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   ·   October, 2009 


Hi all!

This month, the Military Family Network makes it yearly pilgrimage to the Annual Meeting of the Association of the US Army. It's a phenomenal event, and if you are an Army Family and you haven't reached out to connect with AUSA or its Family Programs then you need to do that today. Ms. Sylvia Kidd, Director, Family Programs and her office, work diligently throughout the year to bring diverse and timely family issues to light that culminate in a sophisticated series of forums and presentations delivered by specialists, experts and military leaders at the Association's Annual Meeting. So, if you are in the Washington DC area from October 5 through 7, then stop by the DC Convention Center to experience a wide range of special events keeping you informed and connected to your Army Family. Visit AUSA to see a schedule of events. MFN invites you to visit us at booth #3818 where your MFN Team and special guests Dr. Michael Maslayak and Janet Aikele of K12, Inc. and author, Armin Brott, will be on hand to say "hello" and answer your questions. We look forward to seeing you!

Also in the news, Megan and Luis had the distinct pleasure of meeting the President of the United States and our Commander in Chief, Barak Obama and the lovely First Lady, Michelle, when he recently spent some time in the City of Pittsburgh for the G-20. Ok, you got us. We didn’t actually “meet” him, but he did wave to us as he blew through an intersection with his entourage of secret servicemen, police officers and military personnel while we stood on a curb in front of a crowd of seven. Come to think of it, we met a lot of world leaders this way as they sped by in black SUV’s and limos. We, did, however have an excellent opportunity to meet and talk with a multitude of America’s fine security forces from service members in the National Guard, Army Reserve, Air Force and Coast Guard to multiple police forces from Pennsylvania and across the nation. It was a phenomenal experience and we invite you to have a G20 Summit in your neck of the woods soon. (And Mr. President, if by chance you get a minute when the country and the world don’t need you, Lou and I really would be honored to make the First Lady’s and your acquaintance!)

And, finally we want to wish everyone a very scary, but safe and Happy Halloween!

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

Megan, Luis and Darrell


Defense Department to Announce Balanced Social Media Policy

Defense Department officials plan to forward a social media policy to the department leadership within the next two weeks that will balance the pros and cons of social networking sites, the department's top public affairs official said on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" yesterday. Read More...

Security Expert Urges Troops to Safeguard Data

Military family members who gathered here recently to learn how to protect their identities were told to "think like a spy" in protecting their personal information. Read More...

Pentagon to Share Terrorism Info at Local Level

Pentagon officials will begin sharing access to classified, terrorism-related information stored on the secure Defense Department network with state and local agencies. Read More...

John McHugh assumes duties as 21st Secretary of the Army

John McHugh was sworn in as the 21st Secretary of the Army today following his nomination by President Barack Obama and confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Read More...



Army Aims to Improve Soldiers' Mental Well-being

With soldier suicides reaching what Army leadership is calling "alarming numbers," a renewed emphasis is being placed on soldiers' mental well-being, the Army's second in command said. Read More...

Arkansas Guard Seeks Community Support in Preventing Suicides

Senior leaders in the Arkansas National Guard, including the state governor, are asking for the public's help to stop suicides among its troops. Read More...



Travelers Aid International

Travelers Aid International is the association for Travelers Aid agencies and programs in the United States (including Puerto Rico), Canada, and Australia. Travelers Aid served more than 6.5 million people last year in forty-eight communities, and at thirty-six transportation centers (airports, bus and train stations). Travelers Aid also provided casework services to 200,000 (including homeless persons, and individuals and families in crisis). Each member of the Network is independently managed and provides programs and services that meet the needs of its community.

Learn more about this essential organization by visiting



Memorial Calls for Photos of Vietnam Vets

The National Call for Photos, a campaign to gather images of the more than 58,000 men and women whose names are on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, will be launched Sept. 17 at a Newseum event here hosted by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and FedEx Office. FedEx Office will use its locations across the country to help in gathering photos. Read More...

Feeling Inspired? Creative? Give Art a Try!

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons seeks war injury related art
Wartime experiences not only affect the military personnel and their loved ones, but the physicians and medical teams who treat them. As a tribute to injured troops and families, civilians and the orthopaedic surgeons who are caring and have cared for them, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons ( is opening the call for entries to a unique, juried art exhibition: Wounded in Action: An Art Exhibition of Orthopaedic Advancements. A cash award will be given. Submissions will be accepted at through October 15, 2009. Read more about how to participate HERE.

VA Warns Veterans of Telephone Prescription Scam

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is warning Veterans not to give credit card numbers over the phone to callers claiming to update VA prescription information. Read More

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.



Servicemembers Can Weather Financial Storm

Servicemembers and their families can weather the "perfect storm" of credit, savings and banking crises; bailouts; market instability; and foreclosures, if they stay financially prepared, the Pentagon's personal finance director said here recently. Read More...

Legislation Could Extend GI Bill to More Guardsmen

More than 30,000 additional National Guard members may become eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill with the help of bipartisan legislation introduced Sept. 10. U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack of Iowa has introduced a bill that proposes a change to the GI Bill eligibility rules to include National Guard members called to active duty in support of homeland security. Read More...

Petraeus Cites Need for Critical Warfighting Specialties

The U.S. military needs more people trained in specialties critical to the fight against global extremism, the chief of U.S. Central Command said here today. Read More...

Financial Management During a Medical Crisis

Linda Foster, MA and medically reviewed by Cynthia Haines, MD – Courtesy of CarePages
When your loved one has a medical crisis, the last thing you want to — or can — think about is money. Sound financial planning will give everyone peace of mind. Read More

AFPC launches new civilian employment Web site

The Air Force Personnel Center here developed a new Air Force civilian employment Web site,, to educate potential applicants and the general public about available civilian jobs, the eligibility and application process, and information on finding job opportunities in various specialties and career fields. More...

Don't Let a Natural Disaster delay Your Social Security Payment - Get Direct Deposit

Hurricane season is here for many parts of the country. In other areas of the nation, it's wildfire season. As you prepare for the threat of a natural disaster in your community, put signing up for Direct Deposit at the top of your "to do" list. Doing so can eliminate the delay or non-delivery of your monthly payment if a disaster forces you from your home. Read More...

Tools Help You Decide When to Retire

These days, everyone is taking a new look at their finances - and no one is looking more closely than the millions of baby boomers who are nearing retirement age. While some boomers expected to retire at one of the traditional milestones, such as age 62, the current economy is forcing many of them to re-evaluate their plans. Many are wondering if they should work longer, or how their Social Security benefit - or their spouse's benefit - would be affected if they continued working. Read More...



The Second Tour

Terry P Rizzuti is a writer living in Colorado. He has published several short stories in various print and on-line journals. These and other works can be found at His first novel, The Second Tour, describes his tour as a low-level combat Marine in Vietnam in 1966 and '67. The novel is contemporary experimental fiction and serves as a case study of PTSD in the making. The Second Tour can be useful to family members, friends and medical personnel trying to understand the combat experience, especially its effects on military members deployed in the field. Book details, an author interview, and ordering information can be found at

Your Military Family Network - the Nation's first military family resource guide!

"Your Military Family Network reference book is the most complete source of information for the active military, veterans and their families that I have seen. At first I just skimmed through it, but when I read the contents and your instructions on how to use this book, I realize this book was worth much more than the purchase price. Thank you for providing a helping hand for our military who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. Your book it is a treasure for me and for all military personnel." - Curt M., WWII veteran



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.


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MFN Helps Businesses Reach the Military Market

We all know how the Military Family Network serves service members, veterans, and military families by provicding resources, information and trusted expert and community advice to help them navigate through military life.

But did you know that MFN also helps businesses reach this market? By introducing the military community to trusted businesses, MFN can help your business tap into a market that is traditionally harder to reach. And with our new website nearly ready to go, we will offer even more possibilities, both for businesses and the community we serve.

There are numerous new features, including improved and simplified navigation, enhanced forums, the ability to add your own blog, and a dedicated server giving us much more bandwidth and processing power, which provides you with a greatly improved user experience.

You've already seen the ever increasing number of experts in various fields who are coming on board with MFN to provide you with the information you need. Enhanced search and tagging capabilities will make it easier for you to find this information.

And there is so much more. How many times have you read one of our news articles and wanted to respond? Or perhaps you read an informational piece on our site, and had additional information you would like to contribute. Well, now you will be able to! You will be able to leave comments, discuss topics with you fellow community members, easily syndicate the content to your RSS feeds, and much much more.


DotMilDocs – Podcasts to Support Your Healthy Life!

Dot Mil Docs is the product of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Military Health System and is the official podcast of the Military Health System. America’s Military Health System (MHS) is a unique partnership of medical educators, medical researchers, and healthcare providers and their support personnel worldwide. This DoD enterprise consists of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs; the medical departments of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Combatant Command surgeons; and TRICARE providers (including private sector healthcare providers, hospitals and pharmacies).

The MHS is prepared to respond anytime, anywhere with comprehensive medical capability to military operations, natural disasters and humanitarian crises around the globe, and to ensure delivery of world-class healthcare to all DoD service members, retirees, and their families. The MHS promotes a fit, healthy and protected force by reducing non-combat losses, optimizing healthy behavior and physical performance, and providing casualty care.

As a source of innovative education, medical training, research, technology and policy, the MHS strives to provide a bridge to peace.

On DotMilDocs, military doctors and health care experts discuss a new topic each week. You can find more information here or the main web page for MHS at

To introduce you to this helpful resource, MFN has included three of DotMilDoc’s most recent episodes. Check them out and while you are there, take a few minutes to look around. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the information that is available and amazed by what you can learn in a few short minutes.

Episode #76: Suicide Prevention Month: Army

Mr. Walt Morales, Army Suicide Prevention Programs, will speak about how the Army Suicide Prevention Program policies are designed to minimize suicide behavior; thereby preserving mission effectiveness through individual readiness for Soldiers, their Families, and Department of the Army civilians.
The episode can be found: and and Pentagon Channel iTunes.

Episode #77: Suicide Prevention Month: Navy

Lt. Cmdr. Bonnie R. Chavez, Ph.D, the Navy's Behavioral Health Program Manager working on Navy Suicide Prevention and Operational Stress Control policies discusses the four elements of the Navy’s Suicide Prevention Program: training, intervention, response, and reporting.

September 28 – MHS Female Physician Award

Ms. Ellen P. Embrey, performing the duties of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and Acting Director of TRICARE Management Activity and Ms. Maureen O. Viall, Chief Human Capital Officer for the Military Health System (MHS), will be discussing the launch of the new annual “Building Stronger Female Physician Leaders in the MHS” award.

The award, which is the first of its kind, identifies and honors outstanding female physicians who have made significant contributions to the practice of military medicine and serve as exemplary role models for others. It is one of many innovative initiatives designed to attract female physicians into the MHS, a vital need because of increasing numbers of females entering and graduating from medical schools. Tune in.



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 September:

Congratulations to Mary J!
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 to Stacey Z.!
Winners of the LoungAir® - A Convertible Air Comfort System!
Compliments of VMK Innovations

The Military Family Edition LoungAir, a four-in-one comfort system, quickly inflates with its 120-v pump for optimal sleeping accommodations to fit most adults and children. The multi-functional Military Edition LoungAir is a Heavy Duty Model with double-thick vinyl for added durability - perfect for additional bedding, casual seating for family rooms and especially handy for relocation, fishing, camping, kids rooms and more. Visit to get yours today!

Thanks Drifire!

Through Drifire's generous donation at the Las Vegas Yellow Ribbon conference, deploying soldiers from across the western region of the United States are keeping their cool with flame resistant, moisture wicking, odor preventing and comfortable lightweight short sleeve tees.

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. To see more high performance, flame resistant garments, visit DRIFIRE.



U.S. Just Beginning to Deal with War Wounds, Mullen Says

The United States is just beginning to deal with the long-term implications of caring for servicemembers and their families whose lives have been changed by the wounds of war, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told those gathered for a forum on dealing with war injuries that the challenges of providing that care for troops and their families is just now beginning to be understood by the military's top leaders. Read More...

'Virtual Installation' Brings Support to Military Families

The Army Reserve's top officer welcomed Soldiers, their families and community leaders to "Fort Rochester" over the weekend as they gathered at the Wadsworth Army Reserve Center to cut the ribbon on the first Army Strong Community Center. Read More...

Citizen-soldiers Need Greater Stability, Reserve Chief Says

As the Army draws down in Iraq and focuses increasingly on Afghanistan, the Army Reserve chief said he's preparing his troops for the demands likely to be made of them-and urging Army leadership to give them the predictability their dual citizen-soldier lives demand. Read More...

Gates Hears Military Children's Education Issues

As President Barack Obama was in nearby Arlington giving his pep talk today to America's schoolchildren, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates arrived here in a receiving mode to hear firsthand about challenges military children face in the education system. Read More

National Leaders Pay Tribute to Families of Fallen Servicemembers

American servicemembers who've perished in the nation's wars "died for the ones they loved," the U.S. military's top officer said today at a special ceremony held on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Read More...

Widow Notes Strides in Survivor Support

Donna Engeman always had faith in her military community and its support. When her children were sick, they were cared for by the best doctors the military could offer. And when her husband deployed on several occasions during his nearly three decades of service, someone always was nearby who understood what her family was going through, she said. Read More...

Fallen Soldier's mom finds solace among Gold Star mothers

Ruth Stonesifer dreamed of a quiet life in Kintnersville, Penn., passing her days quilting for her three grandchildren. That dream was shattered when her son, Army Spc. Kristofor Stonesifer, died in a helicopter crash in Pakistan, becoming one of the first two American casualties in the global war on terror. Read More...

Entertainer, Author Helps Military Children Cope

In some respects, life for military children today isn't much different than it was decades ago. Like all kids, they still face bullying, cliques and homework in the course of a school day. What they have that past generations didn't, however, is Trevor Romain, an international children's author, advocate and entertainer who promotes social and emotional fitness of young students. The Trevor Romain Company currently is working with the military to create a DVD to address the special challenges of military kids. Read More...

Gift From Within Offers Free Podcasts and PTSD Resources for Survivors and Caregivers

Gift From Within ( offers valuable insights into PTSD and hope for survivors of trauma by providing peer support services, articles and podcasts that have in depth information for anyone who is in need of more understanding about PTSD.
"Practical tips for military families living with combat stress and PTSD"
In this podcast, the founder of Gift From Within, Dr. Frank Ochberg, and the founder of the Military Family Network, Megan Turak, provide military families and extended members of the military family community practical guidelines, actions and skills for dealing with combat stress and PTSD situations. It's free so come with us and listen at this link.

About Gift from : Gift from Within is a non-profit organization dedicated to those who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), those at risk for PTSD, and those who care for traumatized individuals; develops and disseminates educational material, including videotapes, articles, books, and other resources through its website; maintains a roster of survivors who are willing to participate in an international network of peer support; is designated by the Internal Revenue Service as 501(c)(3) public charity, eligible to receive tax-exempt grants, gifts, and donations.



First Lady, Dr. Biden Ask Americans to Support Military Families

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden appear in a new Entertainment Industry Foundation public service announcement that praises the contributions of military servicemen and women while asking Americans to assist veterans and military families who need help. Read More...

Desert Angels, Inc., a 501(c)3 was founded by Louise Downs in 2001. Because of her devotion to her Christian faith, the soldiers gave her the name "Desert Angel" in response to receiving the organization’s “Miracle Boxes”. The boxes were named in honor of Our Michigan Fallen Hero, PFC. Joseph Miracle. Initially, Louise began the Ministry to help a friend, Brenda Lunsford, whose son, Charles Lunford ( Air Force) was in “The Sandbox” in 2001. Since that time, thousands of Miracle Boxes have been sent to troops overseas, but we haven't kept a precise count. Every month, we meet at a local Meijer's store on the 11th in honor of 9-11 and use their community room to pack. We also have special packing meetings hosted by local commercial establishments. This has all come about by word of mouth, one American to another.

Desert Angels also has a group who make quilts for the wounded, and a 90 year-old gentlemen taught himself to sew with his deceased wife's sewing machine! He makes "designer" sheets and pillow cases. It is an honor to be in the presence of these patriotic Americans. Currently, our group is working on providing skin care products and make-up to female troops with some help from Nordstrom's.

To volunteer with us, donate or help in another way, please email us at: or call Louise at (248) 736-6403. For more information about Desert Angels, visit our website at
**Note to MFN’s Dear Readers: Janet Bertling, a volunteer with Desert Angels, submitted the above and currently has a daughter performing a second tour in Iraq. Please keep Joanna in your thoughts and prayers as well as all members of our Armed Forces, our veterans and their families.

Girl Scouts Bring Comfort and Care to Hospital Patients

Twelve Junior Girl Scouts from Virginia Beach Troop 394 brought smiles and hope to the pediatric ward at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia on September 1. Read More...

Ask MFN's Military Family Specialist!

This month we welcome a new feature to our monthly newsletter to help connect you with solutions to challenges in your military life. So, please meet Robin, a soldier of eighteen years and a family programs specialist. She will be your guide to keeping informed, being prepared and, well, mopping up messes if that’s what it takes! You can reach her by emailing for some good old Q&A or you can sit back and keep reading as we introduce some of her fine work right here in MFN’s monthly newsletter. So, as they say, “On with the show!”

This month, Shirley M. writes:

“I’m looking for information on what can be sent to our troops in Iraq. My daughter is being deployed there and she is leaving in 2 weeks. She isn’t sure what can be sent there. Where can I go for help? She has been in Germany and France for 2 years, and is now in Washington State. Just need to know who I can contact. Thanks.

And Robin replies:

"In my opinion, since I have family deployed to the desert, it really depends on what time of year when you send your package. For instance, if you are sending something in the summer time, remember that summer there is usually over 124degrees – Read: Hot, hot and hot! – and, virtually everything melts. Make sure you don't send anything that melts. Ask your soldier what they want, and try and accommodate as much as possible; and what they can't use or need, they will give to their fellow soldiers. Everyone loves to get care packages. Hooorrraaahhh!! Keep sending those packages down range throughout the entire deployment. But if you need some more information, read on...

Best wishes, Shirley, to you and your daughter and thank you both for your service!




Exchange Online Mall Partner to Provide Anniversary Surprise to 500 Spouses of Deployed Troops

Troops separated from loved ones due to deployment have the opportunity to surprise their spouse on their wedding anniversary with a personalized art canvas that will be given away as part of Canvas on Demand’s “Operation: Hi Honey” campaign. Read More


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