In this issue:
  News You Can Use
Organization Spotlight
This Month's Focus
Family Support
Money & More
Mission Critical
Veterans Corner
Book Club
Military Family Network News   ·   August, 2009 


Megan’s oldest brother, Augie, spends a lot of time at a Trappist monastery in South Carolina called Mepkin Abbey. A few years ago he wrote an essay for the John Templeton Foundation’s Power of Purpose Essay Contest and his entry, Brother John, won the Grand Prize. In a moving way, Augie discovers that the purpose of life lies in selfless service when a monk named Brother John offers to share his umbrella on a cold and rainy Christmas Eve.

Megan told us recently:

Rereading Brother John, it struck me that the essay’s message of selfless service, symbolized by Brother John’s umbrella, was equally applicable to our military service members, veterans and families. It is our service men and women all over the world who are holding an umbrella over America protecting us from harm. And it is our military families, through their thoughts, prayers, and selfless dedication, who hold the umbrella over our service men and women until they come home to us safe and sound. Then, it occurred to me that my brother’s essay also speaks to our mission here at The Military Family Network.

It is our sincerest hope that over the last seven years MFN has managed to hold an umbrella over all of you in our military community making your sacrifices a little easier.

Brother John has been reprinted many times in books like The Best of Christian Writings and The Best Catholic Writings and was featured on the website of Rick Warren the best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life. Brother John has been universally acclaimed by both religious and non religious people alike for its profound insights into what is best about human beings.

We, at the Military Family Network, are proud to offer you a free copy of Brother John as our way of saying thank you for your service. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Click here to read Brother John.

Experts from the Field! In case you aren’t familiar with this feature, this is where The Military Family Network introduces professionals who have partnered with MFN to offer trusted advice, services, resources and guidance to you, our military community. So, this month, let’s welcome the author of The Military Father: A Hands-on Guide for Deployed Dads and Janie Reinart and Mary Anne Mayer, the authors of "Love You More Than You Know":

Armin Brott. A parenting expert and former Marine, Armin is a nationally acclaimed fatherhood advocate who has authored a series of books geared towards providing fathers with helpful information, advice, tips and guidance. His newest book, Military Father: A Hands-on Guide for Deployed Dads, helps fathers "remain part of their family’s lives when they are thousands of miles away from home."

Janie Reinart and Mary Anne Mayer. Janie and Mary Anne are two proud military moms who have produced a fantastic collection of "Mothers’ Stories About Sending Their Sons and Daughters to War" including their own. Love You More Than You Know is "a collection of true love stories that bear witness to the heartache and joy, the fear and pride of mothers awaiting the safe return of their children from war."

Welcome Armin, Janie and Mary Anne!

Please take advantage of what these wonderful individuals have to offer. You will be glad you did.

Until Next Month (or you can email us at if you just can’t wait!),

Megan, Luis and Darrell


Bringing Your Commissary Benefit to You: Guard/Reserve On–site Sales!

Through our new "Bringing the Benefit to You" campaign, we are reaching out to our Guard and Reserve members who have earned the commissary benefit, but who cannot easily travel to a local store to shop on a regular basis. "Bringing the Benefit to You" includes taking a bit of the commissary itself to Guard and Reserve units through on-site truckload case-lot sales. To find information about Future On-site Sale Locations & Dates, visit this link .

Officials Won't Ban Tobacco for Deployed Troops, Morrell Says

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has made it clear he does not plan to restrict tobacco use among troops in war zones, the Pentagon's press secretary said today. Read More...

'Dream Team' of Researchers Seeks Ways to Combat Suicide in Army

A ground-breaking study of behavioral health in the Army may provide answers soon on what causes suicide and what programs can best prevent it... "We are working at all levels currently to do everything we can to reverse this trend, and we are excited about this partnership, this collaboration, with the National Institute of Mental Health, the Uniformed Services University [of the Health Sciences], and Harvard, Columbia and University of Michigan," Geren said at the roundtable. Read More...



Chiropractic Care for Active Duty Service Members Expands to New Locations this Fall

Eleven military hospitals and clinics are gearing up this summer to ensure more active duty service members (ADSMs) have access to chiropractic services starting this fall. Read More...

Online or Over Video, TRICARE Reaches Out With Expanded Behavioral Health Care Services

The stress of military life takes a toll on the well being of some military families – and TRICARE is there to help. Time and distance will no longer be obstacles for active duty families seeking behavioral health care with the introduction of two new programs.

The Web-based TRICARE Assistance Program (TRIAP) and telemental health program use evolving telecommunication technologies to bring counseling assistance and behavioral health care closer to the people who need it most. Read More...

"Dot-Mil-Docs" New Deputy Director Discusses TRICARE Program and Benefits

Tune in to this week’s episode of "Dot-Mil-Docs" to meet Rear Adm. Christine S. Hunter, the new Deputy Director of the TRICARE Management Activity, as she discusses new contracts, benefits and priorities of TRICARE and how beneficiaries can make the best use of their benefits. Read More...

Electronic Health Records that Include Dental? It's Nearly a Reality for U.S. Military

The Military Health System (MHS) is leading the charge with the groundbreaking implementation of a dental component to AHLTA, the military’s electronic health record, and service members are reaping the benefits. Read More...



Air Mobility Command Launches its first official, command-level AMC Travel Web site

(Yeah! Space-A Made Easy!)

Space-available flights, also known as "military hops," are a unique benefit to U.S. service members, retirees and their families. Under the AMC travel program, unused seats on U.S. military and military-contracted aircraft are made available to non-duty passengers on a space-available basis (once space-required or official-duty passengers and cargo have been accommodated). People planning to travel the AMC military travel system can now point their Web browsers to for the latest in AMC travel information. Read More...

And, to help you plan that Summer Travel...

Whether you’re visiting the beach, flying internationally, or driving to a national park, visit’s Travel, Transportation, and Recreation page for help in making your plans.

Some of the resources you’ll find include:

Viajes, transporte y recreación



Strength At Home

A Federally Funded Paid Research Project Is Offered in the Northwest Arkansas and Boston Areas To Help OEF/OIF Vets Strength Family Relationships, Decrease Anger and Manage Stress

A team of researchers are working on two federally-funded paid research programs for veterans who were recently deployed overseas. Many veterans face considerable challenges transitioning from deployment to civilian life. As part of these federally funded research projects, the OEF/OIF Couples Intervention Program at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville is currently offering groups to work with veterans on strengthening their family relationships, decreasing anger, and managing stress. Some groups are for veterans only while others are for couples. These groups are led by therapists who are familiar with the unique experiences that military families face. In addition to potentially improving relationships, the results of these studies may improve services for other veterans and their families. Furthermore, veterans and their partners will be paid for completing study-related questionnaires and interviews. These groups are being offered in the Northwest Arkansas and Boston areas.

This website link will direct individuals to additional information about these projects, including common questions and answers, background summaries of the key personnel involved, and contact information for both the Northwest Arkansas and Boston sites: ( People who are interested in the study (e.g., veterans, active military, female partners/spouses) are asked to contact us at the following number: (479) 575-3770. Per State and professional codes, confidentiality is protected.

VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans Visits Dallas

As part of a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) upgrade of programs and services for women Veterans, the Department’s Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, an expert panel that advises VA on issues and programs affecting women Veterans, recently traveled to the VA North Texas Health Care System in Dallas. Read More...

Veterans Affairs Helps Veteran Small-Business Owners

More than 1,000 Veterans who own small businesses and seek to do more contracting with the federal government recently heard Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki extol the importance of small businesses and reaffirm the commitment of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help veterans start or expand their companies. Read More...

More Than 1,100 Colleges and Universities Partner with VA to Improve GI Bill Benefits

Over 1,100 colleges, universities and schools across the country have entered into "Yellow Ribbon" program agreements with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to improve financial aid for Veterans participating in the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Read More...

Female World War II Pilots Receive Overdue Honors

President Barack Obama yesterday signed a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Air Force Service Pilots of World War II, the first women in American history to fly military aircraft. Read More...



The Military Father: A Hands-On Guide for Deployed Dads

"Fathers today play a greater role with their families and children than ever before. However, military dads and dads-to-be are often separated from their families for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, there are very few resources for military (and deployed civilian) fathers, who are looking for guidance on how to be in close touch with their families back home. THE MILITARY FATHER, written by the country's leading authority on fatherhood, will fill that gap, providing deployed dads with everything they need to know to stay (or become) involved with and connected to their family regardless of the distance that separates them.

Part I of this essential sourcebook covers pre-deployment and explores the profound effect a dad's absence will have on his spouse, his children, and himself. It also provides extensive pre-deployment checklists and detailed tips aimed at preparing the dad and his family for separation and long-distance communication.

Part II, During Deployment, explains how to stay involved and connected when you're far away, and includes specific strategies and activities designed to help dads and their family remain close across time and distance.

Part III, Coming Home, offers advice on post-deployment times from preparing to come home and surmounting the challenges of returning to military or civilian life. In addition, the book includes a chapter on how dads can support a spouse when she's the one being deployed, and a comprehensive listing of resources available to soldiers and their families.

Flavored with the author's trademark wit, warmth, and intelligence, this guide combines a wealth of knowledge from experts, scientific studies, and interviews with scores of military fathers and their families.

THE MILITARY FATHER includes cartoons that complement the text, solicited from deployed military or civilian fathers and family members, ranging from those on active duty to veterans."

To order your copy of The Military Father: A Hands-On Guide for Deployed Dads, visit or for more information about Armin and his other books, visit .

Love You More Than You Know

Mothers' Stories About Sending Their Sons and Daughters to War
[Source: Gray & Company Publishers]

"In these stories, 45 mothers of U.S. service men and women open their hearts and share what it feels like when your son or daughter leaves home to fight a war.

Some were stunned when they learned that their "baby" had enlisted. Others had long been familiar with military life. But all of these mothers knew their world had just changed the day their child called home and said, "Mom, I'm being deployed..."

They discovered the strange mix of pride and fear. The anxiety of not knowing exactly where in Iraq or Afghanistan your son is, whether your daughter is facing mortar fire or enduring heat and boredom. Elation at the arrival of the briefest postcard or email message. The daily dread, when returning home from work or a trip to the grocery store, of seeing a government car in the driveway and two soldiers at the door . . .

Anyone who reads their stories will admire their faith and courage--and better understand the sacrifices made by our U.S. service men and women and their families."

To order your copy of Love You More Than You Know: Mothers' Stories About Sending Their Sons and Daughters to War, visit A portion of the proceeds from sales of this book will be donated to, a Bob Woodruff Foundation initiative for injured service members and their families, and to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.

Your Military Family Network is Here! Order Your Copy Now!

The Military Family Network and Capital Books in Washington DC have published Your Military Family Network - the Nation's first military family resource guide! This 650-page book covers all major military support topics from enlistment to retirement! Learn how to create your own personal support network so you have what you need when you need it. Find chapters on money management, TRICARE, relocation, deployment, employment and education as well as military and veterans benefits, PTSD and much, much more. The book also features a compilation of state and local resources available to military families - for the first time in a comprehensive and easy format.

Retailing for $24.95, The Military Family Network is offering this valuable, must-have resource at $14.95+s/h. Buy it for yourself, your family, a friend or loved one – MFN guarantees best price on the web! To order your copy of Your Military Family Network or copies for your organization, please visit Your Military Family Network online or call 1-866-205-2850 for more information. Group discounts available – call or email for details.


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DRIFIRE Performance Wear

DRIFIRE is the premier manufacturer of comfortable, performance flame resistant (FR) fabrics and garments in the United States. Since the brand’s inception, it has been committed to creating a line of elite performance FR wear to protect people from workplace hazards, while keeping them comfortable over the long haul. For soldiers, this is an especially critical feature, as many of our Armed Forces face incredibly brutal and challenging climates and weather conditions. To be able to provide adequate FR protection while also ensuring that the men and women who serve in our military are kept as comfortable as possible is paramount to DRIFIRE’s mission.

Through a combination of refined safety and enhanced comfort qualities, DRIFIRE stands out in an industry where safety is an absolute necessity. Made with inherently flame resistant modacrylic fibers, DRIFIRE base layer garments are able to maintain their fabric integrity over time, allowing for permanent FR protection. These same fibers cool quickly to allow wearers to retain a comfortable skin temperature and ensure that the fabric will not burn or melt into the skin when exposed to flames or intense heat. This feature is an incredibly important part of why DRIFIRE garments offer superior base layer protection against modern insurgency warfare techniques, such as I.E.D.s. Unlike competitive offerings, DRIFIRE garments have relocated seams to eliminate chafing and use a flat stitch to reduce discomfort. Designed with the end user in mind, DRIFIRE garments prevent odor-causing bacteria before it starts and stay fresh over consecutive days. Each garment is powered by drirelease® moisture management technology, so they dry 4x faster than cotton and keep skin up to 6 degrees cooler.

In addition to the base layer protection garments, DRIFIRE has also developed a technologically advanced one- and two-piece flight suit, the first major evolution any company has developed in flight suit technology since 1965. DRIFIRE products are proudly crafted in the U.S., offering base layer FR protection solutions to not only military personnel but also firefighters, electrical linemen, petrochemical workers and other individuals who demand comfortable FR protection for their livelihood.

Whether alone or as part of a layered system, DRIFIRE provides high performance comfortable FR in any situation.

Learn more at


DeCA Launches Li'l Heroes Baby Program

As part of an ongoing effort to emphasize that the commissary is a benefit for the whole military family, the Defense Commissary Agency is launching an exciting new initiative: the Li'l Heroes Baby Program.

A new addition to the family brings not only more joy, but also more expenses. As household budgets tighten, the average savings of 30 percent or more customers realize by shopping at the commissary helps families make ends meet. In fact, a family of four can save an average of nearly $3,400 per year by shopping at the commissary, based on October 2008 USDA figures for retail grocery store food purchases consumed at home.

"Customers have told us that the commissary is their most important nonpay benefit, so we want to maintain that by supporting the whole military family as much as possible," DeCA Director and CEO Philip E. Sakowitz Jr. said. "We value the sacrifices these families have made for our country, and hope that the support this program will provide will make the commissary even more worth the trip for them."

The Li'l Heroes Baby Program will be featured on a special section of that will offer articles from the DeCA dietitian, Lt. Col. Karen Hawkins, and the agency's home economist, Kay Blakley, as well as links to other government sources providing tips and advice to new parents.

The highlight of this new program will be DeCA's newest e-newsletter: the Li'l Heroes Benefit Bulletin.

In addition to linking commissary customers to the articles mentioned above, this monthly e-newsletter will provide access to military-exclusive vendor Web pages offering special savings for readers. This information will help you learn how to make the commissary that much more worth the trip for the things your little ones need. Vendors will also be offering special thank-you gifts to subscribers.

For more information on the program, and to subscribe to the Li'l Heroes Benefit Bulletin, please visit



Although MFN believes that all of our service members, veterans and families are winners, this month we give special recognition to some really lucky winners from the Army Reserve’s Las Vegas Yellow Ribbon Conference in July:

Congratulations to Kim F.!
Winner of an iPod Nano, Compliments of K12
K12 offers world-class, individualized education that can move with your kids wherever you go.  Full time online public and private school options. Plus individual K-12 courses for sale. For more information go to

Congratulations toThomas V.!
Winner of $100 and Your Military Family Network book, Compliments of the Military Family Network

Congratulations to Racinda H., Candice Z. and Hector L.!
Winners of the book You and Your Military Hero, Compliments of the authors, Sara JensenFritz, Paula JonesJohnson and Thea L. Zitzow

Congratulations to Alice S., Kenneth W. and Tina L.!
Winners of the books The Road Home and I’m Already Home…Again, Compliments of Author and Speaker, Elaine Dumler



Congratulations to Kim F., Roseann L., Robbin C., Timothy A. and Pam B.!
Winners of the book Reporting for Doodie, Compliments of the author, Judy Smith

Congratulations to Misty F., Wanda M., Antonio A., Alberto M. and Meghan S.!
Winner of the book Your Military Family Network, Compliments of the Military Family Network

Congratulations to Scott F.!
Winner of the book Footsteps Around the World, Compliments of author Beverly Roman and BR Anchor Publishing

Congratulations to Judy A.!
Winner of the book Is My Family Moving? Compliments of author Beverly Roman and BR Anchor Publishing

Congratulations to Steven A.!
Winner of the book Home Away from Home, Compliments of author Beverly Roman and BR Anchor Publishing

Congratulations to Iesha K.!
Winner of Relocation 101, Compliments of author Beverly Roman and BR Anchor Publishing



GI Bill Transferability Here!

With the Post-9/11 GI Bill's option to transfer unused educational benefits to eligible family members taking effect tomorrow (August 1, 2009), it's no surprise that more than 25,000 service members have pre-applied, a Pentagon official said today… Read more here or visit the Defense Department's Web site for requesting the benefit. The site,, is accessible using a common access card, Defense Department self-service user identification or a Defense Finance and Accounting Service personal identification number. Spouses and family members must be enrolled under their servicemember sponsor in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System, also known as DEERS, to be eligible for the transfer benefit. Military members also can link to the site through

Military Families and Work-Family Concerns
[Source: Sloan Work and Family Research Network at Boston College]

The Sloan Work and Family Research Network at Boston College’s Network News recently interviewed Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth on Military Families and Work-Family Concerns. This interview highlights the work-family challenges of military families and answers questions such as:

  • What are some of the unique work-family challenges of military families?
  • How can employers support military families? What about supervisors and co-workers?
  • How may the current administration’s interest in military families help to manage their work-family challenges?
  • Do you think that the new FMLA requirements will help to mitigate the work-family challenges of military families?

Read more by visting this link.

FREE "My Money" Tool Kit

Complete a simple online form to receive a free package of helpful publications on saving, investing, and protecting your money.

The "My Money" tool kit contains the following six publications: 

Air Force to hire civilians to manage unit programs

Squadrons with more than 50 military and civilian members could start seeing relief in managing their additional duties as early as this fall, courtesy of 1,200 newly created civilian unit program coordinators positions. Read More...

In Case You Missed it…MCEC Scores Again!

The Military Child Education Coalition celebrated their 11 th Annual Conference this July in historic Philadelphia. Military leaders, education professionals, students, parents, and volunteers from all over the world joined together to focus on military-connected children. With workshops, trainings, lectures, distinguished guests, artists and more, this was a conference full of useful information, solutions, inspiration, and goals for the future, all geared…for the sake of the child. Read More… or to become a member, visit this link.



Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation Raises More Than $300.

The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation recently raised more than $300,000 at its 23rd Annual Washington Gala to benefit high school and college students from families of active-duty and former Marines. Read more...

TRICARE Increases Payments for Beneficiaries with Special Needs

TRICARE has increased the amount it will pay for certain Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) benefits. ECHO assists eligible family members of active duty sponsors who are diagnosed with moderate or severe mental retardation, a serious physical disability, or an extraordinary physical or psychological condition. More here...

Commissaries ask customers – 'What’s in your closet?'

You can plan for a summer outing, but you can’t plan for a natural or man-made disaster. This month, the Defense Commissary Agency wants to help you plan for both. More...

DeCA hosts first military resale executive leadership forum

The lines of military resale are blurred for most customers. But behind the scenes, the organizations that serve the military all have separate and specific missions. On March 20, the leadership of the nation’s military commissaries, exchange services, the morale welfare and recreation commands, and installation management met to discuss how they can improve their service through increased cooperation. Read More ...



"It’s Not Just a Ribbon, It’s A Celebration of Life!"

Victor M. Kasatshko likes to remind people to enjoy life by "living in the moment". To help him get this hopeful message out there, Victor designed the Life™ symbol which is a tribute to his mother, who passed away from pancreatic cancer. From his loss, Victor was moved to help all of us by creating something that would encourage us to be grateful for the moments we share together while also asking us to look on the brighter side of life.

The Life™ symbol is a new, hopeful, and powerful awareness symbol that inspires us to "DoLife" while helping us to stay optimistic and positive – even in the most difficult of times. Military life is not without its challenges and because of this; Victor is passionate about bringing his celebration-of-life message to our military community. We are grateful for his support. Thanks, Victor!

For your personal LIFE / DoLife symbol products, visit for special military pricing on all our products. Remember, it’s not just a ribbon; it’s a celebration of Life!




Advertising and Sponsorship Opportunities Available!

  • Newsletter!
  • Website!
  • National Military Resource Book!

Contact Megan Turak at for more details.

*Military Community Submissions:

If you have a story, song or photo that you would like to share with The Military Family Network, please contact Luis Trevino.

Get Seen! Get Heard! Join MFN’s Referral Network!

The Military Family Network has connected and worked with media outfits of all kinds including ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, Montel Williams, Dr. Phil Show, Sesame Street, AARP, Newsweek, Army Times, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, Social Security, Department of Labor, Military OneSource, Reader’s Digest, VFW, United Press International, Lifetime, etc. and countless newspapers around the world. These organizations contact MFN for a variety of reasons, but in each case, they want to hear from the military community.

If you are a service member, military family member or veteran and would like to be included in MFN’s referral network for media opportunities, please email with your interest and contact information and Lou will be glad to include you for future opportunities.

Privacy Notice: The Military Family Network is committed to ensuring the privacy of our military community according to the Department of Defense and MFN does not release or sell information about individuals. In the event that you participate in MFN’s referral network, you will be contacted by MFN about the opportunity first and if you are interested, you will be given the choice to provide MFN with permission to release your contact information (name, email or phone only) or be given the contact information to make the connection yourself. If you are an active member of the Armed Forces, it is always advisable to contact PAO for guidelines, permission, etc., before participating in public media opportunities.



State Sales Tax Holidays

Several states offer sales tax holidays at some point during the month of August. Often, the sales tax holiday is limited to a fixed dollar amount and only applies to the purchase of certain items, such as clothes, school supplies, and computers. Check out a list of sales tax holidays in 2009 to see if your state participates.

Visit National Parks for FREE August 15-16

National parks that usually charge an entry fee will be FREE on August 15 and 16. Take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy the protected natural and cultural beauty of a national park near you.

Visit's Recreation and Tourism page to get additional ideas for outdoor excursions this summer.


© 2009, The Military Family Network
The Military Family Network - P.O. Box 16366 - Pittsburgh , PA 15242
Email: - Web:
Phone: 866-205-2850 or 412-531-1970 | Fax: 866-226-2859 or 412-531-1978