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Military Report: Print And Post (26 September 2005)

Below is the complete version of this week's Military Report. Print it, circulate it, and make sure your colleagues and friends keep up with the latest military benefits updates.

Air National Guard Opportunities for Active-duty Airmen
The Air National Guard is one of the components of the Air Force?s total force, and it has openings for Airmen wishing to transition from active duty to part-time military service. In-service recruiters work together with career assistance advisers to ensure Airmen make informed decisions regarding their military careers. In-service recruiters help separating active-duty (Airmen) transition into the ANG where they can continue to serve their country part time at the location of their choosing. The Air Force uses two programs to help with this transition. The Palace Front program allows Airmen who choose not to re-enlist or remain on active duty to enter the ANG without a break in military service. The Palace Chase program is an early release program. Under this option, approved Airmen are released early from active duty and serve out the rest of their enlistment at an ANG unit of their choosing in exchange for an additional service commitment. Airmen who are near the end of their enlistment or want information on options and opportunities in the ANG, the Reserve and staying on active duty can contact the base career assistance adviser. Airmen may also receive information through their supervisor, first sergeant and squadron chief enlisted adviser.

Deal of the Week: 5% Off Radios & Headsets
Receive 5% Off Radios & Headsets! We offer the lowest prices online, and an additional 5% off for active duty and veterans. We are a veteran owned business. Find this great discount and more at the Military.com Discount Center at http://benefits.military.com/misc/DC/De ... al_id=1228.

Command Seeks Greater Climate Survey Participation
Air Force Reserve Command leaders want everyone in the command ? military and civilian ? to participate in the 2005 Air Force Climate Survey. The survey runs from Oct. 1 to Nov. 23. ?Since the survey software protects one?s identity. The survey can be completed online at https://afclimatesurvey.af.mil/ anytime during the survey period from either a government or personal computer. Results of the survey will be released in February to unit leaders. The purpose of the survey is to make things better for people and their organizations. The survey measures how people feel about leadership, supervision, training, recognition and other aspects of the Air Force. This year?s survey also covers enduring competencies such as effective communication, teamwork, judgment and adaptation under pressure.

New Military OneSource Feature Available Online
Marine Corps Community Services Military OneSource has added an additional feature to its already vast library of online resources to help assist servicemembers and their families. TurboTax, a program that allows for the quick filing of taxes, is now offered through Military OneSource at no cost. The program walks the user through the process step-by-step by asking simple questions. The user?s answers are automatically entered on the correct IRS and state tax forms. All of the math is done automatically, and all necessary forms are included. MCCS Military OneSource provides information and resources that can help improve many areas of life, from personal to professional. But OneSource does more than give out information -- it helps members take action, with materials that get them thinking and tools that help them set things in motion. The MCCS OneSource website is available at http://www.mccsonesource.com. For more assistance, call a One Source consultant at (800)-869-0278 (in the United States), and (800)-8690-2788 (overseas, where available). Local phone charges may apply.

DeCA to Open Temporary Commissary at Keesler
The Defense Commissary Agency will soon open another temporary commissary in the Biloxi-Gulfport, Miss., area to support the thousands of servicemembers, retirees and families who were left without a commissary in a region hit hard by Hurricane Katrina. A 25,000-square-foot store on Keesler Air Force Base is scheduled to open Sept. 29, according to Patrick B. Nixon, DeCA chief executive officer and acting director. The store will be housed in the former community center building. The agency opened a similar facility at Gulfport on Sept. 10. Keesler commissary employees who had been helping to run a temporary store at nearby Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport will now begin a full-court press to get their own store up and running, said Frank Sholedice, Keesler store director. For more on commissary recovery operations, access DeCA's Website at http://www.commissaries.com. For more on Hurricane Katrina, visit our special section at http://www.military.com/Hurricane covering the disaster and ongoing relief efforts.

Distinguished Marine Stamps
The US Postal Service is going to release the Distinguished Marine Stamp on the Marine Corps Birthday, 10 November. The stamp is a way to show that the Marine Corps honors its heroes. The Distinguished Marine Stamp honors four Marines. They are: Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone, Sergeant Major Daniel J. Daly, Lieutenant General John A. Lejeune and Lieutenant General Lewis B. (Chesty) Puller. Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone, also known as "Manila John", fought on Guadalcanal with the 1st Marine Division in 1942 and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism. Sergeant Major Dan Daly is one of only two Marines in history to receive the Nations highest military award- the Medal of Honor - twice for separate acts of heroism. Lieutenant General Lejeune was the first Marine to command an Army Division and later became Commandant of the Marine Corps. Lewis B. Puller known affectionately by all his Marines as "Chesty", was a battalion commander and regimental commander with the 1st Marine Division during World War II and the Korean War, rising to the grade of Lieutenant General in recognition of his service. Each of the stamps feature a picture of the respective hero and the military insignia of the military unit he was most identified with. The stamps will be available from the U.S. Post Office on November 10th.

DFAS Works to Solve Banking Problems
Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) Retired and Annuitant Pay is working closely with national and regional banking and credit union organizations as well as the military services to make certain customers affected by Hurricane Katrina have timely and ready access to their pay. DFAS officials explained that it is essential that military retirees and annuitants, who have relocated or changed their banking information, to contact DFAS Retired and Annuity Pay in one of the following ways: (1) Call 1-800-321-1080 Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. (Eastern). Please have current address, banking data and beneficiary information available when you call; (2) Use myPay at https://mypay.dfas.mil as soon as possible to update mailing and banking information. Through myPay, which is available online mostly any time, you can change your financial institution and designate direct deposit as your method of delivery. You can establish a myPay account by logging onto myPay and select "New PIN." For questions about myPay, call 1-800-390-2348; (3) Fax your updated information to 1-800-469-6559. Please make certain your mailing and banking data is complete and that you write "Hurricane Katrina" on the top of the page. Please include a contact phone number(s) if possible.

For more on Hurricane Katrina, visit our special section at http://www.military.com/Hurricane covering the disaster and ongoing relief efforts.

Distinguished Marine Stamps
The US Postal Service is going to release the Distinguished Marine Stamp on the Marine Corps Birthday, 10 November. The stamp is a way to show that the Marine Corps honors its heroes. The Distinguished Marine Stamp honors four Marines. They are: Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone, Sergeant Major Daniel J. Daly, Lieutenant General John A. Lejeune and Lieutenant General Lewis B. (Chesty) Puller. Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone, also known as "Manila John", fought on Guadalcanal with the 1st Marine Division in 1942 and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism. Sergeant Major Dan Daly is one of only two Marines in history to receive the Nations highest military award- the Medal of Honor - twice for separate acts of heroism. Lieutenant General Lejeune was the first Marine to command an Army Division and later became Commandant of the Marine Corps. Lewis B. Puller known affectionately by all his Marines as "Chesty", was a battalion commander and regimental commander with the 1st Marine Division during World War II and the Korean War, rising to the grade of Lieutenant General in recognition of his service. Each of the stamps feature a picture of the respective hero and the military insignia of the military unit he was most identified with. The stamps will be available from the U.S. Post Office on November 10th.

DoD Continues to Provide Health Care During Relief Efforts
Hurricane Katrina displaced more than 136,000 military personnel and family members in the Gulf Coast region two weeks ago. TRICARE, the Department of Defense agency responsible for managing the military's health care plan, has been working diligently to ensure its beneficiaries have access to medical care during recovery operations. TRICARE has implemented various initiatives to assist displaced beneficiaries with their health care needs: (1) The waiver of pharmacy co-pays has been extended through Sept. 30, 2005, for beneficiaries affected by Hurricane Katrina who are unable to pay it; (2) Humana Military Health Services, TRICARE's regional contractor in the Gulf Region, dispatched staff to various evacuee sites to provide one-on-one counseling for affected beneficiaries. They are advising them how to access care and answer questions about their health benefit options; (3) On Sept. 12, TRICARE delivered materials such as wallet cards, fact sheets and benefit overviews to evacuee sites, MTFs and TRICARE Service Centers, that list customer service contacts, phone numbers, Websites and special benefits for hurricane victims. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule, providers at MTFs and in the TRICARE network may share Katrina-affected patients' information with other providers as necessary to provide care. This includes sharing prescriptions, lab results and X-rays with other providers, hospitals and clinics; referring patients for treatment in areas where they have relocated; and coordinating care with others, such as emergency relief workers, to find appropriate health services for patients. Beneficiaries should call the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System Support Office at 1-800-538-9552 to update their family members' information, including address changes, to maintain access to TRICARE benefits. In addition, beneficiaries seeking information about their TRICARE benefits may call the regional contractors: Humana Military Healthcare Services (South region), 1-800-444-5445; HealthNet (North region), 1-877-874-2273; or TriWest (West region), 1-888-874-9378, or visit the TRICARE Website, www.tricare.osd.mil/katrina. Beneficiary counseling and assistance coordinators, debt collection assistance officers, TRICARE service centers and family support representatives at local military installations are also available to help active duty military personnel and their families. Other resources available include Military One Source at 1-800-342-9647 or www.militaryonesource.com. For more on Hurricane Katrina, visit our special section at http://www.military.com/Hurricane covering the disaster and ongoing relief efforts.

DoD's Military Electronic Health Record Gives Providers Access
Following a joint effort between the Department of Defense, including the Military Health System (MHS), the Air Force and multiple government contractors, displaced medical providers from Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Miss., received immediate access to medical information of TRICARE beneficiaries who were evacuated by Hurricane Katrina through the military electronic health record (EHR). The EHR, which consolidates the medical records of servicemembers, retirees and their families from military hospitals around the world, gave medical personnel immediate access to essential patient information, including consolidated laboratory data and prescription information. "It's (EHR) profound impact on patient safety cannot be overstated," said TRICARE Management Activity's Army Col. Vic Eilenfield, program manager for the Clinical Information Technology Program Office. "By using the military electronic health record, physicians and pharmacists were able to access patients' medical information and provide them the care they needed safely during very trying circumstances." The Program Office coordinated with the medical staff at Wilford Hall Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, to form an emergency response team. Once established, the team made all necessary adjustments to the system to grant evacuated providers access to the EHR, including secure user accounts. "The DoD has been driving towards better ways to document and protect health care information," Eilenfield said. "In the aftermath of Katrina, we are seeing first-hand the power electronic health records have for preservation of and access to information." Visit the Military.com benefits section to learn more about your TRICARE benefits at http://www.military.com/Resources/Resou ... -1,00.html.

ECHO Home Health Care (EHHC)
ECHO Home Health Care (EHHC) provides medically necessary skilled services to eligible homebound beneficiaries who generally require more than 28-35 hours per week of home health services or respite care. Beneficiaries are considered homebound if their condition is such they do not have the normal ability to leave home and consequently leaving home requires considerable and taxing effort. Any absence of beneficiaries from their home because of health care treatment, including regular absences to participate in therapeutic, psychosocial, or medical treatment or in an adult daycare program certified by a state, or accredited to furnish adult daycare services in the state will not disqualify beneficiaries from being considered homebound and eligible for EHHC. The benefit also assists eligible beneficiaries staying home so that they do not have to live in an institutional/acute care facility or skilled nursing home. Beneficiaries must be registered in the Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) program to be eligible for EHHC. Active duty family members currently covered by the Custodial Care Transition Program (CCTP) upon ECHO implementation Sept. 1, 2005, and who need skilled medical services that exceed the levels offered through EHHC, may continue to receive coverage under CCTP, as long as it is necessary. The beneficiary's primary care manager and managed care support contractor will conduct annual assessments to ensure beneficiaries are receiving the care and services needed. Meanwhile, the EHHC Respite Benefit is temporary relief or rest period for the primary caregiver to promote well-being for both the caregiver and the homebound beneficiary. The EHHC respite benefit is tailored for families with homebound beneficiaries who have medical conditions that require frequent interventions by a primary caregiver. These beneficiaries may receive eight hours of respite care five days per calendar week. This benefit is different from the 16 hours of respite care that is available through ECHO. For more information about EHHC and ECHO benefits, eligibility requirements and updates, beneficiaries may visit www.tricare.osd.mil/echo or call their TRICARE Regional Office (TRO): TRO North (1-877-874-2273); TRO South (1-800-444-5445); or TRO West (1-888-874-9378). Overseas beneficiaries may call 1-888-777-8343.

Enlistment Option Helps Recruits Earn GEDs
The U.S. Army is expanding its eligibility criteria to include those individuals who desire to serve but do not yet possess the required education credentials. Through the Education Plus Program enlistment option, the Army will help qualified non-prior service recruits obtain a GED so they can enlist in the active Army or Army Reserve. To be eligible, individuals must have been withdrawn from high school for at least six months, meet their state?s minimum age requirements for GED testing and achieve a qualifying score on the Armed Forces Qualification test. Recruiters will direct eligible recruits to approved GED programs in their area. Applicants must pass the GED test in order to complete the enlistment process and report to initial entry training. The program pays for the cost of basic GED training and the test at an approved location. Individuals interested in this enlistment option should visit their local recruiter for details. To learn more about Army opportunities, contact your Army recruiter at https://secure.military.com/leads/Recru ... dForm1.jsp.

Financial Assistance for Marines and Sailors
Marines and sailors sometimes find themselves in emergency situations and need financial assistance or other support. The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society is designed to help active duty and retired Navy and Marine Corps personnel and their eligible family members with those situations. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, NMCRS has helped servicemembers in need of aid with about $1.4 million in interest-free loans and grants. The NMCRS?s mission is to help servicemembers through budget counseling and the administration of interest-free loans and grants, to help them achieve financial self-sufficiency, and to find solutions to emergency needs, said Rebecca Dunbar, Quantico Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society public relations specialist. ?Interest-free loans or grants are available to help relieve emergency or temporary financial situations,? said Dunbar. ?We also provide our clients with counseling to create a budget that allows them to live within their means and still accomplish their financial goals.? For more information, contact NMCRS at (703) 784-9754/ 9755/ 3355 or visit https://www.nmcrs.org.

Featured Job: Threat Officer
Logistics Management is searching for a full time Threat Officer. This position is on the research staff of a not-for-profit government consulting organization headquartered in McLean, VA. Required knowledge, skills, and abilities include Bachelor's degree and 5 years military or intelligence community experience, minimum 2 years experience in threat awareness and analysis and superior communication skills. This position requires an active TS/SSBI, or current TS/SCI. See the full job posting at http://jobsearch.military.monster.com/g ... D=32483907. To search over 100,000 jobs, use the Military.com Job Search at http://www.military.com/Careers/Home/0,13373,,00.html.

Free Healthcare for Vets Affected by Katrina
A bill to improve the health care of the nation?s veterans was approved by the Senate Committee on Veterans? Affairs last week. The "Veterans Health Care Act of 2005" now goes to the floor of the Senate for a vote. Among many provisions, the bill provides free health care for veterans in the area impacted by Hurricane Katrina. That free care would end January 31, 2006. The legislation would also allow VA to reimburse enrolled veterans for the money they spend after receiving emergency treatment in a non-VA facility. The bill also directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to expand and improve mental health care services, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) care provided to veterans, and expand counseling through tele-health linkages. If the bill is approved by Congress and signed into law, the VA would also be able to conduct a study on finding financial efficiencies within the veterans? health care system. For more on Hurricane Katrina, visit our special section at http://www.military.com/Hurricane covering the disaster and ongoing relief efforts.

Guardsmen Activated for Katrina Eligible for TRICARE
Guardsmen federally activated for more than 30 consecutive days supporting Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and their Tricare-eligible family members can receive military health-care benefits. The deputy secretary of defense approved funding for use of the National Guard under Title 32 U.S. Code to support relief efforts effective Aug. 29. However, it is possible that some guardsmen may remain on state active duty. Guardsmen?s personnel offices should update the defense enrollment eligibility reporting system to reflect eligibility for Tricare benefits if their personnel are activated under or converted to Title 32 orders. In cases of conversion from state active duty to federal, the DEERS update could occur before orders are received. Guardsmen who are not sure if they are activated under Title 32 orders can contact their unit?s personnel office to clarify their status. After a DEERS update, family members will be covered automatically under Tricare Standard and may enroll in Tricare Prime or Prime Remote, if available in their area. Guardsmen serving on state orders are not eligible for Tricare health benefits, although they may be eligible for certain health-care benefits through their state. For more information about DEERS enrollment, people can visit the Tricare Website at www.tricare.osd.mil/deers or call the DEERS support office at (800) 538-9552. Beneficiaries can also find the nearest ID card-issuing facility at www.dmdc.osd.mil/rsl/owa/home. Visit the Military.com benefits section to learn more about your TRICARE benefits at http://www.military.com/Resources/Resou ... -1,00.html.

Hurricane-Affected Navy Families Encouraged to Identify Needs to Task Force
Task Force Navy Family (TFNF) initiated a new method Sept. 21 to verify contact data and needs-assessment for Navy families affected by Hurricane Katrina. NAVADMIN 237/05 announced specific guidelines and procedures for the TFNF Needs Assessment Data Call. Guidance and a link to the data call site is also available via the Hurricane Katrina information page on www.navy.mil and via the Navy?s 24-hour helpline (877) 414-5358 for Katrina recovery assistance. The data call is intended for commands with Katrina-affected families to verify muster data, update contact information and collect data on health and welfare concerns. Also, individual Navy family members requiring assistance are highly encouraged to access the Website to complete or validate their family needs profile. Any family members unable to access the site online may contact the 24-hour helpline at (877) 414-5358 for assistance in updating contact information and completing the family needs assessment profile. For more on Hurricane Katrina, visit our special section at http://www.military.com/Resources/Resou ... -1,00.html covering the disaster and ongoing relief efforts

Navy Hosts All Services Retiree Seminar
The Annual Military Retiree Seminar at the U.S. Submarine Base in Groton, Conn., will be held from 9 a.m. until noon Oct. 15 at the base's Dealy Center Theater. The event is sponsored by the commanding officer and the Retiree Activities Office (RAO) for retired military and family members in New England Eastern New York. A current military ID will allow access to the base. Retired Navy Commander Barbara Miller, the RAO director, said the agenda includes updates on the base military health care facility, TRICARE/TRICARE for Life, TRICARE Retiree Dental, Federal Long Term Care, retired pay and survivor benefits, legal services, homeland security, casualty assistance, veteran's affairs and travel/recreational facilities. The ID card office will be open for ID renewal and the RAO and on-base VA offices will be open to provide assistance, as will a representative of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). Informational brochures on various subjects will be available. For more information, contact the RAO from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Eastern, Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to noon on Friday at (860) 694-3284. The E-mail address is raosubasenlon@navy.mil.

New Army Manual Sets Recovery Doctrine
The phrase ?I will never leave a fallen comrade,? is part of the Warrior Ethos listed in the Soldier?s Creed and now publication of Army Field Manual 3-50.1, Army Personnel Recovery, makes the phrase more than just philosophy; it?s now doctrine. The manual was approved by the Army and published in August on the Army Knowledge Online Website. Hardcopy manuals are currently being published and should be available soon, officials said. Before August the Army didn?t have a set doctrine governing personnel recovery, said Lt. Col. John Horton, doctrine author at Fort Leavenworth?s Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate. ?It was a combination of a couple of Army regulations that dealt primarily with SERE (survival, evasion, resistance and escape) and joint publications that talked about CSAR (combat search and rescue),? Horton said. The new manual outlines personnel recovery as the effort to recover personnel who are ?isolated, missing, detained or captured in an operation environment.? Recovery operations can include not only military personnel but also DoD civilians and contractors. Multinational partners, American civilians and the citizens of other nations may be included in personnel recovery efforts when directed by the secretary of Defense. The major change in doctrine is where the manual states: ?Every Soldier and every sensor on the battlefield is woven into a seamless system as a part of our everyday operations and enables the immediate recovery of any personnel who are isolated, missing, detained or captured.? The inclusion of every Soldier in personnel recovery is not a re-wording of established publications and policies?it is a significant change, Horton said. The Army Knowledge Online portal is accessible at http://www.army.mil/ako/.

New Equipment Being Tested in DDESS Schools
Schools in the Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools system will spend the rest of this school year testing a new computer-aided reading program designed to ensure kindergarten through second-grade students are reading at the appropriate grade level by the time they enter third grade. ?This is a project to see if using a handheld device will make it easier to assess students on a regular basis,? said Sandee Scruggs, branch chief of education for Department of Defense Education Activity. ?All of the material is preloaded on a handheld device.? The program being tested, Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills, is a set of standardized, individually administered measures of early literacy development. They are designed to be short (one minute) fluency measures used to regularly monitor the development of pre-reading and early reading skills. ?The impetus for our participation in this voluntary pilot program is our support of the Department of Defense Education Activity community strategic plan, goal one ? the highest student achievement ? which has a sub-goal of ensuring all students are reading on grade level by the end of third grade,? said Michael Gould, New York and Virginia Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools assistant superintendent. ?It is our intent to meet that goal as early in a child?s life as possible. DIBELS may be an effective tool to assist us in that endeavor.? Because children of servicemembers often find themselves moving, sometimes during the school year, the DIBELS program allows teachers DDESS-wide to share information and maintain students? progress. ?This will bring continuity between schools,? said Peabody. Materials on which the students will be evaluated are programmed into a palm pilot. As the students read the material to their teachers, the teachers are able to mark on the palm pilot the mistakes the students make. After finishing their reading, the palm pilot automatically calculates the students? reading ability. Each student will have a profile in the palm pilot and will be evaluated at the beginning, middle and end of the year to track their progress. After the teachers have tested and evaluated the program, it will be determined whether it will be implemented in all DoD schools next year.

Navy Establishes Task Force
The Navy has taken a proactive role in ongoing post-Hurricane Katrina relief efforts along the Gulf Coast region by establishing a support system for its personnel called ?Task Force Navy Family?. More than 18,000 Navy families stationed in Louisiana and Mississippi were directly impacted by Katrina?s hurricane force winds, flooding and destruction, with some families losing everything. The mission of the task force team is to coordinate and augment full-spectrum community service operations in order to provide a rapid and coordinated return to a stable environment for affected Navy Family members. For Navy Family members who need additional information or assistance please call the Navy Personnel Command?s Emergency Coordination Center?s hotline at (877) 414-5358 24 hours a day, or visit www.navy.mil. Individual Navy family members requiring assistance are highly encouraged to access the Website or call the hotline to complete or validate their family needs profile. For more on Hurricane Katrina, visit our special section at http://www.military.com/Hurricane covering the disaster and ongoing relief efforts.

Officials Warn: Beware of Donation Scams
When a natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina occurs, fraudulent activities associated with donations often take place. According to the New York Times, the Federal Bureau of Investigation lists the number of Websites purporting to deal with Katrina information and relief at more than 2,300 sites. These include legitimate and non-legitimate Web pages. The paper reported "the amount of suspicious, disaster-related Web activity was higher than the number of swindles seen online after last year's tsunami." The fraudulent activities are not restricted to web pages. E-mail solicitations for donations are also prevalent. There are several avenues people can take to ensure any donation they want to make goes toward the charity of their choice. One is through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The agency released a list of registered, legitimate charitable organizations that are specifically conducting Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The list, which includes contact information for each organization, is available at www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=18473. Another avenue available to people is the USA Freedom Corps, a coordinating council housed at the White House. The organization established a fund for Katrina relief through its website at www.usafreedomcorps.gov. Also, Air Force Aid Society officials announced the establishment of a hurricane relief fund where the organization can track contributions being made specifically for the purpose of helping Airmen affected by the hurricane. People can find information about this program through the AFAS Website at www.afas.org. People who receive suspicious e-mails or who are directed to suspicious Websites should report the activity to the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.gov/sentinel or call them at (877) 382-4357. For more on Hurricane Katrina, visit our special section at http://www.military.com/Hurricane covering the disaster and ongoing relief efforts.

Pharmacy Co-pay Waiver for Military Hurricane Victims
Department of Defense officials have extended the waiver of pharmacy co-pays through Sept. 30 for Tricare beneficiaries affected by Hurricane Katrina unable to pay it. In addition, Tricare officials have been working closely with retail pharmacies and their pharmacy contractor to ensure that military evacuees maintain access to their prescription benefits. For example, beneficiaries displaced by the hurricane may request their prescription records at military treatment facilities in the Gulf Coast be transferred to other military or retail pharmacies nationwide. For assistance, hurricane victims may call the DOD pharmacy operations center at (866) 275-4732.

Retiree Appreciation Day Coming In Charleston
The Charleston AFB Retiree Activities Office and the Navy Retiree Activities Office have scheduled a Joint Services Retiree Appreciation Day for Oct. 1, 2005 at the Charleston AFB Club. No registration is required. The event will begin at 9 a.m. with a continental breakfast and refreshments followed by the presentation of Colors, National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation. Activities end at noon with a picnic. Base Commander Col. Susan Desjardins and Navy Capt. Gary Edwards will provide an update on their respective bases. Retired Major William Shanks will give a briefing on the Air Force Retiree Council followed by representatives of the Navy Retiree Program, Military Officers Association of America, Department of Veterans Affairs, TRICARE, Legal Services, and Survivor Benefit Plan/Casualty Affairs. Exhibitors from different agencies (Health Wellness Screening, auto sticker renewal, identification card renewal, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Medical Clinic, SBP and Legal Aid) will operate booths with information directed at retirees and their spouses.

Services Complete Indefinite ID Card Upgrades
A software upgrade has been completed at most military identification card issuing facilities, allowing eligible family members and surviving spouses to receive indefinite ID cards at age 75 upon expiration of current IDs. The upgrade is scheduled to be completed at all bases by Oct. 7. Card issuing facilities are authorized to issue the new ID card within 90 days of expiration, as there will be no mass issuance, according to ID card management officials. Eligibility rules for ID cards have not changed. TRICARE officials point out that the Military Health System requires all eligible beneficiaries to have a current ID card in order to receive health care. Also, beneficiaries are reminded that their personal information must be current in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). Changes to sponsor's status, home address and family status (marriage, divorce, birth and adoption) are examples of information that needs to be properly maintained in DEERS. The DEERS Support Office can be reached by telephone at 1-800-538-9552, or information can be found online at www.tricare.osd.mil/DEERS. For more information about the permanent retiree ID card or DEERS enrollment, beneficiaries may visit the TRICARE Website at www.tricare.osd.mil/deers or call the TRICARE Regional Office (TRO) North (1-877-874-2273), the TRO South (1-800-444-5445), or TRO West (1-888-874-9378). Overseas beneficiaries can call 1-888-777-8343. Beneficiaries can also find the nearest ID card issuing facility at www.dmdc.osd.mil/rsl/owa/home.

Tops in Blue Seeking Talented Airmen
The annual search for Air Force talent during the Worldwide Talent Contest is scheduled Nov. 6 to 14 at Lackland Air Force Base, and the deadline for submissions is Oct. 5. Besides competing for the Roger Award, given to the best performers in five separate categories, participants also vie for positions on the 2006 Air Force Expeditionary Entertainment Troupe -- Tops in Blue. ?We need singers, dancers, musicians, comedians, and anyone else who has talent they?d like to share with the world,? said Jeri White, Tops in Blue production manager with the Air Force Services Agency. Contestants do not need professional training to qualify. ?They can be self-taught and don?t have to be able to read music,? Ms. White said. ?All they need is talent and a strong desire to improve during the touring season.? Applicants interested in competing in the Air Force Talent Contest and auditioning for Tops in Blue 2006 should submit a videotape of themselves performing, along with an entertainer application, to: HQ AFSVA,SVPCE; 10100 Reunion Place; Ste. 402; San Antonio, Texas 78216-4138. Airmen can obtain an application by calling (210) 652-6566 or through the Air Force Services Website at www.afsv.af.mil. Videotapes will be reviewed at the agency?s entertainment branch, and those individuals who display talents the judges feel can best support the team will be invited to compete at the Worldwide Talent Contest. Funding for the contest is provided by Air Force Services, including permissive temporary duty, travel and lodging. Tops in Blue is the all-Air Force entertainment troupe that provides a free, high-energy 90-minute musical extravaganza to servicemembers worldwide, including war zones. In its mission to boost morale, the team visits more than 120 locations in more than 30 countries, entertaining more than 350,000 military and family members May to February each year.

Users Can Log On To Portal With Card
Users can now log on to the Air Force Portal using their common access card and personal identification number. This latest change to the Air Force Portal means fewer passwords for users to remember and leads to greater security for Air Force networks. Getting the Air Force Portal to recognize your CAC is easy. Users should go to the Portal website at https://www.my.af.mil and click the "New/existing users start here" link under the "Register Now with CAC" heading. It'll take a few minutes to associate your CAC with your user ID and password. In the background it may take as long as 30 minutes for the software to update. From there on out airmen can use the CAC to log in. If users need to log into the Portal from home or any machine without a CAC reader, they will still be able to log in with their password and ID combination. When users use their CAC to access the Portal, they will continue to have access to the reduced sign-on access applications they have set up, such as the Virtual Military Personnel Flight, myPay, Air Force Personnel Center secure, Air Force Virtual Education Center, the fitness management system and more. The Portal will continue to change and improve as the DOD updates requirements for network user authentication.

VA Offers Program to Returning Soldiers
The VA Black Hills Health Care System is offering a 7-week education program entitled "Understanding Readjustment" to all National Guard and Reserve soldiers who have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. The program will be held weekly at the Pierre VA Clinic at 1601 N. Harrison on Tuesday nights, starting on Tuesday October 4th at 7:00 p.m. a facilitator, in consultation with a Clinical Psychologist will be available. Soldiers who wish to attend this educational program need to be enrolled, and can pre-register by calling (605) 945-1710. The 7-week program will be limited to 8 participants, and will be offered again in the Spring.

Fleet Week 2005 - San Francisco - October 6th - 10th
Fleet Week 2005 - San Francisco will take place on the San Francisco Waterfront, October 6th - 10th. Events will include aerial demonstrations by the Navy's Blue Angels, Team Oracle, the Air Force's F-16 Demonstration Team, tours of U.S. Navy warships by the crew and more. Get tickets and showtimes at http://www.fleetweek.us/fleetweek.

Navy Mutual Does Its Part for Task Force Navy Family
Over 1200 Members of the Navy Mutual Aid Association were affected by Hurricane Katrina. Most are displaced and unable to receive mail. The Association took immediate action to identify which Members were affected by the storm. They extended the grace period for those Members with term insurance to ensure that their life insurance coverage would not terminate due to late premium payments. For Members with whole life insurance plans, the Association implemented an expedited Member Loan process to enable those Members to receive funds quickly, overnight in many cases. Several of their Members lost their homes and all their personal documents. The Association will be preparing duplicate copies of life insurance certificates and other pertinent documents to replace those documents lost or damaged by the storm.

In addition to personal donations made by the staff, the Association made a donation to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) and the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) for hurricane relief. The Association also posted a notice on its website with links to assist their Members in making donations to these two relief associations.

Navy Mutual Aid Association is a Veteran Service Organization (VSO) which has been providing high quality, low-cost life insurance protection and survivor benefit counseling to Sea Service families for over 125 years. The Association serves the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Public Health Service, and NOAA. The Association is recognized as an approved financial counselor for the services by the Secretary of the Navy. For more information about this outstanding Association visit their website at www.navymutual.org.

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Here's a few links for Tax info...

IRS Info

DoD Tax Tips

http://www.militaryonesource.com/

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DoD Launches Military Financial Education Program
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service


WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2006 ? A general lack of financial knowledge makes servicemembers an ideal target for predatory money lenders, so the Defense Department is doing something about it, officials said here today.
"Equipping servicemembers with the tools and resources they need to make sound financial decisions is integral to both military readiness and the strength and stability of our servicemembers and their families," David S. C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said at a news conference held at the U. S. Capitol building.

To meet these ends, the Defense Department has partnered with the National Association of Securities Dealers Investor Education Foundation to launch the Military Financial Education Program. The NASD Foundation was started in 2003, and is part of the Defense Department's financial readiness campaign. NASD is the largest private-sector provider of financial regulatory services.

"We know from research we've conducted that a high percentage of servicemen and women lack basic financial knowledge," Robert Glauber, chairman and chief executive officer of NASD, said. "We are here to unveil an important new program that will help members of the armed services and their families manage their money, and save and invest it wisely. "

Unscrupulous financial institutions often use deceptive tactics such as hidden fees and exorbitant interest rates to take advantage of unsuspecting investors, officials said.

"Military families on or near base are a captive audience for everyone from used car salesmen to payday lenders," said Mary Shapiro, vice chairman of NASD.

The education program will teach basic investment necessities such as how to buy a car, saving for retirement, and the tradeoffs between risk and return on investment, Glauber said.

The genesis of the program came when First Command Financial Planning, a Texas-based financial lending company, was fined $12 million for making misleading statements while selling investment plans to military families.

About $4. 5 million of the fine money was returned to investors, while the rest of the money was set aside for the Military Financial Education Program, Glauber said.

The program will not use any taxpayer money.

"This initiative started with our disciplinary action against First Command Financial Planning. We and our partners want to make sure that that sort of thing never happens again," Shapiro said. "We believe the Military Financial Education Program will move us a long way toward that end. "

The multifaceted program includes:

An online resource center that will serve as a centralized, trusted source for unbiased information on saving and investing, including original content, interactive tools, links to financial education resources;
On-the-ground training to support the military's current Personal Financial Management Program by establishing a coordinated and uniform financial education program, including the training and continued certification of personal financial managers and other volunteers;
Educational tool kits for trainers and investors offering multiple levels of personal financial information;
On-base activities and events to motivate families to take responsibility for their financial well-being; and
A long-term public outreach campaign, including print, radio and television public service announcements and media outreach to raise awareness of the tools, information and services available to military people and their families.
The program's Web site, SaveAndInvest. org, has a plethora of investor information and links to the NASD Web site, where further financial information can be found. The U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission also has launched an investor information section for military families on its Web site.
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton spoke at the news conference and said she learned about financial scams perpetrated against military personnel from her constituents.

"It's a national problem that deserves a national solution," the senator said. "This program is one of the best answers that we could come up with. "

Chu expressed high hopes for the program. "It is our hope that with programs like this, that in the future our military personnel will be as well known for their financial savvy as they're known today for their military prowess," he said.

Biography:
http://www.dod.mil/bios/chu_bio.html

Related Sites:
http://www.saveandinvest.org/
http://www.sec.gov/investor/military.shtml

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I am a past Commander of VFW Post 8661. We have several outstanding people that can help veterans in need, members or not. If there is anything needed, contact me and we will see what we can do.

p.s. we put on a pretty good breakfast first Sunday of the month in Shawnee.

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mountainvet, thanks for your post. Is there a phone number where you can be contacted?
Please feel free to post here - we welcome your input.

And be sure to post reminders of the breakfasts. :eat:

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Best bet is to email me. I am new to this, my email address should be available now.


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Thanks. And thank you for your service.

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To all US Marines.

Happy 231th Marine Corps Birthday! (November 10, 2006).

Any other Marines out there ?

Semper Fi!

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The new National Museum of the Marine Corps is dedicated this Marine Corps Birthday.

Here is a link: http://www.usmcmuseum.org/Programs_museum.asp

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Semper Fi my Brother!


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