Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: August, 2009 (72) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 72

August 1, 2009 at 9:47am

Morning Report

August 1, 2009 at 2:13pm

Fort Lewis dependent: teen pageant

J.M. SIMPSON: DEPENDENT WORKS TO BE MISS WASHINGTON TEEN USA >>>

Miss-Thurston-County Elisabeth Jackson's personality and poise reflect well on the upbringing her parents have given her.

"I come from a military family, and I know how to work hard," she says.

Her father, Capt. Troy Jackson, is stationed at Fort Lewis.

"I also know how hard my dad worked to get where he is today, and I picked up on his example."

It is an example worth emulating.

Jackson is the current Miss Thurston County Teen USA.  The 17 year old is a Running Start student at River Ridge High School where she has earned a 3.7 grade point average.

Running Start is a program that allows highly motivated high school students take college classes at a local community college. 

Upon graduation from high school, Jackson will have also earned her Associate's degree, allowing her to enter a four-year university as a junior.

Her intelligence, stunning looks and willingness to improve upon herself combined to win her the title.

While attending a career day at another high school, Jackson spoke to an individual who told her about the Thurston County Teen USA pageant.

She wrote an essay that caught the attention of the judges.  In short order, Jackson was notified that she would be the Thurston County's Miss Teen USA.

Jackson says that vanity is not what drove her to compete.

"It was all about providing a positive image and improving upon myself," she says.

Her next goal is to compete in the Miss Washington Teen USA.  To that end, Jackson has been working hard to gain sponsorships. 

If successful in the state level competition, she would like to compete on the national level.

"To accomplish this goal is my dream," continues Jackson.

"No matter what the outcome, I will get something of value out of the experience."

Jackson hopes to use her current experiences to realize her dream of working in the movie production.

But perhaps the strongest point of Jackson's poised and polished personality is her insistence that dreams are to be pursued.

"If you have a dream, go after it," she says. 

"Going after your dream will not always be rainbows and gumdrops, but when you realize your dreams it feels great."

Filed under: Dependent, Familes, Fort Lewis,

August 3, 2009 at 10:00am

Morning Report

August 3, 2009 at 12:45pm

New active duty dental plan launched

MICHAEL SWAN: TOOTHY PLAN >>>

Active duty service members now have a new dental program that started Aug.1, 2009. The new Active Duty Dental Program (becomes the dental care plan for active duty service members (assigned to locations with no access to a military dental facility.

For more information, visit the TRICARE site.

Filed under: Health,

August 4, 2009 at 9:11am

Morning Report

August 4, 2009 at 2:21pm

New ACE program for soldiers

CASSANDRA A. FORTIN: ACE PROGRAM TO HELP MAKE SOLDIER TO STUDENT TRANSITION EASIER >>>

Most members of the armed services have heard about the new Post 9/11 GI Bill.  However, far fewer people know how to find applicable resources or how to apply for the benefit.

With that in mind, the American Council on Education - a nonprofit organization that through advocacy, research and innovative programs represents the interests of some 1,800 college campuses - wanted to change how veterans learn about their educational benefits and higher learning options. 

"The higher education community is in the unique position to help ease the transition from soldier to student," Molly Corbett Broad, ACE president, said.  "However, we must do so in a deliberate way to ensure that returning soldiers who are eager to take advantage of expanded education benefits for themselves and their families are offered every opportunity for success."

For starters, ACE launched an initiative called Serving Those Who Serve: Higher Education and America's Veterans.  This program promotes access to higher education for more than 2 million service members and their families, who are eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, a new VA program that allows service members to transfer the benefit to their immediate family members.  

The goals of the Serving Those Who Serve include developing a better understanding of the factors that affect military veteran's decisions on whether or not to pursue higher education; to identify veteran friendly schools; and to assist institutions of higher learning in administering the benefits, said Jim Selbe, the assistant vice-president of Lifelong Learning for ACE, which is based in Washington D.C. 

Also, ACE has received financial support in the amount of $2.5 million from the Wal-Mart Foundation to be awarded to colleges that operate model programs that advance veterans success in higher education and $800,000 from the Lumina Foundation for Education to fund a Web site to provide veterans with easy access to information about their education benefits and opportunities for higher learning.

At the ACE Web site service members can find several resources to help them get started. 

The first resource is a transfer guide that explains how service members may receive college credit for their occupational and military experience as well as how much credit they can expect to receive.  The guide can be downloaded free of charge.  It contains information about how the transfer credits are applied and how much college credit they will receive as well as a section on how to appeal a decision about credit given, with which the service member disagrees, Selbe said. 

A second resource is a Post 9/11 GI Bill Q & A that was written for college presidents.  However, the document has substantial information that service members may find useful, he said.

"In the end, we want to provide active and retired military veterans with the same opportunities that the men returning from WWII had, when they came home," Selbe said.  "Tens of thousands of WWII vets came home and became college professors, doctors, and lawyers. We want our soldiers coming home today to have the same opportunities."

Filed under: Education, News To Us,

August 4, 2009 at 6:00pm

Obama: health care reform won't impact VA, Tricare

MICHAEL SWAN: THIS JUST IN >>>

The ?American Forces Press Service reports:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2009 - In ongoing discussions about health-care reform, President Barack Obama offered assurance today to those receiving medical care through Tricare or the Department of Veterans Affairs: Your benefits are safe.

Eligibility for health care under VA or Tricare "will not be affected by our efforts at broader health-care reform," Obama told military reporters at the White House today. ??Obama said he also made that point clear after today's meeting with the American Legion's national commander, Dave Rehbein, and executive director, Peter Gaytan.


Read the rest of the story here.

Filed under: Health, News To Us,

August 5, 2009 at 9:07am

Morning Report

August 5, 2009 at 10:30am

Lewis hosts Surviving Family Members Appreciation Day

MICHAEL SWAN: HONOR SURVIVING FAMILY MEMBERS THIS FRIDAY >>>

The Fort Lewis PAO sent us this reminder:

FORT LEWIS, Wash. -  Fort Lewis will host the installation's annual Surviving Family Members Appreciation Day Friday, Aug. 7, from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., at the American Lake Community Center.

The Fort Lewis Surviving Family Member Appreciation Day was created to honor surviving family members by recognizing their contributions to our country. The Fort Lewis Retirement Services Office estimates there are more than 21,000 surviving spouses (spouses of deceased service members who died during a conflict or after retiring from the service) and family members of Army and Air Force personnel currently living in the Pacific Northwest.

This event offers an opportunity to provide updated information on today's benefits and provide information on matters of local interest to Surviving Family Members.

Doors open for registration at 7:30 a.m., with an opening ceremony at 8 a.m. Brig. Gen. Jeff Mathins, acting Fort Lewis commander, will give opening remarks. Col. Jeanette McMahon Angresano, Special Assistant to the Superintendent for Human Relations at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, will be the guest speaker.

Information and on-site services booths will open at 9 a.m., and remain open until 12 p.m.

A complimentary lunch will be served, beginning at 11:30 a.m. The U.S.O. will also offer snacks and beverages throughout the day.

Services to be offered on-site include: military ID card issuance and renewal, registration for installation vehicle access decals, health and wellness screenings, and free on-site child care. Other groups will offer information about additional benefits and services, including: military, veteran's administration, and social security survivorship pay and benefits, health care and bereavement support for surviving family members, military insurance costs and coverage for surviving family members, emergency relief grants and loans, resume preparation and job search advice, parenting support, suicide prevention, military post/base exchange and commissary benefits, volunteer opportunities, wills and powers of attorney, retiree pay, military funeral honors and burial benefits, and private organizations offering membership and support to military widows.

Surviving Family Members from all military services are invited to attend this event. Family Members who do not have a DoD installation vehicle access decal should call the Fort Lewis Retirement Services Office, at (253) 966-5884 for information on applying for a visitor's pass.

Filed under: Ceremony, Familes, Fort Lewis, Memorial,

August 5, 2009 at 12:02pm

Women veteran's conference coming to Tacoma

MICHAEL SWAN: THIS JUST IN >>>

Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs reports:

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Women Veterans Advisory Committee is asking women veterans to register today for the free "Celebrating Women Veterans Legacy of Service Summit", Saturday, September 12th from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, in Tacoma, WA.

"With more and more women in the military it is absolutely essential that we connect with them and help them access benefits and services they earned," WDVA Deputy Director Lourdes "Alfie" Alvarado-Ramos said.  "All too often I meet women who don't think they're veterans for one reason or another.  Our message is simple, if you served your country honorably, you are a veteran and we are here to serve you."

Topics to be covered include:  Physical Health & Wellness; Financial skills; Careers & Networking; Employment; and Veterans Benefits.  There is no registration fee; however, pre-registration is required.  You can register by going to the website listed below and completing the on-line registration form.  

This free conference will provide women veterans with comprehensive information regarding opportunities and challenges women veterans face today, information on benefits and services they might be entitled to the opportunity to renew old acquaintances and make new ones.


Find out more about the conference here.

Filed under: News To Us, Tacoma, Veterans,

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