Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

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April 3, 2012 at 2:32pm

Phishing scam targets troops' fiancees

From Air Force Times: One of the latest phishing scams targets fiancées of service members in an attempt to lure them into "registering" in the Defense Finance and Accounting Service "system" to be entitled to receive benefits if their service member dies - for a $350 fee.

It's not from DFAS. Rather, it's a typical scam used by phishers when trying to extract personal information and, in this case, money, from any victim who takes the bait.

As DFAS officials note on their legitimate website: "We will not send you unsolicited email messages with attachments (especially as poorly written as this!) or letters asking you to send money to pay for some benefit that sounds too good to be true."

If an email looks even remotely suspicious, do not click on any links or open any attachments.

Filed under: Dependent, News To Us,

May 31, 2011 at 11:30pm

MLB pitcher starts AFA scholarship for Air Force ROTC cadets

ARLINGTON, Va. - The Air Force Association is proud to announce the Michael Wilson Scholarship, a new fund that awards scholarships to Air Force ROTC cadets throughout the country.

This remarkable scholarship was established through Brian Wilson, pitcher for Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants, reflecting the honor, commitment to service, and legacy of Brian's father, Michael Wilson. The gift is the largest scholarship given by an individual to be administered by the Air Force Association in its 65 year history.

Two scholarships will be awarded each year for the next five years (2011 to 2015) and is open to any Air Force ROTC cadet in the United States of America.

"The men and women who voluntarily sign-up to protect and defend our country is this nation's greatest asset," said Mike Dunn, President and CEO of AFA. "AFA strives to encourage and assist the academic endeavors and goals of our future Airmen. We thank Brian Wilson on making this significant gift from his newly created foundation and are pleased that he is part of our Air Force family."

AFA encourages the pursuit of education by offering numerous scholarships and grants to Air Force active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve members and their dependents; and awards various educator grants to promote science and math education at the elementary and secondary school level.

More information on the Michael Wilson Scholarship can be found at www.afa.org/MichaelWilson. Information on AFA's other scholarships and grant opportunities can be found on our Awards, Scholarships and Grants site.

Filed under: Dependent, News To Us, Sports,

May 5, 2011 at 2:00pm

Jay Leno to perform at McChord Field

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash.- Emmy Award-winning host of The Tonight Show, Jay Leno will perform Saturday, May 7th in Hangar 4 at McChord Field, as part of the Air Force Reserve's Tour for the Troops. Reserve Generation from the Band of the Air Force Reserve will open the show starting at 7 p.m. performing a variety of popular music. The show is free and open to only military ID holders and their guests.

Military personnel will represent all of the military installations in the Puget Sound area including: Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen from the Reserve, Army and Air National Guard, and active-duty components but not limited to: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Naval Base Kitsap, Camp Murray, and U.S. Coast Guard Base Pier 36 in Seattle.   The performance is a gesture of appreciation for the hard work and sacrifices they make day-in and day-out.

Tour for the Troops is a concert series sponsored by the Air Force Reserve that visits military bases around the world.  This is the second Tour for the Troops for Jay Leno, who performed last year at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Leno joins a list of entertainers including Kid Rock, John Legend and Ludacris who have appeared in past concerts as a way of showing their support for our military service men and women.

July 20, 2010 at 10:03am

Restructured Military Spouse Career Program resumes

The DoD sent out this press release today:

The Department of Defense announced today the resumption of a restructured military spouse career advancement account program - MyCAA, following a comprehensive review.  The program will be available to spouses of service members in the pay grades of E1-E5, W1-W2 and O1-O2 beginning October 25 at 8 a.m. EDT.

"The changes announced today reflect a return to the original intent of the program which is to help military spouses, with the greatest need, successfully enter, navigate and advance in portable careers," said Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.  "We fully support the program and are committed to ensuring the program's sustainability.  To that end, we are making several critical operational changes."

Amongst these changes, eligible spouses will receive a total of $4,000 in DoD-funded financial aid, with an annual cap of $2,000 per fiscal year; funding must be used within a three-year time period from the start date of the first class; and must be used to obtain an associates' degree, licensure or certification.  A waiver may be granted when fees for licensure or certification require an up-front fee greater than $2,000 and up to the total maximum assistance of $4,000.

"The MyCAA program popularity grew beyond our expectations and became too expensive to continue.  Therefore, we are returning to the original intent of the program in a way that is attainable and fiscally responsible for the Defense Department," said Stanley. "As we look to the future, we envision a program that is much broader than DoD's financial assistance component.  Military spouses will be guided along a more holistic approach to career planning."

Under the long-term program guidelines, career counselors will continue to work with all military spouses to help develop career and education goals and plans, and assist them in identifying and accessing available federal education benefits toward these goals.

"Families play a crucial role in supporting our men and women on the battlefield.  When service members are confident that their families at home have access to resources and support, they are better able to focus on their mission," said Stanley.  "The Defense Department is committed to investing in military families.  When we invest in the well-being of the family, we invest in the well-being of the force."

More information can be found on the MyCAA Web site: https://www.militaryonesource.com/MOS/FindInformation/Category/MilitarySpouseCareerAdvancementAccounts.aspx.

July 9, 2010 at 10:45am

Scholarships for children of fallen servicemembers

WASHINGTON -- The children of military personnel who died in the line of duty since Sept. 11, 2001 can apply for an educational scholarship similar to the new Post-9/11 GI Bill. Benefits are retroactive to Aug. 1, 2009.

The scholarship, which is administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs,  is named after Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry, 28, a Texas native who died in Iraq in 2006 while disarming an explosive. He was survived by three young children.

"The Fry scholarship represents this nation's solemn commitment to care for children whose mothers and fathers paid the ultimate price for our country," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki.

VA is now accepting applications for the Fry scholarship. For more information or assistance applying, call toll-free 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551), or visit the VA GI Bill Website at www.gibill.va.gov

VA estimates nearly 1,500 children will receive benefits under the Fry scholarship  program in 2010. Recipients generally have 15 years to use their benefits, beginning on their 18th birthdays. 

Eligible children attending institutions of higher learning may receive payments to cover their tuition and fees up to the highest amounts charged to public, in-state students at undergraduate institutions in each state. A monthly housing allowance and stipend for books and supplies are also paid under this program. 

VA will begin paying benefits under the Fry scholarships on Aug. 1, 2010. Eligible participants may receive benefits retroactively to August 1, 2009, the same day the Post-9/11 GI Bill took effect. 

Eligible children may be married. Recipients are entitled to 36 months of benefits at the 100-percent level. 

When family members also serve in the military  or are veterans in their own right, eligible for education benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill for active duty, the Montgomery GI Bill for Selected Reserves or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program, then they would relinquish their eligibility under those programs to receive benefits under a Fry scholarship.

(Department of Veterans Affairs release)

Filed under: Dependent, Veterans,

June 18, 2010 at 11:28am

MyCAA program may be limited to job training

This isn't good news for spouses looking to pursue a four-year degree through the MyCAA program.

Read more here.

Filed under: Dependent, Education,

February 26, 2010 at 9:51am

Smith testifies to support military families

U.S. Congressman Adam Smith, who represents Washington's 9th District, testified Thursday in Washington, D.C. before the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity regarding a bill he introduced last July, the Military Family Leave Act of 2009.

Read more about Smith's testimony and view videos of the hearing here.

Filed under: Family Readiness, Dependent,

February 2, 2010 at 2:49pm

Free access to caregiver network

Military families now have free access to an online network of caregivers who can assist with everything from babysitting to dog walking.

Sittercity is the nation's largest online source for local babysitters, nannies, elder care providers, dog walkers, housekeepers and tutors, and contains more than 1 million caregiver profiles, officials said. 

The Sittercity Corporate Program, funded by the Defense Department, offers military families, including active-duty, Guard and Reserve members, with a paid membership to the site.

For more on the network, click here.  

Filed under: Dependent, Family Readiness,

November 16, 2009 at 2:10pm

Military children are a strong bunch

On Friday, I had the pleasure of attending a military family support summit at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. The summit provided a great forum for educators, community leaders and private agencies to get together and collaborate on ideas and resources to support military families.

The morning panel featured a group of military teens who passed the microphone down the line answering a slew of questions designed to tap into subjects such as what it's like to be a military child, challenges each face when they change schools, how school administrators can better help incoming students and how each deal with their emotions when a parent is deployed.

Although some of the teens clearly weren't used to speaking in large groups(especially growing up in the age of MySpace and Facebook), I was impressed with how each one responded to the different questions.

When asked how she coped with her father's deployment, one teen responded, "I don't see it as coping — I see it as a part of my life and a part of our family."

Another teen said that while her and her older siblings were able to connect with their father on his deployment through letters and e-mails, she said her youngest sister (around age 5) was able to connect better with where her dad was and what he was doing through a gift from the country he sent her.

The panel was also emotional, as another teen said that one the most effective things a teacher can do to see how they are doing during a deployment is to listen.

"It can make our day," he said.

Another girl chimed in: "A hug can go a long way."

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