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 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 website, when available. Homefront Help also has a Facebook page where visitors can gather and share information.
National Museum of the United States Army
Scheduled to open to the public in 2015, this facility located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, will be the U.S. Army's national landmark. The museum will feature exhibits to honor those who serve or have served in the Army, including the Reserve and National Guard; to preserve Army history; to educate the public about U.S. history; and to inspire future and current soldiers. In addition to the public access areas of the museum, plans include a Veterans Hall for use by veterans and their families; the VFW recently donated $500,000 to help construct this section. Activities in the hall will range from planned presentations to personal receptions. Lockheed Martin Corporation pledged $10 million to sponsor the Education Pavilion, a state-of-the-art interactive resource center that will feature science, technology, engineering and mathematics educational programs related to water, air, land and space.
The museum still is seeking financial support. Suggestions for how individuals, grassroots organizations, and corporate and veterans organizations can contribute are on the website of The Army Historical Foundation, which is the official lead fundraiser for the $200 million project.
National Museum of the Marine Corps
Rising above U.S. Interstate 95 from a site adjacent to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, this museum serves as a tribute to former, current and future U.S. Marines. The facility boasts interactive exhibits, historical artifacts and a restaurant replicating Tun Tavern, the birthplace of the Marine Corps. As extra incentive to visit, the museum is putting on its "Semper Find" photographic scavenger hunt through April 30. Participants must locate 17 items from inside the museum and from the Semper Fidelis Memorial Park to be eligible for prizes. The museum is open every day except Christmas and admission is free.
National Museum of the U.S. Navy
Yep, you guessed it—this museum is dedicated to honoring the U.S. Navy. Features include naval artifacts, models, documents and art that chronicle the history of the sea service. Interactive exhibits commemorate wartime heroes and battles as well as activities during peace. Admission is free and the site is open to the public, but because the museum is located on the Washington Navy Yard, access depends on base security protocols. The museum closes only for major holidays, except for the Display Ship Barry, which is closed Sundays and some federal holidays as well as during inclement weather.
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
The U.S. Air Force may be the newest military branch, but it has had a public museum dedicated to its achievements since 1955. In addition to the regular exhibits highlighting the history and accomplishments of airmen, the museum restores aircraft and aerospace vehicles with historical accuracy. As with the facilities dedicated to the other armed services, admission is free and the museum is open most days of the year. People interested in the history but unable to make the trip to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, can take a virtual, 3-D, self-guided tour online.
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.