Posted by Edward Metz and Bob Collom

On August 27, 2019, NASA launched a national contest for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students to name the Mars 2020 rover, the newest robotic scientist to be sent to Mars.  Scheduled to launch aboard a rocket in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and touch down on Mars in February 2021, the to-be-named rover weighs more than 2,300 pounds (1,000 kilograms) and will search for astrobiological signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet’s climate and geology, collect samples for future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet. 

By Lance Cpl. Marcos Alvarado,
Defense Media Activity

DEFENSE MEDIA ACTIVITY, Md -- Marine Corps MARADMIN 539/18 announced three major changes to MCO 6100.3A affecting the standard Physical Fitness and Combat Fitness Tests, beginning January 1, 2019 for the PFT and July 1, 2019 for the CFT to increase the Corps’ overall physical fitness and combat effectiveness.

The first change will be to the rest times between CFT events. Instead of no less than five minutes of rest between events, three minutes will be the new rest period. This is to decrease the time it takes to complete the test and make the CFT more challenging.

New Software Install May Delay Some Household Goods Reimbursements
From NAVSUP Public Affairs

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (NNS) -- If you’re moving between October and December, your paperwork may not be processed until January 2019 due to a software upgrade.

The software installation will ensure Navy’s Household Goods (HHG) processes are auditable. It will upgrade the ability to process Personally Procured Moves (PPMs) and determine excess weight.

By Glenn Sircy,
Center for Information Warfare Training Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Sailors continue to benefit from the Navy Credentialing Opportunities On-line (COOL) program with the latest Navy COOL app update released, Sept. 19.

Navy COOL provides information about licenses and certifications applicable to all Navy occupations, offering resources and funding to help Sailors gain appropriate civilian desired, and in many cases, required credentials. COOL also provides other key resources such as Advancement Bibliographies (BIBs) and Learning and Development Roadmaps (LaDRs).

By La Toya Graddy (USACIDC)

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command is alerting the Army community to be on the lookout for "disaster fraud" charitable schemes and repair scams.

"Disaster fraud occurs after man-made or natural catastrophes such as the recent damage, storm surge and flooding caused by Hurricane Florence. Often dishonest individuals or contractors will use this opportunity to inflate damage estimates, or swindle homeowners in home repair, debris removal and other cleanup scams," said Chris Grey, CID spokesman. "These scammers will also exploit the disaster by seeking out those wishing to support and assist affected victims by soliciting fictitious charitable donations, sending fraudulent e-mails or creating phony websites to solicit contributions or personal information resulting in identity theft."

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Navy has expanded the eligible categories for advanced dependent travel (ADT) and delayed dependent travel (DDT), personnel officials announced September 13.

For permanent change of station (PCS) moves within the 50 states, the policy allows for dependent travel of up to six months before or after the sponsoring Sailor’s PCS move in the following situations: spousal employment or education, dependents in elementary or secondary school (K-12), dependent enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program, or caring for an immediate family member with a chronic or long-term illness. The previous approved policy that allowed DDT for the length of the school year is unchanged by this expansion.

Military Health System

FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- Hurricane Florence’s imminent arrival is a reminder for people to prepare for their health care needs during severe weather.

TRICARE experts recommend making a list that includes your physician’s name and contact information, medications with dosage and frequency, and type and model number of medical devices. Those with chronic health conditions or issues with vision, hearing, or mobility should get medical alert tags or bracelets, and identify how to get to safety.

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Victoria Granado,
USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Public Affairs

ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- For many Sailors this year marks a somewhat surprising reform in the Navy’s female hair regulations. Rules that have stood for so long have been expanded or just plain changed. It’s a new era of styling hair for female Sailors, and, according to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, it makes for a more “inclusive environment.”

Like with any changes to Navy traditions, new regulations mean new challenges. Senior Sailors aboard the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) know there will be a period of adjustment.

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Benjamin Waddell,
USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Public Affairs

ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The Federal Voting Assistance Program allows Sailors aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) to make a difference both at home and while at sea.

“While you are out at sea, underway or in a combat zone, you are able to participate in your state and local elections through absentee voting,” said Senior Chief Legalman Earl R. Brown, Harry S. Truman’s absentee voting program lead.

By Alexandra Shea, Evans Army Community Hospital


Terry Chapman isn’t a soldier, but she does serve as a GI Granny. Her uniform, a black polo shirt with an embroidered patch, reads: “GI Grannies and Gramps, Soldier Support.”

DALLAS -- Budget-minded service members, families and retirees can kick off their holiday shopping early by taking advantage of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s fee-free layaway

The Exchange will waive the $3 service fee for items of $25 or more--including toys and bikes— that are placed on layaway starting Sept. 1 and paid for by Dec. 24.

From U.S. Naval Forces Public Affairs

PYEONGTAEK, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- Republic of Korea (ROK) President Moon, Jae-in presented Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea (CNFK) Rear Adm. Brad Cooper with the ROK Presidential Unit Citation (PUC) during the 69th Annual ROK Armed Forces Day Ceremony in Pyeongtaek, Sept. 28.

The ROK PUC is the highest unit-level award given by the ROK government and was awarded to all the Sailors of CNFK for "outstanding contribution to the defense of the Republic of Korea." The award follows closely behind the 2016 relocation of CNFK headquarters from Seoul to Busan, where it is now situated next to ROK Fleet (CRF) headquarters. CNFK is the only U.S. military major command to be located on a ROK military base.

October 26 is annually designated as National Day of the Deployed.

National Day of the Deployed honors all of the brave men and woman who have been deployed, are sacrificing, or have sacrificed their lives to defend our country. The day also acknowledges their families who are separated from them during deployment and the sacrifices they make in order for their family members to serve our country.

From Naval Supply Systems Command Office of Corporate Communications

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (NNS) -- Naval Supply Systems Command, in cooperation with the U.S Postal Service, Military Postal Service Agency, and Joint Military Postal Activity, released mail-by dates for pre-Dec. 25 deliveries of holiday cards, letters, and packages.

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2017 — DoD leaders announced the Interim Final Rule that charts the way forward for transforming TRICARE, the military’s health care system.

The transition goes into effect Jan. 1, said Tom McCaffery, the acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2017 — DoD leaders announced the Interim Final Rule that charts the way forward for transforming TRICARE, the military’s health care system.

The transition goes into effect Jan. 1, said Tom McCaffery, the acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.

fm Exceptional Advocate eNewsletter, October 2017

TRICARE has expanded mental health and substance use disorder, or SUD, services, adding outpatient programs and expanding options for opioid treatment. The expansion improves access to care and increases opportunities for mental health and substance use disorder treatment. The changes include:

Increased substance use disorder treatment options. Improvements to SUD options include opioid treatment programs and office-based opioid treatment. Office visits with qualified TRICARE-authorized providers may include coverage of medications for opioid addiction.

fm Exceptional Advocate eNewsletter, October 2017

When you have a family member with special needs, financial planning is vital. Be prepared to take good care of your family member by tackling the money issues today.

Military OneSource is here to help you—with financial planning related to issues like disability tax credits, Supplemental Security Income and much more.

How to start your financial plan

fm Exceptional Advocate eNewsletter, October 2017

Research has shown that all students and especially those receiving special education who follow a carefully crafted transition plan are more likely to achieve post-secondary success. Helping professionals can craft these plans, but many may not be aware of the various resources available to ensure students’ successful transition. One of the main resources available to parents/guardians and students are their classroom teachers. Teachers who incorporate transition-related content into instruction using universal design for learning (UDL) principles are in the best position to set up students for post-secondary success. It is thus necessary that parents/guardians and students are trained to inform teachers about UDL and advocate for their use in classroom instruction on an ongoing basis.

By Tammy Cournoyer
AFPC Airman and Family Division

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas - The Air Force family tree has many branches and one branch, representing the services Gold Star families, has leaves that glow consistently with the rest.

Gold Star families are survivors of military service members who lost their lives during armed hostilities, including deployments in support of military operations against an enemy and/or during an international terrorist attack.

By Yan Kennon, Public Affairs Senior Writer, Naval Hospital Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Newborn screenings identify conditions that can affect children's long-term health or survival. Each year, millions of babies in the U.S. are routinely screened for certain genetic, endocrine, and metabolic disorders, and are also tested for hearing loss and critical congenital heart defects, prior to discharge from a hospital or birthing center.

The screenings are a vital public health program that tests babies for congenital disorders that aren't outwardly visible.

From Sea Warrior Program (PEO EIS PMW 240)

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy announced today that this week's update to My Navy Portal (MNP) includes a low bandwidth version that can be accessed afloat, or ashore in areas with limited bandwidth. This latest updated version gives users the option to choose the low bandwidth upon login, or from any page within the portal. By removing all photos, graphics, and formatting found on the standard version, the low bandwidth option is designed to load faster, perform smoother, and enables users to quickly complete Navy career tasks within the portal.

From Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- September is National Emergency Preparedness Month. Commander, Navy Installations Command's (CNIC) Ready Navy Program educates Sailors and their families on how to be prepared when an emergency occurs. This year's overall theme is "Disasters Don't Plan Ahead. You Can."

Each week in September will have a focused theme: Make a Plan for Yourself, Family and Friends; Plan to Help Your Neighbor and Community; Practice and Build Out Your Plans; and Get Involved! Be a Part of Something Larger.

By Joe Lacdan, Army News Service August 25, 2017

FORT MEADE, Md. -- The Army reached a number of milestones over the past two years as it continued service-wide integration of female Soldiers into combat career fields and other areas of service.

This summer, women made history at Fort Benning, Georgia, graduating as the first female cavalry scouts and M1 tank crew members. Earlier this month at West Point, the U.S. Military Academy named the first African-American woman as First Captain of Cadets.

By US Army CID September 1, 2017

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command is cautioning the Army community to be on the lookout for charitable schemes and scams associated with "disaster fraud" donations.

With these scams, criminals will use manmade or natural catastrophes, such as the recent damage and flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, to get individuals to donate to charities claiming to support affected victims. Some of these organizations are fraudulent, or misleading at best because they do not have the infrastructure to support the affected disaster area.

By Lisa Ferdinando
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2017 — The Defense Department released guidance today to clarify the liberal consideration given to veterans who request upgrades of their discharge saying they had mental health conditions or were victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment.

The new guidance clarifies that the liberal consideration policy includes conditions resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, sexual assault or sexual harassment, said Air Force Lt. Col. Reggie Yager, the acting director of legal policy in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

Everyone’s college experience is unique—and probably not quite what they were expecting, but here are some tried and true tips on how to get through it.

1. Get involved.

This point may be the most overhyped, but it’s still valid. Go to your school’s activities fair if they have one; otherwise, keep your eyes open for opportunities to join different clubs or teams. Joining a club or team can often provide a much-needed relief from your everyday classes or responsibilities, and it’s a great way to meet new people or to try something new! Many schools even have niche groups such as unicycle clubs, quidditch teams (of Harry Potter fame), and virtual reality clubs. If you don’t find a club that aligns with your interests, you can always start your own!

2. Learn how to network.

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2016 — The Defense Department today recommitted itself to its solemn pledge to make every effort to bring home all of its missing men and women to their families, Defense Secretary Carter said at the National Prisoner Of War and Missing in Action Recognition Day ceremony on the Pentagon’s River Terrace Parade Grounds this morning. 

By Lisa Ferdinando
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON September 23, 2015 - Female veterans, trailblazers who served in the military decades ago, received a hero's welcome yesterday after arriving in the nation's capital on the first all-female honor flight.

"Best day of my life" is how retired Army Sgt. Maj. Sue Williams described the visit, which included stops at Arlington National Cemetery and the World War II Memorial. 

By Shannon Collins DoD News Features, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON September 22, 2015 —

As part of ongoing Defense Department and Department of Veteran’s Affairs efforts to continue to combat suicide, Pentagon officials recently emphasized the powerful role of individuals -- as well as peer support and other resources -- in suicide prevention.

DoD, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, is promoting the “The Power of 1” campaign during September in observance of Suicide Prevention Month. The theme underscores the belief that individuals have the power to teach reliance, recognize warning signs, intervene, chat or make a call; it only takes one person or one act to save another person’s life.

By Mark Wyatt 66th Air Base Wing
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. September 22, 2015 —

When Air Force Senior Airman Kara Watts was a college student and searching for inspiration, she said she only had to look as far as her mother's military service.

Now, Watts and her mother, Air Force Maj. Tobie Wethington, an information management information technology fellow at Defense Information Systems Agency, are both serving on active duty.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva will host an award ceremony at 2 p.m., Thursday, in the Pentagon's center court yard for the three individuals who stopped a gunman on a Paris-bound train on Aug. 21.   

At the ceremony, Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone will receive the Airman's Medal & Purple Heart medal, Specialist Alek Skarlatos will receive the Soldier's Medal, and Anthony Sadler will receive the Department of Defense Medal for Valor.   

Secretary Carter and Gen. Selva will provide remarks during the ceremony.  Stone, Skarlatos and Sadler will conduct a brief media availability in the Pentagon's center courtyard immediately following the awards ceremony. 

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2014 - Defense Department officials today announced a proposed overhaul of the Military Lending Act, which is designed to protect service members and their dependents during consumer credit transactions.

The proposed changes to the regulation would reduce predatory lending practices, expand protections provided to service members, close loopholes in current rules and help to ensure military families receive important consumer protections, officials said. 


Transitioning from active duty status may leave some beneficiaries with questions about their health care. Military families are offered several options to transition from active duty as smoothly as possible. Once you leave active duty status, you will need to take be proactive to ensure that you and your family have health care that meets minimum essential coverage (MEC) as required by the Affordable Care Act.

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2014 - A national nonprofit organization assists military families in making the transition from "battle-ready to family-ready."

Project Sanctuary, founded in 2007, continues its deliberate efforts that to date have provided help to over 450 families here, and in 44 of the 50 states. 

Jason Strickland, chief development officer for Project Sanctuary, discussed the nonprofit's mission and how it is uniquely qualified to help troops and their families. 

By David Vergun
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2014 - Retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins and Army Spc. 4 Donald P. Sloat were awarded Medals of Honor, the nation's highest award for military valor, for actions in Vietnam.

President Barack Obama presented the medals yesterday during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. Adkins was present to receive his medal and Sloat's was awarded posthumously. Dr. Bill Sloat, Donald's brother, accepted it on his behalf. 

By Navy Seaman Kameren Guy Hodnett
Navy Public Affairs Support Element East

BALTIMORE, Sept. 14, 2014 - Visitors and special guests watched today as members of the U.S. Army's 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), with the help of War of 1812 re-enactors, hoisted a 15-star, 15-stripe, full-size replica Star-Spangled Banner flag over Fort McHenry here at the "By Dawn's Early Light" flag-raising ceremony.

by Janis El Shabazz
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

Release No: 202
Sept. 12, 2014

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas"* - Nearly 1500 Airmen are still missing and unaccounted for from various conflicts. There are more than 83,000 Americans still unaccounted for across the Department of Defense.

Every year the nation pauses on the third Friday of September to remember the sacrifices and service of prisoners of war, members still missing in action and their families. This year the observance falls on Sept. 19.

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2014 - Anyone who saw the American flag unfurled at the Pentagon on Sept. 12, 2001, knows how Francis Scott Key felt two centuries ago when he was inspired to write "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The day after the terrorist attack on the Pentagon, the scene was still chaotic. Only essential military and civilian workers were required to come to the building. Parking was at Reagan-National Airport, as all U.S. airspace was still closed. As employees got off the Metro train, Pentagon police stood with weapons examining everyone's badge. Those without a Pentagon ID were told to keep traveling on. The conversation in the building was about friends who remained missing.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2013 - DOD officials today issued guidance to the force in the event appropriations lapse Oct. 1 and a government shutdown results.

Officials emphasize they still hope Congress can avoid that but say it is prudent to take such steps.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2013 - President Barack Obama has issued a proclamation designating Sept. 29 Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day, to honor the families of the fallen.  The following is the text of the Presidential Proclamation:

In our city centers and our bustling parks, monuments stand dedicated to visionary leaders and singular moments in the life of our Republic. But in empty seats at family dinners and folded flags above the mantle, we find the constant thread of our Nation's character -- the truth that America endures because it is home to an unbroken line of patriots willing to lay down their lives for the land they love. As we honor the men and women who gave their last full measure of devotion, we hold close the families left behind.

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2013 - The Defense Department has announced the transition of the Kosovo Campaign Medal to the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

In a Sept. 19 memorandum, Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica L. Wright stated that the KCM recognized the significant contributions of U.S. military personnel in support of Operation Joint Guardian since 1999 as part of the NATO-led Kosovo Force.

Department of Defense Education Activity News Release

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 24, 2013 – Three Department of Defense Education Activity schools were recognized by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools.

Seoul Middle School in Korea, Lakenheath Middle School in England, and Kingsolver Elementary School at Fort Campbell, Ky., all received the honor. The Blue Ribbon Schools Program annually recognizes approximately 300 public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students are performing at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in student achievement levels.

by Staff Sgt. Ian Hoachlander 
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" – The Air Force Personnel Center plans to reduce access Airmen have to the Automated Records Management System – better known as ARMS – on AFPC Secure Sept. 30.

ARMS consolidated active duty, Reserve and Air National Guard military personnel records from each installation during the last few years. This has reduced manpower, cut costs and improved customer service.

September 19, 2013

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of Air Force pilots Maj. James E. Sizemore of Lawrenceville, Ill., and Maj. Howard V. Andre Jr., of Memphis, Tenn., have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors on Sept. 23 at Arlington National Cemetery.

On July 8, 1969, Sizemore and Andre were on a night armed reconnaissance mission when their A-26A Invader aircraft crashed in Xiangkhoang Province, Laos. Both men died in the crash but their remains were unaccounted for until April 2013.

We are a national military charity, a registered 501c3 non-profit, .  Our charter is to give away $50 Dinner Cards to all military and 'First Responders' - police, firefighters, and paramedics.

In order to get these free dinner cards in the hands of as many servicemen, servicewomen, veterans, and 1st responders as possible, we solicit one auto dealership to run a Hero Appreciation Week where these American heroes can stop by the business location and pick up a $50 dinner card, with no strings attached and no obligation to purchase anything.

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2013 - If you're mourning the end of summer ? and with it, the annual vacation season ? take heart that military lodging facilities remain open for business, offering year-round escapes at a fraction of the cost of commercial hotels.

Now might be the perfect time for qualified fun seekers to use their military, retiree or Defense Department identification cards to book lodging at one of hundreds of military-owned accommodations all over the world.

September 18, 2013

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is Friday, Sept. 20, 2013.  Each year the president issues a proclamation asking Americans to observe the day as a remembrance of the nation's service members who were held prisoner or are still missing, and their families.

The day's events include a Pentagon commemoration ceremony hosting former prisoners of war, family members, military service members and distinguished guests.  Traditionally held on the third Friday in September, the event will include formal military honors and remarks from a keynote speaker.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2013 - President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to former Army Capt. William Swenson for conspicuous gallantry during Sept. 8, 2009, combat operations in Afghanistan's Kunar province.

At the time, Swenson served as an embedded trainer and mentor of the Afghan national security forces with Afghan Border Police Mentor Team, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2013 - Fantasizing about an exotic getaway but finding yourself strapped for cash? A "Space-A" seat aboard a military aircraft might be just your ticket to that vacation of your dreams.

Military-owned or -contracted aircraft fly to more places than many people realize, even to areas without U.S. military installations. When all mission-related passengers and cargo are accommodated, empty seats are offered up to eligible passengers on a space-available basis.