AFSA HQ Newsletter – September 1st

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES AND NEWS 

President Stresses Importance of Commitment to Those Who Serve

 “As today’s war’s end, as our troops come home, we’re reminded once more of our responsibilities to all who have served.  For the bond between our forces and our citizens is a sacred trust.  And for me and my Administration, upholding that trust isn’t just a matter of policy.  It’s not about politics.  It’s a moral obligation.” 

 Those were the words of President Obama who, in his address at the American Legion Convention on Tuesday, spoke of the importance of honoring the nation’s duty to those who serve or have served in uniform.  He went on to say that “As a nation, we’re facing tough choices as we put our fiscal house in order.  But I want to be absolutely clear-we cannot, and we must not, balance the budget on the backs of our veterans.  And as Commander in Chief, I won’t allow it.”  Obama closed with a reminder to all veterans, that no matter when they served or for how long, that theUnited Statesowes them a debt of gratitude.  “Americawill never leave your side,” he said. “Americawill never forget you.   We will always be grateful to you.”

Readers of On Call know that military service demands a special kind of sacrifice.  The places you live and serve; the risks you face; the work you do every day are usually decided by someone else.  The interests of the nation must always come first.  These duties are shared by family members who make many sacrifices of their own through separation during deployments of the military member and unfortunately, sometimes, through permanent loss.  AFSA also believes that earned military benefits should be protected and provided as promised, and we will work to preserve them in the upcoming budget fight.

Congressional Break Draws to a Close

The congressional summer district work period is coming to an end and Congress plans to resume normal legislative activities next week.  Hopefully you had the opportunity to connect with your elected representatives while they were working out of their local offices, but you have a couple days remaining if you did not. 

Staring lawmakers in the face is a September 30 deadline for passage of the FY 2012 funding bills.  To date, the House has approved 6 of the 12 annual funding bills and the Senate, just 1.  It goes without saying that they have a lot of catching up to do.

The debate over federal funding, deficit reduction and discretionary spending limits is far from over and we fully anticipate “difficulties” will arise once Congress gets back to this important work.  If lawmakers allow the appropriations process to become impeded; look for another continuing resolution to keep Uncle Sam running beyond September. 

AFSA Congratulates PACAF enlisted members for Order of Sword to General North

AFSA congratulates General Gary L. North, Commander, Pacific Air Forces; Air Component Commander for U.S. Pacific Command who was inducted into the command’s Order of the Sword, on August 26.    He is the 17th PACAF member to receive this prestigious recognition by the enlisted men and women of that command.. 

“It’s all about Airmen honoring Airmen,” North said. “It’s a humbling experience. It’s a privilege to serve among you and your family.   To serve our Air Force and to serve our nation in both peacetime and combat is one of the greatest privileges any American can have.”  According to North, he is just another Airman in a long line of Airmen — one who’s thrilled with the honor to continue to serve.  “Your dedicated service, your trust, your faith and your confidence in me and the privileges I have had, specifically to be afforded to serve along side of you, is the greatest privilege that an officer could ever have,” he said. 

More States Sign Compact in Support of Our Military Children

In January the President released a report, Strengthening Our Military Families: Meeting America’s Commitment, which signaled his Administration’s support to military members.   Among the items highlighted in his report was an AFSA-endorsed initiative known as the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.  This interstate agreement addresses a wide variety of change of station and mobility-related challenges by adapting state laws to include transfer of records, course placement, and graduation requirements, among other issues arising from parents either deployed or transferred. 

For the past couple of years, AFSA has been working to get all 50 states to participate in this worthwhile effort.  Although we are not quite there yet, we are pleased to note thatWest VirginiaandVermontrecently joined the compact making them the 36th and 37 states to do so. 

AFSA will continue to press the 13 states not currently participating to take part in this effort to minimize the impact of military children adapting to a new location.  They are: AR, GA, ID, MA, MN, MT, NE, NH, NY, ND, OR, PA, and WY.  If you reside in one of these states, tell your state representatives you want them to support the Interstate Compact. 

AFSA Supporting CAP Enlisted Members

Thinking AFSA and spreading wings last week, the AFSA CEO met with nearly 700 senior leaders from the Civil Air Patrol inLouisville,Kentucky, to brief legislation and solidify AFSA support for a new award beginning next year.  AFSA will be supporting the CAP NCO Cadet of the Year award to recognize their outstanding enlisted nominees and winner at the CAP Annual Meeting in late August, 2012. 

VETERANS NEWS 

VA Enters New Era of Online Engagement

On August 16, VA announced publication of a new social media policy.   The policy allows VA employees to leverage sites like Facebook and Twitter to communicate with Veterans of all eras more efficiently.  Click HERE to learn more. 

Learn to Recognize the Signs

Many Veterans may not show any signs of intent to harm themselves before doing so, but some actions can be a sign that a Veteran needs help.   Veterans in crisis may show behaviors that indicate a risk of harming themselves. 

Their behavior may be dramatically different from their normal behavior, or they may appear to be actively contemplating or preparing for a suicidal act through behaviors. 

If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran who is showing any of the above warning signs, please call the Veterans Crisis Line or chat online today. 

Women Veterans Healthcare

Women Veterans are one of the fastest growing segments of the Veteran population.   Of the 22.7 million living Veterans, more than 1.8 million are women. They comprise nearly 8 percent of the total Veteran population and 6 percent of all Veterans who use VA health care services.  VA estimates by 2020 women Veterans will constitute 10 percent of the Veteran population and 9.5 percent of VA patients. 

Recently VA has made a big push to address the needs of female Veterans.  This includes reaching out to these women for input on how to improve health care services by sharing their experiences with VA.  Representatives at VA’s Health Resource Center (HRC) are placing calls to women Veterans nationwide, asking them to share their experiences with VA and suggest potential enhancements that will further VA’s mission to provide the best care anywhere. 

VA has trained professionals in all aspects of women’s health, including general primary care, osteoporosis management, heart disease, mental health care, menopausal services and obesity-related issues, such as diabetes.  Preventive screenings for breast and cervical cancer are also areas in which VA excels. Soon, all VA facilities will offer comprehensive primary care for women from a single provider. 

For more information about VA programs and services for women Veterans, please visit: www.va.gov/womenvet and www.publichealth.va.gov/womenshealth

HEALTH CARE 

TRICARE Availability in the Aftermath of Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene affected areas of the TRICARE North Region.  For current information about military treatment facility and/or TRICAREServiceCenterclosures and to see if a waiver of primary care manager referrals is in effect for your area, please click here.

TRICARE will post additional information at this site when it becomes available so please check back for updates. 

TRICARE’s Back-to-School Safety Check

It is that time again!  TRICARE would like to highlight some common safety tips that may help parents as they prepare their kids for the new school year.  Read what they had to say by clicking here 

AROUND THE NATION 

HAVE A SAFE AND ENJOYABLE LABOR DAY! 

WANT INSTANT UPDATES?  – AFSA IS NOW ON TWITTER

Be the first in getting the latest updates and follow AFSA ON CALL.    We are now posting daily and weekly updates on Twitter.  As you may already know, Twitter allows for instant updates and happenings around the world, either on computers or your portable devices.

Sign up for your AFSA Twitter updates at – http://twitter.com/#!/afsahq 

AFSA MEMBER BENEFITS

VACATION & TRAVEL: AFSA CRUISES AND TOURS

If you’re thinking about a cruise or other vacation tour, check out our AFSA Vacations HERE.  Administered by Brennco Travel, a leader in the travel industry. 

COLUMBIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY (CSU) LEARNING PARTNERSHIP

The AFSA/CSU partnership provides AFSA members a 10 percent discount on all of CSU’s tuition rates, along with the waived $25 application fee.   This discount is available for all AFSA members, employees, and their immediate family members (spouse and children).   Go to CSU’s website HERE and select “Air Force Sergeants Association” as the Partner Benefit provider. 

AFSA INSURANCE: LIFE AND HEALTH

For information and applications on any of these insurance plans please contact Marsh Affinity Group Services toll-free at (800) 882-5541, or online HERE.   Coverage may vary or not be issued in all states. 

  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance Plan
  • Cancer Expense Insurance
  • Group Dental Insurance
  • Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Short-Term Recovery Insurance Plan
  • TRICARE Supplement Insurance
  • Life Line Health Screenings
  • Trip Cancellation Insurance

 

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR AIR FORCE ENLISTED MEMBERS DEPENDENT CHILDREN AND AIR FORCE SERGEANTS ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL AUXILIARY MEMBERS

The Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA) and the Airmen Memorial Foundation (AMF) joined together to conduct a scholarship program to financially assist the undergraduate studies of eligible, dependent children of the Total Air Force which includes Air Force Active Duty (AFAD), Air National Guard (ANG) , and Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) enlisted members in active duty, retired, or veteran status. Applications are screened and verified for eligibility prior to submission to the respective selection committee(s).   The AFSA and AFSA International Auxiliary programs have membership requirements, but there are no association membership requirements for the AMF or CMSAF programs.

Applications for the upcoming academic year are available between January 1 and March 31.   Completed application packages with all required documents can be sent to AFSA Headquarters between January 1 and March 31, incomplete packages or packages received after March 31 are ineligible for consideration. 

MOVING?   Let AFSA salute you while updating your address, phone, etc. 

We want to hear your thoughts and opinions.  Complete the sentence below!  What’s your top 10 list for AFSA?  Go ahead.  Don’t be bashful.  Send it. 

“I THINKAFSASHOULD __________.”

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