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 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. 

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.

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.

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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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DALLAS - The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is forgoing the tricks and going right for the treats in its latest contest as it gives away two $500 Exchange shopping sprees, ten $100 gift cards for the runners up and 20 $50 gift cards for third place.

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 834-11
September 29, 2011

New TRICARE Prime Enrollees Pay Adjusted Annual Fees

In accordance with changes authorized in February 2011, the Department of Defense announced today military retirees enrolling in TRICARE® Prime after Oct. 1, 2011, will begin paying an additional $2.50 per month for individual members and $5 per month for members and family. This change does not affect any retiree currently enrolled and only affects future enrollees. Active duty service members will continue to receive health care with no out of pocket costs.

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