Department of Defense
Department of Defense
Allow Transgender People Into the U.S. Military
On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, Donald Trump announced that transgender individuals would no longer be accepted or allowed into the U.S. Military because their cost is a "burden." This is extremely disgraceful and an insult to all those who have already given their lives for this country. This is not equality, and this is not "supporting the LGBT community," as he said he does. This is utterly transphobic. Many people who served are going to be left jobless, and many others will no longer be able to fulfill their dreams. This is not okay, and this should not be legal. Trans people are still people.
United Airlines, please help military families ship their big dogs!
United Airlines has been the industry leader in shipping animals globally. They recently restructured their service in response to safety issues, and have announced their new policies to improve safety. It was courageous for them to still be willing to offer any pet shipping service, that frankly speaking, can generate massive negative PR when it goes wrong, and provides only a tiny fraction of the company's total revenue. Thanks United for coming back, sincerely. However, within this change, they have implemented a new pet travel policy that bans large dogs, due to the maximum height for kennels being set at 30 inches. Labrador, Golden Retriever, Husky, Sheepdog, etc. will no longer be accepted . Also affected are Pit Bulls, Mastiffs, Malinois, and other dogs deemed to be "Strong jawed". This affects Military and State Department families deployed outside the USA, as they now have no way that fits their budgets to bring their pets home when they receive orders for Permanent Change of Station. Historically, United has been the only affordable option for big dogs, as other airlines cost up to 3-4 times as much. For example, sending a Golden Retriever from Seoul, Korea to San Francisco in a "700" crate used to be about $850 on United. Other Airlines cost is about $2,200 (After all additional fees are added). We are asking United to make an EXCEPTION for United States Military families, Department of Defense Civilian families, and State Department families that are being deployed abroad or back Stateside. This petition serves to show solidarity with the families affected, as we ask United to see how deeply appreciated their previous service shipping large pets was, and how desperately they are needed. Without this change, Military and State Department families face some very difficult choices, that could have painful consequences.For years United PetSafe has been a trusted way to move animals around the world, and I personally hope that they continue to serve the public with their excellent standards. US Service members and their families deserve better! United announcement: https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/animals/petsafe.html#petsafetable My in-depth analysis: https://www.facebook.com/Shindogsair/posts/1001768046647319
Citizens Against Contaminated Water for Service Members and their Families
Residents of JBLM are experiencing brown water and have for years. Within the last year, the brown water issue has greatly affected residence’s abilities to bathe, complete simple daily tasks such as laundry, running a dish washer or simply washing their hands. This brown water has been deemed “safe” to drink and bathe in, despite multiple residences experiencing serious skin allergic reactions, and even hospitalization. Though it has been recognized by Department of Public Works, Joint Base Lewis McChord Communities, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, it continues to be a daily struggle for residents to believe and trust that their water is safe. They have been told the water is "safe to drink" despite the color and foul smell. Joint Base Lewis-McChord Communities takes no responsibility regarding the water quality issue and directs all residents to Department of Public Works, who claims the routine hydrant flushes “do nothing” about the water quality. A recent report was released from the Department of Defense that states the water at or around at least 126 military installations contains potentially harmful levels of perfluorinated compounds. These contaminants have been linked to cancers and developmental delays for fetuses and infants. These chemicals are man-made and found in firefighting foam used by the DoD. This has residents at JBLM and several other military bases in the CONUS very concerned. Despite the closure of 3 wells on JBLM, the problem is still on-going. Residents have been urged to contact the proper channels when experiencing these issues and nothing continues to be done. Water that reeks of chlorine, has sediment and an orange tinge is NOT safe to consume and residents deserve clean drinking water and a safe living environment. Meanwhile, houses on base are being renovated and updated, and age old pipes that cause these water issues are ignored. Join us to fight this cause.
Allow all active duty members and spouses in Guam to participate in COLA survey
BLUF: The Cost of Living Allowance decrease for the US Territory of Guam will create significant financial hardships for the military members and their families stationed there. The survey driving the decision is faulty, groceries are expensive and poor quality, and spouses have a difficult time finding jobs. Immediate action on your part is needed to aid the military families stationed on the 210-square mile island of Guam. Cost of Living Allowances The military cost of living allowance (COLA) is based on a point index, with 100 as a baseline (no allowance given). The current COLA rate for Guam is 124, with a projected decrease to 118 in September, and a final decrease to 116 in October. This 8-point decrease equates to a 30% drop in the amount the military member receives monthly to offset the increased expenses that arise from living on a remote Pacific island. (For reference, our family’s COLA will decrease by nearly $4,000/year). Survey Shortcomings The projected COLA decrease is a result of, at least in part, data collected via survey. This survey was provided only to a limited number of members and not directly to any spouses. Additionally, internet service on Guam is intermittent, slow, and frequently government websites block Guam IP addresses, requiring the use of a VPN (Virtual Personal Network) to access. These factors further limited data collection, and negatively impacted the accuracy of the expenses incurred by the military population on Guam. Cost of living in Guam The following list contains three prices for commonly purchased goods. The CONUS amount is the average cost in the 48 continental US states, the Guam price is that of purchasing the item in the local economy, and the military price is the cost of the item on a military installation, either at AAFES/NEX or the Military Commissary. Gas (gallon) – CONUS $2.854; GUAM $4.42; MILITARY $3.259 Milk (gallon) – CONUS $3.33; GUAM $10; MILITARY $4.44 (Commissary); $6.99 (AAFES) Bread (loaf) – CONUS $1.32; GUAM $4.20; MILITARY $1.65 It may be tempting to glance at these numbers and think, “Well, just shop on base and the cost isn’t THAT much higher than CONUS.” However, that presents some obstacles. Namely, the quality and availability of items at the commissary. Produce is typically only good for 2-3 days after purchase, and is even more exorbitantly priced than the listed examples (strawberries $8.99/pt, green beans $8.19/lb, etc.). All items, but especially dairy, must be scrutinized for expiration dates. Many items stocked on the shelf expire within a day or two of purchase; finding yogurt with a week left before expiring is like winning the lottery. This limits the ability to “stock up” when an item is on sale because it is unlikely to be used before the expiration date. It is also common for an item to be “out of stock,” with no replenishments for months. Fresh poultry is not available at all. All of our chicken arrives frozen, past the expiration date (which is “extended” because it is frozen). Much of the fish and pork, and some of the beef, is “previously frozen,” and often requires an “extension” on the expiration date. Bread is also shipped frozen and thawed on the shelf. Because of these quality issues, it is often necessary to shop in the local economy, at exorbitant prices. Shipping costs While in CONUS, many families find that shopping online is frequently less expensive than local options. Even OCONUS, many retailers waive or discount shipping to APO addresses. However, in Guam, we are not permitted APO addresses because we have USPS service. Retailers commonly charge more to ship to Guam, or flat-out don’t ship here at all. Amazon Prime, for example, does not honor Guam addresses, so items that ship free to CONUS or APO addresses are charged based on size and weight to ship to Guam. This further hinders our ability to shop in cost-effective manners available to other locations. Spouse Employment Spouses often have a difficult time finding employment in Guam. The “locals” tend to discourage hiring those who are not native Chamorros, and because the military installations are small, finding federal employment is also difficult. Conclusion Many spouses that wish to provide a second income struggle to secure a job, our grocery choices are limited, expired, or expensive, shipping costs to the island are high, and the survey being referenced for this change had significant shortcomings. We are proud to be a military family serving our country and we understand the sacrifices that come with this life. We depend on the COLA to make life on this isolated island reasonably comfortable. Cutting it by a third is salt in the open wound that the challenges of Guam life create for military families. Action Request We are asking that our COLA rate remain unchanged until such time as accurate data can be collected and considered. Grant military members and spouses the opportunity to respond to a widely-available survey and properly report the true cost of living here.
Give Corey the benefits and care he has earned!
My son was assaulted by a soldier breaking his neck. He was hit from behind because he didn’t want to get into the car with them. The Army says this is my son’s fault because if he had gotten in the car when he was told to, he wouldn’t have been hit breaking his neck. After breaking his neck the soldiers picked Corey up and placed him in the back of a compact car between two other soldiers. They had a Sgt and a paramedic meet them in the parking lot of the barracks where the paramedic evaluated my son and did not call an ambulance for him to stabilize him. It took about 3 hours for them to get Corey to the military hospital where they did not have a neurosurgeon. The Army refuses to transfer him to a WTU they refuse to start a medboard and they refuse to say this is in the line of duty. SOLDIERS did this to my son. SOLDIERS moved my son around and hauled him around in a car for hours with a broken neck. A Paramedic trained by the army looked at my son, documented that he was barely breathing, paralyzed, had low blood pressure and heart rate, and was in and out of consciousness. This paramedic had a responsibility to call an ambulance to stabilize my son’s spinal cord and administer oxygen, fluids, and medication for his heart rate and blood pressure. A paramedic had the responsibility to transfer my son to a hospital with a neurosurgeon on duty to stabilize my son. Due to the care and treatment he received at the hands of soldiers and a paramedic on post, my son suffered bleeding into the spinal cord as well as having bone fragments impinging on his spinal cord. He went from paraplegic to quadriplegic all while in he hospital. Now my son is not eligible for any grants for adaptive technology, home and vehicle modifications, transport to and from therapy, durable medical equipment, or home health care. He is not eligible because the Army refuses to take responsibility for their part in my son’s injuries. I cannot sue because of something called the Fares Doctrine. My son has suffered enough! For the rest of his life he will have to have someone help him with everyday tasks. He cannot even control his own bowel and bladder function. He is 23 years old. Help me get the benefits my son deserves!! I have 5 kids and have worked hard to get where I am. I am a RN who works at the VA hospital in our area and I am going to lose my job. My FMLA is up this month and I will have to return to work. They won’t even let me work part time so I can care for Corey. Without the benefits being withheld we will lose everything! I can’t leave him by himself and he has to go to therapy. I was told last week to apply for Medicaid. I shouldn’t have to. He is coveeed on my insurance and the army has some responsibility for the extent of his injuries. PLEASE help in any way you can! To read more of our story or to help share or donate to help with modifications we so desperately need for our home please follow this link https://www.youcaring.com/coreyshackelford-1038083 or you can find my story on Facebook @accountabilityforcorey
Remove Andrew Chabrol from Arlington National Cemetery.
BM2 Melissa Harrington was sexually harassed by LT Andrew Chabrol, her division officer. On July 9th, 1991 he abducted her outside her home and took her to his house. With an accomplice, he bound,v raped, tortured and murdered her in a sapre bedroom. No one believed Melissa or her co worker when they went to them for assistance. When she didn't show up for work, they doubted Chabrol had her. After the police received a warrant and caught Chabrol he was convicted and sentenced to death. Upon his execution, he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Each year, on Memorial Day, a flag is placed on his grave. A continuous injustice to BM2 Harrington. For the thousands of women that have been sexually assaulted or sexually harassed in the military and their families that have dealt with the ramifications of military sexual trauma, the removal of Andrew Chabrol, a dishonorable member of the military who kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered a BM2 Melissa Harrington, former shipmate and active duty Sailor, would serve as an example to all woman that violence against women in the military will not be tolerated. It would be a small but important, gesture to all women dealing with MST that regardless of previous inaction, the military is prepared to begin necessary actions to correct years of marginalization, harrassment, abuse and violence women experienced at the hands of their shipmates and the lack of justice from their chain of commands. I, and many of my friends, are survivors of MST and live every day knowing the military could have done more to believe us and protect us. Melissa's death was preventable. Remove Andrew Chabrol from the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.
Help End Veteran Suicides As A Result Of Trauma Experienced During War Time
The current rate at which military veterans commit suicide is a staggering 22 per day. On Christmas Day, 2016, Joshua Miller became one of those 22. Josh was a beloved father, son, brother, partner, uncle, cousin, nephew, and friend. He was a visionary who wanted nothing more than to make the world a better place. Josh served in the Marine Corps from 2000-2004. The experience of the things he witnessed and had to do left him with scars that followed him through the remainder of his life. He battled his demons constantly until he could not stand the pain anymore and tragically ended his life on Christmas night. Unfortunately, Josh was not alone that day. 21 other veterans felt the same pain and chose the same path to end it all. Their pain so intense, the only option they felt they could do was to leave this world behind. Leaving behind grieving families, mothers, fathers, children, spouses, friends and other relatives. 22 veterans per day. That is 8,030 per year. This number is testament to the neglect our veterans experience from the very organizations who send them to fight and seemingly forget about them once the fighting is done. While 22 is a number, each represents a human being. A human being who signed up to sacrifice everything to fight for our freedoms. Many give their lives in this service. As the numbers show, many times their lives are taken long after they return home. Newly released statistics also show that more service members deployed overseas die by suicide than by terrorists. Our service members give their all for us. It is time to give back to them. They need us to be their voice so something can be done to help them through their suffering. They need more than what they receive to assist them in putting their demons to rest so they can have a happy, rewarding life once their service to our country is done. They deserve nothing less, and so much more. In light of this information, and the evidence that a change is drastically overdue, we are petitioning the Department of Defense and the Veteran's Administration to take action and implement changes that will save the lives of our nation's heroes. We ask that the following procedures be implemented as soon as possible: 1. As PTSD has been proven to cause physical changes in the brain, we are asking the DoD to preform a brain scan upon enlistment into the Armed Services, and again upon release so that scans can be compared and evaluated for potential damage. If damage is found, then appropriate services preformed to treat the condition. 2. A MANDATORY 3-4 week intensive program for all military members. This program should have a primary focus on results driven, evidence based therapy and curriculum to help veterans deal with the trauma that occurs while serving in the military. This program should be attended by all active duty service members who have served, prior to their release from active duty. 3. MANDATORY regular follow up after release from active duty with monthly check-ins for at least two years. Quarterly follow up for the next 3 years, and yearly follow up for the next 5 years. This time frame represents minimums, that can be increased upon recommendations of a psychologist or psychiatrist. 4. The DoD and the Veteran's Administration should allocate funding specifially for both the research and treatment of mental health issues that arise from serving in the military, and to implement the programs listed in this petition. 5. The DoD should implement mandatory therapy for all active duty service members to help alleviate the current stigma that exists regarding service members seeking help for mental health issues they may be experiencing. Service members should also be protected from discrimination and discharge as a result of said mental health needs, unless the symptoms clearly show that service member's ability to continue to perform their duties is compromised. Many active duty and veterans agree that not enough responsibility is being taken by the DoD and the VA in regards to mental health issues. Not enough help is available to them, and the effect of this is tragic. This leads to the 8,030 veterans taking their own lives each year. This is unacceptable and it is time to take action to change this. They are sent into battle armed and prepared to succeed. However, they fight another battle once they are home without any tools or support to help them win that battle. After all they have given to everyone in this country, let us help them get armed with everything they need to win their personal wars.
Reopen MAVNI Program FY-2017
The reason for this petition is to reopen MAVNI program which is under investigation and there are no sure shot deadlines as to when it will re-open again for FY-2017. Reopening of MAVNI program helps United States to recruit soldiers rapidly that possess foreign language skills. Not only this but also most of these people who are joining have bachelors or masters and don't even want to use GI bill or anything in return. They are super motivated just by the fact to be called an American Citizen and defend this country till their death. Shutting down of this program has been emotionally draining for those who want to be a part of this. America's whole immigration system needs reform and people who work with that understands. There is no logic but luck based. Take for instance, H1 B visa lottery. Lucky person would get picked over genuinely qualified person. However, this MAVNI program gives opportunity to those who have lived in USA for long long time on all kinds of visas/work permits and want to call this country home and want to be a soldier of US and defend this nation. Impact of this program on people: Maintaining legal status while waiting for this program to be opened which is very emotionally draining for them and their families. Call of action: Its our humble request to please please reopen MAVNI for FY 2017 at the earliest. We promise we wont let down the US army spirit. We are ready, prepared, this nation we will defend, we will aim high, fly, fight and win not for self but for this country of United States of America.
Health Benefits for Military Ex Wives who served over 20 years with Soldier husband.
This is for me and so many other people who spent years with husband serving the military, and after divorce loose all the benefits when soldier is retired for medical reason and after divorce. I spent 23 years married to an Army soldier, and after divorce I lost all my medical benefits and even his part of retirement. All DOD told me is that he was retired under medical reasons, so I was not entailed to any benefits even when the court stated that he was responsible for my health benefits for life and he never complied. Why is that?? I served with my ex husband and his Army carrier, and DOD did nothing. We served just like them!! some of us left everything to serve with soldiers and need security and health too.. I help my ex-husband to join the military and also help him getting his retirement due to health. Support his entire Military career and deployments, what happened to taking care of military families????
Justice for Kenneka Martin
With MILLIONS of views on social media, Kenneka Martin's death is STILL unsolved! Police corruption, racial segregation, and SECRETS are keeping this beautiful young women from being put to rest. HELP US SAVE HER MEMORY! HELP HER FAMILY GRIEVE! AND MOST OF ALL FIND JUSTICE FOR KENNEKA MARTIN! https://www.google.com/amp/www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-kenneka-jenkins-rosemont-hotel-freezer-20170911-story,amp.html#ampshare=http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-kenneka-jenkins-rosemont-hotel-freezer-20170911-story.html Kenneka's Story(via Chicago Tribune): Teresa Martin (mother of the victim) said her daughter's friends called her after 4 a.m. Saturday september 10,2017 to say they had lost track of Jenkins in the hotel and left after they were unable to find her. The friends said they were in the car Martin had lent her daughter for the night and they had Jenkins' cellphone, Martin said. Martin said she headed to the hotel around 5 a.m. Saturday to try to find her daughter. Hotel staff told her they needed a missing persons report from police before they could start reviewing surveillance video of the premises. Martin said she then called the Rosemont Police Department and was told to wait a few hours before filing the report to see if Jenkins turned up. Jenkins' older sister, Leonore Harris, filed a missing persons report with Rosemont police later that morning, Mack said. Authorities notified the hotel about the missing teen around 1:15 p.m. Saturday. The 11-hour search for Jenkins included all public areas and the ninth floor, where she was last seen by witnesses, Mack said. "The hotel staff and management (were) actively canvassing the area at that time," Mack said. Martin said around 3 or 4 p.m. Saturday, police viewed some of the hotel video footage and said they did not see Jenkins pictured. The family left and came back a third time around 6 p.m. Saturday, Martin said, at which point relatives started knocking on room doors to see if any guests knew anything. The hotel called the police to complain about the knocking, Martin said. One of those responding officers listened to the family's plight and agreed to view the video footage again, Martin said. Around 10 p.m. Saturday, police told Jenkins' relatives they had spotted her on video from about 3:20 a.m. that day, "staggering" drunk near the front desk, according to Martin. Martin said the family members stayed at the hotel until after 1 a.m. Sunday, when police informed them they had discovered Jenkins' body in the walk-in freezer. It was not clear who located Jenkins' body, but Mack said the hotel was doing some construction in the area where she was found. Martin said she was told the freezer Jenkins was in was turned on and cold but was not being used to store food. "I just happen to know there's work being done on some new facilities over there, so there is some construction activity where a new restaurant is being built, and (she was found) in that vicinity," Mack said. "This is not an area where anyone would typically be who was a guest in the hotel." It is not clear whether the construction area was blocked off in any way. Martin said Jenkins told her she was "going to the show and bowling" Friday. Martin said she only learned about the hotel party when Jenkins' friends called to say they couldn't find her and were heading back with the car. The friends told her the three were getting set to leave the party but realized Jenkins had left her phone and car keys back in the room. Jenkins stayed in the hallway while the friends said they retrieved her stuff. When they got back to the hall she was gone, Martin said they told her. But Martin said she questioned the friends' accounts, saying their "stories changed over and over." Martin also said she had a hard time believing the police account that Jenkins got into the freezer on her own, saying if her daughter was drunk she would have had difficulty opening the heavy freezer doors. Jenkins would have realized the freezer doors weren't the doors to an elevator or a hotel entrance, Martin said. "Those were double steel doors, she didn't just pop them open," she said. Martin was angry about what she said was hotel workers' lack of urgency in the face of her pleas for help finding her daughter Saturday morning, directing her to the police rather than immediately reviewing hotel footage. Daniel Pena, a manager at the hotel, referred questions about the incident to Rosemont police Sunday. "Anyone can understand how a parent can feel distraught over the loss of a child and feel the need to lash out due to the tremendous pain they're feeling, and we can certainly understand that," Mack said. "But people can rest assured Rosemont is one of the top, highest trained, most respected police departments in the state of Illinois and does a good job at what they do. "Every situation has a lot of variables, and certainly this one did," he said. "The hotel has probably never seen anything like this, either, I would imagine." Martin said she thought Rosemont police also failed to heed the family's frantic attempts to figure out what happened to Jenkins. "If they had taken me seriously and checked right away, they could have found my daughter much sooner and she might have been alive," Martin said.