Tag Archive for Soldiers

New GI Benefits Bill

If you haven’t already, check out the New GI Benefits Bill.

The new, increased benefits will be free to enroll (instead of the $1200 Captain Dad shelled out, which he ain’t getting back…grrr…). You are 100% eligible with 3 years of post 9/11 service, excluding service requirements from ROTC and service academies (check the link for full details).

Benefits will likely now be transferable to one dependent, but most likely that will not be retroactive, unfortunately for us.

Thoughts???

What to Expect When You Are Expecting a New Soldier: Ft. Benning Graduation (Ask Molly)

A Reader Asks:

Hi, I saw your blog you posted a while ago about being an army wife. I was looking on google to find information on family day and graduation. My fiance is in Ft Benning right now at basic. When do you first get to see them? While you are sitting in the stands or before that? And then after they are dismissed on family day, how long do we get to spend with them. Also, do they get to spend the night with us, or do they have to go back that night? Then after graduation the next day, do we get to spend the day with them? Or even a couple days? I hope you can answer my questions. I would really appreciate it. Feel free to say anything else also. Thank you

Like everything else with the military, your mileage may vary (YMMV). A lot depends on the AIT your husband is attending, when it starts, and the specific command.

I would not expect any overnight passes. However, I have heard tell of some soldiers receiving 36 hour passes following graduation when their AIT was not set to begin right away. Do not count on it though, most likely he will be in transit to AIT the day after graduation.

Soldiers with visiting adult family members will get day passes (meaning they have to be back that night) following both family day and graduation–please note, however, that to the Army you do not yet qualify as a “family member.” So, a parent, grandparent, or legal guardian would have to sign your soldier out.

You may want to read my experience of family day and graduation. I describe when I first saw him and how much time we had together and where we spent our family time. Keep in mind this was about five years ago and my husband was going on to an OCS class that did not start for a while. My guess, though, is that your family day and graduation ceremony experience will be very similar.

Visit military family forums, like the forums hosted by Military.com, and you may find someone with a more recent experience to relate.

In terms of advice, I would recommend getting a hotel room for at least both nights because you’ll probably want a private place to sit and relax and your soldier may even want a short nap. Ft. Benning has good, inexpensive lodging, (Ft. Benning Lodging) but sometimes it is difficult to reserve a room. They were in the process of renovating and the rooms they had already fixed up were quite nice–one time I got a room with a sitting room and efficiency kitchen. They do keep some rooms available for “day of” walk-ins, but you’ll want to make sure you have a back-up plan.

The key is to avoid staying on Victory Drive. Victory Drive is that unsavory main road that seems to be located near almost every military post. Don’t choose a hotel on Victory Drive and you should be fine.

I found the La Quinta in Columbus, GA, to be very adequate and one of the closer, decent but inexpensive choices. There are plenty of decent options off the highway a few exits north of the central Columbus area.

There is also a very nice Marriot, that does sometimes offer military rates, right in the small, historic center of Columbus, GA, and some bed and breakfast places if you are looking for something more luxe. However, keep in mind that there is a good chance your soldier will not be able to stay overnight with you.

Your soldier will probably be most interested in you, a nap, caffeine, and a good meal. Let him take the lead about how he’d like to spend his little bit of free time.

I’ll leave you with the official word from one of the Basic Training commands at Ft. Benning (I bolded some of the text):

Family Day
The day before graduation, normally Wednesday, the battalion commander meets with friends and family members at their unit to discuss your soldier’s recent experiences and answer your questions. You will also meet the drill sergeants that trained your soldier and observe some demonstrations of soldier skills. Most importantly, you will meet with your soldier.

That afternoon graduating soldiers with visiting adult family members (spouse, parents, grandparents or legal guardians) may receive an on-post pass on Family Day and following graduation until a time determined by the chain of command. While on pass soldiers must remain in uniform and are not allowed to drive vehicles, drink any form of alcoholic beverages or use any tobacco products.

Graduation Day
Graduation is the following day, usually on Thursday at Pomeroy Field. The ceremony is at 10:00 a.m. from October through March and 09:00 a.m. from April through September. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place at the Regimental Chapel and the time schedule may change to accommodate more than one ceremony.

Day After Graduation
The day after graduation soldiers will usually not be allowed to go on pass. This day is designated as a travel day for their follow on Advance Individual Training (AIT).

Class Schedule
Army Training Requirements and Resources System (ATRRS) manages class schedules.

* FY 2008
* FY 2009

Note: Graduation dates shown here are subject to change. Soldiers are afforded the opportunity to contact families with actual graduation dates/times for travel planning purposes.

Stressed? Need Help? HA!

So, I just finished posting a review of Sittercity on Mamanista, and before I went to bed I figured I would check my e-mail. Only the usual scary e-mail from Baby Center about all the horrible things that will happen if I do/don’t do x, y, or z.

Of course, I always click. Just because I know what they are doing, that doesn’t mean it does not work. Then I saw this title, which caught my attention for obvious reasons:

No, really? You don’t say? I thought the timing was interesting and also thought I would share this info with you.

Narcissist that I am, I originally assumed it was going to be about MilSpouses. Nope, even worse! It is about the women who are actually IN the armed services. I have often wondered how these women do it…they truly do deserve our support. I wish I had some call to action to go with this post–write your congressmen or hug a female soldier (wait, don’t do that, you might get seriously hurt if you aren’t a friend)…lemme think about it for a while. And if you have any ideas or know of any programs, please fill me in.

Here’s some information from the article:

WASHINGTON, May 11 (Reuters) – Mothers in the U.S. military are stressed, poorly paid and need more help caring for their children, according to a report issued by Congress on Friday.

Nearly half of all women in the active-duty military have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, and 24,475 women are there now, the report by the Joint Economic Committee said.

Moreover, women get only 6 weeks of leave after the birth of a child, it found.

“Making sure military mothers have the quality child care, generous family leave, and access to mental health services they need is key to their family well-being and our national security,” New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney said in a statement.

[The Joint Economic Committee] said that women represent one in seven U.S. military personnel in Iraq, and that most are in the lowest-paid ranks.

However, military mothers are much more likely to be single or divorced, or married to other members of the military who also face deployment.

The report, available on the Internet at http://www.jec.senate.gov, said the military may be stretched to recruit and retain women if it does not provide better services.