Print & Post: Week of August 18, 2014

Army Tuition Assistance Eligibility Update

Changes are taking place for those who receive tuition assistance from the Army. According to ALARACT 317/13 -- FY14 Tuition Assistance Policy, as of Jan. 1, 2015 Soldiers eligible for TA must have successfully completed one year of service following graduation from Advanced Individual Training (AIT). Beginning in FY15, all Soldiers must have ten years of service to receive graduate level TA if any portion of their undergraduate degree was paid through TA. Also, significant changes have been made to ( Department of Defense Instruction 1322.25. Beginning Oct. 1, the Army will no longer pay fees such as laboratory and course fees. Also, TA requests must be submitted and approved before the start date of the class, without exception. Beginning Sept. 6, reimbursement will be required from the service member if a successful course completion is not obtained. For more information, visit your base education center and speak with education services specialist. ( Read more about Army Tuition Assistance.

AF Medical Officers No Longer Face RIF

Air Force medical corps and medical service corps officers slated to meet the reduction in force board in October are no longer eligible for RIF consideration. The fiscal year 2015 Force Management Reduction in Force Board scheduled to convene Oct. 1, 2014, will still evaluate line of the Air Force and LAF-judge advocate officers for continued retention. Airmen eligible to meet the board include LAF captains in year groups 2006 through 2008 and LAF majors in year groups 2001 through 2003, computed by total active federal commissioned service date, in specific AFSCs; unless specifically excluded. AFSCs and year groups vary depending on category, so eligible Airmen should review the matrices on the ( myPers website to determine if they are eligible.

For more Air Force news updates, visit the ( News Center.

GEICO Award Accepting Nominations

GEICO is accepting nominations for the 2014 GEICO Military Service Awards. The GMSA Program honors one active-duty enlisted member from each military service and one member from the Reserve or National Guard component each year for outstanding contributions to the civilian and/or military community. Servicemembers are evaluated for work in drug and alcohol abuse prevention, fire safety and fire prevention, as well as traffic safety and accident prevention. Selections are based on noteworthy contributions in one of the three categories, during a service member's on-duty and off-duty activities. Active-duty and Reserve component enlisted members with at least one year obligated service from the date of the nomination are eligible. For more information, visit the visit the GEICO military service awards ( website.

National Immunization Awareness Month

August is National Immunization Awareness Month. While many diseases have been eradicated from the United States, some, such as measles and pertussis, have reappeared because of complacency and people who choose to not vaccinate. Pertussis (also called "whooping cough") has also made resurgence. It is important for pregnant women, health care and daycare workers to get the "Tdap" tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccination. Infants and children have developing immune systems and need early childhood vaccinations. In addition, there are immunizations for adolescents such as the vaccine for meningitis and the human papillomavirus. A vaccination for older people or those with compromised respiratory systems is for pneumonia. Finally, most critical is the need for all age groups to get the annual influenza vaccine. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Vaccines and Immunizations webpage at (

Wounded Warriors Invictus Games

Over 60 wounded veterans from across the country recently participated in the final Warrior and Invictus Games training camp to prepare for the fall games. The athletes competed in track and field, basketball, volleyball, swimming, marksmanship and wheelchair tennis. 23 Airmen attended the camp to train for the Invictus games to be held in London. Sept. 10-14. The Warrior Games presented by Deloitte are Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 2014, at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. For more information, visit the Warrior Games website at ( and follow the Warrior Games on ( Facebook. A video on in the upcoming Invictus Games is available ( online. Information on the Invictus Games is available on the ( Invictus Games website.

For more wounded warrior news, visit the ( Wounded Warrior page.

Veterans Crisis Line

If you are in crisis, or know a veteran who is, telephone the Veterans Crisis Line toll-free 24/7/365 at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, or text 838255, or visit the Veterans Crisis Line website at ( and chat with trained counselors (many of whom are veterans) anytime. This is also the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for anyone in crisis.

For more veterans benefits info and updates, visit the ( Military Advantage blog.

Marines Early Release Program

The fiscal year 2015 Selected Marine Corps Reserve Early Release Program began August 1, 2014 runs through Sept. 30, 2015. Marines must meet a list of requirements to be eligible for the program including completion of their drill obligation, a mandatory drill participation stop date between Oct. 1, 2014 and Sept. 30, 2015, and the endorsement of the administrative control battalion/squadron commanding officer. The program also allows Marines to request an inter-service transfer to the Reserve component of another service. Marines accepted for separation under the early release program will sign a page 11 entry to be included in their official military personal file, stating they are a volunteer for the program and all requirements will be completed prior to their mandatory drill participation stop date. After completion of the program, Marines must remain in the Individual Ready Reserve for the remainder of their military service obligation.

For more Marine Corps news updates, visit the ( News Center.

Absentee Voting Tips

The most important thing to remember when dealing with absentee voting is to start the process early. You can use the federal postcard application (FPCA) to both register to vote and to request your absentee ballot. It is important to notify election officials of where to send ballots to you and how to do so. It is a good idea to fill out a new federal postcard application each time you move. Do not use the federal postcard application if you plan on voting in person at the polls. Instead, use your state form. Also, do not forget to check your inbox for your ballot if you have requested to receive it by e-mail. Send in your ballot as soon as possible. If by the first of October, you have not seen your state ballot, use the backup ballot, which you can get at the Federal Voting Assistance Program website at ( For more information and assistance, contact a voting assistance officer, call 1-800-438-VOTE or e-mail any questions to (

To keep up with the latest legislative issues affecting the military, visit the ( Legislative Center.

American Airman Video Contest Voting

Airmen can now vote for the best video in the 2014 American Airman Video Contest, which is now open and runs until Aug. 22 at 3 p.m. CDT. The contest launched July 1 for all total force Airmen to showcase their Air Force stories in short selfie videos. The finalist videos from Air Force major commands and agencies are now available for public voting on the ( Air Force's YouTube channel. Voters can "like" their favorite videos, and the video with the most "likes" by Aug. 22 at 3 p.m. CDT will win. For more information about the contest, visit the ( Official Blog of the U.S. Air Force website.

For more military videos, visit the ( video section.

AAFES Back to School Sweepstakes

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is giving away Apple prize packages thanks to the Unilever Back to School Axe Sweepstakes. Six grand-prize winners will each receive Apple prizes with an approximate retail value of $2,000. Each winner will take home a MacBook, an iPad, an iPod Touch and a $25 iTunes gift card. Entry forms are available at Exchange stores worldwide through Sept. 4. Authorized shoppers 18 years and older with a valid driver's license can enter, and no purchase is necessary. The drawing will take place on or about Oct. 14. For more information, contact your local Exchange.

For discounts on travel, back-to-school deals and more for military families and veterans, visit the ( Discount Center.

Combat Stress Research Findings

A new study has found that most veterans who had persistent post-traumatic stress (PTSD) a decade or more after serving in the Vietnam War have shown surprisingly little improvement since then, and a large percentage have died. The study, financed by the Department of Veterans Affairs also found that members of minorities who enlisted before finishing high school were especially likely to develop such war-related trauma, as were those veterans who had killed multiple times in combat. The findings will be presented in a series of talks at the ( American Psychological Association in Washington.

For more on PTSD and PTSD resources, see the ( PTSD section.

VA Family Support Grants

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald has announced the award of approximately $300 million in grants under VA's Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program that will help approximately 115,000 homeless and at-risk veterans and their families. The grants will be distributed to 301 community agencies, which will offer veterans and their family members outreach, case management, assistance in obtaining VA benefits and assistance in receiving other public benefits. Community-based groups can offer temporary financial assistance on behalf of veterans for rent payments, utility payments, security deposits and moving costs. For more information on VA's homeless programs, visit VA's ( Homeless webpage. Details about the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program are available on the VA website at ( If you are a veteran in need of help, call 1-877-424-3838 (4AIDVET).

For more veterans benefits info and updates, visit the ( Military Advantage blog.

VA Outlines Steps in Phoenix

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald has outlined recent steps taken in the Phoenix Health Care System (VAHCS) in response to VA's nation-wide access audit findings: (1) since May 15, more than 3,000 appointments have been scheduled in Phoenix; (2) Phoenix VAHCS is increasing the use of established national contracts with community partners to schedule Veterans waiting to be seen by a provider; (3) the Phoenix VAHCS has increased capacity by expanding the hours of operation, making more primary care, mental health and other specialty care appointments available; (4) Phoenix VAHCS is also addressing the underlying issues that have impeded veterans' access to care, mainly space and staffing; and (5) Phoenix VAHCS is aggressively hiring more staff in the clinics.

For more veterans benefits info and updates, visit the ( Military Advantage blog.

VA Secretary Announces Review

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald has announced the Department of Veterans Affairs has initiated an independent, nation-wide review of all scheduling practices at VA medical facilities. Secretary McDonald announced that every VA medical center will undergo an independent review of scheduling and access practices beginning this Fall. The Joint Commission, the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care, will conduct this review.

For more veterans benefits info and updates, visit the ( Military Advantage blog.

Studies Look at New PTSD Treatment

A new treatment, brain wave optimization, could tame post-traumatic stress disorder or conquer insomnia. The therapy measures brain waves with sensors, and the sound is played back through ear buds. Some veterans report mental benefits from the therapy, as do professional and student athletes who have had concussions. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina has conducted studies showing benefits for insomniacs. For more information, read the article on the ( Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center website and watch the video on ( YouTube.

For more on PTSD and PTSD resources, see the ( PTSD section.

Find Your Next Career at DynCorp International

DynCorp International recognizes the experience and dedication that veterans contribute to DynCorp, as employees, business partners and suppliers. Start your career at the global government services provider, which supports national security and foreign policy objectives around the world. ( Learn more.

Marine Uniform Board Seeks Input

The Marine Corps Uniform Board has released a survey seeking input about three proposed uniform changes from active duty and reserve Marines. The three proposed changes are (1) shifting the annual seasonal uniform synchronization date, (2) requiring the wear of brushed brass enlisted insignia in woodland Marine Pattern utilities and (3) establishing the Sam Browne belt as a mandatory accessory for officers wearing the blue dress "A"/"B," service "A" and blue-white "A"/"B." The survey can be taken by active duty and reserve Marines - visit ( this site and select the Marine Corps Uniform Board #214 survey. The survey closes Aug. 29.

For more Marine Corps news updates, visit the ( News Center.

Navy Issues Sexual Assault Report

The U.S. Navy has compiled an overview of alleged sexual assaults based on 13 initial reports across the Navy from July 28 - August 3. The overview is available on the ( U.S. Navy website. To contact a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator at the Department of Defense Safe Help Line, call (877) 995-5247. To learn more about Navy's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program, visit the U.S. Navy SAPR website at (

For more news related to sexual assault and the military, see this ( section.

PMA USA Committed to Hiring Veterans

PMA USA is committed to delivering the services and products that help Americans families. Experience the personal rewards of making a difference in your customers' lives as a PMA USA Insurance Agent. ( Read more.

Transition Field Guide for Vets

The recently published "Transition Field Guide for Veterans: Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship after Service," is a resource that helps transitioning military members and veterans develop post-military career plans long before they separate from the service. The Transition Field Guide outlines four main paths toward meaningful employment: immediately entering the job market, pursuing higher education as a path to employment, obtaining helpful certifications or further training to increase competitiveness, and tips on starting a business. For more information, visit the 100,000 Jobs Mission website and download the ( Field Guide.

For more veteran job news, job postings and transition advice, visit the ( Veteran Jobs Center.

AF Offers CSRB Bonus for Intel

Eligible intelligence officers have until Sept. 22 to apply for a critical skills retention bonus (CSRB) being implemented by the Air Force. To be eligible for the CSRB, intelligence captains or majors must have a 14N core Air Force specialty code and must be a graduate of the 14N initial skills training course. Applicants must also have a date of rank to captain or major in specific year group and DOR time frames. Depending on their grade, years of commissioned service and the bonus option they select, 14N CSRB applicants could be eligible for $12,000, $20,000 or $30,000, which will be paid in equal installments. Other rules may apply. For more information about the 14N career field, visit the ( myPers website, select the active-duty officer page from the top drop down menu and enter "13747" in the search window. For application and agreement information, go to the 14N functional page on the ( Air Force Portal.

For more on military pay and pay benefits, visit the ( Pay Center.

American Legion Legacy Run

The ninth annual American Legion Legacy Run began August 17 with hundreds of wartime veterans and supporters riding their motorcycles from the Legion's national headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana to the 96th annual American Legion National Convention in Charlotte, The riders will travel through Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina before arriving Aug. 21 in Charlotte. The Legacy Run benefits the American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund, and every cent donated to the Legacy Fund goes directly into the fund. A complete ride guide is available on the ( American Legion website.

For more news about military-related events and benefits, visit the ( Off-duty section.

AF to Plus Up Nuke Manning Levels

The Air Force will plus-up nuclear enterprise manning levels by hundreds of positions at select bases beginning this fall, with the first wave of Airmen expected to arrive through the next few assignment cycles. The increase in nuclear force manpower by installation is available on the ( U.S. Air Force Personnel Center website.

For more Air Force news updates, visit the ( News Center.

AF Marathon Seeks Volunteers

The Air Force Marathon is still in need of volunteers to assist with the upcoming race. Areas in which volunteers are still needed include the Sports and Fitness Expo for morning and afternoon shifts on Sept. 18 as well as the morning shift on Sept. 19. Some race day positions also need volunteers. Volunteer registration closes Aug. 31. Volunteers can view a list of open positions and register on the U.S. Air Force Marathon website at (

For more fitness tips and workout programs, visit the ( Fitness Center.

AF Releases Enlisted Promotions List

The Air Force has selected 332 enlisted Airmen for promotion via the supplemental promotion process. To see the list, visit the ( Air Force Portal and select the promotion news link, or visit the ( myPers website, enter "Active Duty: Enlisted Promotions Home Page" in the search window, select the page and scroll down to the supplemental promotion section. Airmen on the supplemental list tested outside of their required cycle because of an extended temporary duty assignment or deployment in support of a contingency. For more information about promotions and other personnel issues, visit the myPers website.

For more Air Force news updates, visit the ( News Center.

Air Reserve Improving Personnel System

Systems, such as the virtual Personnel Center-Guard and Reserve, experience severe spikes in personnel program usage during the first weekend of every month as Citizen Airmen and Guardsmen perform required duty sometimes causing the vPC-GR to crash. The Air Reserve Personnel Center (ARPC) has begun an implementation plan to improve service for customers. The first phase will virtualize ARPC's server at Buckley AFB. The next step will be to put that server on a cloud and connect to a mid-tier server at Robins AFB, Georgia, which will also be virtualized. The final phase will determine a hosting solution. In the meantime, ARPC members have implemented a number of short-term solutions that have increased vPC-GR's reliability and speed. To learn more about these initiatives, as well as all of ARPC's goals and objectives, read ( ARPC's Strategic Plan, 2014 - 2018.

For more Air Force news updates, visit the ( News Center.

Transitioning? We Need Your Opinion!

We invite you to share your transition and job search experience. If you have recently left the military or plan to transition in the next year, please take 10 minutes to complete this survey. ( Take the survey now.

Survey Reveals Vital Suicide Data

A new survey completed by members of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America has found that 47 percent of respondents know at least one Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who has attempted suicide, while 40 percent know someone who has died by suicide. The survey also provided insight into critical issues, including suicide, mental health, VA wait times, mental-health-care utilization, the disability claims backlog, employment, burn-pit exposure, reintegration challenges and more. The survey is available on the ( Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) website.

For more mental health guides and tips, visit the ( Mental Health and Wellness section.

VA Health Care Benefit Overview

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers a publication with the latest information available regarding benefits through the Veterans Health Administration. Health Care Benefits Overview 2014 is designed to provide veterans and their families with the information they need to understand VA's health care system - eligibility requirements, the health benefits and services available to help veterans, and copays that certain veterans may be charged. Additionally, inside readers will find helpful information about My HealtheVet, creditable coverage for Medicare Part D, income verification and medically related travel benefits. The guide is available in PDF, ePub and Mobi formats, and is also available in Spanish. To download a copy, visit the ( Department of Veterans Affairs website.

For more veterans benefits info and updates, visit the ( Military Advantage blog.

New TBI Treatment Urged

A therapy delivering 100% oxygen in a pressurized chamber is being tested for treating military veterans with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Delegates at the New York State American Legion 96th Convention have unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the New York State Legislature to approve this oxygen therapy for veterans suffering from mTBI or PTSD. A healthy brain uses 100% of the oxygen the body provides it. However, when there is trauma to the brain, it needs extra oxygen to heal. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) provides that extra oxygen. Oklahoma passed a law earlier this year guaranteeing free HBOT for veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury, and several other states are attempting to follow Oklahoma's lead. For more information on this use of HBOT, read the study in the ( Journal of Neurotrauma.

For more on TBI, visit the ( TBI section.

Get $200k Family Protection as low as $14 a Month

Protection for less. Get $200k Coverage from only $14 a month. ( Could your family survive if something happened to you?

VA Outlines Actions to Resolve Crisis

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald recently outlined actions VA will take in the coming weeks and months to accelerate access to care for veterans: (1) conduct a holistic review that results in initiatives to ensure a strong ethical environment; (2) require all VA medical center directors to notify the Under Secretary for Health if access or quality-of-care standards are not being met; (3) review all senior leader performance plans in the Veterans Health Administration; (4) review VA's employee performance goals; and (5) ensure that all VA staff with scheduling privileges complete the mandatory scheduler training.

For more veterans benefits info and updates, visit the ( Military Advantage blog.

New Law Expands and Improves GI Bill

Although the Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 focused on the VA Health Care Crisis, it included two important GI Bill education benefit changes. The first change expands the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship to include surviving spouses. The second change requires state-operated colleges and universities to grant veterans in-state tuition rates. ( Read more about these important GI Bill changes.

Diplomatic Career Fellowship for Vets

The Veterans Innovation Partnership (VIP) is a new public-private alliance platform aimed at serving America's veterans and separating service members by preparing them for diplomacy and development careers. VIP provides educational opportunities in international relations, a one year fellowship at U.S government foreign affairs agencies, and international public and private employment opportunities. VIP fellowships are open to veterans who have recently completed a master's degree in the fields of international business or international relations.

( Visit the VIP website for more information including a detailed program description, eligibility criteria and the application process. To apply for the Fall 2014 round of fellowships, please submit a resume to ( by September 15, 2014.

For veteran job fair listings, job postings and transition advice, visit the ( Veteran Jobs Center.

TRICARE Redesigns Website

TRICARE has unveiled a new design for its website at ( to give TRICARE's 9.6 million beneficiaries clear and easy access to benefit information. The newly designed website offers easier navigation, a login button for quicker access to secure services, and a section on the homepage dedicated to life-changing events. Content has been streamlined and reorganized so users can find what they are looking for in the way they are expecting. is an educational tool for beneficiaries to learn about their health benefits and stay updated on the latest changes. Visit to see the new design and explore the TRICARE benefit.

For more on TRICARE, visit the ( TRICARE section.

Your VA Loan this Summer = Low Rates, No PMI, $0 Down

Now is the time to use your VA Loan. You don't have to pay PMI or have a large down payment. Plus you can get financing up to $417,000. ( Use your VA Loan Benefit today.

( Want more information about this great benefit?

Congressional Caucus for Caregivers

The ( Fleet Reserve Association recently reported that congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle have formed the Hidden Heroes Congressional Caucus, a new bipartisan congressional caucus to lead efforts to address the challenges facing the 5.5 million military and veteran volunteer caregivers to America's wounded warriors. For more details on this initiative, visit the ( Military Advantage blog.

Save Up to 66% on Costs Not Covered by TRICARE

The AMRA TRICARE Supplement saves money and time by covering doctor co-pays, prescriptions and more. Protect your family against unnecessary costs with the ( TRICARE Supplement Plan for military retirees and families.

Civilian Doctors to Backstop VA Care

In an effort to improve services and decreases wait times, the Department of Veterans Affairs is moving toward contracting for civilian health care provider networks. However, the networks are to handle only an overflow of needed care, and not offer an alternative enrollment option to the VA's integrated health care system. ( Read the full article on the Military Advantage Blog.

© 2014 Military Advantage
A Monster Company.