Navy Offers New Readiness App
The Navy is testing several apps designed to maximize each Sailor’s and Marine’s personal readiness. Two new apps are Tactical Breather, which teaches you the correct breathing methods to control your heart rate and physiological and psychological responses to stress; the other is the Mood Tracker, requires users to self-monitor emotional experiences associated with common deployment-related behavioral issues like PTSD and anxiety.
To download these and other apps, visit www.t2health.org/mobile-apps.
Families Connect with FB, Skype
A national survey by Blue Star Families shows that social media plays a large role in helping military family members stay connected. It also allows access to information and resources not previously available. While 45% of respondents said their service members’ unit uses Facebook to disseminate information, only 16% said they use social media to stay connected with the unit. Further, the use of email to stay connected is down significantly.
Free Telephone for Hearing Impaired Veterans
CaptionCall® is a revolutionary new telephone for anyone who has trouble hearing on the phone. Similar to captioned TV, this phone uses voice recognition technology and a fast transcription service to quickly provide written captions of what callers say on a large, easy-to-read screen. All you need to participate is difficulty hearing on the phone, high speed internet connection, standard home phone connection and an electrical outlet.
For a limited time, U.S. veterans can get CaptionCall for free (regularly $149). That includes free delivery, free installation assistance, and free ongoing captioning service. CaptionCall is reimbursed by the FCC for providing this service. Must have a hearing loss to participate. Visit www.captioncall.com or call 1-877-557-2227 to order.
New Reptilian Camouflage
This month, soldiers will begin testing a camouflage pattern that looks more like reptile scales than terrain as part of the field-trial portion of the Army’s camouflage improvement effort. Several vendors submitted versions of the reptilian pattern with the finalists’ entries moving on to the test phase. Ultimately, the winner’s pattern could end up replacing the Army’s embattled Universal Camouflage Pattern, known as UCP, which was adopted in 2004.
Changes to Combat Pay Recommended
A Pentagon review recommends ridding the combat pay system of inequities that have allowed officers thousands of miles from battle to get better benefits proportionally than troops on the front lines in Afghanistan.
The report recommends that hostile fire pay be more than the danger pay and that there be levels of imminent danger pay based on where servicemembers are. Currently they can get the danger pay for being in more than two dozen places, including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines and Jordan — as well as in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.
Help for Deployment Depression
It’s a given that frequent deployments are hard on spouses and on marriages as a whole. Wives of the deployed are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and other mental health condition. The military life in general is already filled with anxiety and unknowns. Add multiple lengthy deployments and you have families in crisis.
A new website serves as a resource for those who are suffering — www.heartstowardhome.com. It offers advice, compassion and hope.
Jobs for Veterans at the U.S. DOT
The Department of Transportation has created a new portal on its website designed to help military veterans find jobs in the transportation industry. Needed are pilots, controllers, mechanics and drivers. Visit www.dot.gov or www.va.gov for more information.
All-in-One Benefits Calculator
Visit http://goo.gl/pqL1h to use Military.com’s benefit calculator, designed to quickly and easily connect you to your benefits information based on servie and status. Find federal and state benefits, National Guard state benefits, special military discounts and more.
Helping Homeless Female Veterans
A bill introduced by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., would provide community grants for transitional housing on the condition that it meets physical private, safety and security needs, providing legal services to help lower-income veterans find permanent housing. Female veteran homelessness is on the rise, due in part to inadequate housing options for women with children.
DFAS Warns of Scam E-mails
Fraudulent e-mails are being sent to military members, military retirees, and civilian employees, which appear to be sent by Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS). Although the email appears to come from DFAS and displays a .mil email address it is actually from a non-government email account. The e-mails indicate that individuals who are receiving disability compensation from the VA may be able to obtain additional funds from the IRS. If you do receive a notice from the IRS, respond immediately. If you believe someone may have used your social security number (SSN) fraudulently, notify IRS immediately by responding to the name and number printed on the IRS notice or letter.