Carved in the Wall
Remember Why You're a Patriot
FORT DIX, N.J. - I stepped outside my home one recent August evening to catch some cool night air. The
next thing I knew the melancholy notes of "Taps" filled the air.
I had forgotten that at 10 p.m. every night at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., as in most military installations
at nondeployed locations, the lone bugler or trumpet signals lights out.
With no shoes on, I could feel the dew seeping into my socks as I stood at attention with my hand over
my heart as the music hit its waning notes. As the last note faded, I heard the hum of jet engines from a KC-10 Extender as
it flew over my home.
"Here's to you and all you've done," I thought as the stillness returned to the evening. I was saluting
all the men and women, the consummate patriots of this great land of ours, who died for America's freedom.
The emotionally textured "Taps" combined with the aircraft flyover provided that strong reminder. I forgot
about my wet feet as I thought about patriots and why I'm one.
I made my way to the cement step leading to the back door of my home and sat down. Being a patriot isn't
easy. It takes commitment to believe so strongly in your country that you're willing to lay down your life for it. That is
what it takes to serve in the military -- the definition is actually one who loves his or her country and supports its authority
I was nearly in tears. How lucky am I to be in America enjoying this cool beautiful night while my comrades
are off in some foreign land helping others gain their own freedom? What did I do to deserve to be born, grow up and live
in what I consider the greatest country in the world? That's my personal belief but that's also why I'm a patriot.
A breeze whipped up all of the sudden and sent a chill down my back. The chill made me think of a childhood
friend I'd almost lost to a heart attack weeks earlier and a friend who's supported me all these years.
I've known him since I was 4 years old when, as neighbors, we'd swap tricycles while out playing some 35
years ago. We'd gone to school together in my hometown in Michigan. We went hunting, fishing, skiing, snowshoeing and played
a few thousand games of basketball against each other.
I was there with him when he battled cancer, and won, nearly 20 years ago. When I joined the military and
was heading off for basic training more than 16 years ago, he organized a going-away party in my honor. He was also the best
man at my wedding. He's the best friend I'll ever have.
It's because of people like him that I serve; that I'm a patriot. He's always supported me, been there
when I needed him, and whenever I see him and talk to him, it's like we've never been away from each other.
A half hour has passed, and I'm getting colder. There's another blast of wind yet now I'm not chilly any
more as my thoughts shift from my friend to my family.
I've often taken for granted how well my family treats me. My wife, for example, has been through deployments,
long work hours and a load of other things during our marriage and my military career, yet she stands beside me as we move
forward in life. She gives me strength and provides that "reality check" whenever I need it. I love her more every day we're
together. She is my co-patriot.
There are also my children and grandchildren. Whenever I look into their eyes, I see the patriots of the
future. I see people who also love their country, and what it means to be a patriot. I can add in my parents, brothers, sister
and extended family. They are all reasons why I want to be in the Air Force and why I'm a patriot. They inspire my patriotism.
By this time I figured it was time to call it a night and head indoors. I felt better for some reason after
hearing the music, seeing the plane flyover and thinking about family and friends.
"I'm so lucky." That's all I could say to myself. I'm so lucky to have the opportunities I do and lucky
to have the life of being a patriot of this country affords me.
On Patriot Day Sept. 11, I will not only remember the people who became heroes on Sept. 11, 2001, I will
also remember their friends and families who supported them because that is why we are all patriots.
I encourage everyone, on Patriot Day and every day, to remember what makes you a patriot.
© Copyright 2008 Air Force Print News. All rights reserved. This material may not
be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Test Your Singing Voice
Week of September 08, 2008
Put your voice center stage at MWR's Operation Rising Star. The contest is open to Active Duty,
Reserve, National Guard or family members 18 and older. Get more details at OpRisingStar.com
WHY WOMEN SHOULD VOTE
This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago.
it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.
The women were innocent and defenseless,
but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House
signs asking for the vote.
And by the end of the night, they were barely alive.
Forty prison guards wielding clubs
and their warden's blessing
went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of
'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'
They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping
They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her
head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold.
Her cell mate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing,
dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.
Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror'
on Nov. 15, 1917,
when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists
imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson
's White House
for the right to vote.
For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was
infested with worms.
When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced
a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled
out to the press.http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/suffrage/nwp/prisoners.pdf
Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote.
History is being made.
Finding Home-Based Data Entry Work
Christine Durst, an Air Force mom, and Michael Haaren, an Army veteran and great-grandson of the 15th
Commandant of the Marine Corps, are the founders of virtual-careers training firm Staffcentrix. Chris and Mike also host one of the Internet's largest sources of screened, home-based jobs and related lifestyle resources,
the Rat Race Rebellion.
Staffcentrix' Military Spouse Virtual Assistant (MSVA) Program has enabled graduates to earn over $30M as independent
professionals with portable careers, working from home. The MSVA Program, and Staffcentrix' new Home-Based Career Development
Program? for all DEERS cardholders, are available collectively at over 50 base family centers internationally.
was also the first company to provide virtual-careers training to the US Department of State, with programs now available
at more than 50 consulates and embassies around the world.
Chris, who is credited with founding the Virtual Assistant industry in 1995, and Mike, a former Wall Street attorney, are
also the authors of the popular Virtual Assistant manual, The 2-Second Commute -- Join the Exploding Ranks of Freelance Virtual Assistants. The book, which Fortune Magazine called "a must-read for anyone considering a home-based job," has received over 60 five-star reader reviews at Amazon.
and Mike appear often in the media, including Good Morning America, Consumers Digest, The Wall Street
Journal, Fortune, Business Week, INC. Magazine, The London Times, and radio shows
across the US.
Tara Crooks Article Archives
Data entry is one of the most sought-after home-based jobs. Here are eight tips to make your search more effective:
1. Optimize your resume for virtual work. One of the biggest mistakes jobseekers make is to use a brick-and-mortar
resume to search for virtual work. Revise your conventional resume to emphasize points such as your ability to work independently,
your familiarity with online communication and collaboration tools (instant messaging, Citrix’ GoToMeeting and GoToMyPC,
etc.), and the strengths of your home office.
2. Stick to websites that offer legitimate data entry or administrative work. We’ve compiled a list
of these sites at http://www.ratracerebellion.com/jobs-admin.htm .
3. Manage your expectations, to keep morale up. The data-entry niche is extremely competitive, and most
data-entry work is outsourced to India and other offshore locations. Anticipate that many of your job applications will go
unanswered. (This has become the norm in online job applications generally.) Let your mantra be, “A successful search
will require sustained and focused effort.”
4. Make sure your skills are cutting-edge. As in any field where competition is tough, you’ll need
up-to-the-minute skills to land data entry work. If you need certifications, check low-cost online sources such as Brainbench.com,
and speak to the employment professionals in your base family center about Career Advancement Accounts and other financial
5. Be proactive, and contact smaller businesses directly. Most data-entry jobseekers overlook the most
promising source of work -- the 20 million-plus microenterprises that don’t have the time or inclination to send their
administrative work offshore, and typically postpone hiring in-house staff as long as they can.
To identify the high-growth businesses in this group -- who are most likely to have an excess of administrative work --
check sources such as INC. Magazine 5000, business newspapers or Sunday-edition inserts, as well as business-related radio
and Internet talk shows.
6. Put up a basic website, to give prospective employers a sense of who you are. Many applicants for home-based
administrative work mistakenly assume that a resume and cover letter are the only tools they need. While in some cases this
may be true, you can give yourself an edge with a basic website. (See budget-friendly providers such as GoDaddy.com or PowWeb.com.)
This lets you expand on your resume, highlight additional skills and accomplishments, quote praise from former employers,
To further personalize your site, you may also consider uploading a brief video of yourself highlighting your credentials,
or you can start a professional blog linked to your site. For more, check such services as Blogger.com, TypePad.com, and Helium.)
7. Don’t neglect the local or regional market. Busy Realtors™, lawyers, consultants, and accountants
can be found almost anywhere, and meeting someone face-to-face will always trump virtual introductions. Local or regional
firms in growth mode can be an excellent source of home-based administrative work, and will let you avoid or mitigate the
trust issues that often arise in telework.
8. Don’t forget former employers. If an ex-employer has a good opinion of your work, don’t
overlook the possibility of renewing the relationship virtually. While remote workers are hired every day, it’s often
easier to renew a positive relationship than to start a new one “sight unseen” -- particularly when competition
"Tough" Doesn't Mean "Impossible"
Although searching for high-demand work can be daunting, don’t
let it get you down. Tap into your support circle when you need it, network frequently, and strengthen your tool kit whenever
you can. Every business produces administrative work, and with gas topping $4 per gallon, home-based work arrangements are
becoming more mainstream by the day. Let these facts reinforce you as you pursue your work-at-home goals.
For more information about searching for data-entry work, or to find veterans that are already employed in this field,
visit Military.com’s Veteran’s Career Network.
© 2008 Durst and Haaren. All rights reserved.
Test Your Singing Voice
Week of July 28, 2008
Put your voice center stage at MWR's Operation Rising Star. The contest is open to Active Duty,
Reserve, National Guard or family members 18 and older. Get more information on this contest at www.OpRisingStar.com
Funniest Military Stories Earn Cash
Week of July 28, 2008
The US Naval Institute is offering a cash reward for the funniest military stories! Prizes will be awarded
to the top three contestants based on most votes through the viewer's polling system. Votes can be cast at anytime and will
be recorded in a "real time" format so contributors will have continued access to see where they stand throughout the contest's
duration. You do not have to be a military service member to enter this contest; however, you must have the rights to your
story. The contest will run from Aug. 1, 2008 to midnight EST Sept. 30, 2008. Learn how you can enter and vote.
Space "A" a Great Way to Fly
Week of July 14, 2008
More people are considering Space A travel on military aircraft as an alternative to the high priced
commercial airlines. Unfortunately, a lack of experience and bad information has kept many military people from taking advantage
of Space A. Fortunately, thanks to Dirk Pepperd's Space A Message Board
and John D's Space A FAQ
websites, military travelers can get the inside scoop on how to take advantage of this great benefit.
The following email was
forwarded to me from someone at the squadron. If anyone has a business card they'd like to contribute to help this little
boy achieve his goal, please send it along to him. Imagine, making a dream come true all for the cost of a business
card and a postage stamp.....
SSgt Jason Wildman, 8R200 assigned
to the Thunderbirds, recently received a request to support a 10-yr-old boy, Brandon Raynor, who is trying to break a world
record for collecting business cards. Brandon, who is terminally ill, has already collected 100+ from the Thunderbirds and
has a collection of nearly 18,000 plus cards – he is trying to reach 150,000. If you would like to support Brandon’s
efforts to break the world record, send a business card to SSgt Jason Wildman at 4445 Tyndall Ave, Nellis AFB, NV 89191.
Sergeant Wildman will deliver the cards to Brandon.
Please note that if you choose
to support Brandon, you must send the business card at your own individual expense. Meaning, no government envelopes
or postage can be used.
This message has been approved
We're Leaders, Too
Tara Crooks, or "Household 6" in the Crooks' family, is best known for her ability to motivate and empower
others. Tara's journey with the military began in 1998 when she and her husband PCS'd to their first duty station, Ft Hood.
She is married to her husband, Kevin (US ARMY), and has two beautiful little girls, Wrena & Chloe. Their family, including
two dogs and a cat, is all snuggled in their cozy home in Richmond Hill, GA.
Tara currently writes columns for several
military publications, one of which, can be found here on Military.com. Tara also owns and operates two successful websites,
www.ArmyWifeTalkRadio.com and www.FieldProblems.com.
Featured at CinCHouse.com, Military Spouse Magazine, ClubMom.com, Military.com,
Army.com and more, Army Wife Talk Radio is the original internet talk radio program for military
wives. The tagline, Our Life, Our Family, Our Soldier, says it all. Tara does a weekly internet talk radio broadcast
from the website that features up to date information, tips, and empowerment for spouses.
a self-syndicated question and answer column for military families, is co-authored by Tara Crooks with Star Henderson. Field
Problems™, is available by visiting www.FieldProblems.com.
To find out more about Tara visit her blog, www.TaraCrooks.com.
Listen to the latest edition of Tara's T.A.L.E. an exclusive podcast found right here at military.com. Tara's T.A.L.E. - Talking. Advising.
Learning. Empowering. A Weekly Podcast Sharing Resources, Tips, Conversation, and Encouragment
For The Military Spouse & Family.
Tara Crooks Article Archives
Whatever you do, no matter if you feel like going or not, attend ceremonies and events. Your presence at the event speaks
volumes. Your presence says that "it" (whatever "it" may be) is important.
I was given this really good piece of advice from a very intelligent, fun-loving, inspiring woman I know. She is a woman
I deeply respect for her energy and honesty but mostly because she is "real." She happens to be the wife of an Army general.
Now, I'm sure you want to ask me why it would matter that she is a general's wife. It doesn't. What does matter is her level
of experience along this journey, and the position of leadership that she accepted because of her husband's career.
Let's be frank, rank may not matter but experience does, and usually the two are intertwined. Spouses assume a certain
level of leadership based on their husband's rank. Whether you're the spouse of a sergeant major or the spouse of a Colonel,
there are assumptions and expectations from others that are attached to those years of experience you carry.
I'm sure that when the general's wife gave me this advice she never though it would have mean so much to me, or that she
would profoundly impact the rest of my Army journey. If she did, she never let on. She was just doing her "job," and doing
it well. She was passing on inspiration, knowledge, and advice to a fellow brave soul.
As "seasoned" spouses we forget, we are leaders too. Perhaps it's by default, but nevertheless we are the ones that pave
the way for those who follow. They look to us for examples of how to brave this life. What we do, how we act, is very important
to our environment. We have the power to make or break someone's experience along this journey. You may not realize it but
your actions speak louder than your words ever will.
You've all met the uncommunicative, better-than-you, know-it-all, snob of a colonel's wife haven't you? Don't be her. The
most effective leaders are those that create a positive environment. Show genuine appreciation. Communicate openly. Demonstrate
loyalty to our Army; but don't be afraid to take a stand. Most importantly, be approachable. Be real. Be normal. Be honest
with yourself and humble with others. Credibility is the foundation of leadership. People like people who show they're human.
Too many spouses spend years living the Army life, and think that they know it all. Just because you have done something
before does not mean you know all the answers. You need help from others. No one is an expert. Just about the time you think
you've gotten it figured out the Army will change it.
We need to know that leadership skills come from learning, too. If anything else, we need to learn from our younger generation
and know the struggles they face and realize they may or may not be the same as ours. We need to understand how to reach them,
and how to connect. We shouldn't assume that if we know it, everyone does. We need to find out what other spouses don't know
about Army life, and teach it to them if we're able. But we also need to recognize what they already know, so that we can
We can only do that by opening ourselves up and embracing our leadership roles. We can only lead if we know who is following.
And, real leadership means leading yourself to reach out, ask, participate, and become a part of the bigger picture that is
our own Army family.
© 2008 Tara Crooks. All rights reserved.
Check out the following link for a wonderful rendition of The Star Spangled Banner done by five young ladies all between
the ages of 6-8!
National Anthem Video
Elmo and friends to visit children at bases
By Karen Jowers - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Jun 27, 2008 13:06:45 EDT
If anybody doubts the importance of what Elmo does, think of 4-year-old Kamiaya Sadler.
Kamiaya was in a group of military pre-school children from child development centers in the Washington, D.C., area when
Elmo and his Muppet buddies Rosita and Grover bounced into a room at the Reserve Officers Association building to perform
a preview of their upcoming USO tour for military families.
A few minutes into the performance, as he talked about his dad leaving, Elmo asked, “Do you ever feel sad when you
miss your mommy or daddy?” Without skipping a beat, Kamiaya called out to Elmo, “I miss my daddy!”
It’s what the Sesame Street tour is all about — providing the connections and resources to military families
and helping them understand that they are not alone.
The Muppets’ Sesame Street Experience for Military Families tour kicks off July 8 at Twentynine Palms, Calif., and
proceeds to 42 other installations around the country, ending at Camp Ripley in Little Falls, Minn., on Nov. 2.
It’s the first time in the nearly 40-year history of Sesame Street that the Muppets have done a live outreach program,
said Gary Knell, president and chief executive officer of Sesame Workshop in a June 26 ceremony announcing the tour.
The show will be free. It will include a 20-minute performance by the Muppets, with giveaways and information about resources
for military families with young children. That includes the materials from “Talk, Listen, Connect,” a military outreach program launched by Sesame Workshop in 2006. In videos produced by Sesame Workshop, Elmo and his dad
and mom work through issues related to deployments. Rosita’s dad comes back injured, and Rosita learns to talk to her
father about her feelings. In all the videos, military children and their parents talk about their own experiences in dealing
with these issues.
“Who besides Elmo, Rosita, Grover and their friends is better able to speak to three- to five-year-olds? I can’t
imagine a more credible, reliable or empathetic spokesperson,” said Leslye Arsht, deputy undersecretary of defense for
military community and family policy. She said the Defense Department is grateful for the partnership of those involved in
“Talk, Listen, Connect is especially exciting because it goes after our smallest service members,” said Edward
Powell, president and chief executive officer of USO headquarters. “We know the price they pay when mom or dad goes
away. We know the anxiety. We also know the anxiety when they come home.”
* Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., July 8
* Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Ariz., July 10
* Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, Calif., July 13
* Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, Calif., July 14-15
* Naval Station San Diego, San Diego, Calif., July 18
* Naval Base Ventura County, Ventura, Calif., July 19
* Beale Air Force Base, Yuba City, Calif., July 22
* McChord Air Force Base, Tacoma, Wash., July 24-25
* Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Oak Harbor ,Wash., July 26
* Naval Base Kitsap, Oak Harbor, Wash., July 27
* Mountain Home Air Force Base, Mountain Home, Idaho, July 30
* Hill Air Force Base, Ogden, Utah, Aug. 1
* Fort Carson, Colorado Springs, Colo., Aug. 3-4
* Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas, Aug. 7-8
* Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, Aug 10-11
* Fort Hood, Killeen, Texas, Aug. 13-14
* Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla., Aug 16-17
* Fort Riley, Junction City, Kansas, Aug 20-21
* Offutt Air Force Base, Bellevue, Neb., Aug 23-24
* Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Aug 27-28
* Fort Campbell, Oak Grove, Ky., Aug 30-31
* Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Miss.,Sept 3-4
* Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Milton, Fla., Sept 6-7
* Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla., Sept 9
* Hurlburt Field & Eglin Air Force Base, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Sept. 10-11
* MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Fla., Sept. 13
* Naval Station Mayport, Fla., Sept. 17-18
* Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., Sept. 19-20
* Charleston Air Force Base, SC Sept. 25
* Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, N.C., Sept. 27
* Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, N.C., Oct. 1-2
* Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Oct. 4
* Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., Oct. 5
* Fort Eustis, Va., Oct 7
* Fort Stewart, Ga., Oct. 10-11
* Fort Belvoir, Va., Oct. 14-15
* Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Oct. 16-17
* Fort Dix, N.J., Oct. 18
* Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Oct 23-24
* Pittsburgh Joint Air Reserve Station, Pa., Oct. 26
* Fort Drum, N.Y., Oct 28-29
* Camp Ripley, Little Falls, Minn., Nov 2
Prayer Angels for the Military
Week of June 23, 2008
The Newhall, Calif.-based organization, Prayer Angels for the Military, sends letters and care packages
to our deployed servicemembers. The non-profit military support group comes together to pray for our troops, make cards, write
letters and prepare care packages from home. A laminated Prayer of Protection/Psalm 91 Card will go out with every package.
The organization is staffed by volunteers and funded by private donations. For more information, visit the Prayer Angels for the Military
Find ways to support and honor U.S. military servicemembers and veterans who protect our security and freedom.
Visit the Military.com Support our Troops
AF Marathon Reaches Record
Week of June 23, 2008
The 2008 U.S. Air Force Marathon is well on its way to shattering last year's registration record
of more than 6,700 runners and could approach the 10,000 mark. Registration numbers confirm high interest in both the full
and half marathon. This year's marathon will take place Sept. 20, 2008 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
Runners planning to participate in this year's marathon are encouraged to register early, especially considering the significant
increase in registrants to date. For more information or to register for the marathon, visit the U.S. Air Force Marathon
When you visit this site you can enter your
address and a map will pop up with your house as a small icon of a house. There will be red, blue and green dots surrounding
your entire neighborhood. When you click on these dots a picture of a criminal will appear with his or her home address and
the description of the crime he or she has committed.
best thing is that you can show your children these pictures and see how close these people live to your home or school.
This site was developed by John Walsh from Americas Most Wanted. This is another tool we can use to
help us keep our kids safe.
Education: What’s available to military families
Education is important to service members — whether you’re talking about the quality of schools for children,
opportunities for spouses to further their education or advancing your own education. Education benefits, both personal and
professional, are a mainstay of military service — money for school, the chance to earn a degree while serving and career
DoD Education Activity
Education facilities for children of service members and Defense Department civilians are at a number of installations.
The Defense Department Education Activity oversees these facilities, grouping them into two systems: the stateside Domestic
Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS) and the overseas Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS).
The Defense Department operates 65 DDESS schools, mostly elementary, at 15 installations in eight states, Puerto Rico,
and Cuba, with more than 2,300 education professionals serving about 25,000 students, according to January 2007 DoDEA statistics.
The schools offer pre-kindergarten through 12th grade for eligible children who live on posts or bases.
DoDDS-Europe operates 98 schools in five districts — Bavaria, Heidelberg, Isles, Kaiserslautern and Mediterranean
— and serves 39,000 school-age children of active-duty military and federal civilian employees.
DoDDS-Pacific serves more than 23,000 students enrolled in 45 schools across Japan, South Korea, Okinawa and Guam.
DoDDS is free for children of service members and federal civilian employees. Enrollment is guaranteed for “command-sponsored”
children, those whom the active-duty member has official approval to bring overseas at government expense. Children without
command sponsorship can enroll free if space is available. Nonmilitary children also can enroll if space is available, but
they must pay tuition.
All DoDDS high schools are accredited by the North Central Accreditation Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement.
DDESS high schools are undergoing a phased accreditation by the NCA-CASI.
Beginning with the 2007-08 school year, the DoDEA high school graduation requirement will be 26 credits for students, increasing
Special education programs
DoDEA provides free education to all students with disabilities who are entitled to enroll in the military’s overseas
and stateside schools. The school system serves children with mild to severe disabilities. Programs are offered for children
with learning, physical, communication or emotional impairments.
Preschool services are provided for disabled children as young as 3. Active-duty members must enroll children with disabilities
in the Exceptional Family Member Program, which helps ensure the child’s educational and medical needs can be met.
All the services have the Exceptional Family Member Program, but they organize it a bit differently. The Army and Marine
Corps have their EFMP advocates in installation family centers, while the Navy and Air Force have their EFMP programs and
special-needs coordinators in their medical treatment facilities.
Department of Defense Education Activity, 4040 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203-1635. Overseas schools, (703) 588-3051;
Special education office, (703) 588-3148; http://www.dodea.edu.
The vast majority of military children attend civilian schools, and many make a transition every few years to another school
when their military parent transfers to a new duty location. The Defense Department Web site http://www.militarystudent.dod.mil is designed for students, parents, educators and military officials, with information to help all those involved make the
transition easier for the student, whether the child attends schools operated by the Defense Department or by civilian school
Military Child Education Coalition
Parents, students and educators can find a wealth of information about state requirements and other issues related to military
children’s education at this group’s Web site, http://www.militarychild.org. This organization looks at everything that affects children in their education, from emotional issues related to transition
to differences in states’ policies that make it difficult to transfer from one school to another. Many school districts
that educate large numbers of military children participate in the coalition and often work together, for example, to help
a student meet graduation requirements when transferring late in a high school career.
MCEC’s SchoolQuest, at http://www.schoolquest.org, is an online tool for families on the move who want to learn about future schools that may fit their children’s needs.
It asks questions about relocation plans and each school-aged child’s educational needs, then sorts through a database
of information compiled by its team of researchers to present resources, contact information and transition advice about the
school districts and schools that serve the selected military community.
SAT/ACT preparatory programs. Military families can get a free SAT or ACT preparatory program through a donation by professional
football players who are part of the Victory Sports Group. Go to http://www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil; click on “Donation: VSG/NFL players” on left.
In addition to active-duty personnel, family members can enroll in college programs offered through all service branch
education centers and Navy College offices. The centers may offer some testing services to family members for a fee.
Service academy applicants must be nominated to be considered for appointment. Most receive nominations from members of
Congress. Other sources include presidential nominations for children of career service members, and regular and reserve unit
Applicants must be 17 to 23 years old by July 1 of the year of entrance; a U.S. citizen (except for limited numbers of
applicants from foreign countries); of good moral character; and able to meet academic, physical and medical requirements.
Applicants also must be single, not pregnant and have no legal obligation to support family members. Students are members
of the armed forces and receive a fully funded education and an annual salary that helps pay for uniforms, textbooks, PCs
and incidentals. There is no tuition. The government provides room and board and medical and dental care.
Upon graduation, students receive bachelor’s of science degrees with their commissions. In return, they must serve
five years on active duty and three years in a reserve status.
An extended service commitment applies to Air Force and Navy pilots and navigators.
Contact: Air Force Academy, http://www.usafa.af.mil; U.S. Military Academy at West Point, http://www.usma.edu; Naval Academy, http://www.nadn.navy.mil; Coast Guard Academy, http://www.cga.edu.
Scholarship opportunities for military children and spouses range from the military relief societies’ scholarship
programs to the annual Scholarships for Military Children in conjunction with the Defense Commissary Agency, which offers
numerous $1,500 scholarships. Local chapters of veterans’ service organizations and spouse clubs are also good places
to check for scholarships.
The Defense Department Web site, http://www.militarystudent.dod.mil, and the Military Child Education Coalition, http://www.militarychild.org, offer information and links to some scholarships for military children.
Some scholarships are offered to a broad population, others to a more limited group.
For example, the Alaska Sea Services Scholarship Fund awards four $1,000 scholarships annually. Applicants must be the
dependent child or spouse of a legal resident of Alaska who is (or was at the time of death or missing-in-action status) a
regular or reserve Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard member on active duty, inactive duty or retired with or without pay.
Applications are accepted by the Navy League, which also endows a number of other scholarship programs. Contact: http://www.navyleague.org.
The American Legion publishes a 152-page book titled “Need a Lift?” with detailed information on scholarships
for military families. For a copy of the book, send a check or money order for $3.95 to The American Legion, National Emblem
Sales, P.O. Box 1050, Indianapolis, IN 46206-1050. For credit card orders, call (888) 453-4466; http://www.legion.org.
This site offers free news and guidance and can be used as a scholarship search tool.
SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid
Information for researching financial resources is available at http://www.finaid.org.
U.S. Education Department
In 2007, the department will provide more than $80 billion in financial aid to help students and families pay for education.
Programs such as Free Application for Federal Student Aid benefit civilian and military students. Contact: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov, http://www.ed.gov, or http://www.studentaid.ed.gov.
Did You Know?
The Military Family Resource Center on the Military Homefront Web site, http://www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil, has information for military families with special medical or education needs.
Operation Never Forgotten
Week of March 17, 2008
A troop-support group in a small southern Michigan town is working to raise public awareness and appreciation
for troops and their families. "Operation Never Forgotten" bridges the gap between our military and civilian worlds by creating
nonpartisan national awareness advertising for our troops, veterans and their families. The organization has rolled out more
than 500 billboards across America on highways and in airports from Times Square to Los Angeles. The billboards display an
unmistakable military theme with phrases encouraging viewers to remember and support the military and their families and the
sacrifices they make. For more information, visit the Operation Never Forgotten
Find ways to support and honor U.S. military servicemembers and veterans who protect our security and freedom.
Visit the Military.com Support our Troops
Fitness DVD Released for Military Spouses
NikkiFitness Helps Keep Wives in Shape While Husbands Deployed
(New York, NY) - When Laura E.'s husband was sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, she was left with a seemingly impossible to-do
list. She had to handle all the household chores, pay the bills, take care of her young daughter, complete her graduate degree,
and work a full-time job-not to mention worry about her husband at the same time. She felt lonely and exhausted, and didn't
think she had time for anything else, especially exercising. As her stress and to-do list increased, and her fitness level
dropped, she reached out to a long-time friend and fitness instructor for a solution.
"Laura and I live far away from each other, so taping a workout was the only way to act as her virtual personal trainer,"
explained Nikki, creator of the NikkiFitness Military Wife Workout (MWW). "She asked for a video that would combine all muscle
groups and cardio in just half an hour, so I made this DVD for her and all other military wives like her. It's perfect for
anyone whose husband or boyfriend spends a lot of time away from home."
Shop for the NikkiFitness DVD
During the DVD creation, Nicole began a monthly fitness column for www.military.com, which led to hundreds of emails and
phone conversations with other military wives. They all struggle with the issue of staying in shape while their family members
The MWW combines cardio intervals with combination upper and lower body moves to get every major muscle group toned within
30 minutes. A warm-up and stretch is included, as well as modifications and challenge adaptations for any fitness level. It
is now available on Amazon.com.
Different than traditional fitness DVD, the MWW will not show a studio full of women doing the same old routine. It's shot
in scenic locations around New York City, with quick edits to keep people entertained and visually stimulated.
Also, in the spirit of YouTube and iPod and thousands of products tailored to individual tastes, one generic sountrack
isn't forced on participants. The DVD sends exercisers to http://www.nikkifitness.com/ for their own playlist suggestions in many different genres. Each workout can include new music.
For more information, a biography, video demo, press clips, columns, photos and letters from other military wives and mothers,
log on to www.nikkifitness.com Cover illustration by SophiesPhilosophies.com NikkiFitness and the Military Wife Workout have
been featured in Fitness Magazine, Military.com, Military Spouse Magazine, USA Today's Open Air Magazine, CNBC, Woman's Day,
Canadian Defense Review and Women's Health.
Nikki Fitness is a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, writer and publicist living in New York City. She started
as a cheerleader at Syracuse University, but became certified in fitness before her beach wedding so that she could get back
in shape. Laura, a graduate student, working mom, and military wife, inspired Nikki's Military Wife Workout (MWW) for all
military wives. Find more articles at the Nikki Fitness article archive. To contact Nikki with your fitness question, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SHE is, the USS New York, made from the World Trade Center !
was built with 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center .
is the fifth in a new class of warship - designed for missions that include special operations against terrorists. It will
carry a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft.
from the World Trade Center was melted down in a foundry in Amite , LA to cast the ship's bow section. When it was poured
into the molds on Sept. 9, 2003 , those big rough steelworkers treated it with total reverence," recalled Navy Capt. Kevin
Wensing, who was there. "It was a spiritual moment for everybody there."
Chavers, foundry operations manager, said that when the trade center steel first arrived, he touched it with his hand and
the "hair on my neck stood up." "It had a big meaning to it for all of us," he said. "They knocked us down. They can't keep
us down. We're going to be back."
For those of you who are really into collecting military coins, and supporting a great cause, check out the following
The CMSAF Scholarship Fund coin
web site is up and running www.cmsafcoin.com
and sales are starting. These coins and the idea came from Retired MSgt Dale Nelson, a long time AFSA and AF supporter. The
coins were developed at no cost to us and will be sold online and by other means with the entire amount over the coins cost
going to the Scholarship fund - presently we believe it will be $5.00+ for each coin sold. We, the former Chiefs, solicit
any support you can give to get the word out about the web site and the coins.
Providing Scholarships is What We Do
The Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force (CMSAF) Scholarship Program annually
awards full-time undergraduate students who are dependent children of active duty, or retired enlisted members of the U.S.
Air Force, Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve Command. Applicants must be under the age of 23, and have a minimum 3.5
GPA. High school graduates must also have a minimum 1650 SAT score or minimum 24 ACT score. Proof of sponsor's military status,
and two essays must be included with application packet. Students may also submit additional information concerning extenuating
circumstances for consideration.
Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft
Watching over your finances can prevent big problems
by Ellie Kay
Due to new federal consumer protection laws, everyone is allowed to receive
one free copy of their credit report per year from each of the three credit report agencies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Since there are three, it means you can get a free copy every four months. Remind yourself to order one of the
three free credit report copies every four months. This tiny tip can save you big bucks and/or a major migraine when
it comes to identity theft or other credit-related headaches.
What else can you do to keep yourself safe from the ever-growing threat
of identity theft? Learn to identify the latest scams:
Never give your social security number, account numbers, date of birth or
other personal information via e-mail or on the phone unless you initiated the contact. Most major Internet sites and
financial institutions have been targeted, including Citibank, PayPal, eBay, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, the Internal Revenue
Service and America Online. These scams usually show up in your inbox with a message from the “System Administrator”
telling you to perform some urgent maintenance on your account.
This attempt to obtain your information has been around for at least 10
years and is sent out to victims via letter, fax or e-mail. The message states the sender has millions of dollars and
needs help to transfer it out of Nigeria or other African countries.
This is the second-most reported consumer fraud complaint to the FTC, totaling
51,000 auction complaints in 2005. The fraud is simple—put up a fake ad on eBay, let someone “win”
the bid and send in their money, but never send out the merchandise. To avoid such scams, make sure the seller has an
established history before you click “buy.”
IDENTITY THEFT OR CREDIT REPAIR
The FTC has warned that some companies that claim to be identity-theft prevention
companies are scam artists trying to get your driver’s license number, mother’s maiden name, Social Security number
and credit and bank account numbers. If you are unsure about a firm, check it out with the Better Business Bureau at
If someone calls you on the telephone and offers you the chance to receive
a major prize but insists on gathering personal data first, ask them to send a written application in the mail. If they
refuse, then hang up.
CREDIT CARD APPLICATIONS
Consider getting a secure mailbox (key access), since many identity thieves
like to take your mail directly from the box (or from the trash), fill out your credit card applications and put their address
in the information box. Always shred credit card applications and contact your credit card companies to never release
this information to other companies.
Want to thank a service member for serving but are not within earshot? Watch the following to learn how....
Feel like baking a little something for the next holiday gathering? Try one of the great recipes below!
Win a one-of-a-kind Warriors in Pink Mustang!
The following drawing for a pink Mustang is sponsored by Ford for their "Warriors In Pink" Breast Cancer Awareness campaign.
Take your fight against breast cancer to the streets. Enter for a chance to win a one-of-a-kind Warriors in Pink Mustang.
A legend through and through, this grand prize custom Mustang is designed to unleash your inner Warrior spirit.
Two additional winners could also have a chance to take home custom Warriors in Pink prize packages from cool gear to an
Every entry raises awareness, so join the fight and enter the One-of-a-Kind Warriors in Pink Mustang Sweepstakes by December
Pink Mustang Giveaway
Holiday Decorating-Military Style!
Using local holiday traditions to decorate
by Joan Gaither
One of the many perks of being in the military is having an opportunity to observe or participate
in the holiday traditions of other cultures and, most importantly, bringing little tidbits back to incorporate into
your own holiday design plan.
Joanie’s tip: One important tradition we started when our children were toddlers was
giving each child a small tree in their room to decorate as he or she liked. I remember years of Barbie-doll shoes and accessories
and miniature racecars on the children’s trees.
We have managed over the years to gather a huge collection of “junque” from other countries,
and we use the treasures only during the holidays. Germany, the home of Christmas ornaments, has the mother lode of incredible
glass artwork. Hawaii is famous for its Emgee ornaments, and you don’t want to miss a chance to get them. Use a child’s
hula skirt for the tree skirt, and presto—an island Christmas.
Here in the Southwest we use raffia and chili peppers for decorations. One of my most-talked-about
door wreaths was a large straw wreath wrapped in strips cut out of a serape. I put a medium-size Santa in the middle, threw
a small serape over his shoulder, put a small Mexican sombrero on his head, and finished by glue-gunning to the wreath tiny
terra-cotta flowerpots filled with red and green straw flowers. The last few seasons, I used a large serape as a tree
skirt on my large tree.
One of my favorite design tools is a dear tree completely void of foliage. One particularly dramatic
one was sprayed glossy black. I found about a dozen slightly chipped terra-cotta pots at a closeout sale, and I painted those
black. I put inexpensive red and green balls on the tree, and put red poinsettias in the pots, which I had placed in three
big groups. It was stunning. The year I flocked one of the trees, I decorated only with pinecones painted silver or gold.
If you are space challenged, cut off the branches to make one side flat so the tree will fit against a wall. I once helped
a design client decorate for Hanukkah; we painted the tree silver, and used blue balls and ribbons.
One of our most enjoyable military traditions, which we began years ago, was asking family members
for a token ornament for our family tree as a remembrance. It made us feel a little closer to those who were not with us at
Della robbia, the use of fresh fruit in wreaths and arrangements, is popular in the North and the
East. Remember, the pineapple is the English symbol of hospitality.
I recently met a family who plan to decorate their house with a tree to celebrate the day Daddy
comes home from Iraq. They plan to make it an annual event. Now, how special is that?
This article was reprinted from Military Spouse Magazine (milspouse.com.)
Be sure to check out their website for more interesting articles about life in the military.
North Pole Postmark and Other Christmas Postmarks
You can add more flair to your Christmas letters by adding
a special Christmas postmark to the envelopes. One of the most popular is the North Pole postmark from North Pole, Alaska,
but there are approximately 100 towns and cities in the United States with names related to the holidays, and more than a
dozen offer special holiday postmarks.
To take advantage of this
free service, simply address, seal and place postage stamps on the envelopes containing your Christmas
letter or Santa letter, and place them in a larger envelope and send to the attention of Christmas
Re-Mailing at the appropriate post office (see below).
For the North Pole, Alaska postmark, address your envelope to: North Pole Christmas
Cancellation, Postmaster, 5400 Mail Trail, Fairbanks, AK 99709-9999.
To ensure delivery in time for Christmas, items should be received at the post
office by Dec. 15.
US Cities with Holiday-Themed Names
in red with * offer special holiday postmark designs
||Angeles PR 00611
Camp CA 95222
*Antler ND 58711
Antlers OK 74523
Bell CA 90201
Bell FL 32619
Bethlehem CT 06751
*Bethlehem GA 30620
Bethlehem IN 47104
Bethlehem MD 21609
Bethlehem NH 03574
*Bethlehem PA 18016
Blessing TX 77419
Cherrylog GA 30522
Chestnut IL 62518
Christmas FL 32709
Christmas MI 49862
Valley OR 97641
Elkwood VA 22718
Evergreen AL 36401
Evergreen CO 80439
Evergreen LA 71333
Evergreen NC 28438
Evergreen NC 28438
Evergreen VA 23939
Faith NC 28041
Faith SD 57626
*Frost MN 56033
Frost TX 76641
Garland ME 04939
Garland NC 28441
Garland NE 68360
Garland TX 75040
Garland UT 84312
Holiday Island AR 72631
*Holly CO 81047
Hope AK 99605
Hope AR 71801
*Hope ID 83836
Hope IN 47246
*Hope KS 67451
Hope KY 40334
Hope MI 48628
*Hope MN 56046
Hope NJ 07844
Hope NM 88250
Hope RI 02831
Jerusalem AR 72080
Joseph City AZ 86032
AZ 86032 |
Joseph OR 97846
Joy IL 61260
Mount Holly NC 28120
Nazareth KY 40048
Nazareth MI 49074
*Nazareth PA 18064
Nazareth TX 79063
New Hope PA 18938
*Noel MO 64854
*North Pole AK 99709
North Pole NY 12946
Partridge KS 67566
Partridge KY 40862
Rudolph OH 43462
Rudolph WI 54475
Saint Joseph IL 61873
Saint Joseph LA 71366
*Saint Joseph MI 49085
Saint Joseph MN 56374
Saint Joseph MO 64501
Saint Joseph TN 38481
Saint Mary KY 40063
Saint Mary MO 63673
Saint Marys AK 99658
Saint Marys GA 31558
Saint Marys IA 50241
Saint Marys IN 46556
Saint Marys KS 66536
Saint Marys OH 45885
Saint Marys PA 15857
*Saint Marys WV 26170
Santa Claus GA
*Santa Claus IN 47579
*Santa ID 83866
Shepherd MI 48883
Shepherd MT 59079
Shepherd TX 77371
Snow Camp NC 27349
Snow Hill NC 28580
Snow Lake AR 72379
Snow OK 74567
Snow Shoe PA
Snowflake AZ 85937
Spruce MI 48762
St. Mary's City MD 20686
Star City AR 71667
*Star MS 39167
*Star NC 27356
Star TX 76880
*Starlight PA 18461
Winterville GA 30683
Wiseman AR 72587
10 Christmas Letter Writing Tips
1. Be yourself – For some reason, people often feel the
need to include "big" words in their Christmas letter that they’d never use in real life. Stick
to words you use in your everyday English. It will help your readers "hear" you when they're reading.
2. Don't exaggerate - There is a tendency among some Christmas letter writers to try to make every daily event sound as if it's the
discovery of the Holy Grail. Don't embellish the truth. The events will speak for themselves. For an example of how not
to write a Christmas letter, see this parody from Fun for the Holidays.
3. Keep it short – Try
to focus on the highlights of your year - the best things that happened to you, the funniest events, the most important changes
in your life. In most cases, your Christmas letter shouldn't exceed one or two typed pages.
4. Avoid unnecessary adjectives - This is a follow-up
to rules #1 and #2 above. Excessive use of adjectives that
you'd never use in everyday conversation is a common pitfall for many Christmas letter writers. Avoid sentences such
as, “My beautiful wife Jane and I took our wonderful kids to the fabulous city of New
York and spent exciting hours visiting the incredible museums." Keep the modifiers to a minimum.
5. Write for your audience – Do you send your Christmas letter just to
close friends and family who already know the details of your everyday life? Or to casual acquaintances and business associates?
Your letter should entertain the people who aren't intimately familiar with your daily happenings without
boring those who are.
6. Make it visually appealing - Your letter
will be more interesting if you include photos, clip art, or other images. Photos will liven up any Christmas letter, and
many people find it easier to describe one photo at a time than to chronicle an entire year. You can get an inexpensive one-week
membership to Clipart.com to get access to over 2 million images or buy Christmas stationery. The more art you have, the less text you need to write.
7. Be creative - A Christmas
letter doesn't have to be a letter at all. See some of our creative Christmas letter ideas for fun ways to give your annual holiday update a fresh new look.
8. Add a personal note
- A quick handwritten note at the bottom of each recipient's Christmas letter will make the update feel more personal and
less like an anonymous form letter.
9. Read it aloud - Read your letter aloud, or have someone
else read it to you. Does it flow well? Is it interesting to listen to? If not, you might want to rewrite some
10. Have fun! - Remember that Christmas letter writing
is an opportunity to have fun and keep others up to date about what you and your family have been doing all
year. It shouldn’t feel like a chore to write your letter - or to read it. If it does,
you’re doing something wrong.
Once again this year NORAD will be tracking Santa's Christmas Eve Trek... if you'd like to find out more about it, check
out the following website.
Beginning at 2:00 am MTN on Christmas Eve, you can track Santa Live as he makes his historical journey around the world!
This is exciting, as Santa travels fast and NORAD Santa Cams take photos of Santa and his reindeer!
NORAD Santa Tracker
In anticipation of the upcoming holiday, for those of you who haven't yet seen it, this house is awesome!
Carson Williams' Christmas House
Netlore Archive: Emailed video of Carson Williams' suburban house decorated with animated Christmas lights synchronized
to 'Wizards of Winter' by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Description: Emailed video
Circulating since: Nov 2005
Email example contributed by Nancy C., 23 November 2005:
Subject: FW: Christmas Light Mania
This is something else.
Carson Williams from Mason, Ohio used 88 Light-O-Rama channels to control his 16,000 christmas lights. The music is
mesmerizing, the light display is enchanting, and I'd go crazy if I were his next door neighbor. So enjoy this clip and be
happy we're in a different zipcode.
Comments: The video is real. This amazing animated Christmas display, computer-synchronized to a rousing rendition
of "Wizards in Winter" by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, was constructed in 2004 by Carson Williams of Mason, Ohio using programmable
light controllers and software made by Light-O-Rama of Garfield, New Jersey. The music was broadcast on FM radio so visitors could listen to it as they drove by the house in
The video itself, circulating since November 2005, has become an Internet favorite and turned Williams into a minor celebrity.
He built a new display for the 2005 holiday season which had to be shut down well before Christmas, unfortunately, because
it caused traffic congestion in the neighborhood.
2007 Update: "Christmas in Lights" returns to Heritage Oaks Park in Mason, Ohio on Thanksgiving weekend. The 2007
display, again designed by Carson Williams, consists of two facades decorated with 65,000 lights synchronized to a musical
score, plus a projected video performance by the Mason High School Wind Symphony. Full story...
2006 Update: Carson Williams' "Christmas in Lights" is back for 2006, this time installed in Mason, Ohio's Heritage
Oaks Park. The new display consists of two full-size replicas of the facade of Williams' house, again decorated with tens
of thousands of lights synchronized to music by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Williams has also designed Christmas displays
for other cities, including Wheeler, West Virginia and Denver, Colorado. Full story...
2006 video: 2006 'Christmas in Lights' in Mason, OH by Carson Williams (via YouTube).
2006 video: 2006 'Symphony of Lights' in Denver, CO by Carson Williams and Parker 3D (via YouTube).
The following can be ordered for $7.65 through the Air Force Times Military Marketplace by
clicking the link below... you can also enter their $100 shopping sweepstakes.
The Soldier's Night Before Christmas