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.
Although they’re not flying business class, more than 100,000 pets travel by air each year, according to the U.S. Humane Society. Service members with animals know the importance of having their precious cargo with them every step of the move.
Relocating halfway around the world or even across the country can be a stressful experience, but adding a four-legged friend can make the process even more complex.
Time is of the essence, according to Dr. Kathleen Nowak, the Joint Base Langley-Eustis Veterinary Treatment Facility veterinarian.
“My biggest piece of advice for service members would be to make an appointment with the clinic as soon as you’ve received your orders,” Nowak said. “Always start early, and get your information so that you can be one step ahead.”
Base veterinary treatment facility’s can offer a wide range of information including in-depth checklists and an inventory of suggested websites, including www.humanesociety.org, that give users step-by-step directions on how to ensure pets will be able to accompany you to a new installation.
Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard, as well as reservists and National Guard members are eligible for expedited Transportation Security Administration screening beginning Dec. 20.
As part of the ongoing effort to move away from a one size fits all security approach and provide more of the traveling public the ability to participate in expedited screening, the TSA and the Defense Department partnered to expand TSA Precheck expedited screening benefits to all service members.
Currently, members of the armed forces can utilize TSA Precheck lanes at 10 domestic airports by presenting their Common Access Card. The partnership expands the program to the military at all 100 airports offering TSA Precheck, allowing service members to keep their footwear on as well as light outerwear, belts, keep their laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry on in select screening lanes.
“Expanding TSA Precheck screening benefits is great news for our service members and is a tangible sign of this nation’s gratitude for the men and women who serve this nation bravely each and every day,” said Mary Snavely-Dixon, the director of the Defense Manpower Data Center. “We will continue to work with the Transportation Security Administration to help expand this program further.”
The Joint Hometown News Service, part of the Defense Media Activity, is partnering this year with SiriusXM Radio to enable service members worldwide to send holiday greetings to loved ones back home.
Military members anywhere can call a toll-free number, 888-776-2790 or DSN 312-733-4660, to record a holiday message for airing on the satellite radio network.
For 30 years, holiday greetings have been collected by Joint Hometown News Service teams that travel overseas and bring messages back to air on stateside radio and television stations. While this year’s team already has returned home, it’s not too late for service members to participate, said the program’s director.
“Even in the world today with social media and service members able to Skype from anywhere, there’s still something special about turning on the radio and hearing a family member who cannot be home for the holidays,” said Rick Blackburn, director of the Joint Hometown News Service.
In light of defense budget constraints, officials from Tinker Air Force Base and the local community partnered to develop and implement cost-saving initiatives expected to save the base more than $4,000 annually.
In November 2012, Tinker AFB and local community members from Del City, Midwest City and Oklahoma City, as well as Oklahoma County began discussing beneficial partnerships. They brainstormed several and brought two, jail services and juvenile services, to fruition.
“Partnerships are really critical for the Air Force right now because we are at a reduced level of service,” said Geri Hart, the 72nd Air Base Wing Civil Engineer Directorate asset manager. “When we talk about these partnerships and what makes them work, we can leverage what the city is already doing and have them do these services for us at a reduced cost. The savings from these mutually beneficial services can be placed in another area to help fund much needed services for Tinker Airmen.”