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Homefront Help

January 15, 2008

Homefront Help is SIGNAL Connections’ effort to support U.S. service members, veterans and their families. The column highlights programs that offer resources and assistance to the military community ranging from care packages to benefits and everything in between.

In that same spirit, Homefront Help presents opportunities for readers to donate time, offer resources and send words of thanks to those who sacrifice for freedom. Programs that provide services to the troops are listed in red. Opportunities for the public to reach out to service members are listed in blue. Each program description includes a link to the organization's Web site, when available.


Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline
The U.S. Army instituted the Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline (WSFH) in March 2007 to give wounded, injured or ill soldiers and their families a means to share concerns about quality of care. The service does not circumvent the chain of command, but gives troops an additional method to resolve medical-related issues. The Army began the program in response to soldiers wounded in the Global War on Terrorism and their families who were having difficulty navigating through the medical care system.

The hotline receives three types of calls: inquiries, requests for information and issues of concern. Some calls can be answered immediately, while others require research and take longer to answer. Issue-related calls may demand even more time to resolve.

The majority of calls to the WSFH pertain to medical issues, but the hotline also fields calls about personnel, legal, financial and other matters. If queries fall under the Department of Veterans Affairs’ authority, WSFH operators will direct the callers appropriately.

In addition to helping injured soldiers and their families with problems, the hotline keeps medical-related matters visible to Army leaders and helps them allocate resources appropriately. Army leadership receives daily reports outlining the number of calls received, issues raised, time required to resolve problems and the resolutions.

The WSFH is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be reached at (800) 984-9523 or Defense Switched Network at (312) 328-0002.


Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts
The U.S. Defense Department and U.S. Labor Department have teamed to offer military spouses opportunities to pursue portable careers in high-demand, high-growth occupations. Portable careers are important for the military lifestyle. The two-year demonstration project enables military spouses to develop the skills needed to successfully enter, navigate and advance in the work force. The career advancement accounts target nationally identified high-growth portable occupations such as education, health care, information technology and financial services.

Eighteen initial military installations were identified to participate in the project. They are: San Diego Metro and Camp Pendleton, California; Fort Carson and Peterson Air Force Base (AFB), Colorado; Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field, Florida; Fort Benning, Georgia; Hickam AFB, Naval Base Pearl Harbor, Schofield Barracks and U.S. Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine; Fort Bragg and Pope AFB, North Carolina; and Fort Lewis, McChord AFB and Naval Station Kitsap, Washington.

Additional information is available at each participating installation’s education center and family support center, and online at www.MilSpouse.org.


Adopt a U.S. Soldier
The name says it all. This organization connects Americans with deployed military members, enabling participants to choose their level of involvement, from writing letters to sending entire care packages. Each adopted warfighter is assigned several sponsors so the flow of support never ceases. Troops can register to be adopted, and the public can sign up to adopt a service member on the organization’s Web site. Individuals and groups can adopt more than one soldier. The Web site also includes an online community and lists of how and what to donate. For people who want to provide money but not actually adopt a service member, instructions are available online as well.


The SIGNAL Connections staff encourages readers to take advantage of the programs mentioned in this column and to pass along the information. In addition, if you know of a program that is helping service personnel, please let us know about it. Submit that information to SIGNAL's news editor.

The SIGNAL Connections staff has made every effort to verify the legitimacy of these programs and to include information accurate at the time of publication. Inclusion in this column does not constitute an endorsement by AFCEA International or SIGNAL Connections.