Department of Defense
Department of Defense
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 stationed 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 stationed 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
Rename the Fort Hood A/DACG (air terminal) after the hug lady Elizabeth Laird.
Elizabeth Laird was an extraordinary person. It's only right that the building she's seen so many soldiers deploy and come home in is named after her. https://www.today.com/kindness/hug-lady-83-who-gave-out-500-000-hugs-soldiers-t63901 I have found a life backstory of Mrs. Laird here it is as follows:(Credit Linda Carter, June 30 2018, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155436628261231&set=a.10152475371311231&type=3&theater ) Elizabeth Corrine Laird "The Hug Lady"JANUARY 15, 1932 – DECEMBER 24, 2015Elizabeth was born January 15, 1932 in Birmingham, Alabama to Andrew Curtis and Rhoda Waldron. She graduated at the age of 17 from Woodlawn High School with honors, excelling in Math, as well as playing the trumpet in the Woodlawn Marching band, being in the orchestra, photography (we all know how she loves to take pictures), Warbler Club, Marshall, Apollo club with the desire to become a famous surgeon.Elizabeth was very patriotic and after graduation she enlisted in the Air Force as a cook to serve her country in any way she could. Anyone who knew Elizabeth knew what an excellent cook she was. She had the ability to put together a meal out of just about anything and making it appetizing.After her time in the Air force she met and married a Marine named Harry Dewees. The couple became the proud parents of four children; Richard, Linda, David, and Susan. She wanted to provide more for her family so when the opportunity came to learn a new, exciting and challenging field of computer programming where women were a minority, she took the challenge and so began her journey working for the civil service beginning as a computer pioneer in the Army Defense System, as well as being one of the first computer programmers for Project Master which was the initial Army Operational testing organization to working for the Department of Defense.She loved to travel and her job took her across the United States to Germany, Italy and other European Countries, from Washington D.C, Pentagon, to White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, Ft Bliss, El Paso, Texas, Ft Huachcha, Arizona and finally Ft. Hood, Texas.She met and married Ray Laird in Ft Huachuca, Arizona and moved to Copperas Cove, Texas and made it her home. She had two step children through Ray-Rhonda and David Laird. When Elizabeth retired from civil service, she worked with Ray in their tax preparation business known as Have Pencil Will Travel of which she still worked until the time of her death.She was very adventurous, and enjoyed riding motorcycles, flying in air balloons. She even walked to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and she rode a mule down into the Grand Canyon.Elizabeth was always active in her community and her church. She was a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and attended the church in Temple. She did volunteer work in many ways, helping her community and anyone in need. She was a member of many community services like the AARP Community Coordinator, member of the VFW Auxiliary, Chamber of Commerce, and assist with SALT program.In 2003, when soldiers were coming and going to the Middle East she wanted to show her appreciation for what they were doing and while volunteering with the Salvation Army; she began shaking hands which led to giving each one a hug. Elizabeth received orders from CSM Galney to hug every one of his troops when leaving and returning from overseas and that started her final career as the “Hug Lady”.This was her love-many times talking about the look in the soldier’s eyes, how proud they were to serve their country to protect their loved ones at home. They love God, their family and their country.Elizabeth received many awards- and special achievements. From her community she received, the Copperas Cove Leader-Press Good new person award, the Copperas Cove Exchange Club, Support USA OTC Women of Equality, Ivory Gold Award, Paul Harris from The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.From the military: Pillow for Operation Iraqi Freedom, 41st Fire Brigade Operation Enduring Freedom, Dedication to the soldiers 297th ICTC, U.S. Army Operational Test Command, 2nd Squadron 38th Calvary Regiment, USA Garrison Command 1st Calvary Division Corps, COSCOM, 4th infantry Division, Task Force 14 Task for MED-Eas 756th AS MC Areal Operation, 1st Air Calvary Brigade, 36th Infantry Division National Guard Global War.From the State of Texas: From Governor Rick Perry “Yellow Rose of Texas”. A Letter from President George W. Bush As well as many more, too numerous to mention. As one can see, Elizabeth was a true American who loved God, Family and her country and she showed her love to those around her, whether it was a homeless person or the President of the United States.Knitting and crocheting were her special hobbies. She would knit blankets in the car on her way to meet Tax clients. These blankets were often given to patients in nursing homes.She never became a surgeon, but she did something just as important if not more important- She gave herself to others-whether volunteering to ring the Salvation Bell at Christmas, visiting the people in the nursing home with songs of cheer and reading to those who no longer could read, giving money, food, or clothing to the homeless or anyone in need, defending the underdog, or giving Bible Studies. Elizabeth tried to show the love of Jesus to everyone she came in contact with.Elizabeth passed away December 24, 2015 at Metroplex hospital after fighting a long battle with breast cancer.She was preceded in death by her first husband Harry Dewees, her second husband Ray Laird, her daughter Linda Crumbley, her parents Andrew Curtis and Rhoda Waldron, her brother Jimmy Moore, her three sisters, Ann Nystrom, Lucille Moore, and Lois Tennow.Survivors include her sons Richard Curtis Dewees and his wife Karen of Copperas Cove, Texas, David Randall Dewees and his wife Cindy of Lake Charles, Louisiana, daughter Susan Marie Dewees Taylor and her husband Steve of Heflin, Alabama, step son David Allen Laird of Canyonville, Oregon and step daughter Rhonda Radine Schweinbold of Jacksonville, Florida; 11 grand-children; 8 great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews and close friends.
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 military members to decide if they want to pay for a meal card or not
Our great men and women of the military deserve the right to choose how their money is spent. Currently, troops living in the barracks are forced to pay $370 a month for a meal card to eat at the chow hall. Chow hall hours don’t line up with everybody’s schedule, and often times, people are forced to spend extra money on food. On weekends, the chow halls are only open for 2 meals a day. From a financial standpoint, it is easily possible to buy a months worth of food for less than what comes out for BAS. Our military gets paid little as it is, they should be afforded the right to decide on how they pay for their food.
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
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.
Keep USUHS open!
On October 31, 2019, the Department of Defense began a Defense-Wide Review. This review looks at the current budget and areas of spending within the Department of Defense, as well as where cuts can be made. Among the areas being considered for budgetary cuts is the military health system and funding for the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Decreasing funding to the Uniformed Services University (USU) is concerning for many reasons. First, USU is an institution designed to prepare physicians, advanced practice nurses, and other healthcare professionals for the unique challenge of military medicine. Graduates of USU are valuable assets to military commanders as advisors in the care and protection of their personnel, as well as the overall readiness and lethality of the unit. In addition to the standard curriculum, USU prepares healthcare providers to care for the warfighter in all environments, from Fort Bragg to Kabul, Afghanistan. Concepts of mission-focused medicine are interwoven throughout the curriculums and culminate in an annual field training exercise that emphasizes the preservation of life in even the most austere environments. The decreases in funding would cause USU to close its doors. That closure would mean a decrease in medical providers prepared to care for our warfighters. This is a direct threat to our ability to maintain a lethal and medically ready military. In the interest of the continued health and lethality of our military, I urge you to support the continued funding of the Uniformed Services University, keep the doors open!
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.
COLA for US Military Members stationed in California
With ever increasing taxes and Cost-of-living in California, it is becoming more and more difficult for United States Military members stationed in California to make ends meet. Both Alaska and Hawaii military members receive a Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) to help offset the high cost of those states. Although, Alaska and Hawaii are considered "overseas" locations, they are still part of the United States of America as a whole. The same ways of determining COLA for both Alaska and Hawaii should also be done for the state of California. The state of California has higher gas prices, food prices and cost of living than a majority of the United States, and as such, lawmakers should consider determining a COLA for military members stationed in California, in the same way COLA is determined for both Hawaii and Alaska. Providing military members stationed in the state of California with a COLA will help offset these high costs and make it easier for these members to make ends meet.
The Autistic Right to Fight
Serving in the military is both an honor and a service to those who volunteer in this great country of the the United States of America. Many potential volunteers are disqualified for various reasons. Thus the reason for my letter, I am a twenty-five year old man with a four year college degree in history from Stony Brook University with high functioning autism. I have been rejected by the US Army three times outright just from disclosing my diagnosis. I was also rejected by the US Marine Corps twice after disclosing my medical records. I was never given the opportunity to take the ASVAB nor was I given an opportunity to appeal the decision. This is a personal fight for me but this is also a fight for other people with high functioning autism. For far too long our right to serve and fight has been denied on the grounds of our disorder, for we are so much more than that. We have served before and we continue to serve beneath the radar. I was even told by one of my recruiters to hide my diagnosis by not mentioning it. This is wrong as, just like in the case of ethnic minority and LGBT service members before us, we shouldn’t have to hide who we are when serving. That is why I’m asking the US Government and Military to make high functioning autism a waiverable condition for military service. This waiver won't cover all people on the autism spectrum nor should it because Autism is a spectrum disorder. Functioning widely varies from totally non-verbal to highly qualified and fully functioning individuals. The waiver would include individuals with Aspergers and other high functioning autistic people that don’t have any sensory difficulties and those who don’t need help in the past year in special education at school. Openly allowing those with autism to serve would raise standing for those in the autism community. Autism rates are currently at one in forty births in the USA and the rates are even increasing. Just because you have Autism does not mean you don’t have the desire to fight and serve for your country. There are also people with Autism that have served in the past successfully and even serve now. Some nations such as Israel already allow those with high functioning autism to enlist. I’ve included an article from Washington DC based newspaper, The Atlantic about an Israel Defense Forces unit of teenagers with high functioning autism. There are a lot of patriotic autistic people out there who would like to contribute to their country by serving and we need to recognize that. With autism rates at one in forty people and growing, we are a large portion of the population. It seems unjust that so many people who are willing to serve are not being given the chance. I realize that not everybody wants to serve in the military, even those with autism. I also realize that military service is voluntary for everyone. However, that person with autism probably knows themselves better than anybody else and knows what they are capable of in the world. It is personally frustrating to be evaluated everyday because of your disability. I know that I am not alone in feeling this way. I have read an article about a an Army medic with autism that gave his life for our freedom in Afghanistan. Included is the web address. I feel the need to pioneer and fight for those who don’t have a voice. Individuals with autism need legislative support to get this ball rolling. My role in this letter is to act as a spokesman and voice for those that have been beaten down before me. My passion is that I will be able to serve openly as a military man that just happens to have autism. Why blanket discount a whole group of people who could do good in the military. Autism is called a spectrum for a reason, there is different levels to autism, were talking about the high functioning one. We are also talking about the ones who are making a conscious choice and know what they are doing. We are not being tricked and we know what joining the military entails. The one lesson to take away from this is that every person with autism is an individual first with different talents, desires and motivations. I and so many other people with autism who want to join should not have to lie to get in. This goes against our truthful nature in the world. We should not have to lie to get ahead in the world. We are people and we want to serve just like everybody else. Thank you for your time and consideration in this petition. I look forward to further correspondence and I hope that I am shedding some light on this discriminatory practice toward people with autism.