SRB award levels, decreases 49 awards, adds 49 new eligible skills and removes seven skills eligible to receive bonuses from the Navy's most recent SRB NAVADMIN released this past October.

From Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) has announced the Navy's 2017 Installation Excellence Award Winners.

This installation excellence award program recognizes the Navy's top three large and small installations, and rewards installation performance in accordance with the command's strategic goals and Office of the Secretary of Defense criteria for the DoD-wide Commander-in-Chief Installation Excellence Awards. 

From Chief of Naval Operations Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- On Dec. 21, the Navy announced that effective immediately, Sailors may continue to be addressed by their Rating Titles.

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral John Richardson, with the support of Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Steve Giordano, made the announcement in NAVADMIN 283/16. 

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2016 — Vietnam veteran and former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel returned to the Pentagon today to join Defense Secretary Ash Carter in officially opening an exhibit honoring the estimated 9 million Americans who served in the Vietnam War.

A two-time Purple Heart recipient, Hagel joined Carter and other Pentagon officials for the official ribbon cutting of the display, which spans a swath of a third-floor corridor.

By U.S. Army
December 21, 2016

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- For 60 years, North American Aerospace Defense Command, otherwise known as NORAD, and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa's flight.

The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put children through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations "hotline." The director of operations at the time, Col. Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.

December 20, 2016

In December, families often take time to come together and celebrate the holidays. Whether you are taking part in traditions that have been in your family for generations or creating new ones with your own kids, the holiday season is a perfect time to reinforce the values of charity and generosity. It’s easy for kids to become wrapped up in getting presents, but during the holidays, you can show them that spending time giving back to others can be just as fun and much more rewarding!

Depending on the age of your kids, you may want to talk to them about what it means to give back to the community and why it is so important. Remind them that it is not the amount you give or even giving money at all. Time and effort can make all the difference. PBS Parents recommends framing this conversation around how your kids’ actions will affect others, since children often operate from a center of self. Similarly, the Family Dinner Project (link is external) suggests starting out by asking kids, “What can you give or do for someone that doesn’t cost any money?” Or, for older kids, “Invent a superhero who protects something you care about. What is s/he fighting for? How does s/he create change?”

WASHINGTON- The Department of Veteran Affairs cut the ribbon today for its new Veteran Crisis Line (VCL) satellite office in Atlanta allowing the life-saving hotline to expand capacity by nearly 600 Veterans each day essentially doubling VA’s ability to help Veterans in need.

As a part of the MyVA initiative, the largest restructuring in the Department’s history, improvements of the VCL are a key priority, with the goal of providing 24/7, world-class suicide prevention and crisis intervention services to Veterans, servicemembers and their family members across the globe.

December 19, 2016

Today HHS’ Administration for Children and Families announced a new rule to make state child support enforcement programs more effective, flexible, and family-friendly.

The rule requires state child support agencies to increase their case investigative efforts to ensure that child support orders – the amount noncustodial parents are required to pay each month – reflect the parent’s ability to pay. Taking a more realistic approach to calculating child support payments, the rule requires states to consider a low-income noncustodial parent’s specific circumstances when the order is set, rather than taking a one-size-fits all approach. And the rule requires that states take the investigative steps necessary to ensure that all relevant information about the noncustodial parent’s circumstances are collected and verified.

By C. Todd Lopez
December 19, 2016

WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- The still relatively short-staffed Joint Task Force-National Capital Region hosted a rehearsal of concept drill Wednesday to demonstrate the roles the members will perform Jan. 20 during the 58th presidential inauguration.

Using a 60-by-40-foot map of the nation's capital, spread out on the floor of the D.C. Armory, Army Master Sgt. Aaron Lovely walked journalists and other guests through the plans for the inauguration, detailing the various roles military elements would play during the event.

By Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy announced today that Sailors should expect to receive orders with approximately two months lead time for permanent change of station (PCS) moves following passage of a second Continuing Resolution (CR) for Fiscal Year 17 that will fund the government through April 28, of next year. 

"The Navy fully realizes that these shortened lead times limit Sailors' time to prepare for moves, and burdens them and their families," said Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Adm. Robert Burke. "Going forward, we remain committed to providing Sailors with as much information and lead time as we can. Our goal remains to mitigate the CR's impact on Sailors and their families, to the best of our ability. We ask for your patience as we work through the funding challenges."

By James Magdalenski,
Director Naval OPSEC Support Team (NOST) Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- The Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus just issued ALNAV 072/16 to accompany the Department's new Operations Security (OPSEC) policy, which was released May 5. 

The ALNAV is intended to spread the broad-reaching implications of the new policy to the widest possible operational audience and communicated the provisions to personnel outside the traditional information warfare community. 

By Maj. Ethan Stoker, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs 
Published December 12, 2016;

Washington (AFNS) -- Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James held a Facebook town hall to address concerns from Airmen and their family members Dec. 12.;

The town hall meeting provided an update to concerns and issues brought to her attention during the Air Force Spouse and Family Forum in October.;

"I told you we would make best efforts to identify some areas where we can make immediate impact and others where we would get the ball rolling for long-term impact," James said.;

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2016 - Defense Department officials announced today the release of the "DoD Plan to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Assault of Military Men," designed to enhance outreach to military men and increase efforts to help them recover.

Army Maj. Gen. Camille Nichols, director of the DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, said sexual assault destroys unit cohesion and threatens force readiness by eroding bonds of trust that make the military strong and effective. The DoD plan, she added, outlines the need to help all service members better understand the unique aspects of assaults against men and how to prevent them.

By Air Force Marathon Office, /
Published December 14, 2016

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) -- Registration for the 2017 Air Force Marathon will begin Jan. 2 at 9 a.m. EST. 

Registration will open with special New Year’s resolution discounts, and participants who register Jan. 2 will receive $10 off the full or half-marathon and $5 off the 10K or 5K.

By Master Sgt. Gary Qualls Jr.
December 14, 2016

For many Soldiers, the prospect of working at NFL headquarters -- planning and setting up exciting events, bumping into famous personalities, and enjoying every minute of the journey along the way --- would seem like a distant dream.

For Staff Sgt. Kyle Richardson, it's a reality; he is serving an internship with the National Football League at NFL Headquarters in New York, and he still finds it hard to believe.

The U.S. Coast Guard Band is scheduled to perform four free holiday concerts in the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia with each concert being a different ensemble of instruments and musical styles.

All concerts are free and open to the public.

December 14, 2016
Ed. Note: This post first appeared on the CASA FamilyDay blog.

Learn more tips on how fathers can share stories about their family history with their children to help them to value both their heritage and who they are as individuals. With our NRFC Spotlight on Dads Forever Family: Ancestors Who Shaped Our Lives, available in English and Spanish.

Knowing their family's history can be a source of strength for your kids. Research has found that kids who know more about their parents' and their ancestors' lives are more resilient. Sharing the family's history, including traditions, also encourages bonding.

By John Budnik (USACE)
December 13, 2016

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The black, coiled-haired puppy released a deep bellow while napping under a conference table at the feet of his new owner.

"Oh man, he is feeling it now," joked Erik Babb, procurement technician with the Army Corps of Engineers - Alaska District's Contracting Division, while telling the story of how he acquired his new service dog and best friend.

A native of Mountain Pine, Arkansas, Babb received Matai (mah-TIE'), a Portuguese water dog, at no cost from 832 K9's Deputy Dogs, a Florida-based nonprofit group. The organization specializes in providing law enforcement agencies across the nation and Europe with trained bloodhounds to assist in searching for missing persons and other life-saving events. 

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Aime Lykins,
USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74)Public Affairs

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- More than 100 Sailors participated in a 'Jingle Bell' 5K on the flight deck of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), Dec. 11.

The race kicked off with Master Chief Petty Officer Christopher Martin, from Silverdale, Washington, a member of supply department, dressed in full Santa Clause attire, bringing runners to their mark and then starting the race with the jingling of a hand bell.

Runners completed 10 laps around a marked track on the flight deck to make the 5K distance. 

By C. Todd Lopez December 12, 2016

WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning believes the Army needs to change how it provides support to Soldiers and their families.

Speaking at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C. Thursday before representatives and members of the Blue Star Families, an organization founded in 2009 that performs one of the largest surveys of military families and directs them to sources of support, Fanning noted the number of military families with stay-at-home spouses is shrinking.

"The Army needs to recognize that more military spouses are working now," Fanning said. "We must adjust to a reality where it's no longer expected that married Soldiers will have a stay-at-home spouse who takes care of the family and homestead and does volunteer work on the side."

Washington – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is amending its regulation on copayments for Veterans’ outpatient medications for non-service connected conditions. VA currently charges non-exempt Veterans either $8 or $9 for each 30-day or less supply of outpatient medication, and under current regulations, a calculation based on the medication of the Medical Consumer Price Index (CPI-P) would be used to determine the copayment amount in future years. 

“Switching to a tiered system continues to keep outpatient medication costs low for Veterans,” said VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. David J. Shulkin. “Reducing their out-of-pocket costs encourages greater adherence to prescribed outpatient medications and reduces the risk of fragmented care that results when multiple pharmacies are used; another way that VA is providing better service to Veterans.”   

By Sean Kimmons December 12, 2016

BALTIMORE, Md. (Army News Service) -- Wearing a short-sleeve T-shirt in the frigid cold with his face painted black and gold, the cadet joined other West Point classmates in taunting their rival midshipmen Saturday before the Army-Navy game.

"We beat Temple! We beat Temple!" they belted, referring to the Army's first win of the season to the Temple Owls, a team that managed to beat Navy in the American Athletic Conference championship game a week before.

By Lance Cpl. Jake McClung,
Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- More than 600 Marines with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and 1st Marine Division conducted exercise Seahorse Wind at Marine Corps Bases in Southern California and Arizona, Dec. 4 - 9. 

Seahorse Wind is a long-range raid exercise where assault-support aircraft transport ground units from one location to a simulated combat zone. Exercise Seahorse Wind is a crucial component to exercise Steel Knight, a larger exercise meant to test the capabilities of Marines and sailors.

HUD Awards $2.5 Million To Help Youth Living In Public Housing Afford College And Continue Education

"Education Navigators" will help students and their families apply for federal student aid

WASHINGTON - To help low-income youthand their families apply for federal student aid for college and other post-secondary educational opportunities, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded approximately $2.5 million to nine Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to hire "Education Navigators" to guide them through the application process.

WAILUKU, Maui - Coast Guard Station Maui partnered with the Salvation Army to deliver toys to the children of Molokai, Friday.

A Coast Guard 45-foot Motor Lifeboat crew loaded and delivered 800 toys and clothes to the Salvation Army on Molokai to be given out to the children through the Salvation Army. 

Lt. Romelia Howard, the Salvation Army Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division Kahului corps officer, reached out to the Coast Guard as the Molokai ferry used in previous years was unavailable. Howard and her crew rode along with Coast Guard members for the delivery. The division seeks to help over 600 families throughout Maui County, including the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai. 

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany, Dec. 8, 2016 - It is ironic that the final stop in the Chairman's 2016 USO Holiday Tour is at this major training base in the heart of Bavaria.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford and his senior enlisted advisor, Army Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell, chose Grafenwoehr as one of the stops on the USO Tour this year because they wanted to go to bases that are doing important work and "are kind of hard to get to."

December 8, 2016, 02:09:00 PM

WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced it now provides eligibility determinations for interment in a VA national cemetery prior to the time of need. Through the Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility Program, upon request, individuals can learn if they are eligible for burial or memorialization in a VA national cemetery.

"MyVA is about looking at VA from the Veterans' perspective, and then doing everything we can to make the Veteran Experience effective and seamless," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald. "This new program reaffirms our commitment to providing a lifetime of benefits and services for Veterans and their families."

CAPE MAY, N.J. - Coast Guardsmen received a delivery of 50 donated Christmas trees from the Trees for Troops program at Training Center Cape May, Thursday.

The trees were distributed to junior-ranking service members on the base including crewmembers of the tenant commands stationed aboard the TRACEN.

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2016 — First Lady Michelle Obama and military families joined at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling here today to sort toys for the Marine Corps Reserve’s “Toys for Tots” program 

Obama has participated in the program each year since her husband took office in 2009.

During the event, the first lady also acknowledged today’s 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. “When we acknowledge the sacrifice of so many, I want to say a very special thank you to our service members who are here today,” she said.

VA is First US Government Agency to Meet "Level of Assurance 3" IT Standard

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that, with help from Veteran-run small business ID.me, Veterans will now be able to manage their own health care and benefits online more simply and safely. Vets.gov now meets the "Level of Assurance 3" (LOA3) information assurance standard, which will allow VA to offer Veterans more features on a single convenient site. This is the highest level of security used to protect user data and privacy, and VA is a leader in both the government and private sectors with an LOA3 logon account.

After a year of beta testing, VA launched Vets.gov, where Veterans can now use a single account to access services that were previously spread across numerous websites requiring multiple usernames and passwords. Because of security improvements enabled by ID.me's tools, Veterans can now use Vets.gov to:

By Sgt. David Bedard
December 7, 2016

AKIACHAK, Alaska, - Santa Claus traded his sleigh and eight magically motivated reindeer for an Alaska Air National Guard C-130 Hercules during a Dec. 3, 2016, visit to Akiachak.

Saint Nick's journey to the Western Alaska village marked 59 years for Operation Santa Claus, an Alaska National Guard community-outreach effort dependent upon a legion of elfin volunteers and donations from Alaska businesses and individuals.

By Courtesy Story, Marine Corps Installations Pacific

KAPOLEI, Hawaii - Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, Hawaii, wasn’t a desirable duty station in 1941. It was a hot, barren field. Marines slept in a tent city for nearly a year before a permanent barracks was constructed. Then, just a week after personnel moved into their quarters, this scorpion-infested air strip and the Marines who served there would be some of the first to suffer from the Japanese attack on Oahu, Dec. 7, 1941. 

Marines from U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific presented a wreath to pay their respects to their fallen brethren as part of the greater 75th commemoration of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 6, 2016. 

By Seaman Jessica Dowell,
Navy Public Affairs Support Element East

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Service members of the Hampton Roads community participated in an orientation session Dec. 6 for Onward to Opportunity (O2O), a no-cost training and certification program for service member transitioning to civilian careers.

The program is offered through the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, in partnership with the Schultz Family Foundation and Hire Heroes USA.

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar, Dec. 6, 2016 - The joint was rocking today as the Chairman's 2016 USO Holiday Tour arrived to entertain and thank service members based here.

The air base is a hub for U.S. efforts in the U.S. Central Command region and hosts about 10,000 American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. Aircraft based here provide close-air support to indigenous forces taking on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

By Senior Airman Alexa Ann Henderson, 36th Wing Public Affairs / December 06, 2016

Andersen Air Force Base, Guam (AFNS) -- Military members from the U.S. Air Force, Coast Guard and Navy, with international support from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force are joining forces to airdrop and deliver donated toys, clothes, food items and other necessities to remote islands across the Pacific Ocean as part of Operation Christmas Drop 2016.

The annual training mission officially kicked off during a ceremony Dec. 6 at Andersen Air Force Base, where military leaders across the island pushed the first pallet of donated goods into a C-130 Hercules.

By Bob Kramer December 6, 2016

FORT MEADE, Md. (Defense Media Activity) -- Some taxpayers plan their holiday shopping and other purchases on the assumption they will get their tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service in January.

In 2017, that may no longer be the case.

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes, or PATH Act, signed into law December 2015, requires the IRS to hold tax refunds that include earned-income tax credit and additional child tax credit until Feb. 15, 2017.

By National Guard Bureau Historical Services December 6, 2016

ARLINGTON, Va. - We recognize Dec. 7 as the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and the beginning, for the United States, of a long and hard military struggle against the Axis powers.

More than 3,400 military personnel and civilians were killed and wounded that day, with significant damage inflicted upon the Pacific Fleet and to the Army Air Corps squadrons stationed in Hawaii. At this uncertain time, Americans came together in a common cause to prevail in an unwanted war.

Coast Guard To Host Tours Aboard Cutters At Aloha Tower, Honolulu, As Part Of Pearl Harbor 75th

HONOLULU - The Coast Guard is offering free public tours of two cutters as part of the observance of the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor at Aloha Tower in Honolulu Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Wednesday the Coast Guard Silent Drill Team will also perform in front of the cutter at Aloha Tower at 2 p.m. 

Story Number: NNS161206-19Release Date: 12/6/2016 
By Kristine M. Sturkie, Navy Exchange Service Command Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- The Navy Exchange Service Command's (NEXCOM) Uniform Support Center supports the U.S. Navy in a variety of ways, including ensuring a proper burial for some of the nation's war heroes.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) laboratory in Hawaii continues to work to identify the remains of Sailors and Marines who were killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. At that time, many service members' remains were buried together because they couldn't be identified. However, as technology has improved over the years and family DNA can be used to identify remains, DPAA is now able to return service members back to their loved ones for burial. 

Fm The Family Room Blog / Administration for Children and Families

As the days and nights start to get colder, there are steps you and your family can take to ensure a safer winter.

Keep Temperatures Consistent

Home energy studies show that keeping homes a constant temperature of at least 68 degrees can prevent health and safety-related crises, such as asthma or hypothermia, that may result in hospital visits. It's also more efficient to keep the thermostat at the same temperature overnight to avoid having to "re-warm" your home the next morning.

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Amber R. Kelly-Herard
Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2016 - Holly Petraeus from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau today discussed how service members and their families can help protect their finances.

Petraeus briefed very-senior-level noncommissioned officers attending an annual conference at the Pentagon.

"Protecting your finances and the finances of your troops is important," said Army Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and host of the conference. "Having financial problems isn't just bad; it could lead to suicidal thoughts or cause a problem with security clearances."

New collaboration approaches in Child Support and Fatherhood Programs
National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse November 29, 2016

August 2016 celebrated the 21st anniversary of National Child Support Awareness Month. On August 5, 1995, President William J. Clinton signed Proclamation 6814 highlighting the importance of providing for our children as the “sum of our past and the promise of our future,” and acknowledging the role of all child support programs to ensuring children receive the necessary financial support to “lead secure and healthy lives.”

Today, state and local child support offices are scheduling special events to focus on the importance of providing child support for children and highlight services available to help both custodial and noncustodial parents provide for their children on a regular basis. As previously discussed in our March 2013 and April 2015 NRFC webinars, child support programs are evolving at the national and state levels and moving away from “welfare cost recovery” models to “family centered practices” that emphasize accurate child support orders based on actual income, family distribution, debt prevention, and services to help noncustodial parents who need help obtaining steady employment.

By Kristine M. Sturkie,
Navy Exchange Service Command Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- This holiday season, the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) is again giving away free $10 phone cards to Sailors and Marines away from their homeports and those forward deployed to overseas ports during the holiday season.

"NEXCOM is honored to be giving free phone cards to Sailors and Marines deployed and away from home this holiday season," said Thomas Harris, program manager in NEXCOM's Telecommunications Program Office. "NEXCOM has been giving away free phone cards over the holidays for many, many years. This is our way of thanking our service members and their families for the sacrifices they make while in service to our country."

By Jessica Marie Ryan, FMWRC
December 1, 2016

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Tex. -- Army Installation Management Command is hosting its annual Digital Photography Contest to showcase the creative and artistic talents of the military community.

The contest, which is run by IMCOM's G9 Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Directorate, is open to active-duty military members and MWR-authorized patrons, including Families, retirees and Department of the Army civilians. Contest entries are being accepted through Jan. 31, 2017.

By By Keith R. Boydston,
Fort Benning Public Affairs December 1, 2016

FORT BENNING, Ga. -- Capping off 19 weeks of intense training on tank platoon weapon systems, combined arms maneuver and security tactics, 65 officers, including the first 13 women, graduated Thursday from the Army Armor Basic Officer Leader Course.

"Today's gender-integrated graduation represents an important personal and organizational milestone," said Brig. Gen. John Kolasheski, chief of Armor and Armor School commandant. "[But] it also demonstrates our unwavering commitment to train and educate the right Soldiers for the right job so they and their organization can fight and win anytime, anywhere, and under any conditions of battle."

The Exceptional Advocate - MilitaryOneSource Newsletter

The holidays are supposed to be a time for fun, but for those caring for a family member with special needs, stress can sometimes derail us. Being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support can help keep you on track. Follow these 10 practical tips to experience the holidays in a more positive and healthy way.

1. Keep your expectations realistic. Don’t get hung up on what the holidays are supposed to be like and how you’re supposed to feel. If you’re comparing your holidays to some ideal, you may be disappointed. So don’t stress about holiday spirit — take the holidays as they come.

The Exceptional Advocate - MilitaryOneSource Newsletter

A popular song describes the holidays as “the most wonderful time of the year.” But the holidays can also add an extra layer of stress on families. If you have a child with special needs, the unfamiliar sounds, smells and visitors can be disruptive. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the stress and make the holidays more enjoyable for you and your children. The key is preparation.

First, find calm. Find ways to reduce the stress of holiday preparations. Children are good at picking up on your stress level, so it can be helpful to take steps to lower it. Schedule quiet times during the day — short periods when you can give your child your full attention and tune in to their needs. You can even have a “code word” for your child to say when they feel overwhelmed. Promise that if they use the word, you will respond right away. Giving children some control during activities can help reduce their anxiety.

From MilitaryOneSource Monthly Newsletter

A new tax law could make it tricky for military members to file their 2016 taxes using an individual taxpayer identification number, instead of a Social Security Number. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, or PATH Act, requires taxpayers to renew their identification number if the one they have is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2016.

Failure to renew your individual taxpayer identification number prior to the expiration date could potentially cause a delay in processing your tax return. The delay could result in a reduced refund or additional penalties and interest if you owe tax.

From MilitaryOneSource Monthly Newsletter

The holidays are a great time of year, especially if you’re a kid, but they can be hectic too. Here are 10 ideas to help make the holidays more relaxed and enjoyable for you and your children.

1. Spread holiday rituals out over several weeks to create a slow and pleasant build-up, such as decorating, trimming the tree, writing holiday cards and baking cookies.

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2016 - Walgreens pharmacies join the TRICARE retail pharmacy network on Dec. 1, 2016, while CVS pharmacies, including those in Target stores, will leave the network on the same day, according to the Defense Health Agency. 

"The network will still have more than 57,000 locations across the country," Dr. George Jones, DHA's Chief of Pharmacy Operation, said in a release. "About 98 percent of beneficiaries still have a network pharmacy within 5 miles of their home."

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2016 - First Lady Michelle Obama hosted nearly 200 service members, spouses, children, veterans and wounded warriors at this year's annual White House holiday décor preview as part of a Joining Forces initiative celebration. 

"For the past eight years, celebrating the holidays and having you all be the first that see the decorations … has been one of our favorite White House traditions," the first lady said. 

The dates shown are from the United States Post Office.  You should verify with your local Post Office for services available, date changes, and to acquire the appropriate United States Customs forms, FREE Express and Priority shipping supplies.

From USPS.com

If you’re mailing or shipping holiday cards and gifts, for Hanukah, Kwanza, Christmas, or other holiday traditions, find the deadline for getting cards and packages sent on time by reviewing the 2016 Holiday Shipping Dates below.

By Mike Casey
November 25, 2016

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- The Army is picking up the pace to make more training mobile applications available for Soldiers' smartphones and computer tablets.

Recently, a team of Soldiers and civilians at Fort Eustis, Virginia, started using software to ensure Army mobile apps meet government security requirements and other standards.

by Maj. John Callahan
November 18, 2016

TOGIAK, Alaska - In a rare daytime appearance, Santa and about 50 of his elves - including Alaska Gov. Bill Walker and First Lady Donna Walker - came early this year to visit Christmas cheer upon the schoolchildren of this remote village in Southwest Alaska.

The early visit was made possible by the Alaska National Guard's Operation Santa Claus, now in its 60th year. Each year since 1956, volunteers have come together to process and package donated Christmas toys, school supplies, books and staple foods. Most of these "elves" are affiliated with the Alaska Army or Air National Guard; others step forward from local businesses and community groups. Alaska Air National Guard crews then fly the elves and their collected goodies to a selected handful of villages a year.

By Petty Officer First Class Gary A. Prill,
U.S. Fleet Forces Command Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- United States Fleet Forces Command began a six-month pilot program Oct. 29 with the pre-launch of the Navy's newest tool to counter destructive decisions, the LiveSafe smartphone application.

The pilot program will allow Sailors and their families assigned to Hampton Roads, Virginia and Rota, Spain a chance to download and interact with the application prior to its release. 

NAVADMIN 219/16 now makes it a requirement to submit and have your TA Command Approved 14 days prior to your course start date for all classes starting on or after January 1st, 2017!

So, if you are considering taking classes starting Monday January 2nd, 2017 you will need to have submitted and have your request Command approved by the 19th of December!

Some things in healthcare just defy logical explanation. For example, why in an era where we can alter human genes using CRISPR, why are we still using loose leafs of paper to document something as important as one’s immunizations? In other words, why doesn’t our health system place more emphasis on getting these “simple” things right? At Zobreus, we’re committed to doing exactly that. We’ve built technology that allows any clinic to easily upload your shot data to a centralized portal. And instantly, those vaccination records are available to you on your mobile device. All of this in our gorgeous, award-winning user interface.

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2016  Tomorrow isnt Thanksgiving for Americas enemies.

While the vast majority of Americans will be sitting down with family for a fall feast, hundreds of thousands of U.S. service members will be on guard around the world, ensuring their fellow citizens enjoy a day of peace.  

For them, it is another duty day.

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2016 — On Oct. 21, the Defense Department launched a new call and outreach center that offers confidential peer support to active duty service members, National Guardsmen, reservists and family members through 24/7 chat, phone and text. 

The DoD “BeThere” peer support call and outreach center is staffed by peers who are veteran service members and family members of veterans, and aims to provide support for everyday problem-solving of career and general life challenges.

Release No: 115 
Nov. 22, 2016 

By Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs 

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" – The Air Force Personnel Center is currently accepting nominations for the Air Force Association Joan Orr Air Force Spouse of the Year Award.

This award honors significant contributions made by non-military spouses of Air Force military members. The nominee’s spouse must be an active duty Air Force, Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve member.

Release No: 114 
Nov. 21, 2016 

By Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs 

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" - Air Force Personnel Center officials have nominated four Airmen for the 2016 Government Employees Insurance Company Military Service Award.

The categories and nominees are as follows:

(From the MILITARY ONESOURCE November 2016 Newsletter)

Military service is characterized by hard work and sacrifice, and families give service members the love and support they need to function well and stay mission ready.

November is Military Family Month, and we salute the strength and vibrancy of our military families. There are also many services through the DoD and Military OneSource to help keep families healthy and strong. Here are some highlights:

(From the MILITARY ONESOURCE November 2016 Newsletter)

The April tax deadline may seem a long way off, but there are things you can do now to get ready. Military OneSource offers free tax preparation and filing services to help you approach tax season with confidence. These services are available to service members and eligible family.

This assistance is especially valuable this year since the IRS made two major changes for filing in 2017 –

(From the MILITARY ONESOURCE November 2016 Newsletter)

Adoption can be rewarding for everyone involved. It can also raise a lot of questions. How do I get started? Does it cost a lot of money? What is the adoption process like? Whether you are just starting out or pursuing a kinship or stepparent adoption, Military OneSource can help. Call Military OneSource any time at 800-342-9647 to ask for an adoption consultation.

By Army 1st Lt. Daniel Johnson
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division

QAYYARAH WEST AIRFIELD, Iraq, Nov. 21, 2016 - Smoke rose in the distance from an oil field set on fire during the battle between Iraqi forces and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as Army Sgt. Addison Owen stood outside his tent. Owen, an infantryman with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, is no stranger to Iraq; this is his second time deployed to the country. 

On his first deployment he fought beyond the oil field, but now he is part of a multinational effort to assist the Iraqi forces.

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2016 — The Defense Department today recommitted itself to its solemn pledge to make every effort to bring home all of its missing men and women to their families, Defense Secretary Carter said at the National Prisoner Of War and Missing in Action Recognition Day ceremony on the Pentagon’s River Terrace Parade Grounds this morning. 

By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WEST POINT, N.Y., June 16, 2016 - The 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games began yesterday evening when Army Capt. Kelly Elmlinger, with help from comedian Jon Stewart, lit the official torch during the event's opening ceremonies at the U.S. Military Academy. 

"Being selected to light the torch is as much an honor and privilege as competing for Team Army," Elmlinger said. "Finishing my Warrior Games career as Team Army captain and lighting the torch at the opening ceremony is by far the most amazing experience. It's humbling to see the support from the Warrior Transition Command throughout my time on Team Army, and I graciously thank them for allowing me to participate as torch bearer in this event."

By Karen Parrish
DoD News, Defense Media Activity 

WASHINGTON, June 1, 2016 - The Defense Department's new retirement system will affect some 2.2 million people who all need to get smart on what it will mean.

Two subject-matter experts from the department's personnel and readiness branch described the issues involved to DoD News: Army Sgt. Maj. Luther Thomas Jr., senior enlisted advisor to the Defense Department's Manpower and Reserve Affairs Division, and Wayne Boswell, DoD's director of financial readiness. 

Happy Military Appreciation Month! All military personnel face tough challenges when readjusting to civilian life upon retirement, which, for the average officer, happens at age 47. Recognizing their brave sacrifices, especially those of our fallen heroes this coming Memorial Day, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2016’s Best & Worst States for Military Retirees (https://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-for-military-retirees/3915/).

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

ARLINGTON, Va., May 30, 2016 — It is peaceful at Arlington National Cemetery [ http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/?source=GovDelivery ] with impeccably cared-for grounds and row after row of headstones seeming to march down to the Potomac.

It is a shrine that Americans visit each day to see and touch and be moved -- by the precise steps of the sentry at the Tomb of the Unknowns or the sight of a horse-drawn caisson taking another fallen service member to rest.

By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

ORLANDO, Fla., May 12, 2016  For medically retired Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Ronnie Jeffrey Jimenez, competing in the hand cycle H4 disability category time trial and criterium cycling competition was more about finishing than medaling at the 2016 Invictus Games this week at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World here.

More than 500 wounded, ill and injured service members from 14 nations are competing in 10 sporting events, cheered on by family members, friends and other spectators.

By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

ORLANDO, Fla., May 11, 2016  Medically retired Army Sgt. Monica Mo Southall defended her title by earning gold medals in the womens shot put and discus at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World during the 2016 Invictus Games here.

I was defending my title, and they knew that. So they were coming for me, but I pulled it off again, so Im happy, she said.

By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

ORLANDO, Fla., May 12, 2016  USA Team captain medically retired Army Capt. Will Reynolds earned multiple medals during the 2016 Invictus Games held this week at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World here.

Throughout the week, more than 500 wounded, ill and injured service members from 14 nations have been competing in 10 sporting events as thousands of family members, friends and spectators cheered them on.

Carter Announces 2016s Top Military Installations
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, May. 10 2016  Defense Secretary Ash Carter today announced the 2016 recipients of the Commander in Chief's Annual Award for Installation Excellence:

This years award recipients are:

Army Nurse Takes Pride in Representing Team USA at Invictus Games
By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

ORLANDO, Fla., Ma. 10, 2016  Fierce competitor Army Capt. Kelly Elmlinger will participate in track and field, swimming and rowing at the 2016 Invictus Games being held this week at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World here.

During the 2014 Invictus Games, Elmlingers first foray into the competition, she earned gold medals in the 100-meter and 400-meter wheelchair races, the shot put, and in the cycling time trial; silver medals in discus during track and field, the cycling road race, and the 50-meter backstroke in swimming. She took fourth place in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle in swimming.

Prince Harry, Former President Bush Stress Importance of Healing Invisible Wounds
By Shannon Collins 
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

ORLANDO, Fla., May 10, 2016  Great Britains Prince Harry, former President George W. Bush, and service members from each of their nations led a discussion at the 2016 Invictus Games Symposium on Invisible Wounds presented May 8 by the George W. Bush Institute here.

Former First Lady Laura Bush said she and the Bush Institute leadership were grateful the symposium was addressing an issue that affects so many veterans, as well as their family members, many of whom become their caregivers.

Invictus Games Competition Kicks Off in Orlando
By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Charlotte Oliver Defense Media Activity

ORLANDO, Fla., May 9, 2016  Under sunny, clear-blue skies, more than 500 wounded, ill and injured athletes from 14 nations gathered for the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Invictus Games here yesterday.

The Invictus Games are an international Paralympic-style, multisport event created by Great Britains Prince Harry in 2014 after he saw the Warrior Games in the United States. He wanted to demonstrate the power of sports to inspire recovery, support service members rehabilitation and to demonstrate that there is life beyond their disability. 

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 12, 2016  The Defense Department knows that the whole family serves when a military member serves.

April is the Month of the Military Child , a time to highlight the contributions and sacrifices made by military children.

Its also a chance to catch up on what the department does for military families.

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2016  Time to get your purple on, America.

April 15 is Purple Up! day, a time for Americans to show their support for military families. Department of Defense Education Activity schools will celebrate the event on April 20 because of spring recess. 

Its to build awareness for the needs of military families, said Barbara A. Thompson, the director of the office of family readiness policy.

By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2016  The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said he was appreciative and spirited after meeting surviving family members of service members during the 9th Annual Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors annual Honor Guard Gala last night at the National Building Museum here. 

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford accepted the TAPS Honor Guard Gala Military Award on behalf of the men and women serving in Americas armed forces. He was introduced by Connor McCracken, the son of Army Reserve Col. David McCracken, who died of cancer in 2011 after serving for 30 years. McCracken, who serves in his high schools Junior ROTC program, said he was honored to introduce the general. 

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. NR-111-16

Mar. 30, 2016 

Department of Defense Publishes Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal Guidance 

The Department of Defense announced today that effective immediately, service members who are serving, or have served, in Iraq, Syria, or contiguous waters or airspace on or after June 15, 2014, who meet eligibility criteria are authorized award of the Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal.

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 29, 2016 - The Defense Department today announced that the Military Spouse Employment Partnership program has now partnered with 300 employers, according to officials from the DoD Spouse Education and Career Opportunities Office.

The program, launched in June 2011 by Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, is an employment and career partnership connecting military spouses to partner organizations and companies who have committed to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses in portable careers.

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2016 — Many successful initiatives are underway to reform the Military Health System, but the system will require change to continue its many benefits to readiness and patient care, military medicine’s top leaders told a Senate panel yesterday.

Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs; Navy Vice Adm. (Dr.) Raquel Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency; and the Army, Navy and Air Force surgeons general made recommendations to a Senate Armed Service Committee personnel panel on defense health care reform.

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2016 - Several tax law changes could significantly affect how service members and their families file their 2015 income tax returns.

"It's probably the biggest set of changes in many years" said Army Lt. Col. Samuel W. Kan, executive director of th eDefense Department's Armed Forces Tax Council, which oversees the military's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

By Karen Parrish
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2016 - Upon taking office almost a year ago, Defense Secretary Ash Carter promised reforms, saying "that a blended retirement system is a key step in modernizing the department's ability to recruit, retain and maintain the talent we require of our future force."

An overhaul of the current military retirement system is slated to take effect January 1, 2018. The new system has three elements: a 401(k)-style component with Defense Department matching funds for entry-level and other service members, a mid-career continuity bonus, and a retirement annuity similar to the one now in place for service members that complete twenty or more years of eligible service.

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2016 - Elmo, Big Bird, and Abby Cadabby are teaming up with the Defense Department to support thousands of military families as they transition to civilian life, according to Transition to Veterans Program Office officials.

On Jan. 27, the Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, launched a website devoted to helping families cope with the changes associated with transitioning into civilian life, the officials said. The site, located at http://www.sesamestreet.org/veterans, includes several videos for children and adults, an activity book called "My Story, My Big Adventure Activity Book," and other resources that military parents can use to help their families communicate through the transition process, the officials said.

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2016 — Defense Department personnel and their families who plan to vote by absentee ballot in the upcoming presidential primaries and the general election in November should complete a registration application and request their ballots now, according to a Federal Voting Assistance Program release.

To register and request ballots, complete the Federal Post Card Application using the FPCA online assistant to fill out the form or pick up a hard-copy version from your voting assistance officer or nearest U.S. Embassy or consular office.

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 2016 - Defense Department installations will no longer accept driver's licenses from Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico and Washington as proof of identity, DoD officials said.

*Federal Policy*

The ban, which also includes licenses from American Samoa, is a consequence of the REAL ID Act of 2005.

By Lisa Ferdinando
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2016 — With the holidays now over, service members and their families might start looking toward another annual event, albeit one that generally garners far less excitement: filing taxes.

The Defense Department wants service members and their families to know they can get free tax consultations and tax-filing software through Military OneSource, according to Erika Slaton, program analyst for Military OneSource. 

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2016 — Planning funerals for military veterans and retirees can be overwhelming for their families, and the Defense Department’s director of casualty and mortuary affairs wants family members to familiarize themselves in advance when possible to know what to expect with military funeral honors.

Deborah S. Skillman said families should learn about military funeral honors eligibility ahead of time to know what choices are available.  She also recommends that family members should ensure they have access to the veteran’s discharge papers, also called DD Form 214, to prove eligibility.

Deep, life-long gratitude to The Hill is only one reason why Marshall Wallach '61 has made a generous gift of $1.2 million to endow the Wallach Family Military Scholarship.

Marshall also is motivated by his patriotism; by a desire to increase understanding between the civilian and military sectors of U.S. society; and by his belief that students who have been exposed to the life-broadening experience of growing up as the children of career officers will enrich the entire Hill community.

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28, 2015 - Following a two-year review of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Defense Department today forwarded to Congress a legislative proposal outlining a number of reforms.

The UCMJ is the statutory framework of the military justice system, according to a news release announcing the proposed changes. The proposal is based on the recommendations of the Military Justice Review Group, which conducted a detailed analysis of each article of the UCMJ, including the historical background of the UCMJ, current practice, and comparison to federal civilian law.

The Department of Defense has released the 2016 Basic Allowance for Housing rates. Basic Allowance for Housing rates will increase an average of 3.4 percent when the new rates take effect on January 1, 2016. An estimated $21 billion will be paid to approximately one million Service members. On average, Basic Allowance for Housing rates will increase approximately $54 per month.

Continuing to slow the growth in compensation costs, the 2016 Basic Allowance for Housing Program expands the member cost-sharing element (out-of-pocket expense). Based on the authority provided in the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, the cost-sharing element was increased to two percent. The cost-sharing amounts incorporated in the 2016 Basic Allowance for Housing rates vary by grade and dependency status and range from $24 to $57 monthly. This means for 2016, a typical member will need to absorb two percent of the national average housing cost by pay grade. This rate computation change slows the growth of certain military pay and benefits in a fair, responsible, and sustainable way. Even with these nominal changes, the overall military pay and benefits package remains robust and healthy. 

DALLAS - Staying true to its mission of bringing troops a slice of home wherever they may serve, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service will team with The Walt Disney Studios to bring "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" to deployment locations in the Middle East.

Troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates will be able to see the highly anticipated film during its initial run, continuing the Exchange's longstanding policy of bringing first-run movies to troops deployed overseas.

The creator of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" has teamed up with a major network for a home renovation competition show that gives contestants the chance to win a dream home for someone they love. This series is all about rewarding a hero with the ultimate life-changing surprise. Contestants are vying not only to win a dream home for their hero, but the last contestant standing will take home the grand prize of $100,000.

To maintain the surprise, the hero cannot know that the contestant is playing on their behalf. Contestants cannot play on behalf of their spouse or domestic partner.

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON December 4, 2015 - Starting in January 2016, TRICARE beneficiaries with a diagnosis and referral will be eligible for surgical treatment of a hip condition called femoroacetabular impingement, or FAI, according to a TRICARE news release issued today.

The FAI surgery is the first treatment to be evaluated and approved under the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act's provisional coverage program, which allows TRICARE to provide coverage for emerging treatments and technologies, the release said. 

By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON December 3, 2015 —

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced today that beginning in January 2016, all military occupations and positions will be open to women, without exception.

For the first time in U.S. military history, as long as they qualify and meet specific standards, the secretary said women will be able to contribute to the Defense Department mission with no barriers at all in their way.

“They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat," Carter added. "They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers, and everything else that was previously open only to men."

By Karen Parrish DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON December 2, 2015 - As the year turns toward deck-the-halls season, the first lady welcomed military families to what she has called "America's house" for the first peek at 2015 holiday decorations and treat preparation.

Michelle Obama hosted the families, including a number of excited children, at the White House today, where staff members and volunteers have been crafting the annual holiday transformation of the 132-room mansion. 

By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON December 2, 2015 -

A concerted national effort to hire veterans, coupled with their sought-after essential skills training, likely had an effect on making October's veteran unemployment rate the lowest since April 2008, a Defense Department official said Nov. 30. 

Susan S. Kelly, who leads DoD's Transition to Veterans Program Office, spoke to DoD News about the October Bureau of Labor Statistics Report published by the Labor Department, which indicated that veteran unemployment has been lower than the rate of nonveteran unemployment for 23 consecutive weeks. In October, the veteran unemployment rate stood at just 3.9 percent, while nonveteran unemployment was 5.4 percent.

From a North American Aerospace Defense Command News Release

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. December 1, 2015 - The North American Aerospace Defense Command is celebrating the 60th anniversary of tracking Santa's Yuletide journey.

The NORAD Tracks Santa website, which launched today, features Santa's North Pole Village, which includes a holiday countdown, games, activities, and more.

On Veterans Day, November 11th, we're inviting our veterans and active duty military to enjoy a free entrée* from our favorites below. Don't forget that family members dining with them enjoy 10% off of their meals.

Olive Garden Free Veteran's Day Meals 2015

DALLAS - Holiday shoppers can budget easy this year when they shop at Army & Air Force Exchange Service, which, for a limited time, is offering fee-free layaway on computers, laptops, tablets and notebooks - items that are not normally eligible for layaway.

From now until Dec. 14, the Exchange will waive its standard $3 service fee for all layaway purchases that are paid in full within 30 days and picked up on time. Layaway will not be offered for computers, laptops, tablets and notebooks purchased Nov. 27-28.

In proclaiming November as Military Family Month, President Barack Obama urged Americans to show enduring gratitude to military families and their loved ones for contributing to the nation's legacy. Obama said "their courage serves as a model of character and distinction, and their devotion to our country must be met with the recognition it deserves." 

Learn more in the Defense.gov special report, Military Family Support: http://www.defense.gov/News/Special-Reports/1115_familysupport

DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON October 29, 2015 -

Thirty-seven new companies and organizations were formally inducted into the Military Spouse Employment Partnership during a ceremony in Alexandria, Virginia, yesterday, bringing the total number of partners to 297.

The partners of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership are committed to recruiting, hiring, promoting, and retaining military spouses in portable careers. 

fm DOD News Release NR-411-15

The TRICARE Health Plan has announced the 2016 premiums for TRICARE Young Adult Prime and Standard options covering beneficiaries between 23 and 26 years old. These premiums are adjusted on an annual basis and go into effect Jan. 1, 2016.

Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

 "JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" - Special duty assignment pay levels for a handful of career fields changed effective Oct. 1, following the most recent Air Force annual review resulting in 14 career fields or assignment areas being modified or added.

The annual review focused on identifying Airmen in extremely demanding positions with unusually challenging responsibilities that differ from their normal job demands. During the review, one Air Force specialty was evaluated for the first time and was added to the SDAP-eligible list.

DALLAS -  Military shoppers can fill their sleighs with the hottest toys for children of all ages this holiday season with help from the Army & Air Force Exchange Service's Toy Book, which features a selection of gifts both in-store and online.

The 32-page shopping guide, available Oct. 23 in the continental United States and Nov. 6 overseas, is packed with Military Brat-Approved toys, which were tested by military children. Shoppers will find the Military Brat-Approved seal of approval throughout the shopping guide highlighting the hottest kid-tested toys.

From an Operation Homefront News Release

SAN ANTONIO October 15, 2015 -

Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit organization, is accepting nominations for the 2016 Military Child of the Year awards.

Operation Homefront leads more than 2,500 volunteers with nationwide presence who provide emergency and other financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors.

by Staff Sgt. E'Lysia A. Wray
49th Wing Public Affairs

10/5/2015 - HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Holloman is now one of a few select bases chosen to participate in a one-year trial for a family support program called The Family Check-Up.

The program went into effect July 13.

By Lisa Ferdinando
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON September 23, 2015 - Female veterans, trailblazers who served in the military decades ago, received a hero's welcome yesterday after arriving in the nation's capital on the first all-female honor flight.

"Best day of my life" is how retired Army Sgt. Maj. Sue Williams described the visit, which included stops at Arlington National Cemetery and the World War II Memorial. 

By Shannon Collins DoD News Features, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON September 22, 2015 —

As part of ongoing Defense Department and Department of Veteran’s Affairs efforts to continue to combat suicide, Pentagon officials recently emphasized the powerful role of individuals -- as well as peer support and other resources -- in suicide prevention.

DoD, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, is promoting the “The Power of 1” campaign during September in observance of Suicide Prevention Month. The theme underscores the belief that individuals have the power to teach reliance, recognize warning signs, intervene, chat or make a call; it only takes one person or one act to save another person’s life.

By Mark Wyatt 66th Air Base Wing
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. September 22, 2015 —

When Air Force Senior Airman Kara Watts was a college student and searching for inspiration, she said she only had to look as far as her mother's military service.

Now, Watts and her mother, Air Force Maj. Tobie Wethington, an information management information technology fellow at Defense Information Systems Agency, are both serving on active duty.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva will host an award ceremony at 2 p.m., Thursday, in the Pentagon's center court yard for the three individuals who stopped a gunman on a Paris-bound train on Aug. 21.   

At the ceremony, Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone will receive the Airman's Medal & Purple Heart medal, Specialist Alek Skarlatos will receive the Soldier's Medal, and Anthony Sadler will receive the Department of Defense Medal for Valor.   

Secretary Carter and Gen. Selva will provide remarks during the ceremony.  Stone, Skarlatos and Sadler will conduct a brief media availability in the Pentagon's center courtyard immediately following the awards ceremony. 

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON August 28, 2015 -

America sends its sons and daughters to war, and a new play titled "I Will Wait" looks at the effect of these deployments across the generations.

The brainchild of Amy Uptgraft, the play connects the experiences of spouses from World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq. Uptgraft wrote the play with Gregory Stieber, who also directed the play. It premiered July 31 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

From a Department of Defense Education Activity News Release

ALEXANDRIA, Va. August 26, 2015 —

Nearly 75,000 students are beginning the 2015-2016 School Year in Department of Defense Education Activity schools around the world. 

DoDEA schools educate children of service members and the civilians who support them in 12 nations, seven states and two territories. Through its Educational Partnership Branch, DoDEA provides support to more than a million military-connected students who attend public schools throughout the United States.

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News Features, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON August 26, 2015 -

Today, Women's Equality Day not only commemorates the ratification of the 95th anniversary of the 19th Amendment -- which solidified women's voting rights -- but it also coincides with current milestones for women in service, a Pentagon official said in an Aug. 24 DoD News interview.

Officer and Enlisted Personnel Management Director Juliet Beyler, who oversees department-wide policies that include promotions, assignments, separations, force management, and awards and decorations, said casting a wider net for talent and diversity across the force is critical.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), all Americans including all military members (active duty, retired, Selected Reserve, or Retired Reserve) and their eligible family members must have health care coverage that meets a minimum standard called minimum essential coverage or pay a fee. Your TRICARE coverage meets the minimum essential coverage requirement under the ACA.

"The term "active duty" means full-time duty in the active service of a uniformed service for more than 30 consecutive days".

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON August 21, 2015 

TRICARE beneficiaries who take certain brand-name medications on a regular basis will be required to fill prescriptions at a military treatment facility or through a mail-in program beginning Oct. 1, a Defense Health Agency official said yesterday.

George Jones, DHA’s pharmacy operations division chief, said the new policy does not apply to active-duty troops, overseas beneficiaries, nursing-home residents and those with other health insurance that has a prescription-drug program. In certain circumstances, he added, some beneficiaries might be waived from the program on an individual basis.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. NR--
August 21, 2015

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be buried with full military honors.

Army Maj. Dale W. Richardson of Mount Sterling, Illinois, will be buried Aug. 29, in Mountain View, Ark. Richardson was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, and was the passenger aboard an UH-1H Iroquois (Huey) helicopter that was en route to Fire Support Base Katum, South Vietnam, when it was diverted due to bad weather. After flying into Cambodian airspace, the aircraft came under heavy enemy ground fire, causing the pilot to make an emergency landing in Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia. The Huey's four crewmen and its four passengers survived the landing. One crewman was able to evade being captured by enemy forces and later returned to friendly lines. The other three crewmen and one passenger were captured. Two of the captured crewmen were released by the Vietnamese in 1973, and the remains of the other two captured men were returned to U.S. control in the 1980s and identified. Richardson died at the site of the crash during a fire fight with enemy forces. His remains were not recovered after the fire fight. 

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. NR-336-15
August 21, 2015

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be buried with full military honors.

Army Maj. Dale W. Richardson of Mount Sterling, Illinois, will be buried Aug. 29, in Mountain View, Ark. Richardson was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, and was the passenger aboard an UH-1H Iroquois (Huey) helicopter that was en route to Fire Support Base Katum, South Vietnam, when it was diverted due to bad weather. After flying into Cambodian airspace, the aircraft came under heavy enemy ground fire, causing the pilot to make an emergency landing in Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia. The Huey's four crewmen and its four passengers survived the landing. One crewman was able to evade being captured by enemy forces and later returned to friendly lines. The other three crewmen and one passenger were captured. Two of the captured crewmen were released by the Vietnamese in 1973, and the remains of the other two captured men were returned to U.S. control in the 1980s and identified. Richardson died at the site of the crash during a fire fight with enemy forces. His remains were not recovered after the fire fight. 

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 2015 - The 2015 Military Youth of the Year honor, presented jointly by the Defense Department and Boys and Girls Clubs of America, was awarded to an 18-year-old military daughter from Vogelweh, Germany, during a ceremony held at the Navy Memorial Naval Heritage Center here yesterday.

RianSimone Harris, 18, an 11-year member of the program, was selected from six finalists for her sound character, leadership abilities and willingness to give back to her community -- the partnership's goal in supporting youth programs and military youth, officials said.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. NR-328-15
August 11, 2015

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that servicemen, missing from World War II, have been accounted for and their remains are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces 1st Lt. William P. Cook of Alameda, California; Flight Officer Arthur J. LeFavre of Red Bank, New Jersey; Staff Sgts. Maurice J. Fevold of Chicago, Frank G. Lane Jr. of Cleveland and Ward C. Swalwell Jr. of Chicago; and Sgt. Eric M. Honeyman of Alameda, California, have been accounted for and will be buried with full military honors. Cook was buried Oct. 18, 2014, in Oakland, California. Fevold was buried Oct. 20, 2014, in Ft. Dodge, Iowa, and Lane was buried May 2 in Willoughby, Ohio. Honeyman was buried on June 22 in Trail, British Columbia, Canada. LeFavre will be buried on Aug. 18 in Arlington National Cemetery. The group representing the crew will be buried on Aug. 18 in Arlington National Cemetery. Swalwell will be buried on Aug. 20 in Arlington National Cemetery.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. NR-326-15
August 10, 2015

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.   

Army Cpl. Nehemiah E. Butler Pocomoke City, Maryland, will be buried today in Arlington National Cemetery. In late December 1950, Butler and elements of Company C, 19th Infantry Regiment (IR), 24th Infantry Division (ID), were deployed near Seoul, South Korea, when their unit was attacked by enemy forces. During the attempt to delay the enemy forces from advancing, Butler was separated from his unit while moving towards a more defensible position. Butler was reported missing Jan. 1, 1951.   

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. NR-321-15
August 06, 2015

 Airman Missing From World War II Accounted For 

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing since World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Stephen V. Biezis of Chicago will be buried Aug. 14, in Arlington National Cemetery. His co-pilot, 1st Lt. James F. Gatlin of Jacksonville, Florida, was buried Jan. 30, in Bushnell, Florida. On Dec. 23, 1944, Biezis and his crew of five were assigned to the 575th Bombardment Squadron, 391st Bombardment Group, 9th Air Force and were deployed to Germany. Biezis was the co-pilot of a B-26C Marauder that crashed after being struck by enemy fire while on a bombing mission against enemy forces near Ahrweiler, Germany. Biezis, Gatlin and three other crew members were reported killed in action. His remains were not recovered during the war.

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8, 2015 - In remarks at the National Purple Heart Ceremony at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate today, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff praised heroes across wars and eras who have exemplified bravery and endured incomprehensible peril.

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia stressed that the Purple Heart is a decoration of explicit distinction, recognizable not just to the American citizen, but to people around the world. "Many nations, militaries envy our culture and the dignified manner that we hold to our fallen, but also how we recognize and care for our wounded," he said.

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2015 - Military children may have opportunities to live in interesting places but they also face unique challenges that can affect their education, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command said yesterday at the Military Child Education Coalition seminar here.

Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. said the MCEC offers customized tools and information to give military children the greatest opportunity for a successful education, with long-term impact.

By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md., July 31, 2015 - Military families face the challenges of deployments and frequent moves and the impact they have on their children's morale and education.

Air Force Senior Master Sgt. David Mason, a security forces first sergeant here, his wife, Jennifer, and their four daughters spoke with DoD News about the impact his deployments have had on their family.

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2015 - The award of the new modernization contract for electronic health records is a great opportunity to "save money, save time, and most importantly, save lives," Christopher A. Miller, the Defense Healthcare Management Systems program executive officer said today.

In a culmination of a more than two-year effort, the Defense Department today awarded a $4.3 billion contract to Leidos, Inc. Now begins the hard part: Putting the contract in place, Miller said.

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2015 - The Defense Department wants to remind its health care beneficiaries who carry commercial health insurance to provide their policy information to their TRICARE providers, a Defense Health Agency official said recently.

Mark Ellis, a DHA senior health program analyst, said the issue is important to DoD because by law, commercial health care insurance companies pay first and TRICARE pays second on medical bills.

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2015 - The Defense Department today closed loopholes to protect U.S. men and women in uniform from predatory lending practices, President Barack Obama said this morning at the 116th Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The heightened level of financial and consumer-rights protection against unscrupulous practices, called the final rule of the Military Lending Act, covers all forms of payday loans, vehicle title loans, refund anticipation loans, deposit advance loans, installment loans, unsecured open-end lines of credit and credit cards, DoD officials explained.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), all Americans including all military members (active duty, retired, Selected Reserve, or Retired Reserve) and their eligible family members must have health care coverage that meets a minimum standard called minimum essential coverage or pay a fee. Your TRICARE coverage meets the minimum essential coverage requirement under the ACA.

"The term "active duty" means full-time duty in the active service of a uniformed service for more than 30 consecutive days".

By Cheryl Pellerin
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2015 - In the face of recent aggressive and deceptive marketing practices of some compounding pharmacies targeting TRICARE, the Defense Health Agency is taking aggressive action to help TRICARE beneficiaries, DHA's chief of pharmacy operations said in a recent interview.

Dr. George Jones described compounding as a way that some pharmacies prepare medications for patients who need different kinds or strengths of medications than are available in commercially available products.

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla., May 4, 2015 - A nonprofit organization geared toward helping military families -- especially expectant mothers whose spouses are often away fulfilling their duties  got a boost from the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at a special event here yesterday.

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks to military mothers during an Operation Shower baby shower in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., May 3, 2015. The nonprofit organization provides baby showers to military mothers-to-be. DoD photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr." 

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

MANASSAS, Va., April 24, 2015 - First Lady Michelle Obama announced yesterday that numerous technology and energy companies have committed to hire or train 90,000 veterans and military spouses in the next five years as part of the Joining Forces initiative.

Celebrating the fourth year of Joining Forces this month, the first lady spoke to an audience of veterans, family members, business owners and government leaders here at Micron Technologies, which produces memory-storage devices.

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2015 - The Defense Department continues to invest in its service members and has introduced a new online informational tool tailored to their unique school programs and educational needs, the Defense Department's chief of voluntary education said in a DoD news interview this week.

Dawn Bilodeau discussed a new online tool called "Tuition Assistance DECIDE."

by Airman 1st Class Aaron J. Jenne
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/21/2015 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Diala Estela, 4th Fighter Wing key spouse mentor, placed third out of 35 exhibits April 3, at the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Estala's sculpture, titled "Marry Me," was a dress made from 130 plastic bottles to symbolize the spouses of active-duty service members based on her personal experience as an artist and military spouse.

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2015 - As concerns persist over ever-rising obesity levels among American children, the Defense Department will bolster its Healthy Children programs to weave fitness, nutrition and tobacco-free living into military children's curriculum, a Pentagon official told DoD News.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity rates in the United States have tripled since 1980, and these statistics portend possible jeopardy to the readiness of future service members, said Barbara Thompson, director of DoD's Office of Family Readiness Policy, during a DoD News interview on the observance of April as the Month of the Military Child.

The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today that the remains of up to 388 unaccounted for sailors and Marines, associated with the USS Oklahoma, will be exhumed later this year. Upon disinterment, the remains will be transferred to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) laboratory in Hawaii for examination. Analysis of all available evidence indicates that most USS Oklahoma crew members can be identified upon disinterment.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work approved the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma and also established a broader DoD policy , which defines threshold criteria for disinterment of unknowns.

 

By Amaani Lyle

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2015 - For many new or expecting parents, the stress of navigating the needs and developmental milestones of an infant or toddler can rival that of deployments.

But a well-established program not only provides many resources to help untangle the parental requirements of understanding the critical first three years of a child's life, but also brings child care experts right into military families' homes, Barbara Thompson, director of DoD's Office of Family Readiness Policy, said in a recent DoD News interview. April is the Month of the Military Child.

NOW CASTING TEAMS FOR "CELEBRITY NAME GAME" SEASON 2!

The casting team for the hit new game show Celebrity Name Game is searching for FUN, OUTGOING MILITARY PERSONNEL to be contestants!

We're looking for TEAMS of 2 OR MORE who are in the SoCal area who want the chance to WIN $20,000!!

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2015 - The Defense Department observes April as the Month of the Military Child, and also recognizes this time of year as it pertains to a more sobering topic: National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

In a recent DoD news interview, Barbara Thompson -- director of DoD's Office of Family Readiness -- stressed that anyone aware of red flags and potential cases of abuse has an obligation to bring the concerns to light.

NEW TV SERIES SEEKS MILITARY COUPLES TO COMPETE FOR DREAM HOUSE IN ATLANTA, GA - CASTING NATIONWIDE

Relativity Television and the creator of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" are launching a nationwide search for hard-working American couples to take their shot at the American Dream of becoming homeowners. In the ultimate do-it-yourself competition, chosen couples will put their lives on hold for up to nine weeks and tackle a series of intense renovation and remodel challenges. Only the most resourceful and competitive will survive, and the last-couple-standing will win the mortgage-free deed to a house in ATLANTA, GA. 

Casting is open NATIONWIDE, and accommodations will be made for those selected from out-of-state. Couples will be required to live in Atlanta during the competition (up to nine weeks) and must be ready to move to Atlanta should they be awarded the grand-prize home. 

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2015 - ThanksUSA, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to thanking America's troops through the gift of education, is inviting children and spouses of America's armed forces to apply for its post-secondary education scholarships, according to a ThanksUSA news release issued today.

Those interested can apply via the organization's website, and the application period extends from today through May 15, 2015, the release said.

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2015 - To highlight the year-round contributions, courage and patriotism of the military community's youngest members, the Defense Department observes April as the Month of the Military Child, a Pentagon official told DoD News.

Established by then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger in 1986, the month recognizes some 1.9 million U.S. military children ranging in age from infants to 18 years old who have one or both parents serving in the armed forces, said Barbara Thompson, the director of DoD's Office of Family Readiness Policy.

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 31, 2015 - With the expiration of a law that allowed service members to carry up to 75 days of leave from one fiscal year to the next, troops should plan to carry no more than 60 days of leave into fiscal year 2016, defense officials recently announced.

Service members will automatically lose any accumulated ordinary leave in excess of 60 days on October 1, 2015, officials said. Troops covered by special leave accrual rules may still carry up to 120 days from one fiscal year to the next, officials noted.

by Senior Airman R. Alex Durbin
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

3/27/2015 - JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS. Va. -- Following recent changes to Department of Defense Basic Housing Allowance policies, U.S. Service members living in privatized base housing will no longer automatically receive renter's insurance through property management companies.

Since privatization, Service members who live in military housing communities were automatically provided renter's insurance through the terms of their lease agreement with property management companies who were compensated through monthly BAH allotments for rent, utilities and renters insurance.

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2015 - Defense Secretary Ash Carter recognized several U.S. service members today for their service in Afghanistan and their families for their sacrifices as he hosted the Afghan president and chief executive here.

During a Pentagon center courtyard ceremony, Carter, alongside Secretary of State John F. Kerry, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, paid tribute to U.S. troops, their families, civilians, and thousands of contractors who have served in Afghanistan.

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2015 - Operation Freedom's Sentinel is now a qualifying operation for award of the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, according to a Defense Department news release.

In a memorandum signed yesterday, Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica Wright approved award of Global War on Terrorism Medals for Operation Freedom's Sentinel, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015, the release said.

By Lisa Ferdinando
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2015 - They greeted troops in places including Afghanistan, Bahrain and Diego Garcia, performed on an aircraft carrier as jets took off for missions in Iraq and Syria, and saw the Korean demilitarized zone where American troops serve.

The Vice Squad USO World Tour took participants literally to the front lines where members of the U.S. military serve to protect America, said Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

DALLAS - The Army & Air Force Exchange Service knows that for Soldiers and Airmen, there truly is no place like home. With this in the mind, the Exchange is offering one lucky winner a home makeover valued at $18,000.

The $18,000 Home Makeover Giveaway is part of the Exchange's Because of You program, a yearlong effort to recognize and reward service members for their sacrifice and dedication to our country. One grand-prize winner will receive:

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2015 - Blue Star Families celebrated its fifth-year anniversary here last night, recognizing three honorees for going "above and beyond the call of duty" to support military families.

Blue Star Families works in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to strengthen military families and connect the nation to the military.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. NR-065-15
February 24, 2015

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced yesterday that the remains of U.S. servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been accounted for and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces 1st Lts. William D. Bernier of Augusta, Montana; Bryant E. Poulsen of Salt Lake City, Utah; Herbert V. Young Jr. of Clarkdale, Arizona and Tech Sgts. Charles L. Johnston of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Hugh F. Moore of Elkton, Maryland and Staff Sgts. John E. Copeland of Dearing, Kansas; Charles J. Jones of Athens, Georgia; and Sgt. Charles A. Gardner of San Francisco, California, have been accounted for and buried with full military honors. Jones will be buried Feb. 28 in Athens, Georgia and Johnston will be buried March 2 in Arlington National Cemetery. On March 18, there will be a group burial service at Arlington National Cemetery honoring Poulsen, Copeland and the other crew members. Bernier was buried Sept. 19, 2014, in his hometown. Young was buried Oct. 15, 2014, in Prescott, Arizona Moore was buried on Nov. 11, 2014, in his hometown. Gardner was buried on Dec. 4, 2014 in Arlington National Cemetery.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. NR-059-15

February 19, 2015

DOD Announces Operation Freedom's Sentinel Qualifies for Campaign Medal 

The Department of Defense announced today Operation Freedom's Sentinel as a qualifying operation for award of the Afghanistan Campaign Medal. Additionally, the transition from Operation Enduring Freedom to Freedom's Sentinel also marks a new campaign phase, "Transition II," for the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica Wright signed a memorandum authorizing these changes retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015.

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2015 - The Justice Department announced today that under its settlements with five of the nation's largest mortgage servicers, 952 service members and their co-borrowers are eligible to receive over $123 million for non-judicial foreclosures that violated the Service Members Civil Relief Act.

The five mortgage servicers are JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A.; Wells Fargo Bank N.A. and Wells Fargo & Co.; Citi Residential Lending Inc., Citibank, NA and CitiMortgage Inc.; GMAC Mortgage, LLC, Ally Financial Inc. and Residential Capital LLC; and BAC Home Loans Servicing LP formerly known as Countrywide Home Loans Servicing LP (Bank of America).

IMMEDIATE RELEASE   No. NR-042-15
February 09, 2015

 Department of Defense Authorizes Service Stars on the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal 

The Department of Defense announced today that effective immediately, service members are authorized to wear Service Stars on their Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medals (GWOT-EM) to represent deployments in support of approved GWOT operations.

Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica Wright signed a memorandum authorizing the new policy change retroactive to Sept. 11, 2001.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE   No. NR-040-15
February 06, 2015

 Army approves awards for victims of 2009 Fort Hood attack 

 Secretary of the Army John McHugh announced today that he has approved awarding the Purple Heart and its civilian counterpart, the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom, to victims of a 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, following a change in the medals' eligibility criteria mandated by Congress. Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 wounded in the attack by Major Nidal Hassan, who was convicted in August, 2013, of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2015 - As military families move frequently and face a host of concerns, finding child care can be one of the greatest challenges, Barbara Thompson, director of military community and policy's office of family policy/children and youth/special needs, said yesterday.

To streamline and standardize what can be a daunting search, the Defense Department unveiled MilitaryChildCare.com, an online resource to help military, DoD civilian and contractor families find an array of military-operated and military-subsidized child care options for children between the ages of 4 weeks and 12 years, Thompson said.

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

GLENDALE, Ariz., Jan. 27, 2015 - With the National Football League's all-star game in the rear-view mirror, anticipation for the league's championship -- the final pro football game of the year -- begins.

The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, the teams preparing to square off Feb. 1 in Super Bowl XLIX, shared their appreciation for U.S. service members serving overseas during media availabilities here yesterday.

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

GLENDALE, Arizona, Jan. 27, 2015 - The National Football League continued its tradition of honoring America's troops Jan. 25, as participants in the 2015 NFL Pro Bowl expressed their appreciation to service members serving overseas.

The Pro Bowl serves as a celebratory all-star game for NFL players voted to the game by fans, their peers and coaches. This year's game, in front of a sellout crowd of 63,225 people, included many nods to U.S. service members.

Applications Available for 2015 Corvias Foundation Educational Grants for Spouses of Active-Duty Service Members

Applications are still available to spouses at 13 Army and Air Force installations nationwide

East Greenwich, R.I. (January 14, 2015) - Corvias Foundation, a White House award-winning private, charitable foundation committed to supporting the pursuit of higher education, are still accepting applications for the 2015 Educational Grants. The Foundation is committed to supporting military families in the pursuit of higher education and has awarded more than $5.5 million in scholarships and grants to children and spouses of active-duty service members since 2006.  

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2015 - As tax season begins, Defense Department officials want to remind TRICARE beneficiaries of changes in the tax laws, which require all Americans to have health care insurance.

For the first time since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2012, all U.S. citizens, including service members, their families, military retirees, DoD civilians and nonappropriated employees, must report health care coverage on their 2014 taxes, said Mark Ellis, a Defense Health Agency health care operations program analyst.

By Nick Simeone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2015 - With the new year comes the annual dread of tax-filing season and the confusion and stress that can go along with it, especially for military families whose tax returns can be further complicated by frequent relocations, involvement of rental properties and other aspects of military life.

To ease the burden, the Defense Department, through Military OneSource, is teaming again this year with H&R Block to offer no-cost tax preparation to the military community with a promise of guaranteed accuracy, a service that otherwise could cost military families hundreds of dollars or more.

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2015 - Following the 2013 repeal of the Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule, the secretary of defense will announce final decisions to integrate remaining closed occupations and any approved exceptions to policy on or about Jan. 1, 2016, a Pentagon official reported.

Juliet Beyler, the Defense Department's director of officer and enlisted personnel management, reported "good progress" in the Women in Service Review, which validates all occupational standards to ensure they are operational, relevant and gender-neutral by September 2015.

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2014 - Today, the Department of Defense announced the 2015 military pay and compensation rates for service members, with most service members receiving a one percent increase in basic pay.

The new rates for basic pay, basic allowance for housing, basic allowance for subsistence, and the cost of living allowance rates for the contiguous United States will take effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2014 - Now a 59-year tradition, the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will follow Santa Claus's Christmas Eve travels using radar, satellites, jet fighters and special cameras, said Air Force Master Sgt. Chuck Marsh, spokesman for the NORAD Tracks Santa program.

First, the northern warning radar system covers nearly 50 installations across northern Canada and Alaska to closely monitor signs of when Santa leaves the North Pole in his flying-reindeer-powered sleigh, Marsh explained.

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2014 - A deadline extension means friends, families and mentors still have a few days to nominate children of military families for Operation Homefront's Military Child of the Year awards program.

The nonprofit organization will accept nominations at http://militarychildoftheyear.org through Dec. 19, officials said. 

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2014 - First Lady Michelle Obama reminded the public that time still remains to donate to Toys for Tots as she introduced her newest "helper," President Barack Obama, during a toy sorting and packing drive at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling here today.

President Obama said that not only are service members working to keep the United States safe abroad, but strengthening the country here at home as well. 

by Staff Sgt. Derek Hansen
366th Civil Engineer Squadron

12/8/2014 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho  -- As the holiday season approaches, we're all looking forward to special gatherings and celebrations with friends and loved ones. It's a time to decorate our homes in our own special way to make the holiday a memorable event.

Holiday decorations can be joyful but also dangerous if improperly used, especially for children. Every year thousands of needless injuries and deaths are caused by decorations. A little caution and planning while decorating will help you and your families avoid tragedy during the upcoming holiday season.

By Army Sgt. Daniel Schroeder
5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash., Dec. 5, 2014 - Every year around the holidays, some families experience added stress. Maybe because of visiting relatives, finding the last gift, or cooking for dozens. But for some on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, one stress that is avoided is the buying of a Christmas tree.

Service members and their families arrived at the Northwest Adventure Center on North Fort here to claim a free Christmas tree during this year's "Trees for Troops" event Dec. 3. 

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2014 - First Lady Michelle Obama invited service members, veterans, wounded warriors and their families to be the first to see this year's White House holiday decorations, centering around the theme, "A Children's Winter Wonderland," today.

Hosting military families for the first peek at the White House holiday decor has become a tradition for Obama. She told the audience in the East Room that an estimated 65,000 members of the public will tour the mansion during the holiday season. 

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, Va., Dec. 3, 2014 - Through Joining Forces, an initiative offering employment, educational and wellness resources to military families, Pentagon officials today inducted 38 organizations into the Military Spouse Employment Partnership in a ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial here.

The ceremony recognized the signatory corporate partners who have made substantial efforts to reduce the high unemployment rate and close the wage gap that military spouses face as a result of frequent relocations that service members' missions often require. 

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2014 - The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced that the remains of missing World War II servicemen have been accounted for and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors, according to a DoD news release issued today.

Army Air Forces 1st Lts. William D. Bernier of Augusta, Montana; Bryant E. Poulsen of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Herbert V. Young Jr. of Clarkdale, Arizona; Tech Sgts. Charles L. Johnston of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Hugh F. Moore of Elkton, Maryland; Staff Sgts. John E. Copeland of Dearing, Kansas and Charles J. Jones of Athens, Georgia; and Sgt. Charles A. Gardner of San Francisco, California, have been accounted for and will be buried with full military honors. Gardner will be buried Dec. 4, 2014, in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

From a North American Aerospace Defense Command News Release

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., Dec. 1, 2014 - The North American Aerospace Defense Command's NORAD Tracks Santa website, www.noradsanta.org, launched today featuring a mobile version, a holiday countdown, new games and daily activities and more.

The website is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese. 

By David Vergun
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2014 - President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Union Army 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing yesterday for helping to stop Confederate Army Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863.

Helen Loring Ensign accepted the medal during the ceremony, held in the White House's Roosevelt Room, on behalf of Cushing, her first cousin, twice removed. Some 24 other descendants were present as well. 

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2014 - First Lady Michelle Obama and an all-star cast hosted military children at the White House today for a workshop in advance of the taping of a concert for the PBS "In Performance at the White House" series.

Country legend Willy Nelson, rapper Common, Navy vet and songwriter Ted Peterson and Army Sgt. Christiana Ball, a singer who won the Army's Rising Star competition, joined the first lady in the East Room. Robert Santelli, the executive director of the Grammy Museum, moderated the discussion. 

By Claudette Roulo
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2014 - Big changes are happening with the Joint Travel Regulations, and they could affect your next permanent-change-of-station move or how you are reimbursed for temporary duty assignments.

As of July 25, Army uniformed and civilian travelers are directed to use their government travel credit cards for PCS moves, Harvey Johnson, the director of the Defense Travel Management Office said today.

VA News Releases

Expansion of Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits is part of Veterans Choice Act Legislation

Washington, DC - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it will begin accepting applications by mail on Monday, November 3, 2014, for the Fry Scholarship under newly expanded eligibility criteria to include surviving spouses. The expanded criteria for the Fry Scholarship is the latest in a series of VA actions to implement provisions of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 ("Choice Act").

TRICARE News Release

 As the family member of a National Guard or Reserve member, your TRICARE options may change throughout the course of your sponsor’s career.  Your TRICARE eligibility depends on your sponsor’s military status. If your sponsor’s status ever changes from inactive to either, pre-activation, active duty, or deactivation, your TRICARE options will vary. 

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2014 - Operation Homefront is seeking nominations for the 2015 Military Child of the Year Awards.

Officials of the nonprofit organization, which provides aid to service members and their families, said they understand what military children go through in supporting their service members and want to recognize their contributions. 

By Nick Simeone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2014 - October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the Defense Department is working to increase awareness of what a senior department official calls a serious public health issue and one for which the military offers multiple options for prevention and treatment.

"The military is a microcosm of civilian society," Kathy Robertson, DoD's Family Advocacy Program manager, said today in a DoD News interview, noting that nearly 8,000 substantiated incidents of domestic abuse and intimate-partner violence were reported in the department during fiscal year 2013. 

TRICARE Press Release

The lives of service members and their families are full of transitions. Whether it's permanent change of station moves, retiring, going from Reserve status to active duty or something else, the one constant is change. The good news is that your TRICARE coverage can stick with you through these life changes, but you do have to make sure that your records in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) are up to date with your latest life events.

This means you should keep all your personal information - address, duty status, phone numbers, and email addresses - up to date. It's important to review DEERS as soon as possible whenever you move or experience one of the following life events:

Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

10/3/2014 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho  -- Every nine seconds a woman is battered or beaten in the United States by her husband, partner or boyfriend. Every nine seconds.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and in an effort to promote awareness the 366th Fighter Wing hosted an event Oct 2.

VA News Release

Pilot Immunization Program in Florida Expands Nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a first-of-its-kind partnership, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it will join forces with retailer Walgreens to provide greater access to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended vaccinations to Veterans across the country. This partnership grew out of a successful pilot program that began in Florida to provide flu vaccines to Veterans throughout the state.  Based on those results, VA is expanding the pilot nationwide. 

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2014 - A team of medical experts from both within and outside the Defense Department has found that the Military Health System (MHS) provides good, quality health care that is safe, timely and comparable to the civilian sector, but has also identified areas for improvement.

In May, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a comprehensive review of the military health system to focus on access to care and to assess the safety and quality of care being provided, both in military treatment facilities as well as in healthcare that the department purchases from the private sector.

FOOD NETWORK'S TOP CELEBRITY CHEFS ARE SCOURING THE NATION IN SEARCH OF AMAZING HOME COOKS! 

You've watched them on TV, bought their cookbooks, and tested out their recipes at home. This is your chance to work with a culinary icon! Outlast your competitors in this high stakes cooking competition and you could go home with bragging rights and a HUGE CASH PRIZE!

FOOD NETWORK and the producers of GUY'S GROCERY GAMES and THE GREAT FOOD TRUCK RACE are on a quest to find home cooks for a new competition show!

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2014 - Defense Department officials today announced a proposed overhaul of the Military Lending Act, which is designed to protect service members and their dependents during consumer credit transactions.

The proposed changes to the regulation would reduce predatory lending practices, expand protections provided to service members, close loopholes in current rules and help to ensure military families receive important consumer protections, officials said. 

TRICARE Updates

Transitioning from active duty status may leave some beneficiaries with questions about their health care. Military families are offered several options to transition from active duty as smoothly as possible. Once you leave active duty status, you will need to take be proactive to ensure that you and your family have health care that meets minimum essential coverage (MEC) as required by the Affordable Care Act.

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2014 - A national nonprofit organization assists military families in making the transition from "battle-ready to family-ready."

Project Sanctuary, founded in 2007, continues its deliberate efforts that to date have provided help to over 450 families here, and in 44 of the 50 states. 

Jason Strickland, chief development officer for Project Sanctuary, discussed the nonprofit's mission and how it is uniquely qualified to help troops and their families. 

By David Vergun
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2014 - Retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins and Army Spc. 4 Donald P. Sloat were awarded Medals of Honor, the nation's highest award for military valor, for actions in Vietnam.

President Barack Obama presented the medals yesterday during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. Adkins was present to receive his medal and Sloat's was awarded posthumously. Dr. Bill Sloat, Donald's brother, accepted it on his behalf. 

By Navy Seaman Kameren Guy Hodnett
Navy Public Affairs Support Element East

BALTIMORE, Sept. 14, 2014 - Visitors and special guests watched today as members of the U.S. Army's 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), with the help of War of 1812 re-enactors, hoisted a 15-star, 15-stripe, full-size replica Star-Spangled Banner flag over Fort McHenry here at the "By Dawn's Early Light" flag-raising ceremony.

by Janis El Shabazz
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

Release No: 202
Sept. 12, 2014

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas"* - Nearly 1500 Airmen are still missing and unaccounted for from various conflicts. There are more than 83,000 Americans still unaccounted for across the Department of Defense.

Every year the nation pauses on the third Friday of September to remember the sacrifices and service of prisoners of war, members still missing in action and their families. This year the observance falls on Sept. 19.

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2014 - Anyone who saw the American flag unfurled at the Pentagon on Sept. 12, 2001, knows how Francis Scott Key felt two centuries ago when he was inspired to write "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The day after the terrorist attack on the Pentagon, the scene was still chaotic. Only essential military and civilian workers were required to come to the building. Parking was at Reagan-National Airport, as all U.S. airspace was still closed. As employees got off the Metro train, Pentagon police stood with weapons examining everyone's badge. Those without a Pentagon ID were told to keep traveling on. The conversation in the building was about friends who remained missing.

U.S. Transportation Command

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., Aug. 29, 2014 - Many service members may not know of their entitlements when shipping personal vehicles as they move overseas or return stateside, according to U.S. Transportation Command officials.

"Our customers have reasonable expectations on the delivery of their vehicles," said Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul H. Guemmer. "I know I do." 

Guemmer is the Deputy Director (Military) for the Strategy, Capabilities, Policy, and Logistics Directorate at Transcom, which is headquartered here. He is responsible for DoD's transportation strategy across the entire Joint Deployment and Distribution Enterprise, to include infrastructure, long-range programs, future requirements, coalition integration, and mobility partnerships with industry. 

August 28, 2014
Online Resource Provides Student Veterans with Key Education and Benefits Information

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today launched an improved version of the GI Bill® Comparison Tool, which was first launched in February 2014.  The GI Bill Comparison Tool is designed to make it easier for Veterans, Servicemembers, and dependents to estimate their GI Bill education benefits and learn more about VA’s approved college, university, and other education and training programs across the country.  It also provides key information about college affordability and value so beneficiaries can choose the best education program to meet their needs.

In the past 6 months, nearly 350,000 people have accessed the tool on VA’s GI Bill website.  The top schools searched by users include: American Public University, Harvard, University of Texas at Austin, Arizona State University, and University of Washington. 

Please include 1-3 ideas for ensuring that a move goes smoothly. Also, if possible, include your name (first name, last initial is fine) and email address (for any follow up questions).

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Thursday August 28th at 5 pm EST for a chance to be featured in an article.

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2014 - The Defense Department has issued a request for proposals to modernize its electronic health records and allow DoD to share health data with the private sector and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

It is a multi-billion dollar request to replace many of the current DoD legacy health care systems. This includes Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA), Composite Health Care System (CHCS) (inpatient), and most components of the Theater Medical Information Program-Joint (TMIP-J), with the objective of achieving initial fielding of a modernized replacement by the end of calendar year 2016. 

August 25, 2014

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced plans to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new Medical Appointment Scheduling System; the next step in a series of actions VA has taken to replace its antiquated legacy scheduling system.  The new system will improve access to care for Veterans by providing medical schedulers with cutting-edge, management-based scheduling software.  The RFP will be made public by the end of September 2014; eligible vendors will have 30 days to respond from the day of issuance.

by Lt. Col. Sandra Kent 
7th Bomb Wing Judge Advocate Office

8/5/2014 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Election season is right around the corner and political campaigning is ramping up. It's a good time to review campaigning restrictions placed on military members and civilian Department of Defense employees. 

Restrictions are imposed to avoid any inference that an individual's political activities imply or appear to imply official sponsorship, approval or endorsement by the DoD. Even though there are restrictions on political activities, military members and civilian employees may vote for whomever they choose.

August 5, 2014
VA launches new identity theft website and toll-free help line

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it has launched a new campaign to educate Veterans about identity theft prevention. The new campaign, titled More Than a Number, references the personally identifiable information that VA encourages Veterans to protect.

“We recognize that for Veterans, as for all Americans in the digital age, identity theft is a growing concern,” said Steph Warren, VA’s Chief Information Officer. “Our goal is to help educate and protect those who have protected this great country.”

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

ATLANTA, July 31, 2014 - Officials at the Mail Recovery Center here hope to assist service members in recovering their lost items and offer tips to prevent misplacement or delays.

Lionel A. Snow, Mail Recovery Center manager, shared the mission of the U.S. Postal Service's only remaining mail recovery center. 

From a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau News Release

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2014 - The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and 13 state attorneys general obtained about $92 million in debt relief from Colfax Capital Corp. and Culver Capital LLC, also collectively known as "Rome Finance," for about 17,000 U.S. service members and other consumers harmed by the company's predatory lending scheme.

"No one who serves our country in uniform -- especially during a time of war -- should ever fall victim to predatory financial practices," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a statement, "and today's announcement is an important step in righting this wrong." 

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2014 - Service members and their families can be easy targets for scammers, and financial education is key to prevention, the deputy director of the Pentagon's office of family policy and children and youth.

In an interview with DoD News, Navy Cmdr. Peter Hoegel noted that today is Military Consumer Protection Day.

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2014 - The Defense Department has joined more than 35 other federal and state government agencies and nonprofit organizations to highlight free consumer protection resources for military members, the assistant director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said today.

Holly Petraeus noted in a blog post that today is Military Consumer Protection Day and that efforts are underway to assist in protecting service members.

I work for A Million Thanks (www.amillionthanks.org)

We are a registered 501c3 organization whose mission is to send thank you letters to active duty military around the world.  We have sent over 6 million letters to date and have an increase in mail coming in recently. 

Usually, we have military personnel who want to receive mail contact us directly but we have more mail than addresses currently.  Would you mind making some sort of post on your website asking those military personnel who want to receive mail, and military families who want their loved ones to receive mail, to contact me.  

By C. Todd Lopez
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2014 - An initial Army investigation into the whereabouts of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl following his disappearance in June 2009 did not conclude that he voluntarily left his installation, an Army official, speaking on background, said today.

"My recollection is that it didn't make a conclusive finding on that," the official said. 

From an Arlington National Cemetery News Release

ARLINGTON, Va., June 13, 2014 - A special program will commemorate the 150th anniversary of Arlington National Cemetery on June 15.

"Arlington at 150" is an hour-long live military show featuring musical performances by "The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band and a joint chorus composed of singers from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force are on tap, as well as a wreath ceremony and historical vignettes that showcase how military conflicts have shaped the nation and the cemetery.

Wholesale Party Supplies is excited to announce the start of our Military Discount Program.

Wholesale Party Supplies is proud to support all active and inactive members of the United States Military, and their families, by offering a 10% discount on our entire inventory. We're well-aware of the sacrifices made by our soldiers, and we'd like to extend this special deal as our way of saying "Thanks for all that you do."

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2014 - A senior Pentagon official often requests grilled cheese with mustard and pickles, but these chefs will never divulge the individual's identity.

A long time supporter of veterans, the U.S. Department of Agriculture honored D-Day veterans and all service members today at the 19th annual USDA Farmers Market Opening. On hand were the military's top chefs, who keep the secrets of the senior leaders for whom they cook.

by Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

*WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- *Air Force spouses are key to maintaining stability on the home front as Airmen maintain focus on the war front, according to the wife of the Air Force’s top officer.

The key spouse program is an official unit/family program overseen by commanders designed to enhance readiness and establish a sense of unity within the Air Force community. The program was standardized across the Air Force in March 2006 to address the needs of all military families with special emphasis on support to families across the deployment cycle. 

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2014 - First Lady Michelle Obama today announced an initiative to end homelessness among veterans in cities across the country by 2015.

The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness is a partnership between the departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs, and it harnesses the power of federal, local and nonprofit resources.

Producers from Lighthearted Entertainment are looking for women in the Southern California area. You will be made over by world-class makeup and hair experts as well as fashion stylists giving you the look of your dreams. When the makeover is complete you will then have the chance to work with a life coach whose goal is to help you accomplish a life goal, dream, or just help you get your groove back!

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By Terri Moon Cronk 
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2014 - Military families using fitness centers and respite day care through the Armed Services YMCA will be able to continue their memberships until March of next year, a morale, welfare and recreation program official said yesterday.

MRW program analyst Chris Wright said the Military Outreach Initiative, a five-year contract between the Defense Department and the Armed Services YMCA, was set to expire recently, but it has been extended to March 17, 2015.

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2014 - A senior Pentagon leader highlighted the rights and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families in her keynote remarks at the American Military Partner Association's inaugural National Gala Dinner here yesterday.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy Rosemary Freitas Williams described the Defense Department's efforts in maintaining the readiness and resilience of its military, which she said is "bolstered by the strength of its families."

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 12, 2014 - To recognize military spouses' selfless service and sacrifice, First Lady Michelle Obama invited a group of military wives and family members to the annual Mother's Day Tea at the White House today.

Joined by Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, and as part of their Joining Forces initiative, Obama and Biden thanked the spouses and families for their service to the nation.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2014 - President Barack Obama has proclaimed May 9, 2014 as Military Spouse Appreciation Day.

The Presidential statement reads:

Our military spouses embody ideals we cherish: strength, loyalty, and commitment. They stand beside those who stand behind our flag, giving their all and making tremendous sacrifices. They shoulder the burdens of countless moves and stressful deployments, and they uphold their end of the bargain. On Military Spouse Appreciation Day, we celebrate the force behind the force and show these homefront heroes the full support of a grateful Nation.

My Administration is working to fulfill our sacred obligation to our veterans, service members, their spouses, and their families. We are helping military families avoid foreclosure and predatory lending, and we are investing in their education. We are easing burdens by supporting childcare and assisting with career training. And because our men and women in uniform and their spouses are partners not only in love, but also in law, we are doing everything we can to ensure all married couples receive the benefits they deserve -- regardless of their sexual orientation.

Through the Joining Forces initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden are expanding employment opportunities for veterans, transitioning service members, and their spouses while advocating for new legislation to bolster professional development services. And they are forging stronger connections between military and civilian families and engaging us all in the push to give military families the opportunities, resources, and support they have earned -- not only today, but every day. To learn more and get involved, visit www.JoiningForces.gov.

As service members board planes for deployments to foreign lands, they need to know their country will be there for their loved ones. As mothers and fathers take on the work of two, they need to know their neighbors will lend a hand. And if called to make the ultimate sacrifice, troops must know their Nation will honor their memory and care for their family. After everything military spouses have done for America, for one another, for our wounded warriors and the families of the fallen, we must stand beside them. We must make good on our debt of gratitude. May each of us serve our military spouses and their families as well as they serve us.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 9, 2014, as Military Spouse Appreciation Day. I call upon the people of the United States to honor military spouses with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

BARACK OBAMA

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2014 - The USO and the nonprofit organization Full Circle Home teamed up May 2 to assemble Mother's Day care packages for military moms and other sustainers on the homefront.

The service project, hosted by Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, was held at the vice presidential residence, where Dr. Biden joined USO volunteers and staff members, congressional spouses and others to assemble the packages.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III will present the Prisoner of War Medal to eight World War II era U.S. Army Air Forces personnel during a ceremony at the Pentagon auditorium, Wednesday, April 30 at 10 a.m. EDT.

The Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James authorized the award of the POW Medal to 143 USAAF airmen who were interned in the Wauwilermoos, Switzerland, prison camp during World War II. 

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 28, 2014 - The American Forces Network Broadcast Center has established a hashtag for Facebook users to help AFN honor military spouses during Military Spouses Appreciation Day on May 10.

The initiative will center on a special hashtag -- #spouseappreciation -- that Facebook users can include in posts and photos that pay tribute to military spouses.

By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2014 - Despite a national unemployment rate hovering at just under 7 percent, a Pentagon program intended to help unemployed military spouses find jobs -- including positions with Fortune 500 companies -- is surpassing its goals, connecting more than 60,000 military spouses with 220 private- and public-sector partners since the program began three years ago.

The Military Spouse Employment Partnership is designed to help military spouses -- whom Defense Department research shows are, on average, better educated than their civilian counterparts -- reach their career goals, said Meg O'Grady, a senior program analyst in the Pentagon's Office of Family Policy and Children and Youth.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 19, 2014 - The Defense Department has dealt effectively with the Heartbleed computer vulnerability, but individuals must do their parts as well, DOD's deputy chief information officer for cybersecurity said.

Richard A. Hale spoke about Heartbleed during an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2014 - First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, are calling on Americans to submit questions via social media about "Joining Forces," a national initiative they started three years ago that mobilizes all sectors of American society to support service members and their families.

Tomorrow, the first lady and Dr. Biden will mark the initiative's third anniversary at Fort Campbell, Ky., where they will speak to service members, families and employers at the Veterans Jobs Summit and Career Forum and will answer some questions about the initiative.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2014 - President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to former Army Sgt. Kyle J. White in a May 13 White House ceremony for conspicuous gallantry while serving in Afghanistan's Nuristan province Nov. 9, 2007, White House officials announced today.

White left the Army in July 2011 and now lives in Charlotte, N.C., where he works as an investment analyst.

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2014 - First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden today announced several new initiatives designed to strengthen support for military caregivers.

On the third anniversary of the Joining Forces launch, Obama and Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, were joined by former first lady Rosalynn Carter, former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, military caregivers, and business, labor and military leaders at the White House-hosted event.

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From a National Center for Telehealth and Technology News Release

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash., March 27, 2014 - Children in military families move six to nine times between kindergarten and high school, and a mobile app launched in December can help them cope with leaving a familiar place for the unknown.

The Big Moving Adventure app lets children create a Muppet friend to help them through the moving process.

Searching for: Families who are currently insured by USAA for a new television commercial. Especially seeking multi-generational families with USAA

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the following information:

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Mar. 24, 2014 - As the United States continues to support the search for the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, the Navy is sending a towed pinger locator, as well as a Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle, to Perth, Australia, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today.

The pinger could be used to locate the missing airliner's black box, while the autonomous underwater vehicle has sophisticated sonars that could be used to locate wreckage. Malaysian officials said evidence points to the plane crashing in the Indian Ocean west of Australia.

From a TRICARE News Release

FALLS CHURCH, Va., Mar. 24, 2014 - Walk-in service at TRICARE service centers in the United States is ending April 1.

TRICARE officials said the change reflects "the always growing number of TRICARE beneficiaries who most often now turn to a laptop or cell phone when they have questions about their health care."

By J.D. Leipold
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Mar. 19, 2014 - Twenty-four U.S. Army veterans from three wars -- World War II, Korea and Vietnam -- received upgrades to the highest military decoration for uncommon bravery and gallantry at a White House ceremony yesterday.

President Barack Obama presented posthumous Medals of Honor to family members and representatives of 21 of those soldiers, and draped the sky-blue ribbon and five-pointed star-bearing medals around the necks of the three living veterans from the Vietnam War.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. NR-133-14

March 18, 2014

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, were recently accounted for and will be buried in a group burial ceremony.

Army Staff Sgt. Lawrence Woods of Clarksville, Tenn., will be buried as part of group on March 21, at Arlington National Cemetery, in a ceremony honoring the servicemen who were lost in an aircraft crash on Oct. 24, 1964.

From a Social Security Administration News Release

WASHINGTON, Mar. 18, 2014 - Social Security claims from veterans with a Veterans Affairs Department disability compensation rating of 100 percent permanent and total have a new process that will treat their applications as high priority and issue expedited decisions.

Carolyn W. Colvin, acting Social Security commissioner, said the new process is similar to the way the agency currently handles disability claims from wounded warriors.

FOOD NETWORK and the producers behind GUY'S GROCERY GAMES are gearing up for the much anticipated 5th Season of THE GREAT FOOD TRUCK RACE! Have you been dreaming of owning and operating your very own food truck? Well, you are in luck! Acclaimed chef and host of The Great Food Truck Race, TYLER FLORENCE, is once again giving you the opportunity to START YOUR OWN FOOD TRUCK!

YOUR DREAM. YOUR CUISINE. And YOUR cooking skills transformed into your very own mobile restaurant!

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Mar. 13, 2014 - First Lady Michelle Obama hosted military children and their families at the White House yesterday for a special screening of the Disney motion picture "Muppets Most Wanted," with an opening address by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey.

The event was part of the Joining Forces initiative, established in April 2011 by the first lady and Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden's wife, to mobilize support for military families and veterans by all sectors of society.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Mar. 12, 2014 - It was called The Great War even as it was going on. It engulfed the world, and the world is still feeling its effects.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, and U.S. officials are gearing up to mark the centennial.

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Mar. 12, 2014 - In a small office on the second floor of the Pentagon's "D" ring, the world's largest provider of assistive technologies helps thousands of wounded service members and disabled federal employees stay and advance in the workplace.

The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program, or CAP, was established in 1990 to provide assistive technology and accommodations at no cost to make sure people with disabilities have equal access and opportunities at the Defense Department. The program has since expanded to include 68 federal partner organizations.

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., Feb. 25, 2014 - A soldier-turned-scribe conducted a writing workshop at the College of William and Mary here Feb. 22-23, the latest in an ongoing, no-cost series of seminars and workshops for veterans, active and reserve service members, and military family members.

The seminars are part of the Veterans Writing Project, a nonprofit program based in Washington, D.C., and founded by veterans and family members.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2014 - Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey wants feedback from service members on the fiscal year 2015 defense budget request that he and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel outlined to reporters at the Pentagon yesterday.

In an interview in his Pentagon office posted on Facebook, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff asked service members to contact him about their feelings on the budget in general and the pay, compensation and health care portion of the proposal, in particular.

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2014 - Because Defense Department leaders believe personal financial readiness equals mission readiness, officials want service members to "set a goal, make a plan and save automatically" in the Military Saves Week campaign that starts today, a senior Pentagon official said.

Military Saves is a year-long campaign with DOD partner the Consumer Federation of America as part of the larger America Saves effort, said Barbara Thompson, director of the Defense Department's office of family policy and children and youth.

By Marine Corps Sgt. Justin M. Boling
Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps

FORT MEADE, Md., Feb. 13, 2014 - A UH-1Y Venom helicopter pilot received the British Distinguished Flying Cross yesterday at the British Embassy in Washington.

Marine Corps Capt. Brian Jordan, the second Marine aviator to earn the medal since World War II, was honored for his actions June 21, 2012, while deployed in Afghanistan

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 - The sacrifice made nearly 70 years ago by the unknown U.S. service member from World War II "helped change the tide of human history and deepen the bonds between [France and the United States]," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during a ceremony today at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

At the ceremony, French President Francois Hollande presented the Legion of Honor, France's highest military award, to the unknown service member. The ceremony was part of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion that led to the liberation of Europe.

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2014 - First Lady Michelle Obama announced today that more than 100 construction industry companies have committed to hiring more than 100,000 military veterans over the next five years.

Obama and Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez delivered remarks at the National Symposium on Veterans' Employment in Construction, hosted at the Labor Department.

Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2014 – The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command is warning about a new website scam in which criminals are attempting to take advantage of soldiers and their families.

The “My Army Benefits” website is not an official website, officials said, and is neither affiliated with nor endorsed in any way by the United States Army.

by Staff Sgt. Ian Hoachlander
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – Reading a book is a reward in and of itself, but that does not always persuade children to read. To help promote literacy, the Air Force Personnel Center is sponsoring an incentive reading program until March 7.

The One Page at a Time program is open to youth ages five through 13 years, who are eligible to use force support squadron facilities. This program is designed to drive youths to read books, document their literary accomplishments, and earn incentives for each level of their literary successes.

by Janis El Shabazz
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – An up-to-date family care plan can help to ease stress and boost family resilience and readiness during a service member’s absence. 

Family care plans are instructions developed by service members to identify caregivers who have agreed to take care of family members during the sponsor’s absence. 

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2014 - The Defense Department has made troops' health records electronically available to the Veterans Affairs Department to speed up the adjudication of disability claims, a DOD health information technology official said.

Now in place for service members who have separated or discharged from the military since Jan. 1, the Health Artifact and Image Management Solution, or HAIMS, electronic system makes certified military service treatment records automatically available to VA to determine disability benefits when a claim is filed, said David M. Bowen, director of health information technology at the Defense Health Agency.

From a Department of Veterans Affairs News Release

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2014 - The Veterans Affairs Department today launched a new online tool to make it easier for veterans, service members and family members to calculate their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and learn more about VA's approved colleges, universities and other education and training programs across the country.

"We are pleased that Post-9/11 veterans are taking advantage of this significant benefit program," said Allison A. Hickey, undersecretary of veterans affairs for benefits. "The new GI Bill Comparison Tool will help future beneficiaries as they make decisions about what education or training program best fits their needs."

From a Department of Labor News Release

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2014 - The Labor Department has awarded two grants totaling $900,000 to fund services provided by the department's Veterans' Employment and Training Service, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez announced yesterday.

Grants of $450,000 each were awarded through the department's Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program to Advocates for Human Potential Inc. in Sudbury, Mass., and the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans in the nation's capital.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2014 - The Defense Department will launch a review of the military awards and decoration process, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel asked for the review, Kirby told reporters during a news conference. It will look at the process from distinguishing devices through the Medal of Honor.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2014 - The Defense Department is releasing a draft request for proposals, or RFP, to modernize the military health system, the program manager for the effort said yesterday.

The draft is designed to involve private industry early in the government's requirements for the Healthcare Management Systems Modernization project, Navy Capt. John H. Windom said. The program seeks to modernize the DOD electronic health record while also working to make it interoperable with Department of Veterans Affairs and private provider electronic medical records.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2014 - Contrary to some news reports, there are no plans to close military commissaries, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

But Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey added that the budget environment is forcing the department to look for savings anywhere possible.

by Staff Sgt. Ian Hoachlander
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" – It’s that time of year again when people resolve to lose weight, get in shape and eat healthier, which takes dedication and determination.

To help Airmen and their families achieve those goals, the Air Force offers the Air Force FitFamily initiative which encourages families to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle. More than 20,000 family members participate in the FitFamily initiative, launched Jan. 30, 2010 as part of the Year of the Air Force Family.

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2014 - Military spouses who need guidance on education and careers have a new online tool at their fingertips, a program analyst for the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program, known as SECO, said in an interview last week.

"My Individual Career Plan," or MyICP, allows spouses to build a virtual career roadmap based on their specific goals and objectives, Lee McMahon said.

MyICP launched Jan. 10 on Military OneSource's MySECO website, the primary access point for the Defense Department's Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program, McMahon said.

By Tim Hipps
Army Installation Management Command

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Jan. 27, 2014 - Nine soldiers in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program are members of the U.S. Olympic Team that will compete at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, scheduled for Feb. 7 through 24 in Sochi, Russia.

The U.S. Olympic Committee officially announced the team today.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2014 - A Navy officer poised to become the service's first woman and the military's first African-American woman to achieve four-star rank will be a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama tonight as President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address.

Vice Adm. Michelle J. Howard, currently the deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy, was nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate in December to receive her fourth star and assignment as the vice chief of naval operations.

By Claudette Roulo

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2014 - The Defense Imagery Management Operations Center recently signed a $5 million agreement to digitize, store and provide access to hundreds of thousands of historical images.

DIMOC is the Defense Department's central repository for visual imagery. It exists to preserve visual records first for the DOD, and then for other agencies and members of the public, said Mike Edrington, DIMOC director. Those images are then made available via defenseimagery.mil.

By Jim Garamone

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2014 - The U.S. military will do everything it can to ensure that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is returned from enemy captivity and reunited with his family, said Rear Adm. John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary.

The 27-year-old soldier disappeared in 2009 and was believed captured by the Haqqani network. A video in which he appears, which the military believes was recently made, surfaced yesterday.

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2014 - The U.S. Office of Personnel Management conducted a webcast today to explain the process of applying military service time toward civil service retirement.

"In order for the [military] service to be creditable, you have to make a deposit," said OPM's Karen McManus "The deposit has to be made on service that was performed after 1956. Before 1956, they can just get credit for it."

By Nick Simeone

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2014 - If it hasn't arrived yet, your 2013 W-2 wage and tax statement likely is on its way, and with it the countdown toward the April 15 tax filing deadline.

As preparations begin for the upcoming tax season, military families are being offered a free service to ensure they can meet that deadline from anywhere they may be stationed around the world.

From a Department of Veterans Affairs News Release

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2014 - Veterans Affairs Department officials today announced the availability of about $600 million in grants through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program for nonprofit organizations and consumer cooperatives that serve very low-income veteran families occupying permanent housing.

"Those who have served our nation should never find themselves on the streets, living without hope," VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said. "These grants play a critical role in addressing veteran homelessness by assisting our vital partners at the local level in their efforts. We are making good progress towards our goal to end veterans' homelessness, but we still have work to do."

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2014 - TRICARE military health plan service centers will end administrative walk-in services in the United States on April 1, Pentagon officials said today.

While the 189 facilities will stop taking walk-ins, beneficiaries can accomplish any administrative task online or by phone, said Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren.

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2014 - The Defense Department and Sesame Street have unveiled a book and DVD to develop resilience in young children.

Barbara Thompson, the director of the office of family policy/children and youth said "Little Children, BIG Challenges" lets military children know that challenges are a part of life. Whether a child struggles with sitting quietly at the dinner table, or faces a bully at school, the beloved Sesame Street characters can help.

From a Defense Department News Release

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2014 - The Army announced today it will restructure its warrior transition units as the service prepares for a scheduled withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and a continued decline in the number of combat wounded.

Warrior transition units are located at major military treatment facilities and provide support to wounded, ill and injured soldiers who require at least six months of rehabilitative care and complex medical management.

by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" - Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard pararescue Airmen may be eligible to apply for a limited period recall to extended active duty, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced.

Extended active duty tours will be limited to one, two or three years. Applicants selected for the program will enter active duty in their current pay grade, and will be assigned to the 68th Rescue Flight, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., said Master Sgt. Taneshia Lucas, AFPC enlisted accessions.

Illinois Army National Guard 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill, Jan. 9, 2014 - More than 30 Illinois Army National Guard mechanics were activated yesterday to support the winter storm efforts.

Soldiers from across Illinois responded to Gov. Pat Quinn's request to supplement the supporting efforts of Illinois Central Management Services to the Illinois Department of Transportation with truck repair and maintenance of winter storm equipment degraded by the events over the last week.

By David Vergun
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2014 - The National Defense Authorization Act passed last month requires sweeping changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, particularly in cases of rape and sexual assault.

"These are the most changes to the Manual for Courts-Martial that we've seen since a full committee studied it decades ago," said Lt. Col. John L. Kiel Jr., the policy branch chief at the Army's Criminal Law Division in the Office of the Judge Advocate General.

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2014 - The Defense Department announced today changes in imminent danger pay that will go into effect June 1, DOD spokesman Army Col. Steven Warren told reporters here.

"This is a process that began [in 2011]," he said, and "included in-depth threat assessment from the combatant commands. It was made in coordination with the Joint Staff, combatant commands and military services."

from TRICARE news release
12/23/2013

The TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) offers comprehensive dental coverage to all enrolled members. Available to retired service members and their family, retired National Guard and Reserve members and their family, Medal of Honor recipients, their family and survivors, TRDP is currently open for enrollment.

TRDP covers diagnostic and preventive services, like exams and cleanings at 100 percent. Emergency services and basic restorative services, like fillings, are covered at 80 percent. The annual deductible is $50 per person, each benefit year, and $150 per family per benefit year. The annual maximum benefit is $1,300 per person per year for enhanced enrollees; this is an increase of $100 from last year.  The annual maximum for orthodontia increased from $1500 to $1750. For more information, visit www.tricare.mil/Dental/TRDP/Costs.

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2013 - Taking on the task of sorting hundreds of holiday toy and gift donations from White House staff, First Lady Michelle Obama lent a hand to the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots campaign here yesterday.

Obama greeted 10 to 15 local military families accompanied by their children, ages 6 to 11 years old, as they all pitched in at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling to help less-fortunate children receive holiday gifts. Each family brought a gift and helped Obama sort them by age and gender into large boxes.

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2013 - On Christmas Eve, tens of thousands of children around the globe will gather around their family telephones and computers to track the path of Santa Claus as he makes his rounds delivering gifts on his sleigh led by tiny reindeer.

On the receiving end of the emails, phone calls, mobile "NORAD Santa" applications, website trackers, Facebook followers, Tweets and other social media inquiries into Santa's journey will stand a cadre of 1,250 volunteers to field children's questions at the North American Aerospace Defense Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo. NORAD has conducted the Santa tracking program for 58 years, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Bill Lewis, a NORAD spokesman.

*IMMEDIATE RELEASE* *No. NR-079-13
December 17, 2013* 

The Department of Defense released today the 2014 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates, which take effect Jan. 1, 2014.  Overall rates will increase an average of five percent this year.    

On average, BAH rates for members with dependents will increase approximately $79 per month and $76 for members without dependents.  A typical mid-grade enlisted member with dependents, for example, will find his/her BAH about $79 per month higher than last year, while a typical junior officer without dependents will find his/her BAH about $76 higher than last year.   

By C. Todd Lopez

Army News Service

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 16, 2013 - Volunteers placed more than 143,000 wreaths on gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery here Dec. 14 as part of the 22nd annual "Wreaths Across America" event.

The wreaths were manufactured by the Worcester Wreath Co. of Harrington, Maine, and came to the cemetery by truck over the week in advance of the event. Donors and the Worcester Wreath Co. paid for the wreaths. 

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr. 
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2013 - The Defense Department has expanded its zero tolerance for the use of illicit drugs to include synthetic marijuana, also known as "spice," the director of DOD's drug testing and program policy said here today.

In an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel, Army Lt. Col. Tom Martin said that in addition to the broad range of drugs for which the military already randomly tests service members, synthetic marijuana will also be included.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2013 - All eligible service members, dependents and retirees -- including same-sex couples -- are now able to obtain Defense Department identification cards in every state, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced today.

On Oct. 31, Hagel called on the chief of the National Guard Bureau to work with the adjutants general of several states to fully implement Defense Department policy by providing DOD ID cards to all eligible military spouses, regardless of sexual orientation.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. NR-055-13
December 09, 2013  

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, has been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

U.S. Air Force Col. Francis J. McGouldrick Jr. of New Haven, Conn., will be buried Dec. 13, at Arlington National Cemetery.  On Dec. 13, 1968, McGouldrick was on a night strike mission when his B-57E Canberra aircraft collided with another aircraft over Savannakhet Province, Laos.  McGouldrick was never seen again and was listed as missing in action.

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2013 - First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday hosted a group of military spouses and children during a preview tour of this year's festive Christmas holiday decorations adorning the rooms of the White House.

Tributes to U.S. service members and their families are abundant in White House holiday décor, the first lady noted when she greeted military family members in the East Room.

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2013 - With a month left before the start of tax season, service members should begin gathering documentation to file their 2013 taxes, the director of the Pentagon's office of family policy and children and youth said.

In a recent interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel, Barbara Thompson suggested visiting the Military OneSource website for tax filing resources, and to learn what will be necessary to file, such as W2 forms, Social Security numbers and receipts for deductions such as child care, education, medical expenses and donations, among other write-offs.

By David Vergun
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2013 - Soldiers in every war have risked their lives to defend America. In many cases, their valor has been above and beyond the call of duty. For their service, they receive Purple Heart Medals for wounds, and for valor they might earn Bronze Star Medals, Silver Star Medals or others.

It may seem hard to fathom, but there are many who claim to have earned medals to which they are not entitled. Others say they've served in combat but never have.

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 26, 2013 - Real warriors ask for help when they need it. Like retired Army Maj. Ed Pulido, who sought out the help he and his family needed after he was wounded in Baqubah, Iraq.

Pulido's vehicle hit a roadside bomb in August 2004. He suffered shrapnel wounds to the left side of his body and broke his knee in three places. Surgeons were unable to repair the damage to his leg, and it was amputated almost two months after he was wounded.

Katie Couric has a special upcoming taping and we would love to have you be a part of our live studio audience. If you are in the NYC area and would like to attend a taping on the afternoon of December 18th, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In the subject line of the email, write MILITARY WIFE and in the body let me know your first and last name and a contact number to reach you at. I look forward to hearing from you!

Jenny Rodriguez
Katie Audience Coordinator | 1iota Productions, LLC

E:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. P: 212-456-4644
W: http://www.1iota.com

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2013 - Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy joined with a coalition of private-sector partners from the telecommunications industry to launch "Warriors 4 Wireless," a new nonprofit program aimed at connecting veterans and returning service members to jobs in the rapidly growing wireless telecommunications industry.

A White House release said the program includes stakeholders from Joining Forces -- a national initiative that provides opportunities and support to military members and their families -- as well as from the private sector, the federal government, the U.S. military, and industry trade associations committed to scaling successful training models for veterans with wireless-relevant skills.

Departments of Veterans Affairs
/Housing and Urban Development

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2013 - The Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development today announced that a new national report shows a 24-percent drop in homelessness among veterans since 2010.

The report also showed an 8 percent reduction between January 2012 and January 2013. The decline keeps U.S. government plans on track to meet the goal of ending veterans' homelessness in 2015.

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2013 - Reading, writing and arithmetic might be easier for some people than others, but for service members and veterans with traumatic brain injuries, returning to school can be challenging.

Whether it's attending college, technical school or honing skills to re-enter the workplace, service members and veterans now have access to a comprehensive guide that covers topics from A to Z to help them go back to school, said Navy Lt. Cdr. Cathleen Shields, acting director of education at the Veterans Brain Injury Center.

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2013 - While programs are in place to combat predatory lending practices that target service members and their families, better rules and enforcement are needed, witnesses told a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee yesterday.

Predatory lending practices impact not only a service member's financial readiness, but also mission readiness, witnesses told lawmakers in a hearing about the lending practices targeted towards the military.

They have a mobile Christmas app which they believe would benefit spouses of military personal either deployed or away from their family during the Christmas holiday. The app will create a Christmas video of Santa and his reindeer coming to the family's home.

The video will begin with a jolly Santa Claus flying across the sky with his reindeer, then landing on the roof of the user's home. Once inside, Santa will be shown placing gifts under the tree and writing the letter to the children before walking over to the plate of cookies and taking a bite. After a final farewell, Santa disappears back into his sleigh and heads into the night.

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2013 - Service members' families also serve the nation and are the force behind the total force, a senior Defense Department official said yesterday.

"Our military members are as effective as they can be because of the support their families provide them," Barbara Thompson, director of DOD's office of family policy and children and youth told American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel. "[DOD] wants to make sure the people who are important in the lives of our service members -- spouses, children, parents, partners, aunts, uncles, siblings and cousins -- are part of the military family."

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2013 - Defense Department and Transportation Security Administration officials today announced a partnership to expand "TSA Precheck" expedited screening benefits to all U.S. armed forces service members, including those serving in the Coast Guard, Reserves and National Guard, during their official or leisure travel.

As a result of the agreement, these individuals will be able to enjoy the benefits of the program at the 100 participating airports across the country beginning Dec. 20, officials said.

From a Defense Commissary Agency News Release

FORT LEE, Va., Nov. 12, 2013 - Cashiers at military commissaries soon will begin scanning customers' Defense Department ID cards as part of the checkout process, Defense Commissary Agency officials said.

The commissary here, where DeCA has its headquarters, became the first store to scan ID cards Oct. 22 as the first part of a rollout throughout the agency that began Nov. 10 and will be completed by mid-January, officials said.

Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2013 - The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs reaffirmed their commitment to serve and care for the nation's military veterans in a joint message issued by Acting Undersecretary of Defense Jessica L. Wright and Undersecretary of Veterans Affairs for Benefits Allison A. Hickey.

The message reads as follows:

Defense Intelligence Agency

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2013 - Two extraordinary groups of people will be honored today during a ceremony at the Defense Intelligence Agency's headquarters at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling here.

Four heroes will be inducted into the DIA Patriots Memorial and three former employees will receive the agency's Torch Bearers Award. DIA will add four names to its Patriots Memorial, which commemorates DIA employees and others who have died in service to the United States and commemorates their exceptional sacrifice in support of DIA's mission.

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2013 - Every day is Veterans Day in the federal sector's quest to help former servicemen and women find employment, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez said yesterday during an event to honor to the nation's military veterans.

At the department's annual veterans' recognition, Perez said federal agencies working together have made significant strides in helping veterans find jobs, but work remains to be done.

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

COLUMBUS, Ga., Nov. 6, 2013 - Healthy military families are essential to guaranteeing the health of the overall force, the country's senior noncommissioned officer said here today.

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Lisa, addressed Military Family Summit attendees at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center here.

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2013 - In a show of commitment and support to those who serve alongside uniformed service members, 60 new corporations joined the Military Spouse Employment Partnership in an induction ceremony here today.

With a prolific career in both government and the private sector, Frank Vollrath, assistant secretary of defense for readiness and force management, praised MSEP's global success rate.

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2013 - Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, joined Senate spouses and White House interns yesterday to help USO volunteers in putting together "warrior care packs" to aid wounded, injured and ill troops in their recovery process.

The event was hosted on the grounds of the vice president's residence, where Biden emphasized the importance of everyone coming together to help wounded service members, citing the Joining Forces campaign she has championed with First Lady Michelle Obama over the last two years.

From an Office of Personnel Management News Release

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2013 - The federal government's executive branch hired the highest percentage of military veterans in more than 20 years during fiscal year 2012, surpassing the previous high set in fiscal 2011, Office of Personnel Management officials announced today.

The numbers were contained in the report of Employment of Veterans in the Federal Executive Branch for Fiscal Year 2012, which also was released today.

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2013 - Service members who deploy or are otherwise separated from their families due to mission needs now have an online resource allowing them to hone their parenting skills as they reconnect with their children. Pam Murphy, the Defense Department's lead psychologist for the website, said the launch of http://www.militaryparenting.org offers unprecedented, comprehensive and free computer-based training from a service member's perspective on parenting and building strong relationships with their children.

A clinical psychologist with more than 20 years of experience in community and private practice, Murphy said the Integrated Mental Health Strategy Program is a collaborative initiative between the Veterans Affairs Department and DOD.

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2013 - Pentagon officials announced a plan today that will enable the military services to resume conducting community and public outreach activities in the new fiscal year, but at a significantly reduced capacity. This cost-cutting measure will yield a savings of $104 million in fiscal year 2014.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel outlined the Pentagon's new strategic approach to community outreach in an internal memorandum to service chiefs and other military leaders. Many activities, including the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds air demonstration teams, will resume, but at a more limited frequency than in previous years.

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2013 - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Army Secretary John M. McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno inducted former Army Capt. William D. Swenson into the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes today during a ceremony at the Pentagon.

President Barack Obama presented Swenson with the Medal of Honor at the White House yesterday. He was nominated for his actions while serving as an embedded trainer for the 1st Zone Afghan National Border Police. Swenson is the first Army officer to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War and the sixth living recipient from the war in Afghanistan.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 717-13
October 11, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, from World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors

Army Air Force 1st Lt. Robert G. Fenstermacher, 23, of Scranton, Pa., will be buried on Oct. 18, in Arlington National Cemetery. On Dec. 26, 1944, Fenstermacher was a pilot of a P-47D Thunderbolt that was on an armed-reconnaissance mission against targets in Germany, when his aircraft crashed, near Petergensfeld, Belgium.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 716-13
October 11, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that two U.S. Marines missing in action from World War II, have been accounted for and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Henry S. White, 23, of Kansas City, Mo., and Staff Sgt. Thomas L. Meek, 19, of Lisbon, La., will be buried as a group in a single casketrepresenting the two servicemen, on Oct. 18, at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 715-13

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing from the Vietnam War, have been accounted for and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert E. Pietsch, 31, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Maj. Louis F. Guillermin, 25, of West Chester, Pa.,will be buried as a group Oct. 16, in a single casket representing the two servicemen at Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.  Guillermin's individual remains weres buried Oct. 5, 2013, in Broomall, Pa.

Defense Health Agency

FALLS CHURCH, Va., Oct. 10, 2013 - The Affordable Care Act, also known as the health care law, was created to expand access to affordable health care coverage, lower costs, and improve quality and care coordination for all Americans.

Under the health care law, people will have health coverage that meets a minimum standard (called "minimum essential coverage") by January 1, 2014, qualify for an exemption, or may be required to pay a fee if they have affordable options, but remain uninsured. Because of this, many TRICARE beneficiaries may be wondering how this new law will affect them and their families.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2013 - The Fisher House Foundation has stepped in to aid the Defense Department so families of fallen service members can receive the full set of benefits they have been promised, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said here today.

The Fisher House Foundation and DOD entered an agreement that includes the $100,000 death gratuity payment.

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2013 - Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki painted a dire picture today of the impact of the government shutdown on benefits and services to veterans -- from a slowdown in claims reviews to the threat of cancelled compensation checks to more than 5 million beneficiaries if funding isn't restored soon.

"All the effects ... are negative," Shinseki reported during testimony before the House Veterans Affairs Committee. "It is an impediment to VA's ability to deliver services and benefits that veterans have earned through their service."

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2013 - The Defense Department continues to assist service members and their families in preparing for the transition to civilian life with a new virtual curriculum, a Defense Department official said here.

During a telephone interview with American Forces Press Service, Susan S. Kelly, director of the Transition to Veterans Program office, discussed the redesign of the Transition Assistance Program and its evolution to include the Transition GPS virtual curriculum on the Joint Knowledge Online portal, or JKO, which became available today.

DALLAS - The Army & Air Force Exchange Service, in conjunction with New Balance, is helping wounded service members take a step forward in their recovery process with free athletic shoes through the Wounded Care program.

Since 2007, the Exchange and New Balance have provided complimentary footwear to service members who have been injured in action. More than 400 free pairs have been provided to Wounded Warriors this year alone.

2013 Support our Troops: Veterans Resource & Career Fair

Who:        Vetready: Putting our Veterans Back to Work

What:       Support Our Troops Resource & Career fair

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2013 - DOD officials today issued guidance to the force in the event appropriations lapse Oct. 1 and a government shutdown results.

Officials emphasize they still hope Congress can avoid that but say it is prudent to take such steps.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2013 - President Barack Obama has issued a proclamation designating Sept. 29 Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day, to honor the families of the fallen.  The following is the text of the Presidential Proclamation:

In our city centers and our bustling parks, monuments stand dedicated to visionary leaders and singular moments in the life of our Republic. But in empty seats at family dinners and folded flags above the mantle, we find the constant thread of our Nation's character -- the truth that America endures because it is home to an unbroken line of patriots willing to lay down their lives for the land they love. As we honor the men and women who gave their last full measure of devotion, we hold close the families left behind.

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2013 - The Defense Department has announced the transition of the Kosovo Campaign Medal to the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

In a Sept. 19 memorandum, Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica L. Wright stated that the KCM recognized the significant contributions of U.S. military personnel in support of Operation Joint Guardian since 1999 as part of the NATO-led Kosovo Force.

Department of Defense Education Activity News Release

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 24, 2013 – Three Department of Defense Education Activity schools were recognized by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools.

Seoul Middle School in Korea, Lakenheath Middle School in England, and Kingsolver Elementary School at Fort Campbell, Ky., all received the honor. The Blue Ribbon Schools Program annually recognizes approximately 300 public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students are performing at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in student achievement levels.

by Staff Sgt. Ian Hoachlander 
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" – The Air Force Personnel Center plans to reduce access Airmen have to the Automated Records Management System – better known as ARMS – on AFPC Secure Sept. 30.

ARMS consolidated active duty, Reserve and Air National Guard military personnel records from each installation during the last few years. This has reduced manpower, cut costs and improved customer service.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 670-13
September 19, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of Air Force pilots Maj. James E. Sizemore of Lawrenceville, Ill., and Maj. Howard V. Andre Jr., of Memphis, Tenn., have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors on Sept. 23 at Arlington National Cemetery.

On July 8, 1969, Sizemore and Andre were on a night armed reconnaissance mission when their A-26A Invader aircraft crashed in Xiangkhoang Province, Laos. Both men died in the crash but their remains were unaccounted for until April 2013.

We are a national military charity, a registered 501c3 non-profit, www.thanksabunch.org .  Our charter is to give away $50 Dinner Cards to all military and 'First Responders' - police, firefighters, and paramedics.

In order to get these free dinner cards in the hands of as many servicemen, servicewomen, veterans, and 1st responders as possible, we solicit one auto dealership to run a Hero Appreciation Week where these American heroes can stop by the business location and pick up a $50 dinner card, with no strings attached and no obligation to purchase anything.

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2013 - If you're mourning the end of summer ? and with it, the annual vacation season ? take heart that military lodging facilities remain open for business, offering year-round escapes at a fraction of the cost of commercial hotels.

Now might be the perfect time for qualified fun seekers to use their military, retiree or Defense Department identification cards to book lodging at one of hundreds of military-owned accommodations all over the world.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 664-13
September 18, 2013

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is Friday, Sept. 20, 2013.  Each year the president issues a proclamation asking Americans to observe the day as a remembrance of the nation's service members who were held prisoner or are still missing, and their families.

The day's events include a Pentagon commemoration ceremony hosting former prisoners of war, family members, military service members and distinguished guests.  Traditionally held on the third Friday in September, the event will include formal military honors and remarks from a keynote speaker.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2013 - President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to former Army Capt. William Swenson for conspicuous gallantry during Sept. 8, 2009, combat operations in Afghanistan's Kunar province.

At the time, Swenson served as an embedded trainer and mentor of the Afghan national security forces with Afghan Border Police Mentor Team, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2013 - Fantasizing about an exotic getaway but finding yourself strapped for cash? A "Space-A" seat aboard a military aircraft might be just your ticket to that vacation of your dreams.

Military-owned or -contracted aircraft fly to more places than many people realize, even to areas without U.S. military installations. When all mission-related passengers and cargo are accommodated, empty seats are offered up to eligible passengers on a space-available basis.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 651-13
September 12, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Force 2nd Lt. Valorie L. Pollard of Monterey, Calif. and Sgt. Dominick J. Licari of Frankfort, N.Y. will be buried as a group in a single casket, on Sept. 19 at Arlington National Cemetery. The individually-identified remains of Licari were buried on Aug. 6 in Frankfort, N.Y.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 651-13
September 12, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Force 2nd Lt. Valorie L. Pollard of Monterey, Calif. and Sgt. Dominick J. Licari of Frankfort, N.Y. will be buried as a group in a single casket, on Sept. 19 at Arlington National Cemetery. The individually-identified remains of Licari were buried on Aug. 6 in Frankfort, N.Y.

by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" -You may be able to transfer your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to a family member, but if you wait until you're ready to retire or separate or until your dependent children are ready to go to college, it may be too late, Air Force Personnel Center officials said.

Because the Air Force program is tied to retention, only those on active duty after Aug. 1, 2009 are eligible to transfer benefits. Airmen must also have at least six years of service (active duty and/or selected Reserve) on the date of election and agree to serve four additional years.

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

FORT BELVOIR, Va., Sept. 11, 2013 – First Lady Michelle Obama and actor Gary Sinise paused for arts and crafts with young people during their tour of the new USO Warrior and Family Center here in honor of Patriot Day and National Service Day of Remembrance.

Located adjacent to Warrior Transition Unit and the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, the Warrior and Family Center provides a hub for programs and activities that promote physical health and recreation, family strengthening, positive behavioral health, education, employment and community reintegration.

by Staff Sgt. Ian Hoachlander
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" - The number of Airmen and families moving overseas without the proper passport or VISA is increasing, according to Air Force Personnel Center officials.

This costs Airmen time and money during a permanent change of station, and it's a waste of Air Force funds as well.

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29, 2013 - As a new school year begins, a Department of Veterans Affairs official announced today that VA will nearly triple the number of colleges and universities it partners with to offer on-campus vocational and rehabilitative VA counseling through its "VetSuccess on Campus" program.

Curt Coy, VA's deputy undersecretary for economic opportunity, told reporters during a conference call that the program, which began in 2009, will expand from its existing 32 campuses to 94. Its primary goal is to provide on-campus counseling and referral services to student veterans as they transition to civilian life, Coy said.

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2013 - Department of Defense Education Activity students, parents and employees should expect quite a few changes in the upcoming school year, the DODEA director said in an Aug. 23 interview.

Those changes will be both visible and behind the scenes, but they all are geared toward improving the quality of education at DODEA schools, Marilee Fitzgerald told American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21, 2013 - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs today announced the second round of HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing funding to local public housing agencies across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

The $7.8 million in added funding will provide housing and clinical services for 1,120 currently homeless veterans.

By Ellen Crown
U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Aug. 15, 2013 - Experts from the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs gathered here yesterday to discuss the future of veterans' mental health and traumatic brain injury research efforts at the Military Health System Research Symposium.

Discussion leaders included Health Affairs Director of Medical Research Dr. Terry Rauch, Acting Chief Officer of the VA Office of Research and Development Dr. Timothy O'Leary, U.S. Army's Combat Casualty Care Research Program Director Col. Dallas Hack, Deputy Director of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center Katherine Helmick, and Uniformed Services University School of Medicine's Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress Director Dr. Robert Ursano.

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 2013 - Today, the Department of Defense announced its plan to extend benefits to same-sex spouses of uniformed service members and Department of Defense civilian employees, according to a DOD news release issued today.

After a review of the department's benefit policies following the Supreme Court's ruling that Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, and in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies, the Defense Department will make spousal and family benefits available no later than Sept. 3, 2013, regardless of sexual orientation, as long as service member-sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 575-13

August 09, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. service member, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Corps Pfc. Jonathan R. Posey Jr., 20, of Dallas, will be buried Aug. 12 in Arlington National Cemetery. In December 1950, Posey, assigned to L Battery, 4th Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, was serving provisionally as an infantryman with the 7th Marine Regiment at Yudam-ni in the vicinity of the Chosin Reservoir. On Dec. 2, 1950, Posey was killed in action while the 5th and 7th Marine Regiments were withdrawing to Hagaru-ri.

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From a TRICARE Management Activity News Release

FALLS CHURCH, Va., Aug. 7, 2013 - The Defense Department will reduce the number of TRICARE Prime service areas in the United States beginning Oct. 1, affecting about 171,000 retirees and their family members.

Those beneficiaries, who mostly reside more than 40 miles from a military clinic or hospital, received a letter earlier this year explaining their options. They will receive a second letter later this month.

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By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2013 - As part of the Integrated Mental Health Strategy, the Defense Department's National Center for Telehealth and Technology and the Veterans Affairs Department's mental health informatics section have partnered to develop an interactive online educational and life-coaching program. Moving Forward, at http://www.startmovingforward.org, is designed to teach problem-solving skills to members of the military community, Dr. Robert Ciulla, director of the mobile health program at the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, told American Forces Press Service today.

Moving Forward is focused on addressing stress -- specifically, recognizing when a person is stressed, identifying stressors and developing stress management skills.

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by Master Sgt. Marvin Preston
Air National Guard Readiness Center Public Affairs

8/7/2013 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- The schedule of a military spouse is an arduous one.

Appointments, dinners, and family time are vital to maintaining the normalcy that can strain military life. Add volunteerism and the schedule can get as challenging as that of the crafter at the grinding wheel, but a military spouse is earnestly involved and focused.

Alicia Hinds Ward, the 2013 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year, is another in the long line of military mothers and spouses who work a multitude of tasks -- seemingly at the same time.

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Calling all CHEFS and PROFESSIONAL COOKS! Food Network is giving you a chance to win up to $20,000!

Do you have the ability to make something out of nothing? Can your recipes prove as inventive as they are delicious?

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2013 - Savings and the ability to reprogram funds made possible today's announcement by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that unpaid furlough days for about 650,000 civilian employees are being reduced.

Hagel signed a memo cutting furlough days for about 650,000 Defense Department civilian employees from 11 to six. This means that for most employees, the furlough will be over Aug. 17.

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DALLAS - The Army & Air Force Exchange Service and The Walt Disney Studios are teaming up to offer first-run films to military families at continental United States Exchange movie theaters.

The agreement marks the first time in the Exchange's 118-year history that movies will be shown at continental United States Exchange theaters on the same day of general market release. First-run movies have previously only been available at Exchange theaters outside the continental United States.

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2013 - A White House and Defense Department challenge to hire 50,000 military spouses by the end of 2015 surpassed its goal Aug. 1, the acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness told members of the Defense Department's Military Family Readiness Council at the Pentagon today.

The effort to hire 50,000 spouses reached fruition through the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, a group of more than 180 employers that vowed to recruit military spouses, Jessica Wright said.

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By Tim Hipps
U.S. Army Installation Management Command

SAN ANTONIO, Aug. 6, 2013 - A group that got its start in Army Entertainment is the driving force behind the American Military Spouses Choir, an "America's Got Talent" quarterfinalist scheduled to perform tonight at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

The show will be televised live on NBC at 9 p.m. EDT.

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From a Department of Veterans Affairs News Release

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2013 - The Department of Veterans Affairs announced yesterday that veterans filing an original fully developed claim for service-connected disability compensation may be entitled to up to one-year of retroactive disability benefits.

The retroactive benefits, which are in effect Aug. 6, 2013, through Aug. 5, 2015, are a result of a comprehensive legislative package passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama last year.

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by Staff Sgt. Ian Hoachlander
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas"* - Airmen projected to deploy or have recently returned from a deployment can participate in the PLAYpass Get out and Play Program and save $500 to $1,000 on installation programs.

The PLAYpass program is based upon discount cards which provide eligible Airmen and family members the opportunity to participate in force support squadron programs for free or at a reduced cost.

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2013 - A soldier now serving at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., will receive the Medal of Honor for valor in combat in Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama will present the nation's highest award for battlefield gallantry to Army Staff Sgt. Ty Michael Carter in a White House ceremony Aug. 26.

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2013 - President Barack Obama has issued a proclamation marking July 27th as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.   The following is the text of the President's proclamation:

Today, America pauses to observe the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War -- a conflict that defined a generation and decided the fate of a nation. We remember the troops who hit the beaches when Communist forces were pressing south; who pushed back, and fought their way north through hard mountains and bitter cold. We remember ordinary men and women who showed extraordinary courage through 3 long years of war, fighting far from home to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met.

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From a Tricare News Release
7/24/2013  

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Effective October 1, 2013, all TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) beneficiaries will be required to pay their monthly premiums by an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or through military retired pay allotment.  The ability to pay premiums by check or through an online bill pay system will end in September.

Most TRDP enrollees will need to take no action; however, Delta Dental sent letters to all TRDP participants on July 19 with information on where to submit EFT authorization forms and how to submit an EFT authorization online at www.trdp.org.

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

MCLEAN, Va., July 24, 2013 - Two fallen Navy petty officers became the 18th and 19th recipients of the National Intelligence Medal for Valor in a July 22 ceremony at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence here. The families of Petty Officers 1st Class Jared W. Day and Michael J. Strange received the posthumous awards.

Calling Day and Strange "two young heroes who gave the last full measure of devotion to their country," Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper presented the medals in front of a standing-room-only gathering of families, friends and shipmates.

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By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2013 - Several government agencies are working on initiatives to improve educational success rates for service members, veterans and their families, senior Department of Veterans Affairs and consumer protection officials told lawmakers today.

Curtis L. Coy, deputy undersecretary for economic opportunity for VA's Veterans Benefits Administration, testified with several other witnesses before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on educational outcomes for military members and veterans. Holly Petraeus, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's assistant director for the Office of Servicemember Affairs, also testified.

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By Claudette RouloAmerican Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2013 - No matter what it takes, no matter how long it takes, the nation must continue to fulfill its sacred pledge to account for its missing warriors, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for prisoner of war and missing personnel affairs said today.

"We honor the sacrifices of our missing and the sacrifices of their families," W. Montague "Q" Winfield told attendees at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention in Louisville, Ky.

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By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2013 - Opening his address today to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention with a tribute to Korean War veterans, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called on the nation's 22 million veterans to become partners in helping the Defense Department work through "historic transition and change."

Every major conflict in U.S. history has been followed by a period of "realignment and redefinition," with "enormous ramifications and consequences for our entire defense enterprise," the secretary noted.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 521-13
July 18, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and have been returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Sgt. Bernard J. Fisher of Wilkes Barre, Pa., was buried July 16, in Arlington National Cemetery.  In January 1951, Fisher and elements of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment (IR), 24th Infantry Division (ID), were deployed northeast of Seoul, South Korea, where they were attacked by enemy forces. During the 19th IR attempt to delay the enemy forces from advancing, Fisher and his unit moved towards a more defensible position, when the unit suffered heavy losses.  It was during this attack, that Fisher was reported missing.

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 IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 522-13
July 18, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and have been returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Michael B. Judd of Cleveland was buried on July 15, in Arlington National Cemetery.  On June 30, 1967, Judd was aboard a CH-46A Sea Knight helicopter that was attempting to insert a U.S. Marine Corps reconnaissance team into hostile territory in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam.  As the helicopter approached the landing zone, it was struck by enemy fire from the surrounding tree line, causing the aircraft to catch fire.  The aircraft crashed landed.  Although most of the reconnaissance team to survived, Judd and four other crew members of the team, died in the crash.

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By Karen ParrishAmerican Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 10, 2013 - Senior officials from the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs assured Congress today that they are closing in on solutions that will alleviate the backlog of veterans' health benefit claims and streamline processing of current and future claims.

Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, testified along with Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, and Jessica L. Wright, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and witnesses from the Department of Veterans Affairs before the House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees.

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By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2013 - The Navy and Marine Corps spent the last decade moving away from their traditional supporting/supported roles, "and it's time to come back," Navy Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, the chief of naval operations, said today at a forum on the future of maritime forces.

For the Navy, Greenert said, that means maintaining a day-to-day presence where it matters, "and we've got to be there when it matters."

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From a Department of Veterans Affairs News Release

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2013 - Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki today announced the award of nearly $300 million in grants that will help approximately 120,000 homeless and at-risk veterans and their families.

The grants have been awarded to 319 community agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

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From a Defense Finance and Accounting Service News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, July 11, 2013 - Injured Army veteran Jeffrey Mittman and 29 other military veterans will be honored July 16 during Major League Baseball's All-Star Game held at Citi Field in Queens, home of the New York Mets.

Mittman and the other finalists were chosen by People magazine and MLB in their joint "Tribute for Heroes" campaign. Each finalist was selected after receiving the highest number of votes among other veterans representing their chosen MLB teams. Mittman will represent the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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By Donna MilesAmerican Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2013 - Forty years ago today, an enormous fire erupted at the National Personnel Records Center in suburban St. Louis. Burning uncontrollably for almost 24 hours, it destroyed some 16 million to 18 million military personnel records including official documents veterans need to apply for the benefits they've earned.

"It's like a MASH [Mobile Army Surgical Hospital] unit," Marta O'Neill, who heads the National Personnel Records Center's Preservation Lab, said during a telephone interview. "There may be 15 different routes that a record could take so we can still preserve the information and get the benefits to the veteran."

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., July 9, 2013 - Getting educators and care providers to understand the particular needs of military children is crucial, a Defense Department official told the Military Child Education Coalition's 15th National Training Seminar here today.

Charles E. Milam, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for Military Community and Family Policy, emphasized the need to work with local communities near military bases where three-quarters of military families generally live.  As an ex-Air Force child and former military spouse, Milam spoke about the challenges of military children through his own experiences.

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By Terri Moon Cronk

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2013 - While dodging financial scams seem to have become a part of life, Defense Department officials have measures to protect the military community from such circumstances, a senior Pentagon official said in a recent interview.

Scamming incidents in the military parallel those in the civilian community, Barbara Thompson, director of the Defense Department's office of family policy, children and youth, told American Forces Press Service.

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Now casting military women/moms/wives in southern California with amazing personalities for a new gameshow!!

Do you want to be a millionaire?

Do you have bills that need to be paid?

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6/28/2013 - TriCARE Release  

Understanding TRICARE health care options for National Guard and Reserve members can be confusing as it varies based on their duty status. When a member suffers or aggravates an injury, illness or disease while in a qualifying duty status, they may be eligible to receive care at the government's expense.

When activated for more than 30 days, Guard and Reserve members are eligible for TRICARE Prime. If a Guard or Reserve member gets injured or aggravates an existing injury or illness as a direct result of his or her duties during a period of activation less than 30 days, that Guard or Reserve member may be covered under line of duty (LOD) care or notice of eligibility (NOE) care for members of the Coast Guard. Weekend drill, summer training exercises and/or national disaster response are examples of activations for less than 30 days. For care received from a civilian provider, the Military Medical Support Office (MMSO) reviews the LOD/NOE case. For care received at a military hospital or clinic, the facility where care is received reviews the LOD/NOE case.

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By Karen ParrishAmerican Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2013 - About 50,000 service members will get refunds averaging $100 -- though some will be far higher --- after an enforcement action involving auto loans that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau officials announced today.

The bureau is ordering U.S. Bank and one of its nonbank partners, Dealers Financial Services, to return about $6.5 million to service members across the country, CFPB Director Richard Cordray told reporters during a conference call today.

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From a Department of Labor News Release

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2013 - More than 14,000 veterans across the nation will benefit from job training, job placement, housing help and other services, thanks to 121 grants totaling almost $29 million announced today by officials of the Labor Department's Veterans' Employment and Training Service.

The grants were awarded through the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, the only federal program that focuses exclusively on employment of homeless veterans.

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We're searching for a fun-loving military family to follow on an all-expenses paid road trip for 4-7 days in August. Ideally, we're looking for a family where one or both parents, or a son or daughter, currently or recently has served in the U.S. military. Our 3-person camera crew would film you and your family on the road and as you experience various destinations throughout the trip.

If you are interested in being considered for this opportunity, please respond to the questions below. We are looking for thoughtful, positive and well-spoken people, so please take your time with the application and answer all questions.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 463-13
June 25, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that a soldier, missing from the Vietnam War, has been accounted for and will be buried with full military honors along with two of his crew members.

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By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Va. 6/24/13) - Service members and veterans transitioning from the military to Veterans Affairs for treatment or between military treatment facilities now have access to greater consistency in psychological health and traumatic brain injury care, a Defense Department official said.

InTransition, a voluntary, confidential program, supports military members and their families undergoing a change of status, relocation, or return to civilian life, said George Lamb, outreach chief for the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

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By Jessica Pellegrini
Armed Services Blood Program

FALLS CHURCH, Va., June 24, 2013 - The Armed Services Blood Program is launching its summer donation drive next week.

"Our summer campaign this year is a service-specific campaign," said Julie Oliveri, ASBP's communications and marketing director. "In this way, we hope to ensure our military family is 'armed' with the blood products needed for those who are ill or injured."

Starting July 1 and ending Sept. 30, the campaign will be deployed at 23 donor centers on Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps installations worldwide.

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Terry Fator captures the hearts and funny bones of America with Terry Fator: The Voice of Entertainment. The "America's Got Talent" winner brings to life a cast of characters with comedy, singing and unparalleled celebrity impressions. Through comedic banter and amazing vocal impressions of musical superstars spanning generations and genres, Terry Fator: The Voice of Entertainment is a one-of-a-kind experience, only at The Mirage.

Terry Fator thanks our troops with special offers and an exclusive Military Family Grand Prize Package. You and three members of your family could have the chance to go to Las Vegas courtesy of American Airlines, stay at The Mirage for 2 nights and see Terry perform live in his show, Terry Fator: The Voice of Entertainment.

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By Carol Casto,
Commander, Navy Installations Command Navy Housing

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- As the Navy's Housing Early Application Tool (HEAT) reaches its first year, Navy Housing is already working on upgrades to be implemented over the next several years.

Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) Navy Housing launched HEAT, the online tool for service members and their families to request housing information and begin the military family housing application process, in July 2012.

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By Ensign Amber Lynn Daniel,
Navy Office of Diversity and Inclusion Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy is moving forward to open all positions previously closed to the assignment of women, continuing in the Department of Defense's rescission of 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule.

Navy's implementation plan, submitted by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and acknowledged by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, has now been submitted for Congressional notification.

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Request for participants: Male Military Spouses: The Impact of Military Involvement, Gender Roles, and Coping Style on Deployment Related Distress

You are being asked to participate in an online survey format, research study conducted by Sandra Diaz, M.S., a doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychology at the University of La Verne in La Verne, CA, under the supervision of Dr. Rocio Rosales Meza, Ph.D. The purpose of this dissertation study is to investigate male spouse's distress in response to the deployment of their military spouse.

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By Chanel S. Weaver
U.S. Army Public Health Command

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md., June 6, 2013 - High grass creates an ideal habitat for hungry ticks, and also provides the potential to cause serious human and animal disease.

Ticks can thrive in long grasses, according to Ellen Stromdahl, an entomologist with the U.S. Army Public Health Command here.

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Brief explanation of study procedures: Participants are needed to complete a survey for doctoral research being done through Capella University in the School of Public Service Leadership.  The study will examine how a military spouse's level of role salience and balance of roles may affect their satisfaction with life. You will be asked to rate the importance of your roles along with your satisfaction with life.

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by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" - Summer is just around the corner and it won't be long before the kids get bored. Head them off at the pass with adventures and activities hosted by your local library.

Air Force libraries have launched the summer reading program, "Have Book - Will Travel!" and are planning a host of activities for children, teens and adults designed to encourage the love of reading. Program participants can also win prizes for reaching their reading goals, said Margie Buchanan, Air Force Personnel Center libraries branch chief.

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I am looking for volunteers, over 18 years old, to complete surveys on their experiences with being the spouse of a National Guard or Reserve service member who deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation New Dawn.

As a participant in this survey, you would be asked to recall some experiences related to your life while the service member was deployed and answer a few questions about them. You can also participate if your spouse is currently deployed.

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By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 22, 2013 - Students, teachers and parents of the Defense Department's schools can be confident that despite the department's upcoming civilian furloughs, the school year will start on time, the Department of Defense Education Activity's director said today.

DODEA operates schools overseas and at some U.S. locations for the children of military families.

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By Terri Moon CronkAmerican Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2013 - During the busy season of military transfers, adjusting to new communities and registering children for school, more than 2,000 museums across the nation will open their doors, free of charge, to service members and their families as a break from the summer challenges, a Defense Department official said today.

>From Memorial Day, May 27, through Labor Day, Sept. 2, all active duty service members, National Guardsmen and reservists and their families can take advantage of this cultural and educational opportunity in all 50 states.

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American Forces Press Service

FORT MEADE, Md., May 21, 2013 - A "DOD Live" blog post compiled by Ian Phillips of Defense Media Activity social media operations here provides a wide range of resources for people affected directly or indirectly by the deadly tornado that struck Moore, Okla., yesterday.

Links in the blog post include information or help related to:

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From a National Guard Bureau News Release

ARLINGTON, Va., May 21, 2013 - Nearly 250 members of the Oklahoma National Guard are assisting with victim search and security today in Moore, Okla., where a monster tornado left at least 51 dead, including 20 children, authorities said.

The twister hit yesterday about 3:15 p.m. CDT, when children were still in two elementary schools in the Oklahoma City suburb.

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Good morning, My name is Carolyn Clark,

and I am a research specialist at the VA Medical Center in Memphis, TN.  We are currently recruiting spouses for our Spouse Deployed program which is funded by the Department of Defense and the Memphis VAMC.   We are trying to spread the word about our program and were wondering if you might be able to post our information or forward it on to any spouses you think might benefit from our study.  It's a year-long research study for military spouses or significant others from any military branch across the country.  The service member must currently be deployed for the spouse to participate. The purpose is to evaluate the benefits of a Telephone Support Group and Education Sessions designed to help with deployment concerns.  Spouses will be randomly assigned to one of the two groups.

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 IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 330-13
May 14, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, was recently accounted for and will be buried along with the 12 other servicemen who were lost in the same crash.

Marine Corps Pfc. Daniel A. Benedett of Seattle, Wash., will be buried May 15, at Arlington National Cemetery, along with Air Force 2nd Lt. Richard Vandegeer of Cleveland, Ohio; Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Bernard Gause Jr., of Birmingham, Ala.; Hospitalman Ronald J. Manning of Steubenville, Ohio; Marine Corps servicemen Lance Cpl. Gregory S. Copenhaver of Lewistown, Pa.; Lance Cpl. Andres Garcia of Carlsbad, N.M.; Pfc. Lynn Blessing of Lancaster, Pa.; Pfc. Walter Boyd of Portsmouth, Va.; Pfc. James J. Jacques of La Junta, Colo.; Pfc. James R. Maxwell of Memphis, Tenn.; Pfc. Richard W. Rivernburgh of Schenectady, N.Y.; Pfc. Antonio R. Sandoval of San Antonio, Texas; and Pfc. Kelton R. Turner of St. Louis, Mo.

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by Courtesy story

5/10/2013 - WASHINGTON -- Alicia Hinds Ward, wife of Tech. Sgt. Edwinston Ward, 113th Wing Logistics Readiness Squadron, Joint Base Andrews, Md., is the winner of the 2013 Military Spouse of the Year.

Representing the National Guard, Hinds Ward was chosen among six finalists, each one representing a branch of the U.S. armed forces. She was chosen as MSOY for her outstanding support helping military families with relocation and employment services, as well as her support of special needs resources and helping to build camaraderie among deployed members and their families.

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May 13, 2013

As summer approaches many service members and their families gear up for permanent change of station moves, and retirees head north after spending the winter in warmer climes. An important part of any move for TRICARE beneficiaries is updating their DEERS information to make sure their health care follows them to their new address.

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2013 - First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, hosted 170 military mothers and their children at the White House today for a formal Mother's Day tea. The event was part of the Joining Forces campaign, which provides support and opportunities for military families. It brought military moms, their mothers and kids from around the country to the White HOuse, Obama said.

The guest list also included Lilibet Hagel, wife of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel; Patty Shinseki, wife of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki;the first lady'smother, Marian Robinson; and the military spouses of the year from each of the services, the National Guard and the Coast Guard. In addition, Britain's Prince Harry also made a surprise visit.

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2013 - President Barack Obama has issued a proclamation declaring May 10 as Military Spouse Appreciation Day.

Here is the text of the president's proclamation:

As long as there have been courageous men and women willing to protect our Union and our ideals, there have been extraordinary spouses at their side -- patriots in their own right who serve and sacrifice in ways many cannot fathom. They are moms and dads who take up the work of two during deployments, shuffling their careers and packing up their lives whenever our nation calls. They are dedicated employees at our businesses, committed volunteers in our communities, and essential caretakers for our wounded warriors. America's military spouses are at the core of our Armed Forces, and on Military Spouse Appreciation Day, we celebrate their contributions to keeping our country safe.

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TRICARE Management Activity

FALLS CHURCH, Va., May 8, 2013 - TRICARE West Region Prime enrollees referred for specialty care from April 1 up to May 18 do not need authorization before seeking care.

The authorization requirement has been temporarily waived due to delays by UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans in processing referrals.

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By Terri Moon CronkAmerican Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2013 - When Fort Carson, Colo., reduced its identification card waiting time from 45 minutes to five minutes, it was a mile marker in the Defense Department's goal to cut the waiting process, a DOD official said.

Carson won a DOD award for its numerous successes in the ID card program, known as RAPIDS, short for Real-time Automated Personnel Identification System, said Mary Dixon, director of the Defense Manpower Data Center.

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By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2013 - Libraries across the Defense Department will begin offering the fourth annual Summer Reading Program to students on their installations to promote reading fun, a Navy General Library official said.

Nilya Carrato, program assistant for the Navy General Library Program, highlighted DOD's Summer Reading Program during an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel.

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By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2013 - Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, told a gathering of military wives today that the deployment of her son Beau to Iraq in 2008 made her realize the sacrifices military families repeatedly endure, a hardship she said most Americans will never know.

"I will never forget being at the deployment [ceremony] just trying to keep it together," Biden said in remarks to the 35th Annual Joint Armed Forces Officers' Wives' Luncheon in Arlington, Va. "My children were there, and I wanted to stay strong."

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2013 - The Defense Department is committed to helping military spouses find jobs and offers resources for education, training and networking, the department's spouse employment and career opportunities program manager said.

With Military Spouse Appreciation Day coming up May 10, Meg O'Grady told American Forces Press Service, she wants spouses to know what the program offers.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 286-13
April 30, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that a Navy pilot, missing from the Vietnam War, has been accounted for and will be buried with full military honors along with his crew.

Navy Lt. Dennis W. Peterson of Huntington Park, Calif., was the pilot of a SH-3A helicopter that crashed in Ha Nam Province, North Vietnam.  Peterson was accounted for on March 30, 2012.  Also, aboard the aircraft was Ensign Donald P. Frye of Los Angeles, Calif.; Aviation Antisubmarine Warfare Technicians William B. Jackson of Stockdale, Texas; and Donald P. McGrane of Waverly, Iowa.  The crew will be buried, as a group, on May 2 at Arlington National Cemetery.

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By Elaine Sanchez
Brooke Army Medical Center

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, April 26, 2013 - Wounded soldiers recovering here have a message they'd like to pass on to the Boston bombing victims: You're not alone.

They can relate to the devastating aftermath of an explosion and the emotional and physical pain of lost limbs. And they know firsthand the courage and strength required to heal after blast injuries like those at the Boston Marathon.

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By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2013 - Service members married to other service members are no longer automatically enrolled in the Family Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance program, Pentagon officials said.

The change was effective Jan. 2, and to date affects about 4,500 service members, Coast Guard Cmdr. Kristen Martin, who heads the Defense Department's SGLI policy office, said in an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel.

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Women anchor our military just as they anchor our society in other areas.  This event is for all military women:
· The female veterans who have served our country with honor
· The women currently serving in the military
· The military women who stand on the frontlines here at home

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From a Department of Veterans Affairs News Release

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2013 - The Veterans Affairs Department has launched a new hotline -- 1-855-VA-WOMEN -- to receive and respond to questions from veterans, their families and caregivers about the many VA services and resources available to women veterans.

The service began accepting calls March 27.

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By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2013 - The Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Office ensures that DOD civilians and service members are able to exercise their First Amendment rights when using social media platforms, Michael E. Reheuser, the office's director, said here April 19.

"DOD's social media policy requires that personnel follow certain rules," Reheuser said in an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel. Those rules aren't intended to limit free speech, he added, but only to make sure that the information being posted doesn't compromise operational security.

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By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2013 - The loss of personally identifiable information -- such as Social Security numbers -- is a concern throughout the Defense Department, the director of the Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Office said last week.

"When people lose control of the Social Security number and other personally identifiable information, they really are susceptible to identity theft," Michael E. Reheuser said during an April 19 interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel.

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My name is Kenya Brading, I am a Casting Associate at casting at Metal Flowers Media. We cast TV shows including: Storage Wars, The Colony, One Man Army, Ice Road Truckers, The Hunt, Bar Rescue and Frontiermsmen. I am currently casting a show called "Our House Rules" and we are looking for some military families to be on the show. Perhaps you could forward this email on to some of your members?

Parenting is not always easy - if only there were a manual! Is tough love the best? Spanking or no spanking? Let kids run free and give them their independence, or squeeze them tight and keep them close and teach them the rules? Listen to your gut, or read their diary? Make them talk, or leave them alone? Only YOU can decide what is best for your children, and what makes you the best parent you can be.

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By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2013 - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has eliminated the Distinguished Warfare Medal, DOD officials announced today.

Instead, the military will recognize service members who directly affect combat operations without being present through distinguishing devices that will be affixed to already existing awards.

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By David Vergun
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, April 12, 2013 - Yesterday at a White House ceremony, an Army chaplain, Capt. Emil J. Kapaun, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic and selfless actions during the Korean War. President Barack Obama presented the medal to Kapaun's nephew, Ray Kapaun, during a ceremony in the East Room. Ray was joined by other family members and veterans of the Korean War who served with Kapaun.

Kapaun was ordained a priest in 1940, and served under the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wichita in Pilsen, Kan. In 1944, he began serving as an Army chaplain. In 1993, Kapaun was named a "Servant of God" by the Vatican, and is currently a candidate for sainthood.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 224-13
April 10, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that a serviceman, who was unaccounted-for from the Korean War, has been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2013 - A modification in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System is expected to streamline personal records for better efficiency, the director of the Defense Manpower Data Center said here yesterday.

In an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel, Mary Dixon said information will now be entered into DEERS in personnel offices, rather than identification card offices.

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By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 5, 2013 - With April designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Defense Department is highlighting its commitment to preventing child abuse and neglect among military families, especially through the Family Advocacy Program, and providing those who need it with counseling.

The FAP focuses on strengthening family resilience though visits and counseling with new military parents, as well as on educating young families about the stresses of parenting and what it takes to maintain healthy relationships especially when some members are deployed.

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by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas"  If you married, have a new address or experienced similar life changes in March, you should review your emergency contact information to ensure it is accurate, Air Force Personnel Center Officials advised.

The Military Personnel Data System manages such military personnel and pay information as accessions, separations, retirements, promotions, reenlistments, training, mobilization and casualty. Because the system was outdated and required a complete upgrade, officials brought the system down for 17 days in March.

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From a Military Health System News Release

FALLS CHURCH, Va., April 5, 2013 - Despite upcoming service area reductions, TRICARE Prime will remain a health care option for 97 percent of the more than 5 million beneficiaries eligible for the health care plan, Military Health System officials said.

The 3 percent difference, which comprises about 171,000 beneficiaries who mostly reside more than 40 miles from a military clinic or hospital, automatically will revert to the TRICARE Standard health care option Oct. 1, officials said.

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 3, 2013 - Life through the eyes of military children through their paintings, drawings and writings was on public display at the Education Department here today to celebrate the Month of the Military Child.

Since 1983, the Defense Department has officially recognized military children for the support they provide to their families, and the military now has 1.8 million children in the services.

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By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2013 - Defense Department officials are working to standardize a program designed to help service members get care for family members with chronic health issues or special needs who otherwise might face forgoing an assignment or having to cut short a deployment because of an inability to find such care.

The Exceptional Family Member Program supports military families with special medical and educational needs, and the program is now in the process of being standardized across the force to make it easier for such families as they move from one assignment to another, regardless of location or military affiliation.

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2013 - During April's Month of the Military Child, the Defense Department recognizes the support provided by and sacrifices made by military children, said Barbara Thompson, director of DOD's office of family policy/children and youth.

Since 1983, DOD has recognized military children for the support they provide to their families. There are now 1.8 million children in the military system, Thompson said.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 192-13
March 29, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman from World War II have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army 1st Lt. John E. Terpning, of Mount Prospect, Ill., will be buried on April 3, in Arlington National Cemetery.  On May 7, 1944, Terpning was a pilot of a B-24D Liberator that departed Nadzab, New Guinea on a bombing mission.  

 Due to mechanical troubles, the B-24D was delayed in departing the airbase and was unable to join the formation after takeoff.  The aircraft, Terpning, nor the nine other crewmen aboard the plane were seen after takeoff.  In 1946, the War Department declared all ten men to be presumed dead.

In 1973, a Papua New Guinea Forest Department official reported a wartime aircraft in the mountains northeast of the city of Lae.  In October 1973, a team of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) responded to the report and visited the site, where they found aircraft wreckage that corresponded to that of a B-24D.  At that time the RAAF recovered possible human remains, which were transferred to the U.S. Army Mortuary in Tachikawa, Japan; however, given the limited technology at the time, no human remains were individually identified.  In 1974, the remains were buried as a group at Arlington National Cemetery.

In April 2008, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) team was sent to investigate and survey the crash site.  The team recovered aircraft wreckage, including a radio call sign data plate that matched the aircraft, from a B-24D and additional remains.

To identify the remains, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools such as dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA, which matched Terpning's brother.

At the end of World War II, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify approximately 79,000 Americans.  Today, more than 73,000 are unaccounted-for from the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

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By J.D. Leipold
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2013 - Twenty-one Medal of Honor recipients who put their lives on the line in extraordinary ways and circumstances paid tribute yesterday to four citizen-heroes who also went above and beyond for their fellow man. The first Medal of Honor was presented March 25, 1863, to Union Army Pvt. Jacob Parrott. On the 150th anniversary of that event, more recent Medal of Honor recipients gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to honor fallen war heroes with a somber wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Following the wreath-laying, the Medal of Honor recipients and civilian honorees they had selected from among 23 finalists moved to the nearby Women in Military Service for America Memorial for another ceremony.

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2013 - As service members start to receive their orders for summer moves, it's time for working spouses to update resumes, start networking for job opportunities and contact career counselors at their new locations, a Pentagon official recommends.

In an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel, Meg O'Grady, program manager for the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities Program, said Defense Department officials are "absolutely dedicated" to helping military spouses overcome challenges they face in looking for education and career opportunities.

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2013 - Defense Department officials recognize that an unemployed spouse can affect a service member's retention, so efforts continue to allow spouses' professional licenses to transfer from state to state as military families move from one duty station to another, a Pentagon official told American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel.

Marcus Beauregard, chief of DOD's states liaison office, noted that certain occupations such as nursing and other medical positions require licensing.

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from an email

We operate an online business called The DocSafe, which is a virtual safe deposit box. We started this business as an offshoot of my estate planning law practice in Tampa, Florida near MacDill AFB.

Since we represent many military families in Florida, we have learned that they are oftentimes quickly displaced and need to keep themselves organized. As such, The DocSafe allows them to become organized online with the storage of certain documents, such as their Will, Power of Attorney, deeds, mortgages and insurance policies, which can be accessed anywhere they have an internet connection.

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from an AFEES press Release

DALLAS - In an effort to support and assist severely wounded, ill and injured Soldiers, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service is offering free alterations and modifications for this select group at all 79 Army Military Clothing stores around the world.

This Army-led initiative ensures all wounded Soldiers receive free alterations and modifications on all issued uniforms in accordance with the Wounded Warrior Clothing Support Program to include the Army Service, Combat and Improved Physical Fitness uniforms as well as undergarments. Eligible Soldiers must present an approved Army Form 3078 along with the prescribed modifications by the physical or occupational therapist to receive free services.

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By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 15, 2013 - The Defense Department possesses more real estate than it needs and is looking to close additional bases and installations in the United States and abroad, a senior DOD official told a House panel yesterday.

Another round of base realignments and closings should be an essential part of any overall strategy for reshaping the military, John Conger, the acting deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, told the House Armed Services Committee in prepared testimony.

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2013 - Veterans and military spouses make good employees because they know how to develop and execute complex plans, and they're at their best when faced with high-pressure situations, First Lady Michelle Obama told attendees at the Business Roundtable Conference Center here today.

In her remarks, Obama continued her call on the private sector to hire veterans and military spouses as part of the Joining Forces initiative she co-sponsors with Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden.

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2013 - A free iPhone app for the Thrift Savings Plan available at the Apple App Store could pose a security risk, program officials warned.

A notice on the Thrift Savings Plan website says the "TSP Funds" app, which asks participants for their account login information, is not sanctioned.

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 by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

*"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas"* – More than 700 captains, majors and lieutenant colonels have been selected for promotion, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced today.

Promotion-selects were considered during the November CY12B Colonel Line of the Air Force and Nurse Corps, CY12C Lieutenant Colonel Nurse Corps, and CY12B Major NC/LAF-Judge Advocate central selection boards held in November 2012.

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By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2013 - Budget problems have forced the Army and Marine Corps to cancel the tuition assistance program, service officials said today.

Navy and Air Force officials said they are studying the way forward with the program and expect decisions next week.

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FOOD NETWORK and the producers behind THE GREAT FOOD TRUCK RACE are gearing up for the much anticipated 4th Season! Have you been dreaming of owning and operating your very own food truck? Bummed you missed out on the chance last season? Well, you are in luck! Acclaimed chef and host of The Great Food Truck Race, TYLER FLORENCE, is once again giving you the opportunity to START YOUR OWN FOOD TRUCK!

YOUR DREAM. YOUR CUISINE. And your cooking skills transformed into your very own mobile restaurant!

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By Navy Lt. Theresa Donnelly
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (10/29/12) - Moving in the military is tough. With loose ends to tie up, such as obtaining spouse employment, moving household goods, transferring schools, shipping vehicles and setting up child care, it can seem overwhelming.

Many families have questions on and are sometimes unprepared for what resources exist to help them move their pets.

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By David Vergun
Army News Service

ARLINGTON, Va. (1/8/13) - Army Emergency Relief scholarships for the academic year 2013-2014 became available Jan. 2, 2013, for spouses and children of soldiers, retired soldiers and reserve-component soldiers on Title 10 orders. The application deadline is May 1, 2013.

The Maj. Gen. James Ursano Scholarships are for unmarried children under the age of 23 and the Spouse Education Assistance Program Scholarships are available to the spouses of active duty, retired or deceased soldiers.

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2013 - A living legacy to women who served in all branches of the U.S. military honors their service and sacrifice inside the Women's Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

The museum in the memorial depicts the "duty, honor and pride" of the 2 million women who served to defend the United States, from the beginning of the Revolutionary War through today's war in Afghanistan.

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By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2013 - The names of Medal of Honor recipients recognized for their battlefield valor before Sept. 11, 2001, now are listed on the Defense Department's valor website, Pentagon officials announced today.

"Recognizing our brave men and women for their heroic actions is one of the most important things we can do as a department," said Vee Penrod, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy.

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By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Travis Alston and Morgan Over
Navy News Service

ROTA, Spain, Feb. 27, 2013 - The USO brought all-star entertainment to Naval Station Rota on Feb. 26, the first stop on a spring tour to visit troops abroad. ??

Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hosted the star-studded group of athletes, coaches and musicians.

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By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2013 - As the war in Afghanistan winds down and more than 1 million veterans return to civilian life, the nation's responsibility to help them in that transition will ramp up, First Lady Michelle Obama told the National Governors Association at the White House today.

Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, spoke to the nation's governors to seek their help with the "Joining Forces" initiative to foster support for service members and their families.

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By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2013 - The Defense Department is rolling out a program that will allow users of a range of mobile devices -- working anywhere from remote battlefields to the Pentagon to rapidly share classified and protected data across all components.

More than 600,000 DOD employees, from soldiers on the front lines to Joint Staff planners, use government-issued mobile devices, mostly BlackBerry phones. Several thousand of the mobile devices in use in DOD are capable of handling classified data.

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By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2013 - Defense Department officials have designated this week as "Military Saves Week" to highlight the need for military families to reduce debt and save for the future, something Pentagon officials emphasize is key to force readiness.

The event is part of the yearlong Military Saves campaign, an opportunity for leaders to stress the importance of good financial habits to all members of the force and their families to encourage saving, reducing debt and building wealth, officials said.

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By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2013 - Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, today urged the nation's governors to get behind the effort to allow military spouses to transfer professional licenses from state to state.

Speaking to the National Governors Association at the White House as part of the "Joining Forces" initiative that she and First Lady Michelle Obama have championed, Biden noted that 28 states have passed laws to facilitate license portability for teachers, nurses, social workers and other professionals licensed in one state but who have to move to another when their military spouse gets a new assignment.

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By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2013 - The new Distinguished Warfare Medal will retain its place in the order of precedence among military decorations, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said here today.

Much of the public discussion of the new medal has centered on its precedence. It ranks below the Distinguished Flying Cross and above the Bronze Star.

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By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2013 - The U.S. flag has been a symbol of American courage and patriotism for more than 200 years, and those who serve in the military hold it in high reverence.

So it's no surprise that Army Sgt. William H. Carney risked his life in 1863 to safeguard the symbol of American pride and inspiration, earning the distinction of being the first African-American to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Feb. 19, 2013 - In its quest to help veterans find employment, the Defense Department is collaborating with states, which represent the center of gravity for jobs, said Frank DiGiovanni, director, Training Readiness and Strategy for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Readiness.

DiGiovanni testified Tuesday before a Maryland state administrative panel in Annapolis on the benefits of the state's Veterans Full Employment Act of 2013.  The crux of the act would require licensing units and boards to give credit to veterans for related military training, education and experience. Giovanni heads the licensing and credentialing task force for the Defense Department.

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This updated fact sheet contains information about TRICARE coverage for National Guard and Reserve members and their families. It describes TRICARE coverage throughout your career, eligibility, medical and dental benefit coverage options by sponsor status and much more.

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by Gloria Kwizera
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" - Need assistance setting up a budget, learning a new language or doing your homework? Look no further than your online Air Force library, where Air Force library staff work to meet customers’ needs in an evolving digital world.

Worldwide, Air Force libraries offer online learning resources, digital magazines, music, movies and much more for Total Force Airmen, civilians, retirees and family members.

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By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2013 - A U.S. Army soldier who was awarded the Medal of Honor for risking his life to save his comrades during an ambush in Afghanistan has been inducted into the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, Army Secretary John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno presented the Medal of Honor flag and Hall of Heroes plaque to Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha. President Barack Obama awarded the 31 year old the nation's highest military honor at a White House ceremony a day earlier.

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By C. Todd Lopez
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2013 - President Barack Obama placed the Medal of Honor around the neck of former Army Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha during a ceremony yesterday in the East Room of the White House.

Romesha, the fourth living service member to receive the medal for service in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom, earned the Medal of Honor for actions Oct. 3, 2009, at Combat Outpost Keating in the Kamdesh district of Afghanistan's Nuristan province.

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No. 084-13
February 13, 2013

The Department of Defense announced today the creation of the Distinguished Warfare Medal to recognize a service member's extraordinary achievements directly impacting combat operations.

Modern technology enables service members with special training and capabilities to more directly and precisely impact military operations at times far from the battlefield.  The Distinguished Warfare Medal will be awarded in the name of the secretary of defense to service members whose extraordinary achievements, regardless of their distance to the traditional combat theater, deserve distinct department-wide recognition.

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2013 - The deployment of the U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman and the guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg to the U.S. Central Command area of operations has been delayed, according to a statement issued today by Pentagon Press Secretary George Little.

The Secretary of Defense has delayed the deployment of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) and the USS Gettysburg (CG-64), which were scheduled to depart later this week for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Area of Responsibility, Little said in his statement.

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By Ashley Roy
Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center

EDINBURGH, Ind., Feb. 6, 2013 - The Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center here recently implemented the Veteran's Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act, a national program designed to assist transitioning soldiers with financial and career planning.

Signed into law in 2011, the program was implemented on November 21, 2012, in an effort to reduce unemployment and debt among veterans.

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from The Exceptional Advocate
A newsletter for military families with special needs

Tax season is just around the corner, and it's time to start gathering all your paperwork to prepare your tax return for 2012. To get the most for your money, it is important to know about deductions and benefits you may qualify for and where you can go to get answers and assistance with filing your taxes.

Earned Income Tax CreditYou can elect to include your nontaxable combat pay in earned income for the earned income tax credit. If you are filing a joint return and both you and your spouse received nontaxable combat pay, you can each make your own election. But, if you (or your spouse) make the election, you must include in earned income all nontaxable combat pay you received. You may not choose to include only a part of the nontaxable combat pay in earned income.

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The mission of the Transition Assistance Program has always been to provide benefits and provisions to service members and their families preparing to separate from military service. The program offers a step-by-step process of discovery and decision-making, helping service members answer questions about the civilian workforce, possible training and education, civilian career choices, and transition in general. Beginning in 2013, the Transition Assistance Program will become Transition Goals Planning Success or Transition GPS, transforming the way the military prepares its service members and their families transitioning to civilian life which will help reduce unemployment among our veteran population.

The program will roll out in three-phases incorporating the many veteran support activities across the U.S. government into one comprehensive effort by the Department of Defense and the departments of Veteran Affairs and Labor to deliver all-inclusive services to ready our service members for civilian employment.

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From a Department of Veterans Affairs News Release

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2013 - The Veterans Affairs Department has launched a new initiative that could eliminate the requirement for an in-person medical examination for some veterans and shorten the time it takes to process disability compensation claims.

Officials said the initiative -- called Acceptable Clinical Evidence, or ACE -- was developed jointly by the Veterans Health Administration and the Veterans Benefits Administration to provide a veteran-centric approach for disability examinations.

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From a Defense Logistics Agency News Release

FORT BELVOIR, Va., Jan. 31, 2013 - As soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in Afghanistan sit down to watch the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl, they'll enjoy a variety of American-style appetizers and finger foods, thanks to Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support.

Subsistence personnel ensured delivery of about 49,000 pounds of chicken wings, 46,000 pounds of frozen pizza, 11,000 pounds of mozzarella sticks and 2,200 gallons of chili to warfighters in Afghanistan.

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By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

NEW LONDON, Conn., Jan. 31, 2013 - The Coast Guard has a constant mission, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told cadets at the Coast Guard Academy today.

"The military -- and I include you in that joint force -- we are the preeminent leadership experience in the world," Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said during an all-hands assembly of cadets.

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by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" - Blue retiree identification cards issued prior to December 2012 had the word "indef" instead of an expiration date. Since December, retiree cards issued have an expiration date effective the day before the retiree’s 65th birthday. Although benefits will not automatically expire, some changes will take effect based on Medicare eligibility, Air Force Personnel Center officials said.

"Retirees and their eligible spouses will still have access to benefits and they’ll still be enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, but the expiration date - which is one day before their 65th birthday - is a reminder to retirees that they must enroll in Medicare Part A and B to retain their TRICARE for Life eligibility," said Ed Yoder, Air Force DEERS project office.

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By Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"(Editor’s note: This story is a part of a series of articles to inform and educate total force Airmen about personnel programs impacted by the Military Personnel Data System upgrade occurring in March.)"

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" - Department of Defense and Air Force officials are encouraging Airmen to review their personal data in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, and accomplish personnel transactions before the service upgrades the Military Personnel Data System in March.

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By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2013 - A new education program offers a "win-win" approach to helping military community members further their careers while aiding the Defense Department's family support and child and youth development services, a Pentagon official said.

Barbara Thompson, director of DOD's office for family policy, children and youth, explained the Military Academic Advancement Program to the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.

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From a Department of Veterans Affairs News Release

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2013 - The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments have released improvements to the functionality of eBenefits, a joint, self-service Web portal that provides registered users with secure online information and access to a variety of benefits resources for service members and veterans.

"The increasing capabilities of eBenefits give veterans and service members greater flexibility in securing the information they are looking for," said Allison A. Hickey, the undersecretary of veterans affairs for benefits.

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By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2013 - A new task force will start work next month on a 120-day review of all family and military community programs across the Defense Department to determine their effectiveness and identify gaps and potential efficiencies, a senior defense official said.

Charles E. Milam, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, will lead the Common Services Task Force at the request of Jessica Wright, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, he told defense reporters here last week.

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2013 - Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are expected to announce the lifting of the direct combat exclusion rule for women in the military, a senior defense official said today.

The policy change will begin a process in which the services will develop plans to implement the decision, which was made by Panetta upon the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the official said.

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By Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 18, 2013 - On Jan. 10, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that designates Salem, Mass., as the birthplace of the National Guard.

Local officials, politicians and members of the Massachusetts National Guard gathered at the Salem City Hall yesterday to celebrate the signing of the bill.

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By Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 18, 2013 - On Jan. 10, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that designates Salem, Mass., as the birthplace of the National Guard.

Local officials, politicians and members of the Massachusetts National Guard gathered at the Salem City Hall yesterday to celebrate the signing of the bill.

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By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2013 - Since it can directly affect force readiness, the financial health of service members and their families is a high priority for the Defense Department, and a senior DOD official emphasized that January is a great time for military families to take stock of their financial situation.

As part of a Department-wide effort to encourage military families to avoid debt by creating a workable spending plan, Barbara Thompson, director of the Pentagon's office of Family Policy/Children and Youth outlined steps families can take and the resources that are available to them for achieving financial stability.

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Release No: 010
Jan. 18, 2013

By Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

(Editor’s note: This story is a part of a series of articles to inform and educate total force Airmen about personnel programs impacted by the Military Personnel Data System upgrade occurring in March.)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas - Officers and enlisted Airmen getting promoted in March will experience pay delays because of the Military Personnel Data System upgrade occurring that month.

"Individuals getting promoted from Mar. 4 to Mar. 26 will not get their promotions updated in MilPDS because of the upgrade," said Lt. Col. Shelley Strong, Air Force Personnel Center operations division chief. "Their promotions will be projected in MilPDS and will automatically update as soon as the system is back online."

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Release No: 008
Jan. 16, 2013

Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas - Airmen with more than 60 days of leave at the beginning of next fiscal year may be able to carry it into the next fiscal year thanks to a provision in the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. The provision extends the maximum leave carryover of 75 days through Sept. 30, 2015, according to Senior Master Sgt. Kreig Cressione, Air Force Personnel Center Special Programs Branch Chief. 

For information about the military leave program and other personnel issues, visit the myPers website at https://mypers.af.mil.

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by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas - When initially implemented, the Post-9/11 GI Bill education transfer program was phased in to enable Airmen nearing retirement to accept a 1-, 2-, or 3-year active duty service commitment.

That phase-in period expired July 31, 2012 and all active duty Airmen now incur a 4-year ADSC, said Bruce Houseman, Air Force Personnel Center education services and benefits chief.

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By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2013 - Active duty service members and their families will be unaffected when long-delayed reductions to areas where the TRICARE Prime option is offered take place Oct. 1, TRICARE officials said yesterday.

But as TRICARE seeks to synchronize service area shifts once staggered by contract delays, some military retirees and their dependents will be moved to TRICARE Standard coverage, S. Dian Lawhon, beneficiary education and support division director, said during a conference call with reporters. Those affected reside more than 40 miles from a military treatment facility or base closure site, she said.

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By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2013 - The Defense Department has launched a new resource to help troops and their families plan for the "before, during and after" of deploying.

Barbara Thompson, director of DOD's office for family policy, explained "Plan My Deployment" during an interview with the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.

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By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2013 - Preparation is nothing new to the U.S. Air Force Band and Honor Guard as they get ready for Jan. 21's 57th presidential inauguration, bringing a total Air Force presence to the massive event.

"We have a ceremonial mission, so we're always preparing for that," he said. "We do parades and ceremonies throughout the year, so it's not something new to us. The difference here is the size of it."

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FALLS CHURCH, Va. – New copayments for prescription drugs covered by TRICARE will go into effect soon. The Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act requires TRICARE to increase copays on brand name and non-formulary medications that are not filled at military clinics or hospitals.  There is no increase to copays for generic medications.  Increases will be effective sometime in February, depending on when system changes can be made, and the publication of a required Federal Notice.

TRICARE Pharmacy copays vary based on the class of drug and where beneficiaries choose to fill their prescriptions. The copay for generic medications stays at $5 when a prescription is filled at a network pharmacy.  There is no co-pay when generic prescriptions are filled through TRICARE Home Delivery.  The new copay for a 30-day supply of a brand name medication purchased at a retail network pharmacy will be $17, up from the current $12. Beneficiaries using TRICARE Home Delivery will pay $13 for brand name drugs, up from $9. However, the Home Delivery price is for a 90-day supply.

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If you are female (Bet. 21 and 39), your spouse is in the military and you are Living on Base

WatchLab Studios would like to include you in a One Hour PAID Phone & WebCam interview about Cyber shopping trends  (No Sales)

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By Donna Miles

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2013 - Goodbye casual Fridays, at least for the Marine Corps.

Effective today, all nondeployed Marines and sailors assigned to Marine units are required to wear the appropriate seasonal service uniform.

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By David Vergun

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 28, 2012) -- Army Emergency Relief scholarships for the academic year 2013-2014 will be available starting, Jan. 2, for spouses and children of Soldiers, retired Soldiers and reserve-component Soldiers on Title 10 orders. The application deadline is May 1.

The Maj. Gen. James Ursano Scholarships are for unmarried children under the age of 23.

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by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas " - Three Air Force specialty codes have been added to the selective reenlistment bonus list, and two have seen an increase in bonus amounts, Air Force Personnel Center officials said. In addition, one career field has been removed from the SRB list and one will see a bonus decrease effective Jan. 18.

The selective reenlistment bonus program is a force structure tool that helps the Air Force maintain the right numbers and skill levels in critical and chronically undermanned fields, said Michael McLaughlin, AFPC chief of reenlistments.

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By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., Dec. 20, 2012 - The North American Aerospace Defense Command has stood sentry for more than a half century, defending the United States and Canada against attack. But in the coming days, the command here will move into full throttle to conduct its most celebrated mission: tracking Santa Claus on his yuletide journey. In a YouTube video posted on the NORAD website, Army Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr., commander of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, places a call to the North Pole to describe the "NORAD Tracks Santa" mission to the big man himself.

Jacoby assures Saint Nick that he and Canadian Air Force Lt. Gen. J. A. J. Parent, the NORAD deputy commander, "want to make sure you have everything you need to deliver gifts to all the good boys and girls."

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by Tammy Cournoyer
Air Force Personnel Center Warrior and Family Operations Center

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas - The Air Force's Wounded Warrior Civil Service Employment Program assists combat-related ill and injured Airmen secure Air Force civil service jobs. Since the program's inception in 2006, nearly 120 wounded warriors have joined the Air Force's civilian work force.

This employment program affects wounded warriors with a 30 percent or higher combat-related disability rating. It provides for the noncompetitive placement of a wounded warrior into an Air Force civil service position and can temporarily fund their salary through the use of a central salary account if necessary.

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By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2012 - The world's longest-running humanitarian mission came to a close yesterday as U.S. military members and volunteers delivered more than 39,000 pounds of aid and holiday cheer to Pacific islanders during Operation Christmas Drop. This year marked the 61st anniversary of the mission, providing support to more than 30,000 islanders from Chuuk, Palau, Yap, the Marshall Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, officials reported.

Airmen from the 36th Wing at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, as well as family members and local volunteers, and airmen from the 36th Airlift Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan, kicked off the mission Dec. 11, officials reported. Carefully preparing packages of toys, clothing, fishing equipment, sporting goods, food items, tools and other goods, they airdropped them from C-130 Hercules aircraft to 54 islands.

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fm a FEMA release

As the nation mourns the terrible event that took place in Newtown, Connecticut this past Friday, we would like to provide some information that may be helpful in coping with this tragedy. Entities across the nation have come together to offer support and resources; these include the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Healthy Students, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Save the Children and the American Academy of Pediatrics who are providing the following tips, recommendations and resources.

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By  Kevin DwyerT
RICARE Management Activity - December 19, 2012

With the new year quickly approaching, TRICARE beneficiaries covered by TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) or TRICARE Retired Reserve (TRR) must switch to electronic premium payments by Dec. 31. If they don't make the change, they risk having their coverage suspended.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, TRICARE will only accept monthly premium payments using recurring automatic payments by credit or debit card, or by recurring electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a linked bank account. To avoid confusion, beneficiaries should verify that their bank sends EFT payments electronically.

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By Cpl. Jacob D. Osborne
December 14, 2012

PITTSBURGH --It's not everyday a National Guard sergeant receives a Silver Star for actions performed as a Marine. But that's exactly what happened in Pittsburgh Dec. 10.

Sgt. David M. Gerardi, a weapons sergeant with the Army National Guard’s 19th Special Forces Group, received the nation’s third highest medal for his actions while deployed in 2011 as an active duty Marine with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division(Forward), II Marine Expeditionary Force.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE   No. 985-12
December 17, 2012

The Department of Defense released today the 2013 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates, which take effect Jan. 1, 2013.  Overall rates will increase an average of 3.8 percent this year.

For members with dependents, average increases in BAH are approximately $60 per month.  A typical E-6 with dependents, for example, will find his/her BAH about $60 per month higher than last year, while an O-3 with dependents will receive about $55 more than last year.

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By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

MANAMA, Bahrain, Dec. 14, 2012 - The USO's mission hasn't changed after nearly 72 years of serving U.S. troops and their families, and it will continue to adapt to remain relevant, the USO's president said here yesterday.

Sloan D. Gibson, the nonprofit organization's president, has joined Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the annual USO holiday tour for troops deployed and stationed abroad.

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From a Department of Commerce News Release

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2012 - Employment website Monster.com is collaborating with the White House's Joining Forces campaign and will contribute to the initiative's goal of hiring or training an additional 250,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2014, Acting Commerce Department Secretary Rebecca M. Blank announced here yesterday at the National Veteran Employment Summit hosted by Monster and Military.com.

Joining Forces is a comprehensive national initiative led by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, to provide service members and their families with the opportunities and support they have earned. One of the effort's main focuses has been connecting America's veterans and military spouses with careers that match their skills, experience and dedication. To date, Joining Forces has worked with more than 2,000 companies to hire or train 125,000 veterans and military spouses.

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By David Vergun, ARNEWS  WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 10, 2012) -- One of the biggest challenges Soldiers face is transitioning to civilian life. That transition got a boost Nov. 21, when the Veterans Opportunity to Work, or VOW, to Hire Heroes Act went into effect.

The act requires every Soldier to attend transition assistance classes.

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by Tech. Sgt. Rich Murphy
185th Air Refueling Wing, Sioux City, Iowa

12/2/2012 - MCMURDO STATION, Antarctica -- As the cool winter air begins to roll into Sioux City this season, Capt. William Vit, an Air National Guard Chaplain with the 185th Air Refueling Wing, Sioux City, Iowa, and a priest for the Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City, Iowa, is feeling a much colder breeze.

Vit was selected to deploy to McMurdo Station in Antarctica this year with the 109th Airlift Wing, New York Air National Guard, in support of Operation Deep Freeze (ODF). Vit provides ministry services to both military and civilian personnel conducting their mission in the world's coldest continent. He has been in Antarctica since October of this year.

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By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

BETHESDA, Md., Oct. 3, 2012 - The Department of Defense Education Activity director urged recipients of the 2012 educational grant program today to push the envelope in developing programs that ultimately will benefit all military schoolchildren.

Marilee Fitzgerald opened the 2012 DODEA grant kickoff meeting here by recognizing the challenges children face as they move between schools when their military parents change duty stations.

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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Carlos M. Vazquez II,
Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Navy Band Southwest's 38-piece wind ensemble performed festive holiday music at Naval Air Station North Island's Lowry base movie theater for service members and their families Dec. 8.

The orchestra filled the theater, a former blimp hangar, with holiday tunes such as "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", "Christmas Time Is Here" and "Ave Maria" before the theater's showing of Christmas movies.

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By J.D. Leipold

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 7, 2012) -- More than 400 veterans and military spouses headed out to the Washington Nationals baseball park on Wednesday morning to talk with 87 potential employers as part of the on-going nationwide "Hiring Our Heroes" campaign.

Sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Capital One, the "Hiring Our Heroes" campaign was first launched in March 2011 as a way to engage the business community nationwide (and in Puerto Rico) into committing to hire 500,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2014.

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by Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

12/10/2012 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., (AFNS) -- A system being implemented at U.S. Transportation Command is making permanent-change-of-station moves more convenient, while reducing lost and damaged shipments and saving the government money.

The Defense Personal Property System, introduced in 2009 as a pilot program at 17 installations, now supports 90 percent of all military moves, said Jill Smith, personal property division chief at Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.

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December 10, 2012

VA Also Announces $300 Million to Expand Homeless Prevention Program

WASHINGTON - The Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that a new national report shows that homelessness among Veterans has been reduced by approximately 7 percent between January 2011 and January 2012. The decline keeps the Obama Administration on track to meet the goal of ending Veteran homelessness in 2015.

"This report continues a trend that clearly indicates we are on the right track in the fight to end homelessness among Veterans.  While this is encouraging news, we have more work to do and will not be satisfied until no Veteran has to sleep on the street," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "The success we have achieved is directly attributable to the hard work by all of our staff, and the federal, state, and community partners who are committed to ending Veteran homelessness."

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 958-12
December 07, 2012

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, killed in action during the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Capt. James M. Johnstone, of Baton Rouge, La., will be buried Dec. 12, in Arlington National Cemetery.  On Nov. 19, 1966, Johnstone was the pilot of an OV-1A Mohawk aircraft that crashed while conducting a daytime reconnaissance mission over Attapu Province, Laos.  Nearby U.S. aircrews reported seeing the wing of Johnstone's aircraft hit a tree during a climb to avoid a nearby ridgeline.  No parachutes were seen exiting the aircraft.  Heavy enemy presence in the area prevented recovery efforts.

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By  Annemarie Felicio
TRICARE Management Activity
December 05, 2012

TRICARE and Military OneSource will host a webinar on TRICARE benefits available to National Guard and Reserve members on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. EDT.

The different stages of the National Guard and Reserve deployment cycle can make it challenging for members and their families to know what TRICARE benefits are available.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 939-12
December 03, 2012

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Sgt. John R. Jones, of Louisville, Ky., will be buried Dec. 6, in Arlington National Cemetery.  On June 4, 1971, Jones was part of a U.S. team working with indigenous commandos to defend a radio-relay base, known as Hickory Hill, in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam.  When enemy forces attacked the site, Jones and another serviceman took up a defensive position in a nearby bunker.  The following morning, Jones was reportedly killed by enemy fire and the other soldier was captured and held as a POW until 1973.

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From a North American Aerospace Defense Command News Release

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., Dec. 3, 2012 - Children of all ages will be able to track Santa Claus on his annual journey, thanks to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

The "NORAD Tracks Santa" website at http://www.noradsanta.org is up and running. The site features a holiday countdown, games and daily activities, video messages from students around the world and more, officials said, and it is available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese.

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By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28, 2012 - The Defense Department and South Carolina officials are notifying military members and families who paid state income taxes there that they may have been victims of information/identity theft as a result of several recent cyber intrusions.

South Carolina's Department of Revenue reported nearly four million Social Security numbers and several hundred thousand credit and debit card numbers belonging to current and former taxpayers may have been stolen during cyber intrusions in August and September.

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U.S. Army Public Health Command Public Affairs Office

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md., Nov. 28, 2012 - U.S. Army Public Health Command headquartered here played a significant public health role in the aftermath of the March 11, 2011, Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

The command's responders monitored radiation levels from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, checked the safety of water and food and assessed search-and-rescue dogs coming into the country to assist in finding the missing.

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By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Scott Whiting
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., Nov. 28, 2012 - Christmas is right around the corner, and with the holidays comes an influx of mail sent to service members stationed overseas.

The United States Postal Service recently released their deadlines for ensuring mail sent overseas arrives in time for the busy holiday season.

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WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 16, 2012) --- Special agents from the Army Criminal Investigation Command are once again warning Internet users worldwide to be extra vigilant and not to fall prey to Internet scams or impersonation fraud -- especially scams promising true love, but only end up breaking hearts and bank accounts.

Criminal Investigation Command, known as CID, continues to receive hundreds of reports from people worldwide of various scams involving persons pretending to be U.S. Soldiers serving in Afghanistan or elsewhere, according to CID special agents.

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Military wives needed for tv show for a chance to reunite with your military spouse.

A National TV talk show wants you - and we are casting now!!

The show will tape Decemeber 6th in NYC - and all of your expenses are paid

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By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2012 - Defense Department officials are sending a new spouse survey to select active-duty families to assist in determining programs that best suit their needs.

During an interview with the Pentagon Channel, Cathy Flynn, a program analyst with the Pentagon's military community and family policy office, discussed how these surveys affect future programs serving military families.

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By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2012 - The Navy is taking steps to address several issues that are affecting its sailors, the chief of naval operations said here today.

Navy Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert spoke at a National Press Club luncheon.

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2012 - The Marine Corps' first living Medal of Honor recipient from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars told a gathering of U.S. business leaders here yesterday that hiring veterans is a mutually beneficial practice.

Dakota Meyer was a keynote speaker at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's fifth annual "Business Steps Up: Hiring Our Heroes" event.

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By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2012 - Military families now have greater access to programs designed to assist them with a spectrum of family support matters, a senior Pentagon official said here today.

Charles E. Milam, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, told the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service that the enhanced programs are in accordance with President Barack Obama's recently signed proclamation declaring November as Military Family Month.

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By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2012 - The USO and Defense Department recognized 10 chefs and selected the enlisted aide of the year from five nominees during the 2012 Salute to Military Chefs here last night.

The chefs and enlisted aides showcased their talents by way of a seven-course meal, featuring a main entrée of smoked duck breast, pumpkin risotto, braised kale and port-blackberry sauce.

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by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" -If you're newly married, newly divorced, have dependent children or have a child who was born out of wedlock you may be confused about military benefits.

Some family situations are complicated or even awkward, so Airmen may be reluctant to pursue benefits to which their dependents - or former dependents - are legally entitled, said Ed Yoder, AFPC Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System Project office.

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2012 - More than 30 companies and organizations joined the Military Spouse Employment Partnership here today as part of the White House-sponsored Joining Forces effort to help unemployed spouses find jobs.

The newly inducted businesses, which join 129 other companies, were brought into the program at the partnership's third such ceremony. Inductees at today's Washington Navy Yard event represented businesses including fitness centers, banks, a hotel chain and a major soft-drink company.

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"Susan never knows who can see her, or how they can see her. She just feels she is always being watched."

Female Army veteran and fiction indie author Deanna Breen-Ball of Lake Elsinore, has released her debut romance/suspense eNovel "Looking In", the first in a series, released May 2012.

Breen-Ball, a military spouse and stay-at-home-mom, has been working on the project "Looking In" for two years. Her inspiration came from her time in the Army as a mechanic and most current duties as a part-time educator and stay-at-home-mom. She found that many women identify with trying to find a balance between caring for and nurturing their family, as well as caring for and nurturing their own potential. Life experiences combined with the charismatic personality that tends to connect to people have brought her to write this suspenseful entertaining novel.

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DALLAS - Military shoppers can come early and gobble up the savings as the Army and Air Force Exchange Service will open its Main Stores doors in CONUS, Alaska, and Hawaii at 4 a.m. Friday, Nov. 23 for "Black Friday" sales.

"From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving," said the Exchange's Senior Enlisted Advisor Chief Master Sgt. Tony Pearson. "The day after is the unofficial holiday season for many Exchange shoppers. The deals we will be serving up will offer plenty of incentive to get up early."

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2012 - "Our men and women in uniform have taught us about strength, duty, devotion, resolve -- cornerstones of a commitment to protect and defend that has kept our country safe for over 200 years. In war and in peace, their service has been selfless and their accomplishments have been extraordinary," President Barack Obama said in his proclamation issued today declaring Nov. 11 as Veterans Day.

The proclamation reads:

"Whether they fought in Salerno or Samarra, Heartbreak Ridge or Helmand, Khe Sanh or the Korengal, our veterans are part of an unbroken chain of men and women who have served our country with honor and distinction. On Veterans Day, we show them our deepest thanks. Their sacrifices have helped secure more than two centuries of American progress, and their legacy affirms that no matter what confronts us or what trials we face, there is no challenge we cannot overcome, and our best days are still ahead.

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By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2012 - Service members who are licensed to drive a range of military vehicles now have an advantage gaining a commercial driver's license, a senior defense official said.

Frank C. DiGiovanni, who directs the Defense Department's office of training readiness and strategy, recently told The Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service the licensing development is "the second piece of something that was passed last year."

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by Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas - Air Force Personnel Center Directorate of Services officials are sending more than 900 recordable children’s books to learning resource centers at six deployed locations throughout the U.S. Air Forces Central Command’s area of responsibility.

The Air Force Library Program collaborated with the Directorate of Services’ PLAYpass initiative to create the Get Out and READ Program to offer deployed Airmen an opportunity to keep in touch with their children by reading and recording books in their own voices.

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By Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
National Guard Bureau

NEW YORK, Nov. 5, 2012 - Members of the New York National Guard distributed critically needed fuel throughout the New York City area as residents and local authorities continue with cleanup and recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy slammed the East Coast.

The fuel was provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and distributed at National Guard armories in Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn as a response to gas stations and other infrastructure being shut down as a result of Sandy.

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2012 - America's 398 national parks will offer the public free admission Nov. 10-12 during Veterans Day weekend in honor of those who serve and have served in the U.S. military, according to a National Park Service news release.

"National parks preserve places that commemorate our country's collective heritage -- our ideals, our majestic lands, our sacred sites, our patriotic icons -- which our military has defended through the years," National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in the release.

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By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2012 - As part of Operation Home Cooking today at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show, the nation's No. 2 military officer hailed the strength of military spouses and shared his favorite Spanish rice dish, paella.

Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife Mary welcomed military spouses and wounded warrior caregivers who were honored by Operation Home Cooking with a day of food, entertainment and fellowship.

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2012 - President Barack Obama has directed the Defense Logistics Agency to purchase up to 12 million gallons of unleaded fuel and up to 10 million gallons of diesel fuel for distribution in areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy to supplement ongoing private-sector efforts, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency news release issued today.

This purchase will be transported by tanker trucks and distributed throughout New York, New Jersey and other communities impacted by the storm, according to the FEMA release.

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Federal Voting Assistance Program News Release

ALEXANDRIA, Nov. 2, 2012 - Registered military and overseas voters in New York will have additional time to submit a request for an absentee ballot. Due to Hurricane Sandy, the State Board of Elections has extended the deadline for receiving ballot requests by mail or by fax to today, Nov. 2.

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By Marine Corps Cpl. Michael Lockett
26th Marine Expeditionary Unit

NEW YORK, Nov. 2, 2012 - Marines and sailors of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., flew aboard the USS Wasp Nov. 1 to prepare to provide assistance to New Jersey, New York and Connecticut in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Within less than a day of receiving the order from Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Raymond C. Fox, the commanding general of II Marine Expeditionary Force, Marines and sailors boarded aircraft and sortied from bases in North Carolina to meet the amphibious assault ship as it sailed off the coast of New York City, preparing to provide medical, logistical, engineering, and heavy airlift support to the storm-damaged areas if tasked by the secretary of defense.

"What's important here is that the American public sees that their military can provide support to American cities, to American citizens, in a time of need," said Marine Corps Col. Matthew G. St. Clair, 26th MEU commanding officer. The MEU is a Marine Corps crisis-response force that's designed to remain afloat for months at a time

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By Capt. Lucas Burke
Headquarters Marine Corps
November 01, 2012

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines and sailors with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) on November 1 in support of Hurricane Sandy disaster relief efforts in New York and New Jersey.

The 26th MEU is able to provide generators, fuel, clean water, and helicopter lift capabilities to aid in disaster relief efforts.

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2012 - "In our military families, we see the best our country has to offer. They demonstrate the virtues that have made America great for more than two centuries and the values that will preserve our greatness for centuries to come," President Barack Obama said in his proclamation issued today declaring the month of November as Military Family Month.

The proclamation reads:

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By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2012 - The Defense Department launched "a significant airlift event" to quickly get power restoration equipment to New York, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency asked DOD to airlift equipment from Southern California to New York, he said. The Air Mobility Command responded and some of the needed equipment is already in the air.

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From an 18th Air Force Public Affairs News Release

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., Nov. 1, 2012 - Following President Obama's directive for the federal government to "lean forward" in response to the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy, airmen from across the country are answering the call.

Aircraft and crews from 12 active duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve bases across the nation were mobilized to arrive at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., where they are slated to pick up approximately 10 passengers and 632 short tons of equipment and supplies to support relief efforts on the East Coast.

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The Department of Defense (DoD) continues to provide disaster response resources and capabilities as requested by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal agencies in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Given the size and scope of the storm and its continuing impact throughout the eastern and northeastern United States, the department is actively posturing forces to support civil authorities via U.S. Northern Command and the National Guard Bureau, with a particular emphasis on un-watering and energy restoration.

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DALLAS - In response to a May, 2012 U.S. Postal Service ban on international shipments of electronics with lithium batteries, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service now has a way for overseas shoppers to get those must-have gadgets, gizmo and devices just in time for the holidays.

"Select cameras, tablets, watches and other electronics can now be ordered online and picked up at any of 36 Exchanges in Afghanistan, Belgium, Germany, Guam, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Portugal, Turkey or the United Kingdom through our ‘Lithium Ship to Store’ program," said the Exchange’s Chief of Staff Col. Thomas Ockenfels. "And now, since they’re being sent via Fed Ex, the shipping times will be much quicker than in the past."

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By: Kristin Shives
TRICARE Management Activity10/25/2012

FALLS CHURCH, Va. As Hurricane Sandy moves toward the East Coast, TRICARE urges beneficiaries to be prepared and watch the weather.

Beneficiaries living in the path of a tropical storm or hurricane should always prepare for rain, strong winds, possible flooding and evacuations. In the case of evacuations, the TRICARE pharmacy program may authorize early refills for prescriptions ensuring beneficiaries don't run out of needed medications during a crisis.

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By  Annemarie Felicio 
TRICARE Management Activity
October 24, 2012

TRICARE and Military OneSource will host a webinar on TRICARE benefits available to National Guard and Reserve members on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. EDT.


The different stages of the National Guard and Reserve deployment cycle can make it challenging for members and their families to know what TRICARE benefits are available.

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by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas"  The Air Force awarded $1,000 scholarships to 25 Airmen or family members for their entries in the 16th annual Air Force Club Membership Scholarship Program essay contest, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced.

The contest was open to club members and their families, more than 100 of whom submitted essays describing the meaning of the lyrics to "America the Beautiful".

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DALLAS - According to the Military Child Education Coalition, an estimated 80 percent of military connected children are forced to move between 6-9 times as they complete their K-12 education and, along with geographical moves, comes changes in educational settings and curriculums.

With these unique challenges in mind, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service rewards military students who excel. In fact, schoolchildren who receive a report card with an overall "B" average or better can pick up an array of free and discounted products through the

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 824-12
October 16, 2012

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be buried, as a group, with full military honors.

Air Force Col. Wendell Keller of Fargo, N.D., and Capt. Virgil K. Meroney III of Fayetteville, Ark., will be buried as a group, in a single casket representing the crew, on Oct. 19, in Arlington National Cemetery.  Meroney was interred individually on June 9, in his hometown.

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San Jose, CA - August 13, 2012 - American soldiers returning from service abroad and other veterans who suffer from debilitating tinnitus now have access to advanced treatment covered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Starting Aug. 15th, the VA will begin providing SoundCure Serenade® customized sound therapy for veterans suffering from tinnitus, or "ringing in the ears."

"We are very pleased to make this valuable treatment available to our nation's troops serving us in so many ways," stated Bill Perry, CEO of SoundCure. "Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and other explosions and noise damage can leave soldiers with a painful - and constant reminder of their time on the battlefield. We are proud to work through the VA to provide a tinnitus solution and relief to military personnel."

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By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2012 - As service members prepare for any and all possible military operations, the Defense Department is reaching out to ensure that there are no contingencies back home to distract them from the mission, namely their personal finances.

Barbara Thompson, director of DOD's Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth, is leading the information campaign with a different theme each month -- starting with retirement savings -- to help service members and their families stay in top financial shape.

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by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" It wasn't the first time she had been to the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, but Staff Sgt. Danielle Harris' Sept. 21 visit was as emotionally energizing as if she'd never been there.

Annually, during the National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day events, New York City officials honor Department of Defense agencies responsible for managing the POW/MIA Personnel Accounting program.

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October 10, 2012
FALLS CHURCH, Va. - To avoid losing coverage, beneficiaries enrolled in TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) or TRICARE Retired Reserve (TRR) who pay monthly premiums by check need to switch to an electronic form of payment before Jan. 1, 2013.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, TRICARE will only accept monthly premium payments using recurring automatic payments by credit or debit card, or by recurring electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a linked bank account. To avoid confusion, beneficiaries should verify that their bank sends EFT payments electronically.

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DALLAS - A good program just got better as the Army & Air Force Exchange Service's Holiday Layaway program is now fee-free. Shoppers simply select their gifts for layaway and stop by customer service to complete the layaway process.

"Fee-free" means that while the Exchange collects an initial $3 processing fee for new layaways, that amount is returned to customers, via an Exchange Merchandise Gift Card, upon final payment and pick up their items.

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DALLAS - Exchange shoppers won't have to wait for December to start the holiday season as the Army and Air Force Exchange Service's Facebook<http://www.facebook.com/AAFES.BX.PX> page is hosting "12 Weeks of Gifting" contest. From Sept. 28 - Dec. 20, shoppers can count down the last 12 weeks until Christmas by entering to win different prizes each week.

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By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

FAIRFAX, Va., Oct. 3, 2012 - More than 100 colleges and universities have signed on to a White House initiative to prepare educators for the unique needs of their military-connected students, Dr. Jill Biden announced today.

Biden, wife of the vice president, made the announcement at George Mason University here as part of the latest accomplishment of the "Joining Forces" campaign she began in April 2010 with First Lady Michelle Obama to rally Americans to support the health, education and employment needs of military families.

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FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AFNS) -- To avoid losing coverage, beneficiaries enrolled in TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) or TRICARE Retired Reserve (TRR) who pay monthly premiums by check need to switch to an electronic form of payment before Jan. 1, 2013.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, TRICARE will only accept monthly premium payments using recurring automatic payments by credit or debit card, or by recurring electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a linked bank account. To avoid confusion, beneficiaries should verify that their bank sends EFT payments.

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By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2012 - Absentee Voting Week is a reminder that it's still possible for eligible U.S. voters overseas to register and to vote, the acting director of the department's Federal Voting Assistance Program said today.

"It's not too late to vote," Pamela S. Mitchell told reporters during a telephone news conference.

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By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2012 - Officials have developed a robust program to ensure absentee military and overseas citizens have the necessary tools to cast their votes, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today. As Election Day nears, the Federal Voting Assistance Program has taken a global, innovative and user-friendly approach, including measures mandated by Congress to assist voters, Little said during a Pentagon news conference.

"The assistance we provide is completely nonpartisan," Little said. "The Federal Voting Assistance Program strives to ensure that every absent military and overseas citizen voter has the tools and resources to receive, cast and return an absentee ballot and have it counted."

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 791-12
October 02, 2012

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of seven servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and are being buried with full military honors.

Marine Corps 1st Lt. Laverne A. Lallathin of Raymond, Wash.; 2nd Lt. Dwight D. Ekstam of Moline, Ill.; 2nd Lt. Walter B. Vincent, Jr. of Tulsa, Okla.; Tech. Sgt. James A. Sisney of Redwood City, Calif.; Cpl. Wayne R. Erickson of Minneapolis; Cpl. John D. Yeager of Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Pfc. John A. Donovan of Plymouth, Mich., will be buried as a group, in a single casket representing the crew, on Oct. 4, in Arlington National Cemetery.  Six of the Marines were identified and buried as individuals previously this year.  Lallathin, also individually identified, will be interred individually at Arlington on the same day as the group interment.

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Helping our military families by sending expired and unwanted coupons overseas.

Did you know that overseas military members can use expired coupons up to six months past their expiration date? Military families stationed overseas are often living on one income and money can be scarce. Let’s support our military by showing them some coupon love! Please join us in sending in your expired and unwanted coupons to one of our adopted bases.

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By Terri Moon CronkAmerican Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2012 - Beginning Oct. 1, 2012, active-duty members of the Army, Navy and Air Force will be able to contribute to the Roth Thrift Savings Plan as part of their investment planning, Defense Financing and Accounting Service officials said today.

The after-tax contributions will be electronically deducted from service members' pay accounts.

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2012 - President Barack Obama asked the nation to "rededicate ourselves to upholding the sacred trust we share with our Gold Star families and the heroes we have laid to rest," in his proclamation issued today declaring Sept. 30, 2012, as Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day.

The proclamation reads:

"From the revolution that gave life to our Republic to the trials of our times, our men and women in uniform have put themselves in harm's way to defend the people they love and the land they cherish. Their actions attest not only to the depth of their sacrifice, but also to a belief in their country so profound they were willing to give their lives for it. Today, we pay solemn tribute to all who did. Sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, they were all patriots -- and with a devotion to duty that goes without equal, these proud Americans gave of themselves until they had nothing more to give.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 780-12

September 28, 2012

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Pfc. Richard S. Gzik, of Toledo, Ohio, will be buried today, at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, DC.  On Dec. 2, 1950, Gzik and the other Marines of M Battery, 11th Artillery Regiment, 1st Marine Division, came under attack on the west side of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea.  It was during this battle that Gzik was killed in action and his remains were buried alongside the road leading to Hagaru-ri.  Later that month, the withdrawal of U.N. forces from the Chosin Reservoir region made it impossible to recover Gzik's remains.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 781-12
September 28, 2012

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Samuel E. Lunday, of Marianna, Fla., will be buried today, at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, DC.  On April 24, 1943, Lunday and four other U.S. servicemen were flying a C-87 Liberator Express aircraft over the Himalayan Mountains, from Yangkai, China, to their home base in Chabua, India.  After losing radio communications following take-off, the crew was never heard from again.  Eleven aerial search missions were unable to locate the aircraft or crew due to intense snows on the mountains at high altitudes, and dense jungle growth at lower altitudes.

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From a Department of Veterans Affairs News Release

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2012 - The Department of Veterans Affairs has developed a new online community provider toolkit aimed at delivering support, therapeutic tools, and resources to community providers treating veterans for mental health concerns.

"Many veterans seek mental health care at VA, yet many also choose to go to providers in their community," Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. "VA is committed to helping veterans wherever they may seek care. This toolkit will enable those community providers who treat veterans to better understand the specific issues veterans face and help them access VA resources."

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By Lisa Daniel
Sept. 27, 2012

As the Army conducts its worldwide standdown for suicide prevention today, there is something family members militarywide can do, too, and it only takes a minute. Get out your smart phone and enter the information for the Military Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 Press 1, militarycrisisline.net, or text at 838255.

All calls are confidential and they are taken by trained counselors. So even if you're unsure if someone close to you may be suicidal, you could at least talk through the situation with someone who understands and could share insight. And in the terrible possibility of an emergency, you won't be searching for a number to call.

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by Debbie Gildea

Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" - After four years without a rate increase, Air Force lodging rates will go up beginning Oct. 1, Air Force Personnel Center Officials said today.

The increase is necessary to ensure Air Force Lodging rates cover current operating and capital improvement costs, said Maj. Gen. A.J. Stewart, AFPC commander.

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By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2012 - The Defense Department is working with airlines to implement a new flight cancellation policy that will affect air travel for temporary duty travelers, a Pentagon official said today.

Andrea Carlock, chief of the program management branch, which serves as part of the Defense Travel Management Office, discussed the genesis of these changes and the potential impact on DOD travelers.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 774-12
September 25, 2012

As part of the Department of Defense's efforts to confront the crime of sexual assault in the military, today the department announced improvements to prospective commander and senior enlisted training and a review of the initial military training environment in every service.

First, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has instituted higher standards for sexual assault prevention and response (SAPR) training for pre-command training.  These changes are the result of a review ordered by the secretary in January 2012.

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By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2012 - The Defense Department's Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences is conducting the nation's first large-scale study of the impact of a service member's death on surviving family members.

The university's Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, based in Bethesda, Md., received funding through DOD's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program to conduct the five-year study to fill a void in understanding the myriad ways families are affected by a service member's death ranging from the emotional impact to loss of benefits, Dr. Stephen J. Cozza, director of the center's child and family program and a principal investigator of the study, said today.

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by Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" - Federal Voting Assistance Program officials have declared the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 4 as Absentee Voting Week to ensure service members and their families are aware of upcoming voting absentee deadlines before the Nov. 6 general election.

Absentee Voting Week follows Armed Forces Voters Week (also known as Overseas Citizens Voters Week), which took place from June 28 to July 7. AFVW and OCVW focused on helping voting assistance officers deliver federal post card applications to military members and their voting-age family members. These applications allow voters to register to vote and request a ballot.

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From a Department of Veterans Affairs News Release

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2012 - The Department of Veterans Affairs today announced it has approved $28.4 million in grants to fund 38 projects in 25 states and the District of Columbia that will provide transitional housing to homeless veterans.

Among these 38 projects, 31 will provide temporary housing to homeless veterans with the goal that they will retain the residence as their own.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 764-12
September 19, 2012

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is Friday, Sept. 21.  Each year, the President issues a proclamation asking Americans to recognize the nation's service members who were held prisoner or are still missing, and their families.

The day's events include a Pentagon commemoration ceremony hosting former prisoners of war, family members, military service members and distinguished guests.  Traditionally held on the third Friday in September, the event will include formal military honors.  A flyover of military aircraft is scheduled to conclude the ceremony.

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By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2012 - The Defense Manpower Data Center is making it easier for service members and their families to get and maintain identification cards.

The center has launched its RAPIDS  -- Real-time Automated Personnel Identification System -- self-service portal to allow anyone with the Defense Department's common access card, or CAC, to apply for family ID or retirement cards or update dependents' statuses online.

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By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2012 - With Election Day just 54 days away, federal voting officials want to ensure that service members and their families are prepared for their votes to be counted.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program  [ http://www.fvap.gov/ ]has made the voting process easier than ever for Americans serving overseas, Pam Mitchell, the program's acting director, says. The website includes a tab for each state's deadlines for registering to vote and casting absentee ballots. It also has online registration and absentee ballot assistance, and includes a mobile app [ http:// http://www.fvap.gov/mobile/ ].

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DALLAS - Staff Sgt. Andrew McElroy Jr. was serving as a tracked-vehicle Mechanic/Instructor in the Advanced Leaders' Course at Fort Hood in the summer of 2011 when he was severely injured in a fall.

"I was up on top of an M88 Recovery Vehicle and was pulling a tarp over it because it was starting to rain," said McElroy. "A strong gust of wind caught the tarp and caused me to lose my balance."

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2012 - President Barack Obama today signed a proclamation designating tomorrow's 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States as Patriot Day and National Day of Remembrance.

Here is the president's proclamation:

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By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2012 - September, National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, is a reminder to everyone in the military community to watch out for each other, a senior defense official said.

Jacqueline Garrick, acting director of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office, told the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service the Defense Department's theme for the month's observance, "Stand By Them," is a prompt to get involved when a friend or loved one seems distressed.

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By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2012 - Military leaders all the way to the commander in chief are drawing attention to the importance of good mental health and putting resources into programs to help veterans, service members and their families. Read more.

But when it comes to recognizing and treating mental health problems, such as depression, spouses are the first line of defense, some treatment professionals say.

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By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2012 - With Election Day about two months away, absentee military and overseas citizen voters can enjoy a streamlined process to register, obtain a ballot and exercise their right to vote, a Federal Voting Assistance Program official said in a Pentagon news conference today.

Pam Mitchell, the program's acting director, outlined new outreach initiatives designed to make voting assistance more innovative and user-friendly than ever before, with an emphasis on engaging junior military personnel, the largest segment of the Defense Department population.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 727-12
September 05, 2012

The Department of Defense (DoD) launched today the Operation Tomodachi Registry website.  The website provides location-based radiation dose estimate reports for adults and children comprising the DoD-affiliated population on or near mainland Japan following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011.

DoD-affiliated members who were in Japan during the nuclear reactor crisis, medical providers, and the public at large will be able to download location-based radiation dose estimate reports from the website.  These reports include medical interpretations and provide comparisons of the Operation Tomodachi radiation doses with more commonly experienced radiation doses.

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By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2012 - Bells have rung in 194 Department of Defense Educational Activity Schools around the world, marking the start of another school year.

Marilee Fitzgerald, the director of the agency, spoke during a Pentagon news conference today about changes to the school system and the unique role these schools play.

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From a Federal Voting Assistance Program News Release

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 28, 2012 - Service members, their families and U.S. citizens living overseas now have voting information at their fingertips with the Federal Voting Assistance program's new mobile website.

The site provides an interface that quickly leads users to voting information in an easy-to-read, mobile-friendly format.

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By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2012 - While U.S. service members in Afghanistan made mistakes in handling Qurans in February, there was no intent "to disrespect the Quran or defame Islam," the general investigating the incident wrote in his report.

U.S. Central Command released the results of the investigation into the incident, in which Qurans removed from a library for detainees were mishandled at Bagram Airfield.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 709-12
August 27, 2012

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of three servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, were recently identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Army Sgt. 1st Class William T. Brown of La Habra, Calif., Sgt. 1st Class Donald M. Shue of Kannapolis, N.C., and Sgt. 1st Class Gunther H. Wald of Palisades Park, N.J., will be buried as a group on Aug. 30, in a single casket representing the three soldiers, in Arlington National Cemetery.  Brown and Shue were each individually buried on Sept. 26, 2011, at Arlington and May 1 in Kannapolis, N.C.

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By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2012 - The White House initiative to hire veterans and military spouses has surpassed its goals, having led to the hiring or training of more than 125,000 veterans and spouses in the past year, First Lady Michelle Obama announced today.

Speaking to sailors and their families at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Fla., the first lady said 2,000 companies have hired 125,000 employees through their pledges to the "Joining Forces" campaign, and, of those, 140 employers have hired 28,000 military spouses.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 696-12
August 22, 2012

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from World War II, has been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. John E. Hogan, of West Plains, Mo., will be buried Aug. 24, in Arlington National Cemetery.  On Sept. 13, 1944, Hogan and eight other crew members were on a B-17G Flying Fortress that crashed near Neustädt-on-Werra, Germany.  Only one of the crewmen is known to have successfully parachuted out of the aircraft before it crashed.  The remaining eight crewmen were buried by German forces in a cemetery in Neustädt.

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By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21, 2012 - Finwe Wiendenhoeft is a military-connected kid living the kind of healthy lifestyle First Lady Michelle Obama encourages through her "Let's Move [ http://www.letsmove.gov ]" campaign ? and one endorsed by the Defense Department [ http://defense.gov ].

Healthy is a way of life for Finwe, 9, who lives with her family on 30 acres in southwest Wisconsin, according to her mother, Kristina, and it was their recipe for a meatless burger that earned the two seats at the first-ever "Kids' State Dinner [ http://www.letsmove.gov/kids-state-dinner ]" at the White House yesterday.

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From a Department of Labor News Release

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21, 2012 - The Labor Department today awarded grants totaling $11.53 million through the Veterans' Workforce Investment Program to provide an estimated 5,500 veterans with job training and skills development services.

"These grants will increase the skill sets of veterans and result in training and credentialing for jobs in high-demand industries," Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis said. "Our veterans made sacrifices on behalf of our nation, and I ask all employers to renew their commitment to veterans, because the best way to honor our veterans is to hire them."

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VetJobs and its veteran service partners are assisting MasterCard with an educational study to identify financial issues faced by enlisted personnel and their families.

We are conducting focus groups on August 28 and August 29 in Virginia Beach. Focus group participants will be paid $50.00 for their time. The focus groups will last 60 to 90 minutes.

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By Gary Sheftick
Army News Service

LONDON, Aug. 9, 2012 - Air Force family member Janay DeLoach leaped 6.89 meters last night at Olympic Stadium here to take the bronze medal in women's long jump at the Summer Olympics.

USA teammate Brittney Reese won the gold with a jump of 7.12 meters, and Russia's Elena Sokolova earned the silver with a jump of 7.07.

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By Lisa Daniel
Aug. 9, 2012

Families of wounded warriors already are benefitting from a program that started last month to make it easier for them to travel with their loved ones for medical treatment.

The Defense Department and Fisher House Foundation have teamed up to oversee the Hotels for Heroes program, which allows the American public to donate their unused hotel reward points to families of wounded warriors so that they might stay for free in hotels around the country while their family member receives medical treatment.

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Mark Pomerville

U.S. Nationwide, August 8, 2012 – COUPLES RETREAT - A New Docu-Reality Program, is looking to help MARRIED COUPLES get a fresh, honest start in their marriage.

For the first time ever, married couples struggling with secrets of infidelity, will have the opportunity to take part in a groundbreaking new program to help their marriage get back on track, while clearing their conscience.

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By Tim Hipps
U.S. Army Installation Management Command

LONDON, Aug. 8, 2012 - Team USA coaches did not recognize their wrestler as Army Spc. Justin Lester -- or Harry Lester, as some know him -- as he finished eighth in the Olympic men's Greco-Roman 66-kilogram tournament yesterday at ExCel North Arena 2 here.

"He was lacking the normal Harry Lester zip that he has," Team USA Greco-Roman head wrestling coach Steve Fraser said. "Harry, or Justin, looked a little bit sluggish, and he looked like he got a little bit tired."

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 658-12
August 06, 2012

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Lt. Col. Charles M. Walling of Phoenix, Ariz., and Maj. Aado Kommendant of Lakewood, N.J., will be buried as a group at Arlington National Cemetery on Aug. 8 -- the 46th anniversary of the crash that took their lives.  Walling was individually buried on June 15, at Arlington National Cemetery.

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By Tim Hipps
Army News Service

LONDON, Aug. 6, 2012 - Jamie Gray, wife of U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit shooter Staff Sgt. Hank Gray, won an Olympic gold medal in the women's 50-meter rifle 3-positions event Aug. 4 at the Royal Artillery Barracks here.

U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program rifle coach Maj. Dave Johnson, who leads Team USA's rifle shooters in London, coached Gray to the victory.

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2012 - A website launched last week that lists recipients of the military's highest awards for valor for actions since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has been updated with service cross recipients, Defense Department officials announced today.

The site -- at http://valor.defense.gov -- is designed to raise awareness of service members' heroism and to help deter those who falsely claim military honors, officials said.

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The Coalition to Save our Military Shopping Benefits will be cheering on Team USA at the Olympic Summer Games in London. And one lucky military commissary patron will win a Gold-Medal Shopping Spree worth potentially thousands of dollars in free groceries!

Every time the U.S. Olympic Team wins gold, the progressive Gold Medal Shopping Spree prize pool will grow by $50. If one of our military Olympians wins gold, the pool will grow by $100! Our randomly selected grand prize winner will receive the total value of all U.S. Gold Medal victories in $50 and $100 commissary gift cards.

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By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2012 - The Defense Department unveiled a new website today that honors service members' highest acts of valor.

The site -- at http://valor.defense.gov -- is designed to raise awareness of service members' heroism and to help deter those who falsely claim military honors, officials said.

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Are you a young Military Mother aged 18-25 now raising your children as a single parent since the deployment of your husband?

Do you feel overwhelmed trying to balance motherhood and time for yourself?

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2012 - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is awarding nearly $100 million in grants that will help approximately 42,000 homeless and at-risk veterans and their families, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced.

The grants are going to 151 community agencies in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to a VA news release.

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By Erin Wittkop
American Forces Press Service

CROWNSVILLE, Md., July 13, 2012 - Army Sgt. Jonathon Biddle never imagined that the challenge of learning to ride a horse would help him recover from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and severe anxiety. A program called Horses for Heroes, however, is helping the wounded warrior do just that.

Biddle joined the Horses for Heroes program in the fall of 2011, following a month-long hospital stay at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. It was Biddle's wife, Jackie, who encouraged him to try the program after he brought home a flyer from the Warriors in Transition Unit. The program, started in 2009 by Maryland Therapeutic Riding Inc., is designed to help wounded warriors relieve stress so they can focus on healing.

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By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 13, 2012 - Much has changed in the 20 years since the Defense Department ramped up its family support programs by providing policy and guidance from the Pentagon to installations.

And that support is continuing, with many more programs and a broader reach, DOD's senior official for family support said today.

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I'm working on a new uplifting television program focused on bringing people & communities together.  "The Choir" documents a highly-recognized, award-winning Choirmaster as he attempts to create choirs in the most unlikely of settings.  He feels choirs allow people to come together and express themselves as a community, and although they're made of many voices, individuals often find unexpected personal rewards and growth through their choral experience.

"The Choir" is not another competition show about finding the next pop superstar or watching people sing off-key in front of judges for a humiliating audition segment.  This show is about building community spirit with neighbors, peers, co-workers, and others through the simple joy of singing.  It's open to all military wives!  Vocal talent is welcome, but not required because there are a variety of ways to contribute to the choir's success.  (Right now, we're focused solely on the wives of our military men, but if anyone else is interested, it could possibly open up to others as we progress.)

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2012 - Transitioning service members and veterans will be able to learn how to become entrepreneurs through a U.S. Small Business Administration-sponsored pilot program, SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills told reporters here yesterday.

Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup is a pilot program designed to provide the training, tools and resources that transitioning service members and veterans will need to establish businesses, Mills said.

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By: Ron Irwin

(Hollywood - July 4, 2012) America it seems is a warring nation and throughout American history in the twentieth and twenty first centuries Hollywood has always played a part through its movie power. In World War II major stars and producers contributed in many ways. Jimmy Stewart joined the Air Force and mega star John Wayne while not serving in the war did make movies with a positive spin to bring hope to the American people. Shortly after the end of the Korean War Hollywood gave it face with classics like “The Hunters” starring Robert Mitchum and “Pork Chop Hill” starring Gregory Peck. The super controversial Vietnam War that lasted far too long and claimed millions of lives including 58,000 American lives got Hollywood’s attention with the classics “Apocalypse Now” and “Platoon.” But the more than decade long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have received little attention from Hollywood and what has been produced has been almost exclusively anti war propaganda.

It is perfectly fine to be anti war, but as thousands of Americans, and others, die and are wounded in these struggles the American media in general and Hollywood in particular has simply turned a blind eye on the subject; that is until now.

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By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 10, 2012 - Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines considering separating from the active-duty military this year may seek employment options in the railways industry, which today became the latest to pledge jobs to veterans.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the 5,000-job pledge in a conference call with reporters, making rail the latest industry to offer jobs as part of the Joining Forces campaign. He was joined by Ed Hamberger, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads, and Navy Capt. Brad Cooper, director of Joining Forces, which First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, created to help service members, veterans and their families.

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By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2012 - As Americans were preparing last week to celebrate America's 236th birthday, hundreds of teenagers from military families were treated to three days of fun and learning here in the nation's capital.

About 600 teenagers who participate in Boys & Girls Clubs of America in or around military installations flew in with about a hundred of their mentors for "Operation Washington," a first-time event co-sponsored by BGCA and the Close Up Foundation as part of a partnership grant from the Departments of Defense and Justice, said Kevin McCartney, BGCA's vice president of government relations.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 563-12
July 05, 2012

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of six servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, were recently identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Col. Joseph Christiano of Rochester, N.Y.;
Col. Derrell B. Jeffords of Florence, S.C.;
Lt. Col. Dennis L. Eilers of Cedar Rapids, Iowa;
Chief Master Sgt. William K. Colwell of Glen Cove, N.Y.;
Chief Master Sgt. Arden K. Hassenger of Lebanon, Ore.; and
Chief Master Sgt. Larry C. Thornton of Idaho Falls, Idaho, will be buried as a group in a single casket representing the entire crew on July 9 in Arlington National Cemetery.

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Sweet'N Low Offers Prize Packs For Exemplary Members of the Military and Their Loved-Ones

BROOKLYN, NY --  As a thank you to the U.S. troops on duty within the US and overseas, America's favorite zero calorie sweetener,  Sweet'N Low®, is recognizing the contribution of United States servicemen and women with its first Sweet On A Solider sweepstakes.

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HGTV contest will give a dramatic free makeover to winner with the tackiest, most outdated living room in the country.

(Minneapolis) – HGTV is teaming up with the editors of HGTV Magazine to find the tackiest, ugliest, most outdated living room in the U.S. The winning entry will be featured in a half-hour special entitled: The Most Embarrassing Living Room in America.

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By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 3, 2012 - Eligible military members and federal civilian employees who face financial loss when selling their primary residence may receive compensation, provided they apply for the Expanded Homeowners Assistance Program by Sept. 30.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages HAP on behalf of the military branches. The HAP, initially created by Congress in 1966, provides financial assistance to qualifying homeowners when a closure or significant change in operations at a military base leads to severe losses in the local real estate market.

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From a Department of Transportation News Release

WASHINGTON, July 2, 2012 - Veterans and their families will have better access to local bus, vanpool and other transportation options with $29 million in grants, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today.

During a conference call with reporters, LaHood said the grants will fund 64 projects in 33 states to help veterans, wounded warriors and their families find affordable rides to jobs, and job training, education, and health facilities.

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By Amaani LyleAmerican Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2012 - The National Park Service extends free annual park passes far beyond the droves of Pentagon employees who lined up to take advantage of the offer today.

Through its America the Beautiful series, the National Park Service grants complimentary access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites, national parks and wildlife refuges to active duty service members and activated Guardsmen and reservists and their families, said Kathy Kupper, National Park Service spokeswoman.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 529-12
June 25, 2012

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Emil T. Wasilewski of Chicago will be buried on June 26 at Arlington National Cemetery.  On Sept. 13, 1944, Wasilewski and eight other crew members were on a B-17G Flying Fortress that crashed near Neustaedt-on-the-Werra, Germany.  Only one of the crewmen is known to have successfully parachuted out of the aircraft before it crashed.  The remaining eight crewmen were buried by German forces in a cemetery in Neustaedt.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 519-12
June 20, 2012

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Capt. Clyde W. Campbell of Longview, Texas, will be buried June 21 at Arlington National Cemetery.  On March 1, 1969, Campbell was a pilot aboard an A-1J Skyraider aircraft that crashed while carrying out a close air-support mission in Houaphan Province, Laos.  American forward air controllers directing the mission in the area reported hearing an explosion that they believed to be Campbell's bombs, but later learned Campbell's aircraft had crashed.  No parachutes were seen in the area.

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David Quinlan
Q13 FOX News reporter

Lakewood Wa - Con artists claiming to be from a military charity group called Freedom United States have been running a scam in Lakewood, playing on people’s emotions to donate money supposedly to honor fallen soldiers. The money goes into their pockets instead.

Lakewood police were trying to track them down Monday, when the con artists were going door to door in Lakewood seeking donations.

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 19, 2012 - Some 8,600 homeless veterans will benefit from $15 million in grant money for job training through the U.S. Department of Labor's Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said today.

The Labor Department has awarded the money to 64 organizations that help America's veterans, DOL officials said. The grant, officials added, will go to state and local workforce investment boards, local public agencies and similar groups that are familiar with their homeless veteran populations, and have shown they can provide help for them.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 513-12
June 19, 2012

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, were identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Cpl. Robert I. Wax of Detroit will be buried June 20 at Arlington National Cemetery.  In August 1950, Wax and Battery A, 555th Field Artillery Battalion, were fighting against North Korean forces in a battle known as the "Bloody Gulch," near Pongam-ni, South Korea.  After the battle, on Aug. 11, 1950, Wax was listed as missing in action.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 494-12
June 14, 2012

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Lt. Col. Charles M. Walling of Phoenix will be buried June 15 at Arlington National Cemetery. There will be a group burial honoring Walling and fellow crew member, Maj. Aado Kommendant of Lakewood, N.J., at Arlington National Cemetery, on Aug. 8 -- the 46th anniversary of the crash that took their lives.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 464-12
June 05, 2012

The Department of Defense announces that the United States and India have agreed to resume remains recovery activities in parts of Northeastern India.

The Department assesses that there are approximately 400 unaccounted-for service members from some 90 aircraft crashes in the area during World War II.

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By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 1, 2012 - A major retirement savings tool available to all service members and DOD civilians is the Thrift Savings Plan, and soon there will be a new way to save for retirement -- the Roth TSP, a senior Defense Department official said.

The Roth TSP, which uses after-tax dollars, will begin phased implementation this month for the Marine Corps, and in July for DOD civilians, said Barbara Thompson, the director of the Defense Department's Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth.

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2012 - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs wants veterans to know about their benefits, from job and education opportunities to home loans and programs for those who are disabled, a VA official said yesterday.

Veterans caught in today's high rate of unemployment likely can find a job in one of the more than 200 high-demand careers that have been identified by the Department of Labor, said Curtis Coy, VA's deputy under secretary for economic opportunity. Those occupations are listed on the VA's Web site.

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U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2012 - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced today that it will collaborate with the "100,000 Homes" campaign and its 117 participating communities to help find permanent housing for 10,000 vulnerable and chronically homeless veterans this year.

"President [Barack] Obama and I are personally committed to ending homelessness among veterans," Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said in a VA news release. "Those who have served this nation as veterans should never find themselves on the streets, living without care and without hope."

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by Staff Sgt. Lorenzo Parnell
ANG Special Staff Public Affairs

5/23/2012 - 5/21/12 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md -- Brig. Gen. Brian Neal, the commander of the Air National Guard Readiness Center here, presented Col. Michael Ogle, the director of logistics for the ANG at the ANGRC, with the Lone Star Distinguished Service Medal from the state of Texas Tuesday at the ANGRC for his for exceptionally outstanding performance of duty while he was assigned to the 149th Fighter Wing, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

Ogle was awarded the Lone Star Distinguished Service Medal for his meritorious service as the commander of the 149th Maintenance Group from Sept. 5, 1999 to March 11, 2011 where his leadership and initiative increased the readiness and effectiveness of his unit while achieving substantial accomplishments for his organization.

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By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2012 - Service members and their families will have free entry into more than 1,600 of the nation's museums this summer through a joint venture between the National Endowment for the Arts and Blue Star Families.

It is the third year for the summer admission-fee waivers, which representatives from the endowment and the military support organization announced yesterday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

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PEACHTREE CORNERS, Georgia - May 23, 2012 - Ashworth College (http://www.ashworthcollege.edu), a leading online school, announced that military spouse Rhonda McMullen is the recipient of a 2012 ACCESS Scholarship. She is currently pursuing an online Bachelor's Degree program in Early Childhood Education.

With the family currently stationed in Landstuhl, Germany, this full-time mother of twin toddlers, full-time student, and full-time employee eventually plans to build a career in child and youth psychology.

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Military Heroes And Families To Saddle Up For Horses4Heroes Operation Free Ride - Sunday May 27, 2012

Horses4Heroes, one of the most successful equestrian support groups for the military is riding into Nashville, Sunday, May 27, from noon to 5:30 pm with a special Operation Free Ride open house for military heroes and their families. The event is being held at   A Cowboy Town in White's Creek. Owner Denise Reynolds, herself a member of the National Guard and home from a recent deployment, knows a thing or two about sacrifice and service!  "This is a great opportunity for our local military families to come out and enjoy not only a day with horses, but a fun-filled day of horseback riding, pony rides, panning for gold, canoeing, fishing, country western music and BBQ. Having been in the military I know family is important and this event goes a long way in helping the families come together," she states.  The event is free and open to anyone with Military ID.

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By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2012 - Exciting changes are underway for military spouses that could affect families who serve for generations to come.

It used to be, in the not-so-distant past, that a decision to marry into the military was a decision to not have a career of your own. Even if a spouse could juggle the demands of military home life plus a paid position, who would hire her (95 percent are female, according to Defense Department figures) knowing she would be gone in a couple of years due to a forced military relocation? And how would she even get to the point of applying for a job if she had to renew her professional license ? nurse, teacher, realtor, therapist, just to name a few with such requirements -- in every new state?

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By Cheryl Pellerin and Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.  
American Forces Press Service

NORTH CHICAGO, Ill., May 21, 2012 - The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments have joined in a unique effort to combine their health records in what will become the world's largest electronic system by 2017, the secretaries of both departments announced here today.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki briefed reporters after a tour of the Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, the nation's first fully integrated DOD-VA medical facility treating service members, veterans, military retirees and dependents.

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The sixteen National Guard state units listed below also allow you to sign up to receive emails about issues relevant to that state unit. Topics range from unit newsletters and general unit updates to job vacancy announcements. You may sign up for one topic or many.

The links below will allow you to view each state's offerings and select areas of interest so you can receive emails from the states you choose about topics you care about.

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2012 - The Pentagon Channel has teamed up with the annual GI Film Festival to produce a movie night for its viewers in a two-hour block of feature and short films each week, Scott Howe, the channel's operations manager, announced.

The first feature film on "The GI Film Festival on the Pentagon Channel" will be "Flag of My Father," with William Devane and Tom Schneider, at 8 p.m. EDT tomorrow.

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By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2012 - President Barack Obama paid tribute today to a man who died defending his fellow soldiers 42 years and six days ago, and who the commander-in-chief said represents a generation's honorable and undervalued service.

During a White House ceremony, the president awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry, recognizing Army Spc. Leslie H. Sabo Jr., a rifleman with the 101st Airborne Division who was killed in eastern Cambodia during the Vietnam War. Sabo's widow, Rose Mary Sabo-Brown, accepted the award. His brother, George Sabo, also attended the ceremony.

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By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2012 - Military spouses need only the focused attention of employers to improve hiring for the benefit of both sides, a military family advocate who works for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said today.

"This is all about finding those spouses and helping those spouses find you," Laura Dempsey, an Army wife and director of the Chamber's spouse employment programs, told dozens of business representatives who gathered here for two days of meetings as part of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership.

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We want to give you a sneak peek into an amazing upcoming opportunity to share with your readers. The Military Appreciation Award has the potential to truly make a difference for someone in need. In honor of the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend, we encourage you to share the below information on your website and via your social media channels when the news officially hits the public on May 25th!

"Do you know someone in the military that is lacking daily basics, a Veteran with a special need, or a relative of a fallen soldier going through hardships? Bodybuilding.com and BSN are teaming up to give back to those making the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and are accepting nominations from May 25th, 2012 to June 24th, 2012 to receive the Military Appreciation Award. This Award will be given to an active, reserve or veteran member of the U.S. military or their spouse, widow or child who is both inspirational and deserving."

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By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2012 - Unemployed veterans ages 35 to 60 can apply for up to 12 months of paid training through a new program sponsored by the Departments of Labor and Veterans Affairs.

VA officials said the population the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program will serve is particularly in need. Of about 900,000 U.S. veterans who are unemployed, nearly two-thirds are between 35 and 60, according to the Labor Department.

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By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2012 - New authority in this year's Defense Department authorization act allows the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps reserves to be called to duty in response to natural disasters or emergencies in the homeland, and also to be mobilized for extended periods to support theater security missions around the world.

Except for a crisis involving a weapon of mass destruction, the reserves historically have been prohibited from providing a homeland disaster response, Army Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, the Army Reserve chief, told reporters yesterday.

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By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2012 - Service members and their families will be able to enter all of America's national parks free of charge for a year under an initiative announced today.

The pass - the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass, which normally costs $80 - will become available to service members and their dependents on Armed Forces Day, May 19.

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By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2012 - Actor Gary Sinise's efforts to help wounded warriors were highlighted by journalist David Martin on last night's broadcast of the CBS program "60 Minutes."

In the 1994 film "Forrest Gump," Sinise portrayed "Lt. Dan," an Army officer who loses both legs while serving in the Vietnam War and overcomes adversity following his discharge.

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Military Wives, 

Thank you for your ongoing support of our service men and women. The work you do is commendable and greatly appreciated. As a leader committed to serving the needs of our service men and women, we need your help to Carry the Load and help us bring back the true meaning of Memorial Day.

Carry the Load is a non-profit founded former Navy Seals to raise funds and awareness for Veterans and their surviving families. We are currently "rucking", or walking, through Virginia on our 1,700-mile relay from West Point, New York to Dallas, Texas to help honor and highlight the sacrifices of America's heroes as we approach Memorial Day. Wednesday, May 2, we walked with many 9/11 families and the Iraqi & Afghanistan Veterans Association to ground zero for a memorial service and gathered in Arlington on Sunday, May 6th to pay our respect to the great American heroes that gave their last full measure of service for our nation.

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By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2012 - A husband who championed the progression of disability policy and the exceptional family member program received the 2012 Military Spouse of the Year Award here today.

Jeremy Hilton, spouse of Air Force Lt. Col. Renae Hilton, an Air Force Office of Special Investigations agent on Joint Base Andrews, Md., received the award