Petition Calls Out Moving Industry on PCS Issues

Petition Calls Out Moving Industry on PCS Issues

Petition Calls Out Moving Industry on PCS Issues

Contributed by Debbie Gregory

Every year thousands of military service members and their families pack up and move on military orders. All of their valuables and household goods are packed up by contracted strangers, loaded onto a truck and driven across country. In a perfect world, everything would arrive at its destination, in the same condition it was in when it left. But a Change.org petition to “Hold Military Moving Companies Accountable,” started by a frustrated military family member, has over 100,000 signatures, a good indication that this is far from reality.

The story behind the petition is easy enough to figure out. With $2.3 billion spent on moving services, the Department of Defense might just be the single largest moving services customer in the world.

Many military families on the move have experienced hardships because of unexpected delays in pickup or delivery of their household goods. In late July, U.S. Transportation Command officials said about 10 percent of military members who had moved at that point had experienced delivery delays. There have been complaints about the quality of work, too, which has resulted in loss and damage for some families.

“Military families are tired of how things with the current moving system are being handled,” wrote the military spouse who runs the Military Spouse Chronicles Facebook page, in initiating the petition

Moving is a stressful activity under the best of circumstances. Officials at U.S. Transportation Command have urged families to reach out to their household goods/transportation offices to learn about their options for assistance, including reimbursement for expenses caused by delays in delivery or pickup.

Among the suggested solutions from Military Spouse Chronicles is to have move coordinators and quality assurance inspectors properly trained in being a mediator between the military family and the moving company and its crews. Another solution, long proposed by a number of advocates in the military community, is to have less frequent moves.

Marine Will Serve Almost 3 Years for Stealing From Toys for Tots

Marine Will Serve Almost 3 Years for Stealing From Toys for Tots

Marine Will Serve Almost 3 Years for Stealing From Toys for Tots

Contributed by Debbie Gregory

A 33-month prison sentence and restitution to the tune of $534,044 is the immediate future of former Staff Sgt. Christopher Aragon.

Aragon used his position as a Toys for Tots program coordinator to make payments to himself and defraud the Marine Corps. Toys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas.

The program was founded in 1947 by reservist Major Bill Hendricks.

Aragon, 32, served as a supply chief for 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company and was the unit’s coordinator for its Toys for Tots program. Aragon will also have to pay $20,044.70 in restitution to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.

According to court documents, between December 2013 and August 2016, Aragon conspired with his wife, Teneshia Aragon, and Dana Davis, owner of the Runway Café in Mobile, Alabama, to defraud the Marine Corps by using an issued credit card to make unauthorized payments to himself as well as submitting false documents, invoices and unit rosters.

But the Corps picked up on the bogus charges during an audit and found serious discrepancies.

An investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Defense Criminal Investigative Service ultimately resulted in Aragon’s prosecution.

In May, all three defendants plead guilty to trying to defraud the Marine Corps.

Dana Davis was sentenced to six-months in prison in August and Teneshia Aragon was sentenced to five years of probation with six months of that as home confinement on September 10th.

Christopher Aragon was ordered to undergo “three years of supervised release after finishing his term of imprisonment, pay a $100 mandatory special assessment, receive mental health treatment, and undergo credit restrictions following his release”.

Fall Travel

Fall Travel

Autumn is officially here – and while most think of summer as the ideal time for travel, late September through mid-December can be a fantastic time to get away, especially for military families and veterans!

GOV Vacation Rewards can help you plan!

What is GOV Vacation Rewards?

GOV Vacation Rewards is a travel rewards program designed specifically for active military, veterans and their families. They know that military life can be difficult on the entire family, and there is no better way to rejuvenate and re-energize than to plan a getaway and relax for a few days with family. Affording a trip can be difficult, so GOV Vacation Rewards partners with travel providers to give members the best pricing, no strings attached!

Visit GOV Vacation Rewards to activate your membership. Enrollment gives you $300 towards a travel package and signs you up for access to exclusive travel packages, delivered via email directly to your inbox. Additionally, you earn points for every dollar spent on these fantastic getaways that can be redeemed on future trips.

You won’t find a better value on a trip anywhere else – but if, by chance, you happen upon a deal that GOV Travel Rewards hasn’t found yet, the pricing will be honored and GOV Travel Rewards will price match – guaranteed!

Active duty, retired veterans, military families, government employees and civilian contractors – there are so many travel opportunities that await you! Join today!

 

Gold Star Mother’s Day

Gold Star Mother’s Day

Gold Star Mother’s Day

“Gold Star mothers and families know the immeasurable cost of fighting for the ideals we believe in, and they know the pride that comes with exemplary service to America.”

~ President Barack Obama ~ September 23, 2011 ~ Presidential Proclamation

A Gold Star Mother knows the ultimate sacrifice – it is those mothers that have lost a child to service in the United States Military.

Grace Darling Seibold was an ocean away from her son when he served on the front lines for WWI. While she waited for news from her son as to his whereabouts and safety, she volunteered her time at the local VA hospital. After learning of her son’s death overseas, she devoted her time to helping wartime survivors and uniting the mothers of other deceased soldiers. Through Seibold, the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. was born.

While it was a mother who formed the organization, it was a father with two boys on the front lines who created the Service Flag. Army Captain Robert L. Queissner displayed a flag with a blue star that was flown during times of military conflict to represent a child serving in the armed forces. Should a service member be lost during a conflict, families would stitch gold over the star.

This tradition took hold on June 23, 1936 when a joint congressional resolution declared that Gold Star Mother’s Day would be observed annually on the last Sunday of September. In 2011, President Obama amended the title to be “Gold Star Mother’s and Family Day.”

While there is no set way to observe Gold Star Mother’s and Family Day, the official hashtag is #GoldStarMothersDay.