Military Connection: New Year Mental Health Check: By Debbie Gregory

11151309 Holiday depression

As we head into a new year, some Veterans may find themselves experiencing higher levels of sadness, loneliness, and fatigue. Often, the holiday season can trigger additional stressors, which often include family tensions, financial difficulties, and being separated from loved ones during the holidays. All of these stressors, individually, can add to the burden that a Veteran in crisis is already coping with. Or they can be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. Veterans need to remember that they are not alone during difficult times. Whether it’s chronic depression, or a bout of the “holiday blues,” there are a number of resources available through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Mental health care and suicide prevention are among the VA’s top priorities year round, but they are especially important topics during and after the holiday season. The VA’s mental health programs offer information, tools and links to other resources for Veterans and their family members. The materials provided to Veterans coping with, or at risk for mental health concerns, have been proven to decrease suicide rates by more than 16%.

The VA’s mental health portal specifically offers a confidential screening tool that screens for depression, alcohol and substance abuse, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The page provides a “Provider Toolkit” that features materials to support community mental health clinicians who serve Veteran clients. There is also information about substance abuse and links for where to get help.

One of the best places for Veterans, service members, and their family members to get immediate help is the Veterans Crisis Line. The Crisis line connects service members, Veterans, family members and friends in crisis to qualified VA responders. Anyone in crisis can call at (800) 273-8255 [then press 1]; or text 838255; or utilize the online chat function to reach the help they need.

All methods are confidential, toll-free and available 24/7/365.

It is estimated that Veterans commit suicide on the average of 22 per day. But there is no reason for any Veteran to take their life, when the help they need is right at their fingertips, and so easily attained on their behalf by friends and family.

Save a life, especially your own, by knowing the resources that are available for Veterans with a history of mental health concerns, Veterans in need of a post-holiday mental health self-check, and Veterans in crisis at www.va.gov. And in the case of an emergency,  by-pass the VA resources and dial emergency services (911).

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: New Year Mental Health Check: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Expanded Window for Claims: By Debbie Gregory

Camp Lejune water

From the 1950’s  through the 1980’s, civilian contractors, service members and their families living or working on the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, were potentially exposed to contaminated drinking water.

For decades, complaints blamed on the water at Lejeune, including serious ailments such as cancers, infertility, neurobehavioral effects, and deaths, have plagued the base. In 2012, the Janey Ensminger Act was signed into law. The bill was named for the daughter of a Master Sergeant who developed leukemia from the water at Lejeune, and died in 1985 at the age of nine.

As part of the Janey Ensminger Act, the U.S. government approved compensation benefits for anyone affected by the base’s contaminated water supply. At the time the bill was passed, eligibility for compensation benefits had only been open to Marines and family members who lived on base at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between January 1, 1957, and December 31, 1987. Also, a full investigation into the water supply and its effects were ordered.

The findings of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Camp Lejeune’s water supply were released in February, 2014. The report found that people who regularly drank the water at Camp Lejeune were at a 10% higher risk of dying from any type of cancer, compared to those who regularly drink the water at Camp Pendleton, California. There was a 35% higher risk of kidney cancer, a 42% higher risk of liver cancer, a 47% higher risk of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a 68% higher risk of multiple myeloma, and double the risk of ALS.

In light of the 2014 report, the act was amended in December to expand eligibility for family members affected by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. Under the amendment, family members who lived at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, could be eligible for VA health benefits.  This amendment opens the eligibility window by four years.

Anyone who resided on base for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and who suffers from one or more of the following conditions, is eligible for the benefits: Esophageal cancer, breast cancer, kidney cancer, multiple myeloma, renal toxicity, female infertility, Scleroderma, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lung cancer, bladder cancer, leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, hepatic steatosis, miscarriage, and neurobehavioral effects.

Family members would have to show proof of relationship to a Veteran who served at Camp Lejeune and provide copies of orders or base housing records as proof of residence on the installation.

To enroll online or for more information, call 1-866-372-1144 or visit publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Expanded Window for Claims: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Obama’s End of War Statement: By Debbie Gregory

Endo of OEF

December 28, 2014 could very well be a date on history tests for students in the future.  On that date, the U.S. formally ended its war-time operations in Afghanistan, transferring the country’s security to Afghan security forces.

American military combat operations for the war in Afghanistan, officially named Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) by the U.S. government, began on October 7, 2001. Combat operations lasted 13 years, 2 months and 21 days, making it the longest war in the history of the U.S. military.

President Obama issued the following statement, thanking service members and honoring the sacrifice of the 2,350 military personnel who lost their lives:

Today’s ceremony in Kabul marks a milestone for our country. For more than 13 years, ever since nearly 3,000 innocent lives were taken from us on 9/11, our nation has been at war in Afghanistan. Now, thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion.

On this day we give thanks to our troops and intelligence personnel who have been relentless against the terrorists responsible for 9/11–devastating the core al Qaeda leadership, delivering justice to Osama bin Laden, disrupting terrorist plots and saving countless American lives. We are safer, and our nation is more secure, because of their service. At the same time, our courageous military and diplomatic personnel in Afghanistan–along with our NATO allies and coalition partners–have helped the Afghan people reclaim their communities, take the lead for their own security, hold historic elections and complete the first democratic transfer of power in their country’s history.

We honor the profound sacrifices that have made this progress possible. We salute every American–military and civilian, including our dedicated diplomats and development workers–who have served in Afghanistan, many on multiple tours, just as their families have sacrificed at home. We pledge to give our many wounded warriors, with wounds seen and unseen, the world-class care and treatment they have earned. Most of all, we remember the more than 2,200 American patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan, and we pledge to stand with their Gold Star families who need the everlasting love and support of a grateful nation.

Afghanistan remains a dangerous place, and the Afghan people and their security forces continue to make tremendous sacrifices in defense of their country. At the invitation of the Afghan government, and to preserve the gains we have made together, the United States–along with our allies and partners–will maintain a limited military presence in Afghanistan to train, advise and assist Afghan forces and to conduct counterterrorism operations against the remnants of al Qaeda. Our personnel will continue to face risks, but this reflects the enduring commitment of the United States to the Afghan people and to a united, secure and sovereign Afghanistan that is never again used as a source of attacks against our nation.

These past 13 years have tested our nation and our military. But compared to the nearly 180,000 American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan when I took office, we now have fewer than 15,000 in those countries. Some 90 percent of our troops are home. Our military remains the finest in the world, and we will remain vigilant against terrorist attacks and in defense of the freedoms and values we hold dear. And with growing prosperity here at home, we enter a new year with new confidence, indebted to our fellow Americans in uniform who keep us safe and free.

While active combat operations have now ceased, the U.S. is not yet completely done in Afghanistan. Approximately 9,800 U.S. service members will remain in Afghanistan through 2015, as part of a N.A.T.O. force of approximately 13,500.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Obama’s End of War Statement: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Thunderbird 2015 Show Schedule: By Debbie Gregory

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On May 25, 1953, the fledgling U.S. Air Force commissioned its first official air demonstration team out of Luke Air Force Base, AZ, designated the 3600th Air Demonstration Unit. Largely influenced by the Native American culture in the area, the unit adopted the name “Thunderbirds” after the legendary supernatural birds depicted in stories and paintings found in many North American native cultures.

Over the past 61 years, the USAF Thunderbirds have been creating a legend of their own, as millions of people have witnessed their aeronautic  demonstrations. The Thunderbirds embody the pride, professionalism and dedication of American Airmen, serving around the world.

Since 1953, there have been a number of changes for the Thunderbirds. In 1956, they moved their home base to Nellis AFB near Las Vegas, NV. They have also utilized several different aircraft over the years.

In over 60 seasons of touring, millions of Americans have been wowed and awed by the USAF Thunderbirds. The pilots demonstrate amazing control over their aircraft,  evident in the precision of their maneuvers. This can only be accomplished through thorough  knowledge of their aircraft. Many of today’s military aviators credit the USAF Thunderbirds, and the shows they saw as children, as the reason why they are in their profession today.

Modern demonstrations usually consist of approximately 40 maneuvers, featuring formation flying and solo routines. The entire show, including the beginning ground ceremony, lasts about one hour. A typical air show travel season extends from March to November.

The USAF Thunderbirds have finalized their 2015 show schedule. The team is set to perform 71 demonstrations at 39 locations next year.

The Thunderbirds will perform its first public event of 2015 at the opening of Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix, AZ on February 1st. The remainder of the schedule is as follows:

  • Feb. 22: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL
  • March 8: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, NV
  • March 14-15: Titusville, FL
  • March 21-22:  Lancaster, CA
  • March 28-29:  Keesler AFB, MS
  • March 31- April 5: Easter Break
  • April 11-12: Tyndall AFB, FL
  • April 18: Louisville, Ky.KY
  • April 25-26: Lakeland, FL
  • May 2-3: Dyess AFB, TX
  • May 9-10: Millville, NJ
  • May 16-17: Seymour Johnson AFB, NC
  • May 23-24: Wantagh (Jones Beach), NY
  • May 28: U.S. Air Force Academy, CO
  • May 30-31:  Aurora, CO
  • June 6-7: Waco, TX
  • June 13-14: Whiteman AFB, MO
  • June 20-21: Dayton, OH
  • June 27-28: Mankato, MN
  • July 4-5: Traverse City, MI
  • July 11-12: Gary, IN
  • July 18-19: Niagara Falls, NY
  • July 22: Cheyenne, WY
  • July 25-26: Milwaukee, WI
  • July 28 – August 2: Mid-Season Break
  • August 8-9: La Crosse, WI
  • Aug. 15-16: Ellsworth AFB, SD
  • Aug. 22-23: Open Date
  • Aug. 29-30: Midland, TX
  • Sept. 5-7: Cleveland, OH
  • Sept. 12-13: Owensboro, KY
  • Sept. 19-20: JB Andrews, MD
  • Sept. 26-27: Millington, TN
  • Oct. 3-4: Mather (Sacramento), CA
  • Oct. 10-11: Grand Junction, CO
  • Oct. 17-18: Houston, TX
  • Oct. 24-25: Lake Charles, LA
  • Oct. 31-1 Nov.: JBSA Randolph, TX
  • Nov. 7-8: Moody AFB, GA

Include your family in the tradition of legendary American aviation by attending a USAF Thunderbird show in 2015.

To learn more about the Thunderbirds, visit www.afthunderbirds.com

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Thunderbird 2015 Show Schedule: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: New Navy/USMC Health Website: By Debbie Gregory

WII Website

Early in December, the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) announced the launch of its revamped Wounded, Ill, and Injured (WII) website as part of its ongoing Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW) program.

The newly designed WII website is intended to support the Department of the Navy’s commitment to care for Sailors and Marines recovering from wounds, illnesses, or injuries, regardless of where and when they were sustained.

The website provides Sailors and Marines with information, links to resources, and helpful tools that offer support through their healing, rehabilitation and recovery. The site offers its users direct, one-click access to links that provide the following resources: Active Living for WII, Caregiver Support, Case Management, Healthy Eating for WII, Integrative and Complementary Medicine, Injury & Violence Free Living for WII, Life After an Amputation, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychological & Emotional Well-Being for WII, Relationships & Intimacy, Sleep for WII, Substance Use & Misuse, Tobacco Free Living for WII, Traumatic Brain Injury, Weight Management for WII, and a Will Toolbox.

The health and wellness topics provided on the site go along with the priorities outlined in the National Prevention Strategy, including healthier living, holistic care, weight management and substance abuse.

Many of the site’s resources also focus on helping health educators, providers, and case managers reach the WII audience, while the practical tools aim at equipping WII service members in their daily battle for healing and recovery. The tools span six key topics: nutrition, relationships and intimacy, caregiver support, depression, sleep and integrative and complementary medicine.

But the WII site is available for anyone. If you or someone you know is wounded, ill or injured, be sure to refer them to the WII website at http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcphc/wounded-ill-and-injured/Pages/wii.aspx and link them to information they might need to know about resources that they didn’t know were available to them.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: New Navy/USMC Health Website: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Why Choose Veteran-Friendly Schools? By Joe Silva

American Sentinel University Logo

For Veterans, going back to school can be a daunting experience. The first obstacle is selecting the school where you will be using your GI Bill benefits. With so many choices, the selection process can seem like a considerable undertaking. How are Veterans supposed to know which school is the right one?

Steve Hicks retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2006 as a Command Chief Master Sergeant (E-9). Anyone who served should know that someone in Hicks’ pay grade has been there, done that, and should have a pretty good handle on decision making. But in a recent interview, Hicks admitted that like hundreds of thousands of other Veterans, he found the prospect of going back to school intimidating. The Air Force Chief wasn’t sure about how to use his education benefits, or how to start the application/enrollment process.

The one thing that Hicks did know, for sure, was his area of study. Hicks is now enrolled in the Bachelor of Science Geographic Information Systems at American Sentinel University.

“From my job, I knew I wanted a GIS degree,”  CMSgt. Hicks said. “I looked online and found several schools that offered the program. I chose American Sentinel because their military-friendly aspect caught my attention.”

American Sentinel University prides itself on its military-friendly education programs and distance learning. Their military education programs offer an online format that is ideal for military students from any branch of the military, including the Guard and Reserves. Online courses are flexible, and allow for students to log in to their classrooms anomalous to set location or time as with a traditional program. It is for these reasons that American Sentinel University was selected to receive the final Military Connection Veteran School Salute for 2014.

Veterans should take into consideration factors such as: schedules, availability and ability to complete the course when selecting a school and degree program. The staff at American Sentinel University walked Hicks through every step of the admissions and enrollment process, ensuring that he understood and was comfortable with the decisions that he was making.

Hicks said that the online coursework was ideal for his post-military career as a contractor who still deploys. He also said that he had enrolled in one class while he was deployed in Afghanistan. With each online course offering engaging discussion forums, there are ample opportunities to remain connected with the other students and faculty in the class, regardless of where in the world they are. At the start of one particular class, he logged in and saw a familiar name appear in the class discussion board… it was his co-worker, an Army Veteran, in the very next room.

American Sentinel’s commitment to Veterans doesn’t stop once they are enrolled. Hicks said that there is consistent support at the school, and that he was always able to find the answers to any of his questions regarding benefits or academics. Hicks was happy with the support he received from American Sentinel beginning with the very first phone call.

Retired CMSgt. Hicks is scheduled to graduate from American Sentinel University with a B.S. Geographic Information Systems in October 2015. He offered these words of advice to any Veterans thinking about using their GI Bill benefits to go back to school, but who might be feeling intimidated:

“Just do it! Get it started. There are all kinds of reasons to quit or stall your schooling. But you just got to suck it up– adjust your schedule, do whatever it takes to get your education.”

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Why Choose Veteran-Friendly Schools? By Joe Silva

Military Connection: Military Auctions Humvees: By Debbie Gregory

Humvee

Americans love our military surplus items. From the jackets or hats bought in OD green to authentic military apparel and gear purchased, we use the gear to honor and emulate our service members, or replace personal items that wore out.

Usually, military surplus items are limited to clothing, uniforms, patches, empty ammunition cans, boots, medals, watches, knives, decals, flags, compasses, used brass, binoculars, MREs, gloves, and sunglasses. Some people even restore old Jeeps and motorcycles to make them look they were just signed out of the base motor pool. But if you could buy actual military surplus vehicles, would you?

Until December 17, 2014, twenty-five Humvees were collecting dust at Hill Air Force Base near Ogden, Utah. While all of the vehicles are over twenty years old, built between 1987 and the mid-1990’s, their odometers show very little wear on the engines for their age, with mileage ranging between 1,361 and 38,334 miles.

With an estimated 4,000 similar military Humvees stashed throughout the country, the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) has to decide what to do with all of them. To test the waters, the DLA has decided to sell these vehicles to private citizens through online auctions, in an attempt to recoup some of the cost, instead of simply scrapping them.

The DLA faced many hurdles, including a previous ban on selling military-grade Humvees to the general public. The ban restricting the sale of M908, M908A1, M1038, and M1038A1 model Humvees was lifted within the last two years, which is why the vehicles are only just now up for sale.

Also, AM General, the company that manufactures the vehicles, is opposed to their sale to private citizens. AM General’s website says that it only sells parts or service information for military-grade models to its military customers, and not for vehicles that “wind up in civilian hands.”

Despite all the hurdles, the DLA put the twenty-five Humvees from Hill Air Force Base up for auction through IronPlanet’s www.govplanet.com at a minimum starting bid of $10,000 for each.

The auction netted $744,000 total. The lowest winning bid was $21,500a 1989 M1038. The highest bid saw a 1994 M998A1 go for $41,000.

The next auction is scheduled for January 7, 2015. There are currently two more Humvees up for grabs, as well as dozens of other vehicles, with many more auctions to come.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Military Auctions Humvees: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Website for Discharge Upgrades: By Debbie Gregory

PTSD Discharge upgrade

When the news first broke in September, we informed our readers about the memorandum sent by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel regarding discharge upgrade requests by Veterans claiming post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The memorandum to the Military Department Boards for Correction of Military/Naval Records (BCM/NR) directed each review board to carefully consider each and every petition. Since that directive has been given, actions have been taken to assist Veterans who wish upgrade their discharge status. The latest action comes in the form of a web page, launched to assist Veterans who are seeking to upgrade punitive discharges related to behavior problems caused by PTSD.

The Army Review Boards Agency (ARBA) is the Army’s highest level of administrative review for personnel actions taken by lower level organizations. ARBA is comprised of several boards, and hears the claims of soldiers and former soldiers who are appealing unfavorable information in their personnel records. ARBA has established a web page that describes the change in policy, offers Army Veterans guidance with how to apply for discharge upgrades, and answers frequently asked questions about the policy change and the procedures involved with the review process.

The policy change and the website are the direct result of the revelation that 250,000 Vietnam era Veterans may have been given punitive discharges because of behaviors associated with PTSD, long before it was recognized as a debilitating medical condition.

Today, PTSD is universally recognized throughout the medical field, and is commonly associated with the military. Several estimates gauge that around 20% of combat Veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. It is likely that PTSD ratios from earlier wars are at least that high. But without any policy acknowledging or recognizing PTSD or its symptoms, many Vietnam Veterans were instead punished. In many cases, these Veterans were kicked out of the military with other than honorable discharges because of their behavior, which we now know are symptoms of the service-related disorder.

Discharge upgrades are extremely important to these affected Veterans, because many benefits offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can be denied due to the character of discharge. Upgrading the character of their discharge could mean that these Veterans will be granted access to several VA benefits that they were previously not eligible for, including care for their medical and psychological health.

Secretary Hagel’s memorandum does not guarantee status upgrades, but merely directs the review boards to factor in what we now know about PTSD when making their decisions. The memo and the ARBA site clearly state that review boards are not courts of law or investigative institutions. All appeals for discharge status updates need to come with evidence provided by the applicant. The memorandum also clearly states that, “PTSD is not a likely cause of premeditated misconduct.”

If you, or a Veteran that you know could benefit from a discharge upgrade, please refer them to http://arba.army.pentagon.mil/abcmr-overview.cfm for applications and more information.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Website for Discharge Upgrades: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: New Missile Defense System: By Debbie Gregory

JLENS

On December 17th, the Army unveiled its newest defensive tool for thwarting attacks on American soil from cruise missiles.

The Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) is comprised of two 80 yard long blimp-like aerostats. The helium filled aerostats won’t be fitted with weaponry. Instead, they will be fitted with radar and communications systems. JLENS is designed to detect and track incoming missiles for air, ground or ship based systems to shoot down.

The two airships will be tethered to large concrete pads, four miles apart, and fitted with radar equipment. Each will float to an altitude of 10,000 feet. One aerostat will scan for targets, while the other will track targets for military weaponry in order to shoot it down.

JLENS will be implemented at Aberdeen Proving Ground, near Baltimore, MD. From this location, the two aerostats that comprise JLENS will establish a defense radar and tracking system capable of scanning the skies in a radius that covers as far north as upstate New York, as far south as North Carolina, a portion of the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and as far west as central Ohio. If you happen to look at a map of the U.S. and draw a circle that spans the circumference of these locations, you should see Washington D.C. near the center of that circle. This is not accidental, as one of the primary functions of JLENS is to help protect our nation’s capital.

Current military defense systems are capable of shooting down incoming cruise missiles. But there is limited ability to detect them over expanses as large as the radius of JLENS. JLENS offers the U.S. military the ability to detect and defeat incoming cruise missiles, without having non-stop manned craft in the air.

JLENS was developed by Raytheon and has cost the federal government $2.8 billion and counting. Earlier in December, Congress approved a $43.3 million addition to help fund the first year of a planned three year test of JLENS scanning the eastern seaboard. Many military and government officials believe that JLENS will save the U.S. government money in the long run, due to the relatively inexpensive upkeep costs, and eliminating the need to fly additional aircraft for the same purpose.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: New Missile Defense System: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: In-state Rates for Vets in N.J. By Debbie Gregory

NJ Vet Tuition

The New Jersey State Assembly passed legislation that benefits Veterans who are going back to college.

On December 18, 2014, Bill A-3967, titled the “New Jersey Tuition Equality for America’s Military (NJTEAM) Act” was passed by New Jersey’s State Assembly. The new legislation will require all public colleges and universities in the state to charge Veterans and their dependent children or spouse the in-state tuition rate, no matter where they are from.

To show exactly what a measure like this can mean for Veteran families, the basic tuition rates for undergrads attending Rutgers University, the State University of New Jersey, is $10,954 for in-state students and $25,732 for students who are not residents of New Jersey.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits will pay 100% of all in-state public school tuition, up to $20,235.02 per eligible year of their benefit at private or out of state schools. If the school does not offer, or the Veteran does not qualify for any other programs, a Veteran from another state would have to pay $5,496.98 per year out of their own pocket to attend Rutgers. This legislation rectifies that situation.

Some states already have similar measures in place. The Student Veterans of America (SVA) website shows all the states that have similar legislation in place. But there are also specific university systems across the country that run their own programs. For instance, all Veterans and dependents in California can apply for in-state tuition fee waivers at all University of California and California State University campuses. So be sure to check with your desired school to see what programs they offer, even if it isn’t legislated in your state.

MilitaryConnection.com would like to commend the state of New Jersey for implementing such necessary and valuable legislation that benefits Veterans and military families. One of the reasons that many Americans enlist in the U.S. military is to earn a college education. Measures like the NJTEAM Act afford Veterans the opportunity to use their hard-earned education benefits at more schools, and to achieve more of their post-military goals. There is no easier way for an entire nation to say “Thank you” to Veterans than by opening the doors of opportunity for them, allowing them to apply to the school of their choice, anywhere in the nation.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: In-state Rates for Vets in N.J. By Debbie Gregory