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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 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.

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.

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. 

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 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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29, 2011 - Despite questions about whether the Walgreens pharmacy chain will continue as a TRICARE provider, beneficiaries will have several options for filling prescriptions, Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen M. Lainez said today.

The retail pharmacy contract between Express Scripts Inc., or ESI, and the Walgreens pharmacy chain is set to expire on Dec. 31, she added.

By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28, 2011 - It's that time of year when top 10 lists seem to proliferate across nearly every web and news page in the nation, proclaiming everything from the best movies and TV shows to the most memorable photos and celebrities of the year.

Since I find it tough to encapsulate a year's worth of information into a tidy list, I typically steer away from the concept. However, this was such a momentous year for military families that I decided it was time to hop on the list-making bandwagon.

"MONSTER IN-LAWS" on A&E Is Now Casting Military Couples Who Need Help Dealing With An In-Law!

In-laws: most people have them. ..and sometimes, they can be a whole lot more than a newlywed bargained for. A&E Network shines a light on married couples dealing with meddling in-laws as they try to make peace with the help of an unconventional, no-nonsense relationship expert in the new original real-life series "Monster In-Laws".

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2011 - Service members stationed in the United States will see an average increase of 2 percent when new basic allowance for housing rates take effect Jan. 1.

The Defense Department announced the 2012 BAH rates today, along with basic allowance for subsistence rates, which will also increase slightly.

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2011 - Service members and their families may seek assistance for financial challenges during the holiday season through family centers and other financial planning resources on their local installations.

"Our family centers have staff on board who are certified financial counselors, and they offer a variety of classes and one-on-one counseling sessions for service members and their families," said Barbara Thompson, director of the DOD's military community and family policy office, said during a Dec. 8 Pentagon Channel interview.

By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2011 - The need for quality financial education and protections for service members and their families will not diminish even as more than a decade of war begins to draw to a close, a Defense Department official said today.

"Even though the force will be transitioning -- we hope, of course, out of a high-operations tempo -- over the next five or six years, we can't presume our service members and their families will have more stability at the end of the day," Robert L. Gordon III, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, told a group of financial experts.

By Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. John Orrell
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2011 - The National Guard unveiled its Vets4Warriors service members' counseling program at a Capitol Hill ceremony today.

Vets4Warriors is a toll-free, peer-to-peer counseling hotline that provides Guard members and reserve component members with the ability to speak with counselors on the phone or online.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2011 - The U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development today announced that a new national report shows that homelessness among veterans has been reduced by nearly 12 percent between January 2010 and January 2011.

The federal government has pledged to end veterans' homelessness by 2015, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said.

Army & Air Force Exchange Service Public Affairs

NEWS RELEASE: 11-063

DALLAS - According to the National Retail Federation, more than half of all shoppers in 2010 said they'd like to receive gift cards, marking four years in a row that gift cards have topped consumers' holiday wish lists. And while most any gift card will work for most, military supporters have long struggled with finding the right one for troops serving far from home.

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service's 3,100 retail facilities in all 50 states and some 30 countries has the solution for both military members and supporters.

TRICARE Standard HandbookNovember 2011

The TRICARE Standard Handbook is an 80-page guide for beneficiaries using TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra.

The handbook provides information about qualifying for and purchasing TRICARE Reserve Select, TRICARE Retired Reserve and TRICARE Young Adult Standard.

Federal Voting Assistance Program News Release

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2011 - The Federal Voting Assistance Program and the Military Postal Service Agency yesterday announced absentee ballot mailing date guidelines that apply to various overseas locations.

Military members serving overseas and other U.S. citizens living abroad must consider mail transit times when submitting their absentee ballots to vote in upcoming presidential, Senate, House, gubernatorial, state legislature, local and other elections.

By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 5, 2011 - It's only 10 a.m., but the Warrior and Family Support Center on Fort Sam Houston here is bustling.

Troops, some in wheelchairs and others heavily scarred, crowd around big-screen TVs to catch the latest sports news in the cavernous, sun-filled front room. In the kitchen up the hall, volunteers load baking sheets into ovens and the smell of fresh-baked cookies begins to waft through the air.

By Elaine Wilson 
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29, 2010 - The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury has released its monthly webinar series schedule for 2011 [ http://www.dcoe.health.mil/blog/article.aspx?id=1&postid=179 ], and officials there hope the topics will interest everyone from servicemembers and their families to medical professionals.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2010 - The deadline for eligible servicemembers, veterans and their beneficiaries to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay has been extended to March 4, Defense Department officials announced today.

By Alexandra Hemmerly-Brown 
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2010 - Dedie Davis knows what it's like to be homeless.

Davis and her two children slept in their car for a short time in 1998 until family and friends helped them get back on their feet.

Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense
for Military Community and Family Policy

Directive-Type Memorandum 10-023, "Emergency Family Assistance," published December 10, 2010, provides uniform guidelines to the Department of Defense (DoD) Components for developing installation-level plans for emergency family assistance.  These plans ensure DoD personnel and their families have access to supportive services in the event of an all-hazards incident.

An 'all-hazards incident' is defined as any incident, natural or manmade, that warrants action to protect the life, property, health, and safety of military members, dependents, and civilians at risk, and minimize disruption to installation operations.

By Terri Moon Cronk 
American Forces Press Service

JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, D.C., Dec. 17, 2010 - First Lady Michelle Obama joined military and civilian volunteers here today to sort gifts for the Marine Corps Reserve's "Toys for Tots" program, which collects and distributes holiday gifts for underprivileged children.

"We're so proud of the work you do for the country and the fact that you are putting it all out for kids across this country," she told the group in a warehouse brimming with large, colorful gift boxes marked by age groups. "We couldn't do it without your leadership."

By Jian DeLeon, Ian Graham and Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg 
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2010 - Servicemembers stationed from Antarctica to Afghanistan lent their talents and time to craft a video for a poem titled "'Twas a Night in December," based on Clement Clarke Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas," but rewritten with a military twist.

More than 40 commands around the world, representing every branch of the military service, participated.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is pleased with today's House of Representatives vote to repeal the law that bans gays from serving openly in the military, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said, and he hopes the Senate will follow suit before its current session ends.

By Marine Corps Capt. Timothy Patrick 
2nd Marine Expeditionary Force

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., Dec. 15, 2010 - After nearly a decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Marine Corps has been inappropriately branded as a second land army.

In response to this misconception, the Corps returned to its amphibious roots Dec. 11 with exercise Bold Alligator 2011, an operation with the Navy's U.S. 2nd Fleet, which re-establishes Marines in their traditional role as "fighters from the sea."

Release No. 229
Dec. 13, 2010

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas - Air Force officials are seeking active-duty enlisted Airmen to apply for the fall 2011 Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program.

The program offers enlisted members the opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree in a high-need academic major. The Air Force Personnel Center will conduct the annual NECP board May 9-13 2011 and select up to 50 enlisted members.

By Donna Miles 
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2010 - Pouring rain didn't dampen the holiday spirit as thousands of paratroopers descended over Fort Bragg, N.C., this weekend, kicking off the world's largest combined airborne operation while ensuring Santa doesn't overlook a single needy child.

The Army's Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command launched the Randy Oler Memorial Operation Toy Drop on Dec. 11.

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2010 - For nearly 20 years, a group of dedicated volunteers and sponsors have ensured that servicemembers and other prominent Americans at rest at Arlington National Cemetery are not forgotten during the holiday season.

Andrea Rodway will be among the more than 7,000 volunteers who will gather at Arlington tomorrow to place wreaths on more than 24,000 gravesites in sections 28, 38, 43 and 60.

by Erin Tindell
Air Force Personnel, Services and Manpower Public Affairs

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas - Thirty-five installations worldwide now have additional personnel to support active-duty Airmen with family members who have special needs.

The Air Force established Exceptional Family Member Program family support coordinator positions at installations with the highest number of EFMP enrolled Airmen.  Coordinators are located in Airman and Family Readiness Centers and will assist with the implementation of a community support program for the more than 16,000 Air Force families with special needs.

Attention Air Force Spouses:

"Taking care of our Airmen and families is one of the Air Force's top priorities. To help us provide the optimum mix of services and quality of service programs for our Airmen, Families, and the Air Force Community, we request your participation in the 2010 Air Force Caring for People Survey." - General Norton A. Schwartz

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1124-10 
December 08, 2010

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War I, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

By C. Todd Lopez 
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2010 - For the first time, America officially recognizes the contributions and dedication of military widows with ''Gold Star Wives Day.''

A Senate resolution designates Dec. 18, 2010, as a day to honor and recognize the contributions of the members of the Gold Star Wives of America Inc.

By Elaine Wilson 
American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 7, 2010 - An Air Force family was named the National Military Family Association's 2010 Family of the Year today for their selfless service to the nation and to their community.

The association honored a family from each service before announcing the Mullins, of Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, had earned the top honor.

Memorable Gifts Debuts Ornament Giveaway for All Soldiers of the Armed Forces Serving Overseas

Makers of premier personalized gifts are reaching out to all of the men and women serving in the military overseas with newborn babies that they will not be able to see this Christmas.

December 3, 2010 - Montebello, CA - Memorable Gifts (http://www.memorablegifts.com), California's premier independent designer of personalized gifts and home décor, today announced its new program to send all MilitaryWives.com readers a personalized "Star Is Born" ornament for their spouses serving in the military overseas during the holiday season.  The "Star Is Born" ornament can serve as a personal remembrance of the love that their families share for them while they are in the forefront of protecting our freedom.

 IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1114-10 
December 06, 2010

The Department of Defense announced today that the deadline for eligible service members, veterans and their beneficiaries to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP) has been extended to Dec. 18. The last deadline was Dec. 3.

By Donna Miles 
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2010 - Inside a one-story building undergoing renovations at the far side of the commissary parking lot here, families of fallen soldiers are getting the support and services they need and reassurance that the Army won't forget them or their sacrifices.

The building, the new home of Fort Campbell's Survivor Outreach Services program, offers a haven for about 1,000 Gold Star family members throughout Tennessee and in much of Kentucky. It's being equipped as a "home away from home," with a kitchen and dining room, computer room, play area for children, a game room for teenagers and on-site child-care services.

*IMMEDIATE RELEASE* *No. 1106-10 
December 02, 2010*

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

First Lady Dedicates New Fisher House at Bethesda

By Terri Moon Cronk American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2010 - When servicemembers travel the road to medical recovery, families often must travel that road with them, First Lady Michelle Obama said today at the opening of a new Fisher House at the National Naval Medical Center here.

"When the nation's servicemen and women are called to serve, their families serve, too," Obama said. "Their sacrifice is their families' sacrifice, particularly when our servicemembers or veterans are sick, wounded and are struggling to get well again."

Program Provides Support for Fallen Soldiers' Families

By Donna Miles American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2010 - Inside a one-story building undergoing renovations at the far side of the commissary parking lot here, families of fallen soldiers are getting the support and services they need and reassurance that the Army won't forget them or their sacrifices.

The building, the new home of Fort Campbell's Survivor Outreach Services program, offers a haven for about 1,000 Gold Star family members throughout Tennessee and in much of Kentucky. It's being equipped as a "home away from home," with a kitchen and dining room, computer room, play area for children, a game room for teenagers and on-site child-care services.

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy 
National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2010 - To kick off the holiday season, Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, welcomed children with parents serving in the National Guard as well as children from local schools to the official residence of the vice president yesterday to make holiday ornaments, decorate cookies and write letters to servicemembers overseas.

"One of the things I love about being the wife of the vice president is getting to welcome people to our home," said Biden, adding that school children also visited last year. "This year, I wanted to welcome school children to come back and be our very first holiday guests."

By Lisa Daniel 
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2010 - First Lady Michelle Obama today welcomed Marine Corps families to the White House in an event that highlighted the Toys for Tots charity and allowed military children to make holiday crafts with the first lady.

Active duty and reserve Marines and their families from the Washington area received one of the first public tours of the annual White House holiday decorations during an event in which Obama paid tribute to their community volunteerism.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2009 - Laws have changed and servicemembers who want to vote need to be aware of these changes, the director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program said.

By Rob Mcllvaine
Special to American Forces Press Service

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec. 30, 2009 - Due to multiple military deployments that have occurred for nearly a decade, many Army families choose to remain in their established neighborhoods or return to a relative's hometown when their soldier deploys.

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2009 - Brandy Flotten is tackling her first holiday season without her deployed husband, but she's still determined to keep the holiday spirit alive for her two sons, she said.

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2009 - Defense Department officials today identified 6,000 servicemembers to deploy in 2010 as part of President Barack Obama's order to increase the U.S. footprint in Afghanistan.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2009 - A new law protects military spouses from being taxed for work performed in states where they're living outside their home states as a result of military orders.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 980-09
December 16, 2009
              
The Department of Defense today released the 2010 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates. Military members will receive an average housing allowance increase of 2.5 percent when the new rates take effect, Jan. 1, 2010.

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2009 - Defense officials have launched virtual "listening sessions" in hopes of gaining more insight into the effectiveness of military family programs, a Pentagon official said today.

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

BETHESDA, Dec. 14, 2009 - A Defense Department study that explores the long-term health effects of military service, including deployments, will expand its scope to military families starting in June.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2009 - It's a scene that's played out in airports across the country numerous times in the past eight years: Families and servicemembers clinging to each other, either sad to leave or happy and vowing to never let go again.

By Ian Graham
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2009 - People complain about stress daily, and treatment for stress has become a large industry within the mental health field. But few know stress as well as servicemembers, who routinely face long work days, intense physical activity and high operational tempo - not to mention the risks of being deployed to a war zone.

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2009 - After an initial delay caused by software and manpower issues, the first retroactive payments will be disbursed next week to soldiers who were retained on active duty involuntarily under the so-called "Stop Loss" program.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 10, 2009 - Two Department of Defense Education Activity students will travel to Washington, D.C., and receive $5,000 scholarships as delegates to the 48th annual U.S. Senate Youth Program.

I have been checking out your site and the fantastic information that you provide for the members of your network, and I wanted to make you aware of an under promoted benefit offered by the DOD to all employees.

My name is Michael Norvell and I work for a nationwide provider of commuter vanpooling services called VPSI,Inc.  We operate more than 700 vanpools at 72 military installations across the country.  The customers pay for the service using the DOD Mass Transportation Benefit,  which is an allowance of up to $230 per month that all DOD employees can receive to pay for mass transportation.  The benefit fully covers the service for most participants, allowing them to commute to work for free.  This saves the soldier or civilian employee thousands of dollars in fuel expenses each year and thousands more on vehicle wear and tear, while reducing the stress level associated with commuting to work each day.

By Elaine Wilson
Special to American Forces Press Service

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va., Dec. 7, 2009 - Timothy Donovan sits in his wheelchair on the sidelines of the playground here, wishing he could swing on the swings or slide down the slides with his friends. But Timothy is unable to roll his wheelchair over the mulch, and the playgrounds lack the ramps and other special equipment he needs to play there.

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2009 - Officials are working to boost the resources and support the Defense Department's Exceptional Family Member Program provides to military families with special needs.

QUANTICO, Va. (December 7, 2009) - Throughout history, mail call has been the ultimate morale booster-especially around the holidays. Traditionally, this meant families of war-zone soldiers needed to write their letters weeks-if not months-before the actual holiday.

My Dad's Deployment Helps Young Children Understand Deployment Process, Feel Connected

(St. Paul, MN) Elva Resa Publishing and MilitaryFamilyBooks.com are teaming up to provide a free copy of the publisher's latest release, My Dad's Deployment: A deployment and reunion activity book for young children, to military families. Through the end of 2009, customers with paid orders at www.militaryfamilybooks.com will receive a free copy of the book, usually priced at $9.95.

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2009 - More than 3,000 military families will have a few extra presents under the tree this year thanks to the generous efforts of Operation Homefront and The Wal-Mart Foundation.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1033-08
December 22, 2008

The Department of Defense announces today the deployment of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, from Ft. Bragg, N.C.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1025-08
December 19, 2008

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo, Dec. 19, 2008 - The enthusiastic reception servicemembers are giving performers on this year's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff USO Holiday Tour have led Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the nation's top military officer, to call the trip "Smiles Around the World."

As the mother of a female sailor, wounded and nearly killed, in the terrorist bombing on the USS Cole in the Port of Yemen in 2000, I became quit absorbed in the stories of the courageous men and women who selflessly serve our nation.  Equally, I was amazed to discover that most works of literature, on the subject of military events, focused primarily on the men who serve and their father’s.   This inspired me to write Standing Watch, A Journey from Fear to Courage, a memoir that depicts the experience of a nineteen year old female sailor, and her family, as they move through a tragedy most of us could never imagine; the loss of innocence, seventeen comrades and the journey back to courage. Similar to the book Heart of a Hawk by Deborah H. Tainsh

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2008 - Actor and director Ben Affleck and other celebrities joined more than 1,000 volunteers over the weekend to put together 400,000 care packages for deployed troops at the National Guard Armory in Van Nuys, Calif.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Dec. 17, 2008 - This year's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff USO Holiday Tour has played at an aircraft hangar in Germany, in a maintenance facility and in an in-processing facility here in Afghanistan.

By Sara Moore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2008 - Starting early next year, the Army will allow full military funeral honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia for all soldiers killed in action.

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2008 - While deployed to Iraq, Jacob Fletcher wrote to his mother, Dorine Kenney, asking her to send one of his buddies a care package, as his friend hadn't received anything from home since he arrived overseas.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1015-08
December 15, 2008

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the group remains of six U.S. servicemen, missing from the Vietnam War, are soon to be buried with full military honors.

By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2008 - Housing allowances for military members will go up an average of 6.9 percent in 2009, Defense Department officials announced today.

By Army Staff Sgt. Jon Soucy
Special to American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 15, 2008 - A round of winter storms that left several northeastern states covered in ice kept many National Guard units busy over the weekend.

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2008 - A Christmas tree farm in Whitehouse, Ohio, is celebrating the holiday season by giving away 100 Christmas trees to military families.

By Army Sgt. Sheila Holifield
Special to American Forces Press Service

CAMP SHELBY, Miss., Dec. 12, 2008 - Nearly 100 California National Guardsmen are preparing for a deployment to Kosovo in the spring, where they will serve as the NATO Kosovo Force's quick-reaction force.

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2008 - The Pentagon's three new rapid-response task forces will assist civil authorities during possible terrorist attacks or natural disasters, but they won't perform law-enforcement missions, a senior Defense Department official said here yesterday.

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2008 - The public is invited to comment on proposed rules to speed up the hiring process for some military spouses seeking federal jobs.

By Renee Hylton
Special to American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 12, 2008 - The United States is a young country, but four of the oldest military organizations in the world are in the country's National Guard.

By Army Spc. Paizley Ramsey
Special to American Forces Press Service

CAMP DENALI, Alaska, Dec. 12, 2008 - Children from rural Alaskan communities were treated to an early Christmas this year, thanks to the Alaska National Guard's "Operation Santa Claus."

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2008 - Express delivery company DHL is spreading holiday cheer to troops serving in the Middle East by sending hundreds of Christmas trees, holiday decorations and messages of support.

By Army Spc. Sophia R. Lopez
Special to American Forces Press Service

CAMP VICTORY, Iraq, Dec. 11, 2008 - Soldiers here are getting an education in personal finance that commanders say goes a long way in promoting battle readiness.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1010-08
December 11, 2008

The Department of Defense announced today that the 34th Infantry Division headquarters, based in Rosemount, Minn., is scheduled to deploy in the spring of 2009 to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

In the event you have not heard about them, Military Handbooks was launched with one simple goal - to give the Military community the very best information available about pay, benefits, retirement planning, education benefits, career decisions, much more! And to provide it to you in a series of straightforward, easy-to-understand handbooks - for FREE! Their publications include

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    2008 Base Installation Directory
    2008 United States Military Handbook
    2008 U.S. Military Retired Handbook
    2008 Benefits for Veterans & Dependents
    2008 Veterans Healthcare Handbook
    2008 After the Military Handbook
    2008 Getting Uncle Sam to Pay for Your College Degree
    2008 Children's Scholarship Handbook

Militaryhandbooks.com and the publications offered herein are the property of Grantham Education Corporation which also owns Grantham University.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2008 - Tour lengths for some family-accompanied assignments in South Korea will be extended to three years, Pentagon officials announced today.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2008 - Military spouses with an eye on professional certification or a post-secondary education may not have to foot the entire bill, thanks to a National Military Family Association scholarship program.

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2008 - The Army's Wounded Warrior Program will support those it was created to serve for as long as it is needed and for the rest of their lives, the sergeant major of the program told listeners of a blog talk radio show Dec. 4.

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2008 - More than 50 local Wal-Mart associates donated their time and tinsel Dec. 4 to bring holiday cheer to servicemembers recovering from wounds at Fisher Houses at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here and Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2008 - A little piece of Christmas has started to arrive in Iraq and Afghanistan for troops away from home during the holidays.

NOW CASTING the Real Version on the hit series ARMY WIVES.
This will be a reality series of the lives of REAL-LIFE ARMY WIVES.
Are you a real-life army, military, or reserve wife?

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2008 - Servicemembers and their spouses are flocking to a broad array of programs to help them strengthen their family relationships as the services step up efforts to curb divorce rates.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2008 - Department of Defense Education Activity officials are encouraging parents, students, school administrators and others to nominate worthy science and mathematics teachers for a prestigious presidential award.

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2008 - Sallie Stratton always knew she wanted to write a book, but she just couldn't bring herself to put pen to paper -- until now.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2008 - Country singer/songwriter Craig Morgan can relate to the veterans he meets when he performs, because he's been there.

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2008 - Thanks to a recommendation from the Army Wounded Warrior Program at Fort Riley, Kan., retired Army Sgt. Victor Thibeault of San Ramon, Calif., will study general education with the help of a "Sentinels of Freedom" scholarship that also benefits his family.

National Organization Comforting Families of the Fallen Offers Advice to Help All Who Are Grieving
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2008

WASHINGTON - The holidays can be a magical time of year, but for children who have recently lost a parent, sibling, or another significant person in their lives, the holiday season can be an emotional minefield. It can also pose challenges for their still grieving surviving parents and other family members.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 992-08
December 01, 2008
           
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

By 2nd Lt. Monika Comeaux, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

FORWARD OPERATING BASE FENTY, Afghanistan, Dec. 31, 2007 - Mechanics repair vehicles, small-arms repairmen fix weapons, and dentists fix teeth. Members of the Combat Stress Control Detachment working with Company C, 173rd Brigade Support Battalion, here help set troops' minds straight.

By Kristopher Joseph
Special to American Forces Press Service

MANNHEIM, Germany, Dec. 31, 2007 - In 1983, with the Cold War still going strong, a movie called "War Games" depicted an eccentric computer hacker named David Lightman, played by Matthew Broderick. With dogged determination to play a military-generated "game" -- Global Thermonuclear War -- David managed to hack into the North American Aerospace Defense Command computer system and almost caused an actual nuclear war with the Soviet Union.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2007 - The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is looking for eligible students to apply for its 2008 scholarships.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28, 2007 - Following the philosophy that recovering from an injury is easier with family nearby, a Virginia group is helping to make that possible for wounded explosive ordnance disposal technicians from any branch of service.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28, 2007 - Military spouses now have a larger scholarship pool to draw from, thanks to a new partnership between the National Military Family Association and the Fisher House Foundation.

By Staff Sgt. Luis P. Valdespino Jr., USMC
Special to American Forces Press Service

KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 27, 2007 - The assistant commandant of the Marine Corps made a quick stop at Camp Eggers yesterday and passed a message from a modern-day Marine Corps hero's family to Marines serving in and around Afghanistan's capital city.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1439-07
December 27, 2007
          
The Department of Defense (DoD) announced the organization-wide release of enhancements that allow DoD to share electronic health information with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) through the Bidirectional Health Information Exchange (BHIE) and the Clinical Data Repository/Health Data Repository (CHDR) interfaces. 

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 26, 2007 - Relying on her experience helping her Iraq-veteran son deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, an Oklahoma woman has created a foundation to help a wider military audience with readjustment issues.

By Staff Sgt. Luis P. Valdespino Jr., USMC
Special to American Forces Press Service

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Dec. 23, 2007 - Military men and women in eastern Kunar province were surprised Dec. 21 by a visit from the Army's top enlisted soldier and several celebrities at the remote Camp Blessing, Afghanistan.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

ROTA, Spain, Dec. 23, 2007 - If they made movie starring Robin Williams about this year's Chairman's USO Holiday Tour it could be titled: "Good Morning, Arifjan, CampVirginia, Taqqadum, Ramadi, Tikrit, Balad, Kabul, Kandahar, Manas, Aviano, Rota."

By Spc. Ben Hutto, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq, Dec. 21, 2007 - While most soldiers are tucked in their beds for the night, a mail handler with 461st Human Resource Battalion, out of Decatur, Ga., is waiting for the mail to arrive.

By Master Sgt. Sean P. Houlihan, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service

KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea, Dec. 21, 2007 - Airmen from the 8th Fighter Wing "Wolf Pack" returned here yesterday after completing an 11-day air combat training exercise with sailors flying F-18 Hornets at Atsugi Naval Air Facility, Japan.

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2007 - Members of North American Aerospace Defense Command are gearing up to track Santa Claus' travels on Christmas Eve, providing detailed information about his whereabouts on the command's Web site and through a toll-free telephone line.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2007 - American Forces Press Service reporter Jim Garamone is traveling with Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen and the holiday United Service Organizations show. Following are three vignettes on the group's recent experiences.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2007 - An Illinois-based group is working to honor one soldier by supporting many other servicemembers.

American Forces Press Service

FORT BRAGG, N.C., Dec. 20, 2007 - Fort Bragg will receive about 1,400 more soldiers as part of the Army's "Grow the Army" stationing plan, base officials announced yesterday.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2007 - Christmas came early to several camps in Kuwait, where servicemembers kicked off the season Dec. 1 with a tree-lighting ceremony and caroling at Camp Buehring, thanks to a long-time supporter from back home.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE  No. 1426-07
December 20, 2007
          
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.  

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2007 - The Army's new plan for stationing its growing number of troops will affect 380,000 soldiers and family members and cost more than $66 billion in construction projects through 2013.

By Staff Sgt. Mary Flynn, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 18, 2007 - Army National Guard Spc. Michael Lucas received an extra-special homecoming during his mid-tour leave from Iraq recently when he and his family discovered they had been selected for a total home renovation, courtesy of the ABC reality television show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2007 - This holiday season, the American Red Cross will make sure holiday greetings generically addressed to wounded servicemembers at military medical facilities around the country will find a home.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1414-07
December 18, 2007

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.    

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2007 - Some folks believe they have guardian angels, but wounded servicemembers and their families also have a "Guardian Eagle."

By Pfc. Monica K. Smith, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

CAMP STRIKER, Iraq, Dec. 17, 2007 - Entertaining troops for the sixth consecutive year, the 2007 Hope and Freedom USO Tour stopped off here yesterday to entertain Multinational Division Center soldiers.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Dec. 17, 2007 - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael G. Mullen is bringing United Service Organizations entertainers to visit with troops in seven countries in the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe through the next week

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2007 - Staten Island residents are getting a little help sending mail to servicemembers these days thanks to a local troop-support group.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2007 - In the largest single shipment to date, more than 200 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles were loaded onto USNS Pililaau, a large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ship operated by Military Sealift Command yesterday in Charleston, S.C.

By Kristen Noel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2007 - There's no set limit on how long the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior program will provide one-on-one service to severely wounded soldiers and their families, a U.S. Army official said yesterday.

By Tech. Sgt. Mike R. Smith, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service

Arlington, Va., Dec. 13, 2007 - More than 140 National Guard members in the Midwest responded to a band of deadly mid-December storms that stretched from eastern Texas to the Ohio Valley and into northern New York and New England.

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2007 - Santa's USO elves will be checking their list twice this weekend to ensure they're ready to host about 2,000 troops slated to transit through Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport before catching flights home to their families and loved ones.

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2007 - Johnny Ondrasik turns 8 years old this Christmas Eve, but he isn't asking for any presents on his birthday -- at least not for himself.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1395-07
December 12, 2007
 
The Department of Defense released the 2008 basic allowance for housing (BAH) rates today. In total, the planned increase in housing allowance funds for 2008 is about $600 million above the 2007 amount.

By Spc. Walter Klein, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait, Dec. 12, 2007 - The 4th Infantry Division began deploying to Kuwait in early November for final preparations before taking over as the headquarters element of Multinational Division Baghdad.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2007 - A Chilean winery, through its U.S. marketer, is helping to make sure servicemembers stationed away from home this holiday season can stay in touch with loved ones.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1396-07
December 12, 2007

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.            

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2007 - The Pentagon Channel today served hungry television audiences its newest recipe for entertainment, a half-hour cooking show called "The Grill Sergeants."

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2007 - Many deployed servicemembers have received a morale boost thanks to computers donated by a Michigan-based organization.

By Kimberly Gearhart
Special to American Forces Press Service

SCHWEINFURT, Germany, Dec. 10, 2007 - A pilot program is assessing soldiers returning here from Iraq for possible mild traumatic brain injury.

Salt Lake City, Utah - (October 30, 2007) Western Governors University (http://www.wgu.edu) is now taking applications for its new WGU Spouses to Graduates Scholarships. These scholarships are designed to help spouses of active duty military personnel earn a degree online in business, education, healthcare, or information technology.

By Sgt. Sara Moore, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2007 - The Army is getting ready to launch a new pay and personnel system next year that will streamline personnel processes and integrate the active-duty, National Guard and Army Reserve components, the Army representative for the new program said today.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2007 - Transitioning from military to civilian life can be daunting for some, but one group is helping to streamline the process.

By Sgt. Sara Moore, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2007 - As ground forces in the U.S. troop surge in Iraq make more progress against insurgents, Army aviation assets back them up with crucial mobility, medical and combat support, an officer in charge of a deployed aviation brigade said today.

By Sgt. Sara Moore, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2007 - Throughout the Middle East, the U.S. Navy provides vital medical support to U.S. troops serving in the war on terror, the Navy surgeon general said today during a visit to the region.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2007 - The National Fatherhood Initiative is looking for a few good military fathers for the 2008 NFI Lockheed Martin Military Fatherhood Award.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md., Dec. 5, 2007 - First lady Laura Bush attended a special event here today to learn about challenges facing military youth and to let them know they're not forgotten.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1380-07
December 05, 2007

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2007 - In an effort to lift spirits and say "thank you" during the holiday season, 10 area chefs presented recovering servicemembers and their families with a mouth-watering meal last night.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1374-07
December 04, 2007

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. 

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2007 - President Bush told 200 military children -- about half of whom had a deployed parent -- gathered in the East Room of the White House for a holiday party that he had two jobs today.

By Staff Sgt. Angelique Perez, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Dec. 3, 2007 - More than 1 million leaflets were pushed out of a 40th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron C-130 Hercules over 10 designated drop zones in Iraq, urging local citizens to provide information on three top leaders of an armed insurgent militia.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2007 - It may be just a dress rehearsal for Clara, the toy soldiers and the Sugar Plum Fairy, but for servicemembers and their families in the audience, it's a big "thank you" from the cast of "The Nutcracker."

By Jamie Findlater
Special to American Forces Press Service

FORT BRAGG, N.C., Dec. 3, 2007 - Anticipatory grief, reintegration, and relocation are terms that often resonate with military spouses.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1367-07
December 03, 2007

The Department of Defense announced today the alert of replacement forces scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The announcement involves three brigades from the Army National Guard consisting of approximately 8,000 personnel.  These brigades will have a security force mission and be assigned tasks which will assure freedom of movement and continuity of operations in the country. Those tasks will include base defense and route security in Iraq and Kuwait.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1368-07
December 03, 2007

The Department of Defense announced today that the 53rd and 48th Brigade Combat Teams have been alerted to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to continue ongoing operations and training of the Afghan National Security Forces.

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28, 2006 – Almost 4,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard members are gearing up to support the national farewell to former President Gerald R. Ford that will span a seven-day period with events in California, Maryland, the nation’s capital and Michigan.
By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28, 2006 – Military tradition will be evident throughout the events associated with the Dec. 26 death of former President Gerald R. Ford, as the services join the nation in bidding farewell to their former commander in chief.
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 27, 2006 – Americans will remember former President Gerald R. Ford as a man with the courage to heal a nation.

Ford, who died at his California home last night at age 93, assumed the presidency at a grim time in American history.

By David Mays
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 26, 2006 – They are the very public face of ultimate military discipline. They wow stadiums packed with football fans with complex rifle drills. They honor fallen comrades with solemn processions. They guard the Tomb of the Unknowns around the clock at Arlington National Cemetery, and on Dec. 15, they gave outgoing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld a full-honors farewell ceremony on the Pentagon parade field.
By Maj. Bobby Hart, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD, Dec. 26, 2006 – It was a scene straight from “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” or maybe “Willard.” American soldiers walking through a dimly lit, underground command bunker once used by a brutal dictator, now filled with hundreds of rats. Throw in a snake or two, and you have the perfect setting for a horror movie.
By Annette Crawford
Special to American Forces Press Service

FORT WORTH, Texas, Dec. 24, 2006 – The game may have been all about football, but the overall event was a tribute to 1.2 million very special people – the men and women of the United States armed forces.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1306-06
December 22, 2006

Soldiers Missing in Action from Vietnam War are Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD, Dec. 20, 2006 – New Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, here on a surprise pre-Christmas visit, today urged Americans to remember military members and their families throughout the holiday season.
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

HINESVILLE, Ga., Dec. 20, 2006 – Santa Claus and some of his friends visited a National Guard armory in this Georgia town today to bring early holiday cheer to more than 200 military families.
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2006 – Just a few years ago, this snow-swept central Alaskan post lay dormant, closed through the Base Realignment and Closure process. But today it’s up and running again at full speed, serving as the epicenter of the United States’ Ground-Based Midcourse Defense program.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1294-06
December 19, 2006
 
Soldiers Missing In Action From Vietnam War are Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of three U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2006 – Servicemembers will receive an average 3.5 percent boost in their basic allowance for housing compensation benefit in 2007, Defense Department officials said.

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2006 – Safeguarding and protecting vital computer-accessed information is the job of everyone working at the Defense Department, a senior DoD official said.

By Elaine Wilson
Special to American Forces Press Service

 
SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 14, 2006 – Christmas came a few weeks early this year for military families throughout San Antonio.

By Carmen L. Burgess
American Forces Press Service

 
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2006 – Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld today thanked members of the Defense Department’s “America Supports You” program for their unwavering support to the men and women of the armed forces.

The Department of Defense announced today a change in the status of a soldier serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom from duty status whereabouts unknown (DUSTWUN) to missing-captured.

 

NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 1239-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Navy to Christen USNS Alan Shepard
The Navy will christen the USNS Alan Shepard, the newest ship in the Lewis and Clark class of underway replenishment ships, on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2006, during an 8 a.m. PST launching at General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), San Diego, Calif.

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

FORT BLISS, Texas, Dec. 6, 2006 - Bases slated to grow as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure process need look no farther for lessons learned than this sprawling post that's tripling its population and transforming from an air-defense center to an armor center.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2006 - Just in time for the holiday season, Marvel Comics' "The New Avengers" and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service have teamed up to bring troops stationed around the world another free, military-exclusive comic book.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2006 - An America Supports You corporate team member is coordinating creation of what it calls the world's largest scrapbook as a way for the nation's students to show their support for America's servicemembers.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2006 - Hundreds of National Guardsmen responded over the weekend and today to devastating winter storms in Illinois, Missouri and Kansas, National Guard officials reported.

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2006 - As the sun sank below Philadelphia's skyline yesterday, gold helmets shone under the Lincoln Financial Field lights while the Naval Academy Midshipmen ground out a 26-14 win over the Black Knights of the Military Academy in the 107th Army-Navy football game.

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2006 - In an effort to increase the supplier base in key acquisition areas and smooth the transition of wounded veterans into the civilian business world, the Defense Department is showcasing its program aimed at small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2006 - Thumps from bass drums marked the cadence of the Army and Navy marching bands and cheerleaders as they made their rounds through the halls of the Pentagon in the buildup toward the 107th Army-Navy football game tomorrow.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2006 - With its 4th annual "Holiday Hugs to Our Heroes" drive officially concluded, the SI Yellow Ribbon Campaign is unofficially still working to meet the group's goal of providing holiday packages to 1,000 troops.

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

DEMING, N.M., Dec. 1, 2006 - The National Guard Bureau chief assured members of the Army and Air National Guard during a visit here earlier this week that relief is on the way for the Guard's chronic equipment shortages.

No. 1222-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 01, 2006

Soldiers Missing in Action from the Korean War Are Identified

 The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of eight U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1200-06
November 28, 2006

Soldier Missing in Action from the Korean War is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1209-06
November 29, 2006
 
DoD Announces Air Force Airman as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown

The Department of Defense announced today the identity of an airman listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown (DUSTWUN).

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2006 - The Defense Commissary Agency and the Fisher House Foundation have teamed up for the seventh year to offer educational scholarships to children of military families and retirees.