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These links point to information that will help families dealing with today’s special situations.

March 2005
Katrina Announcements
EANGUS We Care for America
Foundation Emergency Relief Fund

For Members of the National Guard

Beware of Fraudulent
Hurricane Katrina Relief Web Sites
Open Your Home to Military
Families, Veterans, and Reservists Who Are Victims of Katrina
Post-Deployment and Combat Stress
Make the election for reflection
Treatment Available to Troops Suffering from Combat Stress
Mental Health Pros Say Biggest Challenge in Treating Stress Is Getting Soldiers to Ask for Help
“Courage to Care” Launches Help for Returning Combatants, Families
VA Makes Unusual Outreach Effort: Afghanistan, Iraq Vets Urged to Seek Psychological Help
More Links for Combat Stress
Extended Deployment
Morale Calls
Operation Child Care
Medical and Social Services Benefits
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Is a military family relief fund available in your state?
Keep Your Child’s Medical Records Straight
Illinois Military Family Leave Act Lets Spouses, Parents of Deployed Service Members Take Time Off
Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Coverage Increases September 1
“Wounded Warrior” Amendment on Its Way to President
Pentagon To Extend Health Coverage For Reserve Troops
“Gray Area” Retired Reservists Eligible for Dental Program
VFW Assists with Holiday Lodging for Families Visiting War-Wounded Servicemembers
U.S. Army Medical Holdover (MHO) program
Act Authorizes, Extends, Adds Medical Benefits for Guard, Reserve
Notice Extending Deadline for TRICARE Demonstration Project
GAO Down on Lower Reserve Retirement Age
Early Identification of TRICARE Benefits for Mobilizing Guard and Reserve Members
Free Access to TRICARE Fundamentals Online Course
Health Benefits for Military Families Aren’t ‘Automatic’
TRICARE Covers College Students
Walter Reed Family Medical Assistance Center
Disabled Soldier Support Initiative
Mobilization Issues
Effect of Mobilization on ARNG Education Benefits
Citizen Soldier’s Guide to Mobilization Finance
Youth Program
Moving Forward Together
Commissary Benefit and Sales Information
All-Services Back-to-School Catalog Now Available
Personnel-in-Distress Guides Published
Supplemental Health Assessment Begins
Help For Troops Calling Home
Free SAT/ACT Software for Military Families
Beware of Fraudulent Hurricane Katrina Relief Web Sites
Open Your Home to Military Families, Veterans, and Reservists Who Are Victims of Katrina
Children Of Deployed Servicemembers Eligible for a
Free Summer Camp Experience
Army Raises Maximum Age for Recruits
Guard Family Action Plan Web Site Kicks Off
Unresolved Pay Issues: Who to Call
Scholarship Opportunity Available to Military Spouses
Passenger Screening Checkpoint Access Guidelines
Guard Family Team Building Web Site
Secretary Harvey: Soldiers, Family Members Top Priority
Privacy Law Used to Withhold Casualty Information
Warning: Suspicious Phone Calls to Spouses
Retroactive Reimbursement for R&R Leave Participants Approved
Naturalization Information for Military Personnel
TEGL 16-03, Change 1: Guidance for States on NEG Funds for Assistance for National Guard and Military Reserve Personnel Returning from Deployment

Postal/Mailing Information

DoD Announces Recommended Holiday Mail Dates
Free Packing Materials from the U.S. Postal Service
Simple Errors Delay Military Mail


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Hurricane Katrina Announcements

EANGUS We Care for America
Foundation Emergency Relief Fund

For Members of the National Guard

The EANGUS We Care for America Foundation, Inc. (WCFA) will offer an emergency
grant or no-interest loan to any member of the Army and Air National Guard
(referred to as “eligible member”) who has suffered financial hardship
due to mobilization or Katrina
and meets the criteria contained
below. The assistance will continue to be made available based on availability
of funds. In the absence of available funds, requests will be returned to
the initiator. Membership in EANGUS is not required for eligibility
in this program

The emergency grant or no-interest loan will be disbursed on a first come,
first served basis based on funds availability. Only one grant or loan will
be awarded to an eligible member or dual-service family annually. It
will be paid directly to a creditor and will not be sent directly to the
National Guard member.
A grant or loan will not exceed $500 per
award unless extraordinary circumstances exist. These circumstances will
receive special consideration by the review committee to allow for exceptions
for higher amounts.

A permanent committee will be formed. It will be chaired by the EANGUS
WCFA Foundation Treasurer and four other members. The four members, appointed
by the EANGUS WCFA Foundation President, will have oversight of the operation
of the fund and will vote on grants or no interest loan applications. At
least one member of the committee will be from the business community; the
remaining members will be members of the EANGUS WCFA Foundation Board.

The Emergency Relief Fund will be administered by the National Office
of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS)
under the direction of the Executive Director.

a.  The EANGUS Executive Director is responsible for ensuring the
marketing of the emergency relief fund to each State, territory and the District
of Columbia to include: The Adjutant General, State Command Sergeant Major,
State Command Chief Master Sergeant, State Family Program Coordinator and
Wing Family Program Coordinators.

b. The EANGUS Executive Director will develop and implement a one (1)
page application form. All States will use this form, with no modifications

Eligible members will initiate the application for a grant or no interest
loan through their Wing or State Family Coordinator, State Command Sergeant
Major, State Command Chief Master Sergeant or Adjutant General. The application
must be accompanied by an endorsement letter from the Wing or State Family
Coordinator, State CSM, State CCM or Adjutant General. Applications without
an endorsement letter from one of the above will be returned with no action.
Requests for grants or no interest loans may be processed via regular mail
or facsimile. If facsimile requests are made, all “hard copy” documents will
be forwarded to the EANGUS National Office for proper record keeping prior
to the request being approved.

Upon receipt of the grant or no interest loan request (and supporting
documents), the EANGUS Executive Director will transmit the request via electronic
means to the committee members for voting. All voting will be electronically
returned to the EANGUS National Office. Three (3) affirmative responses are
required for approval. Upon receipt of the three affirmative responses, the
EANGUS Executive Director will issue and mail the check to the creditor or
business of designated applicant’s requested need. All billing statements
and or business points of contact and addresses must be included with the

Applications that are denied will be returned to applicant.

The EANGUS National Office goal is to respond to each request within three
(3) working days. No commitment should be made to eligible members pending
processing from the EANGUS Executive Director.

For further information about this program and the Enlisted Association
of the National Guard of the United States , go to or call
1-800-234-EANG (3264).

The EANGUS We Care for America Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation
and is an IRS 501(c) 3 charitable organization. The EANGUS WCFA Foundation
is a separate entity of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of
the United States (EANGUS), a not-for-profit IRS 501(c) 19 military and veterans

Eligible for Assistance
Not Eligible for Assistance
  1. Medical bills that are past
    due* because of mobilization
  2. Utility bills (gas, electric, heating oil, propane) that are
    past due* because of mobilization
  3. Rent or mortgage that is past due* because of mobilization
  4. Groceries (must include name of grocer and phone number to contact
  5. Shelter due to loss of residence because of disaster
  6. Funeral expenses

*Past due is defined as more than 30 days late.

  1. Telephone or Mobile Phone bills
  2. Credit Cards
  3. Insurance
  4. Auto/Vehicle Expense, lease or purchase
  5. School-associated fees
  6. Transportation

Fill out an application

Beware of Fraudulent Hurricane Katrina Relief Web Sites

The Internet Crime Complaint Center has issued an alert regarding fraudulent online solicitations for Hurricane Katrina Relief. As of midday Thursday, over 2,300 Web sites were soliciting relief donations. The FBI believes that most of these Web sites are fraudulent and that many are coming out of Europe. Responding to these sites exposes you to several risks. The first is identity theft, the second is your funds not going where you intended, and the third is getting a computer virus.

The best way to protect yourself from these dangers is to contact
a recognized agency directly. Otherwise, you may end up at a “duplicated” site — a
site that, while it appears to belong to a legitimate agency, is actually not
connected with that agency in any way. The Red Cross (
is currently the site most often being duplicated. Many people are getting
unsolicited e-mails that appear legitimate, but when they click on a link in
the e-mail, they are directed to a fraudulent duplicate Red Cross Web site.
To be safe, don’t follow any link sent to you in an unsolicited e-mail. If
you receive a spam e-mail seeking donations that you suspect is fraudulent,
please contact
For a related story from CNN, go to

Open Your Home to Military Families, Veterans, and Reservists Who Are Victims of Katrina

The Home Share Program

The Home Share program, sponsored by The
Military Family Network, allows you to register to provide
lodging in your home for members of the military community
who are victims of Hurricane Katrina.

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the link for the “Home Share” program.
  3. On the Forum page, click the “Home Share” item.
  4. Click on the attachment and open the form for “Home
  5. Fill out the form and email or fax it to the number shown on the form.

There is no obligation — you are
in full control of participation and any final choices.

Thanks for your assistance!

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Post-Deployment and Combat Stress

Treatment Available to Troops Suffering from Combat Stress
The military member who goes to combat and the one who comes back are never the same person, the Defense Department’s director of mental health policy said today. “No one comes back unchanged,” said Army Col. (Dr.) Tom Burke in an interview with the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service. more

Mental Health Pros Say Biggest Challenge in Treating Stress Is Getting Soldiers to Ask for Help
It’s a fight Army social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists have been waging since post-traumatic stress disorder came into the spotlight following the Vietnam War. more

Courage to Care” Launches Help for Returning Combatants, Families
“Courage to Care” is aimed at helping combatants reintegrate back into their families after surviving the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. In general, the campaign is geared toward the entire Defense Department community — active duty servicemembers and members of the National Guard and Reserve and their families, as well as the health and community providers who serve them. more

VA Makes Unusual Outreach Effort: Afghanistan, Iraq Vets Urged to Seek Psychological Help
More than 4,000 San Diego County veterans are being offered free medical care by the Department of Veterans Affairs under an unprecedented outreach effort to help them handle the psychological aftermath of Iraq and Afghanistan. The VA has sent letters to 10,860 veterans – including National Guardsmen and reservists – in Southern California alone urging them to seek medical services, including screenings for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and adjustment disorder, two conditions prevalent in combat vets. more

More Links on Combat Stress
For a list of articles on combat stress, go to and click on the News link at top. (If you are not a member of, you may be prompted to join in order to see the articles — subscription is free.) On the right side of the News page, type “combat stress” into the search field and click “Go.”

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Extended Deployment

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 Army Medical Center

Walter Reed Army Medical Center is admitting increasing numbers of wounded and ill service members. In response, it has issued new policies covering temporary lodging at the center.

Is a military family relief fund available in your state?

Here is a map showing the states that have established or are considering military family relief funds.

Keep Your Child’s Medical Records Straight

Do you need a simple way to maintain your child’s health care records? The Special Care Organizational Record (SCOR)
is a great resource and guide for organizing appointments and other important health care information.
Many families use SCOR to organize their thoughts and questions before a doctor’s appointment,
as a diary to write notes during the appointment and to keep all medical information in one place.
For more information on SCOR, please visit

Illinois Military Family Leave Act Lets Spouses, Parents of Deployed Service Members Take Time Off

Senate Bill 1627, sponsored by Sen. Carol Ronen (D-Chicago) and Rep. Jay C. Hoffman (D-Collinsville), creates the Family Military Leave Act. The new Act provides 15 to 30 days of leave time to the spouse or parents of a soldier who has been called to more than one month of active duty.

“My office heard from family members of numerous citizen soldiers called to active duty who had to quit their jobs or were fired simply because they needed extra time off during deployment,” Quinn said. “The Illinois Military Family Leave Act is fair to employers and shows compassion to military families.”

Quinn was joined by the families who testified on behalf of the Illinois Military Family Leave Act – Major John White and his wife, Lisa Stauff and Petty Officer 2nd Class Tom Gabriel and his wife, Karen Gabriel. Both Major White and Petty Officer 2nd Class Gabriel were deployed in Iraq with the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines.

This bill is the first of its’ kind in the country. With the signing of this legislation spouses and parents of deployed Guard and Reservist will not have to worry about taking needed additional time off from work as a result of their spouse being called to Active Duty.

Eric K. Schuller

Senior Policy Advisor
to Lt Governor Pat Quinn

100 W. Randolph,
Suite 15-200

Chicago, IL 60601-3220

312-814-3139 Voice

312-814-4862 Fax

815-341-9564 Cell

[email protected]

Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Coverage Increases September 1

The maximum level of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance coverage will be increased from $250,000 to $400,000 on September 1, 2005.

Anyone in military service on September 1, 2005, will have their coverage increased to $400,000, even if they previously declined or elected lesser coverage. If they still desire no coverage or less than the maximum, they will have to go to their Personnel Office and re-elect no coverage or less than the maximum.

Servicemembers can only elect coverage in increments of $50,000. Previously, members could elect coverage in increments of $10,000.

The SGLI coverage amounts available will be:

  • $50,000–$250,000
  • $100,000–$300,000
  • $150,000–$350,000
  • $200,000–$400,000

Members in the VGLI Program before September 1, 2005 will not be affected. However, all separating servicemembers covered under SGLI on or after September 1, in an amount greater than $250,000 will be able to convert to VGLI at the new higher level.

The premium rates for SGLI coverage will remain the same. Currently, the rate is 6.5 cents per $1,000 per month, or $16.25 per month for $250,000. Therefore, if a member elects the new maximum coverage of $400,000, they will pay $26.00 per month.

SGLI members serving in areas or operations designated by the Secretary of Defense as combat operations or zones of combat will have the premiums for $150,000 of coverage paid for by the Department of Defense. This is only while they are serving in designated areas or operations. Once they are no longer serving in such an area they will once again have to pay the premiums themselves.

The Department of Defense will be paying a death gratuity of $150,000 for deaths that occurred in specified combat conditions on or after October 7, 2001 but before September 1, 2005 or were incurred in the theater of operations of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. This gratuity is in addition to the existing Department of Defense death gratuity that is increasing from $12,420 to $100,000 for the same group of servicemembers.

“Wounded Warrior” Amendment on Its Way to President

House and Senate negotiators have agreed to legislation that will benefit traumatically injured military personnel. The “wounded warrior” amendment, sponsored by Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho), is part of an $82.04 billion package now on its way to the president. Military members traumatically injured would receive from $25,000 to $100,000 for injuries. In addition to the “Wounded Warrior” benefits, the new legislation on its way the president authorizes the Department of Defense to increase to $500,000 the amount that can be paid to surviving families of deceased servicemen.

Pentagon To Extend Health Coverage For Reserve Troops

by the Associated Press

WASHINGTON, March 24 (AP) – The more than 400,000 members of the National Guard and Reserve mobilized since the Sept. 11 attacks will be offered military health coverage for up to eight years after returning to civilian life, officials said Thursday.

Eligibility will be limited to personnel remaining in the Reserve after demobilization, said Thomas F. Hall, assistant defense secretary for reserve affairs.
Mr. Hall said that in discussing health plans with more than 2,000 members of the Guard and Reserve in the Persian Gulf recently, he heard enthusiasm for such transitional insurance. “It targets the young men and women bearing the brunt today,” Mr. Hall said.
Guard and Reserve members can now retain health coverage under the Tricare system up to six months after active duty. Under the new arrangement they could retain coverage for at least a year and as long as eight, depending on the length of their mobilization and their commitment to remain in the Guard or Reserve. They would pay monthly premiums of $50 to $150 for individual coverage, depending on rank, and $100 to $300 for family coverage, depending on rank.

Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant defense secretary for health affairs, said at a news conference with Mr. Hall that he had no firm estimate of the cost of the program.
Later, the Pentagon issued a statement saying that the cost would be $70 million for the remainder of the budget year, which ends on Sept. 30, and $394 million for the 2006 budget year. Mr. Hall said he expected a majority of the eligible troops to resume health care coverage offered by their civilian employers.
Dr. Winkenwerder said the Pentagon had no firm forecast of how many people might use the benefit. “It’s going to be many thousand to tens of thousands, we would expect, at a minimum,” he said.

“Gray Area” Retired Reservists Eligible for Dental Program

Since 1998, eligibility for the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program extends to all retirees of the Reserve and Guard and their family members, including “gray area” retired reservists who are entitled to retired pay but will not begin receiving it until age 60. Many of these retirees do not realize they are eligible.

Premiums for the TRDP are regionally based on the primary enrollee’s residence ZIP code and, under federal law, must be deducted automatically from retired pay through one of six discretionary allotments.

However, “gray area” retired reservists who are younger than age 60 and who enroll in the program are naturally exempt from the mandatory government deduction, so alternative payment arrangements such as direct billing will be made.

Enrollees can choose any licensed dentist within the TRDP service area, which includes all 50 states, or can select from a network of more than 80,000 dentist locations nationwide. For more information, go online to, or phone the contract administrator, Delta Dental of California, at (888) 838-8737 for an enrollment packet.

VFW’s Military Assistance Program to Ease Holiday Lodging Woes for Families of War-Wounded Veterans of Foreign Wars

Because demand is exceeding availability at the Fisher and Malone houses in the Capitol Region, two hotels in Washington, D.C., are assisting the Veterans of Foreign Wars in arranging no-cost lodging during the holiday season for the families of wounded servicemembers being treated at Walter Reed Army Hospital and National Naval Medical Center [Bethesda].

The Westin Embassy Roe (2100 Massachusetts Ave), the Westin Grand Hotel (2350 M St.) and the VFW will provide up to a four-night stay per military family on a space-available basis from December 15 to January 15.

To qualify, family members must first check for vacancies at area Fisher and Malone Houses. If lodging is not available, family members can be issued a VFW hotel voucher from either Walter Reed’s Medical Family Assistance Agency (MFAA) or the USMC liaison office at Bethesda. Metro passes are available through both offices for families without any means of transportation.

“Thanks to Starwood Corporation’s discounted rates, military families will be able to spend the holidays with their hospitalized sons and daughters,” said John Senk, VFW adjutant general. “This noble gesture speaks volumes about Starwood’s goodwill, generosity and enthusiastic support of our military men and women and their families.”

Last year, Starwood was named the “World’s Leading Hotel Group” at the World Travel Awards and was again designated as the “World’s Best Global Hotel Company” by Global Finance magazine. For more information, call the MAP office at (816) 756-3390, ext. 211; fax: (816) 968-1149 or e-mail: [email protected].

U.S. Army Medical Holdover (MHO) program

This memo explains how the U.S. Army’s Medical Holdover (MHO) program is working and the how the Army is providing innovative medical care for Soldiers.

Act Authorizes, Extends, Adds Medical Benefits for Guard, Reserve
By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 2004 — The 2005 National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law Oct. 28, contains new medical benefits for activated reservists and National Guardsmen and extends some other benefits that had been enacted temporarily.

Medical benefits for guardsmen and reservists who are called to active duty change significantly under provisions in this year’s authorization act, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs Thomas Hall said today.

During an interview with the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service, Hall explained that DoD is committed to providing quality medical care for reserve component troops and their families before, during and after deployments.

Recent changes make reserve component members and their families eligible for medical care up to 90 days before a deployment. A major change in the new act provides for considerably extended coverage after deployment as well. Activated reserve-component servicemembers are now eligible for one year of Tricare Standard coverage for each 90 days of active duty service. Members pay 28 percent of the cost for care and agree to stay in the Selected Reserve for their entire period of coverage, Hall said.

“We want to take care of guardsmen and reservists and their families prior to mobilization — which we do for 90 days, he said. “We want to take care of them while they’re mobilized by extending these benefits, and we want to take care of them for a period of time after they come off of active duty.”

Previously enacted temporary benefits — including 180 days of transitional health care for activated reservists, waiver of Tricare deductibles for those called to active duty for more than 30 days, and payment of up to 115 percent of Tricare maximum allowable charges — became permanent under the new act as well.

The act also addresses medical readiness of reservists and guardsmen. It provides for a review of medical and dental readiness of reservists and guardsmen called to active duty.

“Our medical and dental readiness for guardsmen and reservists has been OK, but it has not been as good as what it needed to be,” Hall said. “We need to ensure that not only is the health of our guardsmen and reservists what it should be, but (also that) they’re medically ready to go when we call them.”

One possibility is changing the frequency reserve component members are required to take physical exams. Currently, active and reserve members must get a physical every five years. Hall explained this might not be adequate for reserve component members, who they have much less exposure to military medical professionals than their active counterparts.

Active troops may only be required to have a physical every five years, he said, but every time they’re sick or injured they’re having their medical readiness considered by military medical professionals. That’s not the case for reservists, who spend much more of their time in civilian life.

“The real question is how do we do medical screening for guardsmen and reservists, how do we do dental screening, and is it producing the results we need that we see from people that are mobilizing?” Hall said. “And if the answer is no, then we probably need to put some resources (toward the issue), and we need to change the way in which we screen (servicemembers) medically.”

Notice Extending Deadline for TRICARE Demonstration Project

The Department of Defense has published a notice in the Federal Register to extend the TRICARE Reserve Family Demonstration Project until Oct. 31, 2005. The demonstration project was originally scheduled to end October 31, 2004. The continued deployment of approximately 160,000 troops in support of Noble Eagle/Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom in FY 2004 and FY 2005 warrants the continuation of the demonstration to support the health care needs and morale of family members of activated Reservists and Guardsmen. The impact if the demonstration is not extended includes higher out-of-pocket costs and potential inability to continue to use the same provider for ongoing care.

Federal Register notice:

GAO Down on Lower Reserve Retirement Age

Biloxi Sun Herald, Saturday, September 25, 2004

With numerous bills before Congress to drop the reserve retirement age to 55 or younger, lawmakers in 2002 directed GAO to review reserve retirement, assess the need for change, and weigh the costs of granting annuities earlier against the benefits of retaining more reservists.

The report, released this month, concludes that the Department of Defense doesn’t collect attrition data in a way to determine whether the services are keeping enough reserve and National Guard members for 20 years or more. DoD also lacks data to show whether offering earlier annuities would even improve personnel retention rates.

Yet the report gives five reasons for Congress to move cautiously, or perhaps not at all, to change reserve retirement. They are:


The retirement fund expense to lower the age at which reserve annuities start would range from a low of more than $5 billion over 10 years to a high of more than $34 billion. The totals include the cost of providing, at age 55 or earlier, both annuities and health benefits.

Too few gain

Because only one of four reservists serves long enough to retire, a change in law to start annuities earlier won’t benefit most reservists who served or are now deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

On the other hand, it would raise the value of retirement for many reservists who might not ever deploy in the war on terrorism.

Better alternatives

The services have more efficient ways to raise compensation of deployed reservists. They include hazardous duty pay, family separation allowances and a new, still unused special allowance for military personnel who endure frequent or long deployments.

Rebalancing skills

The Department of Defense is shifting skills previously concentrated in the Reserve and National Guard to active duty forces. This should relieve operational stress on high-demand reserve occupations and soften the argument for changing reserve retirement.

Unintended effects

Changing reserve retirement could have unintended negative consequences for keeping active duty forces. For example, says GAO, if reserve retirement is changed to provide immediate annuities after 20 years of service, some personnel who planned to remain on active duty until retirement might leave and serve their remaining time in a reserve component.

Rep. Jim Saxton (R-N.J.) introduced HR 742, the most popular reserve retirement bill now on Capitol Hill. It would lower the age threshold to 55. So far, it has 190 co-sponsors, a balance of Republicans and Democrats.

The GAO report, Saxton said in a phone interview, hasn’t shaken his support for the bill. In fact, he is encouraged that GAO’s 10-year cost estimate for his bill is $13.6 billion, lower than the $16 billion estimate from the Congressional Budget Office or $19 billion from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. OMB, Saxton confirmed, opposes the bill.

The notion that most deployed reservists won’t benefit “may or may not, be true,” said Saxton. But what’s clear, he said, “is that we have come to rely on Reserve and National Guard personnel more than ever. Therefore, we need to try to make policy that will encourage people to join and stay.

”Almost every reservist he has talked to views the bill as a timely benefit boost, a deserved narrowing of the difference in value between reserve and active duty retirement.

Saxton predicts this bill, or some less expensive alternative, will be approved as early as next year. More and more lawmakers are learning, he said, “that reserve component personnel are the greatest personnel bargain we have in the military.

”No reserve retirement changes made it into either the House or Senate version of the 2005 defense authorization bill, now in final negotiations.

To qualify for an annuity at age 60, reservists must have at least 20 years of creditable service, which means a minimum of 50 retirement points earned each year from monthly drills, yearly training or mobilization. The more points earned, the higher the annuity.

In fiscal 1992, reservists earned an average 64 retirement points. By fiscal 2001, that average was up to 138. Despite a higher pace of deployments, GAO said, reserve retention rates have remained relatively stable since 1991, the first Persian Gulf War.

In a small nod to advocates for change, GAO noted that the age-60 threshold was set in 1948 when federal civilian employees had to work until 60 to qualify for retirement.

In 1967, the minimum federal civilian retirement age was lowered to 55 for employees with 30 or more years of federal service.

Early Identification of TRICARE Benefits for Mobilizing Guard and Reserve Members
There is still a great deal of confusion concerning Early Identification of TRICARE Benefits for mobilizing Guard and Reserve members. The best source of information can be found at

If military members have civilian health care coverage for themselves and/or their family members, they ARE STILL ELIGIBLE FOR E.I.D. They should not automatically cancel civilian health care coverage when activated. They may not be protected under USERRA. They should ensure they understand what TRICARE will cover and the full impact to health care coverage if for some reason they are not medically fit to mobilize or deploy or if they are not continued on active duty for some other reason. For more information contact the Director, Individual & Family Support Policy Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs at (703) 693-7487//dsn223-7487 or e-mail [email protected]

The following WEB site can be used to verify the soldier’s early eligibility for benefits.

Free Access to TRICARE Fundamentals Online Course
Beginning August 3, 2004, anyone with a “dot mil” e-mail address will have free access to the TRICARE University’s Fundamentals curriculum. Individuals who are unable to participate in the classroom version due to the limited human, financial or other resource of their organization will find the redesigned online course a convenient alternative. Once registered, students will have 90 days to complete the online course. A certificate will be awarded for completion of the TRICARE Web-based course, which is equivalent to the classroom course of the same name.

Some topics covered include TRICARE eligibility, enrollment, benefits, operational elements and customer service. The only prerequisite is a familiarity with the Internet and Web technologies. Much like the classroom version, the online course will be supported by a real-time person who is standing by to answer any questions through e-mail response. For up-to-date information about courses and resources, please visit the TRICARE University’s Website at

Get the full story:

Health Benefits for Military Families Aren’t ‘Automatic’
Department of Defense TRICARE officials are working to inform military families that non-active duty beneficiaries must enroll in the health care system before they see a doctor. Active-duty service members are automatically registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). However, this isn’t the case with family members, who must personally ensure they are properly enrolled in DEERS to be eligible for TRICARE benefits. This is a step many families forget each time they transfer or travel. Not keeping DEERS information current, though, can create extra time in the waiting room or costly out-of-pocket expenses.

Get the full story: To find the closest facility, search by ZIP Code at

TRICARE Covers College Students
According to the Fleet Reserve Association, military families with college students are reminded that their children are eligible for TRICARE coverage.

Military dependents who are full-time students can be covered under the military health care system up to age 23. While all eligible students are covered until age 21, TRICARE coverage can be extended until students turn 23 or graduate, whichever comes first. Students over 21 years of age must be enrolled full-time at an accredited institution and have more than 50 percent of their financial support provided by their sponsors. If a physician in the area of the dependent’s college or university accepts the TRICARE prime insurance plan, which has the lowest out-of-pocket costs, a student still may be able to enroll in that option. Without such a network provider, the student would have to enroll in TRICARE standard which offers the widest array of provider choices among TRICARE options but its deductibles and co-payments cost individuals more. The TRICARE standard plan normally pays for 80 percent of covered charges and levies deductibles of $300 per family E-5 and above and $100 per family E-4 and below.

Get the full story:,13302,Education_Tricare,00.html. Visit for more information.

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.

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 community.

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 providers.

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 issues.

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 advocate.

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.

For more information, visit the DS3 Web page.

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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
This 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 more.

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Youth Program

Moving Forward Together: The National Guard Child and Youth Program
by Kathy Goedde, Program Manager

If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.
—Henry Ford

History: The National Guard Youth Program began with the advent of the annual Youth Symposium held in Washington, DC, in August 2001.
During that event and following Youth Symposiums held in Des Moines, San Diego,
and Albuquerque, National Guard teens from most states and territories participated in team building, life skill education, leadership training, and creating solutions for the unique issues they face as children of National Guard service members.
At each Symposium, these young people expressed the need for designated National and State positions to facilitate the creation of programs for children and youth. During 2002, several states moved in that direction with the help of volunteer youth coordinators. Eventually, funding was made available to hire professionals for these positions. However, there still remained a need for the structure, consistency, and advocacy of a National Program Manager. As of January 2005, 19 state-appointed youth coordinators, either paid or volunteer, were in the process of building child and youth programs. The National Program Manager was hired as well as seven Regional Youth Coordinators. The National Guard Child and Youth Program was officially established.

Current: Over the past 120 days, several activities have enabled states to move forward with their child and youth programs. First, the Program Manager had the opportunity to address all State Family Program Directors and Wing Family Program Coordinators at a training conference in Kansas City, MO, 20-25 February 2005. The vision for the program was introduced and questions/concerns addressed. Second, the seven Regional Youth Coordinators began making visits to their states. These visits have been instrumental in promoting the necessity of a child and youth program, highlighting the outstanding work that is already being accomplished, and giving voice to the concerns and issues states express. Because of these efforts, the National Program now boasts 39 states with paid Youth Coordinators, with several more in the process of hiring for those positions. The goal is 54.

Future: The most significant step a state can make in this process is the hiring of a child and youth-centered individual who has a passion for meeting the needs of these children. Guidance, resources, and funding are being provided at the national level. With these resources and personnel in place, this program has no choice but to thrive. The saying, “Retain the soldier, sustain the family” holds true. We have no choice but to meet the needs of the people whose well-being is at the very heart of a soldier’s readiness and a mission’s success. We can settle for no less than 100% participation and dedication from each state.

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Commissary Benefit and Sales Information

NEWS RELEASE: 04-043  June 1, 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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Personnel-in-Distress Guides Published

The Air Force Suicide Prevention Program has announced that a guide is now available to explain how to be a good wingman. The Leader’s Guide for Managing personnel in Distress is a tool that helps commanders, first sergeants, and supervisors recognize distress-related behaviors and assist Airmen who demonstrate distress symptoms. The guide encompasses not only behaviors associated with distress – like suicidal thoughts, depression, domestic violence and substance abuse – but also significant life challenges including financial or legal problems, and relationship difficulties. Overall, the guide covers 35 stress-related topics and provides checklists and recommended actions.
An online copy of the guide is available at

Supplemental Health Assessment Begins

Beginning in December, the Air Force will require all Airmen returning from deployments to complete a post-deployment health reassessment. The reassessment needs to be completed between 90 and 180 days after returning home from a deployment. The PDHRA complements the post-deployment health assessment, which Airmen complete at the end of their deployments. 90 days after returning from overseas, their unit deployment manager will send Airmen a link to a Web-based version of the form. The results of an Airman’s PDHRA will be sent to his or her medical treatment facility for review. At the Airman’s request, or as the result of a determination made by someone reviewing their assessment, an Airman may be called in to discuss potential health concerns with a medical professional. The PDHRA gathers information from Airmen about their current health status with questions similar to what might be filled out when visiting a doctor’s office. For instance, the assessment provides a list of symptoms Airmen can select. There are also questions about injuries or wounds sustained during deployment and potential exposure to environmental hazards. The assessment also asks questions about an Airman’s interaction with his or her family, use of alcohol, and experiences while on deployment. The PDHRA is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional; it is another opportunity for Airmen to let the Air Force know about their health status. And it is another opportunity to catch something serious before it can escalate. The paper version of the PDHRA can be found at:

Help For Troops Calling Home

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) partners with AT&T to deliver call centers designed with specific military requirements in mind to give deployed troops affordable, reliable and dependable communications. Six air conditioned AT&T phone centers in Iraq recently underwent a major renovation to make them even more comfortable for troops to connect from the front lines to the home front. There are currently 48 phone centers in Iraq with more than 1,200 telephones. Each phone center contains 12, 24 or 48 phones. In Iraq alone, total phone minute usage average was 324 minutes per phone per day for the month of October, with the total minute usage in Iraq reaching 11.6 million minutes. In addition to the six refurbished phone centers already operational, AAFES plans to upgrade three more by the end of the year. Any American, even non-authorized exchange customers, can also help troops make a phone call at any of the 70 phone centers in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan through AAFES’ “Help Our Troops Call Home” initiative. This troop support effort makes it easy to send a Military Exchange Global Prepaid Phone Card to U.S. service members around the world. For more information on purchasing a card, visit

Free SAT/ACT Software for Military Families

A group of NFL, NFL Europe, AFL and CFL football players is donating several million dollars worth of SAT and ACT test prep programs valued at $199 each to families in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard for the school year 2005-2006. Through this sponsorship, active duty, National Guard, Reserve, and retired military personnel can obtain eKnowledge’s $199 SAT/ACT Standard Power Prep program(s) and the $199 fee is waived. Families who request the program(s) pay only shipping & handling costs associated with the request. Servicemembers may request as many programs as they need for the students in their lives. The DoD has created a secure website through its Military Homefront site to quickly verify a person’s military status before linking them to the software ordering site. To access the site, visit the Military Homefront website at,46096&_dad=itc&_schema=PORTAL&current_id=

Children of Deployed Servicemembers Eligible for a
Free Summer Camp Experience

Nationwide Registration for Operation Purple Summer Camps Begins April 15

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 7 – The National Military Family Association (NMFA) and Sears, Roebuck and Co. today announced the sites for the 2005 Operation Purple Summer Camps. The camps provide unique experiences to more than 2,000 children whose parents are deployed with the U.S. Armed Forces. The 22 Operation Purple Camps provide children from U.S. military families with fun and memorable opportunities to learn new skills for coping with deployment-related stress. The camps are funded through the Sears American Dream Campaign, a $100 million commitment to strengthen families, homes and communities.

Operation Purple is the only summer camp program that focuses on helping kids deal with deployment-related issues and is open to children of personnel from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces (“purple” is a military term representing inclusion of all branches). Applications for the camps will be available April 15 through May 15 on the NMFA web site at Sears, Roebuck’s funding enables children to attend the camps at no charge.

NMFA developed Operation Purple camps last year in response to the need for increased support services benefiting children of men and women serving in the Armed Forces, especially those whose parents are or will be deployed. With funding from Sears, Roebuck in 2004, NMFA conducted 12 camps reaching nearly 1,000 young people. This year, the program has expanded to host more than 2,000 kids. NMFA estimates that more than 135,000 children are experiencing the absence of a parent due to a deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. This statistic does not include children who have parents deployed elsewhere around the world.

“Operation Purple Summer Camps fulfill a critical need in the military community,” says Candace Wheeler, Chief Executive Officer of NMFA. “We have been overwhelmed by the messages of support and gratitude we’ve received from children, parents, the Department of Defense, the National Guard Bureau and Members of Congress. We are thrilled to be able to expand the program this year.”

“Sears prides itself on serving the needs of homes and families, and our affiliation with the NMFA provides advocacy programs for the families of men and women actively serving in our armed forces,” said Alan J. Lacy, vice chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings Corporation. “Our support of the summer camps enables a fabulous developmental experience for thousands of children and enriches the lives of their families.”

One in four American children will grow up to serve in the military or marry a servicemember, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center, making an investment in today’s military kids important for positively affecting tomorrow’s military community.

Operation Purple Camp Details

The camps, which last from five to seven days, give kids ages eight to 18 an exciting and memorable camp experience, providing tools to help them deal with the stress resulting from a parent’s deployment. Each camp is joint and “purple” -encompassing all service branches, including the National Guard and Reserve -and offered free of charge to all participants.

Interested children from military families are encouraged to apply for the camp located nearest their home. More than 30 weeks of Operation Purple camps are offered in 18 states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah), three international locations (Germany, Italy and Japan) and one unincorporated U.S. territory (Guam). A list of camp dates, sites and other information is now available on NMFA’s web site. Applications will be available on April 15.

About NMFA

The National Military Family Association, a nonprofit organization, is the only national organization whose sole focus is the military family and whose goal is to influence the development and implementation of policies that will improve the lives of those family members. The association’s mission is to serve the families of the seven uniformed services through education, information and advocacy. For more than 35 years its staff and volunteers, comprised mostly of military family members, have built a reputation for being the leading experts on military family issues.

About Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Sears, Roebuck has a long tradition of support for the men and women of the armed forces and their families dating back to 1916. Today, for qualified Sears, Roebuck employees activated for duty through the National Guard or Reserves, the company pays the difference between the soldiers’ Sears, Roebuck salary and military pay and offers extended employment benefits for up to 60 months. Since 2003, Sears, Roebuck has provided NMFA with more than $2 million to address the unique challenges faced by military families.

Sears, Roebuck and Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD), is a leading broadline retailer providing merchandise and related services. Sears, Roebuck offers its wide range of home merchandise, apparel and automotive products and services through more than 2,400 Sears-branded and affiliated stores in the United States and Canada, which includes approximately 870 full-line and 1,100 specialty stores in the U.S. Sears, Roebuck also offers a variety of merchandise and services through,, and specialty catalogs. Sears, Roebuck offers consumers leading proprietary brands including Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard and Lands’ End -among the most trusted and preferred brands in the U.S. The company is the nation’s largest provider of home services, with more than 14 million service calls made annually. For more information, visit the Sears, Roebuck website at or the Sears Holdings Corporation website at

Army Raises Maximum Age for Recruits

The Army has announced a three-year test program to evaluate raising the reserve-component non-prior-service maximum enlistment age from less than 35 years of age to less than 40 years of age. The program will evaluate the feasibility of a permanent change to the enlistment policy for the Army reserve components. The test will begin immediately and continue through Sept. 30, 2008. All applicants must meet the same eligibility standards, to include passing the same physical standards and medical examination. The older recruits will be eligible for the same enlistment bonuses and other incentives as younger volunteers, according to the announcement. Those with prior service experience interested in reserves duty remain under existing rules.

Guard Family Action Plan Web Site Kicks Off

The Guard Family Action Plan (GFAP) Web site ( is now operational! The GFAP is designed to improve programs, benefits, and entitlements for families within the National Guard community. The GFAP is a standardized management tool that allows for the monitoring of the process by which issues are gathered, submitted, and resolved. Ultimately, the GFAP will increase family self-reliance and thereby promote individual, family, and unit readiness and well-being.

Unresolved Pay Issues: Who to Call

When you have an unresolved pay issue, contact Army National Guard Financial Services (NGB-ARC-F) by one of these two methods:

1. Call the toll-free hotline at 1-877-ARNGPAY

2. E-mail the NGB-ARC-F at [email protected].

Scholarship Opportunity Available to Military Spouses

Source: National Military Family Association

Contact: Kathleen Burke

ALEXANDRIA, VA, January 13, 2004. — The National Military Family Association (NMFA) is excited to announce that applications are now being accepted for the NMFA’s Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship Program. The scholarships are awarded to Uniformed Services spouses (active, retired, reserve, guard or survivor) to obtain professional certification or to attend post-secondary or graduate school for an academic year.

Scholarships are normally in the amount of $1,000.00. The scholarship funds may be used to assist with tuition, fees, books, and school room and board, so long as the funds are paid directly to the educational institution involved. The 2005 Awards were made possible through a donation from General Dynamics and several individual donors. Applications are only accepted online and are due on March 31, 2005. NMFA recognizes that the military lifestyle presents unique challenges to military spouses. Frequent moves can interfere with military spouses’ ability to complete their post-secondary education, thus negatively impacting their professional development and long-term career progression. NMFA’s military spouse scholarship program is one step toward helping military spouses gain the education that they need to reach their full career potential.

About NMFA

The National Military Family Association is the only national organization whose sole focus is the military family and whose goal is to influence the development and implementation of policies that will improve the lives of those family members. The Association’s mission is to serve the families of the seven uniformed services through education, information and advocacy. For more than 35 years, its staff and volunteers, comprised mostly of military family members, have built a reputation for being the leading experts on military family issues.

Passenger Screening Checkpoint Access Guidelines

Below are guidelines that should be followed in accordance with Security Directive 1544-01-10w.

Access to Sterile Concourse for Non-Traveling Individuals

The following non-traveling individuals may be given a pass to access the sterile concourse via the security checkpoint. No procedures have changed. All individuals requesting an escort pass or RCC pass must be cleared through the Security Department.

  • “Unaccompanied Minor” – We may issue a pass to an individual escorting a minor to the gate. The TSA does not have an age cutoff for minors, so we ask you to use your best judgment in handling each request. Please remember: Do not charge the UMNR fee to parents/guardians who have decline the UA UMNR service but wish to accompany the young person to/from the gate. The fee is only charged when the UA UMNR service is provided.
  • “Military Passenger” – Family members may be given a pass:
    1. To escort a military passenger to the gate.
    2. To meet a military passenger’s inbound arrival at the gate.
  • “Elderly/Disabled Passenger” – We may issue a pass for an individual to escort an elderly passenger or disabled passenger to a departure gate.
  • “Red Carpet Club” – Members or guest of members of the Red Carpet Club who plan to use the RCC for business purposes may be given a pass to access the concourse.

The clearance process is programmatic through issuance of automated security access documents. Access authority card is requested through Fastair and at the same time the name is matched against the TSA watchlist. The card is printed for individuals who are are cleared. When there is a name match, card issuance is inhibited and a prompt appears to call Operational Security at U700-1151 or 1-847-700-1151.

Guard Family Team Building Web Site

The Guard Family Team Building Web site ( is now live! GFTB is a specially designed education and training program for and about the National Guard community.

Program modules cover a wide variety of topics most often requested by families and National Guard leadership. It is modeled on the successful “Army Family Team Building” program and still tied to it through funding and guidance at the Department of the Army level. However, GFTB has been specifically developed to educate and empower those within the National Guard Community.

Secretary Harvey: Soldiers, Family Members Top Priority
by Sgt. 1st Class Tammy M. Jarrett

WASHINGTON (Army News Service Jan. 3, 2005): With less than six weeks on the job, the new secretary of the Army, Dr. Francis J. Harvey, said that providing for the well-being of Soldiers and their families is his most important priority as the Army’s top official. During an interview Dec 16, Dr. Harvey shared the seven priorities that will serve as the framework for all his responsibilities as 19th secretary of the Army.

“As the chief [Gen. Peter Schoomaker, Army Chief of Staff] likes to say, the Soldiers are the centerpiece of our formations, so nothing can be more important than a Soldier; nothing can be more important than the family,” Harvey said. “I will put a lot of focus on their well-being throughout my tenure.”

Harvey said that providing the best quality of life for Soldiers and their families is very important, and he fully supports the two major quality-of-life initiatives (the residential communities initiative and the barracks modernization program), which are closing the gap on inadequate housing for service members. The RCI program involves privatizing about 85,000 family housing units on 45 Army installations, and the BMP involves providing new or upgraded barracks with more space, privacy and furnishing for single Soldiers Army-wide.

“They deserve it,” Harvey said. “They should live just like the rest of America lives, because they’re defending our country. So I am focused and committed to doing that. That’s where the rubber meets the road in terms of that priority.” The secretary’s second priority is providing the land forces to win the Global War on Terrorism. He said this includes recruiting and retention, in which the Army has met its goal for the past five years. “That’s a nice record we should be proud of, but that’s just a record,” he said. “We have to look forward, and we have to have the same performance in the future. The Army also must place more emphasis on training and readiness to ensure deployed forces are fully capable.”

Harvey’s third priority is transforming the Army. He said this is done in two parts — the way the Army fights and the way it does business. Although there has been a lot of progress made in modularity, force stabilization, and rebalancing the force, Harvey said there is still a lot to do on the business side. “I think we’re just beginning that [business transformation],” he said. “There’s been a lot of good thought given. Now we’ve got to get action, ask the tough questions. If you have some type of repair operation, what is world-class performance? Where are you relative to that world-class performance? Where’s your plan to get you to world-class performance? We have to start asking the tough questions in the business side.”

Harvey said this is very important because it can free resources up — for modularity, for example.”If we can get the resources from the business side, we can accelerate modularity — a detailed plan, but this just helps us do it quicker, and to develop this more capable force,” said Harvey. “It also gives the secretary more flexibility for other priorities. If we can drive down the cost of our business operations, that gives me more flexibility and if there are shortfalls in the future, then I can have that flexibility for quality of life, I can now apply it to those higher priorities, the people priorities.”

Harvey said that the secretary’s priorities also include developing leaders for today and tomorrow, executing major acquisition programs, and what he calls partnerships and relationships. “It starts with, like they say around here, a no-daylight relationship with the chief,” Harvey said. “It also includes a very productive relationship with the Secretary of Defense and his staff, productive relationships with Congress, with industry and the retired community.”

Harvey said his seven priorities are comprehensive, and that they guide his actions and give him focus — but not without some challenges.The two major challenges are 1) to win the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and 2) to transform the Army in a way that will make us a more capable organization in the future, both from a war-fighting and a business perspective. Harvey has extensive business experience, having worked more than 30 years with corporations doing business with the federal government on programs from undersea to outer space. He said he has been involved in various phases of 20 to 25 major acquisition programs across the entire spectrum of DoD systems, from submarines to tanks to fighter aircraft to helicopters to outer space. He was also a White House Fellow in the Department of Defense in the late 1970s, on the Army Science Board from 1998 to 2001 and was involved in the initial studies that led to what’s today called the Future Combat Systems Program. Whether it’s managing a large organization or deploying and developing systems and technology, Harvey said he has developed a management philosophy over the years: people are the single most important part of any organization. “The Army is a people organization and I’m very comfortable leading and managing and changing a people organization,” he said. “I’ve done it basically all my corporate career.”

Harvey said he is and will continue fighting for the Soldiers as they continue the GWOT. “They can rest assured that I’ll be back here getting the resources that are needed for quality of life for themselves and their families and their well-being,” said Harvey. He also said he would ensure that Soldiers have the right equipment and the right training to provide the force protection and lethality so important to the future of our country as well as the rest of the world.

Privacy Law Used to Withhold Casualty Information

A federal law that prohibits hospitals and other health care providers from releasing information about a patient without consent from the patient or next of kin has led to restrictions on release of information about soldiers injured in Iraq. Army spokesman Jaime Cavazos said soldiers have the same privacy rights as civilians under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA. 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.

June 29 2004

Retroactive Reimbursement for R&R Leave Participants Approved

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:

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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:

Naturalization Information for Military Personnel

Recent changes in the relevant sections of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) make it easier for qualified military personnel to become U.S. citizens if they choose to file a naturalization application.

In addition, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has created a streamlined process specifically for military personnel serving in active-duty status or recently discharged.

A pdf brochure provides some basic information on laws that govern citizenship for military personnel and the process you should follow to begin your journey to citizenship .

More information can be found on the USCIS website at:

TEGL 16-03, Change 1: Guidance for States on NEG Funds for Assistance for National Guard and Military Reserve Personnel Returning from Deployment

The Labor Department today released guidance for states advising them that National Emergency Grant (NEG) funds are available to provide employment assistance for National Guard and Military Reserve personnel returning from deployment in Iraq, Afghanistan or other locations.

“We want to ensure that Americans returning from active duty are able to complete training they may have begun before their overseas assignments,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. “This guidance letter will let state workforce agencies know how to access funds to serve these men and women who have made a brave and selfless contribution to our country’s security.”

According to Training and Employment Guidance Letter 16-03, Change 1, National Emergency Grants will be available for unemployed trade-certified returning military to begin training or continue a training program that was not completed. Workers whose dislocation was not due to trade but whose training was interrupted due to deployment are also eligible for NEG funds. A state may request the NEG if Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) or Workforce Investment Act (WIA) formula funds are insufficient.

State NEG applications for returning military may include a request for income support, to which trade-certified workers are entitled while enrolled in training. These funds can be used for returning military certified for TAA even if the eligibility time period for income support has run out. Income support may also be requested for returning military personnel dislocated for reasons other than trade even if income support is not provided in a local area’s dislocated worker program.

Spouses of returning members of the National Guard or Reserves and widows of military personnel who lost their lives in Iraq, Afghanistan or other locations may also be included in these special NEG applications.

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Postal/Mailing Information

DoD Announces Recommended Holiday Mail Dates

The Department of Defense announced today the recommended mailing dates for ensuring that your holiday cards and packages for service members arrive overseas in time for the holiday season.

“To ensure delivery … to military APO/FPO addresses overseas and to international addresses, we suggest mail be sent by the recommended dates provided by the U.S. Postal Service,” said Mark DeDomenic, the assistant deputy director and chief of operations for the Military Postal Service
Agency (MPSA) in Washington, D.C. “Beat the last minute rush by bringing your mail to your post office by these suggested dates.”

Military Mail Addressed To:

  • First Class Mail Letters/Cards
  • Priority Mail
  • Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL) 1
  • Space Available Mail (SAM) 2
  • Parcel Post(r)
APO/FPO AE ZIPs 090-092
APO/FPO AE ZIPs 094-098
APO/FPO AP ZIPs 962-966
Nov 13, 27
Dec 4, 11
APO/FPO AE ZIPs 093 Nov 13, 27
Dec 4, 6

1 PAL: A special service providing air transportation for parcels on a space-available basis, PAL is available for Parcel Post(r) not exceeding 30 lbs. in weight or 60 inches in length and girth combined. The applicable PAL fee must be paid in addition to the regular surface rate of postage for each addressed piece sent by PAL service.

2 SAM: Parcels paid at Parcel Post(r) postage rates are first transported domestically by surface and then to overseas destinations by air on a space-available basis. The maximum weight and size limits are 15 lbs. and 60 inches in length and girth combined.

International Mail Addressed To:

  • Global Express Guaranteed
  • Global Express Mail
  • Global Airmail Letters & Cards
  • Global Airmail Parcel Post
  • Global Economy (Surface)
Africa Oct 14
Dec 6, 11, 20
Asia / Pacific Rim
Australia / New Zealand
Oct 28
Dec 13, 17, 20
Canada Nov 19
Dec 13, 18, 21
Nov 5
Dec 13, 17, 20
Central & South America Oct 29
Dec 6, 11, 20
Europe Nov 5
Dec 10, 11, 13, 20
Middle East Oct 21
Dec 13, 17, 20

Due to security concerns and transportation constraints, DoD no longer accepts items to be mailed to “Any Service Member.” Some people have tried to avoid this prohibition by sending large numbers of packages to an individual service member’s overseas address, which clog the mail system and
cause unnecessary delays in delivery.

DoD requests that those who send mail use the service member’s full name (with or without rank or rating), unit and APO/FPO (Air/Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office) address with the nine-digit ZIP code (if one is assigned) and a return address. For packages, mailers are asked to print on one side
only with the recipient’s address in the lower right portion.

Packages must not be mailed in boxes that have markings related to any type of hazardous material, such as bleach, alcohol, or cleaning fluids. Parcels found by the U.S. Postal Service with such markings or labels on the outside of the box will not be processed. Instead, they will be handled as
non-mailable matter – regardless of the contents or what is listed on the U.S. Customs form.

While there are specific restrictions for each five-digit military post office ZIP code (APO/FPO), it is prohibited to mail the following items to the CENTCOM region: obscene articles (prints, paintings, cards, films, videotapes, etc.); pork or pork by-products; alcoholic beverages; any matter depicting nude or seminude persons, pornographic or sexual items, or unauthorized political materials. Although religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith are prohibited in bulk quantities, items for the personal use of the addressee are permissible.

There may be size restrictions and customs declaration form requirements to some locations as mail going through the MPSA can be subject to the host country customs requirements. The time to deliver varies depending on the category of mail and the country of destination. Delivery may also take longer when armed forces are on the move during periods of heightened activity.

Free Packing Materials from the U.S. Postal Service

The United States Postal Service is offering free packing materials to spouses and families of military members who are deployed overseas. To take advantage of this service call: 1-800-610-8734 and press 1 (for English & then 3 for an operator) and they will send you free boxes, packing materials, tape and mailing labels. These products are to be used to mail care packages to service members.

You can also access this information by going on the internet:

You can order every item you’ll need except for the Priority Tape. You have to call the 800 number above to receive tape. Some of the items you can get on-line are:

Box 7 12x12x8 and/or
Box 4 7x7x6
106A – Labels
Form 2976A – Customs Form
Form 2976E – Envelope for Customs Form

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. more

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