Military Families

For many Americans, military service is a long-held family tradition. Studies and polls today show that the likelihood of someone joining the military is significantly increased if any of their immediate or extended family members have served or are currently serving. However, since the draft was discontinued, the pool of individuals with relatives in the military has become smaller, which is beginning to have ramifications in the recruitment process.

Military Service: the Family BusinessMilitary Families and Serving Traditions

What influences people to join the military? Is family the only factor, or is there something else driving people to serve their country?

Sons Following Fathers

About a fourth of all boys who have fathers in the military will follow in their father’s footsteps, according to one study about children adopting their parents’ occupations. The percentage was much smaller for mothers and daughters. Another study claims that a child with a military parent (or two military parents) is five times as likely to join the military as other children.

Sibling Service

Many veterans say it was their sibling’s military service that inspired them to join themselves. Studies have concluded that, oddly enough, sibling configuration plays a noticeable role in the likelihood of someone joining the military. Ever since military service became voluntary, older siblings have been more likely to serve than younger siblings, according to one study. This study also found that the more siblings a man has, the more likely he is to join. Women with many sisters are also more likely to join, as opposed to women with many brothers.

Military Brats

It’s said that military youth (affectionately referred to as brats) are twice as likely to join the military as children raised in non-military households. According to recent studies, 23 percent of all military brats go on to join the military, specifically, 52 percent of boys and 8 percent of girls. 38 percent of these join the Army and 32 percent join the Air Force.

Many military brats who don’t join the military go on to have care-related occupations, becoming doctors, teachers, or social workers, to name a few. Surveys show that military brats are generally more patriotic than their peers and have a greater sense of loyalty to their country.

Recruiting Inside and Outside the Family

According to the Pentagon, nearly 80 percent of the troops enlisted in 2012 and 2013 came from military families; in other words, they had at least one close relative in the military. For 25 percent of these, that relative was a parent.

In addition, a recent survey conducted by the Department of Defense found that more than half of all recruits had family connections to the military.

Branch Army Navy Marine Corps Air Force
% of recruits with military family members 79 percent 82 percent 77 percent 86 percent

Individuals with a family military background have a clearer understanding of military service and the weight of such a commitment. In this sense, they are better equipped to serve than individuals who have no personal experience with military service.

Since the draft ended, the military has shrunk considerably, and so there are fewer adults of enlisting age who have this kind of background. Recruiters are aware of this and have begun devising new recruitment strategies that don’t depend on family association.

Caring for the Military Family

Military families have a special place in our hearts here at Low VA Rates. With an understanding that military service affects everyone, not just the individuals serving, we exist to help veterans, their spouses, and their children live comfortable lives.

Military Fertility Programs

Military Fertility Program Gets NixedFertility Treatment for Veterans

Around 1,800 veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq received damaging injuries that prevent them or make it extremely difficult for them to have children. For years, these veterans were forced to cover fertility treatment costs through civilian insurance and other means. The Department of Defense provides some funding for active-duty personnel who have been injured, covering in vitro fertilization, fertility medicines, and other procedures. However, this funding stops after they retire, and the Department of Veterans Affairs is legally prevented from covering any costs at all due to a law passed in 1992. Many injured veterans have expressed that their desires to have a family have been destroyed through their service. Most are unable to pay for treatment, and those who are able to can only cover enough treatment to have one child.

Find out how your elected officials are helping – or not helping – veterans with the costs of fertility treatment.

A New Military Budget

In order to address this, Democratic Senator Patty Murray proposed a bill that would budget $38 million for the military fertility program. In January 2016, a pilot program was launched by the Pentagon. Through the program, service members were allowed to freeze eggs and sperm before they deployed. In case of serious injury, these troops would still be able to have a chance at starting their own families. The program never really left the ground since a Senate vote stripped program funding back in June. The 2017 military spending bill that would give $602 billion for personnel strength, military activities, and defense activities (but not military fertility) passed 85 to 13 with 2 not voting.

Sen. Murray claimed that cutting fertility spending entirely from the budget was “a truly shameful mistake.” When the Pentagon’s program began, deployed troops supported it and drew comfort from the doors it would open. However, concerns persisted over assisted reproduction. Opposition voiced the issue of some fertilized embryos being destroyed in the process. In response to religious concerns, one military wife said this was understandable, but the decision should still be up to each individual family.

If Miller’s bill passed, each veteran would receive $20,000 that the veteran could use at his or her discretion. This amount would be well above compensation for disability. Is this too much? Miller claimed the biggest obstacle in passing the bill would be those who believe the cost is too large to validate covering fertility payments.

For years Miller has been fighting to get her bill passed. In 2012, the Senate actually approved the bill unanimously, but the House failed to vote, stopping the plan in its tracks.

Are Treatments Worth the Money?

The treatments available to overcome infertility problems are long, expensive, and often unsuccessful. Several couples will try various methods and end up spending years of time and tens of thousands of dollars in the process only to fail in their goal of having children. With the bill that has been struggling to pass for years, these treatments would become far more affordable for veterans. But would the cost be worth it?

Why spend $38 million each year on a program that is not guaranteed to provide results? With a lot of controversy surrounding artificial insemination and other fertility treatments, perhaps the program wouldn’t be worth it. Perhaps those millions of dollars could do more good somewhere else by covering other national defense costs, homeless veteran costs, or even civilian costs.

Although it’s true that this money could also be useful somewhere else, this program would enable injured veterans to have hope again, and it would compensate (at least partially) for the wounds inflicted during military service.

How Would You Vote?

If you were a senator in congress, how would you vote? No matter the family size, needs, or trials, we do our best at Low VA Rates to provide you and your family with a home you can love, enjoy, and grow in. Take advantage of the benefits we offer by today. Apply now for a VA home loan today.

Voting for VA Budget

RED Friday Giveaway

What Does RED Friday Mean?

 

If you follow hash tags on social media, you may have come across a growing trend: RED Friday. But what is it exactly? What does it mean, and why would anyone want to be a part of it?

Find out what this movement is, and why more and more Americans are becoming a part of it.

Remember Everyone Deployed

RED Friday is a national movement that honors those who serve our country in the United States Armed Forces. RED stands for Remember Everyone Deployed, and they strive to “Honor Through Remembrance.” Organizations and companies nationwide participate in this weekly, and here at Low VA Rates, we wanted in on the fun. As we help veterans secure VA home loans every day, the ideals behind RED Friday went hand-in-hand with our company goals.

RED Friday: Get Involved!

RED Friday Giveaway to Remember Everyone Deployed

 

For a few months now, we’ve been celebrating RED Friday every week, and we want you to celebrate with us! We have created our very own tee-shirts for RED Friday, and one of them could be yours. To win, simply post a picture of yourself wearing red. Be sure to tag @LowVARates and use the hashtag #HonorThroughRemembrance. Various winners will be chosen weekly.

Be a part of this giveaway, but even more importantly, remember those that are serving abroad. We owe so much to them and the brave families to pray for their safe return home. So why not thank them when you can and in any way you can – even if it’s through a small gesture like wearing red on Friday’s?

Military Food: Feeding the Forces

Military Diet: Heavy on the Rations

Meals and Rations for Soldiers in the Army, Navy, Air ForceThere is nothing better than a home-cooked meal still steaming as it’s pulled from the oven. But what do you do when there is no room or time to prepare a home-cooked meal for thousands of soldiers? You create rations. The goal of military food is pretty simple. The armed forces needed food that could be prepared and distributed quickly, easy to eat, on-the-go, and stored for a long time. So the military had to get a little creative. Find out what soldiers ate throughout history, and how it has become the military food of today!

The History of Military Food

The history of military food dates back to the Revolutionary War when there were two kinds of food allowances: garrison rations and spirit rations. Garrison rations consisted of meat or salted fish, vegetables, and bread or hardtack (a type of biscuit made with flour, water, and sometimes salt). The spirit ration was four ounces of rum in 1785 but was reduced to two ounces of brandy, whisky, or rum in 1790. Soldiers who were preparing to fight on the front lines, or who were just returning from combat, were eligible to receive double the spirit ration. In 1832, the spirit ration was replaced by coffee and sugar, and these allowances were in use until after the Spanish-American War.

During World War I, the food supplies were revised, and three different meals were introduced. In 1907, the iron ration was created and consisted of small biscuits made from beef bouillon powder and wheat. In addition to the biscuits, the meal package included chocolate, and salt and pepper. These meals were only meant to be eaten in emergencies when fresh food couldn’t be obtained or prepared. In 1917, in the midst of trench warfare, the armed forces discovered that gas attacks were ruining their iron rations. To remedy this, the trench ration was introduced. It was simply a can of meat (usually salmon, beef or sardines). As you can imagine, these meals were unappetizing, and the cans were heavy, making them harder to transport and stock in the trenches. The trench ration only lasted until 1918. The reserve ration was introduced in 1917, the same year as the trench ration, but still wasn’t used in the trenches because the armed forces still worried that the food would be spoiled by the gas attacks.  The new meal included meat (usually bacon or canned meat), bread or hardtack, coffee, sugar, salt, tobacco, and 10 cigarettes.

The military food system was completely redone with the onset of World War II. Using feedback from soldiers, the The History of the Military Diet and Military Meals including World War II Rationsarmed forces created a system of five different meals to be used in different circumstances during military service. The first was the A-ration, which was fresh or frozen food that could be prepared in a kitchen, if one was available. The B-ration was similar to the A-ration in that it could be prepared in a kitchen, but it consisted of canned, packaged, or preserved food to be used when refrigeration was not available. C-rations were pre-cooked, ready-to-eat meals that resembled the reserve rations from World War I. K-rations were introduced for soldiers that were traveling for short durations. The K-ration included meat, cheese, candy, powdered milk, sugar, salt, cigarettes, matches, chewing gum, and a bouillon packet. The final food allowance was called a D-ration, and it was meant to be used in emergencies when other food could not be obtained. The D-ration consisted of a single bar of chocolate that had been fortified with nutrients and other ingredients so that it was high in calories.

Military Food Today

The A and B-rations are still used by the armed forces today, but the other military meals have been updated or done away with altogether. The C-ration was replaced in 1983 by the Meal Ready-to-Eat, commonly called an MRE. The MRE includes a main course, a side dish, crackers (or bread), a spread (usually cheese, jelly, or peanut butter), a dessert, a powdered beverage mix, a utensil, a small heater to heat the food, a beverage mixing bag, and an accessory pack that includes gum, matches, napkins, toilet paper, wet wipes, and seasonings like salt, pepper, sugar, coffee creamer, and tabasco sauce.

Each MRE is about 1,200 calories and is fortified with nutrients to keep soldiers in good health during their military service. The MRE can be stored for up to three years, but the military aims to use up and replace the MREs every 21 days. The menu options for MREs change often but usually include things like chili, cheese tortellini, ratatouille, or spaghetti.
Home Cooked Meal for a Veteran, Military FamilyMilitary food has come a long way since its inception in the late 1700s, but Low VA Rates knows there’s nothing like a home-cooked meal, and we have a strong team of certified loan officers who are ready to help you secure a VA loan to fund that home. For more information on how we can help you, feel free to visit our website.

 

 

Veterans’ Charity Golf Tournament 2016

Be a Part of Veterans' Charity Golf Tournament 2016It’s time again for the annual Foundation Golf Tournament hosted by Low VA Rates. Every year, Low VA Rates provides this excellent opportunity for donors to contribute money to a veteran fund that ensures 100 percent of donations go toward real veterans and military service members. Last year‘s event was a huge success, and this year is the eighth year Low VA has held this tournament. It usually raises anywhere from $2,000 to $3,500.

In order to give the most we can to these military members and their families, we’re asking everyone to come out on June 23rd at exactly 8am. The tournament will be held in American Fork at the Golf Hollow Golf Course. For a $200 entry fee, you and three others can make a team to show off your golfing skills (or brush them off if you haven’t been out on the green in a while). But don’t think this game is all swing and no competition; if you make one of the top three teams, get ready to win a substantial prize.

This year’s prizes include breakfast, lunch, a raffle drawing, an auction, and more. For only $50, it’s a great deal – but even more importantly, it’s a worthy cause.

To be a part of this cause, sign up here for the 8th Annual Charity Golf Tournament.


Pat Tillman’s Legacy of Loyalty

Patrick and Mary Tillman welcomed their first baby boy, Patrick Daniel Tillman, on November 6, 1976. Just as their baby boy changed their lives by making them parents, Pat continued to change the lives of millions of Americans by living a life of loyalty and sacrifice—and he did it all within a short lifetime of just 27 years.

If you don’t know Pat Tillman, take a few minutes to get to know him and find out why this man and the heroes like him deserve to be remembered.  

Tillman’s Early Life and Childhood

Pat Tillman was raised with his two younger brothers in San Jose, California, and he grew up a fun-loving little boy
Pat Tillman, a Legend of Loyalty and an American Herowho was an avid reader. Even as a kid, he was loyally devoted to his family and friends, doing everything he could for those he loved.

He started playing football as a linebacker at Leland High School, and he quickly excelled at the sport, leading his team to the Central Coast Division I Football Championship. When he graduated high school, he accepted a scholarship to play football at Arizona State University. He was both a talented athlete and a brilliant student. He was the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and the Arizona State University Most Valued Player of the Year in 1997, and he won the Clyde B. Smith Academic Award two years in a row in 1996 and 1997.

After his successful college football career, he was drafted into the NFL in 1998 and played as a safety for the Arizona Cardinals. The loyalty he exhibited towards his family and friends as a boy carried over to his NFL team, and he turned down a multi-million dollar contract playing for the St. Louis Rams in order to stay with the Cardinals. Pat’s integrity set him apart, and eventually, it led him to something else entirely.

Putting Country over Career

In 2002, in light of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, loyalty to the United States inspired Pat and his younger brother Kevin to take action. The brothers, who both had budding and lucrative sporting careers (Pat in the NFL, Kevin in the MBA), left their professional dreams to join the Army. Of his decision to join the military, Tillman said, “Sports embodied many of the qualities I deem meaningful. However, these last few years, and especially after recent events, I’ve come to appreciate just how shallow and insignificant my role is . . . It’s no longer important.”

Just as he had excelled in his football career, he showed great talent in his military service. After completing basic training in September of 2002, he and his brother were deployed, and both participated in the initial invasion of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon returning from Iraq, Tillman enrolled in Ranger School and graduated in November 2003. After graduating and becoming an Army ranger, he was deployed again, this time to Afghanistan.

Tragic Death of a Hero

While on a tour in Afghanistan, the vehicle being driven by Tillman’s platoon broke down during a routine search of an Afghani village, and the platoon was forced to split up. While half of the platoon stayed behind to fix the vehicle, Tillman went with the other half to finish the search. The troops who stayed behind were attacked by the Taliban, and Tillman’s half of the soldiers ran to the rescue. Tragically, they were misidentified as enemy troops, and Tillman was killed in friendly fire on April 22, 2004.

Tillman’s Legacy Lives On

Professional Football Player Turned Soldier and Army Ranger Killed in CombatAfter his death, Tillman’s legacy of loyalty, love, talent, and brilliance was honored in many ways. His official memorial ceremony was televised on May 3, 2004. He was promoted to Corporal and honored with the Silver Star and Purple Heart awards posthumously.

His talent and loyalty on the football field were also remembered after his death. ASU and the Arizona Cardinals retired Tillman’s jersey numbers (#42 and #40 respectively), and in May 2010, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Tillman’s wife, his high school sweetheart, Marie Ugenti Tillman, founded the Pat Tillman Foundation, which gives veterans and their spouses scholarships to continue and complete their college degrees. The Pat Tillman Foundation partnered with the NFL to create a scholarship for student athletes who embody Tillman’s loyalty and ambition.
Low VA Rates is honored to give back to brave men and women like Pat Tillman and his loved ones. One way we do this is by offering a scholarship of our own, which aids military service members and their families as they pursue a higher education. For more information on this scholarship or on the other services we provide, visit our website.

Surviving the PCS Move

PCS Military Moving Preparation

You open your mailbox and there they are PCS Military ordersThis is common rhetoric for military members and their families. Soldiers on active duty receive a permanent change of station (PCS) every 2 to 7 years, depending on their station and rank. They are required to relocate to different cities or even different countries and restart their lives in a new area. To soldiers who have recently joined the military, the frequency of these moves can seem daunting and stressful. However, if you follow these helpful tips, the process can become much more bearable. Find out everything you need to know to survive your first PCS military move!

PCS military moving requires a lot of preparation, particularly if you are relocating PCS Military Packingduring “PCS season” (from May to August). Unfortunately, starting the moving process early can be difficult when working in the military. A PCS can arrive anywhere from five months to two weeks before the report date. Nevertheless, once an official order to relocate is in hand, preparation should begin immediately. Start by setting up a meeting with your base transportation office. They’ll put you in contact with individuals who can help you throughout the moving process. Once you have spoken with them, notify your landlord about your impending move or, if you own your home, be prepared to put your house on the market.

PPM or Government Move?

The military offers two moving options: a government transportation move or a personally procured move (PPM). If you choose to use government transportation, all your possessions will be packed, loaded into a van, and delivered to your new location by a military-approved moving company. Certain weight allowances are imposed, depending on ranks and number of dependents. If you choose this option, do not pre-pack your belongings. Since the moving company is liable for anything that breaks, the movers are required to pack or repack all possessions outside of personal suitcases.

If you choose to do a PPM, you will be responsible for finding a commercial carrier or moving your belongings on your own. As compensation, the military will reimburse you up to 95% of the cost they would have paid in a government move. You will also be entitled to other benefits, including certain travel allowances and $25,000 of insurance coverage. However, the money from the military can only be used to buy truck or trailer rentals (hand truck rentals are also acceptable), packing blankets, gas, tolls for the rental truck, and materials for packing. Unauthorized expenses include, but are not limited to, gas in person vehicles, meals, accommodations, moving dollies, and insurance fees. Many military members choose to apply for PPM, because those who are frugal and plan well typically emerge from the move with a profit.

Why You Need a PCS Inventory and Packing ListChoosing PPM or Government Move and Military Housing

When relocating with the military, the family or individual that’s moving is required to create an inventory of all possessions and valuable items. This inventory protects the military member’s possessions in case something goes missing or is broken over the course of the move. To protect this list and prevent it from getting lost, many military members have found it useful to assemble a PCS binder where they can keep their inventories as well as important files, such as birth certificates, social security cards, and checks.

What Should I Do about Housing?

Moving can be expensive. Low VA Rates understands that and exists to help veterans and active military members pay less on their home loans wherever they settle. Visit our home page to learn more about the many benefits Low VA Rates offers when it’s time for you to move again.

Army Rangers Lead the Way

Becoming a ranger is one of the hardest things anyone can do. It’s a supreme understatement to say that a lot goes into the program. From Ranger School to the field, rangers constantly push their minds and bodies to their absolute limits. Picture plunging into a pond from a 70-foot height or doing chin-ups from a dead hang. Helicopter extractions . . . parachute jumps . . . It’s all part of the process, and rangers have to perform these tasks with perfection. Find out what these men and women go through to become the elite warriors America depends on and earn the title of Army Ranger.Army Ranger Training and Qualifications

Surviving School

Although rangers have technically been around for a few hundred years, Ranger School didn’t start until 1950. All students volunteer for this, but they must meet several requirements before they can even be considered for admission. Just one requirement is that the applicant must be actively serving in some branch of the military already. Through the program’s rigorous, eight-week training, these elite soldiers learn all forms of combat. They are led through three different phases of training: Benning, Mountain, and Florida. These phases used to be titled “crawl, walk, and run” respectively but then recently changed to reflect the locations of each phase. Since Ranger School began, 27 people have lost their lives there, and when you read about all the obstacles the students go through in those two months, it’s not hard to see why. The hardest part for some is just staying awake, since they only get about four hours of sleep each night.

A Motto to Lead Them All

The motto “Rangers lead the way” was coined in 1944 by General Norman Cota and is still used today.

The Ranger Creed

The Ranger Creed is created using the word “ranger” as an acronym. Just reading the creed can give you goosebumps. You really understand how prepared, powerful, and dedicated these rangers are. “Surrender is not a Ranger word” proves that they have the mental strength to push through to the end. But the last line, the ending “R” in RANGER, is truly profound: “Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission, though I be the lone survivor.” Everything they do and everything they are revolves around being mentally, emotionally, and physically elite. It’s not about being the best they can be; it’s about being the best anyone can be. It’s about rising up to any challenge, no matter the cost.

Operations

Army Ranger School Program and PhasesIn training, rangers go through intense operations to prepare for anything they might encounter out in the field. Some of the obstacles they go through are well known by civilians and military alike. Ever heard of the worm pit? This is a shallow but muddy obstacle where the rangers must crawl on their stomachs and backs underneath knee-high barbed wire. Easy, right?

Outside of school the rangers as a whole have led numerous important and renowned missions since their founding hundreds of years ago. A few of these include:

Operation Eagle Claw (1980)

Operation Urgent Fury (1983)

Operation Just Cause (1989)

Operation Enduring Freedom (2001)
We appreciate and revere these dedicated warriors. Thank you for doing what no one else can. 

Military Families – The Common Challenges They Face

The Military and the Challenges That Service Members and Their Families Face

 

There are millions of military veterans, active-duty service members and their family members in the United States and around the world. No matter where you fit into the mold,  looking for stable housing, trying to raise a family and starting a career are all things military members face. You can learn more about these challenges and what you can do to deal with them below.

 

Housing

 

Buying a house is usually the biggest issue for a military family. If you are considered active duty, you generally deal with countless relocation assignments. You may constantly have to move to different locations within and outside of the country. Financially, the average family cannot deal with the pressures of renting and buying in countless locations. Doug Norman, the writer of “The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement,” recommends that veterans and service members should rent until they can afford to buy. When you buy, you should research all of your options and military benefits, especially from VA home lenders.

 

Job Opportunities

 

Another major issue is the lack of choices given to the spouse of a service member. When you move too much, it may be hard to keep a job. Creating a budget on a single income is one suggestion. If one spouse loses a job, there is at least one income to fall back on. The Military Spouse Advancement

Accounts program is available to help qualified members receive tuition assistance.

 

Solutions to Help You

 

There are many challenges that face a military family. Though these issues exist, a number of programs are available to these families, including assistance with buying a home. No matter what your duty is in a military family, know that there are solutions to help you through.

 

Military families often face similar challenges raising children, focusing on careers, and establishing homes due to the face they are often constantly moving. These challenges can be difficult hurdles for most families to get through. The following infographic presents these common challenges and how military families can cope with them.

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Military Families - The Common Challenges They Face
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What is OPSEC?

I keep hearing people ask about OPSEC so here’s what I know…

OPSEC Rules for (forum, blog, chatroom name):

1. Do NOTpost/discuss exact deployment dates or redeployment dates
2. Do NOT reveal camp locations, including nearby cities. After the deployment is officially announced by Military officials, you may discuss locations that have been released, normally on the Country level.
3. Do NOT post discuss convoy routes “we traveled through O on our way to X”
4. Do NOT post/discuss Detailed information on the mission, capabilities or morale of a unit
5.Do NOT post Specific names or actual nicknames
6.Do NOT post Personnel transactions that occur in large numbers (Example: pay information, powers of attorney, wills, etc)
7.Do NOT post Details concerning security procedures, response times, tactics
8. Do NOT discuss/post equipment or lack thereof, to include training equipment
9. Do NOT speculate about future operations
10. IF posting pictures, do NOT post anything that could be misconstrued or used for propaganda purposes. A good rule of thumb is to look at your picture without your caption or explanation and consider if it could be recaptioned to reflect poorly on coalition forces. For example, your image might show your Soldier rescuing a child from a blast site, but could be recaptioned to insinuate that the child being captured or harmed. (it’s happened!)
11. AVOID  the use of count-up or countdown tickers for the same reason as rule #1
12. PLEASE be very careful if posting pictures of your loved one. Avoid images that show significant landmarks near their base of operations, and blackout last names and unit affiliations
13. Do NOT ever post information about casualties (coalition or enemy) before the official release of the information.
14. Do NOT pass on rumors “I heard they’re coming home early”, etc

This article was written by guest blogger ~Dawn~ founder & lead MOD of MILITARY FAMILIES MATTER
Join their facebook community:  http://www.facebook.com/MilitaryFamiliesMatter


VA Programs and Resources for Women Veterans

There are far more men than women in the military, yet each year the number of women serving in our Armed Forces grows. In fact, women are the fastest growing group of Veterans. In 2008, 11% of Veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraq military operations were women and these numbers are expected to keep rising. As the numbers have increased over the years, so has the need for resources geared specifically towards women veterans who have experienced trauma related to their military service.

Trauma is common in women; five out of ten women experience a traumatic event. And women tend to experience different traumas than men. Women in the military face specific stressors. While not always trained for combat, they are often involved in combat or combat-support missions, experiencing hostile fire and injury. They may feel alone in their units, with few other women for emotional support. It may be hard for women with young children to be deployed for long periods of time. Still yet, another source of stress and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, for women veterans is Military Sexual Trauma.

Military Sexual Trauma (MST) is the term used by the Department of Veterans Affairs to refer to experiences of sexual assault or repeated, threatening acts of sexual harassment. This may also include being threatened with negative consequences for refusing to go along with the advances, or promised promotions/advancement or better treatment for going along with it. If the MST is especially traumatic, as in the case of sexual assault, it can lead to PTSD.  The Department of Defense conducted a study of sexual victimization among active duty populations and found rates of sexual harassment to be 78% among women, and attempted or completed sexual assault to be 6%.

In response to the recent increase in women Veterans, the VA has put in place a number of health care and research programs just for women, including the Women Veterans Health Care program.  Every VA Medical Center in the country now has a Women Veterans Program Manager.  This person is there to organize services and resources so that women veterans can get the specific help they need. The following VA programs are devoted to women veterans’ health care:

  • Women’s Stress Disorder Treatment Teams – special outpatient mental health programs. They focus on the treatment of PTSD and other problems related to trauma.
  • Specialized inpatient and residential programs for women – These are live-in programs for women veterans who need more intense treatment and support.
  • Women Veterans Comprehensive Health Centers – Many VA centers throughout the country have complete health centers for women veterans only.
  • Women Veterans Homelessness Programs – These programs can help women veterans find shelter if they are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

For more information on any of these programs, or to find out what programs are available in your area, contact your local VA Center, and speak with your Women Veterans Program Manager.

(Information for this blog post was found on www.ptsd.va.gov)


Wife to an Honorable Soldier

The following essay was submitted by Sara Colqui via our Facebook Essay Challenge where we invited our Facebook Friends to submit a short essay sharing “What is your best experience in (or with) the Military?”

Wife to an Honorable Soldier

My husband joined the Utah National Guard when he was seventeen years old, and is a soldier through and through. I met him when he was twenty-one and was okay with his devotion to the military; actually it was quite attractive to me.  He was deployed to Iraq after we had been married only eight months, and that was the biggest trial of my life. I struggled with feelings of him not loving me anymore, and it took a year after he had been home and a verbal commitment not to re-enlist for me to overcome my issues and have my heart realize he really did love me more than the military.

Once I had overcome my issues from his first deployment, I was a seasoned Army wife (and he did re-enlist). Now leads to my best experience with the military. In 2006, David had the opportunity to volunteer to go to Iraq again. He yearned to go and serve his country, and I was okay with that. Our first son was only seven months old when we decided, together, that he would volunteer to leave to Iraq the following May in 2007.

Over the years, I have grown to love my country. I love the values it was founded upon and I love the freedoms I so naively enjoy. I love that our country has the ability to help those who have lived oppressed lives under a tyrant government. Most of all I love that I can stand beside and behind a truly honorable soldier who wants to fight for our freedoms as well as the freedoms of others.

I don’t feel I could be a soldier, but I know I can be a soldier’s wife! I can be his support when life during war gets dark and grim. I can show my love and support for this country by standing beside and behind my soldier. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to support my husband as he serves as an American Soldier.

Being a wife to an honorable soldier who wants to volunteer for deployment is my best experience with the military.

by Sara Colqui


Christmas Suprise Giveaway

LowVARates is providing up to $250 of Christmas presents for a fortunate military family.  To nominate a family, please submit a 200-word essay to PR@LowVARates.com stating why the military family should win the contest.

(Lehi, Utah, Dec. 10, 2009) – Christmas is just around the corner, and the season of giving is sweeping through the nation.  As the famous carol states, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

LowVARates is adding to the Christmas spirit this season by providing a military family with up to $250 of Christmas presents.

Please submit a 200-word essay telling us why the military family should receive the prize.  Essays must be submitted by Dec. 22nd at midnight to enter the contest.  The goal of the giveaway is to help a military family going through tough times receive some good fortune.

According to the Department of Defense, the U.S. military is deployed in over 150 countries with around 25% of its active duty soldiers serving in foreign countries.

President Obama just announced another 30,000 troops are deploying to Afghanistan in the next six months.  Many of the troops will spend Christmas and other holiday’s fighting for the freedoms we enjoy. (Update on deployment worldwide and in Afghanistan)

The holiday season and particularly Christmas can be a difficult time for the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces and the families they leave behind.

“Many valiant men and women don’t get to spend Christmas with their loved ones,” Owner of LowVARates Eric Kandell said.  “Hopefully the giveaway can provide a deserving military family a Merry Christmas.”

LowVARates recently provided the Chesney family with a free Thanksgiving Dinner.  The husband Tim is deployed in Iraq and missed his first Thanksgiving with his wife and two daughters.

“The Thanksgiving dinner giveaway was such a great success that we decided we wanted to do another contest for Christmas,” Kandell said.

To enter the contest, please submit the following information to PR@LowVARates.com:

1) Name

2) Address

3) Contact Information (Phone or Email)

4) 200 Word Essay

5) Name of the family you are entering in the contest

Individuals can nominate their own families or other military families.  We also encourage individuals to submit more than one family.

The family must be associated or enlisted with the military or they will not qualify for the prize.  Once again, all entries must be submitted prior to December 22nd at midnight to enter the contest.

 

CONTACT:

Craig Walton

Director of Public Relations

pr@lowvarates.com

Office:  801-341-7048

Cell:  801-824-1635

Military Family Honored on Thanksgiving

The Chesney Family, the mother Brandie and two children Ella & Amelia.
The Chesney Family, the mother Brandie and two children Ella & Amelia.

(Layton, Utah, Nov. 30, 2009) – A local Utah military family received a free Thanksgiving dinner at Mimi’s Café on Thanksgiving Day courtesy of LowVARates.com. The Chesney family has endured various challenges in the past year and deserves Lady Luck to shine upon them.

The family was chosen after submitting a short essay stating why they deserved the free Thanksgiving feast. Tim Chesney, originally from Michigan, is currently deployed in Iraq and will not be able to spend Thanksgiving with his wife Brandie and two twin daughters, Ella and Amelia. “Deployments are hard,” Brandie Chesney said. “It’s always one-day longer that you have not seen your husband, but that also means that it’s one-day closer till you can see him again.”

The Chesney’s moved to Hill AFB in April and Tim was deployed to Iraq shortly after.  Tim is an Airman First Class working in Computer Operations in the 729th ACS Squadron.  He is expected to return home in March 2010, but his squadron currently deploys every other six months. “My family means more to me than anything in this world and I love them more than words could ever explain,” Tim said.  “It’s hard to be away from them during the holiday season.” Tim and Brandie were married in March of 2008 and shortly after Tim began basic training in Texas.

A few months later the couple was assigned to Hill AFB. Military life can provide a large amount of time away from family, but the Chesney’s understand that it’s a major part of enlisting in the military. “The hardest thing about him being gone is just the support he provides for our family,” Brandie said.  “It’s also hard seeing our daughters grow up and learn new things every day and know he can’t be there.” Brandie and her two daughters, fortunately, speak with their Dad through video conferencing on a regular basis.  Every night before Ella and Amelia go to bed, they both kiss a photo of their father and tell him they love him. This is the second consecutive Thanksgiving Tim and Brandie spend apart.  Last year Tim was in basic training the entire holiday season.

However, Brandie and the children still keep a very positive attitude and understand the nature of the military. “Two Thanksgivings in a row is definitely hard,” Brandie said. “But I also feel very honored to have a husband who is willing to be away from his family and home to be in Iraq where he is most needed.” This Thanksgiving Brandie and her two daughters will enjoy a free thanksgiving dinner at Mimi’s Café compliments of LowVARates.com.

Even though Tim will not be at the dinner, he is grateful his wife and daughters are being cared for. “I know it’s very hard for her taking care of our kids all by herself, especially over the holidays,” Tim Chesney said.  “It makes me feel so much better knowing that she’ll be able to have a nice meal on Thanksgiving.” The family enjoyed the free meal at the Layton Mimi’s Café on Thanksgiving Day.

CONTACT: Craig Walton Director of Public Relations pr@lowvarates.com Office:  801-341-2048 Cell:  801-824-1635

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Upcoming: Christmas Suprise Giveaway

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