Military Report - Week of January 28, 2013

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Military Report - Week of January 28, 2013

#1 Postby boardman » Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:58 pm

Military Report - Week of January 28, 2013

Top Tax Tips for Military Personnel
With the start to the new year behind us, it is time to once again plan ahead for tax season. With the exception of those serving in combat zones or stationed outside the U.S, most military personnel and their families must file taxes by the traditional April 15 deadline. ( ... Read Top Tax Tips.

New Postal Service Prices
Effective Jan. 27, 2013, the price for first-class mail single-piece letters will increase by a penny. A 46 cent first-class forever stamp will allow customers to mail letters to any location in the United States. A listing of the new U.S. Postal Service rate increases is available on the U.S. Air Forces in Europe website at (
(From the U.S. Air Forces in Europe press release for January 22, 2013 at ( and linked from the main U.S. Air Forces in Europe newspage at (

A Look at Seasonal Affective Disorder
As it gets darker and colder, some people tend to get a little depressed. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a depressive disorder where the depressive episodes show up seasonally. The symptoms of SAD are typically depressed mood, changes in sleep and appetite, low energy and feelings of guilt. There are two types of SAD; a fall on-set and a spring on-set. The fall on-set is more common. SAD is more common in women, those in their late teens to early twenties and military members who have a permanent change of station to areas with less sunlight. For assistance with depression or other mental health issues, call your local chaplain, military and family life consultant or mental health clinic. For more information on SAD, visit the ( Mental Health America website.
For more military family support resources, visit the ( Family Center.

VRAP Deadline Looms
According to the VA, over 94,000 veterans have applied for ( ... -bill.html) VRAP education benefits. To date the VA has approved over 77,000 Certificates of Eligibility. However, just over 27,000 of those eligible veterans have begun using their benefit. The VA is encouraging veterans to finish the process and get enrolled in eligible education programs as soon as possible. A VA official recently stated, "We do not want any of the 99,000 slots to go unused. The program is only two years long. By law we can only accept applications until September 30, 2013, and the last payment can be made through March 31, 2014." VRAP participants that do not enroll in school by March of this year will not be able to receive a full 12 months of training. VRAP participants are being warned that they must apply and begin using their benefits as soon as feasible, or, notify the VA to cancel their Certificate of Eligibility to make room for other veterans to use the benefit.

Deal of the Week: Special TurboTax Offer FREE for Military
TurboTax's Military Edition was custom-built for military, and now junior enlisted personnel (E5 and below) can file state and federal returns for FREE! (;266811177 ... 4_52200486) Get your biggest refund, guaranteed.

Buddy Finder: Reconnect with Old Military Friends
The Buddy Finder allows you to search over 20 million records to locate old military friends. Search by name, service, pay grade, age, installation, school, state or employer. ( Reconnect now.

AAFES' First Wounded Warrior Center
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is adjusting to address new realities as it recently opened ( ... otostream/) a new facility designed specifically for wounded warriors. Just a short drive from Landstuhl Medical Center, the Exchange's new "Wounded Heroes Service Center," is a first-of-its-kind facility for wounded Soldiers in Kaiserslautern, Germany at Kleber Kaserne. The new center has a handicap-accessible entrance, dressing rooms, and bathrooms. The Exchange's "Wounded Heroes Service Center" officially opened on January 16, 2013. The facility offers a full assortment of uniforms, gloves, hats, boots and duffel bags. For more information about the Exchange, visit the Army & Air Force Exchange Service website at (
For more military family support resources, visit the ( Family Center.

Featured Job: State Farm Is Hiring Veterans
State Farm is a mutual company, owned by its policyholders -- not stockholders. Our mission is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. State Farm insures more cars and homes than any other insurer in the U.S. It is the leading insurer of watercraft and one of the leading insurers in Canada, and has more than 65,000 employees and about 18,000 agents in eight geographic market areas (including Canada), 30 operations centers and over 300 claims offices. ( ... Learn More.

Navy to Use Alcohol Detection Devices
The U.S. Navy has announced plans to promote awareness on the dangers of irresponsible alcohol use by introducing the use of alcohol detection devices (ADD) across the fleet. The new ( ... 5350.8.pdf) OPNAV Instruction 5350.8 establishes policies and procedures for the use of the hand-held devices Navy-wide. The instruction applies to all active duty, reserve and personnel from other services assigned to Navy units in any capacity. Alcohol detection devices will begin arriving to commands in February. For more information, visit the ( ... cohol-use/) Navy Live website.
For more Navy news, visit the ( News Center.

Get $250k Coverage for Less than $20 a Month
Protect your family's future with quality life insurance from ASMBA. Get $250k coverage starting at less than $20 a month. ( Because tomorrow isn't guaranteed.

AF Expects Some Pay Delays
Officers and enlisted Airmen getting promoted in March will experience pay delays because of the Military Personnel Data System upgrade occurring that month. Airmen should contact their base military personnel section if their promotion information is not updated in vMPF within 10 days after the MilPDS upgrade is completed. The information above also applies to Reserve promotions -- more information is available on the ( ... /p/16%2C18) myPers website. Guard members should review the "MilPDS Upgrade and Migration Guidance -- Unit Assigned Members" section on the ( myPers website, under the "Alerts" or "Announcements for Airmen" sections. For more information about enlisted promotions and the MilPDS upgrade, visit the ( myPers website.
For more on pay benefits, visit the ( Pay Center.

AF BlueTube Video
A video of the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force transition ceremony is available on ( Bluetube, the Air Force's official Youtube page. The ceremony welcomed the 17th chief master sergeant of the Air Force, Chief Master Sgt. James A. Cody.
For more military-related videos, visit the ( Video Center.

Website Helps Parents, Educators
The Defense Department website for military children, (, has added new features to help parents and educators explain difficult topics of the military lifestyle to children. The website, created by the Defense Department's National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), uses innovative ways to help military youth cope with the unique strains of military life. New features include: (1) military culture videos and lesson plans for teachers, school counselors, and educators to better understand the differences between military and civilian youth; (2) graphic novels and mini-documentaries by military kids sharing their experiences; and (3) new modules for children and parents on handling grief, loss and physical injury. For more information, visit the ( website.
For more military family support resources, visit the ( Family Center.

Army Continuing Education Courses Online
Experts in the U.S. Army Public Health Command Occupational Health Sciences Portfolio are making it easier for Army workers to maintain credentials through use of an online training system called Blackboard Learn. With this Web technology, subject-matter experts are able to deliver graduate-level training in 15 courses that are focused on core competencies in the Army safety and occupational health career program including such topics as noise measurement and assessment; blueprint reading and design review; environmental and indoor air quality; fundamentals of ventilation; and ergonomics, just to name a few. Many courses provide enrollees with continuing education units. For more information, visit the ( U.S. Army Public Health Command website.
For more on military education benefits and programs, visit the ( Education Center.

GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013
The Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs recently introduced bipartisan legislation ( ( H.R. 357) that would require state operated schools to charge veterans in-state tuition rates even though they may not be residents of the states where the schools are located. The requirement would apply to state schools which have programs which are eligible for Department of Veterans Affairs education programs under the GI Bill. This move could help veterans save thousands in out-of-pocket tuition expenses.

VA Loan Limits for 2013
The maximum guaranty amount of a VA loan is typically $417,000, but you may qualify for much more depending on the county where you live. VA has announced new loan limits for 2013 for certain counties, with some limits as high as over $1 million. These limits apply to all loans closed January 1, 2013 and afterwards. For the full chart of every county and contact information for regional VA loan centers, see ( ... this updated article.
( ... Next Step: Interest rates are at all-time lows. Find lenders ready to help you use your VA Loan.

Plan for Financial Readiness
January is a great time for military families to take stock of their financial situation. The Department of Defense (DoD) is encouraging military families to avoid debt by creating a workable spending plan. Here are some tips: (1) make a commitment to changing personal spending and savings habits; (2) map your money coming in against your money going out; (3) high-interest credit card debt should be paid off first; (4) if you overdid holiday spending take some time to make a plan for paying off your debt and planning for next year's gifts; and (5) establish an emergency fund. The service branches provide financial counselors at military bases and personal financial management assistance programs to help military families. Also, visit the Military OneSource website at ( to access money management tips and tools.
( Visit the Money Channel for more tips on budgeting, taxes, and finance.

Calculate Your 2013 Pay
The President and House of Representatives have proposed a 1.7 percent across-the-board pay increase for 2013. Calculate your gross monthly pay by rank, location or duty assignment. Calculations include Base Pay, BAH, Duty Pay, COLA, Special Pay and other bonuses, special pays and allowances. ( ... Use the Pay Calculator.

AF-Wide Pornography Inspection
The U.S. Air Force has released the results of its recent service-wide health and welfare inspections. Commanders inspected thousands of units at more than 100 Air Force installations and removed three broad categories of material: pornographic, inappropriate or offensive, or unprofessional. Results of the health and welfare inspections are available at the ( ... 18-015.pdf) Air Force FOIA Reading Room.
( ... -hunt.html) Read more about the inspection and servicemembers' reaction on

Plan for Your Deployment
While deployments present special challenges for service members and their families, proper planning can help ease stress and promote individual and family readiness. To assist service members and their families throughout the deployment cycle, the Department of Defense (DoD) developed Plan My Deployment (PMD). This online application helps service members and their families plan for predeployment, deployment, and reunion and reintegration by providing a customized deployment plan based on the user's military status/Service, family composition and anticipated deployment date. For more details, visit the ( PMD site. You can also find resources and tips covering the entire deployment cycle at ('s Deployment Center.

New Fee for Shipping Pets to Europe
An examination fee of 55 Euro per pet will be implemented Feb. 1, for all non-EU citizens who import a pet to Germany. Military personnel flying into Frankfurt International Airport, Germany, will no longer be exempt from the charges associated with importing a pet. There will only be a credit card reader available at the terminal to pay the fee. Cash and debit cards will not be accepted. The fee will be the military member's responsibility and will not be reimbursed on a travel voucher. Upon arrival into the country, pets will be examined by the veterinarian near the passenger terminal baggage claim area. For more information regarding the examination fee, contact the host-nation office at 06371-952655 or DSN 314-480-2094.
For more military pet-related news and guides, visit the ( Pet Corner.

Free Tax Return Preparation
The Internal Revenue Service's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) offers free tax help for Veterans. For more information, visit the Internal Revenue Service website at ( ... Volunteers) ... Volunteers.

AF Seeks Liaison Officer Applicants
Eligible Air Force officers interested in air liaison officer (ALO) duty have until Feb. 7 to complete and submit their application package to Air Combat Command. ALO duty is open to men and women who are active-duty crossflow candidates, inter-service transfer applicants, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, and Reserve Officer Training Corps and U.S. Air Force Academy cadets scheduled to graduate in 2013 and 2014. Interested officers must be hazardous duty volunteers, and eligible for a top secret security clearance. Interested Airmen should contact an ALO mentor for guidance, information and assistance with the application process. A list of mentors and other information is posted on the ACC portal under the "A3FC" link. Potential candidates can email ACC for assistance at ( For more information, visit the ( myPers website, and search for 13L air liaison officer volunteers.
For more Air Force news, visit the ( News Center.

AAFES Mobile Field Units
When necessary, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service makes ( ... otostream/) Mobile Field Exchanges (MFEs) available to its customers. MFEs are specially configured semi-trailers furnished with retail merchandise, supplies and equipment that support disaster relief efforts and contingency operations. The Exchange currently has 13 MFEs and two barber shops that can be deployed within 48 hours of an approved request to hurricane relief efforts, firefighting support or major military exercises. Servicemembers can rest assured knowing that when the next natural disaster or training exercise calls them to action, the Exchange will be available for a taste of home. For more information about the Exchange, visit the ( Shop My Exchange website.
For more military family support resources, visit the ( Family Center.

Navy Reschedules Reserve Board
The Navy has rescheduled the Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) Reserve and Full Time Support Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Selection Board. The board, originally scheduled to convene here in May, has been rescheduled to convene July 22. All Reserve candidates changing ratings must be in their new rating by June 22 to be considered for selection to CPO in their new rating. Individual correspondence for Reserve CPO selection-board-eligible candidates must be received at Navy Personnel Command Customer Service Center July 1. For more information on the FY14 CPO Selection Board read NAVADMINS 294/12, 308/12 and 006/13 available at the Navy Personnel Command website at (
For more Navy news, visit the ( News Center.

Navy Seeks Counselor Applicants
The U.S. Navy is seeking motivated first and second class petty officers with career counselor experience to consider applying for a rating conversion to Navy Counselor (NC). Applicants must be active duty first and second class petty officers with six to 14 years of active Naval service; have no marks below 3.0 in the previous three years performance evaluations; have an Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test score of VE+AR=105, minimum 50 AR; have at least 12 consecutive months experience as a command, departmental or divisional career counselor during the previous three years prior to application date. Sailors who wish to apply for conversion should speak with a Navy Counselor.
For more Navy news, visit the ( News Center.
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