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September 5, 2006

Family Programs Update
Volume 6, Number 15

This newsletter is published bi-monthly by the AUSA Family Programs Directorate. If you would like to receive the Family Programs Update by e-mail, please send a message to with the word “subscribe” in the subject line.

You are invited to attend The Family Programs Military Family Forums at AUSA’s Annual Meeting, Oct. 9-11. This is your opportunity to receive updates on the latest programs and most current issues affecting our Soldiers and their families. For additional information go to the Family Programs web site (

In this issue:

  • Operation Homefront to Lead Organization of Freedom Walks in Thirteen Cities
  • Governors Concerned About Proposal to Give President More Control Over Guard in Disaster Relief
  • Officials Stress Situational Awareness in Europe
  • Fewer Vietnam Vets are Found to Have Stress Disorder
  • New Website for Those Connected to the Military
  • Army Launches “Army Today”, Soldiers’ Forum Podcasts
  • Military Spouse Career Network
  • Program Assists Military Voters
  • New TRICARE Enrollment Requirement for Those with Overseas Orders
  • Operation Healing Angel
  • Army Expands Child-Care Options for Military Families
  • Army’s First Boundless Playground at Fort Campbell
  • Say Thanks! to a Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman

Operation Homefront to Lead Organization of Freedom Walks in Thirteen Cities
Operation Homefront’s strong grassroots support and logistical experience are proving to be critical in the organization of a number of Freedom Walks being planned across the country to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Operation Homefront, as a leading member of America Supports You, the Department of Defense program created to connect the nation’s support for the troops directly to the troops and their families, is playing a key role in organizing Freedoms Walks in thirteen cities, including San Diego, San Antonio, Los Angeles and St. Louis, and providing support to some of the other planned Walks. The first Freedom Walk organized by America Supports You took place in Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2005. This year, the second national America Supports You Freedom Walk takes place in Washington, D.C. on September 10, 2006, and is joined by more than 48 Freedom Walks taking place across the country, many with the leadership and assistance of Operation Homefront.

For more information, or to become a sponsor of the Freedom Walks in Sacramento, San Diego, St. Louis, Georgia, Los Angeles, Maine, Massachusetts, Washington, Wisconsin, Mississippi, New York, New England, Wisconsin or Texas, please visit or contact Amy Palmer at General information on the Freedom Walks is also available at

Governors Concerned about Proposal to Give President More Control Over Guard is Disaster Relief
The nation’s governors asked lawmakers to reject a House proposal which would give the President broader authority over the National Guard in disaster relief. “This provision was drafted without consultation or input from governors and represents an unprecedented shift in authority from governors as commanders and chief of the Guard to the federal government,” governors from 51 U.S. states and territories said in a letter to House and Senate leaders. The governors urged lawmakers to strip out language in the House-passed 2007 defense authorization bill (HR 5122) to allow the President to take control of the National Guard during “a serious natural or manmade disaster, accident or catastrophe that occurs in the United States, its territories and possessions or Puerto Rico.” The provision was not included in the Senate version (S 2766). Currently, the National Guard remains under state control for natural disasters. Governors raised concerns about the provision at last week’s National Governors Association meeting in Charleston, S.C., and quickly began circulating the letter. David Quam, director of federal relations for NGA, said it’s unclear which House member had added the provision to the bill. He noted the move was made with little fanfare and was only recently noticed by lawmakers.

Officials Stress Situational Awareness in Europe
The Aug. 10 arrests of suspected terrorists in London and the discovery of two suitcase bombs on German trains in Dortmund and Koblenz July 30-31 serve to emphasize the need for Americans in Europe to keep their guard up. Department of Defense, local national personnel and family members are urged to remain alert, aware, attentive and vigilant to their surroundings. For full story, visit:

Fewer Vietnam Vets are Found to Have Stress Disorder: New Study is Criticized for Using Narrow Criteria for Condition
A painstaking reanalysis of data collected in the 1980s from Vietnam War veterans confirms that post-traumatic stress disorder is a real and common psychiatric consequence of war, but it comes to the controversial conclusion that significantly fewer veterans were affected than experts have thought. For the full story, visit:

New Website for Those Connected to the Military is a great new site where military members, veterans and anyone else interested in the military can go to connect with others associated with the military. It's free, easy to use and has a lot of great features. Features include the ability to; enter your profile information so friends can find you, you can search or browse for friends; send Private or Public messages to friends; upload pictures; start your own Blog (web log); join a Group or start your own and contribute to community forums. Go to to sign up.

Army Launches “Army Today”, Soldiers Forum Podcasts
The Army has launched two new podcasts to its lineup: “Army Today” and “Soldiers’ Forum.” “Army Today” is a daily, two-minute audio-visual feature produced by Soldiers Radio and Television. “Soldiers’ Forum” is a weekly product through which Sgt. Major of the Army Kenneth Preston may address issues concerning enlisted Soldiers. For details, visit:

Military Spouse Career Network
Military Spouse Corporate Career Network, a Nonprofit Corporate Direct Hire Program, continues to partner with national companies such as Raytheon and National Van Lines, to offer exciting and unique career opportunities for military spouses, exiting military, reservists and retirees. For complete article, visit

Program Assists Military Voters
The Federal Voting Assistance Program office is working hard to ensure that Servicemembers and families are able to vote. Program personnel have learned through experience and have put into place a system which should make voting in mid-term elections a smooth process for Servicemembers, DoD civilian employees and DoD contractors. A number of changes have been put into place for absentee ballots to include sending out ballots via email, faxing ballots and revising the Federal Postcard Application form. This will also be particularly helpful for Reserve Component personnel serving on active-duty. Each state is responsible for voting by it's citizens so the laws and programs vary from state to state. For more information, visit FVAP at

New TRICARE Enrollment Requirement for Those with Overseas Orders
TRICARE policy requires active-duty Servicemembers with overseas orders to verify command sponsorship for accompanying family members for enrollment in TRICARE Prime including TRICARE Global Remote Overseas. The policy also requires family members to reside with their sponsor to be eligible for enrollment in TOP Prime. If Service families without sponsorship move overseas, they may pay costly out-of-pocket health care expenses because they are only eligible for TRICARE Standard, TRICARE Plus and space available care at military treatment facilities. For additional information contact: or the TRICARE Area Office serving your overseas region.

Operation Healing Angel
During the months of August and September, Operation Healing Angel volunteers are collecting letters and cards for our long term wounded and the nurses and physicians of the Tampa, Florida VA, who care for our seriously injured military Heroes every day with honor and grace. They are also Heroes. This is an opportunity to get your schools and places of worship involved. Send a letter or a simple drawing from a child thanking them all for all that they do. Send your cards and pictures through the end of September: Homefront Hugs USA, Operation Healing Angel, 449 Tiger Lake Drive, Gulf Breeze, Florida 32563.

Army Expands Child-Care Options for Military Families
The Army has selected Fort Sam Houston and 10 other posts to test a new program that offers military families more child-care options. Through the Army Child Care in Your Neighborhood program, civilian agencies recruit child-care centers and civilian providers from areas where military families work and live, then train them to meet Army standards. The program is also being tested at Fort Carson; Fort Riley; Fort Campbell; Fort Bragg; Fort Drum; Fort Bliss; Fort Lewis; Fort Meade; Aberdeen Proving Ground; and Fort Detrick. For additional information, go to:

Army’s First Boundless Playground at Fort Campbell
Fort Campbell made history Aug. 4 with the opening of the Army's first handicap-accessible Boundless Playground at the Village Commons in the Hammonds Heights housing area. The Boundless Playground is equipped with the amenities of a standard playground, but is specially designed to stimulate handicapped children with such developmental disabilities as autism and mental retardation. To be named a Boundless Playground, 70 percent of the equipment must be handicap-accessible. Visit: for the facts.

Say Thanks! To a Soldier, Sailor, Marine, or Airman
By going to this web site, you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier who is currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to some member of the armed services. How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!! Send one a day!