New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
DMAVA Highlights 11 January 2008

Volume 7, Number 2


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 for the Week

Necessity never made a good bargain.

- Benjamin Franklin

Man is what he believes.

- Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

He who reflects too much will accomplish little

- Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

A wise man knows everything; a shrewd one, everybody.

- Anonymous


Download PDF Version of this week's highlights

News For Your Views

Soldier helps rescue man in Christmas Eve "miracle"

Sgt. Everett Maldonado's (JFHQ/G8) Christmas Eve morning began with the anticipation of the day to come. He had just pulled out of his driveway and was on his way to his sister's house, when he noticed a commotion next door. He quickly stopped and went to see if he could be of any help. He came upon a firefighter from the nearby firehouse performing CPR on a man who had collapsed in front of the barber shop. Unable to find a pulse or breathing, the firefighter asked Maldonado to take over doing the chest compressions to resuscitate the man while he focused on finding a pulse. Maldonado did five sets of chest compressions before the firefighter was able to get a pulse and hear gurgling. Sgt. Maldonado has had some emergency medical training as a law-enforcement office and a member of the Army National Guard. The patient was still hospitalized on Christmas day, but was expected to make a full recovery.

Employers visit ICBT Soldiers during processing

From the desk of Kryn P. Westhoven, Public Affairs Staff Officer

The first of three Employer Days visiting Soldiers of the 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) was held on Wednesday, January 9 at Fort Dix. The fifteen employers started the day at 50th IBCT headquarters in Lawrenceville before flying in Blackhawks to the Soldiers Readiness Processing (SRP) being conducted at the Joint Readiness Center and the Joint Training and Training Development Center. The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve New Jersey field committee organized the day for the employers to see the medical, dental and administrative processes that deploying Soldiers go through in preparation for the 50th IBCT's deployment later this year.

DFAS releases 2007 tax statements

From the desk of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hughes, Family Assistance Specialist

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) began distributing 2007 tax statements in December and will continue through the end of January.  Anyone interested in getting a head start on their taxes can find their statements on the DFAS Web site, as long as they have myPay access. The link is https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx. Online access to IRS W-2, 1099R and 1099-INT forms, as well as retiree and annuitant statements are available.

Marriage Enrichment Seminar scheduled for Feb. 15-17

The next Marriage Enrichment Seminar will be Feb. 15-17.  This seminar will be in a centrally located New Jersey hotel.  If you are interested in attending, contact Marie Durling at 609-562-0739 for a registration form.  All N.J. Army Guardsman who have not attended a previous weekend seminar are eligible.  The class is limited to the first 25 couples.

Company offers appliances to returning veterans at low cost

The company Top Line Appliances, along with the General Electric and Whirlpool Corporation would like to offer returning vets appliances at little or no cost. They will also offer to those in financial need, at a greatly reduced price. They not only offer ADA appliances, but also ranges, refrigerators, dishwashers and washers and dryers.

Details:

They would deliver the appliances at no charge within a 30 mile radius of their business; the rest of New Jersey would be $25 to cover fuel cost and driver's time. The appliances can be picked up at the warehouse in Roselle. Cost will be dependent upon what is needed and the ability of the veteran to pay. Top Line wants to do their part for those who need help.

For more information, contact: Top Line Appliances, 576 North Ave East, Westfield, NJ 07090, 1-800-829-1862.

RTS-Maintenance offers training to Army Guard members

The Regional Training Site-Maintenance provides maintenance and logistics education under The Total Army School System. The RTSM is a subordinate unit to the 254th Regiment RTI. It utilizes automated and current force modernization equipment systems to support Active, Reserve and National Guard soldiers. As a fully accredited schoolhouse it offers military occupational skill classification, additional skill identifiers, sustainment and transition training. Its charge is to provide instruction to non-commissioned officers under the non-commissioned officer education system. The mission supports the enabling of Armed Forces Components to mobilize for wartime mission requirements. The overall unit mission helps to support the "Warrior" during the current operational environment and undertake critical missions to win the fight.

Schoolhouse: Regional Training Site-Maintenance

Location of training: Building 3601, Technology Drive, Fort Dix, N.J.

School Code: 967

Unit Phone: 609 562-0566 / 0567/0568

RTSM (NJ) Team Home Site: https://www.us.army.mil/suite/page/468201 (Army Knowledge Online (AKO) password required)

 

v    ULLS-G - 1 week - 40 hour course:

The Unit Level Logistics System-Ground (ULLS-G) course helps units track scheduled and completed services. The ULLS-G program can give you a service schedule by vehicle, list equipment capabilities, create work orders and forecast maintenance services. ULLS-G is the commander's tool for maintenance management.

POC: SFC Edwards Phone: 609 562-0114 michael.edwards@us.army.mil

v    091-ASIH8 (63B) Wheeled - 2 weeks - 80 hour course:

The course helps students to safely and correctly use/operate wheeled vehicle recovery systems and equipment. Instruction on specialized rigging and recovery wheeled vehicle techniques is given throughout the course. Students conduct towing and winching of wheel vehicles to include self-recovery. A mini-field training exercise is part of the course. Note: SGTs and below receive an Additional Skill Identifier (ASI) of H8. SSG and above receive a Certificate of Training and cannot be awarded the H8 ASI. The student must possess a current Civilian and Military Driver's License.

POC: SFC Blackford Phone: 609-562-0546 shawn.m.blackford@us.army.mil

v    091-ASIH8 (63H) Track - 2 weeks - 80 hour course:

The course helps students to safely and correctly use/operate tracked vehicle recovery systems and equipment. Instruction on specialized rigging and recovery tracked vehicle techniques is given throughout the course. Students conduct towing and winching of tracked vehicles to include self-recovery. A mini-field training exercise is part of the course. Note: SGTs and below receive an Additional Skill Identifier (ASI) of H8. SSG and above receive a Certificate of Training and cannot be awarded the H8 ASI. The student must possess a current Civilian and Military Driver's License.

POC: SFC Kapule Phone: 609-562-0566 wilfred.kapule@us.army.mil

v    131-F13 Small Group Instructor Course - 1 week - 40 hour course:

This course is for personnel assigned as instructors or to improve instructional techniques. The one week intense course focuses on learning the basic techniques of monitoring, questioning and facilitating small group discussions in a military setting. Emphasis is placed on presenting issues and finding solutions using the small class setting. The students will learn effective use of written, verbal and management techniques to improve public speaking and presentation skills.

POC: SFC Brandinelli Phone: 609-562- 0528 Donald.brandinelli@us.army.mil

Fundraiser being held for scholarship to honor late NJ Guardsman

From the desk of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hughes, Family Assistance Specialist

Sgt. Anthony D. LaSelva from New Jersey's Co D/250th BSB was among the 4,000 troops from the Minnesota National Guard's 1-34th Infantry Division who left Camp Shelby, Miss., on March 16, 2006 to deploy to Iraq.  His unit was scheduled to stay a year.  Sgt. LaSelva was one of the New Jersey soldiers ordered in January 2007 to remain in the war-torn nation for an additional 125 days. The 21-year-old New Jersey Army National Guard sergeant survived 15 months in Iraq only to perish less than three months after returning home.  Sgt. LaSelva, who would have turned 22 in September, was killed in a motorcycle accident on Sept. 13, 2007. 

As a tribute to Sgt. LaSelva for not only serving our country, but also for touching the lives of so many with his passion and kindness, his friends and family have decided  to organize a fundraiser in his honor.  All of the proceeds will be donated to Washington Township High School to form a scholarship in his name: The Sgt. Anthony D. LaSelva Memorial Fund.  Anything that anyone can do to help with the fundraiser would be greatly appreciated.  There will be a Chinese Auction at the event so they are in need of things to fill the baskets, whether it is a gift certificate or merchandise.  All donations are tax deductible.  Any questions or concerns, contact Malorie Mullen at 856-364-5646.  The event will be held on Saturday, Feb. 23, 6-10 p.m. at the Senior Citizens Center, 315 Greentree Road, Turnersville NJ 08012. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door.

Dawson retiring from Guard after 30 years of service

Master Sgt. Evella L. Dawson will retire on Jan. 31, 2008 after 30 years of service to the New Jersey Army National Guard. Her entire military service career was served in the Data Processing Center of the United States Property and Fiscal Office (USP&FO). She began her career as a Private 1st Class and computer machine operator and retired as the Information Systems Chief. Congratulations, Penny!

Order a complimentary Blue Star Flag to show your family's service

From the desk of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hughes, Family Assistance Specialist

The Blue Star Flag first appeared in 1917, when Captain Robert L. Queissner, who had two sons serving on the front line, designed it as a tribute to their dedication and service.  He proudly displayed this flag in the front window of his home and the flag quickly became the unofficial symbol of a child in the service.  Also known as a Service Flag, the blue star stands for hope and pride.  Order a complimentary Blue Star Flag to honor your loved ones in the service by visiting: http://www.grantham.edu/promo/freebluestar.php.

DMAVA Annual Coat and Toy Drives were successful

From the desk of Paul Serdiuk, coordinator

This year through the generosity of our State, Army and Air National Guard men and women - DMAVA collected a total of 119 coats. These were coats for men, woman and children. The majority of the coats were sent to DMAVA's Veteran Haven where they will be distributed to homeless veterans. We collected more than 199 toys for needy and deprived children living in New Jersey. These toys will be distributed by the Department of Human Services to known families with children in need.

Thank you all very much for making this year's Coat and Toy drive a success for all the less fortunate citizens of New Jersey.

Retired Chief Warrant Officer honored for service

Retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Judith McCabe, who served as the Curator of the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey in Sea Girt, was recently recognized and honored by the Museum's Board of Trustees for her many accomplishments and outstanding leadership as the past Curator of the Museum. Chief McCabe was presented with the Museum's most prestigious and highest award by retired Col. Leonard Luzky, President of the Museum's Board of Trustees, at the Museum's Fourth Annual Volunteer Luncheon held in December.

Additionally, Chief McCabe was inducted into the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara by the United States Field Artillery Association. This is the highest honor bestowed by the US Army's Field Artillery Association, and the award and medal were presented to Chief McCabe by retired Col. Donald Kale. Chief McCabe retired from the NJ Army National Guard in 2007 after completing 25 years of service, the last 11 years serving full time.  Chief McCabe became Curator of the Museum in 1996. In 2004, Chief McCabe was mobilized for active duty as part of the NJ National Guard's deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terror, serving stateside as the Rear Detachment Commander for the 42 Infantry Division Support Command.

Tax information for military members who have deployed

From the Military Officers Association of America

Military pay received while deployed in a combat zone or other qualifying hazardous duty area is tax-free. But what specific rules apply? Here's a quick refresher course, which summarizes how you can take advantage of these savings opportunities.

All pay received (including base pay, special pays, and bonuses) is income tax-free up to the maximum enlisted pay rate of $6,381.90 per month, plus imminent danger pay.
Reenlistment bonuses received during a qualifying deployment month also are tax-free. Be aware, however, if a reenlistment bonus is taken in installment payments instead of a lump-sum, installment payments received after leaving the combat zone are not tax-free.

Thrift Saving Plan (TSP) contributions made while in a combat zone are not taxed on withdrawal or distribution.

Due to the Heroes Earned Retirement Opportunities (HERO) Act of 2006, servicemembers who were deployed in a combat zone or other qualifying hazardous duty area have up until May 28, 2009, to make IRA contributions for tax years 2004 and 2005. If the servicemember qualifies for a deductible traditional IRA, this can result in a tax refund for contributions made. For those under 50, the IRA contribution limits are $3,000 for 2004 and $4,000 for 2005. For those over 50, the limits are $3,500 and $4,500, respectively. You will need to file Form 1040X, Amended Tax Return, to claim any benefit. For more information, visit www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=161175,00.html.

Send Highlights your happenings

We want your stuff!! Is your unit doing some unique training? Did someone in the New Jersey Guard receive accolades for accomplishing something extra special? Is your unit running a special event for the community? Does your section of DMAVA have something they need to tell the rest of the department? We want to know about it.

Send us a short piece on what is happening so we can publish it in DMAVA Highlights. Let us know who wrote it so we can give them credit. If there are photos, you can send those too. While we do not publish photos in Highlights, we can give them to the editor of Guardlife and they may be used in that publication.

When you send in your article:

    Identify all people in the article with rank, first and last names and job title or position.

    Spell out all acronyms.

    When it comes to equipment, do not just give the nomenclature, also include the "name" of the equipment. Do not use M998 alone, HMMWV is also needed.

    Give us as much as possible of the meat of the story - who, what, when, where, why and how concerning the event.

    Photos need identification of people in the photo and what is happening in the photo.

Deadline for each week is noon Wednesday and should be e-mailed to Barbara.harbison@njdmava.state.nj.us. We do not publish flyers or Adobe files. If a Web site is out there to give people more information or to get a registration form, put that in your article.

Don't be intimidated by writing, we edit it for understanding and grammar. Your article may look a different when it is published as we also edit to fit the standards of the AP Style Guide.

Show us your stuff!!

Eligible veterans entitled to property tax deduction

Eligible Veterans are entitled to an annual property tax deduction of $ 250.

Veterans' eligibility

v    a citizen of the United States

v    resident of New Jersey

v    honorably discharged or released under honorable conditions from active service in a war-time period, in any branch of the U.S. Armed Services.

Surviving spouse's eligibility

The surviving wife or husband of a veteran who was a citizen of the United States and
resident of New Jersey and one of the following:

v    Was receiving the deduction prior to the veteran's death.

v    Would have been eligible for the deduction had the veteran filed an application prior to death.

v    Has died on active duty in a wartime period.

The application process - Filing an application with all required documentation with your local Tax assessor prior to December 31 of the pre-tax year in order to be effective in the next year. Documentation includes the property deed and discharge (DD-214) for the veteran. The widow may need to submit the property deed, marriage certificate, death certificate and discharge (DD-214).

Military Training, Schools, Opportunities

254th Regiment announces upcoming courses

Here are the 254th Regiment courses that are on the calendar. When using ATRRS, the school code is 1004.

Inactive Duty Training (IDT) Courses:

The Army Instructor Training Course, (TAITC)

April 5-June 7, 2008 - 12 openings

Basic NCO Course, (BNCOC)

April 5-Sept. 7, 2008 - 48 openings

Officer Candidate School (OCS)

begins March 1, 2008

Active Duty Training (ADT) Courses:

68W Combat Medic Training Course Sustainmen

Feb. 4-13, 2008 - 32 openings

***NEW ON ATRRS, Combat Lifesaver Course (CLC-06)

Jan. 15-17, 2008

Jan. 22-24, 2008

Jan. 29-31, 2008

Feb. 5-7, 2008

Feb. 11-13, 2008

Feb. 19-21, 2008

13D10 MOS-T FA Tactical Data System Specialist

March 15-29, 2008 - 12 openings

13F10 MOS-T Fire Support Specialist

March 15-22, 2008 - 18 openings

31B10 MOS-T Military Police

March 8-22, 2008 - 20 openings

88M10 MOS-T Motor Transport Operator

March 15-29, 2008 - 16 openings

Company Level Command Team Course (for new Commanders & their 1SGs)

April 12-13, 2008 - 60 openings

11B10 MOS-T Infantryman

May 3-17, 2008 - 34 openings

11B40 Infantryman ANCOC

June 7-21, 2008 - 31 openings

If you have any questions, contact Master Sgt. Gary Davidson, 732-974-5912 or gary.davidson@nj.ngb.army.mil.

Honorable Mention

Better Business Bureau partners with Air Force

The Air Force began an official partnership with the Council of Better Business Bureaus (BBB) recently. The partnership encourages Airmen and their families to use the bureau's free programs, services and materials.

The BBB Air Force Line website aimed specifically at its Air Force audience. The site includes BBB products and services such as reliability reports on businesses and charities, consumer tips and alerts, and a link to file complaints. The site also includes news items of particular interest to military consumers. Through the website, Airmen may sign up for a monthly newsletter that contains a regular "scam alert" feature. Visit http://www.bbb.org/airforce for more information.

Affordable TRICARE benefit for drilling National Guard members

The John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (P.L. 109-364), enhanced the TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) health plan. Under this new TRS health plan, effective October 1, 2007, certain members of the Selected Reserve may qualify for health care coverage under TRS at $81 for single coverage and $253 for family coverage. Selected Reserve members who are enrolled or eligible to enroll in a health benefit plan under chapter 89 of title 5 U.S.C. Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP), IRR and ING Soldiers are excluded from purchasing TRS.

Soldiers currently enrolled in the three tier TRS program must have transitioned to the new program by Sept. 30, 2007. For more information or to enroll contact your state representative listed on http://www.tricare.mil/mybenefit, select the "benefits update" link for the Tricare Reserve Select information page.

N.J. licenses, registration extended for deployed troops

New Jerseyans who are active duty military, including the National Guard and military reserves, serving in the war on terrorism, are eligible for automatic extensions of a valid driver license, registration or inspection expiration dates. Go to www.nj.gov/mvc/ for more information.

DMAVA Suggestion program alive and well

The DMAVA Suggestion Program is still in effect and the Suggestion Box is located in the cafeteria on the center column wall.

You can find the suggestion form at www.nj.gov/military; click on Blank Forms. Unsigned suggestions may/or may not be answered, depending on their importance.  Unsigned suggestions, if they warrant a response, will be answered at Town Hall Meetings.  All signed suggestions will receive a response from Col. Alan Bunting, TAG-SEA.

If you have any questions regarding this program, call Renee McGuire, 609-530-6983.

Freedom Award deadline Jan. 21

The Department of Defense nomination season for the 2008 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award will close Jan. 21.

The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award is the U.S. government's highest recognition given to outstanding employers.

National Guard and Reserve members and their families are eligible and encouraged to nominate employers who have gone above and beyond in their support of military employees.  Nominations will be accepted at www.esgr.mil until Jan. 21. 

For questions regarding the nomination process, please contact New Jersey ESGR at 609-562-0156.

Discounts offered for State employees

Are you a state employee looking to save a few $$$?

Visit 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, please contact Cindy Leese at cindy.leese@njdmava.state.nj.us or call 609-530-7056.

For the Families

Family Assistance Center Realignment

Co B/250th BSB (Bordentown) is now serviced by the Lawrenceville FAC at (609) 671-6681
Co D/250th BSB is now serviced by the Jersey City FAC at (201) 915-3589
Co E/250th BSB (Vineland) is now serviced by the Woodbury FAC  (856) 251-6893
Troop C/5-117 RSTA is now serviced by the Woodbury FAC at (856) 251-6893

The Pomona Family Assistance Center will continue to have responsibility for the families from units assigned to the following armories: Atlantic City, Cape May Court House, Hammonton and Tuckerton.

ReserveAid gives support to families of deployed service members

From the desk of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hughes, Family Assistance Specialist

Reserve Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to providing financial support to the families of Reserve Service Members called to active duty in all five branches of the Armed Forces. Reserve Aid makes unrestricted, need based grants to military families who have a Reserve service member on full-time deployment to a combat zone or homeland security position. Their goal is to alleviate the emotional and financial burdens placed on the men and women called to serve our country by supporting their families at home.  For additional information and application procedures go to: http://www.reserveaid.org

GI Mail Offers Safer Way to Stay in Touch

Global Internet Mail is a personal e-mail program available to all servicemembers that can be used from any computer with Internet access, including government systems. GI mail is also available to spouses who are registered in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System.  While official government e-mail accounts are the most secure form of e-mail communication, messages sent between GI Mail accounts are more secure than those sent between public e-mail accounts.  For more information about GI Mail and how to get an account, visit www.gimail.af.mil/, or read the Air Force Print News story at www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123075003

2-1-1 - new statewide number for assistance

From the desk of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hughes, Family Assistance Specialist

Need help?  Dial 2-1-1:   You can find everything from basic needs like food, housing and healthcare to legal services, drug treatment, job assistance, childcare, mental health services, transportation, financial assistance, municipal programs and much more.  The 2-1-1service is a new statewide number for New Jersey residents. It connects people with the resources they need to solve problems.  It is free and confidential.

FRG volunteers: track your time

From the desk of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hughes, Family Assistance Specialist

Here is a friendly reminder to all Family Readiness Group volunteers. First of all we would like to thank each and every one of you personally for your time and dedication to our troops and their families.  If you have not already done so we would appreciate it if you would take a few minutes each day, week or month to go into the Volunteer Tracking System on guardfamily.org and insert the precious time that you have committed to making our Family Program the best!  This is a way for the Family Program and the senior leadership to see who is helping out in their Guard communities and to award those who go the extra mile.

253rd FRG meeting is scheduled for Jan. 30

From the desk of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hughes, Family Assistance Specialist

The 253rd Transportation Company's Family Readiness Group has their next meeting scheduled for Jan. 30, 2008, at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Cape May Court House Armory.

MyArmyBenefits Website - the single source for all Army Benefits

MyArmyBenefits at http://myarmybenefits.us.army.mil is the official Army benefits resource for active-duty, Guard and reserve Soldiers, family members and retirees. Active-duty Soldiers with AKO accounts can access personalized reports on the survivor, disability, and retirement benefits through MyArmyBenefits.

Photography contest for military youths

From the desk of Amanda Balas, State Youth Coordinator

Operation Military Kids project in New Jersey is sponsoring a photo contest. The theme is "Families in the Military." Any youth of a military family in any branch of the service, including active duty, National Guard and Reserves is eligible to enter.

The age categories for entries are grades 2-5, grades 6-8 and grades 9-12. Photos can be black and white or color and can be in digital or 35mm format.

Photos must be taken by the youth and should capture a unique moment or setting their family life or in their community that means something special to them. They will be judged on originality and creativity. First and second places will be awarded in each age category.

Contact Amanda Balas, N.J. National Guard State Youth Coordinator, for entry forms and more information at 609-562-0742 or Amanda.balas@us.army.mil. Deadline for submissions is Jan. 14, 2008.

Army Information Line: 1-800-833-6622

The Army Information Line (1-800-833-6622) is designed to help all Soldiers and their Family members whether they are deployed; stationed stateside or overseas; are brand new to the Army; or are 30 year veterans.

In addition to The Army Information Line, Army Well-Being's Army Families Online Web site www.ArmyFamiliesOnline.org recently welcomed its 2-millionth visitor this year.

The Army Information Line also celebrates its 25-year existence of providing information and referral services to those Soldiers and Family members.

Support for military children of deployed and injured Guard members

From the desk of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hughes, Family Assistance specialist

Our Military Kids (OMK) provides tangible support to the children of deployed and severely injured National Guard and Military Reserve personnel through grants for enrichment activities and tutoring that nurture and sustain the children during the time a parent is away in service to our country. OMK grants are made to honor the sacrifices military parents make and to ensure that the children have access to activities and support that help the children better cope with challenges arising during a parent's deployment or injury recovery. For additional information go to www.ourmilitarykids.org

N.J. State Family Readiness Council offers Family Grants Program

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.

Program offers assistance to spouses of deployed military

The Deployed Military Spouses Assistance Program provides direct assistance and referrals to existing programs for spouses of deployed military personnel (active duty, reserve and National Guard) who face unusual financial and emotional stress as a result of the deployments. 

Applicants should contact Fawn Mutschler at 609-543-6200 ext. 325 or wocmilitarygrant@ymca-bc.org to obtain an application.  In addition to the completed application form, applicants will also need to submit the following documentation: LES/paystub for applicant and spouse; statement of Financial Need (i.e. reason for applying and how the grant will help); bill or pricing of expenditure as well as any other supporting information the applicant feels may be helpful. Additional information can be found at: www.state.nj.us/dca/dow/depmilspouseasst.shtml

Harlem Globetrotters: Magic as Ever 2008 World Tour

Saturday, Feb. 16 at 1 p.m. & 7 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 18 at 1 p.m. (Presidents' Day) Izod Center (at Meadowlands)

Tickets Prices: $37, $24; Special Military Price: $15

The world famous Harlem Globetrotters return to the Izod Center with an exciting new show of basketball tricks, hilarious comedy and fun for the entire family. Groups receive a special invitation to Globetrotter University - a youth-oriented, character education/physical fitness program presented by Harlem Globetrotter players. In addition, there will be a brief team history, a skills demonstration, and question and answer session. If you have any questions, please call 201-460-4370.

Disney On Ice presents Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo

January 18-20 & 23-27 at the Izod Center (at Meadowlands)

Ticket Prices: $27.50, $22.50, $15.00

Military Prices: $17.50 for lower level & $12.50 for upper level

All orders must be sent via fax or email ONLY and the deadline for orders is Tuesday, January 22, 2008 @ 3pm. If you have any questions, please call201-460-4370.

Travel Help, Ideas

Armed Forces Vacation Club offers affordable lodging

The Armed Forces Vacation Club is a "space available" program offering Department of Defense affiliated personnel affordable condominium vacations at over 3,500 resorts around the world. Visit http://www.afvclub.com/ for more information.

Shades of Green offers Disney for military

Now that the summer is almost over, thoughts of how to spend next summer or your next vacation week, can start to pop into your mind. "Can we go someplace better or different, nearer or farther from home, all without breaking the bank?"

One place to consider if Florida is one of your next vacation places is Shades of Green in Orlando. Minutes from the Disney attractions, this resort is also close to golf, dining and other Florida attractions.

Their web site, www.shadesofgreen.org can give you tours of their rooms and family suites, the local attractions and other amenities that are offered by the resort. The rates are reasonable and will be a opportunity to visit Orlando with your family.

Scholarship, Education News

Commissary agency offers scholarships for 2008

The Defense Commissary Agency's 2008 Scholarships for Military Children are now available in commissaries worldwide. The $1,500 scholarships are for children of active-duty and retired military, as well as children of Guard and reserve servicemembers. Applicants must be must plan to attend an accredited college or university full time in the fall of 2008. The deadline is Feb. 20. At least one scholarship will be awarded at every commissary location with qualified candidates. Applications and further eligibility requirements are available in commissaries and online at www.commissaries.com or at www.military scholar.org.

American Legion offers scholarships, booklet on their Web site

The American Legion has scholarship information on their Web site - www.legion.org - including the 152-page booklet, Need a Lift, which is a complete financial aid reference guide for veterans, family members and the American Legion family. When you get on the site, click on "Scholarship Information" in the "Useful Links" block.

Association News

Enlisted Association wants YOU!

By retired Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hughes, EANG-NJ

The Enlisted Association National Guard-New Jersey is off to a good start for 2008 as we have realigned all the committees and filled both the Executive Council and Committees with a cross section of Army and Air, uniformed and retirees, and several junior NCOs. Everyone appears to be enthused and pledges to support the Association in all its efforts. All we need now is for you to get on board as a member and bring your fellow soldiers and airmen with you.

We have many challenges facing us over the next few years whether it is another round of base closures via the Base Realignment Commission (BRAC), reduction in TRICARE benefits, reduction in troop strength, attempts to maintain the retirement age at 60, etc. We need a powerful voice to put our message across to the State and Federal Legislators and this can only be accomplished through a strong membership in our State Association (EANG-NJ) and the National Association (EANGUS).

The new membership year starts on 1 January 2008 and we need your help in making our Association grow. We encourage all enlisted soldiers and airmen to join the Association as Active Members and also welcome all officers, warrant officers, federal, and state employees to join as Associate Members. Applications for membership can be obtained from our website www.eang-nj.org.

NGANJ group life insurance available to members

Are you covered by the NGANJ Group Life Insurance Program? As a member of either the Officers or the Enlisted Association, you are entitled to enroll in your 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 is also available at low rates designed for you as a member of the New Jersey Army and Air National Guard. Think of it!! No aviation exclusions...No hazardous duty restrictions...No war clauses.No checks to write. Dependent coverage includes spouses and all children. Information can be obtained by contacting retired CWO 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.

Veterans Information

Web site provides support to separating military members

TurboTAP (Transition Assistance Program) is an easy to use, interactive Web portal that provides life-long support to separating military service members (Active Duty, Guard and Reserve) and their families. It is a single source starting point for accessing key resources available for servicemembers transitioning out of the military at any point in their military career. Resources include Department of Defense, Department of Labor, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Education, Small Business Administration, the National Veterans Corporation and the National Guard Bureau.  For more information go to www.TurboTAP.org or email TAPHelp@military-inc.com.

N.J. Militia Museum conducting Retiree Oral History Program

The National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey has put together a National Guard Veteran Retiree Oral History Program.  In the past, the NJNG has not conducted oral exit interviews of commanders, full-time personnel, and retirees to preserve history.  The museum is going to institute a volunteer program to try to catch up. If you wish to participate, contact the museum at 732-974-5966

Helmets to Hardhats

The New Jersey State Building and Construction Trades Council's Helmets to Hardhats Program (NJ H2H) is designed to help transitioning military personnel, National Guardsmen and Reservists find the careers in the building and construction industry. The program seeks to help military members find a career in one of 15 affiliated trades, such as electrical workers, carpenters and painters.

They work in cooperation with the national Helmets to Hardhats program, adding a personal component to the program's on-line services. NJ H2H offers veterans preparation for successful application to any of New Jersey's registered apprenticeship programs in the building and construction trades. Services include career counseling, entrance test preparation and referral to supportive services.

For program registration and information, visit online at www.njbctc.org/h2h or contact at 732-499-7295 or at H2H@njbctc.org.

Vet Career Connect helps military members find jobs

Vet Career Connect is a program designed to connect military service members with New Jersey employers. Vet Career Connect matches veteran's specific abilities, drives and interests with jobs requiring those specific abilities.

Participants complete a Caliper Profile, which is an on-line self assessment. They will receive an Individual Developmental Guide outlining personal motivators and areas of developmental opportunity. Participants will then have the opportunity to place the results of the Caliper Profile, their resume and military achievements onto a database which will be viewed by New Jersey-based companies who have indicated a strong interest in employing veterans.

Vet Career Connect program is available at no cost to service members. In order to participate in this program, or if you have additional questions please email or call Barbara Foos, Project Administrator, at 609-524-1228 or bfoos@calipercorp.com.

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:

 

February 5, 6, 7

Moorestown Mall

March 3*, 4, 5

Paramus Park Shopping Center

April 1, 2, 3

Voorhees Town Center

May 6*, 7, 8

Ocean County Mall

*Medal ceremonies begin at 10:30 a.m. on these dates. The kiosk will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The kiosk will also be in place at the Wildwood Convention Center for three state conventions.

v    June 5-6, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. - Elks State Convention

v    June 11-13, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. - American Legion State Convention

v    June 18-20, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. - VFW State Convention

N.J. Vietnam Veterans Memorial

N.J. Vietnam Veterans' Memorial and Vietnam Era Educational Center's upcoming events:

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Free guided tours of the Memorial are offered on the first Saturday of each month at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Jan. 19, 1 p.m. - The U.S. Air Force in the Battle of Khe Sanh, an oral-history presentation by N.J. Vietnam Veteran, ret. Maj. Gen. Clark W. Martin, U.S. Air Force.

Feb. 2, 1 p.m. - In the Navy in Vietnam, an oral history presentation by N.J. Vietnam Veteran and Monmouth University President, ret. Vice Adm. Paul G. Gaffney II, U.S. Navy.

Mar. 1, 1 p.m. - American Vietnam Veterans Who Wouldn't Come Home, an oral-history discussion about American ex-patriots recently encountered on a trip to Thailand by Steve Lonegan, Mayor of Bogota, N.J.

Apr. 12, 1 p.m. - We Were There: Voices of African American Veterans, from World War II to the War in Iraq, a book discussion by the author, Yvonne Latty.

May 7, 11 a.m. - New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Memorial.

May 17, 1 p.m. - On the Road to Recovery, an oral-history discussion by NJ Vietnam-Era veteran Bishop Fred Rubin about his service tending wounded G.I.s in the Army hospital in Hawaii during the Vietnam War.

May 26, 11 a.m. - Memorial Day Ceremony at the N.J. Vietnam Veterans' Memorial.

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For further information call 1-800-648-VETS or visit www.njvvmf.org.

 

 

   
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