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September 15, 2006

Family Programs Update
Volume 6, Number 16

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 (

  • AUSA Family Programs Announces 2006 Volunteer FOY
  • AUSA on the Hill
  • Troops Vent About Military Medical Care
  • Straight to the Heart Battle Cries
  • Lesson in Heroics Is Written On the Wall
  • “Back to School” a Great Time to Think About Family Day
  • Military Base’s School Principal Honored
  • New Help for Overseas Voters
  • Commissary Worlwide Case Lot Sale Page Goes Live
  • Commissaries Score High Marks on Satisfaction Survey
  • The Uniformed Services Family Health Plan
  • Do Multiple Deployments Affect Small Children?
  • Military Homefront Introduces DOD’s ‘MilitaryINSTALLATIONS’

AUSA Family Programs Announces the 2006 AUSA Rubbermaid – Irwin Volunteer Family of the Year
The Association of the United States Army would like to congratulate CSM Darrel Calton, his wife Kay, their two sons, Derek and Andrew and daughter, Kaylin from Fort Detrick, MD on their selection as the 2006 AUSA Rubbermaid – Irwin Volunteer Family of the Year. The Caltons have shown great enthusiasm for serving their country, community, schools and most of all their fellow Army families. The Calton Family will receive an all expense paid trip to Washington, DC to receive their award at the AUSA Annual Meeting being held at the Washington, DC Convention Center October 9th – October 11th. Additionally, the Calton family will receive a cash award, Certificate of Appreciation and a gift basket, compliments of Rubbermaid – Irwin, AUSA Family Programs and GEICO.

AUSA Family Programs would also like to congratulate the two runner up families, CPT Michael E. Griswold, his wife Louise and their children, Sheri-Lynn and Michael Jr. from Fort Irwin, CA, and South Dakota National Guards SSG Jay Roberts, wife Sharon and their children, Kelsey, Lauren and Sam. These two families are also wonderful representatives of the many dedicated volunteers whose efforts are the life source of many of the programs and services offered by the military to help lessen the challenges of military life. By recognizing these families for their service and publicizing all that they have done and continue to do, we are in effect honoring all of the very special people within our community that are so willing to reach out a helping hand. Both families will receive a Certificate of Appreciation, a US Savings Bond as well as a gift basket, compliments of Rubbermaid – Irwin, AUSA Family Programs and GEICO.

AUSA on the Hill
This week, The Military Coalition, a consortium of military and veterans groups of which AUSA is a member, presented its highest awards to four members of Congress and two congressional staff members. AUSA Government Affairs Director and Assistant Director Bill Loper and Julie Rudowski were in attendance. Sens. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Reps. Chet Edwards, D-Texas, and Walter Jones, R-N.C., received the Coalition’s 2006 Award of Merit for their sponsorship of legislation on health care and survivor benefits for military families. Sens. DeWine and Nelson were recognized especially for their leadership in promoting legislation to improve benefits for military survivors. Reps. Edwards and Jones were honored for sponsoring bipartisan legislation to protect military beneficiaries against large, unwarranted fee increases for military health coverage.

Troops Vent about Military Medical Care DOD Says Health Staffers Need More Education, Compassion
Wounded service members shared their complaints with more than 200 military medical professionals during a conference in Washington designed improve the transition of troops from the hospital to civilian life or back into military service. Defense Department health officials said that adding more counseling services and military assistance programs has helped many injured troops navigate through the sometimes confusing procedures, but they admitted that more needs to be done. This article can be located in Mideast Stars and Stripes, September 1, 2006 edition.

Straight to the Heart Battle Cries: For US Troops and Their Wives and Children, the Iraq War’s Invisible Costs Just Keep Piling Up
Morale among Army personnel in Iraq remains high, but back home, where families of service members have to deal with prolonged absences of their loved one, the news that deployments are being extended hits hard. This article can be located in Newsweek, September 18, 2006 edition.

Lesson in Heroics Is Written On the Wall
The Paul R. Smith Middle School was dedicated in Holiday, Fla., in memory of a hometown hero-the first soldier in the Iraq war to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for his heroism on a Baghdad airfield. An Army Sgt. 1st Class, Smith is interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Please read full article at:

“Back to School” a Great Time to Think About Family Day
“Back to school” means new clothes, new schedules and hurried meals. That’s one reason why commissaries are partnering with DoD schools and others to celebrate “Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children” on Monday, Sept. 25. “This represents the kind of activity we should encourage in our schools and at every installation,” said Leslye Arsht, deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy. “The more time our military families spend interacting, the more resilient they become and the better equipped they are to deal with life stress.” A military family can enter an online contest, Sept. 1-30, for a chance to win a trip to New York for a “healthy” dinner prepared by renowned Food Network chef Sandra Lee. The contest, sponsored by the military sales division of The Coca-Cola Company, can only be accessed through a link at the commissary Web site at The commissary Web site will be “Family Day central” to find out more about “Family Day – A Day to Have Dinner with Your Children.”

Commissary Worldwide Case Lot Sale Page Goes Live
Every year about this time Americans look forward to football season and they can kick things off with a visit to their local commissary’s September “Great Tailgate Party” case lot sale. Customers can find out when their store is having its sale at the special case lot sale page at From the largest commissaries in the world to the smallest, nearly all stores plan to participate. Case lot sales offer shoppers the chance to buy bulk quantities of their favorite products at savings of up to 50 percent or more, topping the average of 30 percent or more that customers save over commercial prices every time they use their commissary benefit. Since stores have some flexibility on the items they carry and stores in the same area may have different products on sale, customers who live in those areas might want to check out all the local dates and make plans to visit several sales during September.

Commissaries Score High Marks on Satisfaction Survey
The results are in: Customer satisfaction continues to increase. Customers expressed their opinions in the Fiscal 2006 Commissary Customer Service Survey and rated commissaries at an average 4.61 (out of 5) – the Defense Commissary Agency’s highest score ever. “Of all the numbers we use to track our effectiveness, these results mean the most because they come straight from our customers,” DeCA Director Patrick Nixon said. “They are telling us that we deliver a premier benefit.” The latest score marks a 0.06-point increase from the previous survey of 4.55 in fiscal 2005. DeCA conducted the annual survey for 10 straight days in June with over 21,000 customers worldwide answering a series of 14 questions measuring their shopping experience: savings and prices; store hours, decor and appearance; product quality, selection and availability; checkout procedures; and employee customer service – which garnered the highest score at 4.77. Visit DeCA on the Web at:

Military Installation’s School Principal Honored
Ellen Minette, principal of a middle school on a military base in Germany, has been named the 2007 Middle School Principal of the Year. Minette’s selection marks the first time in the 13-year history of the competition that a Defense Department school principal has been a national winner. Read the full story at:

New Help for Overseas Voters
The Pentagon is counting on an improved Web site to help an estimated 6.5 Americans---including U.S. troops at war and others living overseas---vote in the November elections, and to avoid the problems of the 2000 presidential elections. Officials said that the site, for the Pentagon's Federal Voting Assistance Program, now includes information on how voters can request and get ballots by fax and e-mail rather than rely on slower postal service. Read this article at:

Do Multiple Deployments Affect Small Children?
Fort Knox pair designed study, recruited volunteers:
Soldiers return home from tours of duty in dangerous locales to heroes' welcomes, complete with a band playing and loved ones bestowing flowers, hugs, and kisses. But what happens after the welcome-in the car on the way home, and inside a house full of the past? Things have changed during the deployment. The kids adjusted to having one parent who took care of everything while the other risked life and limb halfway around the world. For article go to:

The Uniformed Services Family Health Plan
The Uniformed Services Family Health Plan (USFHP) is a TRICARE Prime option available to active duty dependents, retirees and retiree family members through not-for-profit health care systems in six areas of the United States. You must get all care through the USFHP network in your area. You may not use military treatment facilities, military treatment facility pharmacies or other TRICARE-authorized providers. By using USFHP you get the TRICARE Prime program benefits, plus premium advantages and features at no extra cost. If you are eligible in DEERS and live in one of the six service areas, you may enroll in USFHP.

The lists of eligible beneficiaries include the following:
  • All active duty family members;
  • Uniformed Services retirees and their eligible family members, including those age 65 and over; and
  • Qualifying re-activated reservist family members.

For more information about eligibility visit the TRICARE Web site at You may enroll in the USFHP at any time during the year by completing an application for the provider in your area. To download an application, please visit

Military Homefront Introduces DODs ‘MilitaryINSTALLATIONS’
MilitaryINSTALLATIONS is the latest feature of the MilitaryHOMEFRONT web portal. MilitaryINSTALLATIONS is a gateway for members of the military community to access directories of programs and services located at over 250 military installations in the United States and overseas. Directories provide installation overviews, installation websites, points of contact and community information, local points of interest, mapping and directions, local time and weather reports. MilitaryINSTALLATIONS currently contains over 10,000 points of contact, and continues to grow. You may access the site through Military Homefront or go directly to: