Monday, October 11, 2010

DoD annouces mail deadlines and stop-loss filing extension

The Dept of Defense is noting that holiday packages (meant to be delivered by December 25th) sent to US service members in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere overseas should be sent by November 12th if they are "economy-priced," November 26th with "space-available mail," December 3rd for parcel airlift mail, December 10th for first-class and priority mail and December 18th with "express military mail." Allison Hurtado (Ahwatukee Foothills News) reports ten Girl Scouts in Ahwatukee Foothills were visited recently by Iraq War veteran and National Guard medic Shawn Malkind who thanked them in person for the Girl Scout cookies they had sent him in Iraq:

Malkind had never met the girls before or even knew about their project. When he was told he had a package and was shocked at the size of the box and the amount of cookies inside. The troop had sent nearly 60 boxes of cookies to him.
"I didn't know anything on this scale was coming," Malkind said. "Someone said ‘Hey you've got a box,' and it's this enormous box of Girl Scout cookies. I just thought that was really nice. And of course the nice thing is it wasn't limited to just me, everyone in the platoon got a little dose of happiness from it."

In another announcement, DoD notes an extension in filing claims for pay not received under stop-loss:

Servicemembers looking to receive due compensation for time they spent deployed beyond their original orders now have an extra two months to apply.

The deadline for eligible servicemembers, veterans and their beneficiaries to apply for retroactive stop loss special pay has been extended to Dec. 3, 2010.

To apply, or for more information on retroactive stop loss, including submission requirements and service-specific links, go to

"It's important that all those eligible for this benefit take the opportunity to apply for what they've earned," said Lernes Hebert, acting director, Officer and Enlisted Personnel Management. "We encourage those eligible to apply as soon as possible, to avoid the last minute rush, which can increase processing time."

On-line submission provides a claim number, allows for automated status updates, and provides a means for the military service to contact the applicant.

If eligible members do not have internet access, they should print, complete and sign Department of Defense Form 2944, Claim for Retroactive Stop Loss Payment. Next, choose the appropriate method for submitting the claim form and available supporting documents based on your service specifications.

This information can be found on your service’s stop loss website.

The deadline extension is included in the continuing resolution signed by President Barack Obama yesterday, providing funding for federal government operations through Dec. 3.

Meanwhile Eve Tahmincioglu (MSNBC) reports on economic hurdles facing returning veterans:

When it comes to returning veterans, there's a federal law that calls for employers to go the extra mile to ensure that employees who take time off to make the ultimate sacrifice will have a job waiting for them when they're done.
Despite the laws protecting vets, the prolonged wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and a struggling economy have combined to create a tough situation for returning soldiers when it comes to civilian reemployment.
"It's harder today for returning vets to get their jobs back," said Capt. Samuel Wright, the director of the Service Members Law Center for the Reserve Officers Association, and also one of the authors who helped write a key piece of veteran labor legislation called the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, commonly known at USERRA.
Those protections are getting harder to ensure in this troubled economy, Wright said, adding that, "employers try to thwart the law, or are ignorant of it."


(Troy Yocum photo taken by John Crosby)

Hike for our Heroes is a non-profit started by Iraq War veteran Troy Yocum who is hiking across the country to raise awareness and money for veterans issues. Troy is making his way through Utah and today that's Henreiville, Utah with this day honoring: "SSG Donald Munn, 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, Ft Hood, TX. Killed in Iraq on October 11, 2007." October 22nd begins the walk to Nevada. The Hike for our Heroes Facebook page notes:

Have a few hours a week to chip in? Email Mike Bowman to help the Hike do things like contact your mayor or senator, VFW, ROTC, scouts...or just to put up posters.

Want to set up an appearance or benefit event? Email Mike Bowman to help us form gatherings, and throw fun benefit events...concerts, yard sales, creative!

And, as you can see from his Twitter feed, Troy started today's hike in the early morning hours.

Bonnie notes that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Barack Desmond" went up last night as did Kat's "Kat's Korner: Neil Young's Le Noise." And we'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "U.S. THREAT TO ATTACK IRAN WITH NUKES IS 'CRIMINAL'" (CounterCurrents):

The U.S. today is threatening to attack Iran “under the completely bogus pretext” that it might have a nuclear weapon, a distinguished American international legal authority says.
When Obama administration officials, like those of the Bush regime before it, say “all options are on the table,” they are threatening nuclear war and that is prohibited by international law, says Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois at Champaign.
Not only has the International Atomic Energy Commission said this charge against Iran “is simply not true,” Boyle pointed out, but threatening Iran with nuclear war in itself constitutes an international crime.
“If we don't act now, Obama and his people could very well set off a Third World War over Iran that has already been threatened publicly by (President George W.) Bush Jr.,” he asserted.
In a speech on nuclear deterrence to the 18th conference on “Direct Democracy” in Feldkirch, Austria, Boyle said it has been estimated an attack on Iran with tactical nuclear weapons by the U.S. and Israel could kill nearly 3-million people.
(Boyle charges the U.S. has already committed “acts of aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and has authorized, armed, equipped, and supplied Israel to commit...outright genocide against Lebanon and Palestine.”)

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