Farewell ceremony for GSAB scheduled for Saturday at Lakehurst
A farewell ceremony will be held on Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Naval Air Engineering Center, Lakehurst in Hangar 307 to honor the 37 Soldiers of the New Jersey Army National Guard who are deploying to Kuwait. These Soldiers are members of Company A, 2-104th General Support Aviation Battalion (GASB)
The unit has spent a year aggressively training in preparation for the deployment. This training has taken them to Virginia, Colorado, Alabama, Utah and Georgia along with their training in various places in New Jersey. While in Kuwait, the 2-104th GSAB will be part of Task Force 2-211 which will be comprised primarily by the 2-211th GSAB, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Ten of the Soldiers will be deploying for their second time.
Militia Museum offers exhibit on First Separate Battalion for Black History Month
By 1st Lt. Jason Feldman, Curator, National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey
The National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey has created a special exhibit, displaying art, artifacts and photographs, detailing the history of the First Separate Battalion, New Jersey National Guard (1930-1940) for Black History Month. The First Separate Battalion exemplifies the long and honored history of the state’s African American Soldiers.
African Americans have long been part of New Jersey’s military tradition, serving in integrated units in the Revolutionary War and in units of the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War. Nearly 3,000 black men from New Jersey enlisted in the Union army during the Civil War and took a prominent part in such battles as Petersburg and the siege of Charleston. In 1872 New Jersey authorized the raising of segregated African American National Guard companies in Camden, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Newark and New Brunswick. These companies were formed into a regiment that was subsequently disbanded in 1877. During World War I, black home guard companies were raised in Atlantic City and Jersey City, but were disbanded on the reorganization of the National Guard in 1920.
In 1930 after being petitioned by leaders of the state’s African American community, the New Jersey legislature authorized the creation of the First Separate Battalion, New Jersey State Militia. Companies A and B were raised in Newark and Atlantic City in 1932 and first reported for training at Sea Girt in 1932. Both companies were in training at Sea Girt during the Morro Castle ship fire and wreck disaster in September 1934 and were immediately assigned to rescue operations. Although beset by wind and rain, the men never stopped for rest until the survivors were rescued and the dead recovered, after which they established a temporary morgue at Sea Girt. Both companies were awarded commendations by the New Jersey legislature and Governor A. Harry Moore for their courage, courtesy and sympathetic handling of a very gruesome duty.
Company C, from Camden and Company D, of Trenton, were mustered into service in 1935. Company C’s commander, Captain Richard A. Williams, was a former “Buffalo Soldier” who had served as a sergeant major in the U.S. 10th Cavalry. Williams, a Silver Star recipient, was a veteran of the Spanish American War, Philippine Insurrection and World War I. The battalion’s band was based in Atlantic City and its medical detachment in Newark.
The Battalion was called into Federal service in 1940 for service as the First Battalion, 372nd Infantry Regiment in World War II. Following the war, with the integration of the armed forces and National Guard, it was disbanded.
The exhibit will be available for viewing during normal museum hours until March 4; Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the first weekend of the month.
Post Office offers boxes and discount to mail to FPO/APO addresses
From the desk of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hughes, Family Assistance Specialist
Now the US Postal Service is making it easier for families to send care packages with a larger flat rate box and a special discount to FPO/ APO addresses. The new boxes can be used beginning March 3. They are 50 percent larger than the current flat rate box and can be sent to any domestic address for $12.95. A special military version of the box will carry the "America Supports You" logo and can be shipped to any FPO/ APO address for $10.95. The new Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box is "12 x 12" x 5½". For complete guidelines on mail services to military members overseas visit the USPS website at: http://www.usps.com/supportingourtroops/welcome.htm?from= household&page=troopsupport.
Time is here to apply for Youth Camp
From the desk of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hughes, Family Assistance Specialist
This year's youth camp will be held from July 13-19 at the National Guard Training Center in Sea Girt, N.J. This year will mark our 14th year for the camp!! Some activities are archery, sports, beach and arts-n-crafts. For more information or to download an application, please visit http://www.state.nj.us/military/ familysupport/programs.html. Read carefully as some of the applications have changed.
Spend a weekend with your family at Great Wolf Lodge
ARMS has arranged for another weekend at the Great Wolf Lodge in Pocono, Penn.
Date: May 9-11
Cost: $250 tax included Sat-Sun
$500 tax included-Fri-Sun
Includes lodging for up to six people, 2/3 days admission to the indoor water park (open 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m.), free parking. Rooms sleep six and have a mini refrigerator and microwave (Family Suite). Meals are not included. For more info call 732-890-4914 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happenings from the Teaneck FRG
From the desk of Janis M. Shaw, Family Assistance Specialist
The Teaneck Family Readiness Group has the following events for you to add to your calendar:
Teaneck Youth Group Activities – all events are held at the Teaneck Family Assistant Center, from 6:30-8 p.m.
ý Monday, March 3: Vet Center Teen Round Table Discussion "So How Do You Really Feel? Speaker: Teresa Bennett, MSW (for children 9 and younger)
ý Monday, March10: Vet Center Teen Round Table Discussion "So How Do You Really Feel? Speaker: Teresa Bennett, MSW (for children 10 and older)
For more information, call Sonja McDaniel, event coordinator at 201-906-7687.
Palm Sunday Sunrise Service and Easter Basket Distribution Sunday, March 16, 6 a.m. on the drill floor. For more information call Sonja McDaniel
Saturday, April 12, noon-2 p.m., Bully Program, Part 2. For more information contact Master Sgt. Minnie E. Hiller-Cousins, 201-833-0632
Teaneck Family Readiness Group meeting dates are:
Feb. 21 7 p.m.
March 20 7 p.m.
April 17 7 p.m.
May 15 7 p.m.
Family deployment briefs schedule updated
From the desk of Amanda Balas, New Jersey National Guard Youth Coordinator
The following is the updated Family Deployment Briefing Schedule presented by the Family Programs Office at various armories throughout New Jersey. Any family member that is interested in learning more about important information, who to contact and ways to cope through this upcoming deployment are welcomed to attend ANY of the briefs, no matter where the Soldier's home station is located, as all the information will be the same at every brief. Children, ages three and up, are welcome to attend too! For more information, please contact your local Family Assistance Center by calling 1-888-859-0352.
Date Armory Time
Monday, Feb. 4 Toms River 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 9 Westfield 9:30 a.m.
Saturday, Feb. 23 Port Murray 9:30 a.m.
Sunday, Feb. 24 West Orange 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 1 Dover 9 a.m.
Saturday, March 1 Lawrenceville 2 p.m.
Sunday, March 2 Morristown 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 8 Riverdale 9:30 a.m.
Sunday, March 9 Woodbridge 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 15 Jersey City 9:30 a.m.
Thursday, March 20 Teaneck 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 3 Cherry Hill 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 4 Woodbury 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
two briefs in one day to cover all 1/114th families
**Any family that will be experiencing a deployment may attend ANY of the above briefs as all the information will be the same no matter where the Soldier’s home station is located in the state. All youth are welcomed to attend. We will have established youth programs, in a separate area, for youth ages three and older.
ARMS packing boxes to ship to deployed Soldiers
ARMS will be packing items to be shipped to deployed Soldiers on Saturday, Feb. 23 from noon-4 p.m. at the Toms River Armory. Any one or any group interested in donating some time to the project just show up at the armory. All help is appreciated. The armory is located at 1200 Whitesville Road, Toms River, NJ.
Scholarships to Space Camp available to military children
Military children can take advantage of the Military Child Education Coalition Contest – Bernard Brown II Space Camp Scholarship.
Space Camp is a place where kids come together for a journey they will never forget. The camp is an eight day program in Huntsville, Ala., that shows young men and women what it takes to be an astronaut.
The scholarship includes round trip transportation (from student's home base to Space Camp), meals, lodging and program materials.
To be eligible for the scholarship, each applicant must:
ý Be a child of active duty military parent or activated Guard or Reservist
ý Be enrolled in grades 6-9
ý Submit HAND WRITTEN essay which includes why he or she should be selected, evidence of patriotism, future goals, community service, and "after camp" intentions
ý Submit two letters of recommendation with contact information
ý Complete and submit the application by the deadline.
All submissions are due no later than March 10, 2008. (NOTE: Write "Attn. Call for the Arts" on envelope when mailing in entry.)
For more detailed information about the Space Camp Scholarship, visit the MCEC at www.MilitaryChild.org or call at 254-953-1923.
Video messaging – stay in touch!
Did you know that you can create and send a video message to your loved ones just by clicking the Send VIDEO Email image on the AKO/DKO Homepage? This is a quick way for deployed service members and their family members to keep in touch with one another. Mother's Day is just around the corner - what a way to recognize and express your love and appreciation to that special Mom in your life.
You already have your AKO account. All you need is a video camera to attach to your computer, a small investment (tens of dollars) for staying in touch with friends and family members. Take a few minutes to tell us what you think of the Video Messaging Service by participating in our Video Messaging Poll https://www.us.army.mil/suite/page/137323.
VA Launches Suicide Hotline
To ensure veterans with emotional crises have round-the-clock access to trained professionals, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has begun operation of a national suicide prevention hot line for veterans. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson said: "Veterans need to know these VA professionals are literally a phone call away. All service members who experience the stresses of combat can have wounds on their minds as well as their bodies. Veterans should see mental health services as another benefit they have earned, which the men and women of VA are honored to provide." VA's hot line will be staffed by mental health professionals in Canandaigua, N.Y. They will take toll-free calls from across the country and work closely with local VA mental health providers to help callers. The toll-free hot line number is 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255).
New recycling rules for Lawrenceville, West Trenton
From the desk of Joseph K. Dunleavy, Environmental Specialist
The state has hired a new contractor to implement the Governors Executive Order pertaining to recycling at all State owned and operated facilities. This guidance is targeted for the workforce within the DMAVA Lawrenceville complex and West Trenton NJARNG locations only. The contractor and the Treasury Department have provided new collection containers for recyclable items. These containers are to be placed on the loading dock prior to the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month so that the collection truck can pick them up. Please inform all personnel of the requirements.
All aluminum & steel cans, plastic and glass bottles (coded 1 & 2) need to be placed in the “Decorative Containers” or the blue containers with round openings, in the Headquarters Building for disposal. Please no caps or lids! These items will be collected on Fridays at the loading dock.
The new company will be conducting participatory audits and notify the Governors Office of participation rates. Encourage everyone in your office to recycle office paper, white paper, colored paper, Post It ™ notes, newspaper, magazines, envelopes, folders, junk mail, and paper wrappers.
New Jersey Bar Association offers pro bono military legal assistance
The New Jersey Bar Association established and administers the Military Legal Assistance Program. This pro bono program provides assistance to New Jersey residents who have served overseas as active duty members of reserve components of the armed forces after Sept. 11, 2001.
Individuals who have been adversely affected upon their return from deployment and cannot be represented by military lawyers can use this program. The program currently offers assistance to the following areas: family law, employment law, veterans’ benefits and debtor-creditor law.
The Military Legal Assistance program will refer members of the military who contact the state bar association to volunteers qualified to assist them with their specific legal issues. Volunteers who accept a case through the program must agree to handle such case from inception to resolution without compensation or reimbursement for expenses.
If interested in the program, call toll free 1-888-541-1900 for referral or visit the New Jersey State Bar Association web site at www.njsba.com and click on the button for the Military Legal Assistance program.
Federal grant for spouses of deployed military
A $200,000 grant from the Department of Community Affairs is available for spouses of deployed or recently deployed military (all branches across the state). Typical awards are $2,500 each and are available for financial difficulties (such as past due rent and childcare) as well as for recreational and stress relieving activities for kids. For more information contact Fawn I. Mutschler, Military Grant Liaison, Women's Opportunity Center, YMCA of Burlington County by calling 609-543-6200 Ext. 325 or by email at email@example.com.
Tax season help for military members
We are now in the midst of tax season and preparing for the check that Uncle Sam will send our way or digging down to find the $$$ to pay those taxes owed. Here are some tips from various sources to help when it comes to filing.
Review your return before sending it off to the tax man – common problems, especially for paper returns are missing signatures and incorrect Social Security numbers.
The Internal Revenue Service Publication 3, titled, “Armed Forces’ Tax Guide” is available at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p3.pdf.
By visiting the IRS Web site – www.irs.gov – and clicking on the “Individuals” button in the upper left of the screen, you can then find information on military issues in two ways. First, there will be a “Military” button that will show on the line right under the “Individuals” button. Second, scroll down the page to the “Tax Information for Members of the U.S. Armed Forces” button.
Veterans run to support scholarships
On May 2, Efren Cazales, a Marine combat veteran, and William D. Brown Jr., a Navy SEAL combat veteran, will run from Rutgers Camden campus to Rutgers new Brunswick campus, a distance of 65 miles.
Both Cazales and Brown are members of Veterans for Education, a Rutgers University group that promotes veterans in a positive light and also promotes the value of education. Veterans for Education, along with Rutgers alumni, have started a scholarship fund for veterans.
The run by Cazales and Brown is to promote funding for the scholarship program. Tax-deductible donations can be sent to Rutgers-Camden, Office of Development, 411 Cooper Street, 2nd floor, Camden NJ 08102; checks should be made out to Rutgers University Foundation: Rutgers Alumni Scholarship for Combat Veterans Fund.
Join the McGuire Enlisted Spouses Club when they present their Valentine’s weekend show, “A Night of Comedy with Pete Michaels with Papa.” There will be two performances on Feb. 15 at 7 and 9:30 p.m. at The Club at McGuire Air Force Base.
Pete Michaels is celebrating 30 years as a ventriloquist and has been on Comedy Central, Good Morning America and Late Night with Conan O’Brien and performed as an opening act for Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx and others.
Advance tickets for the shows cost $10 per person; $15 per person at the door. Tickets will be on sale in front of the Fort Dix/McGuire Air Force Base Exchange Feb. 8 and 9, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. for more information on tickets, call 609-922-6458, 609-784-3488, 609-354-2707 or 609-723-3948.
For Your Calendar
Celebration Wednesday, part of Black History Month
As part of the Black History Month events, Celebration Wednesday will be held in classrooms 1 and 2 in Joint Force headquarters, Fort Dix, every Wednesday in February from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Speakers and programs are all geared toward life enhancement and wellness for all ethnic groups and provide information and knowledge in celebration of Black History Month.
The schedule is:
Feb. 20 Omega Hartman, financial planning and Mr. George, VFW, VFW benefits
Feb. 27 Health and Well-being
Any questions about Celebration Wednesday can be directed to Sgt. 1st Class Mercedes Rowe, 609-562-0756.
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. LaSelva was one of the New Jersey soldiers ordered in January 2007 to remain in the Iraq 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. LaSelva 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.
Pancake breakfast slated for April 13
The National Guard State Family Readiness Council, American Legion post 414 and the Lawrence Township Lions Club are proudly sponsoring a "Support the Troops Pancake Breakfast" with all proceeds going to support the Soldiers and families of the New Jersey National Guard State Family Readiness Council. For tickets or additional information, please call 609-771-4143, 609-882-2675 or 609-989-9162.
Date: Sunday, April 13, 2008
Time: 7 a.m.-1 p.m.
Place: National Guard Armory
151 Eggert Crossing Road
Price: $7 for adults and $5 for children under 10 years old.
Note: Tax-free donations can be sent to:
National Guard State Family Readiness Council
PO Box 5692
Trenton, NJ 08638-0692
Military Training, Schools, Opportunities
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: 609-562-0566/0568
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.
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: E5s and below receive an Additional Skill Identifier (ASI) of H8. E6 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.
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.
254th Regiment announces upcoming courses
Here are the
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 Sustainment
Feb. 4-13, 2008 - 32 openings
***NEW ON ATRRS, Combat Lifesaver Course (CLC-06)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
254th Regiment courses that are on the calendar. When using ATRRS, the school code is 1004.
Battlemind supports Soldiers, families through deployment cycle
Battlemind is a term used to describe combat readiness. The first Battlemind product was a mental health post-deployment briefing. It quickly became a training system supporting Soldiers and families across the seven phases of the deployment cycle. The Battlemind system includes separate pre-deployment training modules for Soldiers, unit leaders, health-care providers and spouses. Psychological debriefings are given in theater and upon redeployment. There is also a post-deployment module for spouses and several post-deployment modules for Soldiers. Pre-deployment Battlemind tells Soldiers what they are likely to see, to hear, to think and to feel while deployed - by describing the worst-case scenario. Post-deployment Battlemind addresses safety concerns, relationship issues, normalized combat-related mental health reactions and symptoms -- along with teaching Soldiers when they should seek mental health support for themselves or for their buddies. All of the Battlemind products (training modules, brochures, debriefings and videos are available on the Web site, www.battlemind.org.
Data security breach announced
Recently, a Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ employee's laptop was stolen that contained personal information, including the name, address and social security number of some of their members. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ does not believe any medical data was on the computer.
Several security measures are naturally set in place to safeguard data and prevent its access should this rare situation occur. However, since the privacy and security of some members' personal information may be at risk, Horizon BCBSNJ is notifying each impacted member or dependent directly by letter of this incident. Again, this breach has not affected everyone who is a member.
If you do not wish to wait, you may call them at 1-800-447-3798 to confirm if you are affected. When calling, please have your insurance card available and be prepared to provide your ID number. If you have any further questions, please contact your Benefits Administrator or Horizon BCBSNJ directly.
Space A rules have changed
Dependents of service members who have been deployed for 120 days or longer will now find it easier to travel on Space Available military flights (Space-A). Due to a change in policy effective Dec. 6, 2007, military families no longer need to be accompanied by their service member when traveling Space-A regardless of where they are based. Prior to the change, military dependents could only travel unaccompanied from an overseas location to the family's home of record within the continental United States or within an overseas theater of operation. Additionally, they were limited to one round trip during the military sponsor's deployment period. Under the new policy, family members may now travel unlimited times during the deployment when seats are available. However, family members planning to use Space-A transportation will need a verification letter from the military sponsor's commander confirming the service member's deployment. In addition, an eligible parent or legal guardian must accompany family members under age 18. For more information regarding the Space-A travel program, please visit the Air Mobility Command website at www.amc.af.mil/.
State Health Benefits Program has new plans
The New Jersey State Health Benefits Program will provide active and retired members with new medical plans effective April 1, 2008.
The SHBP is offering two types of medical plans, a Preferred Provider Organization and Health Maintenance Organizations. Several options are available under each plan. Information can be found at the following web site about the plans, co-pays, costs, and directories: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/shbp.htm. You can also contact your benefits counselor at DMAVA HRD - Lisa Dandrea, 609-530-6888 or e-mail email@example.com.
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 Oct. 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 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 609-530-7056.
For the Families
Journal available for military children
Health Net Federal Services released My Life, a Kid's Journal, designed for military children whose parent or loved one is deployed. The journal is meant to serve as a keepsake for the child or as a gift to their special person who is deployed once it's completed. To obtain copies for military children living in the TRICARE North Region, e-mail your request to mailto:HNFS_Communications@healthnet.com. Those living outside the North Region can download the journal from the Health Net Federal Services website.
Picatinny Arsenal Egg Hunt, March 8
The Picatinny Arsenal invites all National Guard families along with the Picatinny community to the Annual Egg Hunt held on March 8, 1:30-3 p.m. at the Teen Center. Come out for an afternoon of fun and laughter. There will be games, prizes, egg hunt, arts and crafts and pictures with the Easter Bunny.
The day is for children 11 and under. Attendees are asked to bring their own basket. To reserve your spot, please call 973-724-5555/7183.
The Teen Center is located in building 3228, next to the community center. The egg hunt starts at 1:30 sharp; hunters are asked to arrive early.
Spouses eligible for H&R Block course
Military spouses are eligible to receive a full scholarship for an H&R Block Income Tax course. The program does not require any previous training and it is open to active duty and reserve military spouses. For complete details and program information, contact your local H&R Block office at 1-888-412-7880 or www.hrblock.com/taxes/planning/tax_courses/index.html
Family Assistance Center Realignment
Co B/250th Brigade Support Battalion (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 Reconnaissance Surveillance Target Acquisition (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.
Reserve Aid 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: 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.
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.
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.
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 grant funds 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 email@example.com 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
Free Trenton Devils tickets available
The Trenton Devils have at least 50 tickets they are giving away to hockey fans for the March 8 game against the Wheeling (W.V.) Nailers at the Sovereign Bank Center, Trenton. The game will be held at noon.
Since the Devils want the seats filled, tickets will only be given to those Guardmembers who are certain they will attend the game.
If you are interested in tickets, contact Marie Durling at 609-562-0739 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Travel Help, Ideas
McGuire ITT office has discounted tickets to Six Flags
The ITT Office at McGuire Air Force Base currently has 2008 Season passes to Six Flags Great Adventure for a discounted price. For additional information contact the ITT Office at the BX/PX Mall at McGuire at 609-754-6032/-3737 or e-mail email@example.com.
3-Park Pass - $115.00 (no tax) (Good at Six Flags Great Adventure, Hurricane Harbor & Wild Safari)
2-Park Pass - $83.00 (no tax) (Good at Six Flags Great Adventure, & Wild Safari)
*Ages 4 an older are the same price*
Come purchase your season pass before prices go up. The prices remain at the lowest price until Feb. 29, 2008.
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 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 an opportunity to visit Orlando with your family.
Scholarship, Education News
Enlisted Association announces scholarships
The Enlisted Association of the National Guard of New Jersey announces it is sponsoring five scholarships of $1,000 each for children of members of the Association and drilling members of the New Jersey National Guard (Army or Air) who are also members of the Association. Additionally, a $500 USAA scholarship will be given for any Army or Air Drilling Guardsman. Applications for scholarships may be found on the Association’s Web site at www.eang-nj.org. Applications must be postmarked by May 15, 2008 and mailed to:
Enlisted Association of the National Guard of New Jersey
ATTN: Scholarship Committee
3650 Saylors Pond Road
Fort Dix, NJ 08640-7600
Prior recipients are not eligible to apply.
Education news for NJARNG
Education Services Brochure Booklet (ESB2)
Access the New Jersey Army National Guard's ESB2 at www.nj.gov/military/education. The ESB2 is a comprehensive guide with links and shortcuts to civilian education benefits available to New Jersey Army National Guard Soldiers.
G.I. Bill Notice of Basic Eligibility
New Jersey Army National Guard Soldiers can print their Eligibility of Mobilized Soldier notification letter for CH 1607 as well as Notice Of Basic Eligibility for CH 1606 at https://www.nationalguardbenefits.com; click on G.I. Bill Home Page.
Scholarships for military spouses now available
The National Military Family Association's Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarships are awarded to spouses of uniformed services members (active duty, National Guard and Reserve, retirees and survivors) to obtain professional certification or to attend post secondary or graduate school. Scholarships range in amount from $500-1,000, and the number awarded each year varies depending on funding. Scholarship funds may be used for tuition, fees and school room and board.
Scholarship selection is based on completion of some survey questions that will help NMFA advocate for education changes on your behalf, short-answer questions and an essay question that will help us get to know you better. To be considered, applications must be completed by midnight March 15. To apply, go to: https://secure2.convio.net/nmfa/site/SSurvey?SURVEY_ID=4420&ACTION_REQUIRED=URI_ACTION_USER_REQUESTS.
Scholarships available for military children
Two scholarships are available for military dependents: Scholarship for Military Children Program and Army Emergency Relief Scholarship Program.
To be eligible for either scholarship, the applicants must be under 23 years old, unmarried, enrolled in DEERS and must be enrolled or planning to enroll in a full-time undergraduate program at an accredited college or university in the fall of 2008.
Details for the Scholarship for Military Children can be found at www.military scholar.org. The deadline for this scholarship is Feb. 20.
The AER Scholarship deadline is March 1. Details about this scholarship can be found at www.aerhq.org.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
March 3*, 4, 5
Paramus Park Shopping Center
April 1*, 2, 3
Voorhees Town Center
May 6*, 7, 8
Ocean County Mall
July 8, 9, 10
Cherry Hill Mall
Traveling Wall, Wildwood
August 5*, 6, 7
*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:
Free guided tours of the Memorial are offered on the first Saturday of each month at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
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. There will be a state medal ceremony.
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.
For further information call 1-800-648-VETS or visit www.njvvmf.org.