When you become a Military family, there are many new things to learn about, like Military acronyms and terms (who knows what all this stuff means), chain of command, family readiness groups, traditions and protocols, deployment cycles, and the list goes on.
Army One Source compiles important, credible and up-to-date information for Army Soldiers and Family members to access at any time of day, regardless of component or physical location.
Army One Source offers FREE Army Family Team Building (AFTB) e-learning courses that are available to anyone with ties to a soldier. All you need to do to take an e-course is:
- Register on the site.
- Use Internet Explorer as your Internet browser
- Choose a course.
I was so excited to hear about these courses from a friend! Some of the available courses will get you more familiar with Military life in no time!
For example, the AFTB Level I Training teaches you everything from Military acronyms and terms, to Military customs and courtesies. There is also a Level II and III training,
The Battlemind Training for Spouses was developed to help Spouses and their Families face deployments with resilience and strength, allowing easier separations and smoother reunions. Even if you are not a Military spouse, the information you learn here can be applied to you too.
As my oldest son gets ready to head back to Afghanistan after 15 days of R&R, I think one of the things many people forget is that military families include parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, grandparents and extended family members.
These are OUR children, our sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, brothers & sisters. Most of us don’t have access to the base support that spouses do and yet, we go through many of the same emotions.
Young siblings of soldiers go through the same feelings and emotions about saying good-bye to their big brothers & sisters in the same way that children of soldiers do, yet there is no one else close-by for these young kids to relate to.
My daughter is nine years old, her big brothers are both deployed and I know she misses them terribly, and goes through the same questions and range of emotions that perhaps even she doesn’t understand.
My parents and in-laws, while connected on my sons’ units Facebook pages, don’t understand the Army ‘lingo’ or how things work. As much as they try, I don’t expect them to, and they look to me for direction.
Two years ago, I attended the ROTC military ball with my younger son and I was amazed at the number of families who had never been exposed to the military before. They seemed so lost. They didn’t understand the Army language or how things worked.
While a lot has changed in the last 20 years, as a former Army spouse, I did understand the lingo and somewhat how things work.
So, what about us?
What about the rest of us that make up a military family? Those of us that are scattered around the country and in some cases, in other countries?
I have some ideas on this, which may require your input, but in the meantime:
1. See if there is a Blue Star Families chapter in your area or closeby.
2. If your son/daughter’s unit has a Facebook fan page, make sure to become a fan.
3. If your son/daughter is a single soldier, find out who the FRG unit leader is and request your son/daughter to be put on the notification list for updates and emails.
4. Become a fan of the Army Mom Strong Facebook fan page
While I don’t think it’s the Army’s responsibility to take care of us financially, in the same way that spouses and children of soldiers are taken care of, I do think a much better job can be done to keep parents and family members of soldiers in the loop.
After all, they are our children.
Air Force FitFamily is a web based goal incentive program. Families have the opportunity to set goals and monitor their progress. If you have young children, or grandchildren, take a look at this program. You can help create good habits for kids early in life.
FitFamily is open to all active duty, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, DoD and civilian families.
Air Force FitFamily encourages the ABCs of family Health and Fitness. You can try them with your family and see the difference small steps can make!
FitFamily stresses that it is never too early—or late—to teach children to make healthy lifestyle choices. With childhood obesity on the rise, it’s more important than ever for parents to make exercise and good nutrition part of everyday family life.
How can you get your little couch potatoes off the sofa and on the road to good health? The answer may be as easy as ABC. Start with these baby steps, get the kids involved in the choices, and make healthy eating and movement part of the entire family’s routine:
- “A” is for Activities
- “B” is for Building Habits
- “C” is for Counting Progress
- “D” is for Day Trips
- “E” is for Eating Healthy
- “F” is for Fun
From walking and raking leaves to hiking and cooking healthy meals, FitFamily participants are doing all kinds of fun activites to stay active—together!
There are many helpful resources available on the Web site to help you and your family stay fit and healthy! You can also enter competitions and register to win prizes.
Visit FitFamily: http://www.usaffitfamily.com/
Every Military Mom has a heartwarming story to share about strength, sadness, and love when their son or daughter joins the Military and especially when deployed.
Patti Correa, Published Author and Military Mom is seeking stories from Moms. It’s time to tell the mother’s side. This new book will feature stories from mothers of servicemembers coping with their sons and daughters serving this great country.
For more information contact Patti Correa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patti Correa is the author of “From a Pebble to a Rock“, where she compiled stories of military wives, mothers, and daughters from all walks of life. How do they do it? is a question often asked as we see wives, mothers, and daughters of military men go day by day faced with loneliness, more responsibility, and uncertainty that come with separation. Follow Patti as women on the home front tell their true-life, heartwarming stories of love, weakness, and strength during times of separation. These stories of survival will show you the love they have for their husbands, dads, sons, and uncles and their perseverance to keep the families together.
When a soldier in Iraq wanted to send his kids a gift, he was limited as to what he had access to: a couple of band aids and some sun screen! It didn’t matter too much, his kids were thrilled to received anything at all! That story is the inspiration behind “Dog Tags for Kids”!
The Dog Tags for Kids project is dedicated to helping United States Service men and women in harm’s way, to connect with their children at home. The idea is to send something to a deployed Mom or Dad that they can easily send back to their kids!
Dog tags were just perfect! Each one is engraved with “With Love From Dad, U.S. Army, Iraq 2010″. (or Mom; or Kuwait or Afghanistan). The tags are small enough to easily fit in an envelope and send home.
The dog tags must come from the parents so all dog tags are sent to Iraq, Kuwait, or Afghanistan at the request of the service members. Then the service members can send one to their child at home.
Rose Sliepka is the amazing woman behind this grassroots project that depends entirely on volunteers and donations to continue the missions. Rose actually engraves all of the tags and has volunteers in California that help bag them and box them for shipping.
Each parent soldier that is in harm’s way can receive a dog tag at no charge!
Since the project’s beginning, they have now sent over 500,000 tags to our men and women fighting in harm’s way. Soldier’s love sending them and their kids love receiving them!
How YOU can help:
- Request tags for deployed soldiers
- Make a monetary donation or learn more
- We need your votes! You can help Dog Tags for Kids win $2500 for their project which will help supply another 5000+ tags that will result in a lot of smiles! Simply click here and vote for Rose Sliepka from Lanacaster, CA who has unselfishly dedicated herself to this wonderful program. Thank you!
The national media finally picked up the news, and it ran on Fox stations across the country.
Through donations and recycling of cell phones, Brittany and Robbie use the proceeds to purchase prepaid phone card and distribute them to deployed soldiers. AT&T donated half a million dollars in phone cards and established drop off locations at each of its 2,000 stores across the country.
Since 2004, this brother and sister have provided more than 60,000,000 minutes of free calling cards thanks to a national network of individual and corporate supporters donating phones and money.
“There are more than 130 million phones retired every year in the United States,” said Robbie Bergquist, cofounder of Cell Phones for Soldiers. “If just 2% of all American’s were to donate their phones, we could supply every troop with a phone as a small measure of the gratitude of a nation.”
Here are some great ways you can help:
- Donate a Phone – Drop off your old or unused cell phone at any of AT&T’s more than 2,000 company-owned stores across the U.S. You can also mail your used phone with free shipping anywhere in the U.S. Click here to find a drop off point.
- Donate Money – Don’t have a phone to donate? Support the troops by making an online secure donation. Click here to donate money.
- Set Up a Drop-off Point – Show your support for the troops by setting up an offical drop-off point for Cell Phones for Soldiers. Click here to set up a drop-off location.
- To request a calling card for YOUR soldier – Each phone card provide an 800 number, which the user may call, and supplies the user with an hour of talk time. Request a calling card.
Help keep Military families connected – donate a phone! Watch more of Cell Phones for Soldiers Charity and how it is helping our troops around the world!
CaringBridge is a free, nonprofit web service that connects family and friends to share information, love and support during a serious health event, care and recovery. It takes just a few moments to create a personal and private CaringBridge website.
I learned about CaringBridge through some dear friends that are keeping track of a fellow soldier. He was seriously injured, along with seven other members of his unit, when an improvised explosive device (IED) was set off in Afghanistan last year.
CaringBridge provides a way to simplify updates to family and friends through journal entries. This helps to reduce the stress of multiple conversations. Visitors to your site can leave messages of love and support in the guestbook. Our soldier friend, who is still recovering, has already received 3,000 loving and supportive messages. It really makes a difference to the person who is recovering and the family.
With CaringBridge, you can build a Web site easily and quickly. It is free and available anytime you need it.
I hope you never need to use this Web site. If you do, please let us know so we can support you through your soldier’s recovery.
About CaringBridge: CaringBridge is a charitable nonprofit organization. Their mission:
To bring together a global community of care powered by the love of family and friends in an easy, accessible and private way. Visit: CaringBridge.org
Stay Army Mom Strong. Blessings to you and your soldier.
Are you the Mom of a son or daughter who is serving, or has been honorably discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States? If so, you are probably experiencing emotions that you have not felt before. Finding the daily strength to cope with your son or daughter’s deployment can be daunting. No one really understands what you are going through except for other Military Moms!
That’s where the Blue Star Mothers of America comes in! When you join a local Blue Star Mother’s group, you can connect with other Moms of deployed and not-deployed Military that maybe experiencing the same feelings as you.
Blue Star Mothers of America has an amazing history. The organization was started in January 22, 1942 when the Flint News Advertiser printed a coupon asking Mothers of serviceman to return the coupon after filling it out.
This led to over 300 mothers meeting at a hotel in Flint Michigan the following month. With Captain George H. Maines acting as the chair for the first meeting, they decided to form a permanent organization.
Mothers volunteered their time through the tough times of World War II – packing care packages and helping out in hospitals. Over the years the organization dimished in size but after being attacked on our own soil again, proud Military Moms started hanging flags in their windows at home proclaiming pride in the fact that we have children protecting our freedom during at time of war.
Blue Star Mothers provides support for active duty service personnel, promotes patriotism, assists Veterans organizations, and are available to assist in homeland volunteer efforts to help our country remain strong.
When you need encouragement, Blue Star Moms can help you cope with military life and be there for you when you need strength to get through a tough time.
Do YOU belong to a local Blue Star Mothers chapter? If so, we’d love to hear more from you! Leave a comment!
2009 was a great year for me. I have much to be thankful for, most of all family and friends. I am also blessed to have met so many wonderful Military families that support each other through it all.
With all the goodness that has come my way, my heart remains heavy with the burden of knowing that my son and all our deployed troops are in harm’s way.
Life goes on, so they say. And it does, except for those moments when I am alone and this sadness overwhelms me and the tears start. Or when a friend asks me if I heard from my son and I can hardly speak.
At times like this, I remember to “look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look there.”
So here we are, another New Year’s Eve. While people are out partying and having a wild time, I am simply thinking that my son is one day closer to coming home.
Have a happy and healthy 2010. HOOAH!
Thanks to modern technology, some deployed soldiers shared in their family’s holiday fun using Skype. My son was one of those Afghanistan deployed soldiers that got to enjoy the fun of his kids opening Christmas presents. All it took was 2 computers, 2 webcams, an Internet connection, and Skype.
My son and his wife planned a day and time for the kids to open their Christmas gifts from Daddy. He got to watch the kids excitement and share in their fun! The kids are always thrilled to “see” Daddy on the webcam!
Pictured left, is my granddaughter, who can’t take her eyes off her Daddy.
Many soldiers that are deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq have Internet access in their tents, B-huts, and CHUs. Internet access is an ideal solution, especially for soldiers with families and young children. It is also very expensive but well worth it. High speed communications service is available via satellite and shared amongst many soldiers. Their computer or wireless / wired network can receive internet signal, through a special satellite VSAT modem.
There are also a number of Internet cafes available to soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, like the one pictured at Bagram, Agfghanistan.
Phone calls are a great way to keep in touch, but for kids, “seeing” Daddy is a priceless gift!