We support our Troops, our Veterans, military families, First Responders and their families in addition to the families of our Fallen Heroes!  This is your news spot for updates on what is new for you.  We will post what we can to keep you updated with the latest while taking care to follow OPSEC (Operation Security).  

We appreciate you and all that you do and we appreciate your families who serve here on the homefront. 


Department of Defense Announces New Policy on Service Member Allotments

The Department of Defense announced today a change to policy that will prohibit service members from using new allotments to purchase, lease or rent personal property effective Jan. 1, 2015.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel directed the change following an interagency review conducted in response to a major enforcement action by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

This policy change will eliminate that aspect of the allotment system most prone to abuse by unscrupulous lenders that prey on our service members. This will significantly improve protections for all service members and their families, while not significantly reducing the flexibility to use allotments for a number of legitimate purposes.

The change will be incorporated into DoD Financial Management Regulation and will apply only to service members and not to military retirees or DoD civilians. Additionally, it will not affect existing allotments or prohibit allotments made to savings accounts, support dependents, pay insurance premiums, pay mortgages, pay rents or fund investments.

For further information please see DoD's fact sheet.

Army Emergency Relief (AER) Launches New App

Army Emergency Relief (AER) released an APP for smart phones which will provide Soldiers and Families instant access to AER information, regardless of time of day or location.
Our analytics have been telling us that more and more of the visitors to our website are using mobile devices, said retired Col. Guy Shields, AER's Chief of Communications and Public Affairs.  In October of 2013, 24% of the visits to our website came from mobile devices.  That grew to 40% in October 2014.
The APP is available for both iPhones and phones that use the Android operating system at the Apple App Store and Google Play.  Soldiers will be able to go to their respective APP store and download the AER APP for free. (just enter "Army Emergency Relief" in the search field)
We know that many of our Soldiers and Families use their smart phones as their computer, as well as their primary means of communication, added Shields.  We believe that making AER information available to them in a format that they are familiar with, will help expedite the assistance process.
This APP will provide basic information about AER, explain the specifics of both the assistance and scholarship application process, as well as explain loan repayment procedures.  Highlights of the APP are the "Frequently Asked Question" (FAQ) buttons in each category.  These FAQs address the vast majority of questions that are received at AER Headquarters every day.  Another key feature of the APP will be the "AER News" button, which will be the live Twitter feed of @aerhq which will provide the latest AER news, updates and financial management tips.

Military OneSource eNewsletter

Military OneSource has a brand new eNewsletter. They have changed the look, layout, and the content to ensure this publication is relevant to you! You can easily view this eNewsletter on any device, from your desk to your tablet to your phone. Subscribe at the top right hand corner to receive it directly to your inbox. http://www.militaryonesource.mil/enewsletter

Pilot Program to Launch to Help Spouses Earn College Credit

Defense officials are launching a pilot program in the fall that will help military spouses put together portfolios of education and work experience for possible college credit.

It?s part of the Defense Department?s continuing effort to improve education and career opportunities for spouses, who face issues with maintaining careers through multiple moves with their service members.

The program will help spouses get college credits that can serve as transfer credits to a college or university. These credits ?can really help expedite things and save money,? said Lee McMahon, acting program manager for DoD?s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program, in an Aug. 18 briefing to DoD?s Military Family Readiness Council.

Defense officials wanted to provide a resource for spouses who are not eligible for the My Career Advancement Accounts program, McMahon said.

MyCAA provides financial assistance to spouses of service members in paygrades E1 to E5, O1, O2, W1 and W2 for up to $4,000 in costs for education, training, licenses and credentialing related to a portable career. But spouses who use MyCAA also are eligible for this pilot program.

The pilot is in partnership with the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. The list of colleges and universities that will accept those credits is proprietary to the council and will not be available online, McMahon said.

However, spouses will have access to that list through SECO career counselors, she said, so the first step is to contact a counselor through Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. Counselors will explain the requirements, and look at the list of educational institutions to ensure spouses are not wasting their time, McMahon said.

You can read the rest of the article at Military Times.  http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140830/BENEFITS/308300055/Pilot-program-launch-help-spouses-earn-college-credit

TRICARE Provides Options for National Guard and Reserve Members and their Families
Though they don?t always wear the uniform, or live on military installations, National Guard and Reserve members and their families are part of the military community, and as such, should have benefits available to them. TRICARE provides health care options for National Guard and Reserve components, with coverage depending on uniformed service status: not activated, activated, deactivated, or retired. While activated for a period of 30 or more consecutive, Guard and Reserve members are covered as active duty service members. But active duty families are not the only ones eligible to receive health care benefits. Once registered in DEERS, service members and their families become eligible to receive medical and dental care in plans specific to their service status. Look over this fact sheet for the full guidelines and eligibility, along with detailed tables of several different benefit plans. 
Where can I get copies of my personnel records?

Veterans: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/

Former/retired Army Civilian employees:

Contact the National Personnel Records Center at:
Civilian Records Facility
111 Winnebago Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63118-4199

Active duty retirees should contact:

Military Records Facility
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, Missouri 63132-5100

Phone: (800) 318-5298

At minimum, please include the service member's complete name, Social Security number and/or serial number, and the requester's return address. Website is: https://www.hrc.army.mil/tagd/Human Resource Service Center

How do I correct errors in my military records?

In order to get your military service records upgraded/changes, you must contact your respective service Board for Correction of Military Records. Contact information for each board is listed below:

Army Board of Correction
Crystal Mall 4, Room 220
Arlington, VA 22202-4508

Phone: 703-607-1611

Is the National Archives and Records Administration destroying military personnel files?

They are not being destroyed. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) preserves and protects the files because they are permanently valuable records that document the essential evidence of military service for veterans. However, there is a rumor circulating on the Internet that advises veterans to apply for their Official Military Personnel Files to save them from destruction. There is no truth to this "urban legend" being perpetuated on the Web.

Exchange "Lithium Ship to Store" (This information is from 2012, please double check prior to sending anything)

In response to a May, 2012 U.S. Postal Service ban on international shipments of electronics with lithium batteries, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service now has a way for overseas shoppers to get those must-have gadgets, gizmo and devices just in time for the holidays. Exchange shoppers simply go to www.shopmyexchange.com and select one of approximately 80 products with a Lithium Ship to Store logo. Once items are selected, the shopper chooses the country and Exchange where they would like the item to be delivered. Customer service associates at the overseas location will contact the shopper via email when the order arrives. Orders may be picked up during regular store hours at the Customer Service desk with a valid ID and a copy of the email/order number confirmation.

United Gives Break To Pet Owners On PCS Moves

United Airlines is making an exception for military families who ship their pets on that airline when making permanent change-of-station (PCS) moves and developed a special process for military families. Under this new policy, military travelers on PCS orders will be able to ship their pets under United?s ?PetSafe? program without having to pay an additional fee to a third-party freight forwarder which typically could add an estimated $1,500 to $4,000 per pet to a traveler?s costs. Military families should contact a United PetSafe desk for details on the special process. To read further about this new pet program, please see: http://www.mmsend57.com/link.cfm?r=180191835&sid=17888828&m=1843980&u=AUSA&j=9301498&s=http://bit.ly/yhFzbz

New Reserve Component Dental Plan

National Guard and Reserve members separating from active duty after an activation of greater than 30 days in support of a contingency operation may now receive the same dental care benefits as active duty Servicemembers. The TRICARE Active Duty Dental Program (ADDP) now provides coverage to these members in the Transition Assistance Management Program (TAMP). For more details about the dental plan change, please click: http://www.mmsend57.com/link.cfm?r=180191835&sid=17888821&m=1843980&u=AUSA&j=9301498&s=http://bit.ly/wIze3i


New Army Resilience App

 The new Resilience App features many resources to help Soldiers, Army civilians and family members optimize performance, build strong minds and bodies, and develop better coping mechanisms for traumatic events. The tool emphasizes setting and reaching personal goals within Comprehensive Soldier Fitness. Videos, web links and practical exercises are included in the training and education package. The Resilience App is available for download at the App Store and iTunes. An Android version is expected out sometime in early July. For more about this app or all of the military fitness information you need, from news to workouts, please click http://www.military.com/military-fitness/

Military Opens Family Facility at Dover Air Force Base

The military mortuary at Dover Air Force Base, where U.S. war casualties from overseas are brought home, will open a new facility to serve families who travel there to witness the return of their loved ones' remains. The Center for Families of the Fallen will be staffed by counselors and support specialists who will assist families awaiting the return of their loved ones to the nation's largest military mortuary. Families also will be able to meet with casualty assistance officers who are assigned to them. Officials said the new center will be more convenient both for families and mortuary officials than the space now shared by the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center at Dover with the base's active duty and reserve wings. To read the complete article, please go to: http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2010-01-05-dover-war-causualties-family-center_N.htm

Organization Helps Military Widows

With an emphasis on healing through sharing stories, tears and laughter, the American Widow Project (AWP) a non-profit organization is dedicated to military widows, has produced a 75-minute documentary film that gives a candid look into the stories, struggles and perseverance of six military widows. The film is distributed free-of-charge to all military widows and widowers as a key to the healing process. For more information, please visit: http://americanwidowproject.org or call 1-800-AWP-Widow.

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