My family loves technology! That’s how we keep in touch over the long-distances that come along with a Military career. When I found these Military branded mobile phone covers from Trident Case, I was excited for two reasons:

  • Love the design
  • Love the protection offered

We’ve tried other cases but honestly, none of them measure up to what we found with Trident Case. Here’s our review of three cases. After using the cases for about 6 weeks, my son also purchased one for his Nexus 7 tablet (not included in this review.)

You can find these awesome Military edition cases at: Trident Case

Military Edition - Cyclops Case for Samsung Galaxy S IV

Military Edition - Cyclops Case for Samsung Galaxy S IV

Military Edition – Cyclops Case for Samsung Galaxy S IV

J.S., Chief Warrant Officer 3, Army Aviation

I like the design because it feels sturdy, it looks cool and is sleek and slim. It didn’t add much bulk to the phone. I dropped my phone once or twice and the cover seemed to absorb the shock. The screen cover is nice too. It protects the screen and increases touch sensitivity. The cover was easy to install as well. I can use my phone anywhere with confidence because I know it’s well protected, the screen won’t be easily scratched, and if I drop it I don’t have to worry about cracking or breaking any part of the phone.

Military Edition - Kraken A.M.S. Case for Apple iPad 2/3/4Military Edition – Kraken A.M.S. Case for Apple iPad 2/3/4

Army Mom Strong – Proud Army Mom!

The first thing that caught my eye of this amazing case it that it’s Army branded! I love it! As a Proud Army Mom, I am always on the lookout for cool looking Military branded items that I can actually use and this one fits the bill.

The Trident Kraken A.M.S. case is a duel cover with a silicon first layer covered by an outer casing. It also includes a built-in screen protector for a total of 3 pieces. I never had a screen protector for my iPad 2 and was nervous that the touch-screen would lose some sensitivity but it works just fine.

It was super easy to install too. The case makes the iPad slightly heavier but the protection offered is heavy duty. Everything is perfectly lined up and all the controls work like they are supposed to. The ports are covered with silicon plugs that are simple to open and close, offering even better protection, especially if you are in a dusty environment. I recommend this case to anyone who needs added protection for their iPad or you just want to a cool case that sports the Military brand!

Aegis Case for Google Nexus 5

Aegis Case for Google Nexus 5This case is fantastic! I love the combination silicon and hard shell case. It looks great and offers excellent protection for my Nexus 5 phone. The duel cover is very easy to install and remove. The entire device controls work perfectly! I drop my phone more than I’d like to admit and the Aegis has incredible drop protection.

I have also spilled some water on my phone and was terrified that water got inside the case. After removing the case, my phone was completely dry. No water got into the case which made me very happy.

This model comes with 2 screen protectors and instructions on how to put them on. Another plus for this case!

I was using another case for my Nexus 5 which pales in comparison to this one. I highly recommend the Aegis. It’s cool looking and gets the job done.

You can find these awesome Military edition and other cases at: Trident Case

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Sending mail to APO – FPO – DPO addresses is the same as sending domestic mail. There are some special guidelines for Military mail that is going overseas. In this article, I will explain.

How to Address Military Mail

Here are examples of how to address military mail – it could be 2 or 3 lines for the address:

CPT JOHN DOE
UNIT 2050 BOX 4190
APO AP 96278-2050

SGT ROBERT SMITH
PSC 802 BOX 74
APO AE 09499-0074

SGT ROBERT SMITH
Company, Troop or Battalion
Unit 2050 Box 4190
APO AP 09499

All mail must be addressed to a specific person. Your soldier can provide you with the correct address. Be sure to put your return address.

How Much Postage?

Since all Military mail is considered domestic, you pay the regular price of a stamp. If you are sending a letter, just place a stamp like you normally would.

If you are sending a package, you will have to weigh the package and place the appropriate amount of postage on the package.

Flat Rate Priority Mail

If you are sending care packages, flat rate priority mail is the best way to go. You can put up to 70 pounds in the box and pay a flat rate of $14.85.

Note that some boxes have a Military or APO logo on the box BUT you do not need to use that particular box to get the Military flat rate pricing. The regular flat rate priority box without a Military or APO log  is fine.

You can get the boxes for free at the post office. You can also have the boxes sent to your home at no charge.

To order supplies, request your FREE Military Care package kit by calling 1-800-610-8734. Select your language (1 is English, 2 is Spanish). Select option 1 (it states it is for Express Mail, Priority Mail or Global Express Guaranteed products).

When you reach a live agent, request CAREKIT04, the “Military Kit. Allow 7-10 days for delivery. You can request up to 4 kits.

How to Fill Out the Customs Form for Military Mail

Even though all APO/FPO/DPO addresses are considered domestic mail for pricing purposes, some of this mail goes overseas. In this case, you must fill out a customs form for packages (if your package is NOT going overseas, you do not need this form). You can get these forms at the post office. If you order the care package kit (see above) they are included.

Here is the correct way to fill out the form (fill in all highlighted areas). The current form may not have red lines but the information is the same.

USPS customs from

USPS customs from

Here is a video that explains how to pack and addresses packages.

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Since 2006, the Red Friday movement has been growing. People wear red on Fridays to show their support for our service men and women who are deployed.

RED Friday means Remember Everyone Deployed.

Show your support for our troops deployed overseas.

Available now, RED Friday t-shirts! 20% of every sale goes to a Military Support organization.

Red Friday T-shirts

Red Friday T-shirts

We thank Wild Lyon Graphics for these super cool Red Friday distressed t-shirt styles.

Click here to order yours!

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USPS deadlines for troops overseasIt’s only November but time to start thinking about holiday packages for troops in overseas locations!

The United States Postal Service announced their holiday deadlines for sending packages to overseas troops. If you want packages to reach your soldier in time for the holiday, be sure to adhere to the deadlines. Mail is very slow to overseas locations during the holiday season and it can take longer than normal to get there.

Holiday packages and mail headed for Afghanistan must be sent a week earlier than other deadlines. Express mail military service is not available to those destinations.

Priority Mail Deadlines and Destination Zip Codes :

  • December 03 – APO / FPO / DPO AE (Afghanistan) ZIP 093
  • December 10 – APO / FPO / DPO AE (all others) ZIPs 090-092, 094-098, 340, 962-966

Our troops need your support, especially around the holidays! Send some cheer to a soldier!

Don’t forget to order your Military Care Kit! Each kit contains six Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes (two large and four medium-sized boxes), six customs forms and envelopes, six Priority address labels and one role of military tape. Order your kit by calling the USPS Expedited Package Supply Center at 1-800-610-8734.

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outpost-restrepoRestrepo is a film documentary by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington. Filmed in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, this documentary focuses on a 15-man outpost named “Restrepo”, after a platoon medic that was killed in action. Restrepo was considered one of the most dangerous outposts in the U.S. Military.

This movie is the real deal. The film makers take you on the journey with 15 men of the 173rd Airborne brigade. You will feel like you are on the deployment with these Soldiers, who are dedicated to getting the job done.

When I first heard about Restrepo, I wanted to see it but was hesitant. With my son in Afghanistan, seeing this movie could be upsetting to me. I decided to go anyway with a couple of other Military Mom friends.  I chatted with my son about it and he advised me to read the book “WAR” first, but I didn’t have time. In the book “WAR“, author Sebastian Junger gives an unforgettable portrait of these men under fire in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley.

I went to the movie expecting to be very upset. We came prepared with Kleenix, knowing that tears could very well be part of this evening.

Restrepo can only be described as an excellent and tastefully done documentary about the worst parts of war. I could not take my eyes or attention from the 90-minute film. The courage, strength, and camaraderie of these Soldiers was nothing short of amazing. The filmmakers captured the experience of these Soldiers in such a way, that you really understand what it might be like at a remote combat outpost.

Restrepo gave me a glimpse into what our Soldiers experience in Afghanistan. Did I cry? I did tear up as the movie was winding down.

Go see Restrepo. It’s amazing. Check to see if it’s playing at a theater near you.

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winter in afghanistanThe hot weather in Afghanistan and Iraq is winding down and the freezing cold is ready to settle in. In Afghanistan, winter sets in near the end of November and snow is common across much of the country. Winter is harsh across the country with temperatures going below zero. Spring starts again in March.

The climate in Afghanistan varies according to altitude, due to the height and location of any particular area. Temperatures in the north can be below freezing for most of the winter, and snow in the higher elevations is common.

These same tips apply for Iraq where winter temperatures are below freezing.

Pack your care packages accordingly when the weather is freezing. Here are a few tips for care package items to help Soldiers get through the freezing winter.

  • Warm blankets
  • Black thermal under garments
  • Black stocking caps
  • Gloves (mechanics gloves so they can operate their weapons),
  • Soup packets
  • Hot cocoa packets
  • Tea bags
  • Hand warmers
  • Medicated lip balm (Carmex is good!)
  • Cough drops
  • Long sleeve t-shirts (Under Armour)
  • Instant coffee
  • Flannel sheets
  • Long underwear
  • Wool socks
  • Fleece or other warm blankets

Note - Request your FREE USPS Military Care package kit (shipping supplies) by calling 1-800-610-8734.

If you have more tips, please comment!

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flags in at Arlington National CemetaryMemorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who died in service to our nation and about coming together to honor those who gave all. Originally it was called Decoration Day.

On May 5, 1868, Memorial Day was officially proclaimed by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. The first time this day was observed was May 30 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. New York was the first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873.

By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war)

It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

Since the late 50’s on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing.

In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye’s Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.”

On January 19, 1999 Senator Inouye introduced bill S 189 to the Senate which proposes to restore the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day back to May 30th instead of “the last Monday in May”. On April 19, 1999 Representative Gibbons introduced the bill to the House (H.R. 1474). The bills were referred the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Government Reform.

Article source: Memorial Day History website: http://www.usmemorialday.org

Let us remember and honor those service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Amen.

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grammy's cookie convoyThe Troops Project began in 2005 when Marlene Summers spoke to a young man just before he was about to be deployed to Iraq. He reminded her of her own son. She met his family and started sending him notes and cookies. She received an email from this soldier saying the morale was getting low and troops were feeling forgotten. He also let Marlene know that the cookies she sent really helped to boost morale amongst the troops. She thought about what she could do to support the troops while they were so far away from home.

Marlene owned a chocolate chip cookie company – so why why not send chocolate chip cookies to the troops as a way to boost morale and thanking the brave heros who serve and protect a grateful nation.
She wanted to send a million hugs to the troops! That is how this project started. She started baking cookies, not just any cookies, but HUGE cookies!

As of July 2009, they shipped over 90,000 cookies to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a non-profit organization, Grammy’s Cookie Convoy, Inc. focuses on making our troops feel right at home.

Without the support of volunteers and contributors they would not be able to send their appreciation to Our Troops. It takes over $10,000 to send a shipment of cookies overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan. Donations help pay for the shipping costs to get the large quantity of chocolate chip cookies to our troops.

The Troops Project is recognized by the IRS as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit project.

Great job Marlene Summers! HOOAH!

To learn more about The Troops project or how you can help, visit on the Web: http://troopsproject.com/

This video is a little dated but will give you a great idea about how Grammy’s Cookie Convoy got started!

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army experience centerThe Army Experience Center (AEC), located in Philadelphia, PA, provides a unique interactive experience and insight into the life of a Soldier. No surprise that is was designed and built by the world’s premier land force—the United States Army! HOOAH!

The Army Experience Center is the world’s one and only interactive Army facility where you can “test drive” the Army! You’ll find interesting mission simulators– Apache helicopter, Black Hawk helicopter, and
Come test drive the Army in the world’s first and only interactive Army facility. The Army Experience Center is includes three mission simulators—the Apache, the Black Hawk and the HMMWV (Humvee)—touch-screen Career Navigators, a Gaming Arena with Xbox 360 and PC stations, a Tactical Operations Center, and the Global Base Locator, a touch-screen that lets visitors explore Army bases around the world.

The simulators look very cool! You can volunteer for a mission and be part of the action. You get a briefing by a Soldier before climbing into one of the three mission simulators. Then you get to take part in an authentic battle scenario with equipment modeled after real Army vehicles, aircraft, and weapons. Once the mission is done, you can even see how well your team performed!

That is just one of many ways to learn about the U.S. Army and the jobs that Soldiers perform. You can visit the Career Navigators, Gaming Arena, Global Base Locator, Tactical Operations Center, and of course, the Lounge where you can take a break from all the activity and get access to WiFi Internet!

Why did the U.S. Army create the Army Experience Center? The U.S. Army needed an innovative way to communicate its mission, values, resources and career opportunities to a new generation of Americans on a local level. The Army Experience Center (AEC) now serves as a twenty-first century destination for people to get accurate information about the Army directly from the source. Conceived and built over a ten-month period in the Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia, the 14,500-square-foot technology and education center is fast becoming a model for Army recruiting nationwide. Touch screen kiosks, state-of-the-art presentation facilities, community events and high-action simulators are just a few of the AEC features helping to shatter outdated stereotypes and start new career conversations.

The AEC is open to the public and admission is free. To participate in AEC activities like the mission simulators and games, visitors must be at least 13 years old and register using basic contact information.
Even if you can’t get to Philadelphia, the website is a super cool experience too! Be sure to explore and uncover the many fun things to learn about the U.S. Army!

Visit:   http://www.thearmyexperience.com

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care packages in hot weatherIt’s that time of year again! Temperatures are starting to warm up in Afghanistan where weather ranges from the cold winters months of 17 degrees F. to the summer heat of 113–130 + degrees F.

Almost no rain falls from June to October. The lower parts of the country have a semi-arid or desert climate. Summers are sunny and hot, except in the higher mountains. Sunshine amounts range from six to seven hours a day in winter to as much as twelve to thirteen in summer.

These same tips apply for Iraq where summer temperatures exceed 120 degrees F.

With that in mind, pack your care packages accordingly when the weather is super hot. Here are a few tips for packing care packages for the unbearably hot weather!

Do

  • Anything that will keep our soldiers cooler
  • Battery operated fan
  • Under Amour socks (or something similar) – Accelerated moisture release (mesh vents) help to filter moisture to outside of sock to keep feet cool and dry.
  • Other Under Amour garments -a spandex-like brand of synthetic underwear, socks and T-shirts designed to keep wearers cool
  • Shorts and tank tops to wear while sleeping
  • Baby powder – belts and hot weather can causes rashes at the waistline
  • Dr. Scholls foot powder
  • Sun block
  • Blister pack gum – gum can stick to the foil wrappers in hot weather
  • Hand cream for dry skin
  • Cool tie neck bands – helpful if your soldier has a cold place like a fridge or ice chest to store it prior to wearing
  • Water balloons to use for fun and as a stress reliever.
  • Tootsie rolls don’t melt

Don’t

  • Items  MUST hold up in 120 degree + temperatures!
  • NO chocolate – including chocolate covered items
  • NO Flea Collars! Some soldiers were using them (on their boots) to ward off sand fleas and ticks and getting sick from the pesticides mixed in with the hot sticky weather.
  • Stick deodorant or lip balm MAY melt before reaching their destination (send a bunch in the cool weather)
  • Bar soap and other toiletries with scent in same box – when possible, send these items in a separate box. If not, be sure to place these in double zip-locked bags or the food in the box will taste like deodorant or soap.

Note – Request your FREE USPS Military Care package kit (shipping supplies) by calling 1-800-610-8734.

If you have more tips, please comment!

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