Editor’s Note: The “People First” 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.
Woof! “Major” relief for PTSD
Imagine a pet trained to understand the side effects that come with post-traumatic stress disorder. Imagine a pet trained to understand symptoms to aid a path to recovery.
One such pet resides at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., and is helping a member of Team Minot every day.
Meet Major, an adopted Chihuahua and trained PTSD service dog, who meets the needs of Tech. Sgt. Barbara Mendiola, 5th Force Support Squadron Lodging supervisor.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can occur after one has seen or experiences a traumatic event that involved a threat of injury or death to the individual or others.
Mendiola’s PTSD was diagnosed after her return from a deployment to Afghanistan in 2006.
Major is certified through Service Dogs of America. Mendiola became aware of Paws for Veterans through the Wounded Warriors Project.
Paws for Veterans Inc. is a community-based, nonprofit organization that provides service dogs, training, supplies and therapeutic group sessions to veteran and active-duty men and women struggling with post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and physical disabilities.
New, former spouses, children entitled to benefits
Persons who are newly married, newly divorced, have dependent children or have a child who was born out of wedlock may be confused about military benefits.
Some family situations are complicated or even awkward, so Airmen may be reluctant to pursue benefits to which their dependents — or former dependents — are legally entitled, said Ed Yoder, AFPC Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System Project office.
“Responsibility and accountability are deeply held values for Airmen, but securing dependent benefits can seem daunting and often Airmen aren’t sure what to do or who to ask for help,” Yoder said.
Routinely, new Airmen wait far too long to secure benefits for their dependents, which can be a problem, he said.
“We have a number of basic training members, ROTC graduates and academy cadets who marry and don’t have the first idea what to do to make sure their dependents are covered. If you wait until you arrive at technical school or your first duty station, your new spouse or child won’t have the coverage they’re entitled to,” said Yoder.
New program provides recordable books to deployed Airmen
Air Force Personnel Center Directorate of Services officials are sending more than 900 recordable children’s books to learning resource centers at six deployed locations throughout the U.S. Air Forces Central Command’s area of responsibility.
The Air Force Library Program collaborated with the Directorate of Services’ PLAYpass initiative to create the Get Out and READ Program to offer deployed Airmen an opportunity to keep in touch with their children by reading and recording books in their own voices.
“PLAYpass has invested more than $30,000 for the Get Out and READ program to send recordable books to learning resource centers at six deployed installations,” said Linda Weston, AFPC Directorate of Services PLAYpass program coordinator. “Deployed Airmen can request a recordable book kit that includes a book, instructions for recording their voice, a prepaid mailing box and a message card to send a personal note to their families.”
More than 150 recordable book kits are being shipped to each deployed location this month and additional book kits will be made available next year.
AF leaders target sexual assault in ‘Letter to Airmen’
Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Mark Welsh III and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Roy issued a tri-signature “Letter to Airmen” Nov. 16.
As part of an effort to increase awareness of sexual assault, the Air Force’s top three leaders reminded Airmen that individual efforts do have an effect on reducing the incidence of assaults and risk to service members.
“There is no place for sexual assault in our Air Force. When it comes to combating this challenge, every Airman is either part of the solution or part of the problem. We must be united in our commitment to intervene when we see the potential for harm, to act affirmatively when we observe tolerance of sexist behavior and attitudes, and to provide victim care. The only way to stop sexual assault is for Airmen to take action. … Become personally involved. Recommit yourself to our core values. Be an advocate for professionalism and discipline. Most importantly, if you are aware of sexual assault in your unit, report it.”