Wednesday, December 30, 2015

National Parks Free Annual Pass for Current US Military and Dependents

There is perhaps no better freebie than the one from the government giving you free access to National Parks. This is one that many now can take advantage of. If you are on leave, think about taking your family on a road trip to a National Park or other US recreation area.

Here are some details:

  1. What are the benefits for the Annual Pass - Military? Free admission at sites that charge entrance or standard amenity fees for one full year from the month obtained (through last day of that month).
    • Allows pass owner and accompanying passengers in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle to enter federally operated recreation sites across the country.
    • Covers the pass owner and three (3) accompanying adults age 16 and older at sites where per person entrance fees are charged. No entry fee charged for children 15 and under.
    The pass does not cover or provide a discount on expanded amenity fees such as camping, boat launch or interpretive fees.
  2. Who qualifies for the Annual Pass - Military? Current US military members and their dependents in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, as well as most members of the US Reserves and National Guard. Proper military ID is required (CAC Card or DoD Form 1173).
  3. Can dependents of National Guard and the Reserve members acquire a pass? Dependents of deployed military members with DoD Form 1173 may obtain a pass. If the military member has not been deployed, the dependent may be the second signer on their sponsor’s pass.
  4. Are there any benefits for veterans? There is not a pass specifically for veterans; however, many veterans qualify for one of the other discount passes offered as part of our pass program.
    If you are 62 or older you qualify for a Senior Pass. You can buy a Senior Pass in person from a participating Federal recreation site or office or by mail.
    If you have a permanent disability you may qualify for an Access Pass. This is a free lifetime pass that you may obtain in person from a participating Federal recreation site or office or by mail.
  5. Where can I use my pass? Please contact a site directly if you have a question about pass acceptance and fees. The Forest Service, the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation honor the Annual Pass at sites where Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee(s) are charged.
    US Army Corps of Engineers will not be issuing this pass, however they may honor it for free access at some sites. For more information contact your local US Army Corps of Engineers.
  6. How do I get my pass? You can receive your pass by presenting your Current US military ID at most Federal lands that charge an entrance fee. A list of sites that sell pass is available. Sites that issue the Annual Pass will generally also issue the free US military version as well. Please contact the Federal Land you will be visiting in advance to ensure that they have the pass available.
Start planning for next summer or your next leave!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

How the military started tracking Santa Claus


We are promoting an older post on NORAD and how they started tracking Santa. Please visit: http://militaryandveterans.blogspot.com/2009/12/why-military-uses-norad-to-track-santa.html


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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day discounts


We salute our veterans on this Veteran's Day 2015! NO greater service than theirs.

Be sure and take advantage of the many discounts and freebies from businesses. Virtually every name brand chain, and small coffee shops, will be offering free or reduced meals to our military. Take advantage of it! You deserve these small tokens of appreciation. And did you know that when a veteran or military member is served by these establishments, that they get great satisfaction out of doing this for you?

There are way too many to list. Go to the business' website to find out what they offer. Here is one website that lists some: http://themilitarywallet.com/veterans-day-free-meals-and-discounts/


The National Forest Service is waiving all parking fees today as well.

Ben Carson and West Point

Nobody really knows, we suppose, if Ben Carson was offered an appointment to West Point 45+ years ago. If he was, he made a choice to not go. But the newsmedia is too concerned about semantics. Carson claims he got a "full ride," and there are some media fools who want to nick him on what is really just words. We have no idea what you would call going to West Point, or any service academy for that matter, other than paid in full. No out of pocket expenses other than what might not be paid for. But certainly they are provided with all they really need, extra expenses not withstanding. So what do you call it? Full ride? Free? Appointment? Who cares! To us it all means the same.

Sure, some of you are saying, well, the students pay with time in service. Sure they do. But there are numerous ways out of it. Sometimes you pay back, sometimes you don't.

What would you call a DI football scholarship? Full ride? Of course....what else? And yet, those players certainly pay with blood, sweat, and tears. Hours of time on the football field. So would if one called that a "full ride" scholarship, would they be wrong? Who cares?

One thing is for sure. Our military is well loved and many will take offense to any political candidate playing loose with facts on that subject. But Ben Carson seems to not be.

We would like the newsmedia to scrutinize Benghazi, Clinton, Kerry, Obama, the VA, and the rest of this current White House who seems to have no clue how to run a military. Can you say, "Syria"?

How about a frantic newsmedia swarm of what "red line" means.

And let's not forget  Bo Bergdahl. What does deserter mean? What does AWOL mean? What does dishonorable mean?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Who is running our military?


The events of the past couple of weeks makes us wonder who is in charge of the US military. Does it matter that the spokespeople are not on the same page? Is the President the Commander in Chief, or just going through the motions? Let's take a look at some things that certainly give reasons to stop and wonder what in the world (pun intended) is going on?

First of all, we have no real plan to battle ISIS. We are swatting a fly here, a flea there. Our military is just on the sidelines waiting and watching...for what?

Putin? Obama meets with Putin, and of course plays it up. Only to have Putin lead Russia into a build up in Syria, then bomb what supposedly is the same people we were training and supporting. The Defense Department says they had no clue. John Kerry calls Putin, "unprofessional." Are you kidding? Unprofessional? A very strange choice of words to say the least. But again, the point is, we were clueless.

And now we are watching Putin have a plan in Syria. Join Syria, Iran, and now Iraq. Boy have we lost the edge. What about Obama's promise to make sure Assad goes? Well, that train has left the station.

Of course when anyone talks about this stuff, Obama just says the other side just wants war. With Obama, there seems to be only two choices: Nothing or war. We don't remember Ronald Reagan going to war for the Berlin Wall, Poland, etc.

And then we have this little matter about us bombing a hospital.

Not more than a few hours, Obama was on the spot, complaining about lack of gun control after the horrible tragedy in Oregon. In fact, he boldly made it political. A rather shameful act, actually, for the President of the United States.

But then we bomb a hospital and what is his response? Silence.

First we say we are looking into it. Then we say we did it because the Afghans asked us to. Followed by a few days of silence. Eventually, we admit it was a mistake. But that's not enough for this administration. No. They have to now say it was all the fault of those in Afghanistan. That is, blaming it on our military men and women who were just following orders. It's called passing the buck. "Stuff" flows downhill, as our fellow vets would know.

Obama should have spoken right away, AND TAKEN FULL RESPONSIBILITY! We bombed a hospital that we helped build.

The only people who ever do anything wrong, according to the president, is anyone but him!

>> Veterans make great teachers! Become one today.
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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cautionary advice for owning a house while in the military


Certainly owning a house is one of most everyone's dream. But military members are unique. They travel. They get transferred. Career military personnel can move quite a bit. Buying a home is a big step, and an even bigger one if done while on active duty.

First, your home is a huge investment. And it might not pay off. If you move in a couple of years, your house probably will not have increased that much. You could have little equity. The costs of selling your house might strip away any gains. If you can't sell it before you have to move, you will still owe payments. Trying to rent might be an iffy proposition. Will you get enough to cover the costs? How will you manage the place while you are overseas, or at best, a domestic base? It's hard being a landlord as it is. You could end up with a big headache. A house left alone without occupants is ripe for vandalism.

Military pay can be supplemented by housing and combat pay, along with other allowances. Those are tax free, so any tax break of owning a home might not be there. Just using the standard deductions, a military family might not owe any tax to begin with. Don't get snookered into buying a home because of some big tax break that might not be there.

On-base housing, if you get it, is the best way. Local rentals are the next option.

If you are in your last years and know for a fact that you have reached your final duty station at home, you might consider buying. But there is a great benefit for veterans. VA home loans.

The best advice perhaps is to just wait.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Pentagon "Jumps the Shark" on new pension plan

The military has been making some very suspect decisions lately, from top to bottom. From ISIS to Iraq, Bergdahl, and everything in between. We can't keep up with the contradictions and questionable actions. Of course it does come from the Commander in Chief, who has been pretty clueless on the world stage anyway. But we digress. Now they propose a radical change in the military retirement system. Now, after 20 years, you retire at 50% of your base pay. In the scheme of things, that's not bad, but not great. Since a lot of military members are young, after 20 years they are still relatively young. So getting another job and retirement gives them a chance at a second career if they need it. Now it's not great, but getting 50% after only 20 years is pretty good. We have to admit that upfront. No, you won't get rich, but it is a carrot dangled in front of you to stick it out for 20 years. Or more. And that's a good thing. We should reward those that stick their necks out for our country. Now the new plan. We'll call it the beginning of the privatization of the military. That's dangerous. It's the first step to treating the military as if it were just another federal agency or private company. The people that work their must probably pay into their own retirement with a contribution from the company. And that is what is being proposed. Having military members contribute from their already meager checks into a retirement system. This will undoubtedly be mandatory. Instead of retiring after 20 years at half pay, a member will now draw on some screw ball annuity, dropping that 50% to 40%. Okay. Perhaps you say still not bad. But we are forgetting the forfeiture of pay for those 20 years. Not only will retired service members get a smaller paycheck while serving, they get a smaller check when retiring. This is a screw ball idea. Of course higher ups think this will be great! Sure. Why would anyone make the military a career, when a private job would probably offer a better retirement? If you force people to pay who have never paid before, at least give them more! But, no. The Pentagon says they will match up to 5% contribution from military paychecks. Now we ask you, can you see military members wanting to give up 5% of their income? How many stories do you read about how military families are struggling? Members who leave early will indeed be able to withdraw it, maybe, but e bet their will be a penalty. And just when you thought it could not get worse, check this detail out. After 20 years, military members will be offered some sort of higher pay IF they stay 8 more years...why? It is hoped that this would help offset the reduced retirement. So now you must stay for 28 years... We fully recognize those that do serve longer than 20 years now. The incentive is that they will get a bigger retirement. But this is without paying one dime. This should scare a lot of people. Can you imagine the steps we would be taking to privatize the military? No more military rules. We'd probably get a union and see a strike. Write your congressmen and women. Tell them to vote no.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bergdahl Charged With Military Crimes


Remember Bowe Bergdahl? The person who President Obama celebrated the release of at The White House? The moment that Obama and others in the administration were championing this as some great feat of diplomacy? Turns out it was as everyone with half of a brain knew: It was a great feat of lunacy.

Make no mistake. This was not about leaving nobody behind. That phrase makes no sense. Every war has deserters, instances of AWOL, being friendly with the enemy, and many stay near the battle theaters. For many reasons, good and bad. We do not risk American lives to bring them back.

We did risk American lives to find Bergdahl. Even at that time the military knew he walked away under questionable circumstances. So why did we trade high level Gitmo detainees? Because it was all about negotiating with terrorists on the premise of emptying Gitmo. Terrific idea, right?

We are supposed to be a country that does not negotiate with terrorists, and members of Congress are supposed to be briefed on matters like this before it happens. But hey, nobody cares much about following all laws in DC, do they? A president seems to be able to pick and choose how and when to follow the laws.

It's a sad day, but on the other hand, it's justice for those who knew this trade was a sham. It shows the brain-dead people working in The White House had no clue this would happen. We can't figure that one out.

Susan Rice just showed that "Susan Rice" should become a verb. The art of speaking stupidly on Sunday news shows.....She championed false statements about Bowe Bergdahl: He served with honor and distinction.

False statements just seem to flow like water.

Here's the saddest part. Members of the military died looking for this fool Bergdahl.

How ironic. Just think about this as you talk around your friends and family on this Bergdahl nonsense. Bowe Bergdahl hopefully will be locked away for a long time, at the same moment that five terrorists are going free.

And America should not be happy.

>> Prepare for a natural disaster with backup generators


Monday, March 9, 2015

How you can support the troops


Supporting the troops, honoring a veteran, is one of the most patriotic things you can do. Many people would love to just make each and every military service member feel like they are much appreciated. Of course it is impossible to thank everyone, but if you do a few things, you can spread love, support, and goodwill among our military members. Below are just simple few ways to show your appreciation for our troops and veterans. Make it a point to show your support for our troops!

 When you show patriotism, you show you care about our military personnel as well. Patriotism is perhaps the number one way you can show your appreciation for our men and women in uniform.

 Whenever I see an American flag on a house, business, or even a lapel pin, it makes me instantly think that the person doing that supports service members. So, if you can display the American Flag outside your house or business, or wear that lapel pin, do it.

 Purchase a whole bunch of small American flags, and put them on the graves of soldiers. When visiting a cemetery, find out what the rules are and when they mow the grass. Do your deed the day after so they stay up longer.

 Attend veteran's events like parades. Stand and cheer for the veterans who come by and are participating.

 Stand up and be reverent to the national anthem at sporting events.

 If you see a service member in their uniform, go up to them and thank them personally. But remember, a Thank You is never enough.

 Contact a local military base and ask them how you can show your appreciation to the men and women in uniform who are stationed there.

 Find a website that allows you to donate items and care packages to military personnel overseas.

 Ask your family and friends if they have any relatives in the military. You can honor them personally by writing them or sending them packages or gift cards.

 Do you own a business? Give a military discount and ADVERTISE it! Make it a decent discount that really counts! Get other members of your community to give discounts as well.

 Teachers, find out if any of your students have relatives in the military. Your class can adopt this soldier or sailor and write letters, send cards, and more. This can lead to a greater appreciation instilled in our young people for military service. Perhaps get them to visit your class!

 Visit a veteran's hospital and spread a little cheer to the sick and disabled veterans. Find out how you can volunteer and how you can help.

 Encourage young people who are wondering what do with their lives to consider the military. Not every job gets combat. The Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Coast Guard, Air Force are HUGE operations. They need personnel in every aspect, from desk jobs to health care, from build up, to tear down, from mechanics to pilots. The military IS an honorable career choice.

 Almost every town has a military recruiter. So, if your town does not have a military base, the recruiting office will have military personnel to meet, greet, and support. They may also know how you are able to help other military members. Find out if they have a meeting of new recruits before sending them off, and see if you can visit and tell them, "Thank You!"

>> Veterans make good teachers! 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Brian Williams is what's wrong with American journalism

Brian Williams is the epitome of the mainstream newsmedia. Forget about facts. It's all about what could be facts, should be facts, and reported as facts. A la Dan Rather on George W. Bush: Well, it could be true.... Here's some more that is being reported as just plain lies. This is not making a mistake.

Being robbed at gunpoint as a kid.

Seeing a body floating by in New Orleans.

Being at the Berlin Wall when it fell.

Flying with SEAL Team 6 at start of Iraq war.

Getting a piece of the helicopter from a SEAL Team 6 member that was used in the bin laden raid.
Getting a knife sent to him by a SEAL.

That's not misremembering. That's making up the news, and yes, stealing valor. But Brian Williams is just the tip of the ice burg. We've got the commander in chief doing selfies in a mirror while the world burns, including our "success" in.

We have checked out of reality. It's about entertainment, not doing the right thing.

Our military men and women deserve better.

>> Fun United States Facts and Trivia

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

American Sniper is about a hero

American Sniper has certainly touched a nerve for liberals. Michael Moore, the coward who made a movie about how bad GM was, but bowed to Obama as he gave GM billions.

 American snipers are not cowards. They are heroes. Again, liberals like Moore bow to Obama dropping bombs from an unmanned drone on an unsuspecting house. You will never hear them call out Obama on that. Is that cowardly? Eliminating the enemy is not cowardly. We dropped an atom bomb on Japan. Hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting people. Cowardly? Of course not.

If you choose to be at war with the United States, in any way, shape, or form, be prepared to get killed and eliminated in any way, shape, or form. Period.

The United States military does a thankless job, day in, day out. Cowards they are not.

True cowards hide behind a camera, safe at home, and never have to worry about getting their fat cat ways harmed. And why?

Because of all those so-called "cowards" in the United States military.

Hollywood should be proud of people like Chris Kyle, and thank God each and every day that they live in a free country, kept free by the blood and sacrifice of our men and women in the military.

American Sniper, the movie, is not for the faint of heart. It is R-rated on purpose. It's raw military at it's finest. Language and violence are common themes. No, we don't condone it. But showing war in reality can be quite raw. This movie is not for kids or even young teens. It's an adult movie about adult themes. If you are offended by such things, don't go see it.

But please, stand up for the people with the guts in Hollywood who support our veterans and military.

Monday, January 12, 2015

President and US are just floundering militarily

The cuts in military at a time of increased terror awareness is just insane. How could we possibly cut bases in Europe? Shouldn't we be expanding?

Oh wait. The war on terror is over and we're going home. Safe and sound. Terrorists are on the run and...uh...no. Sorry. We seem to be completely clueless at terrorism.

Any wonder why we are floundering?

Just yesterday Eric Holder says Europe must do more....to detect terror. Aint that rich? Mr. Holder, how about us? Why are WE dropping the ball?

Not sending someone to Paris for the march was a huge mistake. But let's not pretend it was not on purpose. Sending a high level official like John Kerry would make it seem like..uh....we are agreeing that the terrorism threat is growing.

Our military and our terrorism fighting is just floundering. No other way to put it. Just today the twitter account of our military command was hacked by terrorist supporters.

Our  military is up to the task of protecting us...only if they are given the chance and the tools to do it.

But are they? Sadly, not at this time. Hopefully the Republican controlled congress can right the ship. President Obama needs to know that it was HIS policies that lost control of congress for his party. But he seems to be floundering....
 
Like making a big thing out of  "free" community college. Yeah.

Nothing is free including freedom.

We can't end without mentioning his motorcade in Phoenix going right by a VA hospital. And Obama not taking a few minutes to visit. Shame on you Mr. President. Never let our veterans get in the way of making a political speech.

On a side note, any feminist not standing with the 17 year old girl in Connecticut being forced to get cancer treatment is a hypocrite. Women (and girls) supposedly have complete control over their bodies, right?

>> Prepare for a disaster: Is a 2000 watt backup generator enough?