Archive for the 'Supporting the Troops' Category

AAFMAA – Another Resource for Military Members and Families

October 1st, 2013 by xformed

Via na email request, I found another organization that is of help to our service members and their families.

A fact website is here. Take a look at the description of an financial services company that has been in place since Custer’s Last Stand in 1879.

This is not an endorsement, nor do I use them, nor did I get compensated. I like to share resources when I run across them with my readers.

Here’s Kara’s intro from the website:

Secure our Military Families during Reduction in Force

In my job at AAFMAA, I get calls from friends in the military seeking guidance about what to do for their families if they are affected by the drawdown—big choices about life insurance, retirement benefits, survivor services and much, much more. Many military members across our country face choices in the days ahead that could have a permanent impact on the security of their families. The costs of poor decisions could be high and they know it.

As a blogger on the issues facing our military service members, you know that poor decisions are caused by bad information. You can help protect these men and women by informing them about their rights and their options. We at AAFMAA believe that the only way to combat uncertainty is with certainty.

I’ve assembled a few potential storylines below about the questions many will be asked and how AAFMAA can help answer them. Any of these stories could be the difference between a secure financial future for your readers and one that is less so.

I hope you can help spread the word that members of the military do have rights and they do have a choice.

I know I speak for many when I say that if you served your country—if you put your life on the line for your country—then household budget issues like higher life insurance premiums should never stand in the way of family security. Have a look and feel free to borrow anything you like, or to contact me if you need any additional information.

Thank you.

Kara

Take a look and see if they can help you and/or your friend and their familes out.

Category: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Jointness, Marines, Military, Navy, Public Service, Supporting the Troops | Comments Off on AAFMAA – Another Resource for Military Members and Families

PTSD Research study conducted by an OIF Vet. Pass the Word!

June 18th, 2013 by xformed

Received via email, from and OIF Vet who is conducting a study on PTSD. PLease give it some consideration to 1) Participating if you fit, and 2) passing the word!

Here’s the DesMoines Register article discussing his background and the project he’s taking on and why: “YP Spotlight: Iraq War vet turned Drake professor explores inconsistency of PTSD”.

Attention Military Veterans: A research study examining military experiences (including deployment experiences) of those who have served (or are currently serving) is being conducted by Dr. Steven L. Lancaster, a professor at Drake University. This online survey assesses experiences with stressful life events (including military events, such as combat exposure), current mental health experiences, coping skills, and thoughts related to these events and how your time in the military has affected you. If you are a military veteran who is 18 years or older, you are eligible to participate.

The survey is completely anonymous and takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. As an incentive to participate, all participants will be given the chance to enter a raffle drawing for a $50 online gift certificate to Amazon.com awarded to 6 randomly selected participants. The drawing database is maintained separately from, and is not in any way connected to, survey information submitted; therefore your participation will remain anonymous. If you would like to participate in this research study, please click the link below.

This will take you to a consent form and questionnaire. You will have a chance to enter the raffle after completing the questionnaire.

This research has been reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board for protection of human subjects at Drake University.

Please feel free to forward this announcement to eligible friends/colleagues/military members you know who may wish to participate. Thank you in advance for your help with this project. We are going to publish the results in scientific journal with the goal of better understanding the post-deployment experience of military service members.

If you desire to participate please copy and paste this URL into your browser (no http:// is necessary):
bit.ly/TMvKpx

Sincerely,

Steven L. Lancaster, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology
Drake University
Phone: 515-271-2844
Email: lancasterlab@drake.edu

Category: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Education, Leadership, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Science, Supporting the Troops | Comments Off on PTSD Research study conducted by an OIF Vet. Pass the Word!

Public Service Guest Post: Are Veterans at Risk for Mesothelioma?

August 20th, 2012 by xformed

The below post was sent by Doug Karr, a former Navy Second Class Petty Officer, who asked if I would share this information. He can be contacted at doug.karr.usn @ gmail.com for more information

Are Veterans at Risk for Mesothelioma?

Most people know that exposure to asbestos can create various health problems. This compound was used for many different reasons up until the mid-80s, and very few businesses warned their employees about the risks of exposure. However, today it is widely known that asbestos exposure can lead to such serious conditions as mesothelioma, or asbestos cancer.

Persons at High Risk
If people worked within such fields as maintenance, construction or sanitation when asbestos was widely used, they may have been exposed to it. However, recent research has proven that many military veterans have also been exposed to asbestos, especially those who worked on or repaired Navy ships. This leaves all of these persons with a high risk for mesothelioma.

How Were People Exposed to Asbestos?
The main reason asbestos was used years ago was because it helped make various compounds stronger. With that said, it was commonly found in many different construction supplies such as insulation, drywall, fireproofing materials, caulking and joint compounds.

Whenever people handled these materials by way of installations, sanding or removal, asbestos fibers were released into the air. With asbestos dust being so tiny, it was easy for people to inhale it, and it often remained in the air long after people were finished with their work.

Since the dust remained in the air so long, even people who were not involved with the construction work were often exposed to the chemical. People who unknowingly inhaled asbestos included cleanup crews, inspectors, sellers, buyers and even customers. The risks on navy ships were even greater.

The reason that seamen were more at risk was because of the tiny enclosed spaces onboard, which made it even easier for them to inhale asbestos fibers. In open spaces, asbestos has a chance to dissipate over time; however, this was not the case on navy ships. The fibers remained in the air, increasing people’s risks of developing mesothelioma.

Indirect Exposure
People who were in situations where they may have worked with asbestos directly, should certainly get tested for mesothelioma. However, even those who did not work with the chemical, but were in the vicinity at a time where they could have inhaled them, should be tested for asbestos cancer as well. This definitely includes veterans.

Many doctors suggest that even family members of people who were exposed to asbestos may be at risk. This is because asbestos fibers can cling to clothing for a long time, and they could dislodge in a totally different area from where the original contamination occurred.

How Does Mesothelioma Develop?
Years ago, when veterans inhaled these harmful fibers they did not know that the chemical could cause a deadly disease such as cancer. This is sad considering most construction product manufacturers knew that if people inhaled asbestos dust, they could develop cancer.

The mesothelium are mucus membranes that line most every organ in the human body. When people inhale asbestos fibers, the dust agitates the mesothelium, encouraging abnormal cell growth. Malignant mesothelioma is commonly found in the linings of the lungs; however, it has been known to develop in the heart and stomach as well.

What makes this form of cancer so deadly is that it can quickly spread throughout the body. While it begins as tiny tumors within the mesothelium, it tends to spread rapidly to surrounding tissues. It is essential to note that mesothelioma is not lung cancer; however, it can spread and develop into lung cancer.

Mesothelioma Legal Cases
If veterans or their family members have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, they should highly consider hiring a qualified attorney to help them get the compensation they deserve. Even though asbestos was banned years ago, it can take several years for mesothelioma to develop.

Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer that can affect people who were exposed to asbestos. Many of these people are veterans, and most of them served in the Navy. Since it can take several years for asbestos cancer to develop, it is best for people to be tested for the disease as soon as possible.

Thanks, Doug!

Category: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Education, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Supporting the Troops | Comments Off on Public Service Guest Post: Are Veterans at Risk for Mesothelioma?

Will you help with the 2012 Soldier’s Angels VALOur-IT Fundraising Work (7/4-9/3/2012)

July 3rd, 2012 by xformed

If you need no introduction to this wonderful project, and want to just get on with getting your blog/website participating, the signup link is here.

Background:

This year, while there is a reduction in military action, there still are men and women in the field, who are at risk of being injured. There are those, of course, presently in the military medical system who have injuries that can be circumvented or need therapy that can be provided by technology.

Beginning this Independence Day in 2012, Soldier’s Angels will begin the annual fundraising efforts to provide funding for laptops with voice recognition software, Wiis and GPS units to be provide at no cost to military members or care facilities to help these men and women get back closer to normalcy in their lives, after serving their country and us.

Know these things about the annual fundraising:

  • All the donated funds go to the equipment, or the delivery to the people/facilities. You don’t often come across a charity project that devotes the funds right to the “end users.”
  • While the 4 “service teams” are listed for the donations, all the money goes to one account, and is spent to provide to those in need, regardless of their service affiliation. The teams are merely a ways for the supporters to have a little friendly competition among themselves to satisfy their fix for a little old school interservice rivalry.

The VALOur-IT (Voice Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops) project was an accidental program, begun in 2005, when a blogger was injured by an IED in Iraq. From there, this project of all volunteer help, has provided over 6000 laptops to those who cannot use their hands or have vision issues. For years, they have all been brand new units, set up with Dragon Naturally Speaking software.

Please consider helping out in some (or all) of the following ways:

  • Join the list of sites/blogs and get it to your readership
  • Get the link to Soldier’s Angels VALOur-IT donation page and send it to your email list
  • Lobby your workplace to allow you to post/pass out a flyer with this information to the employees
  • See if your employer has matching funds for donations to this project and get that word out to your co-workers
  • Present this information to your social networks, the digital ones, and the real ones, too!
  • Post the information in local coffee shops/restaurants and other places with community bulletin boards (check with the management first, which is another opportunity to discuss this project with those who are not aware of the work)

Thank you for reading this and considering taking this information viral! The people who have benefited for the donations over the last 7 years have been given a precious gift and are grateful for the equipment the has helped them get back into life!

Category: Air Force, Army, Charities, Coast Guard, Jointness, Leadership, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Supporting the Troops, Technology, Valour-IT | 2 Comments »

It’s VALOur-IT Time Again!

July 1st, 2011 by xformed

The fund drive will run from today through the 14th of July. Don’t know what VALOur-IT is? Click the link.

The reader’s digest version: For those wounded with sight or mobility issues keeping them from using a computer like most people do, Soldier’s Angels has a project to provide new laptop computers with Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software to them. Their to keep, to help them get re-connected with family and friends and battle buddies, and for the future, it’s good work skill development.

So…spread the word, beat the bushes, spam your email list, beg at the local Starbucks for help for this wonderful program that has provided now in excess of 6000+ laptops!

Donate to Soldier’s Angels Project Valour-IT

Soldier's Angels Team Navy

Chip in…it’s well worth the money and it is changed/has changed lives.

Category: Air Force, Army, Blogging, Charities, Coast Guard, Jointness, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Supporting the Troops, Valour-IT | Comments Off on It’s VALOur-IT Time Again!

Close Air Support for Special Operations: Buy American or foriegn?

April 8th, 2011 by xformed

Considering the economics of keeping jobs at home, if you will, but there is a larger issue: Keeping the capability to fully control the construction and support for military equipment operated by our Military.

As was the case of the recent replacement air refueling tanker, we are heading for another major acquisition for the Military, this time for small, capable turbo prop aircraft to be used in the type of combat we have seen for longer than the decade of the GWOT/”Foreign Contingency” we have been engaged in since the Korean Conflict.. These aircraft are to used in very forward areas in support of the Special Operations teams (Green Berets and SEALs most specifically), where large, modern aircraft, designed to also be superior air combat fighters are:

1) Too fast
2) Too expensive to operate
3) Need too much support
4) and generally need really long runways.

I received an email with a guest post discussing this matter, where the competitors for the contract are Hawker-Beechcraft (US firm) and Embraer (Brazilian firm) for the USAF Light Air Support Aircraft work.

Pragmatically, Hawker-Beechcraft are already producing the AT-6 Texan II, which is in use as an Air Force trainer. Logistically, the USAF has parts, procedures and trained ground crews, not to mention pilots in this airframe. What’s not to like from a bean counter stand point with that, let alone a serious warfighter, who knows it’s the logistics that count after the first load of ammo is expended?

So, here’s something from Emily to chew on regarding this issue:

The most basic respect our country can give to Americans bravely serving in the Armed Forces is providing them with the proper tools so they can be prepared and equipped to handle any combat situation. In the past, supplying this need has always been met through American ingenuity. We design, build, and sell the equipment that is used the world over. America has always set the trends in the defense industry.

However, recent actions by other countries are in danger of circumventing this competitive defensive advantage that America has held. By subsidizing private companies, foreign competitors have an unfair advantage over American ones. These actions undermine fair competition in the marketplace and put American manufacturing at a disadvantage.

We have seen this trend played out over the last several years as the American icon, Boeing competed with EADS, it’s European competitor to replace the Eisenhower-era refueling tankers for the Air Force. After much public outcry, the Pentagon made the right decision and awarded the contract to Boeing.

Today, we have another, very similar competition. Hawker Beechcraft, headquartered in the heart of Kansas, is competing with a Brazilian company, Embrear, to build planes that will be utilized in combat zones like Afghanistan. Embrear, like EADS, receives substantial support from the Brazilian government, allowing them to offer an artificially low price for their planes. What is especially troubling is that the Brazilian government has publicly opposed the War on Terror and American efforts against Iran and Venezuela, but now seeks to profit from that same U.S. commitment to military strength.

Recently Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) sent a letter to the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee requesting an investigation of the global competitiveness of the U.S. business jet industry. Jenkins remarked:

“In a down economy, which has been particularly hard on the aviation industry, it is very concerning that foreign government backed companies have launched new product lines into the business aviation market. It is important that we know whether these foreign companies are receiving illegal governmental subsidies to alter the playing field. The aviation industry is important to both the Kansas and the American economy and we must ensure their competitive edge is not being unfairly diminished.”

We need to ask ourselves – where should our defense spending go? To middle America, to states who are struggling to recover from the recession that has rocked our country? Or to South America, namely a country who calls itself an ally but has shown no support in our efforts to fight terrorism?

Boeing won their fight, let’s make sure Hawker Beechcraft does too.

Our special operations teams need this capability. In Vietnam, the SEALs and units like VAL-4 worked closely on operations in mutual support.

Call to action: Make a decision on what’s right for our Military and let your Congressmen know.

Category: Air Force, History, Marines, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy, Political, Supporting the Troops | 1 Comment »

Calling Naval Air Professionals in Dallas and Chicago Areas!

December 20th, 2010 by xformed

SteelJaw Scribe needs some help tracking down retired Naval Aviators (in Chicago) of NFOs (in Dallas) to conduct interviews with 1/c Midshipmen.  Active duty, reserve of retired status sufficient. O-4 to O-6 needed.

His post is up here. If you can lend a hand t0 help the future, drop him a line!

Category: Maritime Matters, Military, Navy, Public Service, Supporting the Troops | Comments Off on Calling Naval Air Professionals in Dallas and Chicago Areas!

The First Line of Defense: Military Recruiters – Tell one (or more) Thank You

December 16th, 2010 by xformed

This is a multi-purpose post:

First up – a suggestion of how you can provide a very meaningful “Thank You!” in this season (or actually any time at all). While you may live far from a significant military presence, you most likely don’t live far from the local US Military Recruiting Office in your neck of the woods. Staffed with service members, if you have wanted to say “Thank you” to someone in uniform, there’s your sign. Next time you’re driving by, take a few minutes to stop in and shake hand or two.

Why? These men and women are the ones who get us men like SSGT Guinta and SGT J.D. Williams and so many others, who’s names we’ve read and those most all of us will never hear the names of, but know it took them all to defend the Nation. It’s the recruiters are the ones who either go out and find them to talk to, or have to assess them as they walk in to volunteer.

The eye for the ones who fit the specs, and the ones who do not. It’s the recruiters who do it. They do it not in a combat zone, but they do it with tremendous pressure to meet quotas, to make sure they check these men and women out, provide career counseling and work with the community, the parents and a number of others. They can’t “work” as well during what the civilian world calls “working hours,” they have to catch them when they can: After school, on weekends, in the evening, and they still have to keep “office hours,” too. Read: Many hours to perform their assignments. Reports, follow up, get them to physicals, paperwork for security checks, get them on the transport to the first assignment in the service of the Country. Then, they get to spend some “shore duty” (the Navy version) time with their families.

And don’t forget some people make it difficult, and occasionally impossible to meet those who might be willing to hear about the opportunity for them.

In addition to just “doing their job,” more than likely they will be in dress uniforms much of the time, and they (as far as I know) don’t get extra funding to maintain them, with the extra wear and tear and spaghetti sauce stains, etc that have probably resulted in unplanned purchases as a result. No doubt the many more miles put on their own vehicles is a cost they also bear accomplishing the mission.

Secondly: As an officer, I had more interaction with discipline cases along my time in service, and, for the “repeat offenders” we’d usually flip their service record open to the “Page 2” (Enlistment Contract) and look for the date of the signature of the person in question. While not in every case, when the date was the 30th or 31st of the month, we’d manage to vocalize how some lazy recruiter just grabbed whoever off the street “to make quota.” While it was easy to use that as a issue to vent over, more often as not, it certainly wasn’t the case. Not to mention I’ll admit, I never pulled the records for my great sailors and look at the same data point, and neither did I then allow myself to vocalize so sharp sailor in some community somewhere had done an outstanding job finding those men and women who were exemplary serve personnel. Fair’s fair, so I’ll have to make that acknowledgment now, late as it is.

Bottom line: Wars are fought with expensive hardware, cool planes, and massive amounts of ammo, fuel food and parts, but it is the man or women handling or using those things who defend the Nation. The recruiters who find them are the scouts to get them into uniform and they deserve special recognition for faithfully executing the duties of those assignments.

When you thank one, please let them know you know they are the ones who get us the protectors, and you appreciate the effort that takes them.

Now, google up the all the recruiting offices in your area and see if you can brighten a day in those places.

Category: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Leadership, Marines, Military, Navy, Public Service, Supporting the Troops | 1 Comment »

Project VALOur-IT 2010 Campaign Begins

October 28th, 2010 by xformed

learn more

My favorite time of the year begins today, and goes until Veteran’s Day, 11/11/10.

Project VALOur-IT was an accidental collusion of two minds, some one offering help from Soldier’s Angels and the rest is history. The story is well told across the now 6 years, and over 5000 laptops, the very large majority of them new, with Dragon Naturally Speaking are in the hands of those wounded so they are limited by sight or typing disabilities.

The laptops are theirs to keep.

The funds are used only for the purchase of the laptops, and now Wiis and GPS units, and the transportation to the delivery points (usually the major US Military Medical facilities). All other costs for this project are borne by volunteers. It’s a charity project where, down to the final penny, it’s put to work for the purpose of the project. I like it for that reason, but I like it more because it provides some normality back to those who have suffered for the defense of the Nation, and for those in other lands.

for the last 5 years, a large band of bloggers have taken to the net to let people know this project exists and to request your donations. Not only are they active duty/retired/former military members, but supporters, family members, and any one else who jumps in to pass the word on to everyone they know.

On the donate page linked to the button above, you can also get the code to put a button like this, or the alternative style, to post on your site/blog/etc.

Category: Air Force, Army, Charities, Coast Guard, Jointness, Leadership, Marines, Maritime Matters, Military, Navy, Supporting the Troops, Technology, Valour-IT | Comments Off on Project VALOur-IT 2010 Campaign Begins

Who Wins Wars, Who Loses Them

October 19th, 2010 by xformed

An accidental find, worthy of today’s situation in Iraq and Afghanistan:

Wars and battles are not lost by private soldiers. They win them, but they don’t lose them. They are lost by commanders, staffs and troops leaders, and they are often lost before they start.

– LtCol (BG) Sam Griffith, USMC
CO 1st Raider Battalion

It goes to the responsibility of the leadership, at every level to set the stage for a win or a loss in conflict. The Marine or soldier or sailor cannot change that outcome much at all.

Will will soon see the effect of this in 2011, as the war, that has gone on too long for some, is hastily retired from, with some rationale of we need the money elsewhere.

It will be penny wise and pound foolish, if the enemy that has been beaten back is allowed to thrive in our absence, to enable us to see if we really can absorb another major terrorist attack.

Update: another yellowed 3″x5″ card holds this bit of history to put things in perspective once again:

Come with me into Macedon, most portent, grave and reverend senators and taste the rigors of a soldier’s bed, the blood and anguish of a soldier’s wars. Come with me into Macedon, fat comfortable strategists at home, and you will see how humble men have died to save the freedoms – and the baths – of Rome!

– General Lucius Aemilius Paulis addressing the Roman Senate after being critisized by same for certain aspects of his victorious campaign against Perseus in the Third macedonian War, 2nd Century BC

Rings true today. Just change a few names and places and it’s a good fit.

Category: Geo-Political, INternational Relations, Leadership, Military, Political, Supporting the Troops | Comments Off on Who Wins Wars, Who Loses Them

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