PEOPLE FIRST January 29, 2016


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.

Official urges families to learn about veteran burial honors

Planning funerals for military veterans and retirees can be overwhelming for their families, and the Defense Department’s director of casualty and mortuary affairs wants family members to familiarize themselves in advance, when possible, to know what to expect with military funeral honors.

Deborah Skillman said families should learn about military funeral honors eligibility ahead of time to know what choices are available. She also recommended that family members should ensure they have access to the veteran’s discharge papers, also called DD Form 214, to prove eligibility.

It’s also critical for family members who want military funeral honors to tell the funeral director, who can make the request for them, Skillman said. The honors are not automatic, and must be requested through the veteran’s branch of service, she noted.
“Families (also) need to know DOD is going to be there when the honors are requested,” Skillman added.

DOD policy is mandated by law to provide a minimum of a two-person uniformed detail to present the core elements of the funeral honors ceremony, and one service member must represent the veteran’s branch of service, she said.

Airmen participation needed for health survey

The Air Force needs input from Airmen on issues that directly affect the health, well-being and readiness of military members and families by participating in the Health Related Behaviors Survey that will inform the Defense Department of potential health problems in the military community.

“Your participation in the 2015 HRBS is critical to assessing health-related readiness,” said John Fedrigo, the Air Force deputy assistant secretary. “I hope you will choose to support this vital effort.”

The 40-minute survey is voluntary for active components and Coast Guard members. Some personnel will be randomly selected to complete an anonymous health review via email and mail invitation. Members can complete the survey on any computer with Internet capability and should be accurate and honest as possible about diet, exercise, stress, substance use and alcohol.

The DOD conducts the anonymous HRBS every three years to get a comprehensive update about the health behaviors of military members. No personal identifiers on this survey will be asked, however, this questionnaire will be linked to survey participation.

Blood donor month: Be a silent hero with gift of life

The Air Force has a long history when it comes to the national blood donation system. The system dates all the way back to World War II when the Army Air Corps created the capabilities to transport much needed blood products from the United States into campaign theaters.

This capability significantly increased the survival rate of wounded troops demonstrated from the previous war. From then until today the Air Force still provides this lifesaving capability not only in war, but during peacetime operations.

Blood donations truly are “the gift of life.” Not only whole blood, but blood products such as plasma, can be rapidly infused into a severely injured person or given as treatment for various blood disorders. This provides lifesaving treatment to those who otherwise would not have survived.

For those who have been deployed or watched a wounded warrior commercial, you have most likely seen firsthand recipients of this valuable gift. However, without people that are willing to “roll up their sleeves” and donate, these survivors would not be with us.

AF implements more security measures

In response to tragic events that have taken place on and off installations over the past few years, Air Force commanders can take additional measures to secure personnel and property on their installations through three programs that allow service members to carry weapons.

The Air Force Security Forces Integrated Defense team established and implemented the Unit Marshal, Security Forces Staff Arming and Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act programs that will enable commanders the ability to increase his or her force protection measures on their installations.

“We looked at active-shooter incidents across the country and there are statistics out there that show where many ended without police intervention because there was somebody there who had a concealed carry permit or somebody interdicted the active shooter,” said Maj. Keith Quick, the Air Force Security Forces Integrated Defense action officer. “These programs allow commanders the ability to arm additional trained Airmen who could interdict before police arrive and are trained to stand down when police arrive.”