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156th Airlift Wing Welcomes Home Fallen Airmen

The 156th Airlift Wing held a Dignified Arrival here for eight of the nine fallen Airmen who perished in a WC-130 Hercules crash in Georgia earlier this month.

A Dignified Arrival is a solemn event whereby the remains of fallen service members are returned to their family.

Maj. José “JR” Román, an instructor and evaluation pilot, Maj. Carlos “Dulzura” Pérez-Serra, a master navigator and chief of weapons and tactics evaluator, Senior Master Sgt. Jan A. Paravisini-Ruiz, a maintenance management analyst, Master Sgt. Mario “Sulli” Braña, a flight engineer, Master Sgt. Eric “Quillo” Circuns, a senior evaluator loadmaster, Senior Master Sgt. Victor “Vitin” Colón, an aircrew flight equipment craftsman, Master Sgt. Jean M. “Audi” Audiffred Rivera, an aircraft maintenance craftsman and flying crew chief, and Senior Airman Roberto Espada, an aircrew flight equipment journeyman, were returned to Puerto Rico with military honors.

Col. Raymond Figueroa, commander of the 156th Airlift Wing, said the Dignified Arrival honored their service and sacrifice to their nation and their island.

“While our military traditions show our brothers the respect they deserve, no ceremony will ever heal the wounds of losing these beloved husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, nephews, cousins and friends,” Figueroa said. “These Airmen are now back on their native land.”

He added, “Son Boricua, son Bucaneros, they will be forever in our memories.”

Which is translated to mean “they are Puerto Ricans, they are Buccaneers, they will be forever in our memories.”

First Lt. David “Lani” Albandoz, a co-pilot, will return to Alabama with military honors.

All nine will be laid to rest in the coming days.

05.18.2018
Story by Staff Sgt. Julio Olivencia Jr
156th Airlift Wing
MUÑIZ AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Puerto Rico

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PGR Mission Alert: Veteran’s Honor Picnic

Veteran’s Honor Picnic
USA, USN, USMC, USCG, USAF
Goodyear, Arizona – 26 May 2018

ABOUT THE MISSION:
The Patriot Guard Riders have been asked to stand a flag line and share our song at a special picnic to honor veterans in Goodyear, AZ. We accept this mission with honor and respect.
We will be honoring veterans residing in Goodyear, many from a local retirement area. Residents will be attending a special picnic and program to honor those who have served our nation with honor. We will stand a flag line as they arrive, have our circle of honor, and then depart. It will also be a time to encourage and show appreciation to these men and women.
PRIMARY STAGING DETAILS: 26 May 2018
Primary Staging Time: 9:30 A.M.
The Groves
2655 N Pebble Creek Pkwy
Goodyear, Arizona – 85395
Ride Captain: Dan Lazear

Special Instructions:
Briefing Time: 10:00 A.M.
Note: This will be a short briefing for PGR members to review the mission before we set up the flag line as soon as this short briefing is done.At 10:30 A.M. we will do the Circle of Honor and have the pledge, song, and prayer with residents and others attending. Following the Circle of Honor this mission will be completed.
Flags & Water:
Flags Will Be Provided
Large Bike Flags will NOT be needed.
Water will be provided.
Submitted By: Bill Wooster
Position: Assistant State Captain

Note:
You do not have to own/ride a motorcycle or be a Veteran to join and membership is Free. The only requirement is RESPECT! To join, simply go to www.PatriotGuard.org and click on Register. Membership is Free.

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Army and Air Force Exchange Service

In the six months since the Army & Air Force Exchange Service officially expanded online shopping privileges to all honorably discharged Veterans, more than 50,000 former service members have used the new benefit, saving an average of 20 percent off MSRP and avoiding a total of $3 million in sales tax so far.

“With the national average sales tax being 8.5 percent, the Veterans online shopping benefit offers significant savings to all who raised their right hand and took an oath to defend our Nation—no matter how long they served,” said Exchange Director/CEO Tom Shull, a Vietnam-era Army Veteran who worked tirelessly to secure the change in Department of Defense policy after joining the Exchange in 2012. “This benefit is a modest way to thank all who have served and welcome them home.”

The Veterans online shopping benefit, which launched on Veterans Day 2017, marked the first expansion of military exchange privileges since 1990. Veterans have used their new benefit to order nearly 500,000 items at ShopMyExchange.com—tax-free.

On ShopMyExchange.com, Veterans find a wide assortment of national-brand at an average savings of 20 percent off MSRP. Shopping the Exchange online reconnects Veterans with their military community, allowing them to remain Soldiers and Airmen for life.

Dan Sacco, a Vietnam Veteran who lives in Trumbull, Conn., had been without an Exchange benefit for nearly 50 years, after leaving the Army in 1970. When he shops with ShopMyExchange.com, he knows he is making a difference to service members and their families.

“This is an incredible benefit to offer,” said Sacco, who has shopped ShopMyExchange.com for electronics, clothing, gifts and more. “There’s no taxes, no shipping charges with a MILITARY STAR card, and it supports the military. It’s better than Amazon. There’s no negative.”

Every purchase Veterans make online improves life for service members and their families as 100 percent of Exchange earnings support programs including military uniforms at cost; school lunches below cost for Warfighters’ children overseas; Child Development Centers; Youth Programs; Fitness Centers; and career opportunities for spouses, Veterans and Wounded Warriors. In the last decade years, the Exchange has distributed more than $2.4 billion to critical military Quality-of-Life programs.

To verify eligibility and begin shopping, Veterans can visit ShopMyExchange.com\veterans or VetVerify.org.

Facebook-friendly version: In the six months since the Army & Air Force Exchange Service officially expanded online shopping privileges to all honorably discharged Veterans, more than 50,000 former service members have used the new benefit, saving an average of 20 percent off MSRP and avoiding a total of $3 million in sales tax so far. Read more: https://bit.ly/2rRsSOQ

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Since 1895, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (Exchange) has gone where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives by providing valued goods and services at exclusive military pricing. The Exchange is the 56th-largest retailer in the United States. Its earnings provided $2.4 billion in dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs over the last 10 years. The Exchange is a non-appropriated fund entity of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors. To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our website at http://www.shopmyexchange.com or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.

For more information or to schedule an interview with an Exchange representative please contact Julie Mitchell, 214-312-3327 or mitchelljul@aafes.com.

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05.17.2018
Story by Julie Mitchell
Army & Air Force Exchange Service HQ


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Vet Center Program

The Vet Center Program was established by Congress in 1979 out of the recognition that a significant number of Vietnam era vets were still experiencing readjustment problems. Vet Center Programs are community based and part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In April 1991, in response to the Persian Gulf War, Congress extended the eligibility to veterans who served during other periods of armed hostilities after the Vietnam era. Those other periods are identified as Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, and Kosovo/Bosnia.
In October 1996, Congress extended the eligibility to include WWII and Korean Combat Veterans. The goal of the Vet Center program is to provide a broad range of counseling, outreach, and referral services to eligible veterans in order to help them make a satisfying post-war readjustment to civilian life. On April 1, 2003 the Secretary of Veterans Affairs extended eligibility for Vet Center Program services to veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and on June 25, 2003 Vet Center eligibility was extended to veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and subsequent operations within the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).
The family members of all veterans listed above are eligible for Vet Center services as well. On August 5, 2003 VA Secretary Anthony J. Principi authorized Vet Centers to furnish bereavement counseling services to surviving parents, spouses, children and siblings of service members who die of any cause while on active duty, to include federally activated Reserve and National Guard personnel.

ELIGIBILITY:

Any Veterans and active duty Service members, to include members of the National Guard and Reserve components, who:

Have served on active military duty in any combat theater or area of hostility*
Experienced a military sexual trauma;
Provided direct emergent medical care or mortuary services, while serving on active military duty, to the casualties of war, or;
Served as a member of an unmanned aerial vehicle crew that provided direct support to operations in a combat zone or area of hostility.
Vietnam Era veterans who have accessed care at a Vet Center prior to January 1, 2004

Vet Center services are also provided to family members of Veterans and Service members for military related issues when it is found aid in the readjustment of those that have served. This includes bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death.

CLICK HERE to learn how the Vet Center Program can help you.

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