HomeAboutMembershipProgramsPublicationsNews & EventsLegislationHomeAboutMembershipProgramsPublicationsNews & EventsLegislation

Family Programs >> Family Programs Update Archive >> 2006 Archive - Family Programs Update >> June 15, 2006 Email this... Email    Print this Print

June 15, 2006

Family Programs Update
Volume 6, Number 10

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.

Once again,
Family Programs will be a part of the AUSA Annual Meeting, Oct. 9-11. Family Forums I, II, and III will address current issues that concern and/or affect service members and their families, followed by a question and answer period. Please continue checking the Web site for the latest information about the Forums.

In this issue:

  • Conferees Agree on Emergency Supplemental Spending Bill
  • Bush Signs Measure to Prevent Protests at Military Funerals
  • Ft. Carson Hit with Hiring Freeze
  • Officials: Guard Troops Scare Off Would-Be Migrants
  • Guard Troops to Be in Place at Border by Aug. 1
  • Wounded Warriors Can Continue Serving
  • Honoring Frontline Father’s
  • Military Hopes to Do a Better Job of Meeting Troops Mental Health Needs
  • 1st AD Spouses Test Their Mettle for Combat Spouse Badge
  • 200 Soldiers Read to Their Kids from Kabul
  • Deployed Parents Able to View DoDDS-E Graduations
  • FDA Orders Unapproved Antihistamine Medicines Off Market
  • Purple Heart Museum
  • Capehart and Wherry Military Housing Residents Sought
  • Military STAR Card Strengthens Troops’ Return on Investment
  • AAFES to Honor Retirees Sept. 29 through Oct. 1
  • Army Plate Design Approved for the State of Virginia

Conferees Agree on Emergency Supplemental Spending Bill
House and Senate negotiators have agreed on the $94.5 billion fiscal 2006 emergency supplemental spending bill much to the relief of the cash-strapped Department of Defense. The supplemental will provide $65.8 billion for the Pentagon; $4 billion for the State Department and foreign aid; $19.8 billion for hurricane relief; and $2.3 billion for pandemic flu preparations. To read article and AUSA Legislative Newsletter visit:

Bush Signs Measure to Prevent Protests at Military Funerals
President Bush signed the Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act, which was passed by Congress in response to the activities of a Kansas church group that has staged protests at military funerals around the country. The group said the military deaths symbolized God's anger at US tolerance of homosexuals, and their actions have sparked outrage among grieving families and lawmakers. The new law bars protests within 300 feet of the entrance to a National Cemetery and within 150 feet of a road into the cemetery, an hour before until an hour after a funeral. Violators face possible fines of up to a $100,000 and up to a year in prison. Details at:

Officials: Guard Troops Scare Off Would-Be Migrants
The arrival of U.S. National Guard troops in Arizona has scared off illegal Mexican migrants along the border, significantly reducing crossings, according to U.S. and Mexican officials. U.S. authorities said that detentions along the U.S.-Mexico border decreased by 21 percent, to 26,994, in the first 10 days of June, compared with 34,077 for the same period a year ago. More on this at:

Guard Troops to be in Place at Border by August 1
The 6,000 National Guard troops deploying to the U.S.-Mexico border as part of President Bush’s proposal for sweeping immigration reform will be in place by Aug. 1, according to National Guard officials. Guard leaders have been making plans for their newest mission, and the first 800 troops are already working side by side with U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents as of mid-June, said LTG Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau. That number should swell to 2,500 by the end of June. The Guard has been assigned priority sectors, and the areas near Tucson and Yuma, Arizona will receive 40 percent of the initial force. Other priority areas include El Paso, Texas, and San Diego, California. For the story visit:

Ft. Carson Hit with Hiring Freeze
The post is holding off on filling 74 vacant positions in its 4,400-employee civilian workforce, and commanders worry that further budget cuts could lead to 70 layoffs. Without a cash influx, the post could be running in the red by the end of the month, COL Michael Resty, the garrison commander, said Tuesday. The post has civilian contract workers in jobs as diverse as mowing lawns and marriage counseling. Fort Carson, which was home to 15,000 soldiers at this time last year, is expected to grow to more than 25,000 soldiers by the end of 2008 with the arrival of the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Hood, Texas. Read the details at:

Wounded Warriors Can Continue Serving
The Army is opening doors for severely wounded soldiers, allowing them to continue serving. Representatives from 23 U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command agencies offered more than 400 military and defense department jobs to men and women missing limbs and suffering from other injuries at a Wounded Warrior Job Fair at Walter Reed Army Medical Center June. 2. “We want them to know that they are wanted for continuous service in uniform or as a civilian,” said LTG. Robert Van Antwerp, commanding general of the U.S. Army Accessions Command and deputy commanding general of Initial Military Training, Fort Monroe, Va. To read more on this story visit:

Honoring Frontline Fathers
Father’s Day was originally proposed in 1909 as a way to honor a Civil War veteran who was widowed when his wife died in childbirth. Father’s Day has become a day to honor all fathers. With 73,280 military fathers currently deployed in support of contingency operations, there will be no shortage of dads spending June 18 far from loved ones. This year, any American can help bridge the gap between the front lines and the homefront with a “Gift from the Homefront” gift certificate by logging on to or calling 877-770-4438. From there, “Gifts from the Homefront” are sent to individual service members (designated by the purchaser) or distributed to “any service member” through the Air Force Aid Society, American Red Cross, Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, Fisher House, Operation Homefront, Operation Interdependence®, Soldier & Family Assistance Center or USO.

Military Hopes to Do Better Job of Meeting Troops’ MH Needs
Redeployment of troops with mental illness is among the areas a mental health task force may assess as it reviews the Pentagon's approach to mental health. Mental health advocates hope the planned task force will provide insight into the effectiveness of the Department of Defense's (DoD) efforts to identify and treat mental illness among active-duty military members. A new report reveals that most veterans with PTSD symptoms are not referred for help. Visit:

1st AD Spouses Test Their Mettle for Combat Spouse Badge
A group of oddly dressed U.S. soldiers patrols a village on the lookout for insurgents. Suddenly ambushers open fire from windows, an assumed casualty springs to life firing at the patrol and the soldiers quickly head for cover. As members of the 1st Armored Division’s 1st Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment coached the squadron of Army spouses through the combat course on Friedberg’s Ray Barracks; the competitors discussed their options and took action. It was all part of the 1st Brigade Combat Team’s Combat Spouse Badge Challenge June 3 – an event aimed at helping family members relate better to what their soldiers are experiencing during deployment to Iraq

200 Soldiers Read to Their Kids from Kabul
The “Read to Your Kids” program was established in late November by Army Reserve Master SGT D. Keith Johnson from the OMCA public affairs office as a way to bring deployed troops closer to their loved ones while they are away from home. On March 18, Johnson reached a new milestone as he completed his 200th taping. The 200th reader was SGT Tania Steele, from OMCA’s staff judge advocate office. “I really like the idea that my daughters can see me reading to them, it is the closest thing to me being there,” said Steele. The program is supported entirely by contributions that have come via the Web site and through other donors. Read full story at:

Deployed Parents Able to View DoDDS-E Graduations
Deployed service members were able to view their seniors crossing the stage and moving their tassels from right to left via live Web casts on Graduation Day. The efforts of eight defense agencies throughout the European and Central Commands allowed at least 18 graduation ceremonies to be viewed by an estimated 179 deployed parents in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and other locations around the world. The first graduation ceremony was webcast on June 7, followed by ten graduation ceremonies that took place simultaneously on June 9, with the last ceremony webcast on the evening of June 16.

FDA Orders Unapproved Antihistamine Medicines off Market
Manufacturers of cold, cough and allergy medicines containing the antihistamine carbinoxamine that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have been given 30 to 90 days to stop making the products. In ordering this, the FDA said the estimated 120 such medicines containing the antihistamine pose a safety risk to infants and young children. Since 1983, the FDA has received reports of 21 deaths of children two and younger associated with the products. Read details:

Purple Heart Museum at West Point Seeks Stories
State officials in New York are asking Purple Heart recipients from all wars and their family members to tell their stories as part of a new national museum that is being built at the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site in Vails Gate, N.Y. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, which will be the first national museum dedicated to the estimated 1.7 million Purple Heart recipients, is due to open Nov. 10. Visit:

Capehart and Wherry Military Housing Residents Sought
Did you live in Wherry or Capehart military family housing at any time between the late 1940s and the early 1960s? If so, historians want to talk to you as part of their effort to document the first large-scale federal effort to provide comprehensive military family housing. Regardless of the service branch of the installation you lived on, they want you to give them descriptions of the house layout, construction materials, yard appearance, and share your stories and memories of the neighborhood. Story details:

Military STAR Card Strengthens Troops’ Return on Investment
Every time troops use bank issued cards at their exchange, it costs the military community millions of dollars that could be directed to Morale, Welfare and Recreation efforts. One way military families can help reduce costs and ultimately strengthen their Exchange benefit is to take advantage of the Exchanges’ exclusive Military STAR® Card. Unlike bank cards, profits generated from the Military STAR® Card are shared with military communities through contributions to the military service's MWR funds. These funds reduce the tax burden of all U.S. citizens, and are used to build libraries, child care centers, gymnasiums, bowling alleys and recreational facilities for service members and their families around the world. The Military STAR® Card is accepted at AAFES, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Exchange activities, as well as the Exchange Catalog and the Exchange Online store at For more information on the Military STAR® Card, visit and click on the Military STAR® Card icon.

AAFES to Honor Retirees Sept. 29 through Oct. 1
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service's 2006 recognition of military retirees will take place Sept. 29 through Oct. 1 at Post Exchanges and Base Exchanges throughout CONUS, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and at participating Europe and Pacific locations. In addition to special sales and events at each AAFES main store, this year's "Still Serving" weekend will include an exclusive mailer sent directly to approximately 1.4 million military retirees. With retirees representing nearly half of AAFES’ military households, the exchange maintains a strong relationship with retirees throughout the entire year. Authorized exchange customers can learn about activities planned for the weekend of Sept. 29 at their specific exchange by calling their local store manager. Contact information can be found online at by clicking on the “store locator” link.

Army $1000 Referral Bonus Program
The Army has implemented a pilot program which allows Soldiers to refer qualified applicants to recruiters and receive a $1000 Referral Bonus when the applicant completes military training. Immediate family members do not qualify as a referral. The applicant must enlist in the Regular Component of the Army, Army Reserve, or Army National Guard, and complete Basic and Advanced Individual Training (AIT). Additional details about the program and eligible soldiers may be obtained at or

General Persuades Army Not to Cut Hundreds of Civilian Jobs
In a stunning reversal of fortune, hundreds of civilian employees who were about to be let go because of the Army’s budget problems will keep their jobs after all. In a move destined to endear him forever to soldiers’ family members — who comprise the majority of the temporary workers about to lose their jobs — GEN David McKiernan, commander of U.S. Army Europe, persuaded the Army to exempt the temps in Europe from what had been an Army-wide order. What’s more, the summer hire program for young people, which provides hundreds of summer jobs, will proceed instead of being postponed or possibly cancelled, will proceed. The six-week program will start on June 26, according to the release. Read full story at:

Army Plate Design Approved for the State of Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia, the first state authorized to use the registered Army trademark on a license plate, recently approved the development and design of the Army specialty plate. The prototype of the plate can be seen on the Virginia DMV site,; however, the plate is not available through the DMV until the sponsor collects 350 prepaid applications. The official sponsor, Roy Steed, is an Army LTC who works in the Pentagon. All active, retired and honorably discharged soldiers from the Active Army, Army Reserve or the Army National Guard are eligible. Steed states that he has gone back to the state legislature to ask that Department of the Army (DA) civilians qualify for the plate, but at this time they do not. To apply for the license plate, soldiers and veterans should send a completed Virginia State Form 10, a copy of their military ID or DD 214 with social security number blocked out, and a $10 check ($20 if you desire a personalized plate) made out to Roy Steed at 4254 Moot Dr., Dumfries, VA 22026. For more information and the application form go to site: or email