PLEASE PASS TO ALL PERSONNEL
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We are pleased to include in this report some special items in honor of our
service members, veterans, and families this Memorial Day weekend, beginning with
this article from Mrs. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden:
“Our Sacred Obligation to the Troops”
Source: The Hill ‐ 05/25/10 06:09 PM ET
By Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden
For most Americans, the wars our Nation is fighting comes into their lives
perhaps a few times a day when they read a headline in the newspaper or watch a
report on the evening news. But for the families of our service members war is
part of every moment of their lives as they pray for loved ones deployed and care
for family members here at home.
We join our husbands in reaffirming that it is our sacred obligation as Americans
to take care of the men, women and families who protect and serve this country.
And supporting military families and veterans must be a top priority for our
government, for our communities, and for each of us as individuals.
Over the past year and a half, we’ve been working to raise awareness of the
service and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and their families and to
help forge an enduring national commitment to supporting them. We’ve met with
troops and their family members and shared their concerns, ideas and perspectives
with leaders in government and communities. We’ve explored the issues faced by
our service members and their families – while they are deployed and when they
return home – and how we can all work together to help address the unique
challenges they face.
We have been overwhelmed by the courage of our men and women in uniform and
inspired by the dignity, patriotism, and commitment to service they exhibit every
We know that the strength of our military relies on the strength of our military
families. And those families are strong, resilient, and proud of their service to
the nation. They support one another while facing the tremendous challenges
their own families are going through ‐ managing a household, building a career,
raising children, staying connected to a loved one who is deployed, caring for a
wounded warrior at home, and honoring the memory of one of our fallen heroes.
Since taking office in January 2009, the Obama‐Biden administration has worked to
follow through on its deeply held commitment to improve quality of life for
military families. Working with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle,
the administration has increased pay and benefits. As in the stimulus act, the
administration has dramatically increased investments in military housing and
child care for spouses and expanded access to health care and counseling, while
increasing investments in our veterans.
Earlier this month the President signed into law bipartisan legislation providing
unprecedented support to full‐time caregivers of severely wounded service
members. This new law will expand much‐needed benefits for those who make
sacrifices to care for our wounded warriors every day.
It will provide those caregivers with a stipend and other assistance, including
lodging while traveling to be with a loved one undergoing treatment, training to
provide specialized services, counseling, and health insurance. And it will
provide critically‐needed respite care so these dedicated individuals can rest
And to ensure that we are drawing on all of our government agencies, the
President issued a directive to federal agencies to conduct an extensive review
with the National Security Staff and others on developing a government‐wide
strategy for supporting and engaging military families. It will identify key
military family concerns and challenges; identify the most promising support
programs; pinpoint ways federal agencies can integrate military family policy
support into their priorities; examine ways to expand state and local efforts to
support military families; and highlight ways military families support one
another and their surrounding civilian communities.
These are some of the steps our Administration is taking to improve the lives of
military families. But the truth is, government can only do so much. We need a
truly national commitment to support and engage military families where everyone
plays a role and each of us assumes our responsibility as citizens to support
those who protect us. That’s why we are asking all Americans and every sector of
society to take action and participate in a national commitment to support and
engage our military families. One percent of Americans may be fighting our wars,
but we need 100 percent of Americans to support them and their families.
The private sector can offer services pro bono, help military spouses and
veterans develop meaningful careers, and combat abusive practices such as
predatory lending. Community‐based organizations also have an important role to
play, but do not need to become a military expert or build something new to help.
They can keep doing what they do best, but ensure that their work is connected to
the priorities of military families. And citizens in every community, whether
they have a military base in it or not, can use their influence to ensure
military families and veterans feel fully appreciated, engaged and supported.
If we all play our part, mobilizing every segment of our society, working
together, and holding ourselves to the same standard of excellence that our
military families live by every day, we can create an America where every
military family and veteran can see the results of our actions honoring them in
their daily lives now and for decades to come.
DoD Launches large scale survey of families: The Military Family Life Project
On May 10, 2010, the Defense Department launched the first, large‐scale,
longitudinal DoD‐wide survey to assess quality of life issues impacting military
families during and after deployments. For this survey, The Military Family Life
Project, 100,000 military spouses and 40,000 married service members from all
Services were selected at random and invited to take part.
This survey will provide a better understanding of the impact of deployment and
help assess the effectiveness of current policies, programs and services.
First Lady Michelle Obama encouraged spouse participation in her address to
participants at the National Military Family Association’s Military Child Summit
held May 12th in Washington, D.C.
“At the Department of Defense, which is responsible for so many of our military
family programs, Secretary Gates' and Admiral Mullen's leadership has resulted in
a great deal of progress.
“But as they will tell you, there's still much more we need to know to serve
these families better. So I want to commend the department for launching the
Military Family Life Project. This is going to be a landmark study of more than
100,000 spouses and service members to assess their quality of life and to better
understand how families experience deployments.
“It's starting this month, so I want to encourage all the spouses who were
selected to fully participate in this project, because the more that this nation
knows about your priorities, the more we can do to meet them."
We need your support. Please use your communications resources to encourage
spouse participation – their opinions matter! For more information, see the
American Forces Press Service story, “First Lady Calls on Nation to Support
Military Families” on line at
Voluntary Education Programs: Joint Service Graduation Ceremony in Iraq.
The second annual Graduation/Military Recognition Ceremony was conducted on Camp
Victory, Iraq, Monday, 17 May 2009, 1100 at the Al Faw Palace. All Service
Members stationed in Iraq who met the requirements to graduate in 2009‐2010
college year were invited to participate in the ceremony. Of the 130 eligible
Service members, 82 walked across the stage. Degrees ranging from an A.A.S in
Construction Technology to a Doctorate in Health Sciences were awarded by Deans
from Central Texas College, University of Maryland and University College and
several military officers. BG Donald J. Currier was the commencement speaker and
the IAD Brass Quintet played the procession and the National Anthem.
Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) Working Group
The working group met on May 25th to preview and provide comments on the
eLearning module being developed for military families with special needs. The
subject of the first of several eLearning training modules is the Exceptional
Family Member Program itself.
Additionally, the working group met with staff from the U. S. Department of
Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF),
Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD). This office sponsors a
number of Family 360 Support grants, of which ten are devoted to military
families. The working group learned more about the 360 grants and future
training that will be available to systems navigators who work in the programs
assisting families in navigating resources in the community. HHS will conduct a
system navigator academy sometime in the Fall, and is sponsoring grantee training
this summer. DoD will participate.
EFMP Briefing to TRICARE‐West Staff
On May 25th, Dr. Rebecca Posante briefed the National Defense Authorization Act,
FY 2010, Section 563, regarding Community Support for Military Families with
Special Needs to the TRICARE West Medical Management meeting. Included were case
managers, utilization managers, and quality managers at Medical Treatment
Facilities (MTF's) in the TRICARE West region, as well as staff from the region’s
wounded warrior units. Fifty‐two MTF's were represented with about 100 people
participating in the teleconference.
The briefing stressed the importance of the medical community understanding the
EFMP program, encouraging military personnel to enroll and referring them to
their local family services center for assistance. Dr. Posante also underscored
the need for the medical and family support communities to work together for the
benefit of families with special needs.
Family Support Center on Disabilities; Knowledge & Involvement Network Conference
Dr. Rebecca Posante and Isabel Hodge attended the Family Support Center on
Disabilities; Knowledge & Involvement Network Conference titled “Resources for
Results: Connecting the Dots” May 19‐21, 2010, in Washington, DC. The conference
was hosted by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD).
Dr. Posante provided an overview of the EFMP and the requirements in the National
Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. The conference included valuable
information on Medicaid waivers, dispute resolution and affecting policy. The
U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Education, Substance Abuse and
Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Consortium for Appropriate
Dispute Resolution (CADRE) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services also
participated in the conference.
New Tool for Families Available Through MilitaryHOMEFRONT.
MHF has a new resource for troops and family members on MilitaryHOMEFRONT.
Service Organizations is a new resource guide, providing a comprehensive listing
of public and government organizations providing support targeted to service
members and their families such as the Service relief organizations, casualty
assistance resources, children and youth programs, education programs, and spouse
employment resources. Service Organizations is available for download from the
Troops and Family Member Tab, Tools for Families section.
12th Annual Joint Services/Agency/ERC Relocation Training Conference
May 17 – 21, 2010.
This year’s training was held in conjunction with the Employee Relocation Council
(ERC) National Conference in Orlando, Florida. A total of 273 participants from
the Services and Defense Logistics Agency were in attendance with ERC members
from around the world. Educational and professional development sessions were
provided through the Military Track of ERC. The National Military Family
Association and Military Officers Association of America presented Today’s
Military Family: What it Means When a Military Family Moves. Conference
presentations will be available on MilitaryHOMEFRONT
in the ReloRAP Community of HOMEFRONTConnections
Commissary On‐site sales. DeCA is delivering the benefit at the following
June 4‐5 Chadron National Guard Armory Chadron, NE
June 4‐6 Jackson Armory Portland, OR
June 5 Hammer Field Armory Fresno, CA
June 5‐6 Vermont National Guard Colchester, VT
June 5‐6 133rd Test Squadron Fort Dodge, IA
A new partnership between the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and Boys & Girls
Clubs of America (BGCA) has made possible the first‐ever national TIF toy
distribution program to canvas every branch of the Armed Forces. It has the
potential to reach more than 350,000 children living on military installations
The Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) is the philanthropic arm of the North American
toy industry and was created by the Toy Industry Association (formerly Toy
Manufacturers of America) as the first toy industry‐wide charitable organization.
TIF relies solely on monetary and in‐kind donations from toy industry members and
the public to address the obstacles which can stand in the way of children’s
access to play.
Model United Nations 2010
“To practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good
DoDDS‐Europe students have participated in several International Model United
Nations (MUN) Conferences during school year 2009‐2010. Recently, students from
Kaiserslautern HS and Ramstein HS attended the St. Andrews International Model
United Nations (SAIMUN) in Dublin. The students participated in committee and
plenary sessions debating on a wide ranging agenda of international topics. They
prepared and studied issues and resolutions which sought solutions to many
serious problems such as drugs, human trafficking, child warriors, and poverty.
Model United Nations 2010 (Photo Slideshow)
AFN ‐‐ Mannheim students face the fear of public speaking. Story by Valerie
Resciniti. It's one of the most crippling fears a human being can face. It's
even tougher when you're a kid. AFN's Valerie Resciniti tells us how some
Mannheim students overcame the huge obstacle.
AFN ‐‐ Seoul American Elementary School Talent Show. SPC Alan Moos. The Seoul
American Elementary School held a talent show on Yongsan for the second year in a
row. SPC Alan Moos gave us the opportunity to see the students show off their
special abilities and provide the community with some entertainment.
AFN ‐‐ Dr. Shirley Miles Visit. Video by NHS Student Zach Rady. The Director,
DoDEA Dr. Shirley Miles visited Naples for a commander’s conference. She also
took the time to meet with students and staff from the Naples schools. With the
story, here’s student videographer Zach Rady, assisted by his instructor.
Financial Tip of the Week
NY Attorney General to Sue SmartBuy
The Attorney General of New York is bringing charges against a company that
allegedly has been targeting military members at Ft Drum by selling computers and
other electronic equipment bought off the shelf and charging military customers
up to 325% above fair market value.
The company is Frisco Marketing, doing business as SmartBuy and SmartBuy
Computers. They recently shut down operations in Watertown, NY, after the NY AG
began investigations. Before being named SmartBuy, they were called MilitaryZone
and run by Britlee, Inc. The Tennessee Attorney General sued Britlee, Inc. in
2008 for abuses against Ft Campbell Soldiers and was awarded $10M by the courts.
For situational awareness, SmartBuy is doing business in the following locations:
Fayetteville, NC (Fort Bragg)
San Diego, CA (Camp Pendleton)
Killeen, TX (Fort Hood)
Colorado Springs, CO (Fort Carson)
Lawton, OK (Fort Sill)
El Paso, TX (Fort Bliss)
Savannah, GA (Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Air Field)
Please keep in mind this is for situational awareness only; SmartBuy has not been
found guilty in a court of law for alleged scams against Service members in the
State of New York. As always, Service members and families are encouraged to
exercise caution as educated consumers and to always compare prices when shopping
for any item, especially electronics.
Parenting Tip of the Week
Early language and literacy (reading and writing) development begins in the first
three years of life and is closely linked to a child's earliest experiences with
books and stories. The interactions that young children have with such literacy
materials as books, paper, and crayons; and with the adults in their lives are
the building blocks for language, reading, and writing development. The following
are easy ways to share books with babies and toddlers:
• Have fun. Children can learn from you that books are fun, which is an
important ingredient in learning to read.
• A few minutes is OK—Don't worry if you don't finish the story. Young
children can only sit for a few minutes for a story, but as they grow, they will
be able to sit longer.
• Let children turn the pages. Babies need board books and help turning
pages, but a three‐year‐old can do it alone. Remember, it's OK to skip pages!
• Show children the words. Run your finger along the words as you read them,
from left to right.
• Make the story come alive. Create voices for the story characters and use
your body to tell the story.
• Make it personal. Talk about your own family, pets, or community when you
are reading about others in a story.
Source: Zero to Three. Military OneSource also has numerous education materials
for parents of children ages zero to three. A list is available at
‐_Zero_to_Three_013009.pdf or by calling Military OneSource at 1‐800‐342‐9674.
Nutrition Tip of the Week
Is it whole grain or is it not?
Some product names like multi‐grain, stone ground, 100% wheat, or seven grain may
sound like they are "whole grain" when in reality they are not. Check the
ingredients label – the whole grain (i.e. whole wheat) should be one of the first
two ingredients listed. Make half your grains whole.
For more information on making healthy and nutritious food choices, check out the
Commissary’s website at http://www.commissaries.com/
MC&FP representative Carolyn Stevens will present at the webinar, “STATE OF EARLY
LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT FOR CHILDREN BIRTH – 3 YEARS ‐ Building Connections to
Support Literacy: Systems of Early Learning for Children Birth to Age 8.” The
webinar, organized by ZERO TO THREE, will outline the U.S. Department of
Education's view on the role of early education in the birth to career continuum
and provide an overview of the importance of the first three years in setting the
stage for earning and literacy. (16 June 10)
. Commanders can request support and resources from the Joint Family Support
Assistance Program by calling the Joint Family Resource Center at 1‐888‐256‐9920.
. Military OneSource:
This free 24‐hour service, provided by the Department of Defense, is available to
all active duty, Guard, and Reserve members and their families. Consultants
provide information and make referrals on a wide range of issues, including
financial issues. You can reach the program by telephone at 1‐800‐342‐9647 or
through the Web site at www.militaryonesource.com.
While April 15th has past, Military OneSource (MOS) continues provide free tax
filing services and free tax consultations to military service members and their
families during the tax season. Visit the website or call the phone number above
for more information.
As we conclude the month of May, on Monday, May 31st, we remember and honor the
fallen. We invite you to also be a part of the National Moment of Remembrance.
Wherever you are on Memorial Day at 3:00 PM, please join others in an act of
national unity with a minute of silence. Congress selected 3 PM because it’s
when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday. This is
another act of national unity in which all of us, alone or with family and
friends, can honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we
We remember and honor the sacrifice of those who serve and have served, and the
families who stand behind them. Your MC&FP Team