‘America Cares’ summer care package drive
Honoring Our Troops is holding its semi-annual ‘America Cares’ package drive on Saturday, Sept. 8 at the Veterans Museum & Memorial Center in Balboa Park.

Last year, HRT sent out  810 care packages. This summer, the goal is 1,200 packages. Volunteers will be needed to collect donated items through the month of August as well as on pack and ship day.

For more information or to volunteer, call Robert, 858-433-0525 office, 619-674=2556 cell, or email Robert@hrtroops.org. Click here for event flyer.

Dial 2-1-1 for military and veteran services
The state of California is home to more veterans and military members than any other state in the nation. In San Diego County, veterans, active duty, guard and reserve members and their families make up a large segment of the population and are an integral part of the community. Every day in San Diego County, families deal with deployments, separation and reunification with family members, and readjusting to daily life, among the complex maze of issues these face.

Often, the most difficult problem is not knowing where to turn when help is needed. No matter if you’re a veteran, active military, reservists, transitioning to civlian life or a family members, www.211sandiego.org will help you find the help you need.

Counter-terrorism Summit in San Diego
The fifth annual HALO Counter-Terrorism Summit will be held Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, 2012 at Paradise Point Resort, a private island located in San Diego’s Mission Bay. For more info or to register, visit www.thehalocorp.com.

August Job Fair
Hiring Our Heroes is holding a hiring fair on Thursday, Aug. 16 at the Anchors Catering & Conference Center, 2375 Recreation Way, Bldg. 3210 in San Diego. For more info, visit www.uschamber.com/hiringourheroes/events.

Military-themed movies at O’side Int’l. Film Festival
A special military-themed screening block preview of the Oceanside International Film Festival will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11 at the Oceanside Library, downtown Civic Center branch, 330 North Coast Hwy. in Oceanside. The event is free to military, veterans and their families (with military I.S. and advance registration) and only $5 for general civilian public (with advance registration). For information about these films or to register, visit www.ocaf.info.

National Univ. named 2012 Military Friendly School
National University, the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California and the 12th-largest in the nation, has been selected by G.I. Jobs magazine as a “Military Friendly School for 2012.” The honor places National University in the top 15 percent of all schools nationwide. For more information, visit www.nu.edu.

Navy seeks nominations for Champion Award
San Diego has a long history and association as a “Navy” town. As a way to show the Navy’s appreciation, Navy Region Southwest would like to recognize the many efforts of the citizens of San Diego who support our Sailors and their Families. This award recognizes individual citizens who champion any segment of our shore installation mission and improve the lives of our “Fleet – Fighter – Family” in the Southwest Region.

Any non-DOD employee supporting Fleet Fighter Family during the period covered can be nominated.

The effort must have taken place between Sept. 1, 2011 and Aug. 31, 2012. This year, the nomination period will close Aug. 31. Award recipients will be announced at the Navy Birthday Concert in October. To nominate someone, visit http://goo.gl/ofR1G.

4th Annual Phil’s Big BBQ benefits Operation Bigs
Join Phil’s BBQ at PETCO Park on Monday, Aug. 6, 5 to 7 p.m. to benefit Big Brother Big Sisters’ ‘Operation Bigs’ military mentoring program. This is a huge tailgate party complete with a Kid Ventures kids zone, music, Karl Strauss beer garden and tasty Phil’s BBQ. Nearly 3,000 fans came out to show their support at last year’s event. Guests will enjoy Phil’s chicken and ribs, two sides, Coca-Cola beverage, an ice cream dessert from Ben & Jerry’s Seaport Village, and a ticket to the 7:05p.m. Padres vs. Cubs game. Tickets for meal and game are $25 and available at either of the Phil’s locations or online at www.philsbbq.net and www.SDBigs.org/PhilsBigBBQ.

Season tickets holders can purchase a ‘meal only’ ticket for $20. Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis. 100% of ticket sales go directly to Operation Bigs.

Miller Lite matching donation dollars for charity
Miller Lite is Saluting Greatness and will match online contributions dollar for dollar now through Aug. 31, 2012, in support of Operation Homefront Southern California and its mission to provide emergency financial and other assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Click here to make your donation.

Military Resource & Career Fair
Diverse Military presents its Support Our Troops Resource & Career Fair at the Scottish Rite Event Center, 1895 Camino Del Rio South, San Diego, on Wednesday, Aug. 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Veterans, active duty military and spouses are encouraged to participate. Bring plenty of resumes and dress for success.

For more info, call 619-277-9099.

Access your VA health records online
The VA’s Blue Button allows you to access and download your information from your My HealtheVet personal health record into a very simple text file or PDF that can be read, printed, or saved on any computer. It gives you complete control of this information — without any special software — and enables you to share this data with your health care providers, caregivers, or people you trust.

To get started, visit www.va.gov/bluebutton.

Body armor for women
The U.S. military is developing “Xena: Warrior Princess”-style body armor for women that it hopes will give them greater protection on the battlefield, with more curves in the chest and hips.

It is a considerable engineering challenge to make body armor that better fits the bodies of female troops, officials acknowledge, and it may be years in the making.

In the meantime, Army engineers are forging ahead with improvements that they hope will provide much-needed changes after a decade of women serving on the front lines of an unpredictable battlefield.

Vets to benefit from updated TAP
For the first time since its inception 22 years ago, the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) is getting an overhaul to better accommodate the needs of transitioning service members. Key changes include one-on-one counseling and separate tracks for pursuing higher education, starting a business or finding a civilian job. Additionally, as part of the facelift, it will be renamed Transition Goals Planning and Success (Transition GPS).

One million push-ups in one year
What started as a New Year’s Resolution for Sgt. Enrique Trevino — to complete one million push-ups in one year — is now a mission to raise awareness and funds for wounded warriors. It’s a lofty ambition. In order to reach one million push-ups by Jan. 1, 2013, Trevino must complete an average of 2,732 push-ups a day, but he’s determined to reach his goal. “About a week into it, I kinda told myself instead of me just doing this for myself, I wanna benefit my brothers and sisters who’ve been injured in combat since 9/11,” he said. Now halfway through the year, he has raised nearly $40,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project. But for Trevino, it is still all about the Marines: “The Marines around me, they’re really supportive. Sometimes they’ll get down and do some push-ups with me,” he said.

Change in VA rules for service dogs
According to the Navy Times, Congress is about to order the Veterans Affairs Department to open its facilities to service dogs that accompany veterans. But the policy lawmakers have written is more restrictive in some cases than the rules already in effect.

The service dog provision, included in an omnibus veterans’ bill, requires VA to give access to service dogs that were trained by an organization that has been accredited by another organization that evaluates guide dogs and service dogs.

Current rules in place for most VA facilities do not require a dog to have come from an accredited trainer, only that the dog owner certify the dog has specific training to assist them.

Elite Marine units to receive new pistols
Adding to their arsenal, the Marine Corps’ special operation and reconnaissance units are set to receive the next generation of .45-caliber pistols by 2017. The new gun, dubbed the Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) M45 Close Quarter Battle Pistol, will be an upgraded version of the pistols currently used by the Corps’ elite units.

“It’s more efficient to replace the guns over time instead of attempting to completely rebuild them,” said Charles Clark III, who oversees infantry weapons requirements at the Corps’ Combat Development and Integration Office at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

Miramar gets new commanding officer
Col. John P. Farnam is the new commanding officer of MCAS Miramar effective July 25, 2012. Farnam assumed the position after serving as the Deputy Division Chief for Forces Division.

2013 TRICARE Prime enrollment fees announced
The fiscal year 2013 TRICARE Prime enrollment fees for uniformed service retirees and their families go into effect Oct. 1, 2012. The Prime enrollment fees for 2013 are $269.28 for retirees, and $538.56 for retirees and their family members. For more info, visit www.tricare.mil.

No pot for PTSD sufferers
According to the Navy Times, an effort to persuade the Obama administration to legalize marijuana for sufferers of post traumatic stress has met with a sound rejection from the White House. Responding to a petition signed by 8,258 people on the White House website, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerikowske wrote last month that marijuana is not a “benign drug” and does not meet the standards of safe or effective medicine.

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