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Military Suicide Prevention Update

Suicide-Prevention-RNGJuly14

Andrew O’Brien is a suicide survivor.

 

A tour in Iraq during OIF left O’Brien — then only 20 years old — a changed man. O’Brien attempted to take his own life a little more than a year after his return from Iraq. He was 22.

 

But O’Brien survived the suicide attempt and decided to become a voice of help and hope instead of a statistic. He founded the Wysh Project (Wysh is an acronym for Welcome Your Soldier Home) and is working relentlessly to get his message heard across America.

 

And that message is one that needs to be heard. . . . [ Read More . . . ]

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A Hotel that Truly Understands the Military Lifestyle

Much is asked of our military personnel and their families every day - especially when it comes to TDY and PCS travel. And traditionally, hotels simply didn’t understand the unique needs of military travelers. But IHG Army Hotels is changing all that. Created with the military traveler in mind, IHG Army Hotels provides each guest with clean, comfortable rooms, complimentary breakfast and free WiFi* - all with the convenience of being on post.

Visit IHG.com/OfficialTravel or call 877.711.8326 to make your reservation or to learn more about all 39 IHG Army Hotels on-post locations.


Sesame Street/USO Experience Kicks Off 2014 Tour 

The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families – the USO's longest running, free traveling tour based on Sesame Street's military family initiative is celebrating five years of touring the globe. The 2014 tour kicks off at Scott AFB in Illinois on April 4 and will be traveling to installations all across the U.S.

The tour features several of your favorite Sesame Street characters along with Katie, who was created exclusively for this tour and was first introduced to military families in April 2011 by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at a Joining Forces rally in Columbus, Ohio.  Katie is a military child who must confront her fears about moving to a new base again.  

Visit www.uso.org/Sesame/Tour-Schedule for the full tour schedule.

 


 

Sesame Street Friends Help Military Children Move

Children in military families move six to nine times between kindergarten and high school, and a mobile app launched in December can help them cope with leaving a familiar place for the unknown.

The Big Moving Adventure app lets children create a Muppet friend to help them through the moving process.

Developed for the Defense Department in partnership with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the mobile app is available for download from the App Store, Google Play and Amazon for Kindle Fire.

"Moving can be stressful, and kids need to express feelings and say goodbye to people and things," said Dr. Kelly Blasko, psychologist at the National Center for Telehealth and Technology. "The Muppet characters in this app help make the move a fun experience."

Children can use the app to help their Muppet friend make decisions on a variety of move-related issues, such as which toys to pack in a box and which to take along in their backpack. Children watch the Muppet say goodbye to their house, their military base and their classroom and playground friends. At the new house, children help their Muppet unpack, settle into the home and make new friends.

Military parents face unique challenges during a move, and the app helps their young children through the experience. A separate parents section contains additional move-related topics and tips.

The Big Moving Adventure mobile app is the newest addition to a portfolio of multimedia resources developed by Sesame Workshop, in collaboration with the Defense Department, to help military families with deployments and life transitions.

While developed specifically for military families with children 3 to 5 years old, it is useful for all families with young children experiencing a move, officials said.

 


 

Family Readiness Family Forum at AUSA LANPAC Conference

Do you live in Hawaii and want to learn more about employment strategies and resources? Sign up to attend our educational Family Forum at AUSA'S LANPAC conference in April!

Spouse employment has long been a hot-button issue in the military community. Constant relocation, difficulty continuing education, securing and maintaining licenses, and juggling responsibilities are just a few of the concerns we hear about. Couple that with more online resources and platforms than you might know how to handle, and finding employment might seem even more daunting! In an effort to join the conversation and provide resources wherever you might be in your career, we are having a Family Forum at AUSA's LANPAC meeting in Honolulu this spring.

The forum will feature keynote presentations from representatives from Military.com and Military Spouse Corporate Career Network, and will also include a panel discussion and Q & A session. The conference is free to attend, but seating is limited, so register below!

http://ausameetings.org/lanpac/military-family-forum/

 


 

AAFMAA Celebrates 135 Years of Service

On 13 January 2014, AAFMAA (American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association) celebrated 135 years of dedicated service to military families.  Established in 1879, as a result of Custer’s Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876, AAFMAA’s purpose was to aid the families of deceased members in a prompt, simple and substantial manner.  Over 135 years later, this purpose remains the core of AAFMAA’s focus.  Today, service members in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard around the world, on active duty, Retired, Guard, Reserves, those currently attending one of the service academies, ROTC contract/scholarship cadets and Honorably Discharged Veterans (residing in AZ, CT, FL, HI, MD, NC, OK, RI, SC and VA) are eligible for membership.

AAFMAA is a not-for-profit, membership association offering a variety of low-cost life insurance products, Survivor Assistance Services, Financial Planning, Investment  Management & Trust Administration Services to all military families.  You can find out more about AAFMAA at www.aafmaa.com or by calling 1-800-522-5221.

 


 

Phoenix Career Services for Military Students

At University of Phoenix, our goal is to help connect our students’ education to meaningful careers with real opportunities. We believe students stand a greater likelihood of success when their skills and education are developed around the needs of employers.

That’s why we developed Phoenix Career Services as a comprehensive career-planning resource. It integrates career tools and guidance into your education to help identify the skills needed for your career of interest.

Whether you’re a veteran, active-duty service member or spouse, Phoenix Career Services offers online tools and resources that can help you discover career opportunities. Learn more at phoenix.edu/pcs-military

 


 

Get Involved!
The 2014 Council of College and Military Educators
Professional Development Symposium is Coming!

The upcoming 2014 CCME Professional Development Symposium is fast approaching. We are truly at a Crossroads in Military Education..., which is the theme for this year. There will be 60 distinct sessions and over 80 total sessions (over 25 percent more than last year). Expect to learn about the President's Executive Order 13607 on Establishing Principles of Excellence, Public Law 112-249 on Comprehensive Veterans Education Information, student outcome measures, complaint systems and many other important topics.

CCME will be sponsoring a "Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair" in conjunction with our symposium on Wednesday February 12.

Early Bird pricing through 15 January 2014.

To learn more visit http://ccmeonline.org/.

 


 

Army to Restructure Warrior Transition Units

The Army announced it will restructure its warrior transition units as the service prepares for a scheduled withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and a continued decline in the number of combat wounded.

Warrior transition units are located at major military treatment facilities and provide support to wounded, ill and injured soldiers who require at least six months of rehabilitative care and complex medical management. 

According to Brig. Gen. David Bishop, commander of Warrior Transition Command and the Army's assistant surgeon general for warrior care and transition, "These changes will improve the care and transition of soldiers through increased standardization, increased cadre-to-soldier ratios, improved access to resources on installations, and reduced delays in care. They are not related to budget cuts, sequestration or furloughs."

As part of the restructuring, the Army will inactivate five WTUs and establish more than a dozen community care units across 11 installations by Sept. 30. The transition will include inactivating nine community-based warrior transition units, which currently provide outpatient care and services for Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers who do not require day-to-day care, allowing soldiers to continue their recovery closer to home.

After the transition, those soldiers will be assigned to community care units located on Army installations. Soldiers will not have to move or change their care plans, officials said. 

Community care units will stand up at the following Army installations: Fort Carson, Colo.; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; Forts Hood and Bliss, Texas; Fort Riley, Kan.; Fort Knox, Ky.; Forts Benning, Stewart, and Gordon, Ga.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; and Fort Belvoir, Va.

     — From a Defense Department News Release

 


 

DARPA's 'Bionic' Upper Limb Enhances Life for Amputees

It's metal, sleek and precise. It pivots and flexes like a real hand, or at least one from a science-fiction movie.

But with no Hollywood special effects involved, brain research experts at yesterday's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Congressional Tech Showcase here demonstrated an artificial arm and hand that can do everything from picking up cups to playing the piano, powered by the user's brain.

Mike McLoughlin, chief engineer for research and exploratory development at Johns Hopkins University's applied physics laboratory, said DARPA's Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program developed the device over about five years to improve the quality of life for service members who suffered the loss of an upper extremity.

"Five, six years ago [an amputee's] option was essentially a hook," McLoughlin said. "We want to give them a much greater level of functionality, because what they really want to do is go back and contribute to society."

The demo also featured an excerpt from a 60 Minutes episode that aired in 2013 showing Jan, a patient suffering from a neurological condition, with two electrode chips, each about the size of a fingernail, in her brain.

Even simple tasks such as picking up a cup of coffee are the result of a complex series of commands and information "behind the scenes" in the brain, McLoughlin explained. "We're able to take those complex things and reduce them down to simple thoughts."

With the help of the arm and hand, Jan moved, interacted and grasped objects in a more natural way, McLoughlin said, adding that the arm also can function with information gleaned from a computer script.

He described the arm's future and range of potential applications as "exciting" for service members and civilians alike.

     — Amaani Lyle, American Forces Press Service

 


 

'No Room for Error,' Hagel Tells Troops

The nation depends on the professionalism of service members like the airmen of the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said today on a visit to the base.

"We have all the great technology in the world -- and we have better technology than anyone -- and we are the strongest country on Earth ... but it takes people, it takes leadership, it takes commitment," Hagel told the airmen.

Through investments in modernization and by focusing on reducing the nuclear stockpile under the START II treaty, the United States is demonstrating its commitment to maintaining a capable and safe nuclear deterrent, he said.

"It's clearly in our national security interests," Hagel said.

"And as I had an opportunity to view some of this today to get down really where the operational dynamics are real, and not just theory or in PowerPoint presentations, but it's clear that we've got some work to do on modernization," the defense secretary said.

Hagel told the airmen that the American people have great confidence in their ability to perform under extraordinary conditions.

"You've also chosen a profession where there's no room for error. In what you do every day, there is no room for error, none," he said.

Under such conditions, Hagel said, it's important to constantly hone and develop personal, professional and institutional skills. Because even though the nation doesn't go to war every day, the defense secretary said, "every day we help prevent war. That's what we are about. And we do that better than anyone else."

"How you do the job is really as important as the job itself, because it sets a standard of expectation for yourselves and for everybody around you," Hagel said. "You're all leaders. You're all role models. And that's a heavy burden to carry."

The defense secretary was on the final stop of a two-day trip to bases in Wyoming, Nebraska, New Mexico and Texas.

     — Claudette Roulo, American Forces Press Service

 


 

Fox Nominated as New Deputy Secretary

President Barack Obama has nominated Christine H. Fox to serve as acting deputy defense secretary, announced Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter departed Dec. 4, and Fox is to assume her duties Dec. 5, making her the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in the Defense Department. Until June she served as the director of DOD's Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation.

"Over the last five years, Christine has played a key role in helping shape solutions to the core challenges facing the Department of Defense," a senior defense official said.

Secretary Hagel relied on Fox's judgment and deep analytical expertise during the Strategic Choices and Management Review earlier this year, the official said.

"As a key leader of the Strategic Choices and Management Review, she helped identify the challenges, choices, and opportunities for reform facing the department during this period of unprecedented budget uncertainty," Hagel said.

Claudette Roulo, American Forces Press Service