Monday, April 30, 2018

A to Z Challenge - Z is for Z Military Pay

Yes, I'm cheating. Shhhhhh.  Don't tell anyone.  As per comment from yesterday's Y post from Colin, Z is for Zoiks! I get paid how much?!  So I'm not cheating =)

Basic Pay is given to active duty military servicemembers on a monthly basis. It is determined by pay grade and length of time in military service. Basic Pay, also known as Base Pay, is the same for all the services.

In 2018, military basic pay increased 2.4%.

In addition to Basic Pay, each servicemember qualifies [or may qualify, depending on other factors] for:

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) - based on duty location, pay grade, and dependency status. BAH provides equitable housing compensation based on housing costs in local civilian housing markets.  It is payable when government housing is not provided.

Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) - a continuation of the military tradition of providing room and board (or rations) as part of a servicemember's pay.  Since January 1, 2002 most enlisted members get full BAS, but they must pay for their own meals, even those provided by the government.

Current BAS Rates:
Enlisted: $369.39 per month
Officers: $254.39 per month

Other types of incentive and special pay: -Assignment Incentive Pay

-Aviation Career Pay
-Career Sea Pay
-Diving Duty Pay
-Foreign Language Proficiency Pay
-Hardship Duty Pay
-High Deployment Allowance
-Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger Pay
-Judge Advocate Continuation Pay
-Overseas Extension Pay

-Sea Duty Pay
-Special Pay: Dental Officers
-Special Pay: Medical Officers
-Special Pay: Nurse Corps
-Special Pay: Optometrists
-Special Pay: Pharmacy Officers
-Special Pay: Veterinarians
-Submarine Duty Pay

My son enlisted in January 2013 at E-3 [he enlisted at E-3 instead of E-1 because he was an Eagle Scout].  In 2013, E-1 starting basic pay was $1,403 per month.  His E-3 starting basic pay was $1,788 per month.  So being an Eagle Scout was worth $385 per month!

My son “retired” from active duty in January 2018 at the rank of E-5 with over 4 years of service.  His ending basic pay was $2,733 per month.

A brand new commissioned officer at O-1 would be paid $3,108 per month in 2018.

More information:

That's it for another year of the A to Z Challenge.  Thank you for visiting and leaving comments.  Did you make it all the way through?  Did you enjoy it?  I enjoyed having you =)

The last post of the A to Z Challenge 2018 will be a Reflections post on Monday May 7.  Come back and visit.  Thank you!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

April - week 18 - Louisiana - Sportsman's Paradise

18 Louisiana

Date admitted to the US – April 30, 1812
Postal abbreviation – LA
Capital – Baton Rouge
Area – 51,839.70 [31st largest in the US]
Population as of census 2010 – 4,533,372 [25th largest in the US]
Population density per square mile – 104.9 [23rd largest in the US]
Area codes – 225, 318, 337, 504, 985 
Zip codes – 70001 - 71497
Number of counties [parishes] – 64
State nickname –  Sportsman's Paradise (previously - Pelican State)
State motto – “Union, Justice, and Confidence"  

State Flag of Louisiana

Fun facts
-The world famous Mardi Gras is celebrated in New Orleans. Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday and celebrates food and fun just before the 40 days of Lent.
-Louisiana has the tallest state capitol building in the United States, 450 feet tall with 34 floors.

-Louisiana is the only state in the union that does not have counties. Its political subdivisions are called parishes.
-Louisiana is the only state that still refers to the Napoleonic Code in its state law.
-In Louisiana, biting someone with your natural teeth is considered a simple assault, but biting someone with your false teeth is considered an aggravated assault.

Law Schools

-Louisiana State University, Paul M. Hebert Law Center
-Loyola University New Orleans College of Law 
-Southern University Law Center 
-Tulane University Law School

Military facts
Military Bases

Saturday, April 28, 2018

A to Z Challenge - Y is for Yeoman

Yeomen are the office workers of the Navy and Coast Guard.  They handle payroll [always important!], prepare travel orders and arrange transportation, draft correspondence, write evaluations and reports, greet visitors, handle telephone calls and mail, and maintain files and administrative records.  Most Yeoman positions are on land, although there are a few positions on-board ships and submarines.

Similar to unit or company clerk in the Army [think Radar on M*A*S*H].

They are still sailors, and are required to complete boot camp and A-school.  And for an "office job", they receive full military benefits and can be deployed overseas.

What's next for Z?
Z is for Military Pay [I wanted to include pay, and this was the best place to do it.  Yes it's not a Z.  So sue me].  How much are brand new enlisted servicemembers paid?  What's the military pay scale?  Benefits?  Come back Monday and find out!

Friday, April 27, 2018

A to Z Challenge - X is for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)

The Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force all have EOD personnel and units.  They are the military's bomb squad, including unexploded ordnance, improvised explosive devices, and weapons of mass destruction.

They are on call to respond to any type of ordnance, and they receive specialized training to handle chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Navy EOD are also divers who investigate and demolish natural and man-made underwater obstructions, prepare coastal regions for amphibious landings, and warn about potential threats at home and abroad.

Army EOD

Navy EOD

Air Force EOD

Marine Corps EOD

Are you tough enough to be an EOD?

What is life like as an EOD?

The 11 most dangerous military jobs

What's next for Y?
Y is for Yeoman.  What does a Yeoman do?  In which branches of the military would you find one?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

A to Z Challenge - W is for Warrant Officer

An officer in the US Armed Forces ranking below the commissioned officers and above the non-commissioned officers.

A warrant officer (WO) is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, and a non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer typically by virtue of seniority.

The warrant officer's primary task as a leader is to serve as a technical expert, providing valuable skills, guidance, and expertise in their particular field.


Warrant Officers are the technical experts of the Army. They have specific technical or tactical specialties (e.g., helicopter pilots), and manage and maintain many of the Army’s combat systems, vehicles and networks. Once they reach the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Two (CW2), the President of the United States gives them the same status as a Commissioned Officer.


Most Navy warrant officers are highly trained technical specialists such as electronics techs, software experts, or pilots. They receive a presidential commission as a warrant officer after a rigorous selection process. The warrant officer program was reconfigured in 2002 largely to enable the US military to retain senior technical personnel by paying them at officer grades. Warrant officers tend to have specific technical responsibilities, and not the more general management duties of commissioned officers.

For more information:

What's next for X?
X is for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD).  What does an EOD do?  In which branches of the military would you find one?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A to Z Challenge - V is for Veteran


Under federal law, a veteran is a former member of the Armed Forces of the United States (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard) who served honorably on active duty and was discharged under conditions which were not dishonorable.

Veterans Day was originally “Armistice Day” on November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I.  Veterans Day honors all American veterans - living or dead - but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. 

Veterans Day occurs on November 11 every year in the United States.  

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, and began in memory of those who died during the Civil War. 

On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

Today it is a day set aside to honor and remember those who have died in active US military service.  It is traditionally observed on May 30, but now officially observed on the last Monday in May.

What's next for W?
W is for Warrant Officer.  What is a Warrant Officer?  How is it different from a regular officer?  In which branches of the military would you find one?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A to Z Challenge - U is for Uniform

US Army Uniforms
US Army uniforms over time
Class A
US Navy Uniforms
Petty Officers

Dress white and dress khaki
US Marine Corps Uniforms
Dress blues
US Air Force Uniforms
US Coast Guard Uniforms
Dress blues

For more information:

What's next for V?
V is for Veterans.  What is the definitiono of a "Veteran"?  What's the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Monday, April 23, 2018

A to Z Challenge - T is for Tank

A tank is an armored fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat.  It has heavy firepower, strong armor, tracks, a powerful engine, and good battlefield maneuverability.

The Abrams tank is the Army's principal combat tank

Abrams tank in action

The ultimate army tank video

New light tank for 2018

For more information:



What's next for U?
U is for Uniform.  Do the branches have different uniforms?  What do they look like?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

April - week 17 - Ohio - the Buckeye State

17 Ohio

Date admitted to the US – March 1, 1803
Postal abbreviation – OH
Capital – Columbus
Area – 44,824.90 [34th largest in the US]
Population as of census 2010 – 11,536,504 [7th largest in the US]
Population density per square mile – 282.3 [10th largest in the US]
Area codes – 216, 234, 330, 419, 440, 513, 614, 740, 937
Zip codes – 43001 - 45999
Number of counties –88
State nickname –  Buckeye State
State motto – “With God, All Things Are Possible"
State Flag of Ohio

Fun facts
-America's first traffic light was erected in Cleveland on Aug. 5, 1914.
-Cincinnati Reds were the first professional baseball team.
-Akron was the first city to use police cars.
-Akron is the rubber capital of the world.
-Ohio senator John Glenn became the oldest man to venture into outer space.
-Cleveland is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
-The Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton.
-In 1852 Ohio was the first state to enact laws protecting working women.
-Ohio gave America its first hot dog in 1900.
-50% of the United States population lives within a 500 mile radius of Columbus.
-"Toward the lake" means "north" and "toward the river" means "south."
-Ohio is the only state with a state flag shaped like a pennant.

Law Schools
-University of Akron School of Law 
-Capital University Law School 
-Case Western Reserve University School of Law 
-University of Cincinnati College of Law 
-Cleveland State University - Cleveland-Marshall College of Law 
-University of Dayton School of Law 
-Ohio Northern University - Claude W. Pettit School of Law 
-The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law 
-The University of Toledo College of Law

Military facts
Military bases

Saturday, April 21, 2018

A to Z Challenge - S is for Seabee

Motto:  We build.  We fight.
Jobs in a Navy Construction Battalion (CB) include: Builder, Construction Electrician, Construction Mechanic, Engineering Aid, Equipment Operator, Steelworker, and Utilitiesman.

The Navy also has Underwater Construction Teams who are trained divers.  They secure piers and perform welding underwater when required.

Builders (BU)
Builders are the largest segment of the Naval Construction Force. They work as carpenters, plasterers, roofers, concrete finishers, masons, painters, bricklayers, and cabinet makers. They construct shelters, wharves, bridges and other structures.

Construction Electrician (CE)
Construction Electricians build, maintain, and operate power facilities and electrical distribution systems for the Navy. Their duties include installing, maintaining, and repairing telephone systems and high and low voltage electrical power distribution networks, splicing and laying electrical cables, and other related electrical work.  My son was a CE.

Engineering Aide (EA)
Engineering Aides assist construction engineers in developing final construction plans. They conduct land surveys; prepare maps, sketches, drawings and blueprints; estimate costs; perform quality assurance tests on common construction materials such as soils, concrete and asphalt; and perform other engineering technician functions.

Equipment Operator (EO)
Equipment operators drive heavy vehicles and construction equipment including trucks, bulldozers, backhoes, graders, forklifts, cranes, and asphalt equipment.

Steel Worker (SW)
Steel workers rig and operate special equipment used to build metal structures. They lay out and fabricate structural steel and sheet metal, and work with concrete reinforcing steel bars.
They perform welding and cutting operations, read blueprints, and use special tools.

Utility Worker (UT)
Utility Workers include plumbing and heating jobs, working on distribution systems and fuel storage, water treatment and distribution systems, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, and sewage collecting and disposal facilities at Navy shore installations around the world.

For more information:

What's next for T?
T is for Tank.  How many types of tanks are there?  What do they do?  Which branches of the military have them?  Come back on Monday and find out!

Friday, April 20, 2018

A to Z Challenge - R is for Reserves

Almost everything here also applies to the Reserves of the other branches like the Navy.  There may be slight differences among the branches.

To enlist in the US Army Reserve, you must be between 18 and 35 years old and a US citizen or resident alien, with a high school diploma (preferred) or high school equivalent such as the GED. You must also pass the ASVAB test and a physical fitness exam.

All Army Reserve Soldiers must complete 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training, the same boot camp attended by full-time Army Soldiers.  After Basic Combat Training, you complete Advanced Individual Training.  Then you return to your civilian life (job, college, etc) and complete two weeks of training each year plus one weekend per month.  You are paid the same as active duty, prorated for the number of days/hours actually training/working.

Army Reserve Soldiers serve the US in many ways, including the following:

Army Reserve Soldiers often fill the positions of active duty soldiers when they deploy overseas, serving as drill sergeants, instructors, and security personnel. For national disasters such as hurricanes or flooding, Army Reserve Soldiers support humanitarian and relief operations.

During times of both war and peace, the Army Reserve helps countries establish or restore governmental institutions and functions.

The Army Reserve medical personnel staffs most of the Army’s hospitals, clinics, and field units. The medical capabilities of Army Reserve Soldiers often exceed those of active duty personnel because of their additional civilian experience.

For more information:

What's next for S?
S is for Seabee.  What is a Seabee?  Why is it called Seabee?  What do they do?  Which branches of the military have them?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A to Z Challenge - Q is for Quartermaster & Quarterdeck


ARMY - Quartermaster and Chemical Equipment Repairers perform maintenance on chemical equipment, quartermaster machinery, forced air-heaters, and special purpose equipment.

NAVY - Quartermasters stand watch as assistants to officers of the deck and the navigator; serve as helmsman and perform ship control, navigation and bridge watch duties.

COAST GUARD - Quartermasters are navigators who are assigned to all types of cutters. Their duties include all aspects of voyage planning, maintaining nautical charts and publications and the proper use and care of navigation equipment.

QUARTERDECK - a raised deck behind the main mast of a sailing ship. Traditionally, where the captain commanded his vessel and where the ship's colors were kept.

Different types of decks:

1. Poop Deck: located on the vessel’s stern, used by the vessel’s commanding superiors to observe the work and navigational proceedings.

2. Main Deck: the primary deck in any vessel. Not the topmost deck, which is called the weather deck. On sailing warships, it is usually the deck below the upper deck.

3. Upper Deck: the topmost deck on a ship, the largest deck amongst all other decks.

4. Lower Deck: located below the primary or main deck, generally comprises more than one deck, next to the lowest or orlop deck.

5. Promenade Deck: a place for the voyagers to take a walk on the ship, enjoying the beauty of the ocean. Generally the area around the superstructure, with either open railings or enclosed in glass.

6. Tween Deck:  an empty space separating or between (tween) two other decks in the hull of a vessel.

7. Flush Deck: extends from the front part of the ship to the aft. On such decks, there is no raised forecastle or lowered quarterdeck.

8. Weather Deck: a deck that is not roofed, open to the weather conditions of the sea, the upper most deck on the ship which is exposed to the environment.

9. Bridge Deck: the deck on which the navigational equipment of the ship is housed. The skipper and commanding officers generally are positioned on this deck during the voyage.

10. Quarter Deck: located near to the chief mast of a vessel on its stern. It is a part of the upper deck and includes the poop deck. Generally accessible only to the most senior naval officers on the vessel. When in port, all the activities of the ships are controlled from the quarter deck.

What's next for R?
R is for Reserves.  How do you join the Reserves?  What are the requirements?  What do they do?  Which branches of the military have them?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A to Z Challenge - P is for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

A Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move is a move from one duty station to another, or from your final duty station to home of record upon retirement or discharge.

In the military, you can be required to move at any time, but it is most common to move every 2-3 years.

If you receive PCS orders, you are eligible for transportation allowances. The most common reimbursed travel allowances include:

Personal & dependent travel - The government will provide you and your dependents transportation from one duty station to another. They will either issue you a ticket for a common carrier (air, rail, etc.), or provide you money to travel via your privately owned vehicle (POV) [yes, it appears there is a military acronym for almost everything]. They will also pay you per diem, which includes an allowance for meals and lodging for the number of authorized travel days between locations.

Household goods and vehicle shipment - You are authorized to ship your personal belongings from one duty station to another. The government authorizes you a weight limit based on your rank and family status. You may also be authorized to ship or store your personal vehicle depending on your destination.

Dislocation allowance - Dislocation allowance will partially reimburse you for expenses incurred in relocation.

Temporary lodging reimbursement - The government will partially reimburse you for the additional costs you may incur when house hunting or living in temporary quarters in conjunction with a move through either Temporary Lodging Allowance or Temporary Lodging Expense.

I looked up for my son when he moved from his final duty station to his new home in Seattle.

My son left the Navy with the rank of E-5.  He was single with no dependents.  The military would pay to transport 7000 pounds of household goods, not including his POV.  If he had dependents, it would be 9000 pounds.  If he went over that weight, he would have been responsible to pay for each extra pound.  The cost depends on the distance traveled, from $1 per pound for short distances, to $4 and more per pound for longer distances and/or overseas.  Best to have a yard sale!

Currently in the news is the decision by United Airlines to discontinue overseas transportation of large pets.  United is the only airline from Guam to the US, so servicemembers PCSing from Guam would have had to leave their pets behind.  Here's the latest news:

For more information:

What's next for Q?
Q is for Quartermaster.  What's a Quartermaster?  What do they do?  Which branches of the military have them?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A to Z Challenge - O is for Officer

Officers are the managers and CEOs of the military.

Commissioned officers generally enter the Military with a four-year [or higher] college degree, or receive officer training following enlisted service. Officers are generally employed in management roles or highly specialized fields that require professional degrees [for example: doctors, lawyers, and chaplains]. An officer’s education often determines which career he or she will have in the Military. In most cases, the candidate will meet with a military advisor or career counselor during college to select a potential job specialty.

An individual interested in serving as an officer has four options: (1) attend a military college or academy, (2) enroll at a traditional college or university with a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, (3) attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) after graduating from college, or (4) receive a direct commission after earning a professional degree.

Warrant Officers are the technical experts in the Army. They have specific technical or tactical specialties [for example:  helicopter pilots], and manage and maintain many of the Army’s combat systems, vehicles and networks. Once they reach the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Two (CW2), the President of the United States gives them the same status as a Commissioned Officer.
Navy officer insignia
all branch officer insignia
Army insignia

For more information:

What's next for P?
P is for Permanent Change of Station (PCS).  What's PCS?  How often does the military do it?  What does it entail?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Monday, April 16, 2018

A to Z Challenge - N is for National Guard

The National Guard is a reserve component of the United States Armed Forces, composed of members and units from each state, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Guam and the Virgin Islands.  The National Guard can be be deployed or mobilized for federal and domestic missions.

There are approximately 350,000 guardsmen currently serving.

The National Guard has responded to regional crises in Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq. The Guard also expanded its scope of operations with peacekeeping rotations in the Sinai and the Balkans.

In the largest and swiftest response to a domestic disaster in history, the Guard deployed more than 50,000 troops in support of the Gulf States following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The National Guard continues its historic dual mission, protecting life and property in the states, territories, and the District of Columbia, and also ready to defend the United States and its interests all over the globe.

Those serving in the Army or Air National Guard devote many weekends in training for our country's military.  And when National guard servicemembers deploy, they are converted to the standard active duty pay scale.

For more information:

What's next for O?
O is for Officers.  How is an officer different from an enlisted position?  How do you qualify to be an officer?  Would you qualify?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

April - Week 16 - Tennessee - the Volunteer State

16 Tennessee
Date admitted to the US – June 1, 1796
Postal abbreviation – TN
Capital – Nashville
Area – 42,143.27 [36th largest in the US]
Population as of census 2010 – 6,346,105 [17th largest in the US]
Population density per square mile – 153.9 [20th largest in the US]
Area codes – 423, 615, 731, 865, 901, 931
Zip codes – 37010 - 38589
Number of counties –95
State nickname –  Volunteer State
State motto – “Agriculture and Commerce " 

State Flag of Tennessee
Fun facts
-Tennessee was nicknamed The Volunteer State during the War of 1812 when volunteer soldiers from Tennessee displayed marked valor in the Battle of New Orleans.
-The largest earthquakes in American history east of the Rocky Mountains, the three New Madrid Earthquakes, magnitude 7.5, occurred in the winter of 1811-12 in northwestern Tennessee. Reelfoot Lake was formed during these earthquakes.
-Nashville's Grand Ole Opry is the longest continuously running live radio program in the world, broadcasting every Friday and Saturday night since 1925.
-Tennessee has more than 3,800 documented caves.
-The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the US.
-Elvis Presley's home, Graceland, the second most visited house in the country, is located in Memphis.
-Tennessee was the last state to secede from the Union during the Civil War and the first state to be readmitted after the war.
-The capitol building was designed by architect William Strickland, who died during its construction and is buried within its walls.
-Tennessee ties with Missouri as the most neighborly state, bordered by 8 states.
-Cumberland University, located in Lebanon, lost a football game to Georgia Tech on October 7, 1916 by a score of 222 to 0. The Georgia Tech coach was George Heisman, for whom the Heisman Trophy is named.

Law Schools
-Nashville School of Law 
-Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law 
-University of Memphis, Cecil C Humphreys School of Law 
-University of Tennessee College of Law 
-Vanderbilt University Law School 

Military facts
Military Bases

Saturday, April 14, 2018

A to Z Challenge - M is for Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS)

A Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) is where applicants for military service go to complete the enlistment process. There are 65 MEPS in the United States and Puerto Rico. Applicants who must travel a distance will receive free lodging at a nearby hotel. Meals and transportation are also provided at no cost.

Nicknamed “Freedom’s Front Door,” MEPS are staffed with military and civilian professionals who carefully screen each applicant to ensure he or she meets the physical, academic, and moral standards set by each Service.

Each applicant goes through the following steps:

-Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) testing
-Career Counseling
-Physical Exam
-Background Screening
-Oath of Enlistment

Following the Oath, an applicant is now a full member of the US Military. At this point, he or she may ship directly to Basic Training for his or her branch, or enroll in the Delayed Entry (or Enlistment) Program (DEP) and undergo training at a future time. It can be a long day, and a lot happens quickly, but applicants are briefed at every step by MEPS staff, and there is always help available should questions arise.

Joining the military requires two (or more) trips to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). At a very minimum, you make a trip to MEPS for initial processing, then the second trip to MEPS for final processing on the day you ship out to basic training.

If you do not live in the same local area where your MEPS is located, you first complete the ASVAB and then you're taken to a contract hotel. Hotel accommodations vary from location to location. Some are motel accommodations (discount, Motel-6 type) and others are outstanding (4-star rating). Generally, you are assigned a roommate. The lodging and meals are paid for by MEPS. You pay only for extras, such as telephone calls, in-room movies, in-room Internet access, etc. (if available).

Your wake-up call the next morning comes very early (usually about 0445). You have very little time to dress, eat, and be at the designated location for the shuttle back to MEPS. The entire morning of the first full day is usually scheduled for a medical examination.

My son went three times.  His recruiter picked him up each time and drove him to San Diego, and he stayed at a very nice hotel (with a gym!). 

First visit

Second visit

More information:

What's next for N?
N is for National Guard.  What is the National Guard?  What do they do?  Are they "real" military?  Come back Monday and find out!

Friday, April 13, 2018

A to Z Challenge - L is for Life Aboard a Navy Ship

The larger ships (such as aircraft carriers) are small cities, with more than 5,000 sailors aboard.  There are cooks; medical personnel; communication and computer specialists; finance, administrative, and law clerks; and pretty much every single Navy job.

Some ratings (jobs) spend more time deployed at sea than others. For example, aircrew and aircraft maintenance, sonar technicians, boatswain mates, and more.

Most Sailors are assigned to ships or submarines for three year periods, followed by three years of shore duty. That does not mean they will be deployed to sea for the entire three years they are assigned to a ship or submarine. The ships and subs also spend a significant amount of time docked at their home port for regular maintenance for both machine and crew.

Most ships deploy to sea duty for 6-9 months at a time. Then they return to their home port for 4-5 months (during which time there will be several 1-2 week training cruises).  Because of the nature of the work, the living conditions, and the limited space for onboard supplies, submarines typically have shorter deployments (typically 3-6 months).  One great thing about coming back home to port is you will always be near the beach!

Not that long ago, all junior enlisted unmarried sailors who were assigned to a ship lived on the ship even when that ship was in home port for months at a time.

That meant that a junior enlisted unmarried sailor would have a locker and a rack (bed) of a few dozen square feet to himself, and not much else.

And in most cases, sailors had to share their quarters (not their rack!) with a roommate.

More recently, the Navy built junior enlisted barracks on many of its bases, reducing the number of junior sailors who live aboard ships.

Meals are eaten on the mess deck – an area shared by Sailors on board that also doubles as a place to relax outside of meal hours.  During "off" hours when you're not on watch or doing your other job responsibilities, you have free time to work out, watch movies, study for qualifications, take online classes, and other pursuits.

Blogs and videos:

What's next for M?
M is for Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS).  What is MEPS?  Why do you go there?  What do you do there?  Which branch of the military uses it?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A to Z Challenge - K is for K-Ration

The K-ration was an individually packaged daily combat food ration which was introduced by the US Army in 1942 during World War II. It was originally intended for issue to airborne troops, tank crews, motorcycle couriers, and other mobile forces for short durations [15 days maximum].

The K-ration provided three separately-boxed meal units: breakfast, dinner (lunch), and supper (dinner).

The final version totaled 2,830-3,000 calories per day. One major criticism of the K-ration was that its calorie and vitamin content was generally inadequate.  Ration planners apparently did not realize that soldiers fighting, digging, and marching in extreme conditions would require many more calories per day than a soldier marching over cleared roads in mild climates. Nevertheless, one K-ration per man per day would remain the basis of issue, even for mountain troops fighting at high altitudes and infantrymen fighting in thick jungles.

There was also a danger of boredom, because the three meals became monotonous if issued for long periods of time. 

General contents may include:
-Main course (entree)
-Side dish
-Dessert or snack (often commercial candy, fortified pastry, or Soldier Fuel Bar.)
-Crackers or bread
-Spread of cheese, peanut butter, or jelly
-Powdered beverage mix: fruit flavored drink, cocoa, instant coffee or tea, sport drink, or dairy shake.
-Utensils (usually just a plastic spoon)
-Flameless ration heater (FRH)
-Beverage mixing bag
-Accessory pack:
---Xylitol chewing gum
---Water-resistant matchbook
---Napkin / toilet paper
---Moist towelette
---Seasonings, including salt, pepper, sugar, creamer, and/or Tabasco sauce
---Freeze dried coffee powder


Breakfast Unit: canned entree veal (early version), canned chopped ham and eggs (all subsequent versions), biscuits, dextrose or malted milk tablets (early version), dried fruit bar, pre-mixed oatmeal cereal (late version) Halazone water purification tablets, a four-pack of cigarettes, Dentyne or Wrigley chewing gum, instant coffee, a packet of toilet paper tissues, and sugar (granulated, cubed, or compressed).

Dinner (Lunch) Unit: canned entree pork luncheon meat (early version), canned processed American cheese, Swiss and American cheese, or bacon and cheese (cheese entree all subsequent versions), biscuits, 15 Dextrose or malted milk (diastatic malt) tablets (early) or five caramels (late), sugar (granulated, cubed, or compressed), salt packet, a four-pack of cigarettes and a matchbook, chewing gum, and a powdered beverage packet (lemon [1940], orange [1943], or grape [1945] flavor).

Supper (Dinner) Unit: canned meat, consisting of cervelat sausage (early version), either pork luncheon meat with carrot or apple (first issue), beef and pork loaf (second issue); biscuits; a 2-ounce (57 g) D ration emergency chocolate bar (early version), Tropical bar, or (in temperate climates) commercial sweet chocolate bar (late version), a packet of toilet paper tissues; a four-pack of cigarettes, chewing gum, and a bouillon packet (cube or powder).

On-the-go food was used much more frequently than originally intended, and people woke up to the fact that combat servicemembers needed adequate daily meals.  After WWII, the calorie count, nutrition, and variety was greatly improved.  Nowadays, even backpackers and other civilians are purchasing them.

Examples of entrees used in current MRE (Meals Ready to Eat):

-Chili w/ Beans
-Shredded BBQ Beef
-Chicken w/Egg Noodles & Vegetables
-Spaghetti w/ Meat Sauce
-Chicken Chunks
-Beef Taco
-Beef Brisket
-Meatballs w/ Marinara Sauce
-Beef Stew
-Chili and Macaroni
-Vegetarian Taco Pasta
-Elbow Macaroni and Tomato Sauce
-Cheese Tortellini
-Spinach Mushrooms & Cream Sauce Fettuccine
-Mexican Style Chicken Stew
-Chicken Burrito Bowl
-Maple Sausage
-Beef Ravioli
-Jalapeno Pepper Jack Beef Patty
-Hash Brown Potatoes w/Bacon
-Lemon Pepper Tuna
-Asian Style Beef Strips w/Vegetables
-Chicken Pesto Pasta
-Southwest Beef and Black Beans

-Pork Rib

What's next for L?
L is for Life aboard a Navy ship.  What's it like to live on a ship?  How big is a ship?  How many people are in residence?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A to Z Challenge - J is for Judge Advocate General (JAG)

Judge advocates are attorneys who perform legal duties while serving in the US Armed Forces. They serve as judges in military courts, as well as prosecutors and defense attorneys in court-martial (military criminal) proceedings.

They are officers, and recruits must attend Officer Candidate School, similar to basic training, before they can serve in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, or Coast Guard.  Because the Uniform Code of Military Justice is different from civilian law in many respects, a judge advocate undergoes an orientation and then education in Military Law.

Besides prosecuting, defending, and presiding over courts-martial, military attorneys advise commanders on issues involving many areas of law, including the law of war, the rules of engagement, other operational law issues, government contract law, administrative law, labor law, environmental law, international law, claims against the government (such as the Federal Tort Claims Act), and information law (such as the Freedom of Information Act).

Military attorneys also advise individual service members, military retirees, and their families regarding personal civil legal problems they may have, including drafting wills, avoiding creditors, and reviewing leases.

They practice in military, state, and federal courts. A judge advocate attorney does not need to be licensed to practice law in the state in which he or she practices because they are part of a separate, military system of justice.

Along with completing the educational and licensing requirements of the legal profession, you must also be able to meet the same standards as any prospective officer:

-You must be a citizen of the United States.
-You must be able to pass a security clearance.
-You must start your studies so that you will be licensed to practice law and ready for entry into active duty before you are the age of 42 years (35 years for the Air Force).
-You must meet all the physical fitness requirements for your chosen branch of the military.

What's next for K?
K is for K-Ration.  What's a K-Ration?  Are there different types?  In which branch of military service will you find them?  Would YOU eat one?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A to Z Challenge - I is for Infantry

ARMY - Infantry 'foot soldiers' make up 15 percent of the Army force, and are trained in combat skills and arms.  Infantryman (11B) is the main land combat force and backbone of the Army. They are responsible for defending our country against any threat by land, as well as capturing, destroying and repelling enemy ground forces. Soldiers see service in all types of roles throughout the world, in peacetime, peacekeeping, and warlike activities.

While all Marines train for amphibious warfare, few soldiers do. Instead, most soldiers pick or are assigned a terrain or warfare specialty such as airborne, Ranger, mountain, or mechanized infantry. Ranger is by far the hardest of these specialties to earn, and many rangers will go on to serve in Ranger Regiment.

MARINES - Infantry train in the core competencies of gunnery, combat operations, and battlefield awareness. They are the primary scout, assault, and close combat forces of the Marine Corps.  The 03 Occupational Career Field in the US Marine Corps are ground forces trained to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, or repel the enemy's assault by fire and close combat.

The Marine Corps organizes itself in infantry battalions, which are its basic combat unit. A battalion has about 900 Marines and includes three rifle companies, a weapons company, and a headquarters and service company.

The Marine Corps categorizes its infantry by weapons systems and tactics rather than the specialties above. Marine infantry can enter the service as a rifleman (0311), machine gunner (0331), mortarman (0341), assaultman (0351), or antitank missileman (0352). Soldiers can only enter the Army as a standard infantryman (11-B) or an indirect fire infantryman (mortarman, 11-C).

For more information:

What's next for J?
J is for Judge Advocate General (JAG).  What's a judge advocate?  Are there different types?  What do they do?  In which branch of military service will you find them?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Monday, April 9, 2018

A to Z Challenge - H is for Healthcare

TRICARE is a health care program for:

-Uniformed Service members - Includes active duty and retired members of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service, and the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and their families,

-National Guard/Reserve members - Includes members of the:
---Army National Guard
---Army Reserve
---Navy Reserve
---Marine Corps Reserve
---Air National Guard
---Air Force Reserve
---US Coast Guard Reserve
-and their families,

-Former spouses,
-Medal of Honor recipients and their families, and
-Others registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).

TRICARE covers most medically-necessary procedures.

-Active duty enrolls in TRICARE Prime – fewer out-of-pocket expenses but less choice of providers.
-Families, veterans, and retirees can enroll in TRICARE Prime or in TRICARE Select – fee-for-service for any doctor


For more information:

What's next for I?
I is for Infantry.  Are there different types of infantry?  What do they do?  In which branch of military service will you find them?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

April - Week 15 - Kentucky - the Bluegrass State

15 Kentucky
Date admitted to the US – June 1, 1792
Postal abbreviation – KY
Capital – Frankfort
Area – 40,409.02 [37th largest in the US]
Population as of census 2010 – 4,339,367 [26th largest in the US]
Population density per square mile – 109.9 [24th largest in the US]
Area codes – 270, 502, 606, 859
Zip codes – 40003 - 42788
Number of counties –120
State nickname –  Bluegrass State
State motto – “United we stand, divided we fall" 

State Flag of Kentucky
Fun facts
-The Boy Scouts of America Scouting Museum is located on the campus of Murray State University.
-The Kentucky Derby, the oldest continuously held horse race in the country, is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville on the first Saturday in May.
-Mammoth Cave is the world's longest cave and the second oldest tourist attraction in the United States. Niagara Falls, New York is first.
-The song "Happy Birthday to You" was written by two Louisville sisters in 1893.
-Middlesboro is the only city in the United States built inside a meteor crater.
-More than $6 billion worth of gold, the largest amount of gold stored anywhere in the world, is stored in the underground vaults of Fort Knox.
-Pike County is famous for the Hatfield-McCoy feud, an Appalachian vendetta that lasted from the Civil War to the 1890s.

Law Schools
University of Kentucky College of Law
University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law
Northern Kentucky University, Salmon P Chase College of Law

Military facts
Military Schools
Military Bases
Fort Knox
Fort Knox Bullion Depository

Saturday, April 7, 2018

A to Z Challenge - G is for the GI Bill

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides education benefits for those who have served on active duty for 90 or more days after Sept. 10, 2001. The payment rate depends on how much active duty time a member has.

There are several types of training you can use your GI Bill benefits for:

-College degree programs including Associate, Bachelor, and advanced degree programs
-Vocational/Technical Training including non-college degree programs
-On-the-job/Apprenticeship Training    
-Licensing & Certification Reimbursement
-National Testing Programs such as SAT, CLEP, AP, etc
-Flight Training
-Correspondence Training
-Work-study programs
-Tuition Assistance Top-Up
-Tutorial Assistance

What it covers at institutions of higher learning:

Public School - All Tuition and Fee Payments for an in-State Student
Private or Foreign School - Up to $22,805.34 per academic year

You may also be eligible to receive:

-a monthly housing allowance

-a books and supplies stipend


How to choose a school

For more information

What's next for H?
H is for Healthcare (TriCare).  Who is eligible?  What does it cover?  How much does it cover?  How much does it cost?  Come back Monday and find out!