Military Connection: 11 More Army SHARP Centers: By Debbie Gregory

Sharp_logoBefore 2013, the U.S. Army didn’t have any sexual assault response centers. Soon, there will twelve.

In July, 2013, the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Center opened at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Tacoma, Washington. The center was the first of its kind for the Army, *****or***** any branch of the U.S. Military for that matter.

The SHARP Center consolidates legal, medical, mental health, advocacy and education services in one location. Previously, victims would have to go to different offices on base for each of these services, often having to revisit the traumatic experiences while speaking with advocates at each stop.

The one-stop SHARP Center is intended to make it easier for soldiers who have been victims of sexual assault to report misconduct, and seek any assistance that they need. Soldiers can go to the center to report a sexual assault, especially important if they don’t want to go through their units. Since misconduct can often stem from members of their unit’s leadership and involve parties that are familiar with each other, having to go through their own unit makes reporting the misconduct more stressful.

Soldiers and officers in leadership and command positions can also use the SHARP center to better serve their soldiers who have reported a sexual assault. Staff at the center provides them with information regarding the process of a case, and can help them to better understand what their soldier is going through.

The Army has announced plans to replicate the SHARP Center model at 11 other posts.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard &amp,amp, 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: 11 More Army SHARP Centers: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Changes/Cuts for Air Force: By Debbie Gregory

Air force cuts

By Debbie Gregory

With a struggling economy and more than a decade of heightened defense budgets to support two wars, the U.S. military is already in a  period of transition that will see  budget cut and forced downsizing. No branch of the military is exempted from this reality.

Most recently, the Air Force announced that it will be reducing its ranks and implementing a new numbered Air Force to oversee intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

On July 14, 2014, Air Force secretary Deborah Lee James announced that a total of 3,459 positions will be eliminated in an attempt to save $1.6 billion over the next five years. These cuts come one year after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered each of the four DOD services to reduce their headquarters staff by twenty percent.

“We are aggressively pursuing these cuts within the first year, rather than spread them out over five years as allowed by DOD,” Secretary James said. “It’s better for airmen because it provides them predictability and allows us to re-stabilize our workforce sooner. It also allows us to harvest the savings earlier so that we can plow it back into readiness and some of our key modernization programs.”

The Air Force Management Headquarters Review is intent on deactivating and realigning organizations at headquarters and major commands. The Air force cannot yet announce who will be let go.  The staff members have not even been notified yet. But it has been reported that the largest cuts, 742 positions, will be made at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia, followed by 734 at the Pentagon.

The biggest change coming to the branch is the creation of the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, which will handle installation support. Currently, installation support is handled at each major command. The new headquarters will have a staff of 350.

The Air Force will also be merging the duties of some staff from the operations, plans and requirements (A3/5) and strategic plans and programs (A8) into a new operations office. Current programming functions in the strategic plans and programs office will fall under the Air Force’s financial management organization.

Also, for the first time since 2009, the service will create a new numbered Air Force. The Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency will now be known as the 25th Air Force. The 25th Air Force will oversee all training and operations of ISR air craft and be aligned under Air Combat Command. Its headquarters will be at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & 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: Changes/Cuts for Air Force: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: More Help for Military Kids: By Debbie Gregory

military kids

By Debbie Gregory

A study released in March, 2014 focused on the children of service members and Veterans wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The “Study on Children of Seriously Wounded Service Members” was conducted by the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research at the University of San Diego.

The study was conducted by interviewing 125 participants over a one year period. The participants included seriously wounded service members, their spouses and children, as well as military, civilian and nonprofit experts who work with these families. The study was intended to assess the children’s needs, and determine what services were already available to meet those needs.

According to the study, an estimated 2 million children across the U.S. have been affected by wartime deployment since Sept. 11, 2001. More than 48,000 children have a parent who was injured in combat. Of those, 4,235 children have a parent who was seriously wounded in action. The state of California leads the country in seriously injured post-9/11 service members.

The study also found that invisible wounds of war, including psychological injuries like PTSD and physical injuries such as TBI, may be more significant for families of seriously wounded Veterans. Because of their unpredictable nature, these wounds in a parent can cause subsequent emotional scarring and isolation in the children of wounded parents. But by meeting other families who are facing similar issues, military families with seriously wounded Veterans can better cope.

The study recommends the formation of a consortium of groups currently working to support the families of wounded Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. This collaborative effort would be more capable of centralizing services provided to families in need.

So far, about a dozen groups have attended an initial assembly, and plan to hold quarterly meetings in order to share information and resources.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & 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: More Help for Military Kids: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: US Sells $11b in Arms to Qatar: By Debbie Gregory

Apache-helicopter

By Debbie Gregory

Along with defending freedom and democracy around the world, the United States also charged with protecting our nation’s interests. This includes ensuring that the sovereignty and trade capabilities of our allies are intact. This is accomplished through the power projection of our military, training our allies to defend themselves, coordinating joint efforts, and sales of arms and resources. As part of this ongoing campaign, the U.S. recently concluded an $11 billion arms sale to the State of Qatar.

Qatar is one of the U.S.’s main allies in the Middle East. In December of last year, the United States, represented by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel,  signed a 10-year defense cooperation agreement with  Qatar’s defense minister, Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah.  Qatar agreed to keep the five Guantanamo detainees that were traded for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for one year; Qatar’s involvement was instrumental to the trade.

The July 14th arms agreement included the sale of Apache attack helicopters, as well as Javelin and Patriot air-defense systems. The deal, estimated at $11 billion, was signed at the Pentagon by  Hagel and  al-Attiyah. This is the biggest U.S. arms sale  this year.

In recent years, Washington has made a priority of improving the air defenses of  our Gulf allies.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & 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: US Sells $11b in Arms to Qatar: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Corps Wants Females for IOC: By Debbie Gregory

Marine IOC

By Debbie Gregory

On July 10, 2014 the U.S. Marine Corps announced that it will be expanding its trial of  admitting female officers into the Infantry Officer Course (IOC).

Nearly two years ago, the Marine Corps began this experiment, with the goal of having 100 female officers attempt the IOC. Only entry-level officers, straight out of officer training, were permitted to attempt IOC. But so far, only 20 female second lieutenants (O-2) have attempted the IOC, and none have passed it yet.

Beginning October, 2014, female Marine Corps officers, up through the rank of Captain (O-3) will be permitted to apply for the IOC. All applicants must meet the other IOC requirements already in place. However, along with opening enrollment to more female officers, the Marine Corps did implement another stipulation in the requirements for all applicants; in order to qualify, all IOC applicants must achieve a first class score on the male physical fitness test (PFT) and the combat fitness test.

To achieve an overall score of 225 or higher, all Marine officers applying for the IOC must complete a minimum of five pull-ups, run three miles in 18 minutes or better, and perform 100 sit-ups. The average male officer entering the IOC has a PFT score of at least 285 out of 300 points. Before the rule change, female applicants for IOC have only had to demonstrate a first-class female PFT, which does not require pull-ups.

The Infantry Officer Course carries a 25% failure rate for male officers. The course starts off with a combat endurance test, which is designed to push the envelope of physical endurance and test the ability to make decisions under physical and mental strain. Of the 20 women who have attempted the IOC, only one has passed the combat endurance test.

Female officers in pay grades O-1 to 0-3, currently working in the fleet Marine Corps,  who want to volunteer for the IOC should apply to TECOM through their chain of command, using an administrative action form. All candidates need to have at least six months left on their contracts following the completion of their course, with no punitive action pending.

Do you have what it takes to be the first female Marine to complete the IOC? If so, step up to the challenge and make U.S. military history. Future female Marines are counting on YOU.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & 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: Corps Wants Females for IOC: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: USS America Underway: By Debbie Gregory

USS America

By Debbie Gregory

 

On July 11, the USS America, a Landing Helicopter Assault (LHA) ship  set off from the Ingalls Shipyards in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The ship is headed to her new home port of San Diego, CA.

This USS America is an amphibious assault ship that is commonly used as the flagship of Navy Expeditionary Strike Groups. These small fleets consist of Amphibious Assault Ships, Amphibious Transport Docks (such as the USS New York) and Dock Landing Ships (like the USS Pearl Harbor),   escort frigates, cruisers and destroyers. Expeditionary Strike Groups transport and house Marine Expeditionary Units.

The USS America is the fourth ship in the U.S. Navy’s history to bear the name of our country. The first USS America  launched in 1782, and was given to France. The second USS America was originally the German ocean liner SS Amerika, which was seized during WWI, and was used to transport U.S. troops. The most recent USS America was a KittyHawk-class aircraft carrier that was commissioned in U.S. Naval Service from 1965 to 1996.

The newest USS America is the first of its class, meaning that it is the first ship of its type and design. Each new class of ship is called by the first ship of its type to bear the name. Even though the USS America is the sixth LHA, it is the first ship of its design and specifications.

The second America Class, the USS Tripoli (LHA-7), was laid down in June. The America-class ships differ from the older Tarawa-class LHA’s and most other amphibs in that that they do not have a well deck. Well decks are used by other amphibious ships to launch and recover landing vessels. Amphibs take on water in their ballast tanks and fill their well decks with water, so that landing vessels, including Landing Craft Utilities and Landing Craft Air Cushions (hovercrafts) can transport Marines and supplies to and from a beachhead. The lack of a well deck on the America-class is intended to give them more room to carry aircraft, essentially making them smaller aircraft carriers. After initial testing of the USS America, the Navy has stated that it is likely that all LHA’s after LHA-7 will once again have well decks.

The USS America went underway from Pascagoula with expected port visits in Guantanamo Bay, Brazil, Chile, Columbia and Peru. The America is scheduled to be commissioned on October 11, 2014 during Fleet Week in San Francisco.

The USS America is slated to replace the USS Peleliu, which is scheduled to be decommissioned on March 31, 2015.

The staff at Military Connection would like to wish fair winds and following seas to the USS America and her crew, and welcome the newest LHA to the fleet.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & 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: USS America Underway: By Debbie Gregory

 

Military Connection: Air Force Opens Eligibility: By Debbie Gregory

Basic training

By Debbie Gregory

The U.S. military is a couple of years into a major transition period. After September 11, 2001, there was an increased demand in recruiting new members to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There were many gray areas on minimum standards, and incentives, such as signing bonuses, were offered to draw Americans of  enlisting age into the ranks of military service. Although recruiters were still seeking quality applicants, the focus was definitely on quantity.

Now, after more than twelve years of war and maintaining a wartime military force, combined with budget concerns due to a struggling economy, the Pentagon is down-sizing. All branches have begun to “trim the fat” by implementing stricter height/weight/body fat standards. In June, the Army announced that 1,600 majors and captains were being let go. This would generally be the point when each service branch of service would announces the narrowing of its eligibility requirements.

So what are we to think when a branch actually widens one of its requirements?

Under federal law, the top age that any new recruit can be is 42 years old when they enlist. However, each branch can decide their own specific standards. At the start of 2014, the Army had the widest age range of any military branch by allowing recruits as old as 35 into its ranks. The Navy and the Marine Corps were next, allowing recruits as old as 34. The Air Force had the narrowest age range at 27.

On June 24th,the Air Force announced that it was expanding its eligibility age limit to 39 years old. The change comes after a recent decline in Air Force enlistment that was even greater than what the down-size called for.

While Air Force recruits can now be older, the branch has not altered its height/weight, body fat percentage, minimum physical requirements, or ASVAB test score requirements. These standards  were already among the most exacting in the military. This means that even if new Air Force recruits can be older, they still have to be lean, fast and smart in order to be accepted.

Do you have what it takes to join the Air Force?

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & 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: Air Force Opens Eligibility: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Army’s Futuristic Innovations: By Joe Silva

Robot cars

By Joe Silva

For centuries, technological advancements that were originally dreamed up in works of science-fiction have found their way to into reality. There was Jules Verne’s Nautilus (Submarines), Star Trek’s communicators (cell phones), and the concept of a computer inside of a briefcase (laptops) in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Countless other technologies at our disposal have often had their conceptual groundwork rooted in fantasy.

In keeping with the tradition of transforming the fantastical into the tangible, the Pentagon is considering implementing automated vehicles. These vehicles would drive themselves using two different programs. The first program involves sensors for viewing and navigating, and the other program would control the actual steering and maneuvering of the vehicle. These robot cars could have easily been inspired by the Batmobile, Knight Rider’s KITT, or the Transformers, although they won’t exactly transform…yet!

This first wave of automated vehicles planned are intended to carry out the more tedious, but dangerous tasks of transporting supplies, rather than for combat. This focus in military innovation coincides with civilian car makers who are currently in the process of developing this technology for public use. an example of this is the advancements in Park Assist systems, where cars park themselves.

In May, at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina, the U.S. Army tested seven different types of tactical vehicles. One test involved running the unmanned vehicles in convoys at speeds over forty miles per hour. The results must have been satisfactory, as the Army has scheduled a second test for August.

In the long run, the Pentagon hopes to save money by investing in these vehicles. Currently, military vehicles require at least two service members, a driver and a spotter for the driver to assist the driver when the vehicle is moving in reverse or maneuvering in tight situations. The money saved from not having to train, house, feed and pay the personnel is expected to cover the cost of the upgrade, and in time, actually save money.

But this change in technology does raise the question, should we be taking positions away from service members? Is this something that we, as a nation, want to see? Just like when supermarkets cut back on cashiers after installing “Self-Checkout” stations, this automated technology will reduce  job opportunities for service members in all branches of the military.

While  it would be remarkable to see automated vehicles delivering supplies to the front lines, is it worth removing  service members from these jobs? Let’s hope that with this new, fantastic innovation, and the many others that are sure to follow, our military and political leaders will still find a way to put service members to work.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & 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: Army’s Futuristic Innovations: By Joe Silva

 

Military Connection: Tattoo Taboo: By Debbie Gregory

tattoo

 By Debbie Gregory

On March 31, 2014, the U.S. Army implemented its current policy on tattoos. Under Army Regulation 670-1, the Army details all grooming and appearance standards for soldiers in uniform, including the rules regarding tattoos and brands for soldiers currently serving, and for potential recruits wanting to enlist.

Each branch of service has its own policies on tattoos, brands and piercings, as well as policies for other grooming standards for both male and female service members, as well as for new recruits. All tattoos are subject to inspection for content.

The Army’s policy now states that new recruits cannot have tattoos on the neck, face, head, hands, wrists or fingers. The policy also specifies that a combination of no more than four individual tattoos or brands are permitted below the elbow or knee. Ear gauges are also prohibited. Individual tattoos must be smaller than the recruit’s hand. Individual tattoos that are clustered together to appear as one large tattoo are also prohibited. Any soldier who was active and in-compliance with the previous policy are grandfathered in under the new policy.

Navy policy prohibits tattoos on the head, face and neck, as well as tattoos on the inner lips or mouth that can be seen when the mouth is open. Tattoos that are visible when wearing a properly fitted crew neck T-shirt cannot be bigger than the applicant’s hand. The Navy also does not allow tattoos that are located on the torso, legs or upper arm, that are visible while wearing the Navy’s traditional Summer White uniform.

According to U.S. Marine Corps policy, tattoos on the head and neck are prohibited. There is also a ban against sleeve tattoos, and half-sleeve or quarter-sleeve tattoos that are visible to the eye when wearing standard physical training gear. And potential USMC recruits with more than four tattoos will be subject to review before admittance to “The Corps.”

The U.S. Air Force tattoo policy prohibits any tattoos above the collarbone, such as on the neck, head, face, tongue, lips or scalp. Airmen are also prohibited from having tattoos that cover more than 25 percent of a body part while wearing any type of uniform, including short sleeve, long sleeve, sleeves rolled up or open collar.

Americans wishing to enlist into any branch of the U.S. military need to be aware of the requirement standards and restrictions, especially those concerning tattoos and piercings. The Army Recruiting Command in Phoenix has reported that since March, in El Paso Texas alone, about one hundred potential recruits have been turned away because of their tattoos, brands and piercings.

Any would-be recruit that is denied acceptance because of violation of the tattoo policy may undergo tattoo removal and re-apply once their procedure is complete. However, it is highly recommended that gung-ho tattooed patriots research their tattoo removal facility prior to any procedures. Some facilities might leave you with a blemished area where your tattoo once was, that could be considered a brand, and still be disqualifying.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & 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: Tattoo Taboo: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: USMC Sgt Still in Mexican Jail: By Debbie Gregory

By Debbie Gregory

Sgt Tahmooressi

Last month,  Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, America’s last prisoner of war, was exchanged for five Taliban combatants detained at Guantanamo Bay. The White House stressed that the reason for the exchange was that they would go to any lengths to fulfill the promise of bringing our service members home.

If that is the case, than many Americans believe that one of our own is still missing, and needs to be returned immediately. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi has been in a Mexican prison since March 31st . Sgt. Tahmooressi  served in combat during his two tours in Afghanistan. While it is true that Sgt. Tahmooressi is not a POW, and that the U.S. is not at war with Mexico, one of our Marines is in a Mexican jail.  Tahmooressi’s friends, family and supporters in the military and Veteran communities want him back on U.S. soil.

There is some controversy in regards to Tahmooressi’s claim that he simply made a wrong turn, winding up on the Mexican side of the border with firearms that he owned and possessed legally in the U.S. There are claims that Tahmooressi walked across the border earlier in the day, checked into a hotel in Tijuana, and  later drove his truck across the border, with the weapons inside. Mexican officials claim that they offered Tahmooressi the opportunity to surrender his weapons and safely return to the U.S., which Tahmooressi says  is untrue.

Mexican officials claim that Tahmooressi brought his weapons, a .45 caliber pistol, a 12 gauge shotgun and an AR 15 rifle, across the border illegally to sell to members of a drug cartel.

Tahmooressi argues that their claims don’t make sense. “I wouldn’t have gone about selling my guns to get money,” Tahmooressi told CNN. “I would have sold my motorcycle. I would have sold my truck. Besides that, I had plenty of money in my bank account that I had saved up from the Marine Corps. And I’m not a dumb man, to be selling my guns that have serial numbers registered to me.”

Tahmooressi’s  first trial is scheduled to begin in Mexico on July 9th.  This service member is asking for his countrymen’s prayers. Please answer his plea. But concerned Americans should also write their congressmen and senators. Sgt. Tahmooressi’s family is also requesting donations to the FREE SGT. ANDREW TAHMOORESSI FUND.

Please offer your support in any way that you can to bring Sgt. Tahmooressi home.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & 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: USMC Sgt Still in Mexican Jail: By Debbie Gregory