By Joe Lacdan, Army News Service August 25, 2017

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

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

By US Army CID September 1, 2017

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

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

By Lisa Ferdinando
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

1. Get involved.

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

2. Learn how to network.

By Joe Versen on July 31, 2017

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

1. Transition Training

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

By David McNally, ARL Public Affairs July 25, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

1. Am I eligible for the Veterans Choice Program?

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

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

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

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

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

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

By: Tom Philpott July 13, 2017

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

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

By Lance Cpl. Niles Lee | July 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Alan Zilberman on July 12, 2017

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

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

By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Yan Kennon, Naval Hospital Jacksonville Public Affairs

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

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

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


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

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

Start the process early and be flexible.

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs


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

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

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

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

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

By Mika Cross on May 30, 2017

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

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

GENUINE is casting People with Limited Travel Experience

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

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

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

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

From Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs

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

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

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

ORMOC CITY, Leyte --

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

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

By Janay Powell Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

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

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

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

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

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

By Ms. Argie Sarantinos-Perrin May 15, 2017

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

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

By Col. Aaron Burgstein, Air Force Public Affairs

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

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

By Senior Airman Sergio A. Gamboa 325th Fighter Wing

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

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

By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the Office of the Chief of Information

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

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

US Department of Labor to establish HIRE Vets Medallion Program

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

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

By Senior Airman Jordyn Fetter
11th Wing Public Affairs

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

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

By Suzanna Brugler, NAVSUP GLS

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

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

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Capt. Megan Hoffmann April 18, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

By Kenneth Fenner on April 11, 2017

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

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

By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Cheryl Pellerin
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

By Rhonda Burke on March 28, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

 

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

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

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

By Jessica Myers DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Luke Murren March 22, 2017

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

Some highlights from the 2016 report include:

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

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

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

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

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

By Jeremy Beale/Staff Writer, Marine Corps Base Quantico

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

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

By C. Todd Lopez March 6, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Donna Cipolloni, Naval Air Station Patuxent River

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

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

By Mika Cross on March 2, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

from the MilitaryOneSource newsletter

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

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

from the MilitaryOneSource newsletter

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

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

from the MilitaryOneSource newsletter

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

Teen adventure camps

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

By Mark DeWolf  March 1, 2017

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

Women are Integral to Today’s Workforce

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

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

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

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs 

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

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

Customer Service Representatives

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

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

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

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

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

By Courtesy Story, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

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

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

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

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

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

From Naval Health Research Center Public Affairs

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

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

By Demetria Mosley (Fort Jackson)
February 17, 2017

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

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

By Sgt. Tiffany Edwards, III Marine Expeditionary Force

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

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

February 21, 2017

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

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

By Tom Cramer
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

By Mika Cross on February 15, 2017

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

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

By Sgt. Laura Gauna, III Marine Expeditionary Force

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

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

By Sean Kimmons February 16, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity 

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

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

By Army Sgt. Noshoba Davis Louisiana National Guard

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

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

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

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

By Lance Cpl. Ashley Lawson, II Marine Expeditionary Force

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Okinawa, Japan --

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

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

 From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hud Charges Oklahoma Landlords With Discriminating Against Veteran With Disabilities

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

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

From Center for Information Warfare Training Public Affairs

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

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

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Don Wagner January 30, 2017

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

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

By Byron Zuidema on February 3, 2017

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

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

By Tami Faram, Marine Corps Base Quantico

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

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

By C. Todd Lopez
January 26, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

By Pfc. Gabino Perez, I Marine Expeditionary Force

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

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

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Samuel Weldin

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

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

By Kellen Leech
January 31, 2017

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

From a Defense Commissary Agency News Release

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

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

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

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

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

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

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

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

By Tom Cramer
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

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

Here are five things you need to know:

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

01/23/2017 11:00 AM EST

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

By C. Todd Lopez
January 24, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

Coast Guard, Law Enforcement Agencies Provide Security For Inauguration

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Steve Marshall | National Guard Bureau
January 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

January 18, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By David Vergun January 10, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Sgt. Ian Leones,
Marine Corps Forces Reserves

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

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

January 12, 2017

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

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

By U.S. Naval Academy

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

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

By Courtesy Story,
III Marine Expeditionary Force

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

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

Here are five things you need to know:

By Richard Salomon
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

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

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

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Cynthia Oldham

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

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

By Karen Parrish
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Sean Kimmons 
Army News Service

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

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

By Sgt. Ian Leones,
Marine Corps Forces Reserves

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Spc. Tynisha Daniel
December 23, 2016

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

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

By Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs Office

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

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

From Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

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

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

From Chief of Naval Operations Public Affairs

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

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

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By U.S. Army
December 21, 2016

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

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

December 20, 2016

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

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

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

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

December 19, 2016

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

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

By C. Todd Lopez
December 19, 2016

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

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

By Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All concerts are free and open to the public.

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

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

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

By John Budnik (USACE)
December 13, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By C. Todd Lopez December 12, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

By Sean Kimmons December 12, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

December 8, 2016, 02:09:00 PM

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

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

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Sgt. David Bedard
December 7, 2016

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

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

By Courtesy Story, Marine Corps Installations Pacific

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

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

By Seaman Jessica Dowell,
Navy Public Affairs Support Element East

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

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

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

By Bob Kramer December 6, 2016

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

In 2017, that may no longer be the case.

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

By National Guard Bureau Historical Services December 6, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fm The Family Room Blog / Administration for Children and Families

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

Keep Temperatures Consistent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Jessica Marie Ryan, FMWRC
December 1, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

The Exceptional Advocate - MilitaryOneSource Newsletter

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

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

The Exceptional Advocate - MilitaryOneSource Newsletter

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

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

From MilitaryOneSource Monthly Newsletter

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

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

From MilitaryOneSource Monthly Newsletter

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

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

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

From USPS.com

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

By Mike Casey
November 25, 2016

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

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

by Maj. John Callahan
November 18, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

For them, it is another duty day.

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

Release No: 115 
Nov. 22, 2016 

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

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

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

Release No: 114 
Nov. 21, 2016 

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

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

The categories and nominees are as follows:

(From the MILITARY ONESOURCE November 2016 Newsletter)

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

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

(From the MILITARY ONESOURCE November 2016 Newsletter)

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

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

(From the MILITARY ONESOURCE November 2016 Newsletter)

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

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

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Karen Parrish
DoD News, Defense Media Activity 

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

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

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

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

This years award recipients are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. NR-111-16

Mar. 30, 2016 

Department of Defense Publishes Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal Guidance 

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

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Karen Parrish
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

*Federal Policy*

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

By Lisa Ferdinando
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON December 3, 2015 —

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

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

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

By Karen Parrish DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON December 2, 2015 -

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

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

From a North American Aerospace Defense Command News Release

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

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

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

Olive Garden Free Veteran's Day Meals 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

fm DOD News Release NR-411-15

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

Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

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

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

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

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

From an Operation Homefront News Release

SAN ANTONIO October 15, 2015 -

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

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

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

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

The program went into effect July 13.

By Lisa Ferdinando
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON August 28, 2015 -

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

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

From a Department of Defense Education Activity News Release

ALEXANDRIA, Va. August 26, 2015 —

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

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

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News Features, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON August 26, 2015 -

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

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

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON August 21, 2015 

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

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

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. NR--
August 21, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Airman Missing From World War II Accounted For 

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

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

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

By Cheryl Pellerin
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

 

By Amaani Lyle

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Lisa Ferdinando
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. NR-059-15

February 19, 2015

DOD Announces Operation Freedom's Sentinel Qualifies for Campaign Medal 

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

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

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Army approves awards for victims of 2009 Fort Hood attack 

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

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Nick Simeone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

by Staff Sgt. Derek Hansen
366th Civil Engineer Squadron

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

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

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

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

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

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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

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

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, Va., Dec. 3, 2014 - Through Joining Forces, an initiative offering employment, educational and wellness resources to military families,