Celebrating Women’s History Month: Women Aviators

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Thérèse-Peltier

Thérèse-Peltier

When one thinks of women in aviation, the image of Amelia Earhart normally comes to mind. However, were you aware that women have been flying since the late 1700’s, when in 1784 Elisabeth Thible became the first woman to fly in a hot air balloon, and in 1798 Jeanne Labrosse was the first woman to fly solo, also in a balloon?

Women aviators displayed their skills in aeronautical engineering when E. Lillian Todd in 1906, became the first woman to design and build an airplane, though it never flew. Two years later in 1908, Madame Therese Peltier became the first woman to fly an airplane solo.

Women aviators of color refused to allow discrimination based on both race and gender hinder their dreams of flying planes, as evidence by Bessie Colman who in 1921 became the first African American, male or female, to earn a pilot’s license. Ten years later in 1931 Katherine Cheung became the first woman of Chinese ancestry to earn a pilot’s license.

Let us not forget the women who have assisted in pioneering space travel; Sally Ride the first American woman to travel to space in1983. Ride remains the youngest American astronaut to have traveled to space, having done so at the age of 32. Dr. Mae C. Jemison, the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor on September 12, 1992. Liu Yang served as a crew member on the space mission Shenzhou 9. On June 16, 2012 Yang became the first Chinese woman in space.

Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman

Unfortunately, pioneer women aviators were not immune to tragedy in the sky. In 1809, Marie Madeleine Sopie Blanchard become the first woman to lose her life while both flying in and watching fireworks in her hydrogen balloon. Sadly on July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart, the first woman the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the American mainland as having the distinction of being the first president of the Ninety-Nines, an organization made up of women pilots, was lost over the Pacific Ocean. The most well-known tragedy involving a female aviator.

Indian-born astronaut Kalpana Chawla, who has the distinction of being the first Indian woman in space, perished with six other crew members when space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere on February 1, 2003. Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher in space was one of seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986.

From hot air and hydrogen balloons to aircraft to space shuttles, women aviators continue to make strides as well as history.

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Celebrating Women’s History Month: Women Aviators

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Today’s post was written by Barack Obama

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2015 Year in Photos: Top Five Images

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For the 13th consecutive year, the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs (OCPA) has compiled the best photos from all around the Army. This year, we proudly present the Top Five Photos of 2015.

The selection process involved a yearlong photo search and compilation by OCPA and then voting on the images by the public via Facebook “Likes” and “Shares.”

Photos are gathered from all around the Army — including social media, DVIDS, www.army.mil, and more.

We invite you to view our winning photos as we honor the photographers of these outstanding images.

# 1 –  Sept. 9, 2015 – Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton – 2,809 Likes

YIP-1

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Russell Vidler leaps over the wall at the Fit to Win obstacle course on Fort Jackson, S.C. Vidler, a Reserve drill sergeant assigned to the 98th Training Division, was in a head-to-head competition for the title of Army Reserve’s top drill sergeant.

#2 – Feb. 24, 2015 – Photo by U.S. Army Visual Information Specialist Jason Johnston – 2,491 Likes

YIP-2

A U.S. Army Soldier, assigned to 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), salutes his fellow Soldiers while jumping out of a C-130 Hercules aircraft over a drop zone in Germany.

#3 – Aug. 5, 2015 – Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jason Hull – 1,916 Likes

YIP-3

Snipers from the 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, dash across the rocky desert terrain during a combined-arms live-fire exercise at Fort Irwin, Calif. The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment was one of several organizations from across the U.S. participating in Operation Dragon Spear, a demonstration which included a joint forcible entry operation with XVIII Airborne Corps, 82nd Airborne Division, 75th Ranger Regiment, 10th Special Forces Group and the Air Force.

#4 – Feb. 19, 2015 – Photo by U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Sarah Mattison – 1,105 Likes

YIP-4

Soldiers attending the U.S. Army Mountain Warfare School in Jericho, Vt., climb Smugglers’ Notch as part of their final phase of the Basic Military Mountaineering Course in Jeffersonville, Vt. Students in the Basic Military Mountaineering course spend two weeks acquiring the skills and knowledge required to operate in mountainous terrain.

#5 – Oct. 21, 2015 – Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Hewitt – 697 Likes

YIP-5

Paratroopers, assigned to 307th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, begin paddling for a boat competition during the unit’s annual “Crossing of the Wall River” event at Fort Bragg, N.C. Seven teams from the battalion crossed Kiest Lake to replicate the five trips across the Waal River.

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2015 Year in Photos: Top Five Images

Climate Change

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Today’s post was written by Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy & Environment

The Honorable Katherine Hammack Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy and Environment)

The Honorable Katherine Hammack
Assistant Secretary of the Army
(Installations, Energy and Environment)

 

From the pope to the president to foreign leaders, there is a growing national and international discussion about the causes of climate change and what actions, if any, should be taken by policymakers.

The U.S. Army, however, does not have the luxury of engaging in this debate – instead, we must respond to the effects of climate change that are already affecting our mission.

We need to look no further than Alaska, long considered to be on the front line of climate change. The Army’s premier training grounds at Fort Wainwright have experienced substantial climate-related challenges in recent years. Warmer weather earlier and for longer periods is restricting live-fire training due to the risk of forest fires, while thawing permafrost threatens our infrastructure.

Loss or restriction on the use of training lands attributed to climate factors incurs real costs in terms of time, money, and resources. Without predictable access to training areas and ranges, individual skills and unit readiness will suffer. This, in turn, can impact the Army’s ability to respond when called upon to meet the needs of the nation – making us more vulnerable at a time when we can least afford it.

The Army is also not immune from the impacts of increasingly frequent extreme weather events taking place across the country.

In August 2013, intense rainfall at Fort Irwin, California, caused severe erosion, washing out roads and toppling training structures and electronics. The event incurred $64 million in flood-related damages, and nearly delayed an important training activity for an Army tactical unit supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Yet Fort Irwin is located in the heart of the Mojave Desert – an area not known for rain, let alone flood waters reaching as high as 15 feet.

Recent National Climate Assessment projections show these and other extreme weather events – droughts, wildfires, heat waves, floods – will continue to increase in both frequency and intensity.

Incredibly, nearly half of the cost of major construction projects in the Army’s FY2016 military construction budget addresses risk and damage associated with a changing climate.

Because the National Guard and Corps of Engineers act as first responders for recovery operations, and our Soldiers assist with humanitarian missions following natural disasters, the Army is increasingly stretched thin to cover these needs.

With the added pressure of sequestration, there could be real implications for our national defense.

The Army is doing its part to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Through our “Net Zero” initiative, we have made significant progress toward the sustainability and resiliency of our installations – ensuring they are able to continue operations, deploy Soldiers, and support their local communities in case of a natural disaster.

While we continue to fight this battle on the front lines, we hope Congress will work with us to better assess the challenges posed by a changing climate.

For the U.S. Army, the existence of climate change is not a theoretical debate. It is a reality that we must act swiftly to address. The security of our Soldiers – and our nation – depends on it.

Katherine Hammack

 

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Climate Change

Army Corps of Engineers works to improve environmental outcomes

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Today’s post was written by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works

The ASA-CW joins the Army Corps of Engineers South Atlantic Division and Charleston District, The Audubon Society, South Carolina State Representatives, and a representative from Volvo to celebrate this collaboration in The Francis Beidler National Forest.

The ASA-CW joins the Army Corps of Engineers South Atlantic Division and Charleston District, The Audubon
Society, South Carolina State Representatives, and a representative from Volvo to celebrate this collaboration in The Francis Beidler National Forest.

This week, President Obama took another significant step to encourage American businesses to invest in conservation, signing a Presidential Memorandum to accelerate restoration efforts and incentivize private investment in our land, water and wildlife.

The Army Corps of Engineers was recognized as an agency that has been doing this for years. The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (ASA-CW), Jo-Ellen Darcy, recently visited a Corps project that exemplifies both mitigating effectively to improve environmental outcomes, and expediting permitting decisions for the economy.

The Corps’ Charleston District issued a permit this summer for an automobile manufacturing and assembly plant for Volvo (Project Soter) located on 2,800 acres west of Charleston, South Carolina. This project will employ 4,000 people and will attract an additional 2,000 jobs at supply vendors. Approximately 218 acres of wetland will be impacted as a result of the project.

Mitigation consists of five sites that collectively highlight the best practice called “landscape-scale” mitigation. Impacts will be offset by permanently protecting 2,496 acres of swampland in the Dean Swamp watershed, Walnut Branch watershed and tributaries of Four Holes Swamp. The Francis Beidler National Forest, located in the Four Holes Swamp, is an old-growth cypress forest whose tributaries feed high-quality water to the nationally-significant Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto (ACE) Basins.

The Charleston district worked hard and fast with local and state governments, as well as environmental organizations to issue this permit in just 90 days, and Assistant Secretary Darcy thanks them for their leadership and commends them for their innovative environmental stewardship.

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Army Corps of Engineers works to improve environmental outcomes

SFL and SFL-TAP: Preparing You to be a Soldier for Life

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Today’s post was written by Maj. Crystal Boring, Communications Director, U.S. Army Soldier for Life Program

The Soldier for Life (SFL) initiative is a culture shift in how the Army focuses its support to Soldiers in all phases of their military careers. The Soldier for Life – Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP) is the first of many Army programs to adopt the mindset change.

Soldier for Life and the Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program prepare Soldiers and their Families to be Soldiers for Life. From recruitment to retirement or separation, a Soldier always carries with them the intangible, invaluable skills the Army teaches. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army/Released)

Soldier for Life and the Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program prepare Soldiers and their Families to be Soldiers for Life. From recruitment to retirement or separation, a Soldier always carries with them the intangible, invaluable skills the Army teaches. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army/Released)

Soldier for Life
SFL is a new, holistic approach to Soldiering. Whether a Soldier serves one day or 30 years, he or she will one day take off the uniform for the last time. In order for Soldiers and their Families to be prepared for this inevitable transition, former Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno proposed a vision: “Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier… A Soldier for Life.” SFL highlights this vision by inculcating a culture change. From the moment a Soldier earns that title, throughout their military career, through transition and after reintegrating into civilian communities, that individual carries with them the intangible, invaluable skills the Army teaches: leadership, problem-solving, and tenacity just to name a few. SFL is also the Army’s connection arm between the “sea of goodwill” that wants to support Soldiers, Veterans and their Families through education, employment and health resources and opportunities, and the Army itself.

Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program
SFL-TAP, formerly known as ACAP, is the Army’s transition assistance program which provides the counseling and resources necessary to prepare transitioning Soldiers for civilian life. Soldiers are eligible for SFL-TAP after 180 days of continuous active duty service.   SFL-TAP is a commanders program that requires leadership involvement during a Soldiers transition process. Soldiers are required to begin transition processing no later than one year prior to their transition date. To support Army-wide transition, SFL-TAP has 700 counselors at 75 locations worldwide and mobile transition teams to support the National Guard and Army Reserve at home station.

How SFL and SFL-TAP Collaborate

SFL, the connection arm, finds employment and education resources and opportunities across the country and provides these opportunities to the SFL-TAP, the prepare arm, to assist Soldiers in reaching their individual transition goals. As the SFL initiative of “Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier… A Soldier for Life” is indoctrinated into other Army programs, the SFL mindset becomes increasingly inculcated in Soldiers and Veterans. These Soldiers for Life become Army Ambassadors in their communities instilling Army values and ethos in the next generation who will serve.

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SFL and SFL-TAP: Preparing You to be a Soldier for Life

Mission Critical: Education, and the Army’s Soldier for Life Program

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Today’s post was written by Maj. George Coleman, Education Director, U.S. Army Soldier for Life

Seventy-one years ago, in the midst of World War II, Congress passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944—better known as the GI Bill. In the peak year of 1947, veterans accounted for 49 percent of college admissions. By July 25, 1956, when the original GI Bill expired, 7.8 million of 16 million World War II veterans participated in an education or training program.

"I never would have completed this degree without the G.I. Bill,” said Master Sgt. Dennis King, 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command's chaplain assistant from Birmingham, Ala.,who  received his Doctor of Education while deployed in Kuwait. (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. James Burroughs, U.S. Army/Released)

“I never would have completed this degree without the G.I. Bill,” said Master Sgt. Dennis King, 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command’s chaplain assistant from Birmingham, Ala.,who received his Doctor of Education while deployed in Kuwait. (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. James Burroughs, U.S. Army/Released)

Today, the post-9/11 GI Bill has positively impacted millions of veterans and their families. Thousands of colleges and universities are supplementing Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to facilitate admission.

On July 9, 2015, Soldier for Life participated in a webinar hosted by the American Council on Education or ACE, “Mission Critical: Education and the Army’s Soldier for Life Program.” In the webinar, Soldier for Life gave a snapshot overview of who today’s veterans are and answered audience questions. Click here to access the full audio recording of the webinar.

Who are today’s student veterans?

  • Majority are male
  • 27 percent female (compared to percent of female service members)
  • 15 percent are normal college age (18-23 years old)
  • Many are supporting a family while also attending school

What do student veterans bring to the college environment?

  • A diversity of viewpoints from working in different countries and cultures
  • Leadership and management experience
  • An ethic of teamwork and how to be responsible members of a community
  • A willingness to strive for excellence and push themselves towards their goals

FAQ

I know I can get credit for my military experience, but how do I know what qualifies?

The Joint Service Transcript or JST is an academically accepted document approved by the American Council on Education or ACE to validate a service member’s military occupational experience and training along with the corresponding ACE college credit recommendations. The JST provides a description of military schooling and work history in civilian language. Current and former members of the active, Guard and Reserve forces may register at https://jst.doded.mil/smart/signIn.do.

What is a Career Skills Program?

A Career Skills Program, or CSP, assists transitioning Soldiers gain a skill to make them “career ready” when they separate active service. Soldiers participate in a CSPs during their last 180 days of active service at their place of duty. CSPs can include job training, employment skills training, apprenticeship, or internships. There are currently pilot programs established on 13 installations. CSPs lead to direct employment opportunities. Ask your installation education services officers if there is a CSP program at your installation.

Which schools offer in-state tuition for veterans?

Student Veterans of America offers information on the status of state legislation regarding tuition rates for veterans.

For more information on education opportunities and website, visit the Soldier for Life website: www.SoldierForLife.army.mil/education

Soldier for Life Education Director Lt. Col. Ryan Raymond speaks with a veteran participating in a course with the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers through Helmets to Hardhats, a veteran service organization that places service members in careers in construction. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Soldier for Life/Released)

Soldier for Life Education Director Lt. Col. Ryan Raymond speaks with a veteran participating in a course with the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers through Helmets to Hardhats, a veteran service organization that places service members in careers in construction. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Soldier for Life/Released)

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Mission Critical: Education, and the Army’s Soldier for Life Program

From Soldier to Start Up: Soldiers for Life Use Military Skills as Entrepreneurs

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Today’s post was written by Lt. Col. Wenceslao Angulo, Communications Director, U.S. Army Soldier for Life

Anthony Stamilio, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army Manpower and Reserve Affairs

Anthony Stamilio, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army Manpower and Reserve Affairs

“Don’t be terrified of transition,” said Anthony Stamilio, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army Manpower and Reserve Affairs, as he introduced American Dream U’s Leadership Development Seminar at the Pentagon, hosted by Soldier for Life on June 26, 2015.

“You’ve graduated from something. You’ve moved. You’ve all transitioned successfully before,” Mr. Stamilio added, echoing the overarching theme of the Leadership Development Seminar: Soldiers and Veterans are resilient and up to any challenge, even transition.

American Dream U, a non-profit dedicated to helping Veterans pursue their dream job or start their own business, brought 10 speakers—many of them Retired Soldiers and Army Veterans—for a Leadership Development Seminar to walk the audience through their own entrepreneurial journeys.

“The U.S. military is the greatest source of entrepreneurs on the planet,” said Retired Soldier Joseph Kopser, who started his own company while still on active duty. “The world just doesn’t know it yet,” he added.

Veterans make ideal entrepreneurs because they have the team-building, problem-solving and leadership qualities necessary to start and run a business ingrained in them. Entrepreneurs want to hire them to work at their start-ups for those same reasons.

To bridge the gap between service and entrepreneurship, Kopser encourages companies to step up. “Take advantage of your unique position. Talk about hiring a Veteran, what he or she did in the Army and what they’re doing for you now,” he said.

Trevor Shirk, an Active Duty Soldier, also started his own company while in the military. He plans to transition in the near future, and to continue to serve. “Service doesn’t end at transition,” he said. “Your battle buddies are your Soldiers for life. We are still responsible for taking care of each other.”

Army Veteran Josh Mantz, who now works at Tesla Automotive, recently transitioned. “It’s like a deployment,” he said at the Leadership Development Seminar. “You can get all of the intel you need beforehand, but it’s not until you’re on the ground that you can really assess the situation.”

The U.S. Army Soldier for Life program is here to help you get that intel. Visit www.SoldierForLife.army.mil for information, resources and more.

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From Soldier to Start Up: Soldiers for Life Use Military Skills as Entrepreneurs

The Army Energy Security and Sustainability Strategy; Maintaining Operations in a Challenging Environment

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Today’s post was written by  the Honorable Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy and Environment)

The Army is celebrating our 240th birthday (http://www.army.mil/birthday/). As the Army stands ready and continues to serve, we must be able to accomplish our missions in a world defined by uncertain, adverse, and dynamic conditions. Maintaining our strategic edge heavily depends on our wise use of resources-energy, water, and land.

The Army works to efficiently manage our installation boot print, striving to reduce risk to our critical missions. One example of risk to our installations is power disruption. Installations and surrounding communities are experiencing increased power outages due to the impact of natural disasters and a vulnerable electrical distribution system. In the last 10 years, we have seen over a four-fold increase in power interruptions on our Army bases.

Energy supply shortfalls and power distribution failures, coupled with water scarcity, represent a strategic vulnerability for the Army – increasing risk to missions. To maintain operations in this challenging environment, just last month the Army released our Energy Security and Sustainability (ES2)Strategy.

ES2 envisions a ready and resilient Army, strengthened by secure access to energy, water, and land resources-conditions which preserve future choice in our rapidly changing world. The objective is to enhance Army capabilities, readiness, and performance through effective system design and integration of resource considerations into behaviors and decision processes.

In essence, ES2 represents a turning point for the Army. The Army is evolving from a historic framework that viewed resource considerations as constraints on operational effectiveness, to a perspective that considers the critical role of energy, water, and land resources as mission enablers.

Our strategy will guide the Army to reduce future resource risk and increase mission assurance, providing a pathway that is focused, first and foremost on mission capability. Of course, an effective strategy needs goals to measure performance, so we have organized ES2 into five strategic goals.

The First goal is energy and sustainability to enable informed decisions; secondly, we must optimize the use of our resources; third, we must assure access and freedom of maneuver for our forces; fourth, we must improve resilience to maintain operations in our ever-changing environment; and finally, we must drive innovation to identify opportunities.

The Army’s ES2 strategy is designed to guide the Army’s use of energy, water and land resources well into the 21st century. I believe that by working through industry and community partnerships we will be capable of addressing many of these challenges and ensure Army installations are the readiness platforms for winning in a complex environment, through 2025 and beyond.

Army Strong!

Katherine Hammack

The Army Energy Security and Sustainability Strategy can be viewed at:

http://usarmy.vo.llnwd.net/e2/c/downloads/394128.pdf

Honorable Katherine Hammack Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy and Environment)

The Honorable Katherine Hammack
Assistant Secretary of the Army
(Installations, Energy and Environment)

The Honorable Katherine Hammack
Assistant Secretary of the Army – Installations, Energy & Environment

The Honorable Katherine Hammack was appointed the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment (ASA IE&E) by President Obama on June 28, 2010. She is the primary advisor to the Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff of the Army on all Army matters related to Installation policy, oversight, and coordination of energy security and management.

She is responsible for policy and oversight of sustainability and environmental initiatives; resource management, including design, military construction, operations, and maintenance; base realignment and closure (BRAC); privatization of Army family housing, lodging, real estate, and utilities; and the Army’s installations safety and occupational health programs. Among her many accomplishments are the establishment of the Army’s Net Zero program, and the creation of the Office of Energy Initiatives (OEI), which is working to streamline large-scale renewable energy projects to achieve 1GW of renewable energy by 2025.

Originally posted here: 

The Army Energy Security and Sustainability Strategy; Maintaining Operations in a Challenging Environment

Soldier for Life Facebook Townhall: All Questions and Answers

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Today’s post was compiled by the U.S. Army Soldier for Life program

On Wednesday, June 3, Soldier for Life (SFL) hosted a Facebook Townhall, answering 26 questions on topics ranging from education, employment,health, retirement and more. SFL is a Soldier’s lifelong connection to the Army, and is the bridge between service members and the education, employment and health resources that help them serve strong in and out of uniform. Soldier for Life is a mindset: from recruitment to retirement or separation, a Soldier is a Soldier for Life!

Here are all the questions and answers from the June 3 Soldier for Life Facebook Townhall.

Col. Adam Rocke (pictured bottom left) and the Soldier for Life Team was on hand to answer questions during the June 3 Facebook Townhall.

Col. Adam Rocke (pictured bottom left) and the Soldier for Life Team was on hand to answer questions during the June 3 Facebook Townhall.

Easter Seals Dixon Center If you could give only one piece of advice to a soldier preparing to transition back into the community, what would it be?
Soldier For Life
Great question! Start early, leverage your network and visit your SFL-TAP center! #SoldierForLife

Kimberly Holdeman Where can RC Soldiers connect to employment assistance outside of an installation?
Soldier For Life RC Soldiers can be referred to local resources through the Army National Guard Family Assistance Centers: https://www.jointservicessupport.org/spn and the Army Reserve Public, Private, Partnership Offices: http://www.usar.army.mil/resources/pages/employer-partnership-opportunities-and-information.aspx

Jennifer Jersey Hello – this is great – however I am a Navy spouse – can I use this or is there a Navy equivalent?
Soldier For Life The Navy certainly has an appreciation for the importance of transitioning and continues to support transitioning Sailors and their Families. However, the comprehensive resourcing offered by Soldier for Life can be utilized by any Service Member and Family member as a primary or secondary source in Health, Education or Employment: www.soldierforlife.army.mil

Dan Piston What programs does Soldier For Life suggest to veterans looking for career transition beyond TAP? Are there any programs available through private organizations to help veterans transfer their military skills in to civilian skills?
Soldier For Life Dan- thanks for the great question. Yes, there a numerous programs at the local and national level while we don’t have visibility on all of the local resources. Here is a list to jump start your search from a national perspective: @hiringourheroes @afterburner @monster @ajc (american job centers) and the VA’s veteran employment center. #SoldierForLife #SLFTownhall

Stefanie Pidgeon What role does personal readiness play in being a soldier for life?
Soldier For Life Army personal readiness is pinnacle to a successful transition and reintegration, and ultimately for being a “Soldier for Life”! It concerns ensuring Soldiers and their Families are ready and resilient, and personal readiness allows Soldiers to maintain their focus on accomplishing the mission. #SoldierForLife

Joseph Prestigiacomo While I am on transitional leave how can I get approval for my care and that of my family as I travel across the country to my final destination?
Soldier For Life You can call the Nurse Advice Line (NAL) to ensure they direct you to the nearest emergency department of urgent care clinic. It is important that you contact NAL for approval to avoid future billing statements The Nurse Advice Line is manned by a team of registered nurses — available 24 hours a day, seven days a week — prepared to answer questions about a variety of acute health care concerns. A nurse will help beneficiaries decide whether self-care or seeing a health care provider is the better option. To contact the Nurse Advice Line, call 1-800-TRICARE (1-800-874-2273) and select Option 1 for help with urgent care questions and needs.

Becky Farmer How is trust cultivated and maintained as part of the Soldier for Life military lifecycle?
Soldier For Life Becky, SFL mind-set is working towards Soldiers building a career both inside and outside the Military. We cultivate trust throughout the Soldier Lifecycle by providing Soldiers with career readiness skills and returning them to their communities more skilled, better trained and instilled with the Army Values- an ambassador in the community. #SoldierForLife

Nick Zevely What kinds of resources does Soldier for Life provide for Veterans who want to continue serving after the military?
Soldier For Life Nick- Great question. You can continue military service through the National Guard or Reserves, they are always looking for great Soldiers like you. Look for volunteer opportunities in your local community. Some organizations you might want to check out are Mission Continues and Team RBW #SoldierForLife #SFLTownhall

Kayla Balensiefer How does a company start a Veterans hiring initiative?
Soldier For Life The SFL Employer Resource Packet is what we send to employers seeking to start their Veteran hiring initiatives. The packet lists and explains the included attachments such as points of contact for installation Transition Service Managers and SFL’s government partners contact information, guidance for credentialing and Career Skills Programs, examples on how to promote your Veteran hiring initiatives and programs along with other relevant literature to the Veteran hiring landscape. #SoldierForLife

Tyler Balensiefer It doesn’t seem like there are too many organizations out there for vets to take advantage of. How many service organizations are there?
Soldier For Life Tyler- There are approximately 46K Veteran Service Organizations and Military Service Organizations. Some are large national organizations and many are smaller grass-root organizations. While a large number of organizations they work to cover the broad range of issues facing todays veterans. #SoldierForLife
Tyler Balensiefer I’ll check out your site, thanks.

Susan Kendall Are Retirees eligible for AER assistance?
Soldier For Life Yes. Susan, Retired Soldiers are eligible for AER assistance! Visit http://www.aerhq.org/dnn563/

Sean Heath How can Master Resilience Trainers assist Soldiers and thier Families who are transitioning to civilian life?
Soldier For Life Master Resilience Trainers (MRT’s) fall under the Comprehensive Soldier Family Fitness (CSF2) Program. Their focus is on the resiliency of Soldiers and Families. Resilience continues to play a major part of health and wellness in Soldiers and Families during transition and reintegration.

Army National Guard Health Hello from Guard Your Health! Have you seen that maintaining health and fitness plays a role during transition?
Soldier For Life Your health is your most important asset! Health provides a sense of well-being and the ability to enjoy your lifestyle not only during active duty but also after you transition. Your health is your most important asset and you can do everything in your power to protect it and make it last. It also saves insurance money for preventable conditions you can control with healthy habits. Check out this webpage for some great information: http://www.guardyourhealth.com/guard-life/reintegration/

Paige Thompson I keep hearing about trucking at job fairs and on Facebook ads. Is that a viable career (NOT just a job) for Vets?
Soldier For Life Paige- Great question. Transportation is a growth industry with over 100K openings each year. Recommend you look at www.truckingtrack.org or www.fastport.com for more information.
Paige Thompson Thanks! I’ll check it out.

Jack Veljkovic Barry I am a recently separated Army officer and have only found a $15/HR job working with a non profit. How can I better my income with Soldier for Life programs?
Soldier For Life Jack Veljkovic Barry, as a recently separated Veteran you will receive “Gold Card Service” from your local American Job Centers, also known as “Workforce Development Boards.” Also recommend you visit your local SFL TAP offices. They both assist with resume writing and targeted job searching.

Richard Lambert Speaking of retirement, I currently have a dental plan through work, but still have expensive co-pays when I go to the dentist. Do you know if I can enroll in the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program and use that program in addition to my work plan? If so, is there an open enrollment season?
Soldier For Life Thanks for your question. Check out the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP). Depending upon the type of dental services provided, having dual coverage can often mean that you will incur little or no out-of-pocket expenses. Go to www.trdp.org/retirees/enroll-today.html for more information. For those of you who are not military retirees, but are Veterans enrolled in VA Healthcare, check out information on the VA Dental Insurance Program: www.deltadentalvadip.org

Bill Johnson I love the idea of Soldier for life, but can’t help but feel its only words. I recently retired and now have zero access to AKO and other websites that help make me feel like I would be a Soldier for life. Is there anyway to keep the access to these websites?
Soldier For Life Bill: The Army had to close AKO to those without a CAC for security reasons. Please visit us on Soldier for Life at https://soldierforlife.army.mil/retirement to stay connected. There you will find the Army Echoes blog and links to other resources to stay connected. You will also need a DS log on to access your personnel, medical, and VA files on line. Request access to DS Logon at https://myaccess.dmdc.osd.mil/identitymanagement/

Bill Johnson Thank you for the quick reply, but I have access to the links that you are referring to. It is not the same as having a CAC card and logging into AKO. I guess my question should be Is there any thought to allowing retirees to have CAC cards? I don’t think every retiree would want access, but to be a Soldier for life I think this would send the right message.
Soldier For Life Bill, Thanks for the question. The Army and DoD have examined this issue extensively and determined that it is not feasible to issue CAC cards to this large and very dispersed population at this time. However, we’ve been building the SFL website to provide you more information and resources, so you can stay connected to the Army Family, like the new Army White Pages. Also, DS Logon will allow you to access your personal information online without a CAC.

Michel Buterbaugh What resilience and performance skills can soldiers utilize when beginning to think about transition?
Soldier For Life Soldiers have many hard and “soft skills” that they take from their experience on active duty to their transition and reintegration. These include, but are not limited to, knowledge about the importance of health and wellness, proficiency learned by working in a certain MOS, as well as the ability to function on a team, lead, mentor, and solve problems. These skills and resiliency components make Veterans exceptional assets to the civilian community!

Jane Kim How long does it take an officer to retire nowadays?
Soldier For Life Thanks for the question. An officer must request retirement at least nine months before their requested retirement date. The maximum is 12 months. The minimum number of years for a length of service retirement is still 20 years.

Dan Piston What is a program or example that best demonstrates the mission of Soldier For Life and the type of work you participate in?
Soldier For Life Dan- #SoldierForLife focuses on health, education, and employment resources and opportunities. Our mission also focuses on “Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier, Soldier for Life!” This mindset reminds us that we continue to serve in our communities after our service obligation.

Theresa Lynch What key points should Veteran Service Officers in NGO Veterans Service Organizations like the Disabled American Veterans know about Soldier for Life?
Soldier For Life Theresa, #SoldierForLife collaborates directly with Army programs and MSO’s (Military Service Organizations)/VSO’s (Veteran Service Organizations) to provide services to Soldiers, Veterans and families throughout the Soldier Lifecycle and after transition to civilian status.

Jamie Boyle What other organizations does SFL partner with?
Soldier For Life Jamie-thanks for the question. SFL works with lots of great organizations however we don’t officially partner with any organizations which allows us to inform about all of the great resources out there for our veterans and their families. #SoldierForLife #SFLTownhall
Jamie Boyle Thank you, Colonel Rocke and Company.

Daniel Young How can a Soldier continue to serve after transitioning back to civilian life?
Soldier For Life The Army needs you to continue to stay connected! You are a #SoldierforLife. Please tell your Army story to your neighbors, friends, and coworkers. You can also mentor other Veterans who move to your area and online in forums like Linked In and Rally Point..

Daniel Young What is a Career Skills Program?
Soldier For Life A Career Skills Program (CSP) assists transitioning Soldiers gain a skill to make them “career ready” when they separate active service. Soldiers participate in a CSPs during their last 180 days of active service at their place of duty. CSPs can include job training, employment skills training, apprenticeship, or internships. There are currently pilot programs established on 19 installations. CSPs lead to direct employment opportunities. Ask your installation Education Services Officers if there is a CSP program at your installation.

Daniel Young Are there internships that Veterans can take advantage of when they transition into civilian life?
Soldier For Life Thanks for your question! Yes, there are some great programs in Chicago that will pay for Veterans to learn skills in the manufacturing industry, power and gas and transportation and find job placement upon graduation. These programs are free to Veterans.

Jamie Boyle Thank you #SoldierforLife for taking the time to respond to questions!

IAm Ann Is it accurate that if a involuntary separated soldier accepts a separation pay, they would have to pay it back if they decide to join the reserves and retire as a reservist? Also, can you collect the separation pay and still get disability payments?
Soldier For Life Yes, that is correct. For more information seehttp://www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary/plan/separation-payments.html. Yes. You may receive VA disability compensation (see http://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/) even if you receive separation pay.

Drew McMahon: was anything ever answered about making tricare an option for National Guard soldiers, a direct deposit from drill check type payment instead of completely being on your own to find it and purchase it then getting 12 suspension if a payment is missed?
Soldier For Life: After the first premium payment, a Soldier must pay premiums by automatic payment. A Soldier can set up an electronic funds transfer or use a debit or credit card. Depending on the Soldiers geographical location they can also pay online to one of the TRICARE regions. Electronic funds transfer would mitigate lapse in coverage or suspension notices. Here is more information: http://www.tricare.mil/Costs/PayFees/TRSPremiums.aspx

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Soldier for Life Facebook Townhall: All Questions and Answers