August 2007 Blog Archives
for Military Families Blog

Below are the entries that appeared on our Military Families Blog in August 2007:

These Businesses Offer Military Discounts

In a recent post on SpouseBuzz, airforcewife was lamenting the fact that her local Home Depot store no longer honors a military discount (it's up to each individual store). After reading her post, we were inspired to begin this page, to list places where you can still find discounts offered to military members and military families.

As those who posted comments to airforcewife's post indicated, it's not the amount of the discount that matters, but rather just the fact that there IS a discount offered, an acknowledgment of the quiet sacrifices our military members and their families make on a daily basis.

Everyone likes to be appreciated, and our military spouses are no exception. They quietly go about their daily lives, and unless you're another military spouse, you're unlikely to ever hear . . . more

Permalink -- click for full blog

Ten Tips to Help You Avoid Foreclosure

In many parts of the country, foreclosures are at an all-time high, following surges in the housing market and an epidemic of sub-prime adjustable loans allowing families who previously could not qualify for mortgages to do so. The result is that many families in recent years have bought homes that really were out of their reach, made possible only because the low interest rate kept the payments within the realm of the do-able. Unfortunately, as the adjustable-rate mortgages begin to adjust upwards, the families can no longer afford the payments, and they begin sliding down the slippery slope towards foreclosure.

If you are unable to make your mortgage payment: click here.

Permalink -- click for full blog

Want to Help Earthquake Victims in Peru?
FTC Warns to Give Wisely

Consumer Alert

As many people generously open their hearts and wallets to help those affected by the earthquake in Peru, the Federal Trade Commission advises that the best way to help immediately is to donate money directly to established international relief organizations.

In a consumer alert, "Helping Earthquake Victims: Your Guide to Giving Wisely," the FTC offers tips to those who want to help:

  • Donate to recognized charities you have given to before. Watch out for charities that have sprung up overnight. They may be well-meaning, but lack the infrastructure to provide assistance. Be wary of charities with names that sound like familiar, or internationally known, organizations. Some phony charities use names that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations.
  • Give directly to the charity, not the solicitors for the charity. That’s because solicitors take a portion of the proceeds to cover their costs, which leaves less for victim assistance.
  • Do not give out personal or financial information – including your Social Security number or credit card and bank account numbers – to anyone who solicits from you. Scam artists use this information to commit fraud against you.
  • Check out any charities before you donate. Contact the Better Business Bureaus’s Wise Giving Alliance at
  • Do not give or send cash. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card. Write the official name of the charity on your check. You can contribute safely online through international charities like
  • Ask for identification if you are approached in person. Many states require paid fundraisers to identify themselves as such and to name the charity for which they are soliciting.

Permalink -- click for full blog

Perspective on War Casualties

From our e-mail:

These are some rather eye-opening facts:

Since the start of the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, the sacrifice hasbeen enormous. In the time period from the invasion of Iraq in March 2003through now, we have lost fewer than 3000 military personnel to enemy action.

As tragic as the loss of any member of the US Armed Forces is, consider thefollowing statistics, compiled from military data for Congress.

Annual fatalities of military members while actively serving on the job in the armed forces from 1980 through 2004:

1980 .......... 2,392
1981 .......... 2,380
1982 .......... 2,318
1983 .......... 2,465
1984 .......... 1,999
1985 ......... 2,252
1986 .......... 1,984
1987 .......... 1,983
1988 .......... 1,819
1989 .......... 1,636
1990 ......... 1,508
1991 .......... 1,787
1992 .......... 1,293
1993 .......... 1,213
1994 .......... 1,075
1995 .......... 1,040
1996 .......... 974
1997 .......... 817
1998 ......... 826
1999 .......... 795
2000 .......... 774
2001 .......... 890
2002 .......... 1,007
2003 .......... 1,410 ----- 534*
2004 .......... 1,887 ----- 900*
2005 ......... ----- 919*
2006 ......... ----- 920*

* Figures are Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom fatalities only.

Does this really mean that the loss from the two current conflicts in the Middle East are LESS than the loss of military personnel during Bill Clinton's presidency? Were we at war then?

Now, are you confused when you look at these figures? I was.

Especially when I saw that in 1980, during the reign of President (Nobel Peace Prize winner) Jimmy Carter, there were 2,392 US military fatalities.

What this clearly indicates is that our media & politicians, like most folks, pick and choose their statistics, and they tend to present only those that support their agenda-driven reporting.

Another fact our media and politicians like to slant is that these brave men and women losing their lives are minorities.

Wrong AGAIN - The latest census shows the following make-up of the American population:

European descent (white) ..... 69.12%
Hispanic .... 12.5%
Black ..... 12.3%
Asian .... 3.7%
Native American ..... 1.0%
Other ..... 2.6%

Now, the fatalities over the past three years in Iraqi Freedom are:

European descent (white) ..... 74.31%
Hispanic ..... 10.74%
Black ..... 9.67%
Asian ..... 1.81%
Native American ..... 1.09%
Other ..... 2.33%

These statistics are published by DOD and may be viewed at:

Now ask yourself this question:

"Why doesn't the Media give us these statistics instead of 'interpreting' and distorting them for us?"


"[W]e made a great mistake in the beginning of our struggle, and I fear, in spite of all we can do, it will prove to be a fatal mistake.

"We appointed all our worst generals to command our armies, and all our best generals to edit the newspapers."

--- Robert E. Lee, 1863

Army Report Finds Suicide Rate
Actually Lower Than Civilians

The bad news: Army suicides are increasing.

The good news: The suicide rate among the Army population is lower than the suicide rate among the general American population of the same age and gender.

Story Courtesy American Forces Press Service, Sgt. Sara Wood, USA

Aug. 16, 2007 – According to the Army Suicide Event Report released today, there were 99 suicides within the Army in 2006, 30 of which (one-third) occurred in Iraq or Afghanistan. This is up from 87 suicides in 2005 and 67 in 2004.

The Army’s suicide rate for 2006 was 17.3 suicides per 100,000 soldiers, compared to the overall U.S. population rate, for the same age and gender group, of roughly 19 suicides per 100,000.

The most common contributing factors were failed personal relationships and occupational, legal and financial problems.

The report did not find a direct relationship between increased deployments and suicides.

There was not an increase in suicides among soldiers deployed multiple times, or those deployed for longer periods.

The Army is working to increase awareness about mental health issues and to decrease the stigma associated with seeking mental health care.

"We need to make sure that all our soldiers know that it’s OK to come in and get help," said Army Col. Elspeth C. Ritchie, behavioral health psychiatry consultant to the U.S. Army Surgeon General.

"I think it is very important for everybody to recognize how difficult a completed suicide is on the soldier’s family, on the soldier’s unit, on the friends, on the whole system, and the pain and hurt of a suicide lasts for years," she continued.

I think it would be safe to say it lasts for the lifetimes of those left behind.

If you're feeling overwhelmed with problems, the military has a number of resources available to assist you. Talk with your chaplain, discuss any legal or financial problems with a military legal assistance attorney, or if you've had thoughts of suicide, ask your doc for help.

Very few problems are insurmountable. You'll be amazed at how much smaller they become when you have even one person you can discuss them with. There's no-cost help out there for you, so take advantage of it.

And if you notice that a buddy seems to be depressed, try to engage him or her in a conversation, if they'll talk about it. Sometimes all that is needed is just to know that someone cares. You never know when you might make a difference in someone's life.

Please don't ignore warning signs you see in a fellow service member. Encourage them to seek assistance through the Chaplains' Office, the Legal Assistance Office, the Family Service Center counseling office, or the mental health or medical clinic. And if you feel the problem is serious, or that the person may be in danger of harming himself, and/or afraid to seek help, tell the Chaplain yourself. You might save someone's life.

Related Sites:Army Suicide Prevention Program

Click for more info

Marines No Longer Permitted
to Wear Utility Uniforms Off Base

"MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — The Marine Corps has eliminated exceptions that allowed Marines to wear their utility uniforms off base.

Under the Corps' new policy, Marines cannot get out of their vehicles off base if they are wearing their camouflage uniforms except in "bona fide emergencies," a recent message from Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway says.

Such emergencies include car crashes, vehicle breakdowns and medical emergencies.

That means Marines can no longer wear their utility uniforms when they are off base and decide to pick up their kids from day care, run to the drug store or get gas, said Mary Boyt, of the Marine Corps Uniform Board.

But Marines can still go through drive-thru restaurants and dry cleaners while in their utility uniforms, as long as they don’t get out of their vehicles, Boyt said."

Used by permission from Stars and Stripes. Copyright Stars and Stripes.

For the complete article, click here.

Click for more info

Staff Sergeant Convicted of Skimming
from Proceeds of Army Emergency Relief

We recently noticed an article in Stars & Stripes which makes us very sad. We're disappointed in the greed of this NCO who took advantage of three soldiers in his chain of command, even though he admitted he knew better.

We're bringing it to your attention as a reminder that even though your seniors in your chain of command are supposed to be there to help and support you, occasionally one crosses a line he knows he shouldn't. So if something doesn't seem quite right to you about their actions, we recommend going outside your chain of command to discuss the situation with a Chaplain or with a Legal Assistance Attorney or Staff Judge Advocate.

That way, if he's not a "Lone Wolf," and other members of the command are in on his scheme, you'll still be protected against retaliation, and the Chaplain or JAG will know where to go to address the problem appropriately.

One year before he reached retirement eligibility, this 18-year Army vet threw away his right to lifelong retired pay for a mere $6,000. He was sentenced to one year of confinement, a reduction in paygrade to E-1, and a Bad Conduct Discharge, which means he also will lose many of his veterans' benefits.

When his soldiers came to him with financial problems, he recommended that they seek assistance from Army Emergency Relief, a nonprofit organization that provides funds to assist service members with certain expenses. Then when they received the money, he asked for a cut for himself, as much as half the amount the soldier received.

"CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — An Army staff sergeant was sentenced to one year of confinement and a bad-conduct discharge Thursday after admitting he helped scam an Army relief program and soldiers under his command out of $6,000.

Staff Sgt. Shane R. Martin, 40, admitted in a general court-martial that since fall of 2005 he had helped three soldiers get money from Army Emergency Relief, an organization dedicated to helping soldiers in need. Then, he asked each of the three soldiers for a cut, he said under oath."

The comments of the soldiers involved will help you to recognize when you might be involved in a situation in which you should seek assistance outside your own chain of command.

"It was weird because he was my NCO, and he’s used to giving me orders," Patterson testified during the sentencing portion of the trial. "I was just confused."

"I thought if I didn’t, it might change things at work," Chambers testified.

If you find yourself in a situation with similar feelings, you need to discuss the situation with a Chaplain or JAG Officer.

Article excerpts used with permission from the Stars and Stripes, copyright Stars and Stripes. For the entire article, click here.

Click for more info


Army Adds "Quick-Ship" Enlistment Bonus
to Entice New Recruits Who Enlist
Before September 30

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2007 – In an effort to bolster the growth of the Army by more than 34,000 soldiers, Army officials are implementing a new bonus for recruits who sign up by the end of this fiscal year.

U.S. Army Recruiting Command has announced a $20,000 “quick-ship” bonus for aspiring recruits with no prior military service who enlist for at least two years of active duty and report to basic training within 30 days of enlistment.

The program ends Sept. 30.

Despite the current tough recruiting environment, nearly 70,000 people have joined the Army this year, and those in the Army are reenlisting at record rates. In fiscal 2006, 81 percent of the regular Army and 89 percent of the Army Reserve were high school graduates. Also, 85 percent of the recruits who shipped to basic training that year joined without any waivers.

Remember that the Army is all-volunteer, and has been at war for five years. The Army is still on target to achieve its year-end recruiting goals.

Click for more info

Veterans Now Permitted to Salute the Flag!

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) recently praised the passage by unanimous consent of his bill (S.1877) clarifying U.S. law to allow veterans and servicemen not in uniform to salute the flag. Current law (US Code Title 4, Chapter 1) states that veterans and servicemen not in uniform should place their hand over their heart without clarifying whether they can or should salute the flag.

"The salute is a form of honor and respect, representing pride in one’s military service," Senator Inhofe said. "Veterans and service members continue representing the military services even when not in uniform.

"Unfortunately, current U.S. law leaves confusion as to whether veterans and service members out of uniform can or should salute the flag. My legislation will clarify this regulation, allowing veterans and servicemen alike to salute the flag, whether they are in uniform or not.

"I look forward to seeing those who have served saluting proudly at baseball games, parades, and formal events. I believe this is an appropriate way to honor and recognize the 25 million veterans in the United States who have served in the military and remain as role models to other citizens. Those who are currently serving or have served in the military have earned this right, and their recognition will be an inspiration to others."

Click for more info

Truth Continues to Elude Clintons

Apparently, both Clintons are constantly plagued by "memory problems" (and yet each received millions in advances to write their memoirs -- did the publishers really think they'd be able to remember anything?). It's amazing how history gets rewritten by both of them.

We think you'll find this article interesting, particularly because of its author.

Dick Morris, a former advisor to the Clintons, felt it necessary to correct the lapses in former President Clinton's recollections about various events in the life of his wife, Senator and Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, when he recorded an ad for her Presidential campaign. (Have you noticed how vocal she was about keeping the Rodham Clinton name until she got ready to run for political office herself? Then she attempted to identify a bit more closely with the Clinton name, and the Rodham disappeared.)

Bill Crafts Hillary's Bio

By Dick Morris | 8/9/2007

"Go to and check out Bill Clinton's syrupy five minute ad for Hillary. He introduces the commercial by saying that he wants to share some things we may not know about Hillary's background. His version of her biography is about as reliable as if it appeared in Pravda!

So, I wanted to make a few corrections:

Bill says: Hillary never wanted to run for public office, but she did want to work at public service.

The true facts are: When Clinton was considering not running for another term as Governor of Arkansas in 1990, Hillary said she would run if he didn't. She and Bill even had me take two surveys to assess her chances of winning. The conclusion was that she couldn't win because people would just see her as a seat warmer for when Bill came back licking his wounds after losing for president. So she didn't run. Bill did and won. But there is no question she had her eye on public office, as opposed to service, long ago.

Bill says: In law school Hillary worked on legal services for the poor.

The true facts are: . . . "

Click here for "the REST of the story."

Permalink -- click for full blog

Marines' Personal Data Compromised

The Marine Corps recently announced it had learned of a compromise of personally identifiable information of as many as 10,554 Marines. Those affected include Marines who underwent recruit rifle qualification training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, between January 2004 and December 2006.

Information inadvertently released included names, social security numbers, and rifle re-qualification scores. The data was provided to Penn State University on a CD under a research/study contract, where it was improperly posted on a university web site and subsequently cached by Google.

Immediately upon learning of the breach, Penn State Security Operations and Services (SOS) section removed the files and reviewed their system logs. Penn State SOS also contacted Google and had the files purged from the Google servers.

It appears that only one person accessed the improperly posted information, and that was one of the Marines whose information was released. He found the breach when he "Googled" his SSN.

Affected Marines are encouraged to visit the Federal Trade Commission web site at for guidance on protective action against identity theft.

Affected Marines may also place a fraud alert on their credit report files for up to 24 months. This will generate a free credit report from all three credit reporting bureaus. Marines should review their credit reports carefully for any suspicious activities (fraudulent accounts, un-requested loans, un-requested new accounts, activity on old or inactive accounts, etc.).

A response team has been created to make contact with and assist all personnel affected. Response team telephone numbers are:

  • (703) 432-1787
  • (703) 432-1788
  • (703) 432-1789
  • (703) 432-1790
  • (703) 432-1791

Response Team FAX: (703) 784-6404


Click for more info

Recent Achievements in Iraq
Show Troop Surge Success

In recent operations in Iraq, coalition forces have logged numerous successes against insurgent elements.

These include:

  • Capture of the alleged al Qaeda sniper emir of Mosul, believed to be involved in a plot against the mayor of Mosul in March and has allegedly claimed responsibility for at least one coalition death in the last month. The suspected terrorist allegedly supervised 10-15 operatives and has conducted kidnapping operations to bring in money for his own use.
  • Capture of an alleged al Qaeda media emir tied to propaganda cells throughout Baghdad.
  • Capture of a media cell and its leader, also suspected of facilitating the movement of foreign terrorists, in a raid near Samarra. The ground forces found weapons on site and detained seven suspected terrorists for their alleged ties to the foreign terrorist network and media cell.
  • Capture of senior al Qaeda leaders in Anbar province. As an assault force approached targeted buildings, coalition forces killed two terrorists armed with AK-47 rifles and using a woman as a human shield. The troops moved the woman out of the way before engaging the men.
  • Capture of a suspected al Qaeda terrorist who has close ties to the al Qaeda emir of Baghdad.
  • Capture of a suspected key al Qaeda leader, believed to be responsible for a July 16 car-bomb attack in Kirkuk that killed more than 85 civilians and injured more than 180.
  • A series of combined operations with Iraqi police, in which Iraqi army soldiers from 2nd Iraqi Army Division headquartersshot and killed three members of the Islamic State of Iraq terrorist organization, including one of its leaders, the touted al Qaeda emir of Mosul.
  • Iraqi security forces and U.S. Special Forces soldiers detained four suspected Shiia extremists believed to be linked to the Jaysh al-Mahdi militia in Baghdad. The suspects are allegedly responsible for engaging in death squad killings of innocent civilians in the Baghdad area. They also allegedly are connected to a terrorist network responsible for emplacing improvised explosive devices and participating in criminal activities aimed at undermining legitimate elected officials.
  • Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers found a large weapons cache consisting of 155 Russian-made 57 mm mortar rounds. This significant find will keep weapons out of the hands of al Qaeda operatives who would have used them in attacks against innocent Iraqi civilians, coalition forces and Iraqi security forces. Our troops have found seven caches within the past month in that same area. Two of those caches were found with the help of local neighborhood watch volunteers who are fed up with sectarian violence and want to keep their community safe for the sake of their families.

    "The leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq should know we are continually targeting them and will not rest until we have captured or killed them," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.

    (Compiled from various military news releases.)

    Click for more info

    DoD Announces New OIF Deployments

    For advance planning purposes, you should be aware that Defense Department officials recently announced additional major units scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    The announcement involves three brigade or regimental combat teams and a Marine expeditionary force headquarters, consisting of about 20,000 personnel.

    These deployments are not associated with the current troop surge. "The units are part of a normal rotation of forces to replace formations currently on the ground," according to a Defense Department announcement.

    The deployment window for these units will begin at the end of this year and continue into 2008, officials said.

    Affected units include the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters and Regimental Combat Teams 1 and 5, from Camp Pendleton, Calif., and 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

    We wish God's blessings on their families, and pray for a safe return for each and every one.

    Make the most of the time you have prior to these upcoming deployments. Be sure to spend a little more time together, focusing on each other and your family. Check our links page for resources to help you deal with the pending separation, and our We Support You page for other helpful resources providing special support for military families.

    Click for more info


    More Deceit of the Iraqi and American People --
    Al Qaeda in Iraq a "Virtual" Fraud
    Controlled by Foreigners

    This is for those people who think there is no connection between Al Qaeda, bin Laden, or Iran, and the war in Iraq!

    Al Qaeda in Iraq, cloaking itself in Iraqi nationalism, has been tricking Iraqis into thinking they were following orders of an Iraqi at the helm of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Seems he was merely a figment of Al Qaeda’s imagination, and the orders have been funneled from Al Qaeda leaders in other countries, through the Egyptian-born Abu Ayub al Masri, the actual head of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

    Following the recent capture of Khalid Abdul Fatah Daud Mahmud al-Mashadani, the most senior Iraqi in the al Qaeda in Iraq network, Mashadani is providing "significant insights" into the al Qaeda in Iraq network. (Imagine that!)

    Mashadani has acknowledged creating a virtual organization, called the "Islamic State of Iraq," on the Web in 2006. As it turns out, the organization is simply a front for foreign influence into al Qaeda in Iraq. Al Masri and Mashandani went as far as creating a fictitious leader, Umar al Baghdadi, as a symbolic political head of the ISI, whose role is played by an actor!

    Despite Mashadani’s own words that the Islamic State of Iraq should be free of foreign influence, that is not the case. Al Masri relies solely on the direction of foreign leaders and doesn’t trust or seek the advice of Iraqis in the network.

    The actual purpose of Al Qaeda in Iraq is to subjugate the Iraqi people under a foreign-led terrorist organization that wants to impose a Taliban-like ideology on Iraqis.

    In addition to the recent capture of roughly 50 key terrorists in Iraq, coalition forces have killed or captured 21 "special group" terrorists funded, trained, armed and directed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Forces.

    Unfortunately, it will likely get tougher before it gets easier for our troops in Iraq, and there’s still much work to do in eradicating the insurgents.

    Urge your elected leaders to support the War Against Terror until the job is done, so that our American children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren can have the opportunity to grow up in the America you know, not one that cowers in fear. Let our leaders know you'd rather continue to spend defense dollars now to fight this war overseas, than to spend innocent American lives when the extremists bring the war here because we pulled the troops out before their job was finished.

    • President George W. Bush – E-mail the President or Vice President; call or write the White House.
    • U.S. Senators – Search for your senators by name, state, or congressional class; and visit their websites.
    • U.S. Representatives – Find contact information for your U.S. representative by typing in your zip code.

    Links to Presidential candidates' web sites can be found on this page.

    Click for more info

    Important Protection Against Identity Theft
    for Deployed Service Members

    Great News! Amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act have made it a little easier for deployed service members to protect themselves against possible identity theft while they are out of the country.

    If you are on active duty and away from your usual duty station for an extended period, you can add an "active duty alert" to your credit reports with the major credit reporting agencies. This should help minimize the risk of identity theft while you are deployed, because when a business sees the alert on your credit report, it must verify your identity before issuing credit.

    To learn how to place an “active duty” alert, or to have one removed, and for the toll-free fraud number of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies, click here.

    Permalink -- click for full blog

    Free Entrepreneurship Boot Camp
    for Disabled Veterans

    Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University has announced a new Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV). The program is designed to offer cutting edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship to veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with disabilities. The goal of the EBV is to open the door to entrepreneurial opportunity for disabled veterans, by helping them develop competencies in the many steps and activities associated with creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture (and there are many - trust us), and also helping them to understand and coordinate with other programs and services for veterans and others with disabilities. For more information about the program, click on the link below.

    Permalink -- click for full blog

    Free Legal Help for Veterans
    Filing VA Disability Claims

    Veterans needing help to file VA claims for disability can get free personalized legal help and review of their claims from attorneys at the law firm of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC, under their program "When Duty Calls." Womble Carlyle (WCSR) developed the program in conjunction with the Young Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Bar Association.

    A law enacted shortly after the Civil War (and still in effect) limits the amount a veteran can pay an attorney for assistance in filing a VA disability claim to $10 and thus effectively prevents them from hiring an attorney. Yet the completeness and accuracy of the information contained in a veteran’s initial disability claim are crucial to its success.

    The "When Duty Calls" campaign has three goals:

    * To provide pro bono assistance to as many veterans as possible through an ongoing series of clinics;

    * To work with veterans and the VA to find ways to streamline and expedite the service connected disability application process; and

    * To motivate attorneys to provide pro bono assistance to veterans.

    The VA has provided strong support for this project. Womble Carlyle attorney Tim McClain, former General Counsel for the VA and now a member of WCSR's Washington, DC, office, led a recent training session.

    Womble Carlyle hopes to replicate the program in all the states where it has offices. WCSR currently has offices in: Atlanta, GA; Greenville, SC; Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Research Triangle Park, and Winston-Salem, NC; Washington, DC; Tysons Corner, VA; Baltimore, MD; and, Wilmington, DE.

    In the "small world" category, Tim McClain is a retired Navy Judge Advocate (JAG), and served as a well-respected military judge before whom we argued many Courts-Martial. We can assure you, if he is associated with the program, it is top notch.

    If you live in a state in which WCSR has offices, and you need assistance in filing a claim for VA disability, go to their website to find the phone number of the office nearest you.

    And if you live in a state without a WCSR office, call your local bar association and ask if there's a firm in your area with a similar pro bono program. If not, your call just might encourage one.

    Click for more info

    Do Not Open Bogus E-Mail
    Purporting to be from FTC

    Attachment Unleashes Malicious Spyware

    Consumers, including corporate and banking executives, appear to be targets of a bogus e-mail supposedly sent by the Federal Trade Commission. In actuality, the e-mail was sent by third parties hoping to install spyware on computers.

    The bogus e-mail poses as an acknowledgment of a complaint filed by the recipient, and includes an attachment. Consumers who open the attachment to this e-mail unleash malicious spyware onto their computer.

    The FTC warns consumers who get this e-mail that appears to be from the agency:

    • Don’t open the attachment.
    • Delete the e-mail.
    • Empty the deleted items folder.

    The hoax e-mail is personalized, and contains the name of the recipient and their business. The bogus message explains how the complaint will be used, who will have access to it and states, “Attached you will find a copy of your complaint. Please print a hard copy of the complaint for your records in the upcoming investigation.” Opening the attachment downloads the malicious spyware.

    Consumers can learn more about protecting themselves from malicious spyware and bogus e-mails at, a Web site created by the FTC in partnership with other federal agencies and the technology industry to help consumers stay safe online. The site also features modules on spyware and phishing.

    Click for more info

    Support the Military Spouse Memorial

    July 21, 2007 -- H. R. 3026 establishes a commemorative work to honor all those who have put their country first as military spouses. Military spouses have long been unsung heroes, and it's time to change that!

    Rep. Thelma Drake (VA) is sponsoring “The Military Spouses Memorial Act” H.R. 3026 to authorize the Military Spouse Legacy Association, Inc., to establish a commemorative work on Federal land in Washington, DC to honor all those who have put their country first as military spouses throughout our Nation's history.

    This bill gives America the opportunity to say thank you to the millions of military spouses and widows, both male and female, past and present for their unwavering support of their military loved one. The selfless service of the military spouse from 1776 forward has made this group of individuals the unsung heroes in the defense of this great nation. This monument will be a permanent symbol of appreciation for their service.

    We urge you to express your support for this legislation. Clicking on the link below will take you to a page at the Fleet Reserve Association web site. If you type your zip code in the box there, and click "go," it will take you to a page showing the name of your representative in Congress. You can then complete the form on that page, and e-mail a letter to your representative asking him or her to support this legislation.

    Support the Military Spouses Memorial!!

    Click for more info

    Warning for Tricare Members
    About Possible Identity Compromise

    July 20, 2007 -- TriCare officials have announced a possible compromise of data regarding approximately 600,000 TriCare beneficiaries.

    Data stored on the affected system included names, addresses, social security numbers, birth dates, and some health information, according to TriCare. Forensic analysis of the server has found no evidence that any beneficiary information was compromised.

    The data was housed on a computer system operated by and located in Florida offices of defense contractor Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). The system in question was not behind a firewall and did not have adequate password protection, in violation of both SAIC and DoD computer security requirements. The system was disabled in May and is no longer in use.

    Despite indications that no actual compromise occurred, DoD and SAIC are cooperating to mail letters of notification to beneficiaries whose information was stored on the system.

    Beneficiaries whose information was placed at risk are being offered a free, one-year subscription to an identity restoration service.

    The incident response center can be reached toll free within the United States at 1-888-862-2680, or collect at 1-515-365-3550 from outside the United States.

    Click for more info

    I Stand Corrected

    This photo was originally published here with the heading "This One Needs No Further Comment." (see below). We received it in e-mail from a friend who happens to be a Vietnam vet, and published it exactly as it was received.

    After some reader feedback, however, we've discovered it apparently does need some explanation.

    We've realized that some of our younger readers, and perhaps even many of those currently serving in OIF and OEF, may not recognize the woman in the photo on the left, and thus, may not . . .

    For the "rest of the story," click here.

    Permalink -- click for full blog

    This One Needs No Further Comment

    Permalink -- click for full blog

    Happy 4th of July!

    Happy Birthday, America!

    We Are The Nation

    Lord, we are the nation!

    We celebrate our birthday on July 4th, 1776, with the Declaration of Independence as our birth certificate. The bloodlines of the world run in our veins, because we offer freedom and liberty to all who are oppressed. We are many things and many people.

    We are the nation.

    We sprawl from the Atlantic to the Pacific, to Alaska and Hawaii, three million square miles throbbing with industry and with life. We are the forest, field, mountain and desert. We are the wheat fields of Kansas, the granite hills of Vermont, and the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada. We are the Brooklyn Bridge, we are the grain elevators in the farm belt, we are the Golden Gate.

    We are the nation.

    We are 213 million living souls, and yet we are the ghosts of millions who have lived and died for us. We are Nathan Hale and Paul Revere. We are Washington, Jefferson and Patrick Henry. We are Lee, Grant, Abe Lincoln and George Bush. We are the famous and the unknown. We are presidents, we are paupers.

    We are the nation.

    We stood at Lexington and fired the shot heard around the world. We remember the Alamo, the Maine, Pearl Harbor, Inchon and the Persian Gulf. When freedom calls, we answer. We left our heroic dead at Belleau Wood, on the rock of Corregidor, on the bleak slopes of Korea, in the steaming jungles of Vietnam and under the rubble of Beirut.

    We are the nation.

    We are schools and colleges, churches and synagogues. We are a ballot dropped in a box, the harmonious voice of a choir in a cathedral, the crack of a bat and the roar of a crowd in a stadium. We are craftsmen, teachers, businessmen, and judges. We are laborers and nurses. We are parents and we are children. We are soldiers, sailors and airmen. We are peaceful villages, small towns and cities that never sleep.

    Yes, we are the nation, and these are the things that we are.

    We were conceived in freedom, and dear God, if you are willing, in freedom we will spend the rest of our days.

    May we always be thankful for the blessings you have bestowed upon us. May we be humble to the less fortunate and assist those in need.

    May we never forget the continuing cost of freedom. May we always remember that if we are to remain the land of the free, we must continue always to be the home of the brave.

    May our wishbone never be found where our backbone should be. May we possess always, the integrity, the courage and the strength to keep ourselves unshackled, to remain always a citadel of freedom and a beacon of hope to the world.

    We are the nation.

    This is our wish...this is our hope...and this is our prayer.

    Written by the late
    CDR John "Bug" Roach, USN

    Permalink -- click for full blog

    Sponsor a Secure Website to Help a Military Family Stay in Touch

    What an awesome idea! If you've been looking for a way to show your support for America's military families, here's a project worth supporting.

    Your sponsorship of just $99 will provide a secure website to a military family for an entire year, giving them the ability to share (privately) those precious moments that would otherwise be missed, such as first steps, birthday parties, piano recitals, soccer goals, etc. The sites use multiple layers of security, so the families can safely post photos of children and talk about family activities without fear of the information falling into the wrong hands. This is a wonderful way of helping the families stay connected. is a nationwide service that helps America's troops stay connected with their families by providing them with free, secure interactive family websites. Launched in 2006, is a joint effort by two California patriots -- Terry Gniffke, a former Marine and Vietnam veteran, and Michael Sawtell, CEO of DigitalPost Interactive, a provider of advanced family website technology -- to help military families maintain strong family bonds and to inspire hope during difficult times.

    For further information or to sponsor a website for a military hero, please visit Websites for Heroes.

    Click for more info

    USNS Comfort Takes Along Surgical Teams from Operation Smile for Humanitarian Mission

    Information courtesy of American Forces Press Service:

    NORFOLK, Va., June 19, 2007 – USNS Comfort, a US hospital ship operated by the Military Sealift Command, will provide humanitarian missions this summer to a dozen countries in the Caribbean and Latin America during a 120-day deployment. These services will include basic surgeries, nursing educational opportunities, public health interventions, veterinary services, and basic infrastructure support and construction.

    Comfort's medical staff will be joined by surgical teams from Operation Smile, a worldwide children’s medical charity that provides free surgery to children in developing countries born with facial deformities.

    Operation Smile will be working side by side with the Navy in Nicaragua, Peru and Colombia. The Operation Smile volunteer medical teams are composed of international volunteers in Nicaragua and Peru, while a team of Operation Smile Colombian medical volunteers will conduct a medical mission in a Buenaventura local hospital in that country.

    About 125 to 150 children suffering with cleft lips and cleft palates will receive free reconstructive surgery as a result of these three medical missions.

    Click here to learn more about Operation Smile, including how you can donate to their cause. Your gift of as little as $250 (just over $20 a month) can give one child each year a new smile and a new life. Your donation can be a one-time gift, or a recurring gift charged automatically to a credit card. In many instances in these developing countries, the facial deformities of cleft lip and/or cleft palate cause the child to live a lonely and miserable life, ostracized by others. Correcting the deformity literally gives the child a new life, where he or she is accepted by the other members of the community. We support Operation Smile, and we can tell you it's a great feeling to know you've helped transform a child's life by providing him or her with truly life-changing surgery.

    Click for more info

    Beware of New Scam Targeting Military Families

    WASHINGTON, Tuesday, May 29, 2007 — The American Red Cross has learned about a new scam targeting military families. This scam takes the form of a telephone caller giving false information to military families in order to obtain social security numbers, as described below:

    The caller (young-sounding, American) calls a military spouse and identifies herself as a representative from the Red Cross. The caller states that the spouse's husband (not identified by name) was hurt while on duty in Iraq and was med-evac'd to a hospital in Germany. The caller stated they couldn't start treatment until paperwork was accomplished, and that in order to start the paperwork they needed the spouse to verify her husband's social security number and date of birth. In this case, thankfully, the spouse was quick to catch on and she did not provide any information to the caller.

    American Red Cross representatives typically do not contact military members/dependents directly, and almost always go through a commander or first sergeant channels. And as you know, military hospitals do not withhold treatment to verify SSN's. Military family members are urged not to give out any personal information over the phone if contacted by unknown/unverified individuals, to include even confirmation that your spouse is deployed. Use common sense, keep your personal information personal, and don't give away any information unless absolutely necessary.

    This is another good reminder to be on the alert and to NOT give out any personal information to unknown callers! These people have sunk to new lows. They know that you would do anything you can to help your deployed spouse, especially if you believe he (or she) is injured and treatment is being withheld pending completion of "paperwork."

    Should you receive one of these calls, keep your wits about you, but tell them you're flustered by this news and can't remember the SSN -- you'll have to look it up and call them back. ASK for their number to call them back. That should get rid of them. Or ask them to call you back in 10 minutes. Then get a tape recorder ready to record the call.

    If you DO get one of these calls, and a phone number shows up on your caller ID, write it down, along with the date and time of the call and as many details as you can remember about exactly what they said. Then take the information to your base legal office and ask for their help in getting the information to the right sources to catch these low-lifes trying to take advantage of our vulnerable military families. We believe there's a special corner of hell reserved for these folks!

    Click for more info

    Money Matters for Military Families

    Comprehensive guide to money matters for American military families, offering debt solutions, financial education, and money management tips and techniques.

    Permalink -- click for full blog

    New! Comments

    Join our conversation! Leave me a comment about this page in the box below. If your comment is about another page on this site, please leave your comment on that page, because I have no ability to move it to the correct page. Thanks!

Connect With Us

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Subscribe to our e-mail updates Subscribe to our RSS feed

Live Well

Connect With Us

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Subscribe to our e-mail updates Subscribe to our RSS feed

This site best viewed with the Firefox browser.Site best viewed with Firefox