Obama Reaches Out to Veterans: You Earned It

MilitaryConnection.com is pleased to bring you this positive news that the deadline for you to apply for Stop Loss Pay has been extended to December 18th. We cannot agree more with the President that those who serve and served again deserve this pay. Please apply and this is legitimate and not a trick or gimmick. This will put dollars in your pockets and as much as $3,500 depending on your circumstances. Where you are active duty or Guard and Reserves, you are entitled to $500 for each month you were extended between September 11, 2001 and September 30th, 2009. YOU EARNED IT!. In these challenging economic times, this money can come in handy for everything from gifts, paying bills, helping meet your needs if you are seeking a job or supplementing benefits for education. Please don’t procrastinate and apply NOW. The link to apply is: www.defense.gov/stoploss

Debbie Gregory, CEO
MilitaryConnection.com
The Go To Site

Obama Speaking

Obama Reaches Out to Veterans: You Earned It

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2010 – President Barack Obama wants to make sure veterans and current servicemembers who were involuntarily retained in the military under the so-called “Stop Loss” program get the retroactive pay they deserve.

You served with honor. You did your duty. And when your country called on you again, you did your duty again. Now, it’s time to collect the special pay that you deserve,” President Barack Obama said in a public service announcement released by the White House today.

Military members whose service was involuntarily extended or whose retirement was suspended between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009, are entitled to a retroactive payment of $500 for each month of extension. While by law, service members who received a bonus for voluntarily reenlisting or extending their service are not eligible, it is strongly recommended that all who may be eligible submit an application before the deadline, according to Defense Department officials. The application deadline is Oct. 21. It has now been extended by Congress and the President to December 18th. Information on the special pay and links to the application are available at http://www.defense.gov/stoploss.

About 58,000 of 145,000 eligible claims have been paid, and $219 million has been disbursed of the $534 million appropriated, Defense Department officials said.

While tens of thousands of veterans already have received retroactive pay averaging nearly $4,000 each, the president said many others may be reluctant to apply.

“I know there’s been some confusion and skepticism out there,” he said. “Some veterans think this is some sort of gimmick or scam, or that it’s a way for the government to call you back to service. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“As your commander in chief,” Obama continued, “I’m here to tell you that this is no gimmick or trick. You worked hard. You earned this money. It doesn’t matter whether you were active or reserve, whether you’re a veteran who experienced ‘Stop Loss’ or the survivor of a servicemember who did – if your service was extended, you’re eligible.”

The military services are promoting the retroactive pay through direct mail, veteran and service organizations, websites, phone lines, print and broadcast media. The president’s message underscores the effort to spread the word.

“Share this video among your fellow veterans,” the president urged. “Help us get our ‘Stop Loss’ veterans the pay to which they’re entitled. Help us make sure that America is serving our veterans and your families as well as you’ve served us.”

Deadline Extended to Dec. 18, 2010

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2010 – The Department of Defense announced today that the deadline for eligible service members, veterans and their beneficiaries to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay has been extended to Dec. 18. The last deadline was Dec. 3.

The Department of Defense announced today that the deadline for eligible service members, veterans and their beneficiaries to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP) has been extended to Dec. 18. The last deadline was Dec. 3.

To apply, or for more information on RSLSP, including submission requirements and service-specific links, go to http://www.defense.gov/stoploss .

The deadline extension is included in the continuing resolution signed by President Obama on Dec. 4, providing funding for federal government operations through Dec. 18.

RSLSP was established to compensate military members whose service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009. Eligible members or their beneficiaries are required to submit a claim to their respective military service in order to receive the benefit of $500 for each full or partial month served in a Stop Loss status.

When RSLSP began on Oct. 21, 2009, the services estimated 145,000 service members, veterans and beneficiaries were eligible. Because the majority of those eligible had separated from the military, the services have engaged in extensive and persistent outreach efforts throughout the year. Efforts including direct mail, engaging military and veteran service organizations, social networks and media outlets, will continue throughout the period of eligibility.

“I am the one with a Frayed Yellow Ribbon”

As I celebrated this Thanksgiving, I gave thanks to so many.  All of the men and women who wear our nation”s uniform and serve so that we can be safe and free.  I also thank their loved ones and all of the amazing people who support those who serve in thousands of different ways.  You truly make a difference.

My friend, Mary Ellen Salzano is one of them.    Her 2004 article is timely.  Mary Ellen”s son returned home.  She is a valuable advocate for Veterans and Wounded Warriors and their family members.  Mary Ellen is amazing and truly a force of nature.  She accomplishes so much and we are in her debt for her support and compassion.  I think that we need to think more of the Mothers, Fathers, Sisters, Brothers and of course the Spouses of those who serve.  They serve too and make many sacrifices.  It is hard for everyone and more difficult during the holidays.

Debbie Gregory, CEO
MilitaryConnection.com

————-

I am the one with a frayed yellow ribbon

Mary Ellen Salzano is the the mother of a Marine who has recently returned from Ramadi, Iraq. She recently wrote this op-ed for her local paper and has given permission for a reprint here. Her words capture the essence of what a military parent experiences during the holidays and during the other days of the year.

The days are long, yet the years are short. These words have been resounding for me this past week, as I look over the days of 2004 and the year of 2004. Often I wonder, where did the year go…seems just like yesterday that we were putting up decorations and baking cookies, yet I know that 300 and some days have passed. My perception of time changes from moment to moment. Some moments take forever like waiting to see our Marine at the gate in Hawaii for the first time since his return from Iraq, to the moments that are over in a heartbeat, like the two weeks we spent in Oahu on his turf, his permanent duty station. 2004 has been a year of personal and spiritual development and I am certain 2005 will be the same in diverse ways, ways I have never dreamed possible *or* probable.

Would enjoy seeing a reality show of soldiers and Marine”s loved ones back home. Meeting people and sharing about our son”s military service is always a unique experience. Never knowing if this revelation will bring out the wrath *or* the respect of the person I am speaking with Sometimes I am asked, “How do you do this?” So, for a slice of reality, I”ll share how many military parents feel on a day to day, minute by minute basis. I received portions of this in an email, and the author is unknown….I have changed bits and pieces to reflect my life, my thoughts and emotions.

You see me everyday going about my life as usual, *or* so it appears to you. I am your co-worker, your neighbor, the person sitting next to you at church, *or* at a ball game. I shop at the same grocery stores and fill my car at the same places you do. You can find me anywhere, you might see me anywhere, but do not be deceived by the normalcy of my actions and words. I have not been “normal” for months. I am the mother/father of an American soldier/Marine.

I am the one with the frayed yellow ribbon *or* photo of my son/daughter pinned on my clothing. It was fresh and new when our loved one first deployed months ago. We know the war is not over and will not be over…the war on terrorism is with us to stay. My child is in a place where bullets and grenades are as common as the birds singing outside your windows. I am dedicated to wearing my ribbon *or* pin until he comes home, because this reminds me and others to pray for him. So please, when you see someone wearing a yellow ribbon *or* a support your troops pin, whisper a prayer for their child *or* children and for all the others still protecting our country while facing the holidays and birthdays and celebrations without their families and friends.

My house is the one with the faded yellow ribbons and the United We Stand placards. Always remembering how our lives were changed on September 11, 2001. There is an American flag on a pole attached to the front porch, and black ribbons get attached on days of rememberance. A small red and white banner with a blue star in the middle hangs in a window. We were presented with this by our local American Legion. Gold Star parents are the ones whose sons *or* daughters do not return home. Our hearts are in a constant ache for them and a piece of our heart and soul is with them.

When you drive by a house with a banner *or* military flag waving, please pray for the family and the son *or* daughter who may be overseas *or* homeland choosing to defend our ways of life, which we take so very for granted.

My heart is warmed each time I pass a home *or* car with a yellow ribbon *or* support your troops magnet as I know you have an idea of the sacrifices being made. Thank you. For many emails are received sporadically as well as phone calls, yet at times, there are no calls *or* letters for weeks at a time, and the papers are filled with stories of wounded and casualites *or* negative comments and it pierces our souls.

When I read of a soldier *or* Marine that has been killed and the name has not yet been released by the Department of Defense pending notification of family, restlessness, depression, insomnia and even physical illness can rule my life until 24 hours have passed and the men in dress uniforms have not appeared at my door. You learn how to scan your neighborhood before you pull into your driveway, hoping there are no government cars parked outside your door. You then feel guilty as the relief turns to grief as you know others will be getting a visit. The days of taking a full breath are long passed, we sometimes need to remind ourselves to breathe.

Going to the store is a chore that many of us avoid until the cupboards run bare. If you see someone standing in front of the snack foods, with tears streaming down their face, stop and give them a hug. If you see a man and woman at the store buying tuna and crackers, beef jerky, hand sanitizers and baby wipes take a moment and see if they are filling a care package, and if you can, ask what you can provide. If you see a woman buying more than 3 sympathy cards at one time, and tears rolling down her face, know she is a part of an online support group who sends cards to those parents whose child has paid full price.

I am here among you, trying to carry on a semblance of a normal life and my holiday table will have a place setting and chair ready for our loved one whom we know will not be with us. Like so many others I am the parent, the mother of an child serving in the military. Because of their sacrifices, we sleep in our bed at night safe and free. Your prayers and words of love mean the world.

May your holy/holly/holidays be filled with the Light of Spirit, the love of the Divine, the Joy of Creation, and the Compassion of the Eternal. As always, I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you and look forward to sharing a new year filled with wonders and joys. May each moment of your life be overflowing with blessings, prosperity, love and grace.

She may be reached at maryellen_salzano@yahoo.com

Graffitti of War

Jaeson “Doc” Parsons  and his partner have had a dream since they returned from Iraq. They wanted to do a project  that would bring understanding and healing to soldiers and civilians. Their project, Graffiti of War, focuses on the images created by service members and local nationals while deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.  They are funding this project and handling the marketing of it themselves.  They are currently offering merchandise with the Graffiti of War logo on it, as well as some of the more popular images that they have collected.  All of the funds raised go to support the project.  They have partnered with a non-profit organization, www.JoeOnTheMove.com to raise funds and awareness.  As they move forward, they need more individual supporters to help spread the word and fundraise.  For example, military families can help them by letting their loved ones overseas know their project and mission.  They are also looking for organizations that support veterans to work with.  For more information, **or** to get involved, visit www.graffitiofwar.com

Identity Theft Targets Military and Veterans

MilitaryConnection.com in its ongoing efforts to provide valuable resources has joined forces with Vet-Vault to offer, active military, Guard, Reservists, family members and friends very special pricing for Identity Theft Protection, including a total resolution guarantee.

Did you know that Identity Theft strikes an estimated 10 million Americans each year?  According to a recent report from virus protection industry leader Trend Micro, members of the U.S. military are now being targeted by malware that says that their account has been “flagged” and needs an update before it will be cleared. They are then asked to click on a link, which leads to a page that looks almost exactly like their actual Bank military login page. Attacks like this not only impact credit scores, but for military members, their valuable security clearances are at risk.

In a matter of seconds, personal information can be stolen and used to obtain a new mortgage, line of credit ***or*** additional credit cards. Victims may never know their identity has been stolen until unauthorized transactions appear on credit card statements, collection notices appear in the mail ***or*** loan applications are denied. Among the victims are millions of Veterans, Active Duty, Guard, Reserve and their families who are targeted by criminals.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Media Contact:

Debbie Gregory 800-817-3777
MilitaryConnection.com

October 28, 2010 – Simi Valley, California: MilitaryConnection.com, a comprehensive online directory of resources and information for military, veterans and their families, has joined forces with Vet-Vault.com .  With over an estimated ten million Americans nationwide falling victim to identity theft, our goal is to provide MilitaryConnection.com users significantly discounted pricing on these important Identity Theft Protection and Secure Document Storage services.

Debbie Gregory, CEO of MilitaryConnection.com said, “We want to insure that the identity protection plan we offer is not only the best product available, but is offered to those who serve, past and present, at the lowest possible price.” Gregory is pleased to offer users special pricing to purchase the very best identity theft protection and secure online document storage services at about half the price of most of the services currently available.

“No one understands the importance of securing important documents and credentials more than the men and women who have worn our nation’s uniform. We want to provide our users with the means to safely protect their identities and store their important documents from anywhere in the world” Gregory stated.

Through a partnership with Vet-Vault.com, a Florida based Service Veteran Owned Business, the users of MilitaryConnection.com are guaranteed special pricing on one of the most comprehensive identity theft programs available: ID CREDIT VAULT. This service includes:

  • ID Theft Recovery Service   – Total Resolution Guarantee
  • Fraud Alerts Quick Link
  • Monitors Both Credit and Non-Credit Related Databases
  • Anti-Key Logging Software to prevent malicious software tracking key strokes and obtaining confidential information
  • Service Guarantee

Vet-Vault.com will also offer Secure Document Storage Services at a savings with up to 10 gigabytes of capacity including virtual fax services, a content management program and mobile access.

“The special pricing we have negotiated for these services is yet another way we can show our appreciation for the service and sacrifices of our users, their families and friends” said Gregory.

Disabled Army Veteran Skydives With Prosthetic Legs

Dana Bowman is an amazing Army Veteran who lost both of his legs in 1994 in a training accident in Arizona. His partner was killed in this accident.  It has not stopped him. Dana’s drive, determination, and will to succeed are am inspiration to others.  He is a national spokesperson for AMVets.  Dana tours the nation talking about something he knows well, “overcoming adversity.”

Dana, as a double amputee, returned to the Army only nine months after his horrific accident.  Dana has been first at many things.  He was the first amputee to re-enlist in active duty, the first to skydive on prosthetic legs into a re-enlistment ceremony and the first amputee to become a member of the U.S. Army’s elite Gold Knights parachute team.

Earlier this month, Sgt. 1st Class Dana Bowman skydived in Central Minnesota landing at Great Steps Orthotics &amp, Prosthetics in Sartnell.  Dana has an amazing attitude and does not allow the lost of his legs to stop him from anything.  Dana’s parachuting demonstration coincides with October being National Disability Employment Awareness Month.     Dana’s motto says it all and is, “It’s no the disability, it’s the ability”.

MilitaryConnection.com salutes Sgt. 1st Class Dan Bowman and all disabled and wounded warriors.  He is showing us that nothing is impossible.

Education Center at The Wall

The Education Center at The Wall is an unmatched educational facility that will be built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., near the Vietnam Veterans and Lincoln Memorials. It will tell the stories of the individuals who served and sacrificed in Vietnam and, in doing so, will teach visitors about the values embodied by all those who serve in all of America’s wars.

The centerpiece of the Center will be a Wall of Photos, showcasing pictures of the more than 58,000 whose names are on The Wall. Visitors to the Memorial feel the impact of seeing all those names together, as they walk past row after row of black granite panels with line after line of names. In the Center, visitors will experience those names individually—learning stories about their lives and seeing how those left behind remember their loved ones.

Remembrance is the theme for another exhibit, which will show some of the more than 100,000 items that have been placed at The Wall in tribute over the years. These items are often poignant, sometimes unusual and always personal. They give visitors a glimpse into the lives of those lost and how families have continued on without their loved ones.

Seeing how these families are altered is the best illustration of the true cost of war.

Other exhibits will help visitors—especially those too young to remember—learn some of the key dates of the Vietnam War.

The Center will teach visitors about the values embodied by all of our nation’s service members, values such as loyalty, duty, respect, service, honor, integrity and courage, and illustrate these values of service through the lens of the Vietnam War. But as they leave, visitors will be reminded that these characteristics have been with us since the early days of our nation. They will see images of people who served in all of America’s wars, from the Revolutionary War to Iraq and Afghanistan, reminding us that service to country is one of America’s enduring legacies.

Letter from Hollywood – Tim Abell

A former Ranger with the 75th Ranger regiment, Tim Abell is now an actor and producer. He currently hosts “GRATEFUL NATION”, a show celebrating and thanking our warriors with incredible hunting trips. A tireless supporter of our Troops and veterans, Tim was one of DB Sweeney’s technical advisers on “GARDENS OF STONE.”

To all the men and women serving in our armed services:

Thank you all, for being part of that 1% who felt the calling, to serve something bigger than yourselves. In today’s “Me” generation, and especially in, Hollywood, in the entertainment industry, there is a certain sense of entitlement that many of our fellow Americans feel. The feeling that, “Why should I risk my life or that of my son or daughter’s life when somebody else will”.

I salute you for your courage, your faith, your convictions, your selflessness. I salute your service and your sacrifices. I salute your esprit de corps and intestinal fortitude to drive on and complete your mission. I salute you for signing a blank check to our country to secure and maintain our freedoms and way of life. I salute those of you who return home, not whole in spirit, mind and body, and I especially salute those who have sacrificed all, and leave behind grieving loved ones to carry on. Without you men and women in uniform, standing guard on the wall of freedom, we have nothing.

I am proud to say, I support you and your mission. Thank you all for your service to our great country. God Bless and God Speed.

Sua Sponte!
Tim Abell

Special Stop-Loss Bonus Deadline Extended To December 3, 2010

The U.S. Department of Defense has extended the deadline for the government’s stop-loss bonus. The new deadline is December 3, 2010. It had originally been October 21st. The extension will give veterans extra time to get their paper work completed to claim this bonus, and we at MilitaryConnection.com want to make certain that all military veterans who are eligible to receive this money have the opportunity to file for it.

The bonus is for veterans who were involuntarily kept on active duty after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The extension was signed by President Barack Obama. The Pentagon estimates that about 80,000 eligible service members, veterans and beneficiaries have not yet applied for the special stop-loss pay. The program affects members of the military whose service was involuntarily extended under stop-loss between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009. Eligible members **or** their beneficiaries are required to submit a claim to their respective military service in order to receive the benefit.

Stop-loss has been used extensively since 9-11 to maintain personnel strength in deploying units. Service members may have their tour involuntarily extended until the end of their unit’s deployment. The special pay is meant to remunerate the service members for their sacrifices.

Eligible Veterans can go online at www.defense.gov/stoploss, and complete DoD Form 2944, “Claim for Retroactive Stop Loss Payment.”

We, at MilitaryConnection.com, are interested in what you think and your comments. We encourage you to share them.  If you have gone through the process, please let us know your experiences.

Army Ranger Killed on 12th Deployment

Our nation mourns another brave soldier who fell in the line of duty. On Friday, October 1st, Army Ranger Sgt. 1st Class Lance Herman Vogeler was killed in action by direct enemy fire during an intense firefight in Afghanistan””s Helmand province. He had been previously deployed to Afghanistan seven times, in addition to four tours in Iraq.

“He died doing what he felt called to do,” said his parents”” pastor, the Rev. Peter C. Myers. “Lance did not love war,” Myers said. “But he had a job to do, and he took it extremely seriously.”

Vogeler served his country with honor and dedication. He had completed numerous military education courses, which included the U.S. Army ranger Course, the Infantry Mortar Platoon Course and the Emergency Room Medical Technician Basic Course.

Vogeler has been posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal, among many other medals and ribbons, according to the Army News Release. “I wish the American people could truly understand the dedication and sacrifice that Lance Vogeler made for his country,” Col. Michael E. Kurilla, commander, 75th Ranger Regiment, said in the news release. “Since December 2001, Lance has either been in combat **or** training for combat. This was his 12th combat deployment. Lance was the quintessential Ranger, he is a hero to our Nation, the Army, and his family.”

“In an organization full of great men, Lance Vogeler stood out for his leadership, dedication and all of his talents,” said Lt. Col. Michael Foster, commander of 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. “He has done so much for his nation over the past nine years of combat action it is hard to put it into words. His loss will be felt across the whole battalion and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

Volger is survived by his wife, Melissa, son, Kyle, daughter, Madison,  parents, Timothy and Donna, brother Chris, his grandmother and parents-in law.

Letter from Hollywood – John C. McGinley

John C. McGinley Best known as Dr. Cox on SCRUBS, John C. McGinley”s films include THE ROCK, ANY GIVEN SUNDAY and WILD HOGS.  He also stars in TWO TICKETS TO PARADISE

To: All American Service Men and Women.

Wherever this note may find you around the globe, my family and I, wish you warmth, a few laughs and safety. We thank you for your service. And hope that you and your families, will be reunited much sooner than later!

All the best! And please make it back here safely…

Warmest regards,

John C. McGinley