Commander transition completed for 50th IBCT
By Kryn P. Westhoven, Public Affairs Staff Officer
The New Jersey Army National Guard officially welcomed a new commander of the 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) during a change of command ceremony on Saturday at the National Guard Training Center in Sea Girt. Col. Steven Ferrari received the 50th IBCT colors from 42nd Infantry Division commander Brig. Gen. Paul C. Genereux, Jr. as outgoing commander Col. Jorge Martinez and division Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Fearnside witnessed the handoff in front of the assembled brigade units on the armory drill floor.
Ferrari will lead the more than 3,000 Soldiers of the 50th IBCT for the one-year deployment to Iraq that begins in June. The next major event for the brigade is a three-week annual training period at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa. in April.
Maj. Brian Griefer is promoted to Sergeant
By Staff Sgt. Barb Harbison, 108th Air Refueling Wing PAO
Maj. Brian Griefer of the 108th Air Refueling Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard had a great surprise during his deployment to Iraq when he was promoted to sergeant.
His civilian job in the Bergen County (N.J.) Prosecutor’s office arranged a surprise promotion party at a distance via video web-cam to promote him to Detective Sergeant with the prosecutor’s office.
Commander of the 108th Security Forces Squadron and 447th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron in Iraq, Lt. Col. Ronald Turk called Griefer into the “wired” room and Griefer was totally unprepared for what was about to happen.
When he showed up on the screen at the New Jersey conference room, his co-workers, who also did not know about the upcoming promotion, yelled their hellos.
After Griefer returned the greetings, Prosecutor John Molinelli announced, “Brian, it’s my intention this morning – and for you this evening – to promote you to the rank of sergeant.”
With a round of applause from the New Jersey crowd, the new major-sergeant thanked the prosecutor. Turk assisted with the swearing-in of the Detective Sergeant.
Griefer’s fiancée, Susan Grimstead, was in the audience enjoying her first sights of him since his deployment in September.
According to reports, once the new Detective Sergeant returns to his civilian job, he will have a supervisory position in one of the office’s more active squads, the Sex Crimes Unit.
A Troop has virtual FRG on AKO
From Patricia Keffer, A Troop FRG member
102 CAV A Troop now has a Virtual FRG (vFRG). This is a Web site that will have useful A Troop information as well as general information. We will be able to share photos, ask questions, share stories and much more. While this will not replace the face-to-face contact that we get from FRG meetings and events this will provide a connection to those members that are not able to attend in person. One of the best features of our new vFRG is the ability for the soldiers to access the site while they are away. The soldiers will also be able to share and view pictures, stories, and much more. For security reasons the site is restricted to members of AKO. Gaining access is simple; an AKO account is required. For more information on the site or for questions on how to set up an AKO account please email Patricia Keffer at Patricia.Keffer@us.army.mil.
Come visit us at https://www.us.army.mil/suite/page/511879.
FRG leader training scheduled for April 5
FRG training for leaders will be conducted April 5 at the Lawrenceville Armory in the Garden Room. Lunch will be served from 12:30-1 p.m. with training beginning promptly at 1 p.m. and lasting until 4 p.m. Interested FRG Leaders can sign up by contacting Marie Durling by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 609-562-0739.
Great Adventure’s Military Appreciation Day is May 17
From the desk of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hughes, Family Assistance Specialist
Great Adventure Military Appreciation Day will be on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 17. There will be meal vouchers for $9.50 each which can be used at six of the food vendors in the park. Tickets will be available for Great Adventure on April 15. Tickets are good for the Theme Park and the Safari. The price of each ticket is $20.
Financial counseling available for deployed service members
From the desk of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hughes, Family Assistance Specialist
The Military Housing Assistance Fund (MHAF) helps military families to become homeowners by providing them with grants to assist them with purchasing a home. The Fund also provides financial counseling to members of the National Guard and Reserves, deployed and serving in combat zones overseas, who are having problems meeting their monthly obligations due to their deployment and activation. Learn more at http://www.militaryhousingassistancefund.org. The Fund is a project of the Financial Counselors of America (FCA), a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization founded in 1991 to help Americans manage their finances and get out of debt. Visit the FCA website at http://www.financialcounselors.org.
Time is near to register for Purple Camps
From the desk of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hughes, Family Assistance Specialist
Here is information for families who may be interested in signing their children up for a National Military Family Association (NMFA) Purple Camp this summer. While actual enrollment for the camps will be March 24 - May 5, families can sign up now to receive e-alerts from NMFA regarding the camps and enrollment. To sign up for the alerts, go to the NMFA Web site - http://www.nmfa.org – click on blue "Youth Initiatives" link on the left, next click on the red "Operation Purple link, " then sign up for alert (at bottom of page).
Career fairs for veterans, Guard members, spouses
RecruitMilitary Career Fairs will be held at three locations convenient to New Jersey residents in March. These are free hiring events for veterans with civilian work experience, men and women who are transitioning from active duty to civilian life, members of the National Guard and reserves, and military spouses.
The fairs are produced by RecruitMilitary in cooperation with HireVetsFirst, a unit of the United States Department of Labor and The American Legion.
The three fairs are listed below. If you go to the links, you can register as a job seeker, find a flyer, directions to the park and tips on a successful career fair.
1. Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, March 12,11 a.m.-3 p.m. Citizens Bank Park is the home of the Philadelphia Phillies and is located at 1 Citizens Bank Way, Philadelphia PA 19148. The fair will take place in the Hall of Fame Club.
2. New Jersey Performing Arts Center, 1 Center Street, Newark, March 19, 11a.m.-3p.m. www.recruitmilitary.com/careerfairs/careerfairs3.asp?CFID=77
3. USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center, Arthur Ashe Stadium, Flushing Meadows, Flushing, N.Y.,March 20, 11a.m.-3p.m. www.recruitmilitary.com/careerfairs/careerfairs3.asp?CFID=78
Getting economic stimulus payment for seniors
Do you know a senior or low income worker who had at least $3,000 in earned income in 2007 but do not otherwise earn enough to be required to file a federal tax return? This year they need to file in order to receive the economic stimulus payment in the spring. If they received $3,000 in Social Security or Railroad Retirement or Veteran's Benefits in 2007, they will report that amount on line 20a of Form 1040 or on line 14a of Form 1040A. Check out the IRS web site at http://www.irs.gov/irs/article /0,,id=177937,00.html for more information on the stimulus program.
Five years of VA health care for combat veterans
WASHINGTON (February 26, 2008) - Military veterans who served in combat since Nov. 11, 1998, including veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, are now eligible for five years of free medical care for most conditions from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This measure increases a two-year limit that has been in effect nearly a decade.
"By their service and their sacrifice, America's newest combat veterans have earned this special eligibility period for VA's world-class health care," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake.
The five-year deadline has no effect upon veterans with medical conditions related to their military service. Veterans may apply at any time after their discharge from the military -- even decades later -- for medical care for service-connected health problems.
The new provision, part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 signed by President Bush on Jan. 28, 2008, applies to care in a VA hospital, outpatient clinic or nursing home. It also extends VA dental benefits -- previously limited to 90 days after discharge for most veterans -- to 180 days.
Combat veterans who were discharged between Nov. 11, 1998 and Jan. 16, 2003, and who never took advantage of VA's health care system, have until Jan. 27, 2011 to qualify for free VA health care.
The five-year window is also open to activated Reservists and members of the National Guard, if they served in a theater of combat operations after Nov. 11, 1998 and were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.
Veterans who take advantage of this five-year window to receive VA health care can continue to receive care after five years, although they may have to pay copayments for medical problems unrelated to their military service. Copayments range from $8 for a 30-day supply of prescription medicine to $1,024 for the first 90 days of inpatient care each year.
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.
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.
From the desk of Paul Serdiuk, DMAVA Human Resources Division
The Human Resources Division is offering a number of free seminars presented by the Human Recourse Training Section. Reservations are needed for each seminar; contact Paul Serdiuk at 609-530-6878 or at email@example.com. All seminars will be held in Conference Room A at DMAVA Central Office. All are welcomed.
March 13: Gangs – Introduction, identification, and overview. A nationally known expert from the Department of Corrections will give a 2 ½ hour overview of the gang infiltration into suburban New Jersey. Included will be a historical overview how gangs got started, gang identification, what you can do as a citizen and parent to prevent the spread of gangs.
May 7: State Deferred Compensation – Mike McConnell from Prudential Financial will meet with State employees to discuss their participation and contributions to their deferred compensation account. A 30 minute consultation will be scheduled per each employee.
May 15: Preventing Identity Theft – A representative from the Department of Banking and Insurance will present a one hour overview on what you can do to prevent identity theft and what to do if you should become a victim of identity theft.
June 12: Automobile Insurance – We all have it, are required to have it, but do we really know what it is about? A representative from the Department of Banking and Insurance will present a one hour overview on what you need to know about automobile insurance in New Jersey, decipher many of the terms and jargon of your policies and give an overview of what a policy should include in it to protect you.
Sep. 17: State Deferred Compensation – Mike McConnell from Prudential Financial will meet with State employees to discuss their participation and contributions to their deferred compensation account. A 30 minute consultation will be scheduled per each employee.
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 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 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
Active Duty Training (ADT) Courses:
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.
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
Maintaining Family Connections presentation at Dover Armory
From the desk of Sabrina Toomey, Troop A FRG Leader
The A Troop FRG is sponsoring, “Maintaining Family Connections,” a presentation by a representative of the Family Advocacy Program. This is one of a series of classes on “Deployment: Coping with Separation and Staying Connected.” It will be held at the Dover Armory, 479 West Clinton Street, on March 9, from noon to 2 p.m.
Light refreshments will be served.
To RSVP, contact either Cindy Rounsaville, 908-996-3108, nehihomeo@ embarqmail.com or Sabrina Toomey, 610-381-7071, email@example.com.
Strong Bonds program helps strengthen relationships
From the desk of Marie Durling, Family Programs Specialist
Soldiers or Airmen (Army and Air Guard) and their significant others are encouraged to attend one of the upcoming Strong Bonds. Soldiers will attend in a paid SUTA status and all expenses are paid. These seminars have been extremely successful and are designed to strengthen relationships. The cost of the hotel and meals and literature are paid for by the State.
The seminars are not therapy sessions or encounter groups nor are they for sharing your personal concerns. The seminars are conducted by the state chaplains' office and begin with teaching effective communication skills, address problem resolution strategies that work and teach how to discover the hidden issues in every relationship. The program then moves into friendship, forgiveness, fun and sensuality.
If you are interested in attending or need additional information, please call Marie Durling at 609-562-0739 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
These seminars usually fill up fast, so if interested, please call as soon as possible. The next seminar will be May 2-4 at the Flanders Hotel in Ocean City, N.J. This is for Soldiers and Airmen who have not attended a Marriage Enrichment Seminar in the past.
177th Fighter Wing sponsoring Spring Party for kids
The 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard, is sponsoring a children's Spring Party on Saturday, March 15 from 11a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Base Dining Hall, building 400. The event will begin with an Easter Egg Hunt led by the Easter Bunny, followed by food, and then a magic show with Captain Visual. If you are planning on attending, please contact Mr. Gunning, at 609-645-6248 or email@example.com.
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, March 10: 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:
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
Saturday, March 1 Dover 9 a.m.
Saturday, March 1 Lawrenceville 2 p.m.
Saturday, March 8 Morristown 2 p.m. (date and time change)
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.
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.
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.
Post Office offers boxes, discount rate to FPO/APO addresses
From the desk of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hughes, Family Assistance Specialist
Now the U.S. 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Fourth annual SGT Nutter Run scheduled for June 14
The fourth annual SGT Nutter Run will be held on June 14. Sergeant Sam Nutter (Jan. 28, 1966 – Jan. 2, 2005) was a member of the New Jersey Army National Guard and served in the U. S. Navy from 1989-1997. Each year the NJARNG Officer Candidate School holds a benefit 5k run in his memory and the proceeds raised are donated to a NJARNG family in need. This year’s beneficiary is Dina; daughter of New Jersey Army National Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy D. Marvian, of the 102nd Cavalry (RSTA) who will be deploying to Iraq later this year. Dina has endured a life-long battle with Neurofibromatosis Type I. Come join us as we band together to give a helping hand to a member of our National Guard family.
Fun family events and a BBQ to celebrate the Army’s birthday will follow the race.
Visit http://www.NutterRun.com for registration forms, donation forms, and more information.
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
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 just around the corner, 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.