Editorâ€™s Note: The â€œPeople Firstâ€ section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story.
Official provides tax tips for military members
As service members begin preparing for the annual tax season, they may want to consider a new savings plan designed for young people, a Defense Department tax official said today.
Service members and their families who earn less income today than they expect to earn in the future, such as those in junior ranks who look forward to getting promoted to higher grades, should consider investing in the Thrift Savings Planâ€™s new Roth option, said Army Lt. Col. Evan Stone, director of the Armed Forces Tax Council.
â€œThe Roth TSP is a good option for service members who are paying less tax now than they expect to pay later,â€ Stone said during an interview with the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.
The traditional Thrift Savings Plan defers taxes on earned income until the money is withdrawn, Stone explained. The Roth option allows a member to contribute after-tax dollars that grow tax free and are not taxed upon withdrawal, he said.
Deployed doctor has
Airmen on pins, needles
How do you wake up Lady Gaga in the morning? Poke her face. How does Lt. Col. (Dr.) Darlene Smallman treat patients in pain? Same way.
Smallman is a flight surgeon deployed to the 380th Expeditionary Medical Group from the Pentagon. Sheâ€™s also one of about a hundred medical professionals in the Air Force trained to use acupuncture needles and techniques as part of her repertoire in helping people.
â€œNo one knows exactly how acupuncture works, but what we do know is that proper technique and application is extremely effective at treating everything from pain to weight loss,â€ said Smallman, a Neosho, Wis., native.
Certified practitioners of acupuncture like Smallman are trained to insert needles of various sizes at specific points on the body. This process affects specific nerve clusters or trigger points, and helps treat the body for various ailments.
Smallman studied at the Air Force Acupuncture Center on Joint Base Andrews, Md. Experts there developed techniques called â€œbattlefield acupunctureâ€ to help military suffering from rashes, pain, stress, migraines and even post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
â€œAcupuncture is just another tool in our toolbox we have to help people,â€ Smallman said. â€œWith battlefield acupuncture, we use traditional techniques targeted at issues military members have most often. The program is relatively easy to teach to other physicians in the field, and weâ€™ve had a lot of success with it.â€
Living with PTSD
â€œI started to get really depressed and lacked the desire to do anything but sit around and play online to â€˜escapeâ€™ the real world,â€ he said. â€œI was having dreams of planes crashing, the smell of burnt flesh and rotting bodies. I still tried to push through this even as my sleep started to dwindle down to a couple hours a night as I would wake up in cold sweats screaming. I decided something was wrong.â€
These were some of the symptoms Staff Sgt. Collin Moore, a former air transportation craftsman, was experiencing shortly after he made a permanent change of station move to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.
â€œI would watch a commercial and start crying, then laugh, then get [upset] and then become enraged,â€ Moore said. â€œI went to the mental health clinic on base to get some advice. After a couple of sessions my counselor introduced the notion that I may be suffering from PTSD.â€
If you think you may be suffering from PTSD, call the Luke Air Force Base Mental Health Clinic at (623) 856-7579.
AF accepting test pilot school applications
Eligible pilots, combat systems officers and engineers have an opportunity to join the ranks of airpower pioneers like Jimmy Doolittle and Chuck Yeager, but they have to apply for U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School to do so.
The 2012 U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School selection board will convene in July to fill openings for July 2013 and January 2014 class start dates. All officer and civilian applications are due to the Air Force Personnel Center by June 1, said Howard Peterson, Air Force Personnel Center pipeline and trainer assignments branch.
The TPS trains pilots, combat systems officers and engineers to develop, test and evaluate the newest aircraft and weapons systems in the fighter, multi-engine, helicopter and remotely piloted aircraft categories, Peterson said.
The 48-week course consists of four closely related curricula: experimental test pilot, experimental test combat systems officer, experimental test remotely piloted aircraft pilot and experimental flight test engineer.