National Guard Family Program – Online Community

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National Guard Family Program Online Community
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Hot Topics

Topics for June

Extended Deployment

Reserve Components Among Units Extended in Iraq
Morale Calls
Operation Child Care

Medical and Social Services Benefits
Walter Reed Family Medical Assistance Center
Veterans Benefits and Information for National Guard and Reserve Personnel
Disabled Soldier Support

Veteran’s Readjustment Counseling Service
Federal Benefits Guide for Veterans and Dependents (2004 Edition)

Mobilization Issues
Effect of Mobilization on ARNG
Education Benefits

Citizen Soldier’s Guide to Mobilization

Commissary and Exchange Benefits
Sales and Promotions at the Commissary
AAFES Back to School Catalog Available

Simple Errors Delay Military Mail
Warning: Suspicious Phone Calls to Spouses
Voter Registration for Overseas Guard and Reserve
Retroactive Reimbursement for R&R Leave Participants Approved

Extended Deployment

Reserve Components Among Units Extended in Iraq
by Master Sgt. Bob Haskell

ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, April 26, 2004) – More than 4,100 National Guard Soldiers and about another 2,500 Army Reserve troops will remain on duty in Iraq and Kuwait for an additional three months or so to support the global war against terrorism.

The Pentagon announced April 15 that a total of about 20,000 Soldiers would remain in the Central Command theater longer than their anticipated one-year tours of duty to help meet the force requirements for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the Soldiers would serve over there for about 90 additional days.

Pentagon officials said military members will receive $1,000 for each month or part of a month they serve in Iraq beyond the anticipated 12 months. That compensation includes an additional $200 in hardship-duty pay (above the $100 already being paid monthly) and $800 in assignment-incentive pay.

Army Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers make up well over a quarter of the force being asked to stay longer, officials said.

"The period will be for up to an additional 90 days in Iraq and up to 120 days total deployment," Rumsfeld explained. "Needless to say, we regret having to extend those individuals. But the country is at war and we need to do what is necessary to succeed."

The purpose of the delayed redeployments is to provide the combatant commander with the forces required to defeat those elements threatening the security of Iraq, officials explained.

The affected reserve-component personnel are in support units – primarily military police, transportation, quartermaster and engineer companies and battalions.

The 21 National Guard units are from 16 different states. The 16 Army Reserve units are also from 16 different states, officials said.

Four of the National Guard units are from Illinois. Nearly 900 belong to three Missouri units. Three more units come from Tennessee, and two are from South Dakota.

The others come from Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Utah, the state of Washington, and Wisconsin.

Gen. John Abizaid, commander of the United States Central Command, asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the additional force capability, Pentagon officials explained. Rumsfeld approved the delay in redeployments to support that combatant commander. The 20,000 retained Soldiers will give Abizaid a total force of 135,000 troops in Iraq,
officials explained.

"The Army – Active, Guard and Reserve – is supporting the combatant commander as a single unified team," said Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

"Our units have fought together, endured together and will remain
together. The cohesion baptized by fire and hardened in the crucible of
combat is an invaluable combat multiplier," Blum added.

"The plan is capability based. When a unit’s capabilities are not
required, the combatant commander will release those units," National
Guard officials said. "The Iraqi military, civil defense forces and Iraqi police are taking more responsibility for their security situation with each passing day."

Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged the contributions and sacrifices that the National Guard and Reserve Soldiers are making.

"Certainly to those families of those Soldiers, we thank them for their continued sacrifice and to the employers of the Guard and the Reserve for their continued contribution to this war on terrorism," Pace said. "It’s not an easy sacrifice, but as [Secretary Rumsfeld] mentioned, it’s a very worthy cause."

(Editor’s note: Master Sgt. Bob Haskell is a journalist for the National Guard Bureau Public Affairs Office.)

Morale Calls
Please ensure widest dissemination of the following message to all Army and Air National Guard units mobilizing, preparing to mobilize, or already deployed:

Deployed guardsmen (both Army and Air) have another convenient way to keep in touch with their state-side loved ones, relatives, and friends.  It’s the Morale Call option on the Automated Directory Assistance System (ADAS) installed on several Army installations throughout Continental United States (CONUS).  Phone calls placed by deployed guardsmen to these ADAS sites, will be connected to an automated call attendant and its voice-recognition Morale Call sub-system.  Guardsmen can access the ADAS by Defense Switch Network (DSN) phone line.  Once connected to an ADAS automated call attendant, they need only follow the system’s morale-call instructions.  Guardsmen reply to the Morale-Call prompts to make their local or long-distance connection.  Morale calls placed to parties outside the local calling area will incur the usual stateside long-distance fees.  The same applies for collect-calls and credit/phone card calls. Calls should be placed only during normal nonduty hours at ROUTINE precedence and should not exceed 15 minutes in duration.  Most installations have a time turned on to limit the call to 15 minutes.  Below is a list of phone numbers for the various ADAS location:

Army Base DSN Access Number
Dugway PG (312)789-2151
Fort Benning (312)835-2011
Fort Bliss (312)978-2121
Fort Bragg (312)236-0001
Fort Campbell (312)635-2151
Fort Dix (312)944-1011
Fort Drum (312)772-3672
Fort Eustis (312)826-1212
Fort Gordon (312)780-0110
Fort Hamilton (312)232-1110
Fort Hood (312)737-1110
Fort Huachuca (312)879-7111
Fort Irwin (312)470-1111
Fort Jackson (312)734-7511
Fort Knox (312)464-1000
Fort Leavenworth (312)552-4021
Fort Lee (312)539-3101
Fort Leonard Wood (312)581-0131
Fort Lewis (312)357-1994
Fort McPherson (312)367-4663
Fort Meade (312)622-6261
Fort Riley (312)856-1110
Fort Sill (312)639-7090
Fort Stewart (312)870-4663

Questions or concerns can be directed to LTC Kelvin George, at 703-607-7661, or e-mail [email protected].

Operation Child Care
National Guard and Reserve Members: If you’ve returned home (or if your spouse will be returning home) from Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom for two weeks of R&R leave, you are eligible to receive a minimum of four hours of free child care.

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Medical and Social Services Benefits

Walter Reed Medical Family Assistance Center
Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) is committed to providing comprehensive health care and services to all military beneficiaries. This web site is designed to assist the families, next-of-kin, and patients who have been evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Its contents will assist you in finding answers to questions regarding services available to you while at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, including Invitational Travel Orders (ITOs), lodging, meals, service liaisons, financial aid, local transportation, etc.

If you need information on a topic not included in the web site, contact the
Walter Reed Medical Family Assistance Center (MEDFAC) at
(202) 782-2071 or toll free 1-866-546-1310,
BLDG. 2, Third Floor, Room 3E01.

Veterans Benefits and Information for National Guard and Reserve Personnel
Members of the National Guard who have served in active duty during wartime or against a hostile force are eligible for a range of VA medical and social services benefits. You can also call the VA at

All the websites listed below are owned by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

Department of Veterans Affairs
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) website provides broad information on Veteran’s benefits, including hot topics, health benefits, vocational rehabilitation and employment, education, and more.

Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom/Benefits for National Guard and Reserve Personnel
This page contains specific National Guard and Reserve benefit information for returning servicemembers, including the printable trifold brochure "A Summary of Benefits for National Guard and Reserve Personnel" []. Over 30 links connect you to resources or information on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the GI bill, Transitioning from War to Home (Readjustment or bereavement counseling), and other health, medical, and employment benefits.

Veteran’s Readjustment Counseling Service
Readjustment counseling is provided at 206 community-based Vet Centers located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and is designed to help combat veterans in their readjustment to civilian life. Vet Center staff provide group, individual and family counseling plus a wide range of other services to include medical referral, homeless veteran services, employment services, VA benefit referral, and the brokering of non-VA services. Eligible veterans include those who served on active duty in a combat theater during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, or the campaigns in Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and the global War on Terror. Veterans who served in the active military during the Vietnam Era, but not in the Republic of Vietnam, are also eligible, provided they requested services at a Vet Center before Jan. 1, 2004. Vet Centers also provide bereavement counseling to the families of military personnel killed in action and sexual trauma counseling to veterans who suffered sexual trauma while on active duty.

Readjustment difficulties can include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or any other problems that affect functioning within the family, work, school or other areas of everyday life. For additional information, contact the nearest Vet Center, listed in the federal government section of telephone directories, or visit the Internet at (

Vet Center Directory by State
The links on this page will connect you to pages with contact information for Vet Centers in your state where you can obtain quality veteran’s services.

What are Vet Centers?
Vet Center staff welcome home war veterans with honor by providing quality readjustment services in a caring manner, assisting veterans and their family members toward a successful post-war adjustment in or near their communities.

Vet Centers serve veterans and their families by providing a continuum of quality care that adds value for veterans, families, and communities. Care includes professional readjustment counseling, community education, outreach to special populations, the brokering of services with community agencies, and provides a key access link between veterans and other services in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Federal Benefits Guide for Veterans and Dependents (2004 Edition)
The 2004 edition of this booklet lists the variety of federal benefits available to veterans and their dependents. You can download the booklet as a PDF file in English or Spanish from the following url:

Disabled Soldier Support
Initiative (DS3)
On April 30, 2004, the Department
of the Army introduced a Disabled
Soldier Support System Initiative
( that provides
its severely disabled Soldiers and
their families with a system of advocacy
and follow-up with personal support
to assist them as they transition
from military service to the civilian

The DS3 incorporates and integrates
several existing programs to provide
holistic support services for our
severely disabled Soldiers and their
families throughout their phased
progression from initial casualty
notification to their return to home
station and home destination. In
addition, DS3 is a system to track
and monitor our severely disabled
Soldiers for a period of time beyond
their medical retirement in order
to provide appropriate assistance
through an array of existing service

DS3 serves as the advocate for the
Army’s severely disabled Soldiers
and their families. DS3 facilitates
communication and coordination between
severely disabled Soldiers and their
families and the pertinent local,
Federal and national agencies and
organizations, such as the Department
of Veterans Affairs and the many
commendable Veteran’s Service Organizations,
in much the same way Soldiers use
their chain of command to resolve

Key elements of the DS3 include
providing a network of resources
not limited to Army installations
or component, be it active or reserve,
to ensure responsiveness and availability
of support services. Although DS3
is centrally managed at Department
of the Army Headquarters, there are
designated regional DS3 Coordinators
that will interface on behalf of
the Soldiers and families with the
local and regional resources.

The benefits of those enrolled are
tremendous. Severely disabled Soldiers
and families are able to better understand
what their future holds and how to
access services they may require
through the assistance of a dedicated

The Army’s goal for DS3 is for it
to work in concert with other key
organizations to ensure that our
disabled Soldiers and families are
give the care, support and assistance
they so rightly deserve for their
selfless service and sacrifice to
our nation.

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Mobilization Issues

Effect of Mobilization on ARNG
Education Benefits
This information paper explains
how education benefits for Army National
Guard are affected by mobilization.
Click on the article title to view
or download a pdf document.

The Citizen
Soldier’s Guide to Mobilization Finance
35-page downloadable document is an
excellent resource for National Guard
members who are deploying or deployed
and need financial information. Includes
information on pay and allowances,
entitlements, Combat Zone Tax Exclusion,
savings plans, travel payment, and

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Commissary Benefit and Sales Information

Your Commissary Consciousness During Commissary Awareness

May means getting in touch with the
your "inner" commissary
shopper. There’s a lot going on during DeCA’s annual
Commissary Awareness Month to help you "channel" the
savings. The world’s biggest case lot sale has
expanded from annually in September to an additional
worldwide event in May. Sale schedules vary by
store so use this link to check store Web pages
for sale dates and hours of operation:

For those of you who aren’t too familiar with your
inner commissary shopper, there’ll be single
and new service member "show and tell" commissary
tours. And Guard and Reserve shoppers will find
special events to help them celebrate their unlimited
commissary shopping privileges.

New Commissary
Signs Point the Way to the "Savings You’ve

Awareness Month ends with a patriotic splash
Memorial Day weekend with the launch of "Savings You’ve
Earned" on May 27. "Savings You’ve Earned" will
help customers easily identify what’s on sale
at their local commissary. The red, white and
blue shelf signs, posters, banners and employee
buttons will create excitement in commissaries
worldwide and reinforce commissary savings

Staying Connected to Your Commissary
Benefit is Just a Click Away!

Connection – an e-mail newsletter filled
with information about promotions, sales
and important commissary news – launched
in late April. Customers can subscribe to
the newsletter through a link on the front
page of and
need only provide an e-mail address; no personal
information is required. Due to the increased
anti-spam controls put in place by many e-mail
service providers, customers will need to
add the address [email protected] to
their address books, safe lists or contact
lists before subscribing to prevent delivery
problems. For more information, read the
release at .

NEWS RELEASE: 04-043  June 1, 2004

2004 All-Services Back to School Catalog Now Available
DALLAS – The Exchange Services’ newest catalog, Back to School 2004, is now available. Packed with cool gear both kids and adults will love, this new all-services catalog showcases great furniture, bed linens, small appliances and a hot electronics section with the latest technological gadgets. Military children from grade school to college are sure to find just what they need to get this school year off to a great start!

Prices in this all-services catalog are valid June 1 – September 30, 2004 and anyone with exchange privileges can order from it. Active duty military members of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as military retirees, reservists, National Guardsmen, Department of Defense civilians stationed overseas, exchange employees and their family members are authorized to shop.

Orders can be placed by mail, fax or phone. To place orders toll free from the United States, Puerto Rico or Guam just call 1-800-527-2345. AAFES’ catalog center is open around-the-clock, seven days a week and complimentary international access calling is available from several countries.

Authorized customers can also shop the 2004 Back to School Exchange catalog on the Internet at ,, or . Active duty military members of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as military retirees, reservists, National Guardsmen, Department of Defense civilians stationed overseas, exchange employees and their family members are authorized to shop. Anyone with exchange privileges can shop the Back to School catalog.

Earnings generated by purchases in the Exchange and Exchange Online Store as well as Exchange Catalogs such as the Back to School catalog are returned to the military community in the form of funding for Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) facilities and programs.

For more information or to arrange an interview with an AAFES representative please contact Judd Anstey, 214-312-3861 or [email protected].

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Simple Errors Delay Military Mail
Writing the name of the destination country on your mail to a deployed person can result in the mail going through that country’s civilian mail system instead of the military postal system. Following guidelines for the military mailing system in addressing letters and packages is crucial in preventing delays in mail delivery. Read more…

Warning: Suspicious Phone Calls to Spouses of Deployed Soldiers
ALCON- A spouse in a MDNG Family Support group reports that she knows of several wives of deployed soldiers who have received telephone calls from Baghdad from someone claiming to be a CID agent.  The caller claims they need information from the wives about their husbands such as location in Iraq, how often they move, how often they call home, when their deployment began and when they’re due home, and what specific unit they are in. The callers have no Arabic accent and already had the soldier’s full name, rank and social.

Any spouse receiving such a call should contact their spouse’s unit Rear Detachment and Family Readiness point of contact (POC) as soon as possible to report the call and not give any information what so ever to the caller.  The reporting spouse surmises that soldiers who use the local rental phones in Iraq can be targeted as the number they call may be saved in some way.

Rear Detachments and Family Readiness POCs should forward this information through their chain of command.

Voter Registration for Overseas Guard and Reserve
HRC Sends Largest AKO E-mail to Date
by Annie ShippenWASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 20, 2004) –

The Army’s top adjutant general e-mailed all Soldiers through AKO accounts on May 11, telling them to register to vote.

Brig. Gen. Gina S. Farrisee, the adjutant general, wanted to contact the Soldiers to ensure that they were aware of their ability to vote while overseas and saw the importance of registering to vote.

The e-mail was sent to 1.3 million Soldiers.

“Hopefully the e-mail will effect the Soldiers and they will think, ‘Gee, I am overseas, or getting ready to be sent overseas, and I need to register,’” said Col. John Karch, chief of Personnel Services Support Division, Human Resources Command.

The e-mail was sent over a several day period to avoid complications, and as of May 18 they have received 40,000 responses, which they are sorting through in order to distinguish the rate of failure.

Karch said he is confident the e-mail reached 96% of the Army.

The Department of Defense has done some work on a military voting initiative– Secure Election Registration Voting Experiment, more commonly referred to as SERVE. SERVE has not yet progressed as far as some officials had hoped.

“This program was initiated to experiment with online voting,” Karch said. “There were concerns with security in the system, so the project was suspended in early Feb. and is not going to be used this year. But hopefully the system will be improved and available in the next few years.”

If a Soldier registered in time and has not received the absentee ballot by Oct. 11, a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot should be filled out. This is a ballot on which the Soldier writes his or her vote and sends to his election official in his home state. If the Soldier should receive the ballot after he sent in the FWAB, the regular ballot should be filled out as well and sent in.

The e-mail directs Soldiers to see their voting assistance officer, or to download the Federal Post Card Application for an absentee ballot from

Two more mass e-mails are planned for future months. One in July and one in September will serve as reminders and contain important dates for registration. The first rule of thumb is to be safe, so the suggested mailing date for registration is Aug. 15. The second date, especially for those in Iraq and Afghanistan, is the completion of the ballot, due by Oct. 11.The last presidential election was a close one, with many votes in Florida thrown out and a controversy erupting over foul play. Due to the slim difference in the number of votes, those who were eligible to vote via absentee ballot may have had an effect on the outcome of the election. The importance of the e-mail brings forth a message that each vote counts and those who are unaware of their opportunity to vote should voice their opinion via casting a ballot.


June 29 2004


The U.S. Army announced today that service members who traveled on Rest and Recuperation leave while deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom or Iraqi Freedom during the period 25 Sep-18 Dec 03, may be eligible for reimbursement of airline costs.

Payment of onward travel airline costs for R&R Leave Program participants was approved 19 Dec 03. Authorization was granted on 21 Jun 04 to implement retroactive reimbursement for those individuals who paid out-of-pocket for onward commercial airline travel during the period 25 Sep-18 Dec 03. Eligible personnel are military R&R participants who paid for their onward travel airline tickets from the Aerial Port of Debarkation they flew into from overseas, such as Baltimore-Washington International Airport, to their final leave destination.

According to Army records, approximately 40,000 service members traveled during the period of eligibility, and thus should file a claim with DFAS. Every attempt is being made to ensure those eligible for reimbursement are informed of their eligibility and given instructions on claiming any monies owed them.

More information for those who believe they qualify is available on the CENTCOM R&R Leave Program website at:

– END –

For more information about the Rest and Recuperation (R&R) Leave Program, media may contact G-1 Public Affairs, at (703) 696-5207/696-5205. This document is available on Army Link, a World Wide Web site on the Internet at
For updates and additional information on the CENTCOM R&R Leave Program, visit the website at:

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Family Resources
Army One Source
(Private help for life’s problems)
User ID:army
Phone: 800-464-8107

Air Force One Source
(Private help for life’s problems)
user id: airforce
password: ready
Phone: 800-707-5784

Army Families Online
(Deployment, Readiness, Well Being 1-800-833-6622)

Reserve Affairs Family Readiness

National Military Family Association

Healthy Parenting Initiative Reserve and Guard Newsletter

Bullet Tricare Reserve Component Health Care
Bullet Tricare Dental Programs

National Guard Youth

Deployment Resources
American Red Cross

Employer support for the Guard and Reserve

Central Command Rest & Recuperation Leave Program

Separation handbooks
Deployment Survival Guide
2-4 year olds
5-7 year olds
8-10 year olds
11-12 year olds
13-18 year olds

Military Links

Army Community Service
(Deployment, financial, employment, relocation, volunteering & family)

Air Force Crossroads
(Family separation, volunteering, financial, employment, relocation,

Army Legal Services
(Personal legal affairs)

Air Reserves Family Assistance Program
(Contacts for benefits & services)

Family Program KX