New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
DMAVA Highlights 30 November 2007

Volume 6, Number 47


Contacting us is easy!

Public Affairs Office

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



Veterans' Organizations Contact Information

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

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

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



Veterans Hotlines

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

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



DMAVA Highlights Archive

DMAVA Highlights Archive Page



NJ World War II Memorial

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

WWII Memorial on the web



New Jersey Freedom Loans

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

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

Or

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

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

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

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

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

Manasquan Savings Bank
732-223-4450

North Jersey Federal Credit Union
1-888-78NJFCU

Peapack-Gladstone Bank (908)
719-BANK

Pennsville National Bank
856-678-6006

PNC
1-866-PNC-4USA

Sovereign Bank
1-877-391-6365

Sun National Bank
1-800-691-7701


Quote for the Week

Necessity never made a good bargain.

- Benjamin Franklin

Man is what he believes.

- Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

He who reflects too much will accomplish little

- Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

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

- Anonymous


Download PDF Version of this week's highlights

News For Your Views

1-150th Assault Helicopter Bn holding change of command Dec. 1

The 1-150th Assault Helicopter Battalion will hold a change of command ceremony at the flight facility in West Trenton on Dec. 1 at 10:30 a.m. to recognize Lt. Col. Daniel J. Dreher as the outgoing battalion commander and welcome Lt. Col. Francis A. Matreale as the new commander.

The ceremony will also recognize Soldiers of the battalion with awards and promotions.

108th welcomes home Security Forces detachment

On Nov. 20, the twelve-person detachment from the 108th Air Refueling Wing Security Forces Squadron arrived at their home unit after successfully completing a six-month deployment to Iraq. Family, friends, unit members and leadership were on hand to welcome the Airmen.

The 108th Air Refueling Wing has more than fifty members of the Security Forces Squadron still deployed to Iraq and await their return in 2008.

21st CST holds change of command

Family, unit members and members of the military community gathered at the Lawrenceville Armory on Wednesday, Nov. 28 to witness the change of command of the 21st Civil Support Team.

Air Guard Maj. Jesse M. Arnstein assumed command of the unit from Army Guard Lt. Col. Gerard R. Gagnon during the ceremony. This unit is the only one in the state that has members from both the Army and Air Guard.

Arnstein joined the Air Guard in 2003 after serving as a Judge Advocate for eight years. After a short stay at Joint Force Headquarters-Air, he joined the Civil Support Team serving as the deputy commander.

After more than six years as the commander of the 21st Civil Support Team, Gagnon will be serving the NJARNG as the Counterdrug coordinator, Counterdrug Task Force.

177th raises money for one of their own

By Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, 177FW/PA

It was a perfect day - crisp fall weather; the sun was out - a day truly made to order.

In front of the 177th Fighter Wing Base Fitness Center, 154 runners plus a group of volunteers gathered for the First Annual Jack Green 5K Run/Walk.

The event was held in memory of Master Sgt. Jack Green, a 26-year veteran assigned to the Avionics shop and his step-daughter Alexa who were killed in an accident on Jan. 16.  Proceeds from the Run will go to a special scholarship fund for Jack's son Jake.

Following a presentation of a shadowbox of Jack's medals, awards and rank to his widow Lori and Jake by Wing Commander Randall S. King, Chief Master Sgt. Bill Sciarretta, one of the Run's organizers, briefed the runners on the route they would be taking.

Lori started the race, the runners and walkers took off.  Three point one miles; out and back from the circle by the new alert facility.

Cruising in first and barely breaking a sweat was Liam Dingman, son of Tech. Sgt. William Dingman, with a time of 19 minutes, 20 seconds.  Second and third place went to John Knight and Senior Airman Brandon Wood with times of 20 minutes and 20 minutes, 25 seconds respectively.  First place for women went to Capt. Yvonne Mays with a time of 24 minutes, 21 seconds.

The final tally of money raised was close to $3,000; and more importantly the opportunity to help the family of one of our own.

The day truly couldn't get any better.

State Employees' Toy Drive looking for toys, gifts

The New Jersey State Employees Toy Drive will start on Nov. 26, and will run through Dec. 17. The toys and gifts will be distributed to children under the supervision of the Department of Children and Families, Division of Youth and Family Services. Gifts are needed for all age groups, the greatest need each year is for children ages 10-17 years old. Gifts should be new and unwrapped. A suggested list is provided for age appropriate gifts.

Toys can be dropped off at the drop off boxes that were used for the annual coat drive located in various locations. For Central Office the drop off box is located in the central lobby.

If you have any questions, contact Paul Serdiuk, coordinator at 609-530-6878. He can supply you with gift suggestion lists for the children.

Position openings in Family Programs

There are several contractor positions open in Family Programs.

Family Assistant Center Coordinator - 2 openings

Locations: Jersey City and Morristown

General Duties: Serve as liaison between NJNG members, family members, the local community and the State Family Programs Director. Provide assistance to family members of deployed service members to include referral service, resource assistance/management, Family Readiness Group training and moral support . Must also be able to develop working relationships with state and local agencies, military, government and social services agencies, business and civic organizations that are willing to offer assistance and provide services in support of National Guard members and their families.

Family Readiness Assistant - 1 opening

Location: Joint Force Headquarters, Ft. Dix

General Duties: Assist the State Family Programs Director in developing and maintaining Family Readiness Groups (FRG) throughout NJ. Train FRG committee members on overall conduct to include regulatory guidelines, limitations, duties and responsibilities. Serve as a liaison between Rear Detachments, military points of contact and volunteers.

Resumes should be submitted no later than Dec. 28 to:

NJ Army National Guard

JFHQ-NJ, Attn: Family Programs, CPT Glatz

3650 Saylor's Pond Road

Fort Dix, NJ 08640

For more information call Capt. Amy Glatz, State Family Programs Director at 609-562-0668.

Time to register for DMAVA holiday party is now

From the desk of Darlene Laarz, Holiday Committee

Hurry up and get your reservations in for the DMAVA /JFHQ's Holiday Party which will be held on Dec. 14.  There will be a mandatory Town Hall will be at 11:30 a.m., with the holiday party immediately following.  The cost of the event will be $10, which will include a raffle ticket for a big flat screen TV and a meal from Amici Milano's.  If you wait too late, payment to attend the party will be $20 at the door and limited to only 35 more people. Those employees who chose not to attend the holiday party must return tho their regular duty station after the Town Hall for a full and normal workday. Buses will be provided to and from Fort Dix for those attending the Town Hall only.

See your department representative to make your reservations:

v    DMAVA - Darlene Laarz, 609-530-6992; Karen Wallace, 609-530-6766; Dawn Esposito, 609-530-6717; and Tina Taylor, 609-530-7170

v    Fort Dix - Marie Durling, 609-562-0739; and Barbara Alcott, 609-562-0870

v    HSCOE - Kevin Hearn, 609-530-7069

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 to apply is Feb. 20, 2008. 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 http://www.commissaries.com or at http://www.military scholar.org.

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.

VA offers video magazine for military, vets, families

The Department of Veterans Affairs has a monthly half-hour video news magazine to inform military members, veterans and their families about the benefits earned through their service. "The American Veteran" tells the stories of veterans who have taken advantage of the many benefits and services available to them.

The program is available on the VA Web site, www.va.gov. Click on "public affairs" and then "featured items."

"The American Veteran" is produced for veterans of all eras and includes stories of heroism and sacrifice.

The December edition includes an interview with a survivor of the Bataan Death March in World War II and a profile of a Vietnam veteran who lost a leg in combat, but has become an award-winning athlete and singer.

Gifting service members, families during the holidays

Are you looking for a way to give a gift to service members and their families? Here are three programs that help the men and women in uniform and their families.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) will send Military Exchange Global Prepaid Phone cards through the "Help Our Troops Call Home" program. Designed for the unique needs of deployed Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines, any American can help connect troops and their families with a Military Exchange Global Prepaid Phone card by logging on to www.aafes.com or calling 800-527-2345. From there, "Help Our Troops Call Home" phone cards can be sent to individual servicemembers (designated by the sender) or even directed to "any servicemember" through various military aid societies. The cards are 300 and 550 minute global phone cards and a Ship to Shore prepaid card for those serving on ships. Cost of the cards starts at $18 per card.

Also at www.aafes.com is the "Gifts from the Homefront" program. Here you can purchase military exchange gift certificates from $5 to $50 that can be sent to specified individuals or to groups who will distribute the cards to service members and their families.

When you go to www.commissaries.com, you will find "Gifts of Groceries." This program gives you're the opportunity to give a commissary gift certificate to either a specific commissary patron or will send your gift to one of five organizations who will give the card to a family in need. You have a choice of the following organizations to send your $10 or $25 gift: Air Force Member and their Families; Fisher House Foundation, Inc.; Operation Homefront; Operation Interdependence; or, the United Service Organization (USO).

Holiday cause stress for most

From the desk of Sgt. Maj. Nick Kampf, Safety and Occupational Health, NJARNG

The holidays are getting closer and closer. Here are a few suggestions to help you cope with the extra stress from the holiday season.

v    Manage your time wisely - make a list of chores to be done and allow sufficient time for each chore.

v    Talk out problems - talking with a trusted friend can help put problems in prospective.

v    Eat and drink in moderation - it's easy to overindulge during the holidays.

v    Get enough sleep - this will help ensure you meet each day's challenges with energy and alertness.

v    Take a break - an occasional "time out" from your hectic schedule will help you relax and feel refreshed.

Military launches new program to assist spouses with employment

By Christian Lowe, Military.com

Any savvy individual in or around the military knows that it's not just the person wearing the uniform that matters; it's also the support of a spouse that makes those deploying overseas truly "combat effective."

Recently, the Pentagon launched a new program aimed at supporting spouses who want to build or continue a career despite the frequent moves from base to base that are the hallmark of any military family.

Dubbed the "Military Spouse Career Advancement Initiative," the new effort teams the Pentagon with the Department of Labor to expand job opportunities for spouses in "high-demand, high-growth occupations," such as healthcare, education and information technology and helps guarantee those jobs will still be available even if the spouse relocates.

The pilot program will begin in January backed by $35 million in Labor and DoD funds to give grants to eligible spouses that can help them pay for education, training, licensing fees, books and other materials to get their careers off the ground. The program is intended for spouses with family pay grades of E-1 through E-5 or O-1 through O-3, and the grants total $3,000 per year for each spouse.

Starting out, the program will be available at 18 military installations in eight states, including Camp Pendleton, Calif., Fort Benning, Ga., and Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The number of bases and states could expand as the program evolves, said Pentagon personnel chief, Dr. David Chu.

Aside from the grant money available for spouses through this effort, the Department of Labor is stepping in to make sure more jobs are open to military spouses even if they move from one state to another.

Military spouses interested in taking advantage of the new program are encouraged to visit a nearby "One Stop Career Center" located on one of the 18 participating installations, Pentagon officials said.

Better Business Bureau partners with Air Force

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

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

Military Training, Schools, Opportunities

254th conducting military police course

The 254th Regiment is conducting a 31B Military Police military occupational specialty course. It is an IDT course at the National Guard Training Center, Sea Girt, NJ commencing Jan. 5, 2008.

The course provides soldiers the military knowledge and skills required to function as a military policeman to include; maneuver and mobility support operations, area security, interment and resettlement and law and order and police intelligence operations.

It is intensive instruction in the latest techniques of self-defense, police ethics, military law, and techniques to searching and responding to anti-terrorism threats.

Minimum required score in aptitude area ST on ASVAB is:

v    95 if administered prior to 2 January 2002.

v    92 if administered 2 January 2002- 1 July 2004.

v    91 if administered after 1 July 2004.

Security clearance required is CONFIDENTIAL.

This is part one of a three phase MOS course. Seats are available. School code is 1004.

For information contact: Master Sgt. Gary Davidson, at 732-974-5912 or e-mail: Gary.M.Davidson@us.army.mil.

254th offers Combat Lifesaver course

From the 254th Regiment

The Combat Lifesaver Course (CLS) is a 40 hour course taught over three days by the 254th Regiment at Sea Girt. It instructs non-medical soldiers in the latest techniques of self aid and buddy aid. The course is centered on reducing the number of combat deaths due to the three top causes: bleeding from an extremity, tension pneumothorax (lung collapse) and traumatic brain injury.

The instruction and hands-on training includes Tactical Combat Casualty Care, Medevac procedures, improvised litters, and numerous other subjects.

Point of contact for this training at the Regiment is Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Cosmanic at 732 974-4878 or STEPHEN.R.COSMANIC@NJ.NGB.ARMY.MIL.

For questions about this or any other course also contact Master Sgt. Gary Davidson at 732 974-5912 or Gary.m.davidson@us.army.mil. Or see your Unit Readiness NCO.

More information can be found at AKO in the medical knowledge network in med training: HTTP://WWW.CS.AMEDD.ARMY.MIL/CLSP/.

Speaking, recognition opportunities for diverse Soldiers

Operation Tribute to Freedom is seeking OIF/OEF Soldiers who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico or the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean, and Soldiers of Middle Eastern descent to share their story at events. If you are interested in participating in this program, send an e-mail to PAO@njdmava.state.nj.us. Responses should include the Soldier's name, contact information, bio with brief deployment history, awards and PAO contact information. Include "Diverse Soldier" in the subject line.

TDY available if necessary, but local/hometown Soldiers are preferred. Responses will be taken on an ongoing basis.

254th Regiment holding training courses

The 254th Regiment (CA) will be holding training courses in the upcoming months at the National Guard Regional Training Institute, Sea Girt.

Inactive Duty Training -

Small Group Instructor Training Course, (SGITC) Jan. 5-6, Feb. 2-3, March 1, 2008. You can learn about personality types and the human thought process, how to control the sharp shooter in class, and how to present the best class possible. Few seats remain, sign up now.

Basic NCO Course,(BNCOC) next course starts in April 2008 .

Military Police (31B10 MOS-T) Phase I, June 7-8, 2008; 5 seats available. Class starts in 3 weeks, get your soldiers registered today.

PRE WARRIOR Leadership Course, three weekends: Jan. 5-6, Feb. 2-3 and March 1-2, 2008; seats available. Tune up those map reading skills, pass Warrior Leadership Course.

Officer Candidate School Class 52 (OCS)- Project officers interviewing candidates at this time.

For more information, contact Master Sgt. G. Davidson, 254th Regiment operations sergeant, 732-974-5912, Gary.Davidson@us.army.mil or your unit Readiness NCO. You can also visit our school information on ATRSS at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/atrrscc/, school code is 1004.

 

Retirement Dinners

 

Farewell to Brig. Gen. Harvey

Come and say goodbye and relive the good old days at the retirement dinner for Brig. Gen. Charles Harvey on Dec. 15 at the Lawrenceville Army. The dinner will be held on the drill floor, 6-11 p.m. Cost is $35 per person and the dress is business casual.

RSVP by Dec. 7 to Marie Durling, 609-562-0739. Send your check, made payable to DMAVD Employee Activity Fund, to: Joint Force Headquarters, ATTN: Marie Durling, 3650 Saylors Pond Road, Fort Dix NJ 08640.

For Your Calendar

108th holding holiday party on Dec. 9

From the desk of 1st Lt. April Kelly, 108th ARW PAO

On Sunday, Dec. 9, the 108th Air Refueling Wing will be hosting a Commander's Call to include a Holiday Party for unit members and their families. The 108th will sponsor Operation Youth Deployment where family members will be able to take part in a simulated deployment.

DMAVA Holiday party slated for Dec. 14

From the desk of Darlene Laarz, Holiday Committee

The DMAVA/JFHQRS Holiday Party will be held this year on Dec. 14.  The mandatory Town Hall will be at 11:30 a.m., with the holiday party immediately following.  The cost of the event will be $10, which will include a raffle ticket for a big flat screen TV and a meal from Amici Milano's.  Keep the date open so we can celebrate the holiday together! 

School will hold veterans program, Dec. 12

On Dec. 12, for the third year, the Midtown Community Elementary School (formerly Ridge Ave) will host a veterans program to honor those who served our country.

We invite the veterans from around our area and our family members. First there will be a small breakfast with the veterans. The high school ROTC will present the color guard and the high school band will play taps.

Students grades three through five have a writing contest to see who will read their writing to the veterans during the program. The students will sing a variety of patriotic songs. Veterans will receive tokens of the student's appreciation.

Following the program, the veterans will have a chance to speak to the entire school population. Then the vets will be placed in smaller groups with our students to share special thoughts with them.

If you wish to participate, call Brenda Cook Johnson, Educational Media Specialist/ Librarian, 732-776-2200 extension 3401.

Honorable Mention

Affordable TRICARE benefit for drilling National Guard members

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

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

N.J. licenses, registration extended for deployed troops

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

DMAVA Suggestion program alive and well

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

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

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

Free downloadable CD available for military

By Samantha L. Quigley, American Forces Press Service

Just in time for the holidays, 13 major recording artists have created a musical "Thank You" for the troops.

"CD for the Troops" will be available for anyone with a valid military identification card to download at no cost from the Army and Air Force Exchange service Web site, www.aafes.com, beginning tomorrow, Nov. 17.

Musicians such as Billy Joel, Brooks & Dunn, the Goo Goo Dolls, Jewel, Josh Groban, Los Lonely Boys, Melissa Ethridge, the Neville Brothers, Sarah McLachlan, the Lt. Dan Band, Montgomery Gentry, the Fray and Five for Fighting contributed to the project.

John Ondrasik, the singer-songwriter who performs under the stage name "five for fighting," spearheaded the project.

Ondrasik is a staunch support of America's service members. He hopes the downloadable version of the CD will be available on the AAFES Web site through April. Hard copies of the CD will be sent to troops in theater, military hospitals and Fisher Houses. Onderasik hopes the music "inspires, motivates, provides and avenue for reflection or simply distracts you from a mission few can imagine, much less undertake."

"If anything, let each tune be a small piece of home to carry you forward," he said. "Thank you for all you do, and feel free to shoot me an e-mail with requests for 'CD for the Troops II.'"

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 T notes, newspaper, magazines, envelopes, folders, junk mail, and paper wrappers.

Federal benefits open season coming soon

The Federal Benefits Open Season for 2008 is here! Don't miss out on this opportunity. Federal employees can enroll or make changes to their enrollment in Federal Employees Health Benefit and in one of the seven dental plans, three vision plans and set up flexible spending accounts for health care and dependent care.

Flexible spending accounts are easy. You pay for a wide range of common, out-of-pocket dependent and health care expenses and then receive reimbursement from your dependent and/or health care flexible spending account(s). By setting aside pre-tax dollars, you reduce your taxable income, thereby paying less in taxes and saving money.

Eligible non-medical expenses for the dependent care account include child care and adult daycare. Eligible expenses for the health care account include co-payments, co-insurance, deductibles, over-the-counter medicines like cold remedies, prescription drugs, vision and dental expenses, and much more.

Current 2007 Participants: you MUST re-enroll to participate in 2008. Enrollments do NOT carry forward year-to-year.

Visit www.FSAFEDS.com to learn more about the FSAFEDS Program.

To find out more about the other available programs, visit http://opm.gov/insure/. Or call Sgt. Jacquelyn Bertrand at 609-562-0866.

Guard, Reserve members, families encouraged to nominate employers

The Department of Defense will open the nomination season for the 2008 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award on Nov. 1, 2007.  National Guard and Reserve members and their families are eligible and encouraged to nominate employers who have gone above and beyond in their support of military employees.  Nominations will be accepted at www.esgr.mil from Nov. 1, 2007 to Jan. 21, 2008.  The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award is the U.S. government's highest recognition given to outstanding employers.

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

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.

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).

Discounts offered for State employees

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

Visit www.state.nj.us/personnel/discounts/index.htm and you can find a number of businesses who offer discounts to New Jersey state employees. From amusement parks to fitness to computer to phones and lots of other discounts between, you will find many ways to save money. For more information, please contact Cindy Leese at cindy.leese@njdmava.state.nj.us or call 609-530-7056.

For the Families

Identity theft and your child

With all the talk of identity theft, one group has been completely forgotten: your children.

In 2004, more than 400,000 children were identity theft victims; double the number from 2003.

So how is this possible?  Simple, children are registered for social security numbers almost immediately after being born.  Because they have no history, their records are the perfect opportunity for abuse by identity thieves.

Here are some simple steps to prevent this from happening:

v    Discuss with your child about the importance of keeping their information private and never share that information with strangers.

v    Watch the mail for offers from credit card companies or bills with their name on them; report any suspicious activity to credit bureaus.

For more information on identity theft; go to www.ftc.gov/credit.

Photography contest for military youths

From the desk of Amanda Balas, State Youth Coordinator

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

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

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

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

Army Information Line: 1-800-833-6622

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

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

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

Support for military children of deployed and injured Guard members

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

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

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

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

Program offers assistance to spouses of deployed military

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

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

Travel Help, Ideas

Armed Forces Vacation Club offers affordable lodging

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

Shades of Green offers Disney for military

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

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

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

Visit West Point, take in the Ike Hall theater

Are you looking for a different place to visit to find history, food and performances of a good variety? Think about visiting the United States Military Academy.

While there you can tour the historic grounds, find lodging and meals, go to the visitor center where you can purchase something to remember your visit and then enjoy live entertainment at the second-largest theater in New York - the Eisenhower Hall theatre.

The list of upcoming entertainment includes stage productions of musicals and plays, ballet, and music - orchestra, jazz and individual performers. Three performances in September included acrobats, opera and a comedian.

Individual ticket prices range from approximately $25-50 for most performances.

The post is open to civilians; everyone 16 and older must present photo ID.

Find out more information about Eisenhower Hall at http://www.ikehall.com/. To find out more about the United States Military Academy, visit http://www.usma.edu/.

Sports and Entertainment

 

Scholarship, Education News

Free SAT/ACT Offer Extended

A group of NFL, NFL Europe, AFL, and CFL football players have announced they are extending their sponsorship of the SAT/ACT training to all military families.

The sponsorship allows any military person (active, Guard, reserve, or retired) to request as many programs as they need for the students in their lives.  There is a secure website to confirm a person's military status before directing the user to the software order site. Logon to:

www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil/portal/page/itc/MHF/MHF_DETAIL_0?current_id=20.20.100.30.0.0.0.0.0

Programs are shipped to domestic U.S. addresses and APO addresses. The sponsorship covers the purchase price of $199 and the family pays only the shipping and handling of $9.95.

American Legion offers scholarships, booklet on their Web site

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

Association News

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.

Enlisted Association of the National Guard of New Jersey

The Enlisted Association is seeking members to help give our state a larger voice. The Association speaks on legislative issues that benefit military members and families. The association works at the Federal & State level on all important issues. Visit the web site EANG-NJ.org, click on Become a Member for the application and find out more about what the association does.

Veterans Information

N.J. Militia Museum conducting Retiree Oral History Program

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

Helmets to Hardhats

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

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

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

Vet Career Connect helps military members find jobs

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

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

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

DMAVA Veterans Outreach Campaign continues

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

 

January 8,9, 2008

Woodbridge Center

February 5, 6, 7

Moorestown Mall

March 4*, 5, 6

Paramus Park Shopping Center

April 1, 2, 3

Voorhees Town Center

May 6*, 7, 8

Ocean County Mall

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

N.J. Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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

On Saturday, December 8, at 1 p.m., the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Foundation will host a lecture and slide show by Vietnam veteran Craig J. Barber about his book of photography, Ghosts in the Landscape: Vietnam Revisited. This program will be held at the Vietnam Era Educational Center in Holmdel.

Over a four year period beginning in 1995, Barber, a former combat Marine and now a professional photographer, returned to Vietnam several times to visit many of his former military routes, making images with an 8 x 10-inch pinhole camera. Part cathartic exercise, part curiosity about what had become of this once war-torn country, Barber has created a series of diptych and triptych panorama platinum images that capture the serene beauty of the country and the all-too-memorable landscapes. From April 1966 to December 1967, Barber served as an infantry sergeant with the U.S. Marine Corps, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines Regiment, in the Chu Lai, Da Nang, and Phu Bai area of northern South Vietnam. During his photography tour, he wrote in his journal, "More than once, as I wander the small hamlets, I have felt on patrol, the weight of my pack reminiscent of those days and the tripod feeling like a weapon. But now I am searching for images instead of 'Charlie' [the enemy]."

The images in the book, Ghosts in the Landscape: Vietnam Revisited, and those that will be on display and projected on a screen in a slide show are not documentary images. The minutes-long exposure required to record pinhole images produce blurring in anything that was in motion during the exposure. This sense of movement contributes to both a sense of mystery and a dreamlike, introspective quality. They capture the haunting power of wartime memory and trauma, while at the same time they convey beauty and peace. They will appeal to a wide audience and to Vietnam veterans who may find some comfort, as does Barber, in seeing Vietnam in a different light.

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

Dec. 1, 6 p.m. - Holiday Lighting Ceremony at the N.J. Vietnam Veterans Memorial: Christmas Tree, Hanukkah Menorah, and Kwaanza Candles.

Dec. 8, 1 p.m. - Ghosts in the Landscape: Vietnam Revisited, a photo gallery display and book discussion by the author/photographer, N.J. Vietnam Veteran Craig J. Barber.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

   
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