This is how Jack Daniel's and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY MILSPOUSE

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays

For the seventh year, the Jack Daniel Distillery and the Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) have kicked off their “Operation Ride Home” campaign that provides financial assistance to active duty junior-enlisted military and their families to travel from their place of military service to “home” for the holidays.


Since Operation Ride Home began, 2,669 junior enlisted single service members and those with families – for a total of 5,767 people – have travelled from their bases to homes around the country for the holidays. Men and women from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard have been assisted with travel to 47 of the 50 states.

The ASYMCA works with the various military commands in specific areas co-located with ASYMCA branches to identify and prioritize junior-enlisted service members and families most in financial need. Plane tickets and pre-paid debit cards are given to assist those traveling.

For every purchase made from Heritage Made Hero, a donation will be made to Operation Ride Home.

Jack Daniel’s has once again donated $100,000 to kick off the campaign that this year will exceed more than one million dollars in total donations over the life of ORH. The famed distillery is asking friends to visit their website to make a contribution to help more service members spend the holidays at home. All donations are 100 percent tax deductible.

“Words can’t describe what it means for us to be able to give back and help these heroes and their families make it home for the holidays,” said Jeff Arnett, Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller. “We can’t thank our friends enough for their support of Operation Ride Home over the years, and hope they will once again do what they can as we try to get as many families home as possible. The sacrifice shown daily by our men and women in uniform and their families is simply incredible. They are there for us, and we need to be there for them.”

“Our junior-enlisted service members are often young, new to the military, and struggle to get home during the holidays,” said William French, ASYMCA President and CEO. “We are proud to work alongside Jack Daniel’s for Operation Ride Home and hope others will join us in sending these service members home to their loved ones this holiday season.”

Operation Ride Home is open to active duty E-4 and below, both single and married, who might not otherwise financially be able to travel home for the holidays. The option to drive or fly is an individual decision. Plane ticket vouchers are limited to $400 per person flying and for those choosing to drive, the pre-paid debit cards are $100 per family member for gas, lodging and food. Click here for additional information on eligibility and to view participating installations that qualify for travel assistance.

Celebrate Joyfully. Drink Responsibly.

MIGHTY CULTURE

Honoring our Gold Star Mothers: Today and always

Gold Star Mother’s Day is a day to recognize and honor the mothers of service members who have died in the line of duty. Each year, there are events and meetings for Gold Star Mothers and their families.


Service Flags

The Gold Star has long been a symbol of a loved one lost in combat. During WWI, flags became a way for families to let others in their communities know about the status of their loved ones in the military. Blue Stars displayed on flags meant that a household had someone in the military who was deployed. Additional stars indicated additional family members.

If a family received news that their loved one had been killed in action, the star’s color was changed from blue to gold.

A Grieving Mother starts an organization 

In 1928, Grace Darling took the informal practice of flag display and formalized it into a non-profit organization, American Gold Star Mothers.

After her son, George Vaughn Seibold, volunteered for military service during WWI, Grace looked for ways to help her local community of veterans. She started visiting veterans in the greater Washington area, hoping that her presence might help them. When letters from her son stopped arriving in the mail, Grace feared the worst.

George’s remains were never found. Grace quickly realized that self-contained grief would eat her alive. So, she and 25 other grieving mothers met to create a formal organization that would help them collectively deal with their grief.

American Gold Star Mothers is formed

On June 4, 1928, Grace Darling and twenty-five other mothers formed the American Gold Star Mothers non-profit organization. Six months later, the organization was incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia. Within 90 days, the organization had almost tripled in size. Currently, the organization holds a congressional charter under Title 36-211 of the United States Code.

American Gold Star Mothers Inc. works on behalf of Gold Star families to educate the public on the unique challenges that Gold Star Mothers face. Their aim to inspire “true allegiance to the United States of America.” To advance this mission, the Gold Star Mothers hold an annual convention and have events centered around Gold Star Mother’s Day and Veteran’s Day. They also partner with Wreaths Across America to coordinate wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and 1,200 other locations in the U.S. and abroad.

Criteria for membership 

Membership into American Gold Star Mothers is open to any woman who is a U.S. citizen or legal resident who has lost a son or daughter in active service in the military, regardless of the place or time of military service and regardless of whether the circumstances of death involved hostile conflict or not. Membership is open to mothers of service members missing in action as well.

The current charter was ratified in 1984 and also includes mothers who are from U.S. territories or insular possessions. Membership is not contingent on whether the service member was killed in action or in the theater of action.

Non-adoptive stepmothers are also eligible for membership if they assume responsibility for the service member before the age of fifteen. Husbands and children of Gold Star Mothers are eligible to join as Associate Members. Honorary membership is provided to mothers who were not citizens or legal residents when their service member child was inducted.

National Gold Star Family Registry

National Gold Star Family Registry is a program that honors those who have died while defending our freedom. This non-profit is the first comprehensive database of fallen heroes that’s ever been developed. It allows family members a space to publicly remember their loved ones and serves as a historical log of those who have died in combat. Educational resources and personal accounts are also provided, which might help future generations better understand our nation’s heroes. Information for the registry is compiled from public sources, including the Department of Defense and the National Archives. Launched in 2010, the registry recognizes the need for families to be able to share the stories of their heroes with the world.

Military Life

18 photos that show the intensity of keeping warships supplied at sea

“UNREP” (short for “underway replenishment”) is the term used to describe the transfer of fuel, food, ammunition, repair or replacement parts, people and mail from supply ships to combatants like frigates, destroyers, and aircraft carriers.


Simply put, UNREP keeps Navy ships at sea. It’s a dangerous and intense evolution.

UNREP begins by raising the Romeo flag. On the control ship, it means, “I am ready for your approach.” On the approaching ship, it means, “I am commencing.”

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

One of the most challenging aspects of UNREP is matching the speed of the control ship and steering into position.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

Once the ships are on a parallel course, a shotline is sent for the phone and distance (PD) line, which is marked by flags every 20 feet. Once the shotline is fired, sailors on the supply ship catch it like a wedding bouquet.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

After the shotline is received, line handlers must haul in the messenger line, which is much heavier.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

After the wires and hoses are connected, the teams on deck and in the pump room are ready to begin the transfer of cargo and fuel.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

Sailors in the pump room monitor fuel levels…

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

… while pallets of food, mail, and supplies are transferred topside.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

At the same time sailors man the .50 cals, ever-vigilant for threats.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

Thousands of pounds of fuel and cargo are transferred between the ships while maintaining the same speed and distance apart.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

The exchange can be dangerous for both sides…

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

Sailors have to watch out for rogue waves.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

Helicopters can also be used for resupply …

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

They call this process “VERTREP,” short for “vertical replenishment.”

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

Resupplying the ship is an all-hands task. In this photo, sailors and Marines on an amphibious ship form a human chain to transfer packages.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

Sometimes ships will tag-team a supply ship to save time. In this photo, two missile destroyers — an Arleigh Burke class and a Ticonderoga class — are attached to the USNS Lenthall (T-AO 189).

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

Sometimes an UNREP could go well into evening…

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

… and package distribution could go on for hours after the ships have disconnected.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

But, the long hours and hard work pay off when you receive a care package from home; it’s like Christmas.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo: US Navy

MIGHTY MILSPOUSE

Coronavirus stimulus checks: Everything military families need to know

As the United States continues to battle the spread of the coronavirus, the federal government has passed legislation that will send stimulus checks to most tax paying Americans, including military families.

These stimulus checks are a part of a massive $2 trillion effort to not only assist Americans who are financially struggling amidst this time of layoffs, furloughs, and social isolation, but also to inject funding directly into businesses around America that are continuing to employ people throughout this chaotic time.


The payments heading directly to American families in the coming weeks are projected to reach nine out of 10 households in the country, which means military families can count on receiving these payments despite the military itself not suffering the same sorts of layoffs and reduced employment found elsewhere in the nation. This money can be used to help offset lost spouse income, the cost of buying essential cleaning materials, and the cost of being stuck in your homes on base or elsewhere.

Service members that are suffering financial hardship as a result of being caught between duty stations while executing orders at the time of the Pentagon’s stop-movement order are eligible for other financial assistance provided through the Defense Department. Those payment have nothing to do with the coronavirus stimulus checks the Treasury Department will soon be sending.

So who, exactly, is eligible for a stimulus payment and how much can they expect to receive? We break it all down below.

How much will I receive in my coronavirus stimulus check?

Stimulus payments are based on the recipient’s adjusted gross income, so the Treasury Department can prioritize payments to Americans that are most in need. It’s important to note that basic entitlements like BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) and BAS (Basic Allowance for Subsistence) are not included in your family’s adjusted gross income. Only taxable income (basic pay) is taken into account for tax purposes.

You can find up to date info on the IRS webpage here.

Coronavirus stimulus payments include:

  • A maximum id=”listicle-2645620124″,200 per adult
  • Up to ,400 for couples who make up to ,000
  • An additional 0 per each child that is 16 or younger
This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays

However, at a certain income level, the payments begin to reduce until a certain point, in which they stop completely.

  • Those who make over ,000 per year individually will see payments reduced by for each 0 in their Adjusted Gross Income over the ,000 cap.
  • Individuals who make over ,000 per year will not receive a payment
  • Couples filing jointly who make more than 8,00 per year will not receive a payment
  • Those who file as “head of household” will not receive a payment if their income is about 2,500 per year
  • Dependent adults are not eligible for a payment, including college aged children and adults with disabilities

How does the government know how much money I make or how many kids I have?

The Treasury Department will be using 2018 tax returns to assess income level and dependents, as well as the direct deposit information for those who have it in order to deposit the stimulus checks.

What if my income was above ,000 in 2018, but has since dropped?

These payments are really just an advanced tax credit, so even if you don’t receive a payment because your 2018 taxes showed you as ineligible, you can still receive it as part of your tax return when you file your 2020 taxes.

Do I have to sign up or fill out forms to receive my stimulus payment?

As long as the IRS already has your bank account information from your 2019 or 2018 tax returns, all you have to do is sit and wait for the check to hit your account. However, if you have not yet filed your 2018 taxes, the IRS encourages you to do so as soon as you can, otherwise your payment may be delayed.

The IRS said that they will be building a portal to change direct deposit information in the coming weeks.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays

live.staticflickr.com

What if my family and I are stationed overseas?

As long as you meet the income requirements and have a social security number, you will still receive the payment regardless of where you are stationed.

Will I have to pay taxes on the stimulus payment?

No, these payments are technically considered a tax credit.

What if I don’t have direct deposit established for my taxes?

Your payment will come to you the same way a tax refund would, so if you don’t have a direct deposit account established with the IRS, the check will be mailed to you at the address listed on your tax return.

This article originally appeared on Sandboxx. Follow Sandboxx on Facebook.

Military Life

5 ways the ‘good ol’ boy’ system screws good troops

One of the most common threads among troops wanting to leave a unit (or the military in general) is toxic leadership. Although high ranking officers and senior enlisted have always tried to pluck toxicity out of the system because it goes against every military value, it still rears its head, typically in the form of the “good ol’ boy” system.


The “good ol’ boy” system is when a leader unabashedly chooses favorites among their subordinates.

There are many fair and impartial leaders within the military. I, personally, served under them and would gladly fall on a sword if they asked — even all these years later. These leaders would vehemently agree that their peers and superiors who exhibit obvious favoritism are in the wrong and are, frankly, undeserving of their position. This is why.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
That, or they’ll snap and lose all respect for said leader.
(DoD photo by David Vergun)

 

The cost of not playing is heavy

Superiors that follow the good ol’ boy system rarely make an effort to hide their favoritism. If they do pretend it doesn’t exist, troops will catch on and word will spread quickly through the ranks.

Trying to play by the rules under that “leader” is impossible. Instead, most troops will eventually break down and take the easy route of prioritizing the buttering up of their superiors. Rules are paramount to maintaining order and uniformity in the military. When they play second fiddle to keeping your superiors personally happy, something’s wrong.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
This is the most obvious form because everyone in the formation hears the BS being spewed.
(Photo by Sgt. Jacqueline A. Clifford)

 

Rewards are unearned

Two troops are up for awards: One has worked their ass off, day in and day out. They are a master at what they do and have not just helped others with problems, they’ve taught others how to fix those problems for next time. They don’t get in trouble with command, but they’re not the most people-friendly person you’ve met. The other unimpressively slides through work but goes fishing with the commander on weekends.

Logically speaking, the first troop should get a higher award than the second. Realistically, they probably got the same recognition, despite the difference in effort.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Because a “quiet retirement” is totally the same punishment as actual justice…
(Photo by Sgt. Crystal L. Milton)

 

Justice is not dealt

The Uniform Code of Military Justice is very clear. If someone is accused of wrongdoing, it’s up to a jury of their peers to determine their fate. Simply put: If someone does something wrong, their ass is grass. There aren’t any “ifs, ands, or buts” about it. A problem arises, however, when a leader decides to sweep an issue under the rug.

The law is clear and yet, somehow, different troops aren’t held to the same standard for the same crimes.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
“Nope… All good here.”
(Photo by Staff Sgt. Felix Fimbres)

 

Bubbles are formed

Every good leader should be looking for means to positively improve the unit, no matter how minor the change. If a toxic leader surrounds him or herself with only people that nod, agree, and kiss their ass, they’ll see no need for improvement.

Troops do conduct evaluations of their superiors that get sent higher on the chain of command. In practice, these should give an accurate and fair assessment of a unit. This is an opportunity for troops to vent legitimate problems. However, too often these are disregarded because superiors are told things are fine by the sycophants.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
It’s one team, one fight. We’re all fighting for the same flag.
(Photo by Patrick Buffett)

 

Cliques face off

All troops aren’t always going to get along. That’s just a fact of life. But, when two groups of “good ol’ boys” butt heads, everyone else now needs to play along with their stupid game — no matter how petty.

As long as there’s still a working relationship, rivalries between units are fine. It builds espirt de corps. When there are divisions within a single unit because someone “doesn’t like that guy for something personal,” the unit has a serious problem.

MIGHTY MILSPOUSE

The US Marine Corps’ big plans to redesign its force means changes to what it stores in secret caves in Norway

A major Marine Corps force redesign is bringing big changes that could soon filter down to a secretive cave complex in Norway that the Corps has used since the Cold War.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said last year that the Corps needed to get rid of “big, heavy things” and build a more mobile force for naval expeditionary warfare in contested areas — namely the Asia-Pacific.


The Corps plans to cut its overall force 7% by 2030, shedding infantry battalions, eliminating helicopter squadrons, and getting rid of all of its tanks.

Marines in California have already said goodbye to their tanks, and more could leave soon, including those in a cave complex in Norway’s Trondheim region, where the Corps has stored weapons and other equipment for decades.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays

Entrances to the Bjugn Cave Facility in Norway with equipment outside to be taken to Estonia for a military exercise, June 30, 1997. US Defense Department

The Corps’ Force Design 2030 “is a worldwide program aimed to make our force posture around the globe even more strategic and effective. As such, it calls for a divestment of certain capabilities and increases in others,” Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a spokesman for Marine Corps forces in Europe and Africa, said in an email.

The Marine Corps Prepositioning Program in Norway “will continue to support US Marine Corps forces for bilateral and multi-lateral exercises” in European and Africa, Rankine-Galloway said.

“We expect that Marine Corps prepositioned equipment will be updated to meet our service’s needs, with excess equipment to be removed and newer equipment to be added to the prepositioned facilities,” Rankine-Galloway added.

Rankine-Galloway didn’t say what equipment that might be, but in the Force Design 2030, Berger said the Corps is “over-invested in” weapons like “heavily armored ground combat systems (tanks) [and] towed cannon artillery” and had “shortfalls” in rocket artillery, air-defense systems, and long-range unmanned aircraft.

Marine Corps leaders say savings from those cuts will pay for high-tech gear needed to counter China, Russia, and others.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays

M1A1 Abrams tanks and other equipment during a modernization of equipment at Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway, August 13, 2014. US Marine Corps/Master Sgt. Chad McMeen

A changing strategic game

The Marines’ underground storage in Norway’s Trondheim region dates to 1982, when the US and Norway agreed to preposition supplies and equipment in six climate-controlled caves there, allowing the Corps to store equipment closer than the US East Coast and “minimize the time necessary to form for combat.”

Much of the equipment there was withdrawn for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. A decade later, the Corps expanded its stocks, reportedly allowing tanks and other heavy vehicles to be stored there for the first time.

Since then, equipment has been taken out for exercises around Europe — in 2018 and 2019 the Corps shipped tanks from the caves to military exercises in Finland.

Changes to what the Marines store in Norway would come as the Corps alters its troop presence in the country.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays

US Marine Corps High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle stored at Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway, February 10, 2020. US Marine Corps/Cpl. Joseph Atiyeh

Hundreds of Marines have been stationed in Norway on six-month rotations since 2017, but Norway’s military said earlier this month that the US would reduce that force.

Rankine-Galloway told several outlets the Corps wasn’t drawing down but rather adopting shorter, “episodic” deployments aligned with exercises — sometimes bringing more troops to the country than are there now — that allow it to balance Arctic warfare training with larger-scale training “as a naval expeditionary force.”

“We expect US Marine Corps forces deployed to the Nordic region to train and be prepared to fight in accordance with the Commandant’s vision for the force and that this transformation will make both US Marine Corps, allied, and partner forces more lethal and capable together,” Rankine-Galloway told Insider.

The Marines’ year-round presence in Norway angered Russia, whose border with Norway is near sensitive sites on the Kola Peninsula belonging to the powerful Northern Fleet, which oversees Russia’s nuclear ballistic-missile subs.

Recent Northern Fleet activity, especially of its submarines, has concerned NATO. Norway and its neighbors have been especially wary of Russia’s tests of new missiles.

Russian missiles have changed “the strategic game” in the region, according to Thomas Nilsen, editor of Norway-based news outlet The Barents Observer.

“Living on the Norwegian side of the border, we don’t see a scenario of a Russian military invasion trying to capture” northern Norway, Nilsen said at an Atlantic Council event in February.

Weapons like the Kinzhal hypersonic missile could be launched from Russian fighter jets and within minutes strike airbases in those Scandinavian countries, Nilsen said.

Aircraft at those bases, like Norway’s F-35s, are “what Russia is afraid of,” Nilsen added. “Those capabilities on the Scandinavian side that might … disturb their deploying of the ballistic-missile submarines.”

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

Military Life

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 11th

The military has very talented photographers in the ranks, and they’re always capturing what life as a service member is like during training and at war. Here are the best military photos of the week:


Air Force:

Firefighters from Moody Air Force Base, Ga. put out a blaze during nighttime live-fire training, Nov. 9, 2017, at Moody AFB, Ga. Moody and the Valdosta Fire Department joined forces to prepare for the possibility of nighttime aircraft fire operations.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson

An F-15E Strike Eagle from the 492nd Fighter Squadron, takes off from the flight line for a training sortie at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Nov. 6. The 492nd FS recently returned from a six-month deployment to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez

Army:

A Soldier from the 1-214th Aviation Regiment checks his aircraft during a simulated crash exercise Nov. 6 in the Wackernheim training area.

A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from 1-214th GSAB was used as a prop to add realism to the environment with around 70 personnel responding to the incident, including elements of the Mainz civilian fire and rescue services and Wiesbaden Army Airfield fire and rescue services.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo by Paul Hughes

Spc. Matthew Williams, a cavalry scout assigned to 2nd Cavalry Regiment fires a Stinger missile using Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADs) during Artemis Strike, a live fire exercise at the NATO Missile Firing Installation (NAMFI) off the coast of Crete, Greece Nov. 6, 2017.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
(Photos by Sgt. 1st Class Jason Epperson, 10th AAMDC PAO)

Navy:

The guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) transits the Atlantic Ocean Nov. 7, 2017. The Oscar Austin is on a routine deployment supporting U.S. national security interests in Europe, and increasing theater security cooperation and forward naval presence in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan Utah Kledzik

Sailors attached to the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), participate in the Damage Control Olympics, a command training event promoting knowledge and safety. Blue Ridge is in an extensive maintenance period in order to modernize the ship to continue to serve as a robust communications platform in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Semales

Marine Corps:

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller cuts a cake at a Marine Corps birthday ceremony at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., Nov. 9, 2017. The ceremony was in honor of the Corps’ 242nd birthday.

Happy Birthday, Marines!

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Olivia G. Ortiz

U.S. Marines with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Marine Air-Ground Task Force-5 (MAGTF), integrated with 3rd Assault Amphibious Battalion, exit an amphibious assault vehicle while conducting their final exercise during Integrated Training Exercise 1-18 (ITX) on Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., November 3, 2017. The purpose of ITX is to create a challenging, realistic training environment that produces combat-ready forces capable of operating as an integrated MAGTF.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Angel D. Travis

Coast Guard:

U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Rich Bassin, a machinery technician on the National Strike Force’s Atlantic Strike Team, observes local Puerto Rican boat owners attempting to salvage a vessel in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, Nov. 6, 2013.

The Maria ESF-10 PR Unified Command, consisting of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, U.S. Coast Guard, in conjunction with the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Control Board, Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. and Fish Wildlife Service, is responding to vessels found to be damaged, displaced, submerged or sunken.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ali Flockerzi.

Coast Guard members from Station Venice, Louisiana, medevac a cruise ship crewmember who was experiencing appendicitis symptoms near Venice Nov. 6, 2017. The crewmember was taken to to emergency medical services at Station Venice in stable condition.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Travis Magee

Military Life

What you learn while living in hotel during a 6 month PCS

When we received PCS orders to the Washington D.C. area, our plans certainly did not include living in a hotel for six months with an escape artist cat.

In our minds, we would be in temporary lodging for a few weeks while we closed on a new house. With a July move, we fully expected to have household goods delivered by August and be celebrating the holidays in our new home.

My husband and I had firmly decided we wanted to buy a house in the area. He was a cyber operations specialist and I had just separated active duty myself, and still maintained a current security clearance. Between a heady mix of defense contractor jobs available for me and the likelihood of an extended military assignment for him, we knew buying would be a smart move.


We had no idea that decision might take six months.

Due to a ridiculously tight housing market, we struggled to find anything that fit our realistic, non-million dollar budget. Homes that did fit our needs were gone in hours. Others needed such extensive repairs, as to be unfeasible. Days ticked by, summer eased into fall and by the time we finally found a 1950’s Cape Cod with renovations we could actually afford, our California wardrobe of shorts and flip-flops were useless. Our winter clothes were in our household goods, which had gone into storage, and I had received a job offer working downtown – which required a new professional wardrobe. We shook our heads in frustration at trying to figure out how to make living in a hotel with 250 square feet of space functional.

It turned out to be a very powerful lesson in embracing minimalism.

What is Minimalism?

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays

Minimalism can best be explained over many mediums. It appears in art, music, fashion and architecture. Merriam Webster defines it as, “a style or technique characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.” Others explain minimalism as a lifestyle. In the book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Marie Kondo challenges readers to evaluate what items in their environment bring them joy and how to eliminate clutter with the KonMari Method. The military tends to define and embrace minimalism as doing “more with less.”

In our own lives, as we learned to function and live with less, we slowly discovered several advantages in a lifestyle stripped down to the essentials.

1. Re-evaluating purchases

We quickly realized any purchases brought into our tiny space had to be carefully evaluated. Limited by pure square footage and storage capacity, we were forced us to bring in less of everything. It didn’t take long for the habit to become second nature and lead to new shopping patterns.

2. Saving more than just money

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays

As we shopped smarter and bought only essentials, we weren’t surprised that we started saving real money. What did come as a surprise however, was the feeling of actually having more. With less physical space to fill up, and a reduced urge to do so, we not only gained more money and time, we also gained a fresh sense of renewed mental space. Adopting a minimalistic lifestyle created more room for things that mattered.

3. Collecting experiences versus things

Instead of collecting “stuff” that always seemed to turn into clutter, we developed a new focus on collecting fresh experiences. We had more money to travel, to explore new neighborhoods or try a unique restaurant. We quickly embraced this new feeling of liberation – and I knew unequivocally that we had made a permanent lifestyle shift.

4. A new sense of freedom

By the time we finally moved into our home, we were ready for a new change. As we slowly unpacked the sky-high boxes, we realized that by living in a hotel with less, we had refined our priorities. What we truly needed was quickly distinguishable from what could be culled and eliminated. As a result, our next PCS was cleaner and lighter, which turned out to be a very powerful lesson for an overseas assignment. We were allotted 14,000 pounds for Germany and couldn’t help but giggle when our household goods topped the scales at a mere 3,700 pounds.

What began as a challenging PCS turned into a beautiful and liberating life lesson in simplicity. And couldn’t we all use a little more simplicity in this crazy, but wonderful military life.

This article originally appeared on Military Spouse. Follow @MilSpouseMag on Twitter.

Military Life

Family bonds through generations of military service

As the mother of an Army National Guard soldier and the daughter of a former Army captain, Nancy Craker-Yahman sees the resemblance between her son and father. 

“Over the years, many would mention how our son inherited his grandfather’s smile … Often referred to as ‘Little Lyle’ [after my father, Lyle] I never did mind the comparison. Not only did he inherit his award-winning smile but also his nose and a few of his other facial features and expressions,” she said. 

Craker-Yahman’s son is a specialist in the Massachusetts Army National Guard. She has found that, in addition to their shared expressions, they have other commonalities.

“Both are hardworking, adept at learning new things, responsible, are kind and giving, sympathetic, caring, enjoy keeping active, and have a love for dogs,” she said. 

Zachary, Craker-Yahman’s son, always loved listening to his grandfather speak about his time in the service and often seeks his advice when it comes to military training or experiences, which brings them even closer together.

“When his grandfather spoke about his life experiences and his time serving as a captain, Zachary paid close attention. When he had questions or needed his grandfather’s opinion about his soon-to-be military experiences, he always offered a thoughtful reply,” Craker-Yahman said. 

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Lyle Craker

Craker-Yahman’s father has continued to have a significant role in her son’s life after he enlisted in military. 

“When the time came for our son to take the oath of enlistment, his grandfather was a proud guest of honor. Once the oath was official, a firm handshake took place between the two along with the sharing of smiles,” she said. 

The family members often spend their time together looking through old photographs and enjoying root beer floats and apple pie. They value listening to each other’s shared experiences, even generations apart. To Craker-Yahman, her son and her father’s shared smiles are just another display of their connected spirits. 

“Moments of meaningful discussion are never wasted,” Craker-Yahman shares. 

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
Spc. Zachary Yahman.

“Like so many soldiers, my father and son are competent, brave, and talented servicemen. They are humble individuals and not attention seekers. I appreciate it when we come across photographs of my father and our son, who stand proudly in their uniforms surrounded by loved ones, battle buddies, and lifelong friends. While the photos feature them displaying serious-looking faces, the ones where they flash a proud smile are the ones I have placed in frames in my home office. Having them near me in this way brings me comfort. I will always be proud and supportive of their service, their sense of duty, their love for family, how they willingly lend their helping hands, and the selfless care they share,” Craker-Yahman said.

She adds that she hopes the sense of duty and commitment passed down through the generations will continue as the family grows. She supports her son daily by way of writing, taking photographs, scrapbooking, and displaying an Army National Guard flag at the front of her home. 

“I remain hopeful that generation number four is just as lucky as the ones before us and that they will inherit their great grandfather’s smile and carry on the tradition of proudly serving in the military,” she said. 

Articles

17 images that perfectly show the misery of returning your gear

Over the past few days, you’ve been collecting exit signatures for your check-out sheet, and low and behold, you’re almost home. The process has been relatively straightforward up until this point.


The last item you need to get signed off is from the Central Issue Facility, or supply, where you need to check in all of your gear. Supply is one of the last stops a service member makes before obtaining their official DD-214.

Sounds easy enough, right?

Wrong. If one aspect of your gear is not check-in ready, integrating back into civilian population will be delayed.

Related: 17 images that show why going to the armory sucks

So check out our list of what it typically takes to check in your gear and move on with your life.

(This is based on many true stories)

1. What it looks like when you’re on your way to the central issue on a Friday afternoon.

Oh, come on. (Images via Giphy)

2.When you walk inside and all you see are other troops waiting in a long a** line.

There’s too many to count. (Images via Giphy)

3. To add insult to injury, everyone who works there looks slow and grumpy.

Why do I hate life? (Images via Giphy)

4. After waiting what felt like an eternity, you finally haul your heavy gear over to the counter and begin the checkout process.

So heavy. (Images via Giphy)

5. You make it to the counter, and just as your morale has been boosted, you realized you’re at the slowest worker’s section.

Please, hurry the f*ck up! (Images via Giphy)

6. The clerk starts to review all your gear, pulling everything out piece-by-piece — most of which you never used.

And we mean most things. (Images via Giphy)

7. After completing the inventory, the clerk finds an issue with your almost squared away paperwork. All of your gear is clean enough to pass, but there’s a missing signature.

No way freakin’ way. (Images via Giphy)

8. Your superior officer’s signature is missing for an expensive piece of gear which got destroyed while you were deployed. The clerk informs you that you can either pay for it yourself or get the signature before you can get out of the military.

You can’t believe what you’re hearing.

I ain’t paying for sh*t. (Images via Giphy)

9. You speed back to your company HQ to find your CO.

Pedal to the metal. (Images via Giphy)

10. You dash into the HQ in search of the man or woman who can set you free.

Where are they? (Images via Giphy)

11. You find your superior, he or she signs the paperwork and then your emotions take over.

This may be wrong but it feels right. (Images via Giphy)

12. Now that you got your signature, it’s time to head back to central issue.

Almost to the finish line. (Images via Giphy)

13. You get back the central issue building and attempt to eyeball the person who helped you earlier to avoid waiting in line again.

Look at me. (Images via Giphy)

Also Read: 33 images that perfectly portray your first 96-hour liberty

15. It worked. The clerk spots you and waves you over. You hand her the signed paperwork, she looks it over and now you wait.

The anticipation grows. (Images via Giphy)

16. The clerk slowly stamps your paperwork. You’re clear.

You want to get mad, but you can’t at this point. (Images via Giphy)

17. You did it! Now go get your DD-214 and move on with your life.

Five years of college here I come. (Images via Giphy)

MIGHTY MILSPOUSE

MilSpouse and NASA’s last living ‘Hidden Figure,’ Katherine Johnson, dies at 101

NASA legend, mathematician, race barrier breaker, women’s rights advancer, mother, military spouse: Katherine Johnson was truly out of this world. The once in a generation mind passed away at age 101 on February 24, NASA announced.


We’re saddened by the passing of celebrated #HiddenFigures mathematician Katherine Johnson. Today, we celebrate her 101 years of life and honor her legacy of excellence that broke down racial and social barriers: https://go.nasa.gov/2SUMtN2 pic.twitter.com/dGiGmEVvAW

twitter.com

Johnson was born in 1918 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. From an early age, she demonstrated a love of counting and numbers far beyond her peers and well beyond her years. By age 10, Johnson was already through her grade school curriculum and enrolled in high school, which she finished at 14. She enrolled in West Virginia State College at only age 15 and started pursuing her love of math.

According to NASA, while at WVSC, Johnson had the opportunity to study under well known professor Dr. William W. Schiefflin Claytor. Claytor guided Johnson in her career path, once telling her, “You’d make a great research mathematician.” He also provided her guidance with how to become one. In an interview with NASA, Johnson recalled, “Many professors tell you that you’d be good at this or that, but they don’t always help you with that career path. Professor Claytor made sure I was prepared to be a research mathematician.” Claytor’s spirit of mentorship was something that Johnson paid forward. “Claytor was a young professor himself,” she said, “and he would walk into the room, put his hand in his pocket, and take some chalk out, and continue yesterday’s lesson. But sometimes I could see that others in the class did not understand what he was teaching. So I would ask questions to help them. He’d tell me that I should know the answer, and I finally had to tell him that I did know the answer, but the other students did not. I could tell.”

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays

upload.wikimedia.org

Johnson became the first black woman to attend West Virginia University’s graduate school. Following graduation, she became a school teacher, settled down and married. She spent many years at home with her three daughters, but when her husband became ill, she began teaching again. In the early 1950s, a family friend told Johnson that NACA (the predecessor to NASA) was hiring. According to NASA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics were specifically looking for African-American females to work as “computers” in what was then their Guidance and Navigation Department. In the 1950s, pools of women at NACA did calculations that the engineers needed worked or verified.

Johnson applied but the openings were already filled. The following year, she applied again, and this time she was offered two contracts. She took the one as a researcher. She started working at NACA in 1953. In 1956, her husband died of an inoperable brain tumor. In 1959, Johnson remarried James A. Johnson, an Army captain and Korean War veteran.

Johnson was a pioneer for multiple reasons. Not only was she a working woman in the 1950s, an era during which women were generally secretaries if they worked at all, she was also a black woman. In an interview for the book “Black Women Scientists in the United States,” Johnson recalled, “We needed to be assertive as women in those days – assertive and aggressive – and the degree to which we had to be that way depended on where you were. I had to be. In the early days of NASA women were not allowed to put their names on the reports – no woman in my division had had her name on a report. I was working with Ted Skopinski and he wanted to leave and go to Houston … but Henry Pearson, our supervisor – he was not a fan of women – kept pushing him to finish the report we were working on. Finally, Ted told him, ‘Katherine should finish the report, she’s done most of the work anyway.’ So Ted left Pearson with no choice; I finished the report and my name went on it, and that was the first time a woman in our division had her name on something.”

If Johnson was intimidated, she never showed it. “The women did what they were told to do,” she explained in an interview with NASA. “They didn’t ask questions or take the task any further. I asked questions; I wanted to know why. They got used to me asking questions and being the only woman there.”

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays

NASA photo

Johnson was so well known for her capabilities, that John Glenn personally asked for her before his orbit in 1962. According to NASA, “The complexity of the orbital flight had required the construction of a worldwide communications network, linking tracking stations around the world to IBM computers in Washington, Cape Canaveral in Florida, and Bermuda. The computers had been programmed with the orbital equations that would control the trajectory of the capsule in Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission from liftoff to splashdown, but the astronauts were wary of putting their lives in the care of the electronic calculating machines, which were prone to hiccups and blackouts. As a part of the preflight checklist, Glenn asked engineers to ‘get the girl’—Johnson—to run the same numbers through the same equations that had been programmed into the computer, but by hand, on her desktop mechanical calculating machine. ‘If she says they’re good,” Katherine Johnson remembers the astronaut saying, ‘then I’m ready to go.’ Glenn’s flight was a success, and marked a turning point in the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union in space.”

Johnson was an instrumental part of the team and was the only woman to be pulled from the calculating pool room to work on other projects. One of those projects: putting a man on the moon.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays

live.staticflickr.com

Johnson lived a remarkable life and had a prestigious career. Her awards and decorations are numerous, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Congressional Gold Medal, honorary doctorate from William and Mary, a facility being named after her at NASA’s Langley campus and even a Barbie made in her image. She had a fervor for learning and a love of life.

“Like what you do, and then you will do your best,” she said.

Rest in peace, Ms. Johnson.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays
MIGHTY MILSPOUSE

Why United States NASA, China, and UAE are all going to Mars at the same time

NASA just launched its Mars rover Perseverance, along with its first interplanetary helicopter, perched atop an Atlas V5 rocket.


But NASA wasn’t alone….In the past two weeks, space agencies from China and the United Arab Emirates also launched missions to Mars.

These spacecraft will travel over 400 million kilometers before all reaching their destination around February 2021.

But in the past 13 years, only seven rockets sent missions to the red planet. So, why are so many attempts to reach Mars all happening right now?

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

MIGHTY MILSPOUSE

Today is ‘Gold Star Spouses Day.’ Here are 5 things to know.

Gold Star Spouses Day has its origins way back to World War I. The families of servicemen would fly banners and hang them in their windows. These banners had a blue star to represent a service member in uniform. But, if their loved one was killed in action, the color of the star was changed from blue to gold, thus notifying the community the ultimate price that family had paid for their country.

1. The Gold Star lapel pin was created in 1947

Following the popularity of the banners, in 1947, Congress approved the design for the official Gold Star lapel pin/button. This was introduced to represent service members who had died in combat. The pin takes the form of a gold star on a purple background.

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays

2. The military bestows the Gold Star upon families 

During the funeral service of the fallen military member, senior officers present the Gold Star Pin in addition to the national colors to the spouse or next of kin as a mark of respect for their sacrifice.

3. Gold Star Wives/Spouses Day began in 2010

In 2010, the first Gold Star Wives Day was observed. Two years later the Senate passed a resolution that codified Gold Star Wives Day, which was set to be observed April 5th each year. To make it more inclusive this was changed later and renamed Gold Star Spouses Day.

4. Gold Star Spouses Day raises awareness

Gold Star Spouses Day brings awareness of the sacrifices and grief these spouses have faced in the name of their country. However, possibly more importantly, it brings awareness for the Gold Star survivors themselves of the large network of resources and assistance that is available to them. A few examples of the resources available to these spouses are: Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), scholarship resources which include the Pat Tillman Scholarship and the Fisher House Foundation Scholarship for Military Children, in addition to the Army’s Survivor Outreach Services (SOS).

This is how Jack Daniel’s and the ASYMCA help troops go home for the holidays

5. Gold Star Spouses Day is observed in many ways

While Gold Star Spouses Day is not a national holiday, there are many installations that have their own programs to observe this day. Many of the installation observances focus on the military fitness and lifestyle. For instance, there are quite a few remembrance 5Ks which are run on April 5. There are also remembrance efforts seen online and on social media. One such effort is the Facebook campaign which urges Gold Star families to share photos and memories of their fallen loved ones.

While Gold Star Spouses Day is one day set aside each April to acknowledge the sacrifices of these military family members, their grief and loss is something that should be remembered each and every day. These special families have lost a loved one in the name of freedom, in the name of the United States. Their family member willingly fought, served and gave that ultimate sacrifice. This is something that should never be overlooked or forgotten, rather is something that should be acknowledged every day. Without these tragic losses, Americans would not have the freedoms they hold so dear, nor would America be the proud country that it has always been. It is only through the willingness to give everything that Americans have the ability to hold onto the patriotic pride that is so important.

This Gold Star Spouses Day, and every day, take the time to remember these families that have given so much. Never take for granted the freedoms America has been given and fought for. Keep these sacrifices in mind each day, and be grateful for the men and women who are so willing to pay that ultimate price for their country. Whether you take to social media or see one at your local military installation, thank a Gold Star Spouse today.

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