New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
DMAVA Highlights 22 November 2006

Volume 5, Number 48


Contacting us is easy!

Public Affairs Office

Phone: (609) 530-7088
Fax: (609) 530-6963



Veterans' Organizations Contact Information

State Veterans Service Council
Mr. Richard Clark
RJClark21@msn.com

NJ Advisory Committee for Women Veterans
Mrs. Anna Hoffman
hoffmanannem@aol.com

BG Willam C. Doyle Cemetery Advisory Council
Mr. William Rakestraw
warjrnj@msn.com



Veterans Hotlines

Benefits & Entitlements
1-888-8NJ-VETS
(1-888-865-8387)

Mental Health
1-866-VETS-NJ4
(1-866-838-7654)



DMAVA Highlights Archive

DMAVA Highlights Archive Page



NJ World War II Memorial

For information or to make a donation, call 609-530-7049

WWII Memorial on the web



New Jersey Freedom Loans

What is a Freedom Loan?
* Up to $10,000
* Annual APR 6%
* Term: 5 years (no pre-payment penalty)
* Unsecured Loan (no collateral required)

Who is eligible to apply?
NJ residents who are:
* Members of the National Guard or Reserve
* Mobilized for one year or longer to fight in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) - excluding routine training.

Or

* Served 90 or more consecutive days in the GWOT on federal or state active duty (excluding routing training) and have received orders extending cumulative active duty a year or longer.

How do I apply?
* Contact participating banks. Call or visit your local branch office to obtain an application.
* Guardmembers, Reservists, or family members with Power of Attorney must submit copies of current mobilization orders with the bank's Freedom Loan application.

Current participants:
Commerce Bank
1-888-751-9000

Credit Union of NJ
609-538-4061, ext. 401

First Morris Bank & Trust
1-888-530-2265

Manasquan Savings Bank
732-223-4450

North Jersey Federal Credit Union
1-888-78NJFCU

Peapack-Gladstone Bank (908)
719-BANK

Pennsville National Bank
856-678-6006

PNC
1-866-PNC-4USA

Sovereign Bank
1-877-391-6365

Sun National Bank
1-800-691-7701



Quote of the Week

“A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying…that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.”  

Jonathan Swift

Download PDF Version of this week's highlights
Happy Thanksgiving!!

News for your Views

Holiday gift giving suggestions for military, veterans, others

The holidays are coming.  The stores are loaded with items for sale, lists are at the ready from the children in our lives and the cooler weather brings thoughts of snow, sleds and the winter holidays.  Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa, gifting is often part of the festivities.

Some people cannot be with family or friends during this holiday season and you can help them find some joy in their lives.  Maybe a gift to an organization in a loved one’s name will bring a smile that special person and holiday joy to someone that truly needs your help.

Here are some suggestions for your holiday gift giving.

Go to www.americasupportsyou.mil.  “America Supports You” is a nationwide program launched by the Department of Defense recognizing support of our military men and women and communicates that support to members of our Armed Forces at home and abroad.  If it is sending an e-mail or packing up items to send to a service member or sewing a blanket or writing a letter; “America Supports You” can find a group that does that for the members of the military and their families. 

When you walk through the store, do the rows of toys call your name, drawing you in to explore and make you want to buy?  Maybe you should think about the Toys for Tots program.  The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a shiny new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to needy youngsters that will motivate them to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders.  Visit their web site, http://www.toysfortots.org/default.asp , to find out more about the program.

Closer to home, Veterans Haven has a wish list that includes items such as: personal hygiene items for men and women, sweat pants and shirts in various sizes, twin size sheet sets and blankets, pre-paid phone cards, scarves and gloves, and more. Call Robert Sauselein, Veterans Haven superintendent at 609-561-4948, ext 103 if you have any questions or need to drop off items.

The Paramus Memorial Veterans Home has a large list of wishes for the veterans who live there.  Items start with monetary donations to cover everything from the maintenance on the aquariums in the dayrooms to trips and outings for the veterans.  The list continues for requests of various furniture items on to CDs, DVDs, clothing of all types and sizes, electronic items, personal hygiene items, and lots of miscellaneous items to include: batteries of all sizes, magnifying glasses, eyeglass repair kits, sports bottles, postage stamps for personal mail and lots more. Call Susan Pettigrano, director of Volunteer Services, 201-634-8504, if you have questions or need to drop off items.

If you live closer to Menlo Park Veterans Home, some of their wish list items include DVD players, portable CD players, extra large T-shirts, universal remote controls, large face watches, white tube socks, wheelchair cushions, electric razors and full-size blankets.  Call Ed Weisenhorn, director of Volunteer Services, 732-452-4133, for questions or to drop off items.

Finally, Vineland Veterans Home’s wish list consists of computer supplies, DVDs and CDs, new Velcro sneakers and shoes in all sizes, tennis balls, phone cards, batteries in all sizes, talking watches, various types of personal hygiene items, coffee beans and large wheelchair bags and wheelchair cup holders.

If you would like a copy of the wish lists of Vets Haven and the three Veterans Homes, drop an e-mail to Barbara.harbison@njdmava.state.nj.us and a copy of the lists will be sent to you.

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ChalleNGe works at Doyle cemetery on environmental projects

The Brig. Gen. William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery has been working towards designation as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.  There are currently only four cemeteries in the Nation with this designation.  Under the direction and guidance of Louis Koceja Sr and Joe Sharp, cadets from the New Jersey Youth ChalleNGe Academy arrived at the cemetery on Nov. 9, ready to assist with various environmental enhancement projects.   They hung bluebird nesting boxes and various types of feeders (from suet to seed feeders).  They also assisted with enhancing the under-story on the property and the pond echo system.

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108th ARW deploys to Incirlik AB, Turkey

The 108th Air Refueling Wing deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom Sept. 27-Nov. 4.

More than a hundred service members from McGuire’s “super tanker wing” took over the 90th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron and the 90th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron (both of which belong to the 385th Air Expeditionary Group) to support Air Mobility Command operations by providing aerial refuelings via the 108th’s KC-135E Stratotankers.

Although many of the 108th’s KC-135s date back to the late 1950s, there weren’t any major mechanical complications. “We only lost one mission to date due to a hydraulics problem. Other than that, everything (was) 100 percent,” said Col. Kevin J. Keehn, the 385 AEG deployed deputy commander.

After a successful deployment, the last group of 108th personnel packed up and left Incirlik Nov. 4.

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MOAA offers scholarships

The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) has a scholarship program for the children of MOAA members as well as the children of active duty, retired, Reserve and National Guard enlisted military personnel.  The application period for the 2007-2008 school year begins Nov. 1, 2006 and the deadline is March 1, 2007.  Members of the New Jersey Army and Air National Guard who are interested, can learn more about the scholarship program, by visiting the MOAA website, www.moaa.org, and clicking on “Educational Aid.”

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ACS at Fort Dix offers programs to Soldiers and family members

The Army Community Service (ACS) office at Ft Dix has several programs to support the Soldier and his/her family during mobilization and deployment.  Their number is (609) 562-2767 or (800) 877-2380 and they are located in Building 5201 at Maryland Ave and 8th Street.  Some of the programs available are:

- Army Emergency Relief:  Provides emergency financial assistance to active duty military personnel, retirees, National Guard and Reserve Component on active duty for over 30 consecutive days and their family members (with ID Card and power of attorney).

- Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP):  Entitles member to additional benefits through TRICARE's Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) Program.  Provides information, referrals, crisis intervention, community support and assistance to meet individual needs.

- Family Advocacy Program:  Provides for the identification, reporting, prevention, and treatment of child abuse and domestic violence.

- Employment Readiness Program:  Offers information and referral for employment, education (resume writing, interviewing), volunteer & training opportunities.

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Veterans Haven growing, changing

Veterans Haven is busy with renovations! The bathrooms on both the second and third floors along with the female staff bathrooms our currently being totally refurbished.  Veterans Haven just converted a formal office into another living quarters and now house 55 residents instead of 54.  Every room provided is just another plus in us being able to help our homeless veterans.

The staff at Vets Haven would like to thank the Hamilton Family – Debbie and Ken Hamilton and family – who is providing a full course turkey dinner for all our Veterans on Thanksgiving Day.  The Hamiltons have been doing this now for the last four years.

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NJ Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Foundation, DMAVA mark Veterans Day

At 11 a.m. on Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11, 2006 (on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, as per tradition), the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation, with assistance from the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, held its annual Memorial Day ceremony at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Holmdel.

Approximately 500 people attended the commemorative event, surrounded by the circular, black granite wall bearing the names of 1,560 New Jerseyans whose lives were lost in the Vietnam War.

The guest speaker was U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Gunnery Sergeant Robert Hislip, 6th Motor Transport Battalion, Red Bank, NJ. GySgt. Hislip, who served in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm and was activated for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, said it was important to celebrate and praise all veterans.  “I believe in this country and our way of life.  This country is unlike any other, and I’m glad to be an American,” he said.   

Kelly Watts, Executive Director of the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation, assisted by New Jersey Vietnam Veteran and NJVVMF Volunteer George Dousis, next announced that the Memorial Foundation recently inducted three Vietnam Veterans into the “In Memory” program.  “In Memory” honors those veterans who had served tours of duty in Vietnam and returned home, but died later as a result of their tour.  The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans so honored were Army veteran Clifford T. Briggs, Jr., of Freehold, Army veteran Anthony Ciccia, of Matawan, and Army veteran Carl J. Lewis, of Point Pleasant.  Pavers, engraved with their names, were added to the “In Memory” walk in the Memorial’s courtyard, in the shade of the centerpiece Red Oak tree, the State Tree of New Jersey.

Accompanied by the playing of “Amazing Grace” by Bagpiper Lance Evans, wreaths were then placed under the Oak tree and facing the Fallen Soldier statue by various veteran and service organizations. 

Following the ceremony, attendees enjoyed an Open House at the adjacent Vietnam Era Educational Center.

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National Guard Militia Museum certified as USAFC organization

The National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey has been granted certification as a qualified USA Freedom Corps organization.

According to the USA Freedom Corps web site, President Bush created USA Freedom Corps (USAFC) to build on the countless acts of service, sacrifice, and generosity that followed September 11th.  When he announced USAFC in his 2002 State of the Union Address, President Bush called on all Americans to serve a cause greater than themselves.  Over the past four years, USAFC has helped Americans answer that call, and the American people are responding.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 65.4 million Americans volunteered in 2005.

The Museum will be recognizing its volunteers who have answered the call to take the time to make a difference in the lives of others.  They will be presenting the following awards:

President’s Volunteer Service Award – Bronze level to U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, John T. Dempster, Jr. Division

President’s Volunteer Service Award – silver lever to 112th Field Artillery Association

Other individual volunteers will be honored and receive awards at the annual volunteer luncheons held in Sea Girt and Lawrenceville in the fall.

For more information on USAFC, visit http://www.usafreedomcorps.gov/Default.asp.

TRICARE Website improved

TRICARE beneficiaries now have a new, one-stop website that incorporates both the TRICARE Online site and the old TRICARE.osd.mil page. The new official website for all TRICARE information is now http://www.tricare.mil/. TRICARE officials boast they have reorganized the website with beneficiaries in mind. They can now go to one site to look up benefit information, schedule an appointment at their military treatment facilities, or track claims. Everything is in one place making the site easier to use.

The new TRICARE.mil portal comprises five main content areas:

- My Health (TRICARE Online) - personal health information and online appointment scheduling for TRICARE Prime enrollees enrolled at military treatment facilities (check with your facility for instructions on how to schedule online appointments using the TRICARE.mil website).

- My Benefit - TRICARE benefit information

- MHS Staff - resources for Military Health System staff members

- TRICARE Providers - information for TRICARE network providers

- Pressroom - the latest news about TRICARE and the military health system

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Fill Your Date Book

State employee blood donation challenge on Dec. 7

New Jersey Blood Donor Campaign – “Give the Gift of Life” this holiday season.  New Jersey is facing a severe chronic blood shortage that could affect our citizens.  In the past, New Jersey could always count on other states to help when blood supplies were low.  No more!  Other states are facing the same critical shortages and are unable to assist New Jersey during the 2006 holiday season.  New Jersey is embarking on an ambitious campaign by launching for the first time, a State Employee Blood Challenge on Dec. 7 at the Sovereign Bank Arena.  Our department’s Blood Challenge Liaison, Ernie Razzano, 609-530-6767, and our Blood Drive Coordinator, Mr. Jack Stoffa, 609-530-6855, will provide specifics by e-mail to all Department Employee Personnel, pertaining to the blood donation times on Dec. 7.

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Holiday party at Drumthwacket for families of deployed Soldiers

There will be a Holiday get together for spouses, parents and children of Soldiers currently deployed.  The event will take place on Dec. 9, from 1-3 p.m., at Drumthwacket, the Official Residence of the Governor of New Jersey. Those interested in attending need to contact your FRG President as soon as possible and provide the names of those attending and the ages of any children.   There will be a Santa to give away little gift bags to all the children.  Deadline for submission of names of attendees is November 22.  For direction go to: www.drumthwacket.org

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Honorable Mention

New legal assistance program available for NJ Reservists who deployed

The New Jersey State Bar Association, through its Military Law and Veterans' Affairs Committee, in conjunction with McCarter & English, L.L.P. has established the Military Legal Assistance Program. This pro bono program provides assistance to New Jersey residents who have served overseas in either Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom as active duty members of reserve components of the armed forces after September 11, 2001.

Thousands of New Jersey residents serving in the armed forces reserves have been deployed overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan. Many of them will be or have been adversely affected by reason of their status, change of status, or long deployment. Therefore, there is an anticipated need for legal assistance for these military personnel in civil matters.

The Military Legal Assistance Program has been created to assist such military personnel with their legal needs. The Program offers assistance in three areas: Family Law, Employment Law, Debtor-Creditor Law.

To be eligible for the program, an individual must:

  • 1. be a New Jersey resident;
  • 2. be a member of the reserve components of the armed forces (Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Navy Reserve, Marine Corp Reserve, etc.); and
  • 3. have been called to active duty and deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001.

Eligible personnel should call 888-541-1900 to request assistance.

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CFC ends last week of November

The Combined Federal Campaign ends the last week of November.  It’s time to get those forms in if you are planning on contributing to any of the charities or services listed in the booklet.  Please give the completed forms to your local representative.  Make sure to keep the last copy for your records.  Thanks again for your help.  NJDMAVA’s contribution last year was $1,558.50 – we can do better this year.  We are off to a good start with the returns received for a total of $1,312.50 in donations and pledges thus far.

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Discounts offered for State employees

Are you a state employee looking to save a few $$$? Visit http://www.state.nj.us/personnel/discounts/index.htm and you can find a number of businesses who offer discounts to New Jersey state employees.  From amusement parks to fitness to computer to phones and lots of other discounts between, you will find many ways to save money. For more information on each discount, please contact Patty Smith at patty.smith@njdmava.state.nj.us or call 609-530-6847.

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Free Military Handbooks on website

Military Handbooks has announced the launch of its new website and the release of its latest seven FREE handbooks for military personnel.  Military Handbooks is a small company owned and operated by former federal employees and veterans. Their offices are located in Alexandria, Va.   

These free handbooks were written specifically for military members. To get your own copies of these free handbooks, simply go to their new website: www.militaryhandbooks.com  The handbooks include: 

     - 2007 U.S. Military Handbook
     - 2007 U.S. Military Retired Handbook
     - 2007 Getting Uncle Sam To Pay For Your College Degree
     - 2007 After The Military Handbook
     - 2007 Benefits For Veterans And Dependents Handbook
     - 2007 Veterans Healthcare Benefits Handbook
     - 2007 Military Children's Scholarship Handbook 

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“Slick Deals for Soldiers” on AKO

Do you have an AKO account?  Those Soldiers, family members and guests who have an Army Knowledge Online account can use the latest addition to the Web site: Slick Deals for Soldiers.  Here you can find deals to purchase calling cards and discounts on your phone services, discounts when purchasing a computer, free antivirus software for your computer, deals on car rentals and purchases, travel deals, theme park discounts and other coupons and discounts for Soldiers and their family members.  So the next time you log onto www.us.amy.mil to check your e-mail or find a regulation or one of the other many things available on AKO, stop by Slick Deals to see if you can find a good deal for your wallet.

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Insurance for members of the Officers or Enlisted Association

ARE YOU COVERED? National Guard Association of New Jersey Group Life Insurance Program entitles members of either the Officers` or the Enlisted Association to enroll in the Association Life Insurance Program.  This special program provides from $5,000 to $50,000 of Life Insurance for you, “round the clock.”  Premiums range from as little as $2 per month and may be payroll deducted from your drill check.  Family coverage for spouses and all children is also available at low rates designed for you as a member of the New Jersey Army and Air National Guard.  There are no aviation exclusions, no hazardous duty restrictions, no war clauses and no checks to write.  Information can be obtained by contacting retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jack Petrosilli at 609-530-6843, or retired Brig. Gen. Robert S. Dutko Sr. at 609-273-1004.  Enrollment forms can be obtained by calling retired Col. Frank L. Carlone, Program Coordinator, at 732-249-8335.

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2006/2007 Employees Charitable Campaign – “Partners In Giving”

The New Jersey State Employees Charitable Campaign (ECC) has officially kicked off its 2006/2007 Campaign which will run until Nov. 24.

The ECC provides each of us with an annual opportunity to voluntarily help others and ourselves by donating to any of the more than 1,400 participating agencies and organizations listed in the ECC Code Book.  Contributions may be made by payroll deductions each year or by cash, or check.

Over the years, our Department has been most successful in this endeavor because of your personal generosity and concern.  We urge every employee to support this worthy cause.  Code Books and payroll deduction forms will be going out to all full time state employees.

This year’s ECC Coordinator for the State’s Employees Charitable Campaign is Walter Nall, of the DMAVA-HRO Office.  For more information, please contact him at 609-530-6841.  You may also access information on line at www.njsecc.org.

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Guard gate now has phone line

The Guard Booth Telephone Number is 609-671-6623.

Effective immediately all Directors, Managers, Supervisors and Employees that interface with outside personnel for hosting on-site meetings here at the Lawrenceville Headquarters are directed to notify the security guard when expecting scheduled visitors.

You are to provide the date, time and name of the visitor in advance whenever possible, also the DMAVA employee they are visiting and/or meeting they are attending. The Guard will issue a visitors parking permit. If you are expecting a large party for a meeting or event please provide a roster of attendees, with the meeting date time and location to the gate guard prior to the event.

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Enlisted Association offers new feature

The Enlisted Association of New Jersey has added to their Web Page a new feature called “On-GUARD Business Registry,” designed to list businesses owned by current or former National Guard members, and the goods and services they offer.  If you are a current or former member of the New Jersey Army or Air National Guard, this is a great cost-effective opportunity for your business to reach your fellow National Guard members.  Just go to the Web site: www.eang-nj.org and fill out your application today.

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Civil Air Patrol looking for BDU donations

The New Jersey Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force.  They perform inland search and rescue missions, aerial reconnaissance for homeland security and disaster relief missions.  CAP has an active cadet program and aerospace education program for young people.  All of the members are unpaid volunteers and must purchase their own uniforms, although CAP does try to provide uniforms for their cadet members without charge to them.

CAP is looking for donations of BDUs (woodland pattern) in wearable condition for use by their members.  They can use pants, shirts, field jackets and caps.  They will also accept Air Force Service Dress uniforms for cadet’s use.

If you have uniforms to donate, please contact Maj. Rick Ulmer, (732)364-7755 or e-mail: caplawyer123@comcast.net.  He will make arrangements for pick-up.

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Tax-free in New Jersey!

Does your shopping list have either a U.S. Flag or New Jersey flag on it?  One good piece of news – the sales tax hike does not affect that purchase; in fact purchase of either flag is TAX FREE in New Jersey.  Please visit the following web page to check out the particulars: http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/index.html?flag.htm.

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Army offers free courses for Soldiers, DA civilians

If you are an Army Soldier or DA civilian, you can access more than 2,600 information technology, business, self-development and 30 foreign language courses for FREE through Army e-Learning.  Visit www.us.army.mil and select “my education.”  In Fiscal Year 2006, almost a quarter million courses were completed.  Some of the top 10 courses of the month for July were: Rosetta Stone Spanish and Arabic, Windows XP: Fundamentals, Accounting Fundamentals and Encryption Technologies.

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DMAVA Hotline

The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Emergency Hotline is:
1-866-232-5798

You will hear the following message:

You have reached the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Emergency Information Number.  Please listen to the following menu choices and select an appropriate option:

State employees – press 1
Federal employees – press 2
National Guard employees – press 3

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Affordable vacation spots around the world

Are you looking for an affordable vacation spot?  The Armed Forces Recreation Center has resorts around the world for members of the Armed Forces, their families and other members of the Total Defense Force.  Room rates are based on rank, pay grade, duty status, room size and/or room location. Reservations are required, policies vary by location and guests may not stay more than 30 consecutive days or register again within the following 90-day period.  But if you are thinking of Hawaii, Germany, South Korea or Orlando as a possible vacation destination, this just may be the ticket!  Visit http://www.armymwr.com/portal/travel/recreationcenters/  for more information.

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JT2DC Memorial Walkway offers engraved pavers

The Joint Training and Development Center (JT2DC) recently unveiled the Memorial Walkway to the center.  The purpose of the pond and walkway are to serve as a reminder that there are Soldiers in harm’s way protecting the freedoms that we all cherish and enjoy.

The concept of the Memorial Walkway was to have Soldiers create a mark by dedicating inscribed bricks.  Soldiers have chosen to honor loved ones, family members, friends, and personnel with whom they served.

Anyone interested in purchasing an engraved paver for $50, can contact Command Sgt. Major Timothy Maskery at (609) 562-0539.

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Enlisted Association of the National Guard of New Jersey

Membership
Give our state a larger voice by becoming a member of the Enlisted Association.  The increased numbers will help us speak on all legislative issues that will benefit you and your families. The association works hard for you at the Federal & State level on all important issues. Visit the web site EANG-NJ.org, click on Become a Member for the application and find out more about what the association does.

Conference
The Enlisted Association invites you to the Annual Conference at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Atlantic City West, October 6-8, 2006, to Honor and Salute our Airmen and Soldiers who supported the War on Terrorism. Saturday during the Military Ball will be our way to say thank you for their dedication and sacrifices that they and their families shared. Friday night will feature a Hawaiian luau with a show and an Army and Air challenge. Our mission is to have fun. Visit our web site EANG-NJ.org, click on EANG-NJ Conference to find out more. Thank you for your support. You can reach the membership chairman Jerome Zebrowski at 609-214-6959 or jcptfalc@aol.com or co-chairman Edward Goetschius at 609-965-1972 or esgtmaj@comcast.net.

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For the Families

Family Readiness Council offers Tier I and II grants

The New Jersey National Guard State Family Readiness Council has expanded its Family Grants Program to include an additional grant.  There are now two levels of Family Grants; TIER I is the $2,500 grant that has been in place for the past couple of years.  The TIER II opens family grants to New Jersey Army and Air National Guard non-deployed service members who were on State Active Duty or State Missions (e.g., hurricanes, floods, border missions) for more than 20 consecutive days.  Service members meeting these criteria are eligible to apply for a financial hardship grant up to $1,500.  Applications are available at all New Jersey Army and Air National Guard Family Assistance Centers.

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Guard Family Action Plan

The Guard Family Action Plan (GFAP) identifies issues of concern to Guard members, spouses, parents, children, retirees and civilian employees.  The GFAP determines actions necessary to resolve issues and assigns responsibility for actions to the proper staff agency. 

The proper staff agency begins at unit level within the chain of command and can include the Departments of the Army and Air Force and the Congress of the United States.  You can submit an issue along with your recommendation for a solution through the GFAP website at www.gfap.org. If you have any questions, you can call Marie Durling in the State Family Programs Office at 609-562-0739.

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Spouses invited to go on orientation flights

The 108th Air Refueling Wing would like to extend an invitation to the spouses of New Jersey Army and Air National Guardsmen and women who would like to see an aerial refueling up close.

This is a great opportunity for spouses to see the skills needed to fuel an aircraft more than 20,000 feet in the air.  Seats will be on a first-come, first-served basis. 

If you are interested, please call 108th Public Affairs Office at (609) 754-4173 or e-mail at pa.108arw@njmcgu.ang.af.mil for the form needed to request a seat.

Guard members who would like an orientation flight or would like to nominate their bosses for a flight can also contact 108th PAO for information and forms.

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Family Programs on the calendar

Nov. 25, 1pm Visit with Santa, Spaghetti & meatball luncheon, Kenvil VFW Post
Dec. 2, 9am - 2pm Cookie Care / Pack Day, Lawrenceville, Armory
Dec. 2, time TBD FRG South 5th-117th Christmas Party, Vineland Armory
Dec. 9, time TBD FRG / NCO Charlie Co. Annual Holiday Party, Burlington VFW 1817
Dec. 15, time TBD West Orange FRG Girls Night Out
Dec. 16, 11:30am - 2pm 177th FW Children's Holiday Party, Dining Hall, Pomona Air Base

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Family Readiness Group Meeting schedule

Bordentown Armory – B Co 250th SBF & Co D 250th BSB – Jan. 20, 10 a.m.
Hammonton Armory – 119th SB Corps –
Jersey City Armory – D Co 2-113th –
Lawrenceville Armory – 50th PSB –.; 50th Fin Bn –
Morristown Armory – 3-112th & 5/117th –
Newark Armory – A, B, E Co’s 2-113th Inf – Dec. 20, 7 p.m.
Port Murray Armory – 2-102nd Arm –
Teaneck Armory – 50th SBM – Dec. 21, 7 p.m.
Toms River Armory – C/3-112th FA –
Vineland Armory – 5/117th Cav –
West Orange Armory – B Co 5/117th Cav –
Woodbury Armory – Trp C 5.117th Cav –

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Recreation and Sports

Anheuser Busch extends complimentary ticket program

Anheuser Busch has announced its program offering free amusement park tickets to the service members and their families has become so popular it will be extended another year. The "Here's to the Heroes," is open to active duty service members, active members of the National Guard or Reserve, and up to three direct dependents for one complimentary admission per year. Participants can go online to fill out a form for free admission at http://www.herosalute.com/.

The amusement parks participating in the program are: Sea World  parks in Orlando, Florida; San Diego and San Antonio;  Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, Florida, and Williamsburg, Virginia; Sesame Place, a children's play and water park, near Philadelphia; Adventure Island water park in Tampa; and Water Country USA water park in Williamsburg. 

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Operation Oasis vacations for military personnel

Operation Oasis Outreach at Sandy Cove, North East, Md., offers a free, 3-day, 2-night time for rest and relaxation for military personnel who were deployed to the Middle East area during OIF/OEF with their spouse and children.  Sandy Cover is located at the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay.  If you are interested, contact Carol Lee Lynch: toll free 1-800-287-4843 or e-mail c.lynch@sandycove.org.

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Scholarship News

Defense Commissary Agency offers scholarships

The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) announced last week that the application process for its Scholarships for Military Children program has now begun for 2007. Applications for the $1,500 scholarships are available at 264 commissaries worldwide, or can be downloaded through links at http://www.commissaries.com/, http://www.militaryscholar.org/, or http://www.dodea.edu/.

The program is open to unmarried children under the age of 21 (23 if enrolled in school) of military active-duty, Reserve, Guard and retired personnel. Eligibility will be determined using the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System database. Applicants should ensure that they, as well as their sponsor, are enrolled in the DEERS database and have a current ID card.

The applicant must be planning to attend, or already attending, an accredited college, or university full-time in the fall term of 2007, or enrolled in a program of studies designed to transfer directly into a four-year program. Applications for 2007, which includes an essay on "how and why" the applicant would change an historical event, must be turned in at a commissary by close of business on February 21, 2007. At least one $1,500 scholarship will be awarded at every commissary location with qualified applicants.

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Colleges

Grantham University scholarships: Grantham University offers a scholarship program to severely injured service members and their spouses and adult children.  Go to www.grantham.edu for more information.  They also have scholarship programs for military veterans, service members, and family members.

Widener University CARES Scholarship: Widener University, Chester, Pa., has a full scholarship program for children of Global War on Terrorism service members who were killed in action.  Contact the Office of Admissions at 610-499-4126 for more information.

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Veterans Information

DMAVA Veterans Outreach Campaign continues.

The DMVA Veterans Outreach Campaign continues with kiosk displays at selected malls throughout New Jersey.  The schedule is as follows:

December 6-8 Paramus Park Shopping Center

January 11-13

Brunswick Square Mall

February 8-10, 2007 Moorestown Mall
Feb. 28, Mar. 1-3, 2007 Hamilton Mall
April 4-6, 2007 Cherry Hill Mall

The kiosk will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the identified dates.

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STANDDOWN Committee Members needed for CENTRAL JERSEY

StandDown helps the state’s homeless veterans “combat” life on the streets by providing a broad range of necessities, including food, clothing, medical, legal and mental health assistance, job counseling, and referrals, but most importantly, companionship and camaraderie.

We are looking for committee members to initiate the start up operation of Stand Down in the Central Jersey area.  Membership is open to Veterans and volunteers over the age of 18 who are willing and able to give of their time, efforts and resources in assisting programs for homeless veterans. 

If you are interested in becoming a committee member, you may contact Patricia Richter at 609-530-6949.

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VA Hotline for identity theft concerns

Veterans having questions about recent incidents involving VA computers and personal information may call 1-800-333-4636 or (1-800-FED-INFO).

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Ocean County opens PTSD counseling for vets

Ocean County veterans now have a place to get Post Traumatic Stress Disorder counseling.  Once a week, counselors from the Trenton Vet Center will offer office hours at the Ocean County Veterans Service Bureau, 1027 Hooper Ave, Building 2, Toms River.

To schedule an appointment, call 732-929-2096.

Ocean County, with the state’s largest concentration of veterans, signed an agreement with the Vets Center, an arm of the Veterans Administration recently. 

John Dorrity, director of the Ocean County Veterans Bureau said that he has a waiting list of veterans who will participate in the counseling. He added that they will start off with once a week, but will possibly increase sessions if the need arises.

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NJ Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial and Vietnam Era Educational Center’s upcoming event schedule.

Upcoming Events

Nov. 30 / 6 p.m. 4th Annual "Salute to Patriotism" Gala, with special guest Governor Jon S. Corzine; honoring veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.  Tickets required. (click here for more information:http://www.njvvmf.org/pdf/galasponsorlevels.pdf)

Dec. 2 / 1 p.m. "The Day It Snowed in Vietnam," poetry reading and discussion by the poet, Vietnam Veteran Jim Scheuckler. * * PROGRAM CANCELLED * *

Dec. 9 / 6 p.m. Holiday Lighting ceremony at the NJ Vietnam Veterans' Memorial.

Lecture attendees are asked to RSVP to (732) 335-0033.  A donation of $5 per person is suggested.  The Educational Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.  Regular admission is free for veterans and active-duty military personnel.  Regular adult admission is $4; student and senior citizen admission is $2; and children under 10 are admitted free.

For more information, please call the NJ Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation office at (732) 335-0033 or (800) 648-VETS.  The Vietnam Era Educational Center is located adjacent to the NJ Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial off the Garden State Parkway at Exit 116. 

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Trenton Vets Center open for counseling services

Located at 934 Parkway Ave, 2nd Floor, Ewing, N.J., the Department of Veteran Affairs, Trenton Vet Center, provides free readjustment counseling services to combat zone veterans and their families.

The Vet Center services include:

· Individual readjustment counseling
· Group readjustment counseling
· Screening for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
· Counseling for PTSD
· Substance Abuse counseling
· Marital and family counseling
· Sexual Trauma counseling    
· Community education and liaison
· Referral for benefits assistance
· Employment Assistance

Heading the Trenton Vet Center Staff is James Gordon, team leader.  Other staff at the center to help veterans and their families are Jeanne Morrison, Master Social Worker, Rawle Gaskin, Readjustment Counseling Therapist, Darryll Johnson, Readjustment Counseling Technician and Burnice Rice, Trenton Vet Center Office Manager.

The center is open Monday thru Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with Wednesday and Thursday extended hours by appointment only.

All services provided to veterans and their families are at no cost and clients’ rights are protected by HIPPA.  For more information call (609) 882-5744.

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Part-time opportunities in Military Funeral Honors Program.

The New Jersey Army National Guard Military Funeral Honors Program has several part-time employment opportunities immediately available across the state for TDGs and Technicians.  Earn one day’s base pay and one retirement point for a few hours work providing Military Funeral Honors for our Veterans.  If you are interested, please contact SGM Edward Goetschius, Military Funeral Honors Coordinator, at 609-530-7090 or by e-mail at Edward.goetschius@nj.ngb.army.mil.

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Mark your calendar

Nov. 24 – Use Even If the Seal Is Broken Day
Nov. 25 – National Parfait Day
Nov. 26 – Shopping Reminder Day
Nov. 27 – Pins and Needles Day
Nov. 28 – Make Your Own Head Day
Nov. 29 – Square Dance Day
Nov. 30 – Stay at Home Because You’re Well Day

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A Smile for your weekend

Interesting Food Facts for the Big Food Weekend:

  • - Almonds are members of the peach family.
  • - It takes about a half a gallon of water to cook macaroni, and about a gallon to clean the pot.
  • - Only thirty percent of the famous Maryland blue crabs are actually from Maryland, the rest are from North Carolina and Virginia.
  • - Cranberries are sorted for ripeness by bouncing them; a fully ripened cranberry can be dribbled like a basketball.
  • - Grapes explode when you put them in the microwave.
  • - A-1 Steak Sauce contains both orange peel and raisins.
  • - Nutmeg is extremely poisonous if injected intravenously
  • - A full seven percent of the entire Irish barley crop goes to the production of Guinness beer.
   
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