New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
DMAVA Highlights 15 June 2007

Volume 6, Number 24

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

NJ Advisory Committee for Women Veterans
Mrs. Anna Hoffman

BG Willam C. Doyle Cemetery Advisory Council
Mr. William Rakestraw

Veterans Hotlines

Benefits & Entitlements

Mental Health

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.


* 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

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

First Morris Bank & Trust

Manasquan Savings Bank

North Jersey Federal Credit Union

Peapack-Gladstone Bank (908)

Pennsville National Bank


Sovereign Bank

Sun National Bank

Quote for the Week

If I had to sum up in one word what makes a good manager, I’d say decisiveness.
- Lee Iacocca

To err is human, but when the eraser wears out ahead of the pencil, you’re overdoing it.

J. Jenkins

We judge ourselves by our motives and others by their actions.
- Dwight Morrow

One may smile, and smile, and be a villain.
- William Shakespeare

Download PDF Version of this week's highlights

News For Your Views
Blood drive saves lives!!

From the desk of Jack Stoffa, Grants Officer, DVS
Thanks go out to everyone at ChalleNGe cadet program and DMAVA who supported the blood donation event that was held this week at Fort Dix and Lawrenceville.  We are grateful for the enthusiasm and commitment to being “lifesavers.”

Statistics received from the blood drive held on June 11 at Fort Dix are that of the 60 people that registered to donate blood, they were able to collect 43 whole blood and 4 double red cell for a total of 51 blood units.  On June 12 at the Lawrenceville armory, we were able to collect 15 whole blood and 3 double red cell for a total of 21 units from 24 registrants.

Bottom line:  84 donors signed up for the two-day event and 72 units of blood were collected.  The end result: 216 lives will be saved.  THANK YOU!!

Military Appreciation Day tickets available after July 3

The tickets for Military Family Appreciation Day at Great Adventure on August 27 are available at any of our Family Assistance Center locations (Teaneck, Somerset, Pomona, Lawrenceville, Toms River, Woodbury or Jersey City) or the Family Programs Office at Fort Dix.   Tickets will not be available until July 3.  Tickets will be $20 each (regular price is $69.99).  Tickets are for National Guard Soldiers and Airmen and civilian employees of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.  Parking at Great Adventure will be $15 per car.  For more information, contact Marie Durling at 609-562-0739 or Amanda Balas at 609-562-0742 in the State Family Programs Office.

Safety tips for backyard grillers

By Sgt. Maj. Nick Kampf, Safety & Occupational Health
In the 101 Critical Days of Summer, here are some grilling safety tips:
Read the owner’s manual
Handle gas cylinders with care
Never grill indoors or in enclosed areas
Grill away from the house and on level ground
Keep children and pets away from the grills
Never leave a hot grill unattended
Keep a fire extinguisher handy
Never use charcoal lighter on burning fires
Use proper utensils
Always shut off valves to propane tanks when not in use
Clean and maintain grill

New HRDI course listings available on DMAVA Intranet

The new HRDI Course Listing is now available on the DMAVA Intranet – go to Human Resources, then Training Forms to find the listing. There are two listings, one is the Course listing (dates and location data) and the other is the Course Description (a brief description of the course). The lists are good from now until December 2007.  If you have any questions, contact Paul Serdiuk, Training Coordinator, at 609-530-6878 or .

New Jersey State Library offers good reading

Are you looking for your next book to read?  Look no further than the New Jersey State Library.  Visit to find a list of selected new books that you may request to borrow.  The list of new books can be found by clicking the “What we have” button.  You can find best sellers, books on history, science, Jerseyana, biographies and lots more to keep your mind muscles working hard. If you have questions, you can call the General Reference Desk at 609-292-6220 or e-mail them at

TRICARE Reserve Select changing to single tier system

The 2007 National Defense Authorization Act mandated the elimination of the complicated three-tier system in TRICARE Reserve Select military health system.

TRS will continue under the current tier system, with its three different premium levels through Sept. 30, 2007. Beneficiaries can check the TRS section on for details on the restructured system.  TRS information will be readily available for National Guard and Reserve leadership to pass along through their channels. TRICARE Reserve Select is the premium-based TRICARE health plan qualified National Guard and Reserve members may purchase. The plan offers comprehensive health coverage similar to TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra.

TRS members and their covered family members may access care from any TRICARE-authorized provider, hospital or pharmacy; as well as from a military clinic or hospital on a space-available basis. Tricare Management Activity officials remind TRS members that space is very limited in military facilities and they may not be able to receive care from a DoD medical facility.

Effective Oct. 1, 2007, the rate for the single tier program will be $81 for single service members and $253 for service members with families.  

All members of the Selected Reserve, except member s who are either eligible for or enrolled in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHBP), will qualify for TRS health coverage at the premium rate of only 28 percent of the total premium cost as of Oct. 1, 2007. That low rate was previously only available to Guard and Reserve members who has served in support of a contingency operation.

The Act included a special “Savings” provision for certain Selected Reserve member whose TRS Tier 1 coverage terminates before Oct. 1, 2007. Eligible Selected Reserve members who were covered under TRS Tier 1 on Oct. 1, 2006, and whose coverage will terminate before Oct. 1, 2007 will be allowed to continue their TRS coverage at the 28 percent premium rate.

For more information, contact Josephine C. Grey, Chief of Health Services (609) 562-0865 or e-mail: .

Grand Ole Opry honoring military members this summer with Salute

The Grand Ole Opry will honor members of the United States military this summer with an Opry Summer Salute. The salute, which features special shows, recognition of military personnel, special offers and military performances and displays in the Opry Plaza, began on Memorial Day weekend and will continue until Labor Day weekend.  Beginning May 21, persons can submit salutes to the service members close to them to be read live at Opry performances throughout the summer. Opry shows are every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday night. Military personnel should mention code MIL10X when making reservations at 1-800-733-6779. For information on visiting the Opry, log on to

Death gratuity provisions undergoing changes

By Karen Jowers -
Congress has opened a broad, temporary window that lets service members decide who would get up to half of the $100,000 death gratuity if they die on active duty.

The wartime supplemental funding bill for 2007, signed May 25 by President Bush, contains a provision that allows service members to designate “another person” to get up to 50 percent of the death gratuity, in increments of 10 percentage points.

The wartime funding bill’s authority expires with the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, but legislation to make the change permanent is moving through Congress and has already been passed by the House.
Even if a service member has a surviving spouse — normally first in line for the payment — the member could still designate someone else to receive half the $100,000.

Troops are not required to act; if they do nothing, the entire payment would go to the primary next of kin under the standard order of priority set by law — spouse first, then children in equal shares, then parents or siblings. Previously, any payment of the death gratuity to minor children had to be placed in trust until they turned 18. But that has created financial hardship for some family members, mainly grandparents, who unexpectedly assumed custody of orphaned military children — and led to the proposed change in the law.
The new law does not require that the money be used to benefit a deceased service member’s children, which has some people concerned.

“The death gratuity should go to someone who is dependent on you for support,” said retired Navy Cmdr. Wayne Johnson, an attorney who worked as a contractor in the Army’s Casualty Assistance Office in 2004 and 2005.

A service member may designate money to someone, assuming that person will be rearing the child — but the child may not end up in the legal custody of that person, Johnson said. If not placed in some form of trust account for the child, the money also could also be subject to seizure by the designated person’s creditors, Johnson said.

But, he said, the fact that the law allows the service member to control only 50 percent of the death gratuity “makes it easier to swallow.”

And it could be highly beneficial in some scenarios, he noted — for example, if a single member has no spouse or children and wants the money to go to a fiancé rather than a parent or sibling.
The death gratuity

Purpose: The military “death gratuity,” created in 1908, was long designed as a financial bridge for a deceased service member’s family between the time a member’s pay stopped and other government death benefits began. It is generally paid within 72 hours of death.
Amount: For decades, the gratuity was $3,000. In 1991, that was raised to $6,000, then raised again in 2003 to $12,000 and indexed to increase each year by the same percentage as the annual basic pay raise. As part of the fiscal 2006 Defense Authorization Act, Congress raised the payment to $100,000.
Who qualifies: Service members who die while on active duty or while performing authorized travel to or from active duty; reservists who die while on inactive duty training, and certain other cases. It also applies to those who die within 120 days after discharge or release from active or inactive duty, if the death results from an injury or disease incurred or aggravated during duty or travel to or from the duty.

Who gets it: The order of priority of the living survivor who will receive the death gratuity is set by law. If an eligible survivor dies before the active-duty member, then it goes to the next living survivor or survivors on the list. Under a new law enacted May 25, this priority order will not change for at least half of the money, but service members can designate any person to receive the other 50 percent. The priority order:

*Surviving spouse.

*Children in equal shares (includes legitimate children, adopted children, stepchildren who were part of the household at the time of death, and illegitimate children with certain conditions of proof).

*If there is no surviving spouse or children, a member may choose to have the payment go to any combination of parents, persons acting as parents (in loco parentis), brothers and sisters. If a service member without a spouse or children does not designate who the payment should go to, then the priority order is:
*Parents and people acting as parents in equal shares.
*Brothers and sisters in equal shares.

For Your Calendar   

DMAVA/JFHQS Summer picnic is set for June 22

Come have fun at the DMAVA/JFHQS Summer-Fiesta 07!  The summer picnic will be held on June 22 at the Lawrenceville armory at noon.  The cost is $10 with a menu of chicken, sausage, hot dogs, hamburgers, various salads, baked means, and beverages.  The committee is asking employees to contribute desserts.  Dress is appropriate summer attire.

Attendance is not mandatory but if employees chose not to attend it will be a normal and full workday at their duty station. The picnic follows the TAG’s Town Hall meeting and the DMAVA awards ceremony, both at the armory.

See your department representative to pay no later than June 15.

DMAVA: Darlene Laarz – 609-530-6992, Karen Wallace – 609-530-6766, Dawn Esposito – 609-530-6717 or Tina Taylor – 609-530-7170
Fort Dix: Marie Durling – 609-562-0739
HSCOE: Kevin Hearn – 609-530-7069

N.J. Korean War Commemoration Ceremony, July 27

The 2007 Korean War Commemoration Ceremony will take place on July 27 at 11 a.m. at the New Jersey Korean War Memorial, at Park Place/Boardwalk, near Brighton Park, Atlantic City.  Hosted by the New Jersey Korean War Veterans Association in cooperation with the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, it will be the 54th Anniversary Commemoration Signing of the Korean War Armistice.  There will also be a presentation of the New Jersey Korean War Commemorative Medal to local Korean combat veterans.

Retirement Dinners

Wave goodbye to Tom Flynn on June 21

There will be a retirement dinner for Tom Flynn of the DMAVA Fiscal Division on June 21 at 4 p.m. at Mastoris Restaurant, Bordentown.  Cost is $30 per person with a large choice of entrees to include Chicken Parmigiana, roast turkey broiled flounder, roast beef, baked ham and others. For more information or reservations, call Tom DeShields at 609-530-6718.

Honorable Mention

AFRC adds location in Virginia Beach area for vacationers

The Armed Forces Recreation Center in Virginia Beach joins locations in Orlando, Fla., Germany, Hawaii, and Korea.  The Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command assumed responsibility of the 93-room set of cabins and bungalows at Fort Story, Va., in April, but plans to expand the property over the next two years with additional rooms and conference facilities.  The resort is open to active duty, reservists, retired military, DoD civilians, delayed-entry recruits and family members.  Prices range from $59 to $273 per night based on the resort, rank, paygrade, duty status, room size and location.  For more information go to .

Honor Guard program searching for people

Looking for a way to serve and get some satisfaction at the same time?  The Honor Guard program is looking for members of the Army and Air Guard to join the team to perform honor guard duties at the funerals of veterans.  There is an initial eight hours of training for all new enrollees, with on-going sustainment training.  As an honor guard member, you will receive a day of pay for each day’s mission, minimum of $50, and traditional drilling Guard members receive a retirement point for each day’s duties.

Teams are split geographically throughout the state and volunteers can stay busy.  In April 2007, the teams conducted 205 services for deceased veterans.  By May15, there were 120 funerals where the team performed their duties.  Retired Sgt. Maj. Ed Goetschius, who oversees the program, believes that there will be at least 2,000 services where the honor guard has served by the end of the year.
If you are interested in applying for the Honor Guard program, call Goetschius at 609-530-7090.

Hire A Hero – new program to help find jobs

HQ Group, who currently runs the Helmets to Hardhats program, is expanding!  Hire A Hero is our newest initiative that helps transitioning military personnel, Guard members and Reservists find jobs with all industries.
Hire A Hero is a non-profit initiative that is powered by the Armed Forces Support Foundation.  To find out more about these programs, visit the following Web sites: or

Discounts offered for State employees

Are you a state employee looking to save a few $$$?
Visit 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 or call 609-530-7056.

 For the Families
FRG looking for “web savvy” volunteer

The New Jersey National Guard Family Readiness Council is looking for an IT or “web savvy” individual to donate their services. Your talents are needed to set up and maintain a Web site for the Family Readiness Council. Anyone who is interested should call Terry Dearden at 609-530-6893 to set up a meeting with the members of the Council.

The National Guard State Family Readiness Council is a nonprofit organization developed to assess and implement solutions to challenges that our Guard families experience during their Soldier’s or Airman’s deployment. One of the functions of the council is to add support to the Family Assistance Centers scattered throughout the state.  The council is accessible to individual families and other military organizations. Financial support is provided by the council to military activities through generous donations and fundraising activities.  Resource services and emotional support are also available.

Grants offered to help military children attend summer activities

Summer is coming and now is the time that many kids will be signing up for camps, recreational activities and lessons, etc.  Unfortunately, because of increased deployments and the financial and emotional stress associated with them, many military families might find these activities difficult to arrange.  This is why The Women’s Opportunity Center at the YMCA of Burlington County in Mt. Laurel, N.J., is pleased to remind military members that grant funds are available not only for financial emergencies and crisis situations, but also to provide recreational and stress relieving activities such as camps and classes for their children. 
This grant, provided by the Department of Community Affairs is available to spouses and families of deployed military personnel in all branches of service in the State who are income eligible. 
For more information and an application, contact Fawn Mutschler at 609-543-6200, ext. 325 or e-mail

Youth Camp Forms Available

The thirteenth Annual New Jersey National Guard Youth Camp will be held July 29 to Aug. 4 at the New Jersey National Guard Training Center, Sea Girt.

Applications are available at:
Children, ages 9-13 are invited to apply.  The camp fee is still $100.  Campers must be children, grandchildren or legal dependents of an active or retired member of the New Jersey National Guard.  A variety of volunteer positions are available. For more information, call the Family Programs Office at (609) 562-0668.

Deployed Military Spouses Assistance Program Award

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 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:

Family Readiness Council offers Tier I and II grants

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

Sports and Entertainment

Trenton Vets Center, Trenton Thunder offer “cheap” seats

The Trenton Vet Center with support from our community partner, Trenton Thunder Baseball, will sponsor baseball tickets at a special rate for Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard, separated, and retired veterans.  A regular $10 season ticket will be offered at $7for veterans and family members.  The primary purpose of the program is to allow veterans and their families an opportunity to experience Trenton Thunder baseball due to their service and sacrifice for our country.  If you have questions, call Matt Petima, director of ticket operations for the Trenton Thunder at 609-394-3300, ext 1200 or the ticket box office at 609-394-3300.

Proof of Veteran Status:  Interested veterans must have a picture I.D. and provide proof of their veteran status by showing one of the following documents:  Military I.D. card; Federal Department of Veteran Affairs medical I.D. card; DD Form 214.

“Support Our Troops” Motorcycle Ride, October 13

Like to ride motorcycle?  Here is an opportunity to ride and support servicemembers and their families at the same time.  Join the 3rd Annual “Support Our Troops” Motorcycle Run on October 13 (rain date of October 14).

Registration is from 10-11 a.m. at the Tri-Towne Plaza, Route 70, Marlton and the ride departs at 11:15 a.m. The route is to travel the Pine Barrens to Sweetwater Casino Restaurant, Sweetwater (Hammonton mailing address). The run will be approximately 48 miles (one way). Please come with a full tank of gas.  Cost of the ride is a donation of $15 per rider and $5 per passenger.
Proceeds benefit the Freedom Alliance Foundation which provide:

  1. Educational scholarships to the children of America’s military heroes that have given the ultimate sacrifice.
  2. For the injured in our hospitals pre-paid long-distance phone cards, gift cards for clothing, food, toiletries, books, and magazines.
  3. Funding for family members to travel to see and encourage their loved one.

For more information contact John Atkinson at 856-596-9100, or go to, for local run information or to the national site -

Savino Memorial Golf tourney scheduled for Sept. 17

The 11th Annual Lt. Col. Dave Savino Memorial Golf Tournament will be held on Sept. 17 at the Fountain Green Golf Course, Ft. Dix.   Shotgun start is at 8 a.m., with a two-person scramble (best ball).  Cost to play is $85 per person, with checks made payable to “Lt. Col. Dave Savino Memorial Fund.”  Call Senior Master Sgt. Mike Balas at 609-330-4069 or Connie Cisek at 609-562-0901 for more information.  Proceeds from the tournament go to help fellow Guardsmen in need.

Enlisted Association holding golf outing Oct. 22

The Enlisted Association of the National Guard of New Jersey is holding a golf outing on Oct. 22 at Gambler’s Ridge Golf Club, 121 Burlington Path Road, Cream Ridge, NJ.  All proceeds from the event go to the association’s scholarships.

Registration and a continental breakfast begins the day at 7:30 a.m. The play is two-person best ball with a modified shotgun start at 8:45.  A donation of $90 includes greens fees, cart and luncheon.  There will be prizes for first and second place teams for the low gross, closest to the pin on all par 3’s and the longest drive.

For more information call Mike Amoroso at 609-562-0754. Make checks payable to EANG-NJ (Golf) and mail to Leon Cisek, PO Box 365, Wrightstown NJ 08562 no later than Oct. 15.

Here’s To The Heroes

Here’s to the Heroes provides a single day’s free admission to any one SeaWorld or Busch Gardens park, Sesame Place, Adventure Island or Water Country USA for the service member and as many as three direct dependents.

Any active duty, active reserve, ready reserve service member or Guard member is entitled to free admission under the program. He or she need only register, either online at or in the entrance plaza of a participating park, and show a Department of Defense photo ID.

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::
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 – – including the 152-page booklet, Need a Lift, which is a complete financial aid reference guide for veterans, veterans’ dependents and members of the American Legion family.  When you get on the site, click on “Scholarship Information” in the “Useful Links” block.

Scholarship information on BBB Military Line

There are many scholarships available to military family members. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) Military Line suggests that you not pay someone to find scholarships for you. Why? Because these researchers will use the same sources on the internet that you will use, so why pay them to do so? For suggestions on where to find scholarships for which you might be eligible, visit: military/e_article-000694547.cfm?x=b8r7v3.

For information to help military families avoid financial pitfalls, visit:

Association News

Enlisted Association of the National Guard of New Jersey

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

NGANJ has busy calendar for members in 2007

The National Guard Association of New Jersey will be conducting the following events.  All members (active and retirees) are encouraged to participate:

  1. National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) 129th Conference - this conference will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico from August 25-27, 2007.  The New Jersey delegation will be staying at the Caribe Hilton (15 minutes from airport).  Our hotel is located on the beach, has a great pool for the family and is located close to the convention center (10 minutes).  We have reserved 30 rooms on a first come, first gets basis.  Additional information and registration forms will be coming out shortly.  If you are interested, please contact Capt. Jose Maldonado.
  2. NGANJ Website - The above information is posted on the NGANJ website.  If you need copies of the forms, specific contacts or additional information, please go to the website at:

Veterans Information
DMAVA Veterans Outreach Campaign continues

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

July 11,12, 13

Bridgewater Commons Mall

August 8, 9, 10

Newport Centre Mall

September 12, 13*, 14

Livingston Mall

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

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.
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