New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
DMAVA Highlights 21 September 2007

Volume 6, Number 38


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

 

Embedded Training Team Departs for Afghanistan

On Thursday, Sept. 20, a farewell ceremony was held for the fifteen-member Embedded Training Team (ETT) as they prepare to leave for Afghanistan. The ETT mission performed by the New Jersey team is designed to provide experienced U.S. Army mentors and advisors to the Afghan National Army (ANA) in an effort to build a professional army for the country of Afghanistan. Led by Lt. Col. John Langston, these Soldiers will be living and traveling with their Afghan counterparts as they advise, mentor, and coach army leaders and soldiers in tactical and technical subjects. The one-year deployment is part of Operation Enduring Freedom. The ceremony included the presentation of the guidon of Company A, 1st Separate Battalion - New Jersey's first all African-American Army unit from the 1930-40s - to the team.

Governor's Review - marching, equipment, tunes and food

On Saturday, Sept. 15, members of the New Jersey Army and Air National Guard found themselves on the parade field at Sea Girt marching under a beautiful sunny sky. As artillery boomed and all manner of aircraft - helicopter, fighter and tanker - flew overhead, the patriotic and inspirational sounds of the 63rd Army Band could be heard filling the air. The Governor inspected the troops.the formations marched past the reviewing stands.the awards and recognitions, then came the best part: the cook-out!

Playing a large role in feeding the troops at the Annual Governor's Review were members of the 108th Services Flight who sent nine Airmen who worked with members of the 177th Fighter Wing. Their combined team effort provided food service operations to feed 1,600 civilians and military personnel, bed down planning, field food service plan, field hygiene and sanitation along with logistical planning to support the mission. The mission was successful and the 108th-177th combined Tiger Team accomplished all objectives.

POW/MIA Recognition Day - Sept. 21

Today, Sept. 21, 2007, is National POW-MIA Recognition Day

Information about this day, one of six days specified by law on which the black POW/MIA flag shall be flown over federal facilities and cemeteries, post offices and military installations, can be found at http://www.vfw.org/index. cfm?fa=cmty.leveld&did=2486.

Reintegration briefings scheduled for RSTA and BSB

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

The 30 day Reintegration Briefing for Soldiers and family members from the Troop C/5-117th RSTA will be held on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Westfield Armory, 500 Rahway Ave., Westfield. The Freedom Salute will be held at 1 p.m., following the briefings.

Soldiers and family members of Company D/250th BSB will have their 30 day Reintegration Briefing on Oct. 14, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Bordentown Armory, 1048 Route 206 South, Bordentown.

New aircraft coming to 108th ARW; ceremony on Oct.15

Transition and conversion have begun for 108th Air Refueling Wing personnel. Recently members of the Maintenance Squadron left to attend KC-135R Model School in Grand Forks, N.D., and in the month of October, 108th Operations will be sending pilots to KC-135R school.

The arrival ceremony of the KC-135R to the 108th ARW will be held on October 15, 2007 at 11 a.m. Special speakers, guests and other events will highlight this ceremony.

Take action to "Make the Switch" to restructured TRICARE

FALLS CHURCH, Va. - National Guard and Reserve members currently in the TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) health care plan must sign up for the restructured TRS by Sept. 30, 2007, in order to continue their coverage. Effective Sept. 30, the "old" TRS ceases to exist. A restructured TRS begins Oct. 1, 2007.

"Don't forget to make the switch" should be the motto of the day as current TRS participants are automatically disenrolled on Sept. 30, 2007. Continued coverage under TRS is not automatic. By law, enrollees must attest that they are not eligible for, or currently covered under, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) when they submit a new TRS request form.

In August, a letter was sent by Reserve Affairs to Reserve Component members currently covered by TRS. The letter explained the program changes and how to continue coverage, but as of early September only 15 percent of the approximately 11,000 current members had completed the new TRS request forms and sent them in to their regional managed care contractor.

To continue TRS coverage, all current members must follow the instructions at https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/trs/ to print out, sign and return a new TRS request form to their regional contractor by Sept. 30. If payment is usually made by check, the first month's payment must also be included. Those members who are paying electronically do not need to include a payment - if they meet the Sept. 30 deadline in submitting a new TRS request form.

Under the restructured TRS starting Oct. 1, there are only two qualifications. First, the member must be a Selected Reserve member of the Ready Reserve. Second, the member must not be eligible for the Federal Employee Health Benefits program or currently covered under FEHB (either under their own eligibility or through a family member). They must attest to this on the new TRS request form.

National Guard and Reserve members can find out more about the restructured TRS through the "My Benefits" portal at www.tricare.mil. Monthly premiums are $81 for the service member and $253 for member-and-family coverage. TRS offers coverage comparable to TRICARE Standard and Extra.

National Guard and Reserve members can contact their Reserve Component points of contact to be found at http://www.defenselink.mil/ra/html/tricare.html if they have additional questions about their eligibility for TRS.

Take the test to see how knowledgeable you are!

From New Jersey National Guard HRO, Fort Dix

Monday, Sept. 17 was the third anniversary of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day in the Department of Defense. Public Law 108-447 designated Sept. 17 as Constitutional Day and Citizenship Day to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787 and to recognize American citizenship. The law stipulates that all Federal agencies must provide educational and training materials annually on the Constitution for all employees. To assist agencies in meeting this requirement, the Civilian Personnel Management Service is hosting a website containing a brief on-line course on the Constitution as well as links to many other information sources. CPMS website can be found at http://constitutionday.cpms.osd.mil.

The course is approximately 15-20 minutes long and is very informative...See how much you know about our Constitution...

Latest "Guardlife" is online

From the desk of David S. Snedeker, Chief Information Officer, Information and Admin Services

Guardlife magazine Volume 33 Issue No 2 is now available on the Web in a user friendly on-line web version at the following web address: http://www.nj.gov/military/ publications/guardlife/volume33no2/.

The "Hometown Team" magazine Guardlife provides up to date information on the happenings within the New Jersey Army and Air National Guard. For all the current news on our soldiers and airmen take a look at the new issue today. To view past issues of Guardlife magazine on-line you can visit http://www.nj.gov/military/publications/ the DMAVA Publications homepage.

Calling all current, former members of the 42nd Infantry Division

By Col. Lori Thomas, Chief, MOB, Plans & Ops, DPTMS

Upon our return from Iraq, I was fortunate to meet several of the distinguished gentlemen of the Rainbow Division Veterans Memorial Foundation (RDVMF) who attended one of the 250th Signal Battalion welcome home events. These men are World War II veterans of the 42d Infantry Division - soldiers who fought in the Alsace region, penetrated the Siegfried Line at the German frontier, captured Wurzburg, Schweinfurt, Furth and Donauworth, and liberated the Dachau concentration camp.

One gentleman in particular, Harold Melinek, kept in touch with me and invited me to one of their semiannual reunions. I must say, without reservation, that this was a truly humbling experience to be surrounded by these men. It amazed me how thrilled they were that I was there, reveling in MY accomplishments, when in my eyes THEY were the heroes of days long ago.

They need us now. They need us to pick up the torch and help carry the association into the future. Changes in their charter permit anyone who has served in a 42ID unit - past or present - deployed or not - to join.

The Eastern Region Chapter that we would fall in on holds reunions twice yearly at the Port O'Call Hotel in Ocean City. One is coming up on Oct. 17-19. Their reunions usually occur during the week as it fits their schedules and it keeps the budget down. If you could attend any part of it, to include a dinner they hold, it would be great. The POC is the Chapter Secretary, Frank Dippo, at LtColDip@aol.com, 617-969-6394.

Whether you can attend this upcoming reunion or not, please consider joining the organization. At last notice, annual dues for both National and Region total $16.

Please forward this to anyone you can think of who has served in any of our 42ID units. Again, they do not need to be currently serving, nor do they need to be combat veterans of a 42ID unit.

The official website for the RDVMF is www.rainbowvets.org.

Thrift Savings Plan introducing new security measures

In October, the Thrift Savings Plan will be introducing a new security feature - account numbers will replace Social Security numbers as our primary means of identifying you. You will use your account number - in conjunction with your TSP Web password or ThriftLine Personal Identification Number (PIN) - to log into the Account Access section of the TSP Web site or the ThriftLine. You will also be asked to provide your account number on most of the TSP forms.

For more information these and any other benefit issues please call Capt. Devon Hanson at 609-562-0881.

Free oil changes available for spouses of deployed service members

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

Chevron and Texaco Xpress Lube, in conjunction with Operation Homefront and CinCHouse.com, are offering 1,000 free oil changes to military families with a deployed or injured loved one. The program, called Operation Havoline Star, will provide military families with one free oil change redeemable at participating Texaco Xpress Lube locations across the country through December 31, 2007. To learn more about the program and to request a gift certificate, please visit https://www.operation homefront.net/chevron.asp.

Register to use the Guard Family Portal

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

Have you registered yet for the Guard Family Portal?  Did you know that it's available to service members, family members, volunteers and even community members? If you haven't taken the time yet to log on and register, be sure to do it soon as you're missing out on important information.

What is on the Guard Family Portal?

    • Information on Activities and Events
    • Volunteers can track their Activity Hours (which equals awards)
    • Guard Family Training Modules
    • Unit FRG Status Report
    • Discussion Boards
    • A Local Resource Finder
    • Pre-Deployment Information
    • Deployment Information
    • Reunion Information
    • And More!

Log on today to create your account at http://www.guardfamily.org.

Career Fair for service members, veterans and spouses

All military veterans, transitioning personnel, members of the Guard and Reserve, and military spouses in South Jersey and Philadelphia are invited to a career fair on the Battleship New Jersey.

RecruitMilitary will be hosting a Career Fair in cooperation with HireVets First and the American Legion on Oct. 11 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. aboard the Battleship New Jersey on the Camden waterfront.

For more information visit www.recruitmilitary.com.

Letter to Airmen focuses on stress and prevention

By Janie Santos-Air Force News Agency

SAN ANTONIO (AFPN) -- In the latest Letter to Airmen, the secretary of the Air Force focuses on how Air Force people can stem the rising number of suicides in the Air Force by taking care of each other.

"In stressful times such as these, with so many Airmen deployed and with so many others pushed to the breaking point, it is vital that we all understand that we are not alone," Secretary Michael W. Wynne said.

"We are partnered in this war and bonded in the service," the secretary said. "It is up to us to look out for one another."

Airmen must understand that they can talk through their difficulties, Secretary Wynne said. There's a wingman available to listen to them, whether the person is a chaplain, family counselor, day care provider or a friend.

"Many suicides can be prevented," he said. "By working together, we can all make a difference and save lives. It is the responsibility of every Airman to be a good wingman and to reach out to those in need."

For Your Calendar

Army Soldier Show coming to New Jersey

The 2007 U.S. Army Soldier Show is a high-energy 90-minute live musical review showcasing the talents of active duty Soldiers who are selected by audition from throughout the Army. They are amateur artists who have a passion for music, dance and performing. They come from infantry, transportation, military police, medical, intelligence, aviation, signal and other tactical units. The show is assembled in six weeks, and then tours for 6 1/2 months. The most recent tour began in May 2007. It will be in our area on three occasions.

Oct. 13 - Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.

Oct. 23 - Fort Monmouth, N.J.

Admission to all performances is free. Check with local Morale, Recreation and Welfare or public affairs officials for exact location, post access procedures, and curtain times. Dates and locations are subject to change.

Vehicles on show at Teaneck armory Sept. 30

Join the Rotary Clubs of Bergenfield-Dumont and Teaneck in a Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show at the Teaneck Armory, Teaneck and Liberty Roads, Teaneck N.J., on Sept. 30, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Proceeds from the event benefit the New Jersey National Guard Family Assistance Center.

Cost to register your vehicle for the show is $15 on the day of the show, $10 prior to the show. Deadline for registration is Sept. 15. Spectator admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children 10 and under.

For more information, call Tom Pinnel at 201-384-8932.

Civil War statue dedication, Sept. 29

On September 29, the General Phil Kearny Memorial Committee will be dedicating a restored 1888 statue of a Civil War Infantryman which originally stood (1888-1933) in front of the New Jersey Home for Civil War Veterans.

This statue was located for many years at CSMS-B West Orange before the TAG and Chief of staff authorized its removal and restoration. It is now completed and ready for its unveiling.

In the decades that followed the Civil War, thousands of New Jersey veterans lived their final years at the "Old Soldiers' Home" located in Kearny. For nearly fifty years, a six-foot tall statue of a Union Infantryman stood guard at the entrance of the home until the home was closed in 1933. The barracks were torn down, cannon rolled away and the silent sentinel statue was removed from his post, and somehow severely damaged, eventually placed in storage and forgotten.

Recently discovered by the members of the General Phil Kearny Memorial Committee, the group has raised nearly $35,000 to have this statue restored to its former glory. The bronze soldier will be placed near where he originally stood; a 7-ton boulder from the Gettysburg Battlefield will serve as a pedestal.

The ceremony will take place at 314 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, N.J. at 1 p.m. The site of the New Jersey Home for Disabled Civil War Soldiers and Sailors, and the present location of the American Legion Hall.

The committee would especially like to invite all Civil War reenactors and history buffs to this event. They ask that reenactors please register (no fee), as the committee plans to issue a dedication ribbon to all registered participants.

Re-enactors should contact: Bill Styple at w.styple@att.net or the Gen. Phil Kearny Memorial Committee PO Box 483 Kearny, NJ 07032, 201-991-8749.

Homecoming event for OIF/OEF veterans

The New Jersey Health Care System and the Department of Veterans Affairs will be holding their first annual Homecoming Event on Oct. 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Auditorium at the East Orange Campus, 385 Tremont Ave., East Orange.

The event will have a meet and greet with representatives of the Vet Center, Social Security, Dept. of Labor, DMAVA, OUTREACH, mental health, War-related Illness and Injury OIF/OEF team and many more community service agencies.

Tours will be available at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. of the museum, OIF/OEF Transitional Unit and the War-Related Illness and Injury Study Center.

Prizes and food will be available for the whole family.

For more information, contact Michelle Stefanelli at 973-395-1727 or Carolyn Snyder, 908-647-0180, ext. 4398.

Oktoberfest and town hall meeting on Oct. 12

Come to the DMAVA/JFHQ Town Hall meeting and afterwards join in the fun at the Oktoberfest at the Lawrenceville Armory on Oct. 12. The fest starts at noon; the mandatory town hall meeting begins at 11:30 a.m.

For a mere $10 admittance fee, you can enjoy a roasted pig, bratwurst and sauerkraut, German and regular potato salads, baked beans, strudel and assorted desserts. To wet your whistle, beverages include O'Doul's beer, birch beer, assorted soda and water. Those attending are asked to contribute desserts.

The entry fee includes a raffle ticket for two nights at the Borgota in Atlantic City, breakfast, dinner and comedy show tickets for two.

If personnel chose not to attend the Oktoberfest, it will be a normal and full workday at their regular duty station after attending the Town hall meeting. Casual attire is acceptable if you are attending the Oktoberfest; normal work uniform if you are attending the Town Hall only.

If you are interested in attending, see your department representatives. At DMAVA, see Darlene Laarz, 609-530-6992, Karen Wallace, 609-530-6766, Dawn Espisito, 609-530-6717 or Tina Taylor, 609-530-7170; at Fort Dix, see Marie Durling, 609-562-0739 or Barbara Alcott, 609-562-0870; and at HSCOE, see Kevin Hearn, 609-530-7069.

This event is open to employees only.

Join local motorcycle riders on a ride, Oct. 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 Oct. 13 (rain date of Oct. 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:

       Educational scholarships to the children of America's military heroes that have given the ultimate sacrifice.

       For the injured in our hospitals pre-paid long-distance phone cards, gift cards for clothing, food, toiletries, books, and magazines.

       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 www.citikids.org/freedom.htm, for local run information or to the national site - www.freedomalliance.org.

Free tickets to Radio City's Christmas show

Join "the 75th Celebration of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular," when they perform "A Salute to Our Troops" on Nov. 12 at 5 p.m.

Microsoft in partnership with the USO brings this celebration on stage for fee to families of the Armed Services. To reserve your complimentary tickets, go to www.usonyc.org/salutetoourtroops. Tickets are only available at this web site.

Honorable Mention

Guardsmen wanted to join the PTAE

The New Jersey Army National Guard is in the process of developing its Pre-Mobilization Assistance Element (PTAE). The PTAE is currently looking for Traditional Drilling Guardsmen of various MOSs for a Title 32 ADSW (Additional Duty Special Work) tour at Fort Dix.

The purpose of the PTAE is to provide training feedback to the supported unit and TAG through the G-3. The PTAE will monitor and assist unit training and tracking of individual soldier/unit progress and completion of pre-mobilization training tasks.

All applicants must be eligible and submit the following:

v    Complete DA Form 1058-R with commander's signature

v    A current Retirement Point Assessment Statement

v    Meet height/weight standards along a valid APFT within one year of ADSW start date

v    Physical Profile, DA Form 3349. Temporary profiles are not eligible.

v    Pregnancy statement (females only) within 15 days of ADSW start date.

v    Current resume

v    Eligible to obtain a Secret security clearance.

v    Eligible to attend 15 day Observer Controller Training (OC-T) course in Camp Shelby, Miss.

For more information call Lt. Col. Walter Nall at 609-562-0321 or walter.r.nall@us.army.mil or Master Sgt. Jonny Hannigan at 609-562-0337 or jonny.hannigan@us.army.mil.

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.

NJDMAVA committed to work areas free from violence

The New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is committed to maintaining the work environment free from all forms of violence, in accordance with State of New Jersey Executive Order No. 49 and the State of New Jersey Workplace Violence Prevention Policy Statement dated Sept. 1, 1997. The Department is committed to maintaining a strict policy that prohibits act of violence, harassment, or intimidation in any form, including verbal, written, physical, or any conduct that may be construed detrimental to the workplace environment. This policy addresses violent acts by employees as describes procedures and training to be followed for the prevention of, and response to, these acts. See Departmental Directive number 230.80 for more information.

Federal Benefits Open Season is Nov. 12-Dec 10

From the office of J1-HRO

The 2007 dates for Federal Benefits Open Season are Nov. 12-Dec. 10, 2007. What used to be known as the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Open Season has changed its name. Because of the recent addition of two benefit programs, Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) and Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS), Open Season isn't just for FEHB anymore.

During the open season, anyone eligible to participate may change health plans or options, cancel or suspend their FEHB enrollment, enroll in the new programs and request plan brochures and information. You can find information at http://www.opm.gov/retire/asd/htm/2007/07-401.asp or www.opm.gov/insure. Air Guard federal technicians can all Carmen Fattore at 609-562-0887 and Army Guard technicians can call Jacquelyn Bertrand at 609-562-0866.

Join DMAVA, state in fitness challenge

From the desk of Ernie Razzano, Health Professions recruiter

Here is the link containing details of the 3rd Annual Fitness Challenge Walk and Rally: http://www.nj.gov/personnel/wellness/events/statewidewalk.htm.

The web page also has a link for the challenge registration form and exercise log book.  Please take a moment to complete the registration form and get it to me as soon as possible.  Anything you do that is above and beyond normal activity can be annotated in the log book.  For those of you who are already on an exercise routine it takes just seconds to fill in the blanks.  Our department definitely made an impression last year - we only had 15 participants!  We have more than that participating in the DMAVA Physical Fitness Program.  Be good to your body and get moving!!  Thanks for your support and participation!!!

Honor Guard program wants YOU!

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.

If you are interested in applying for the Honor Guard program, call Retired Sgt. Maj. Ed Goetschius at 609-530-7090.

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

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.

Military families can buy discounted Disney World ticket by phone

Military families who are unable to travel to a base to buy specially priced Walt Disney World Theme Park tickets have a new option.  Retired, Active, National Guard, Reservist and Department of Defense personnel are now able to purchase these specially priced tickets over the phone.  Disney Military Sales has offered discounted tickets to military families for over 20 years. The proceeds directly support the base community and the programs offered to the military personnel stationed there. Discounted tickets for qualifying military families may be purchased via mail-order by calling the Commander, Navy Region Southwest at 619-767-6000 or Air Force Central Ticket Program at 210-652-2855.

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

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.

Tax information for military members who have deployed

From the Military Officers Association of America

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

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

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

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

Job assistance for military spouses, retirees, injured military

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

Re/Max in conjunction with the US Department of Defense Military Spouse Employment Initiative launched Operation Re/Max in 2006 to help mentor interested military members and their family members in a career in real estate.  Interested military spouses, retirees and injured soldiers can obtain detailed Operation Re/Max information at http://www.remax.com/inside_remax/become_an_agent/new_to_ real_estate/index.aspx or contact operation remax@remax.net or 1-800-826-7720.

Sports and Entertainment

First Annual Jack Green Memorial 5K Run/Walk

The First Annual Jack Green Memorial 5K Run/Walk will be held Sunday Oct. 21 at 8:30 a.m. at the 177th Fighter Wing, 400 Langley Road, Egg Harbor Twp, N.J.

Registration will be held from 6:30 to 8 a.m., in building. 229 - the Base Gym. Pre- registration fee is $15 if postmarked by Oct. 10. Race day fee will be $20. Please make checks payable to: 177 Fighter Wing Chief's Council and mail to: Master Sgt. Frank G Heath, 400 Langley Road, Egg Harbor Twp., NJ 08234.

For an application or information contact Tech. Sgt. Erica Nelson at (609) 645-6224 or Master Sgt. Frank Heath at (609) 645-6109 or frank.heath@njatla.ang.af.mil.

This event will be open to unit members, dependents, and individuals that would normally have access to the base.  This is not open to the general public.

Enlisted Association holding golf outing on 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.

Inaugural Joint Base Race to be held Sept. 29

MGUIRE AFB, N.J. -- McGuire Air Force Base, Fort Dix and NAES Lakehurst will hold the Inaugural Joint Base Race Sept. 29 at 8:30 a.m.

The race, featuring a half-marathon, a 5-K Run/Walk and a Kid's Run, will be open to any interested participants, and all DoD cardholders are encouraged to participate. All are invited to compete against the men's and women's military academy marathon teams from the Air Force Academy, Naval Academy and West Point in the first of what base leadership plans to be an annual event.

"This will be a good event for us," said Col. Tom Kastner, U.S. Army Academy Marathon Team officer in charge. "The cadets will enjoy the sister academy competition and the whole experience."

The 13.1-mile route will be on paved surfaces within McGuire AFB and Fort Dix's Cantonment Area and will pass static displays such as McGuire's "Pudgy's" aircraft, a replica of the P-38 flown by Maj. Thomas B. McGuire Jr, and a C-118 that actually flew Elvis Presley to the U.S. from Germany in March 1960. On Fort Dix, runners will see U.S. and Soviet military tanks including a Huey Helicopter, a Russian T-72 Main Battle Tank and more.

Participants will receive a T-shirt (if registered before Sept. 1), a participation medal, a pasta dinner the night before the race, post-run snacks as well as entertainment. Runners will also compete against each other in various categories.

For more information or to register, call 1st Lt. Terry Demille, 305th Services Squadron, at (609) 754-4750 or go online. Registration deadline is noon Sept. 24.

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 www.herosalute.com or in the entrance plaza of a participating park, and show a Department of Defense photo ID.

Scholarship, Education News

HBCU holding career fair for students

A number of organizations, including the New Jersey Dept. of Education and the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education, are coming together on Nov. 11 at the Trenton War Memorial Building to commemorate the Malcolm Bernard Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Week.

High school and community college students and parents are invited to attend. An Ecumenical service with the featured speaker, Rev. Stephen Samuels will be held from 10-11:30 p.m. A college fair with workshops will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. More that 40 HCBUs will be represented at the fair with information about scholarships and financial aid, making the college decision and present and future job market. For more information, visit the web site www.HBCU-CFNJ.com.

Scholarships for OIF/OEF veterans

The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans is offering scholarships to combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. It offers a scholarship of up to $1,250 per year for person pursuing a BA/BS degree. You must have an honorable service record and a 2.0 GPA.

The deadline for applying is Sept. 28, 2007. Contact: www.horatioalger.org.

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

Enlisted Association of NGNJ conference slated for Oct. 5-7

From the desk of retired Sgt. Maj. Jerome Zebrowski

The 34th annual conference of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of New Jersey will be held at the Radisson Hotel, Valley Forge, Penn., Oct. 5-7.

Proceeds from this weekend event are spent directly on our membership. It is a nice feeling to know that for every 50/50 ticket and Chinese Auction ticket you buy helps fund the scholarship program allows junior enlisted to attend the National Conference and supports legislative actions for benefits and so much more.

Friday night features "The American Game Show Challenge," which is a series of fun trivia contests and physical challenges.

Saturday is back to business with a business meeting and elections for the executive council. The new Junior Enlisted Team is sponsoring the Chinese Auction. Local attractions are abundant; register for trips to Valley Forge and/or Longwood Gardens. Saturday Night wraps up our conference with our customary formal Military Ball.

There are several package plans to fit your particular needs. If you have any questions, call retired Sgt. Maj. Jerome Zebrowski at 609-214-6959 or e-mail at jcptfalc@aol.com or Co-Chairman retired Sgt. Maj. Edward Goetschius at 609-965-1972 or e-mail at esgtmaj@comcast.net. Visit the association's web site at www.eang-nj.org/conference_2007.pdf for additional information, updates and applications.

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

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.

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.

Eligible veterans entitled to property tax deduction

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

Veterans' eligibility

v    a citizen of the United States

v    resident of New Jersey

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

Surviving spouse's eligibility

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

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

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

v    Has died on active duty in a wartime period.

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

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:

 

October 2, 3, 4

Deptford Mall

October 30*, 31, November 1

Brunswick Square Mall

November 27, 28, 29

Quaker Bridge Mall

*Medal ceremonies begin at 10:30 a.m. on these dates. The kiosk will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., July-Sept.; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Oct. and Nov.

N.J. Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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

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

Sep. 22, 1 p.m. - Secret and Dangerous: Night of the So'n Tay POW Raid, lecture and book signing by the author, Vietnam Veteran air commando pilot Bill Guenon.

Oct. 19, 8 a.m.-3:00 p.m. - "Weighing In On War, and Why: Public Opinion and Its Influences, Vietnam to Iraq," 9th annual Forum on the Vietnam Era.  Keynote Speaker: Bobby Muller, Founder of Vietnam Veterans of America.  Preregistration required. 

Oct. 20, 1 p.m. - "Choppers at War: Vietnam to Iraq," a lecture by NJ Iraq War Veteran, Lt. Col. Mark Preston, USA.  

Nov. 3, 1 p.m. - The Last Ghost of War, a film about Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange presented by film director Janet Gardner.       

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.

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

 

 

   
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