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Welcome to Army OneSource Family News - the monthly newsletter from Army Community Service (ACS) and Army OneSource (AOS), the Army's most comprehensive portal for Family members.



Suicides Outpacing War Deaths for Troops

The suicide rate among the nation’s active-duty military personnel has spiked this year, eclipsing the number of troops dying in battle and on pace to set a record annual high since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan more than a decade ago.

Suicides have increased even as the United States military has withdrawn from Iraq and stepped up efforts to provide mental health, drug and alcohol, and financial counseling services.

A Poignant Father’s Day at Vietnam Memorial

Every Father's Day, Mike Cruden comes to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to lay down a red rose in memory of his Marine father.

More than 100 people, including retired general George Casey, the 36th chief of staff of the Army, joined Cruden, 48, of Bayonne, N.J., at an annual ceremony to recognize their fallen dads.

"I was 3 when my father died, and my sister was born while my father was in Vietnam, so she never even met him," Cruden said, holding back tears. "I always hated Father's Day. Everyone is buying their dads cards and ties. I never could."

Father's Day
2012 Spouse of the Year

Jeremy Hilton: U.S. Military’s First Male Spouse of the Year

When Deanie Dempsey, whose husband is the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, took the stage at the Marine Barracks Washington earlier this month to announce 2012’s “Military Spouse of the Year,” she fumbled for her words. There were six nominees--five women and one man--and Dempsey clearly had trouble finding the appropriate gender-neutral pronoun, in order to not blow the identity of the winner. Finally, she gave up. “I have confidence that he will do his fellow spouses proud,” she said. The room collectively gasped.

Army Widow Rides Final Challenge for Memorial Day

Donna Engeman, Installation Management Command program manager of Survivor Outreach Services, rode into Washington, D.C., this weekend with about 1,200 other motorcycle riders who came from as far away as California to ride with the Rolling Thunder, May 27.

She and another IMCOM employee, Mark Armantrout of G4, Logistics, however, only came half way across the country, from Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.

Final Challenge Ride
NFL/Army Partnership

NFL, Military Partner on Concussions

In a conference room on the third floor of the Pentagon, introductions were made and the conversation quickly turned to concussions. Everyone seated at the long table had impressive credentials from either the battlefield or the football field.

“Just the knowledge of what a concussion is has totally changed,” said Mike Rucker, a retired defensive end who had military personnel seated on either side of him. “We thought a concussion was when somebody was knocked out and was unresponsive. Now we have the understanding, no, it’s those little stars that you see.”

Employee Flag Honors

Federal agencies have been told that they can begin presenting flags to honor federal employees who are killed in the line of duty, even though rules haven’t been issued to carry out that authority.

An Office of Personnel Management memo sent last week said that federal employees “perform critical work in support of our nation, including, at times, making the ultimate sacrifice, losing their lives in serving the public.”

Flag Honors
Welcome Home

At Fort Hood, a Welcome Home for Veterans of a War Long Past

This welcome-home ceremony seemed like many held at the largest Army base in the country, although a little more elaborate. There were cheering families outfitted in red, white and blue, many carrying posters and flags. The multistory III Corps banner billowed in the wind as hundreds of soldiers stood in formation on the expansive parade ground waiting for the buses of troops.

But small details revealed that this was no typical ceremony. Aretha Franklin’s 1967 hit “Respect” blared at full volume. Many of the posters congratulated grandfathers for serving. A few older men were brought onto the parade ground in wheelchairs.

Army to Review Mental Health Compensation

The Army says it will pour through -- in less than 90 days -- about 190,000 medical files of current and former soldiers dating to 2001 to see whether any were shortchanged on retirement compensation for mental health problems.

Army Secretary John McHugh had announced the unprecedented review three weeks ago, but details about the scope of the effort surfaced recently.

The estimated 190,000 cases represent about 160,000 soldiers who went through medical exams -- in some cases more than once -- since 2001, says Lt. Col. Richard Paz, executive officer for a task force leading the effort.

Mental Health
Off-label Drug Use

DOD Cracks Down on Off-Label Drug Use

A letter landed in Stan White’s mailbox in Cross Lanes, W.Va., in April.

It began: “On behalf of the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces … I extend my sincerest and deepest sympathy for the loss of your sons.”

But the note wasn’t simply a condolence. The message from Air Force Lt. Gen. Brooks Bash informed White that U.S. Central Command had decided in March to remove the powerful antipsychotic drug Seroquel from its approved formulary list.

Ceremonies Arise to Recognize Military-Bound Grads

This time of year is full of ceremonies honoring high school graduates heading to top colleges and winning scholarships.

But a group that started in southern New Jersey four years ago is trying to bring more attention to graduates who are joining the military.

Our Community Salutes is hosting ceremonies this year in more than 20 towns across the country.

Military Bound Graduates
Phone App

App Pinpoints Arlington Graves

Arlington National Cemetery is the first national burial site to go digital 4G.

A smartphone app due out in the fall will tap into the power of GPS technology and help visitors navigate through the more than 250,000 graves at Arlington, providing military-grade accuracy.

"All we need is better 3G or 4G coverage in the cemetery, and it's coming," says Army Maj. Nicholas Miller, chief information officer at Arlington in Northern Virginia.

‘Military Mom’ Jill Biden Can’t Forget Our Troops

Her son has been home from Iraq for nearly three years now, but tears still well in Jill Biden's eyes when she recalls the Christmas Eve dinner the family had to have without him.

"We all would pretend that nothing was wrong," the wife of Vice President Biden says, sitting in the sunroom of their official residence. "But just looking down the table: There were 25 of us there, and just not seeing Beau. …"

Jill Biden

Class Rallies around Autistic Student

When Staff Sgt. Chad Miles, his wife, Chazia, and their four children moved from Fort McPherson, Ga., to Fort Jackson last summer, they did not know what to expect.

Although moving can be hard on any military family, the Miles family had an additional worry. Their 8-year old son, Chad, was diagnosed with autism in 2009 -- a developmental disorder that, for Chad, led to problems with verbal, cognitive and social skills.

His mother said any change is hard on children with autism.

Cybersecurity Experts are Needed to Meet Growing Demand

Alec Ross, senior adviser for innovation at the State Department, has a piece of advice for students tasked with the nerve-rattling problem of choosing a college major.

“If any college student asked me what career would most assure 30 years of steady, well-paying employment,” Ross said, “I would respond, ‘cybersecurity.’ ”

That’s because cybersecurity is a field where the rules of the recession seem flipped: There’s plenty of jobs, but relatively few qualified applicants.

Cyber Security Opportunities
Military Franchises

Military Franchises: Open for Business

As Art Morris prepared to retire from the Air Force after 21 years of active and reserve duty, he thought he was ready to own and run a business. So when the aircraft avionics technician came across Golf Etc. in Entrepreneur magazine's Franchise 500 list, he thought he might have found a solution. After all, he was an above-average golfer.

Morris and his wife, Teressa, both 45, talked to two other Golf Etc. franchisees in California and visited stores from rival franchises Nevada Bob's and Golf USA. The couple chose Golf Etc., plunked down $15,000 to buy a territory and sent Art off to Texas for in-store management and golf-club repair training.

After Service, Veterans go on to College

If his door is open, you can bet student veterans are spilling out of Eric Glaude's office at Borough of Manhattan Community College. On most days, it's standing-room only because his broom closet of an office has become the de facto command central for student veterans.

Space has been at a premium since Sept. 11, 2001, when the school's Fiterman Hall was destroyed by the collapse of the World Trade Center. Add to that a mushrooming student population. More than 400 veterans were enrolled last year, up from 157 in 2009, when Glaude, a disabled Vietnam War-era veteran, was hired to help former servicemembers make the transition from combat to college.

GI Bill