The 82nd Airborne Division is now returning home from a deployment to Afghanistan. In the past, soldiers received 30 days of leave after a year long deployment, but the post-deployment leave policy is now changed. Soldiers are to attend two weeks of reintegration training upon return and then will be given 14 days of leave, according to the Fayetteville Observer.
Some soldiers have voiced their discontent with the new policy. Many families scheduled their vacations a year ago, but the recent change has forced them to abandon those plans. For some soldiers this means they have to wait to visit their families. Then their time with them is cut short when they have to return to duty.
This year, as I prepare to observe the anniversary of September 11, I have decided to take my solemn and respectful observation a step further from passive remembrance to actively honoring those who lost their lives and those who gave so much on that day.
It’s your third Permanent Change of Station (PCS). You had finally become comfortable in the last town where you lived. You knew where to shop the bargains and where all of the good places to eat were. Your children liked their school, and you and your spouse had your group of friends. Now you must rebuild all of that in a new city.
Moving can be tough, especially for the military family. Most families develop a system after so many PCS’s, but for the young military family the first few moves can be very stressful.
Here are some tips to help make the transition smoother.
In the past six years of my life, I have been shipping care packages overseas — a lot of them. Between two deployments, being stationed overseas, a few adopted soldiers and a school supply project in Iraq, I have shipped well over 400 boxes. I have never had a box lost or horribly damaged. That’s a blessing.
When I ship boxes, I pack them myself and I use a system I’ve developed over the years. It’s not rocket science. You also learn with time to choose items you can easily fit into flat rate boxes. I’ve never even used a mail store, such as a UPS Store, until recently.
A new South Carolina law ensures that all military veterans will receive a military funeral with full honors.
The new law allows coroners or funeral directors with unclaimed remains to release the deceased’s information to military groups to find out if he was a veteran who served honorably and has earned the right to be buried with full military honors.
John Rieser, an army veteran from Conway, S.C., passed away about three years ago without any family to claim his remains. He was an only child and his parents had already died. When a veteran passes away it is up to the family to request a military funeral.
Rieser’s co-workers said that there was a good chance that he was a veteran. Robert Edge, the county’s coroner, wanted to find out if he was and give him full honors, but he didn’t know where to turn.
Two American Legion members, Larry Truax and John Bianchi, came to the rescue. They pushed the bill this year through the South Carolina legislature. They saw that their native state of New York had passed a similar law and decided that South Carolina needed one as well.
Rieser’s grave will be marked with a headstone that has his name, dates of birth and death, his service branch, rank and dates of service.
What the veteran’s family can expect at the ceremony:
Funeral home directors request military funeral honors on behalf of the Veterans’ family from the DOD. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemetery Administration cemetery staff can also assist with arranging military funeral honors at VA national cemeteries. Veterans organizations are allowed to assist in providing military funeral honors. If the family wishes the funeral to take place at a national cemetery, the funeral home arranges it prior to the committal date.
Those eligible for military funeral honors are:
The DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, is used to show eligibility. If it’s not available, any discharge document showing other than dishonorable service can be used. The DD Form 214 can be requested by filling out a Standard Form 180 and mailing it to:
National Personnel Records Center (NPRC)
9700 Page Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63132
The Standard Form 180 may be obtained from the National Archives.