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Homeland

Resources Support Inspiration

Vol. 3 Number4 • April 2016

From PTSD
and Sniper Fire, to Dogs That Heal Reboot Your Life After The Military Tax Tips for Service Members and Their Families Can Military Service Make You A Millionare

WAR COMES HOME the legacy Changing Veterans’ Lives

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MEET CAPTAIN E. ROYCE WILLIAMS, USN RET The only pilot to shoot down Four RUSSIAN MiGs in a single mission Defending Navy Task Force 77 during the Korean War, 18 NOV 1952

Listen to Capt. Williams tell his

story kept

classified over 50 years

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EDITOR’S

Homeland

LETTER

Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller Contributing Writers CJ Machado Vicki Garcia Vesta Anderson Keith Angelin Sarah Luken Mark Baird Judy Keene

6 Greetings and a warm welcome to HOMELAND Magazine!

Public Relations CJ Machado Thomas McBrien Linda Kreter Graphic Design Trevor Watson

Please take some time to get to know the layout of our magazine. Homeland Magazine focuses on real stories from real heroes; the service member, the veteran, the wounded and the families that keep it together. Our magazine is driven by passion, vision, reflection and the future. The content is the driving force behind our magazine and the connection it makes with service members, families, veterans and civilians. Homeland is about standing your ground, resilience, adaptation, inspiration and solidarity. HOMELAND is inspirational, “feel good” reading; our focus is on family, military and civilians alike. I believe HOMELAND is where the heart is, and our publication covers a wide variety of topics, and issues about real life and real stories. We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people. They say San Diego is a military town, I find that San Diego is a HOMELAND town, where military and civilians work and live together. We appreciate your support and are so happy to have you as a reader of HOMELAND Magazine. With warmest thanks, Michael J. Miller, Publisher 4

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Homeland Magazine is published monthly. Submissions of photographs, Illustrations, drawings, and manuscripts are considered unsolicited materials and the publisher assumes no responsibility for the said items. All rights reserved. Homeland Magazine 9528 Miramar Road, Suite 41 San Diego, CA 92126

858.240.0333 Contact Homeland Magazine at: info@homelandmagazine.com


Homeland inside this issue 6 8 14

The Deepest Wound of War: A Moral Conscience War Comes Home

10 17 26

From PTSD
and Sniper Fire, to Dogs That Heal

16 Reboot Your Life After The Military 21 Tax Tips for Service Members and Their Families

5 Tax Tips

23 Can Military Service Make You A Millionare

for Service Members and Their Families

24 Drugs & Alchol: When Are The “Good Times” Over?

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21

Changing Veterans’ Lives

www.homelandmagazine.com

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By Mark Baird

The Deepest Wound of War: A Moral Conscience

P

erhaps the worst wound of war is the injury to veterans’ moral consciences. They participated in the death and injury of hundreds of thousands, enemy or not. Killing is something that nearly no one desires to do. It is abhorrent to almost everyone. Veterans that participate in war carry a particularly heavy weight. They have to do things that can injure their souls.

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Certainly snipers must deal with this. Too often in these recent wars children with weapons have been their targets. I know of one sniper that was unable to stop the firing from three windows of a building that had already killed 3 Marines. The sniper and his squad were instructed to blow the building with ribbon grenades. When they went inside they discovered it was a daycare filled with small children. Three older students, probably around 12 years old, had been firing from the windows. The Captain who ordered this attack lost his mind. After seeing the carnage, a devout Christian soldier shot himself in the head. The rest of the squad live with this every day. Eventually, the sensitivity to images and sounds of combat will fade away. Their nervous systems will repair. But it is the memories of being involved in an act that repulses their moral consciences that will be the hardest and most difficult to heal. A wound to one’s soul is the major issue of combat PTSD. It does not need to be this personal and up close of an encounter to inflict a wound in a combat soldier’s mind. Artillery soldiers that get coordinates and fire huge rounds of explosives that do massive damage and kill many also suffer from a tortured moral conscience. Even though they may not see the results of their salvos, they still know what happened. They see the reports. – Pilots, sailors on ships, and even those fighting a remote control war from a safe chair on a secure base, perhaps from within the U.S. also are plagued by the weight of moral responsibility their duties and orders have left them to deal with. This is the cause of most of our veteran suicides. Seeking punishment, even hoping for an eternity in Hell, is not an uncommon thought. It is an honest and sincere desire of many such veterans. Talking to them about forgiveness is a very difficult and often impossible task. Being told that “You were just following orders” means little or nothing to them. They still see themselves as guilty. Every American inherits a deep responsibility when we allow our government to declare a war and to send our young men and women to do the dirty work. The Iraq War is over, for now. Our soldiers have returned home. It is our national moral obligation to do everything we can to heal our brave men and women who volunteered to risk their lives in fighting these wars. Always show respect to a US veteran, particularly those that had a part to play in combat. We share in the moral accountability of US veterans. No civilian should turn their back and say, “That’s their problem.” We are a government of the people and by the people. We all played a part. Every US citizens should let our veterans know that you care about them. Be ready, willing and eager to be there for them. Give them a big hug when you can. Love our US veterans. They need it more now than ever!

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www.homelandmagazine.com


WAR COMES HOME the legacy Exhibit now at the Chula Vista Public Library

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new War Comes Home: The Legacy exhibit highlighting private correspondence from nearly every major conflict in U.S. history, is on display at the Civic Center Branch through April 24. The exhibit is rich with historic and contemporary letters, and offers an intimate perspective into the thoughts and emotions of military veterans and their families upon a soldier’s homecoming. Part of Cal Humanities’ current War Comes Home initiative, the thematic program is designed to promote greater understanding of veterans and explore how war shapes a community. The exhibition is based on the work of the Center for American War Letters (CAWL) and is presented by Exhibit Envoy. Andrew Carroll, Director of CAWL and an award-winning and New

York Times bestselling author, and John Benitz, Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre at Chapman University, co-curated the exhibition. Cal Humanities is an independent non-profit and State partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.   In conjunction with the exhibit, the Civic Center Library will host author and Chula Vista native Susan Herney, whose new book Steadfast is based on World War II correspondence between her parents. Herney’s talk will take place on Thursday, April 14, at 4:30 p.m.     The library services are part of and California State Library initiative entitled ‘”Veterans Connect @ the Library.” Navy Veteran Volunteer Danny Carreon will be available for questions and guidance in the Civic Center Library on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. The County Office of Military and Veterans Affairs will have monthly office hours in the library on the third Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and no appointment is needed. The library’s computer lab will be open to veterans and their families on Thursdays, from 5-7 p.m., and on Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and a private computer cubicle for veterans has access to high-speed internet. The veterans services are coordinated by librarian David Janning. For more information, please call the library at (619) 691-5069.

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Shelter to Soldier is in full bloom! US Army Veteran, Mason Crosslin to graduate Shelter to Soldier service dog handler program with STS service dog, Griffin! On Wednesday, April 13th, Mason Crosslin, US Army Ret. will graduate our program with his new service dog, Griffin! Griffin was adopted last march from San Diego Department of Animal Control Bonita Shelter after being returned for behavioral problems. She was an expert “jumper� and could clear a 7 foot fence, no problem! With the help of the Specialty Dog Training team of dog trainers and our facility partner Paw Paradise, Griffin has now become an incredible psychiatric service dog, and is head-over-heels in love with her veteran handler, Mason. The two were matched together in November of last year, and have been working very hard on all of their training commands and task work for their upcoming final testing and graduation. To learn more about Shelter to Soldier visit

www.sheltertosoldier.org

FREE Treatments (Muscle Therapy)

Military Active Military / Veterans If you have been injured in the line of duty then, I would like to donate my time to help you. Muscle Therapy can help anyone that has chronic muscle/joint pain, and can even help anyone that has suffered a severe injury such as an amputation. Muscle Therapy allows me to re-balance the working muscles in your body in order to relieve pain. Muscle Therapy can also to help strengthen your working muscles in the event of an amputation. It would be my honor to help anyone that has made a sacrifice with military service for our freedom.

I am booking FREE Treatments for any active or retired Vets (from any branch of the military) on the last Saturday of every month in my Encinitas office located at: 171 Saxony Rd, Suite 107, Encinitas CA (Military ID required) All appointments must be booked by phone.

(619) 736-8995 I urge anyone with an injury to connect me with and see if I can help you somehow. There is always something that can be done to help you. Thank you for your service and I will speak to you all soon. Neil Denaut II Muscle Therapy San Diego www.muscletherapysandiego.com

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Symbols of America’s Heroes

Veterans tribute tower

and at Miramar National Cemetery

Carillon

Through the efforts of the Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation, the Veterans Tribute Tower and Carillon will soon join other Symbols of America’s Heroes at Miramar National Cemetery: Avenue of Flags Memorial Walkway Prisoners of War Monument

The Foundation works year-round to honor our Veterans’ sacrifices. It maintains the Avenue of Flags, sponsors the annual Veterans Memorial Service, and conducts other programs and patriotic events. Your tax-deductible contribution can help sustain the Foundation’s important work at Miramar National Cemetery. Please visit the Foundation website at www.miramarcemetery.org and click on “Contribute” or send your contribution to: Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation 1245 Island Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101 The Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) organization and a 509 (c)(1) public charity. Tax ID #65-1277308. www.homelandmagazine.com

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By Vesta M. Anderson

Changing Veterans’ Lives

Since 9/11, 2.4 million brave men and women have deployed around the world in support of the Global War on Terrorism. The percentage of those returning with service-connected disabilities is staggering. Due to improvements in military medicine and technology, many warriors are surviving combat injuries that would have previously been fatal. These injured veterans return home and struggle daily with the aftermath of physical sacrifices made on the battlefield.

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In the fiscal year 2015, WWP Benefits Service secured more than $70 million in veterans’ benefits dollars. With a success rate above 85 percent, WWP files thousands of claims each year and changes the lives of injured veterans, their families, and caregivers.

As of March 2016, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) states that VBA employees have been completing more disability and compensation claims than ever before; however, more than 345,000 disability compensation and pension claims are still pending – more than 80,000 of those have been awaiting a rating decision for more than 125 days. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, almost 2,000 homeless veterans were pulled off the streets from 2014 to 2015. Still, an annual count conducted in January 2015 revealed approximately 48,000 homeless veterans across the country. As these nationally reported numbers continue to affect the veteran community, the need becomes evident to help injured veterans make the most of their benefits. Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) believes long-term financial and medical support plays a critical empowerment role in the recovery process, which is why essential programs and services were created to support this area – one such program is Benefits Service. To help injured veterans, family members, and caregivers successfully transition to life after injury, the WWP Benefits Service program provides the tools needed to navigate the complexities of the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Working closely with each agency, the Benefits Service team walks injured veterans, family members, and caregivers through every step of the transition process; ensuring claims are filed and processed correctly – the first time. Unlike traditional models of veterans’ services, the WWP Benefits Service program takes a comprehensive approach to the claims process. WWP staff works individually with injured veterans to understand their unique needs, provide information and education on the claims process, advise them of benefits options, file benefits claims, help to obtain necessary evidence, and stay connected with them through the life cycle of the claim. In the fiscal year 2015, WWP Benefits Service secured more than $70 million in veterans’ benefits dollars. With a success rate above 85 percent, WWP files thousands of claims each year and changes the lives of injured veterans, their families, and caregivers. Recently, WWP was able to secure a 100 percent “permanent and total” (P&T) disability rating for an injured veteran. The P&T rating is reserved for service-connected conditions that have no likelihood of improvement. Veterans with this rating will maintain it for a lifetime without requiring future examinations. In this specific case, the effective date of this veteran’s rating was retrograded to the date of his initial claim, accruing more than $100,000 in back-owed compensation. Since its inception, more than $200 million in total veterans’ benefits dollars has been secured through the WWP Benefits Service program. (https://www. woundedwarriorproject.org/programs/benefits-service.aspx)

About Wounded Warrior Project The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To learn more about WWP and the Warrior Care Network™ program, visit woundedwarriorproject.org. (Photos courtesy WWP) HOMELAND / April 2016 13


From PTSD and Sniper Fire, to Dogs That Heal

By Judy Keene

F

or our military men and women, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can include constant fear of sniper fire and being killed in a doorway, in a crowd, in the dark, or anywhere with people. Sudden flashbacks and night terrors can disorient and put the warrior instantly back in the bomb zone or crisis situation. The overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety puts 99.99% of people with severe PTSD into isolation, rarely leaving their homes, and can often lead to suicide. The story of Eddie Ray Routh who suffers from PTSD (and shot and killed “American Sniper” Navy Seal Chris Kyle in 2013 at a Texas shooting range) is extremely rare.

The overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety puts 99.99% of people with severe PTSD into isolation, rarely leaving their homes, and can often lead to suicide.

Next Step Service Dogs in San Diego County was privileged to train rescue dog Sasha to be a service dog for Tacoma Parris, a former Marine, who was in boot camp when 9/11 hit and spent 12 years and 5 deployments serving as an American warrior in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. “ I loved my job in the infantry. I didn’t love killing people. I loved going with

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good people to bad places, and the people to my left and to my right were the best people I ever met. My biggest problem has been hypervigilance, feeling in every waking moment that I am still in Iraq, wanting to be there, missing being there, walking down the street with my left hand positioned for a rifle. When anxious or hearing an unexpected sound, I pat my thigh, feeling for the pistol that should be there. “

These Marines are trained to shake hands with the right hand but be prepared to kill with the left hand. The natural result of this life is hypervigilance, constant looking for exits, constant need to protect family and self from random violence, a constant evaluation of how many men you can defeat at


a moment’s notice if threatened. Seeking to reduce the resulting severe anxiety in public settings but uncertain if he even wanted a service dog, Tacoma attended a Next Step Service Dogs training session where a big Labrador mix named Sasha laid on his leg, making him feel calm, the best calm of his entire life. Within two months of training with and living with Sasha, Tacoma felt a 100 times better and eliminated the medications that made him feel like an exhausted zombie. And he is now able to seek a job with the border patrol, a job that he is sure to love. So what does Sasha do exactly to help Tacoma? Sasha and Tacoma developed a bond, a silent, totally trusting communication, that happened quickly. Sasha uses body language, a mere nudge, pressure on his leg, resting on his feet, licking his face, to distract and return Tacoma to here and now. If his anxiety escalates while watching the news, Sasha is likely to block his view of the TV, stare at him, or pace in front him, saying “cut it out!” Other times she will get in his face and wiggle her eyebrows to make him laugh. And if she becomes anxious, Tacoma is quick to find the source; if she is calm, he knows that his world is safe and he has no worries. Just being in Starbucks used to be a nightmare; now Sasha just circles around Tacoma creating a “safety bubble” of space while he waits in line for coffee, without fear. This is huge. “I don’t talk in my sleep any more, looking for snipers. I don’t have to use medications that make me exhausted and incoherent, and barely able to hold a job. And I no longer have constant thoughts of death and destruction. My wife and daughters say I smile a lot more, and are glad that I can go places with them now – not everywhere but still many more than before. I am learning to be more patient and more social, and take time to educate the public about Sasha and service dog work.” For more information about Next Step Service Dogs, a nonprofit 501(c), in San Diego County, see www.nextstepservicedogs.org or call 760-4389190. Next Step Service Dogs depends on your generous donations to provide training and dogs.

www.homelandmagazine.com

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SAN DIEGO POLICE JOIN OUR TEAM

READY FOR YOUR NEXT MISSION? NOW HIRING FOR THE FOLLOWING POSITIONS: POLICE OFFICERS, POLICE RECRUITS, POLICE LATERALS and 911 POLICE DISPATCHERS

www.JOINSDPDNOW.com (619) 531.COPS 16

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enlisted to entrepreneur By Vicki Garcia

Learn to Embrace Failure Many people never start their dream business for fear of failing. Failure is inevitable. It’s how you learn from it and bounce back that makes the difference between a successful entrepreneur and a defeated loser. They say you learn the most from failure, which is hooey. You learn from success. Often you have to go through failure to get to success. Changing your perspective on failures is crucial. A few thoughts… 1. Failure is unavoidable – To be sure, failure will happen. And the more successful you are, the more frequently you will fail. 2. Acknowledge that you’re bummed out. When you fail, give yourself a little time to process the event, and understand what happened. Have a big cry if you want. Avoid beer. It won’t help.

3. Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street. It’s temporary. Shake it off. Move forward. 4. Turn that bummer into energy. Robert T. Kiyosaki wrote that: “Failure defeats losers, failure inspires winners.” Do better next time. You’re smarter now. 5. Failure is an opportunity to learn. Cogitate on what you might have done differently. Yes, you. Start with your own contribution, and don’t blame others. 6. Everything is trial and error. Remember Thomas Edison and his light bulb? Each attempt is just an exercise. If your significant other doesn’t hate you now, you’re not going to jail, and it didn’t cost you too much money, it didn’t count. 7. The only true failure is not trying. The great philosopher Wayne Gretzky best sums up this idea: “ You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” You are capable of amazing things, but only when you put failure into the right perspective. As a business owner resilience is essential. “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking” should be your motto. Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Veteran Entrepreneurs Today & President of the marketing firm, Marketing Impressions, with 30 years of experience helping small business owners succeed. Look for trusted advisors, or apply to be a B2B vendor for veteran entrepreneurs at www.veteranentrepreneurstoday.org. Apply for free help at www.surveymonkey.com/r/veteran-entrepreneur

Applicants sought for the “Irene Ferguson Marine Wife of the Year Recognition Award”

Nominate a Deserving Marine Corps Wife, Acknowledge our Home Front Heroes Created by World War II pilot Major Glenn Ferguson (USMC-retired) in memory of his beloved wife, Irene, the award honors and highlights the resiliency, strength and dedication that a U.S. Marine Corps wife embodies as she supports our military men and women, families and communities.  The woman chosen will receive a cash award and be recognized at the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation’s annual gala on May 14th featuring the honorable Pete Wilson, former governor of California, as the guest of honor.   Women whose husbands are currently on active duty and serving in a unit with a home base located in the Southwest Region of the United States qualify.  Applications are due April 23, 2016.

Left-center-right Bonnie Amos (wife of past Commandant, General James F. Amos, Cyndi Stamps (2014 recipient) and Kimberly Reid (2015 recipient)

www.homelandmagazine.com

For additional information see www. flyingleathernecks.org/marine-wives-award  or call the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation office 858-693-1723.

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REBOOT your LIFE after the military! [REBOOT] To reload the operating system and start over. A reboot often solves many software problems in computers, smartphones, tablets, cable boxes and other electronics devices, because it resets the system. 18

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THE TRANSITION TO CIVILIAN LIFE IS NOT A JOB CHANGE……. IT IS A LIFE CHANGE!

THE CHALLENGE

Each year over 200,000 service members transition from the military with over 50% of them going on 22 weeks of unemployment insurance. Survey results show that 81 percent of transitioning military personnel do not “feel fully prepared for the process of entering the job market.” And unfortunately, the military’s Transition Assistance Program is not designed to address the cultural needs of members leaving the service.

THE SOLUTION

In 2010 the National Veterans Transition Service Inc. (NVTSI) created REBOOT Workshops™. REBOOT Workshops™ are designed to meet an acute need for robust military to civilian transition program and close the gap. By addressing transition issues at their root cause, NVTSI and its network of partners helps transitioning service members, veterans and spouses successfully transitioning from the military-to-civilian world through a three phased, 15-day intensive workshop that empowers them with resiliency and self sufficiency. The goal of the workshop is to assist veterans in reframing their thought patterns from military service to civilian life, with all veterans achieving, within their potential, their unique goals in the TRANSITION DOMAINS of: Employment and Career, Education, Living Situation, Personal Effectiveness & Wellbeing and Community-Life Functioning. The results of the the program after five years is a 97% success rate for over 1300 REBOOT graduates. Discover how you can REBOOT your life after military service at: www.REBOOT.vet ABOUT NATIONAL VETERANS TRANSITION SERVICES, INC. (NVTSI)

NVTSI is a San Diego-based 501(c)3 organization dedicated to assisting veterans in adjusting to civilian life and securing meaningful employment by combining best practice performance social solutions and techniques. The organization provides returning service members and veterans with a social and career transition workshop program called“REBOOT.” NVTSI was established by a group of retired high-ranking Naval and Marine Corps officers and workforce development professionals who seek to fill a tremendous gap in the continuum of veteran services. The REBOOT Workshops™ was designed by NVTSI in collaboration with our partners; The Pacific Institute® and; Operation Legacy™, bringing together the best in class cognitive behavioral training solutions proven to achieve results.

National Veterans Transition Services, Inc. aka REBOOT 4007 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 203, San Diego CA 92108 Phone: 619-822-2701 Fax:866-535-7624 Email: reboot@nvtsi.org Web: www.REBOOT.vet

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Mentorship for children in military families who deserve our thanks and support. Enroll a child or become a Big Brother or Big Sister. Call (858) 746.9173 SDBigs.org/OperationBigs

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By CraigZabojnik USAA

5 Tax Tips

for Service Members and Their Families

As tax time approaches, military members and their families should take time to understand the special advantages the IRS extends to them. Here are some of the benefits that could apply to you: For deployed service members: Many service members know combat pay isn’t taxable. This benefit can save thousands of dollars, and it’s already reflected on tax forms. Deployed members also may request extensions for filing tax returns, paying taxes and contributing to IRAs. But be aware of the potential downside — a delay in filing can delay a refund too, if the IRS owes you money. For members of the Reserve and National Guard: When your Reserve or Guard duties take place more than 100 miles away from home, you may be able to deduct unreimbursed travel expenses. What’s more, the cost to purchase and maintain uniforms can be tax-deductible if off-duty wear is prohibited — as is

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this rule if orders require them to move — though the details can be complex. Additionally, if you take a trip to search for a new home because of a militarydirected move, those costs can be taxdeductible.

usually the case. Just make sure to factor in any uniform allowance or reimbursement. For military spouses: Since 2009, the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act has allowed spouses to keep an established state of residency when accompanying a service member relocating on orders. That means those married to service members don’t necessarily pay state income taxes in the state where they’ve relocated.

Free assistance: Don’t forget that free tax assistance is available at most military installations. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, known as VITA, offers free advice and tax preparation help to military families. The program›s volunteers are certified by the IRS.

For home sellers: Taxpayers selling homes may avoid paying capital gains taxes if they’ve lived in the home for two of the five years before the sale. Uniformed members may get relief from

Learn more about tax benefits for service members on the IRS website.

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communities built to support those who serve.

. 24/7 Maintenance . No Security Deposit . Gas & Water Included Roadside Assistance . Average Electrical Use Included . Intrusion Alarms

Free Family Events

Call 866-779-5434 or visit www.lincolnmilitary.com

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Can Military Service Make You a

Millionaire?

By Joseph “J.J.” Montanaro, Certified Financial Planner™ Here’s a question to motivate you as we begin a new year: Can you retire from the military as a multimillionaire? A review of the DoD Stat Book a couple of days ago got me thinking about the possibility. With all the changes in the works for military retirement and a son just launching his military life, I had the incentive I needed to spend a little extra time on the subject. My conclusion: Financial freedom may be well within the grasp of those that serve our country, even if it’s not the primary reason they do what they do. When you enter the service at, say, 18 or 22, you’re probably not thinking about being able to kick back at age 50. But if you want to have any hope of doing just that, you should think about the two big factors that could come into play. First, there’s the military retirement check that’s long been a staple of military compensation. This is where those DoD statistics come into play. The Defense Department puts the value of the monthly check an O-6 retiring today with

increase it further each time they got a timein-service, cost-of-living or promotion pay raise — even though contributing some of each to your retirement is a good idea.

30 years of service at $2.2 million. An E-9’s military retirement would equate to a nest egg valued at nearly $1.3 million. The DoD made a number of assumptions, but the idea was to put a price tag or value on the monthly military retirement check a military retiree will receive.

Where would our hypothetical service members be when they dropped off their

My conclusion: Financial freedom may be well within the grasp of those that serve our country, even if it’s not the primary reason they do what they do. That cost-of-living-adjusted retirement check is a pretty good start on the road to multimillionaire status. But, it›s going to take more than just that to get there.   The second factor comes in the form of investing for retirement. Sticking with our scenario, let’s assume that these career service members were forward-thinking enough when they joined the military 30 years ago to make a 10% contribution to some sort of retirement savings vehicle. The Thrift Savings Plan would work well today, but that wasn’t an option three decades ago. Each year, for the first 10 years of their careers, they increased their savings by 1% until it reached 20% — at that point I left it level. Let’s just assume that they didn’t

retirement paperwork at the end of last year? The O-6 would have about $900,000 to add to the value of his or her pension. The E-9 would have accumulated $500,000. That’s multimillionaire, or pretty close to multimillionaire, status. Sure, I simplified things, and left out taxes altogether, but I think it’s a classic military 80% solution. It’s good enough to get the job done and certainly illustrates my point.    Those in uniform have access to a relatively short path to financial freedom. If you’re making your own personal commitment to retirement, the numbers I used may just be the beginning.    There’s only one stipulation: You’ve got to start today.

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BY KEITH ANGELIN

Drugs & Alcohol: When Are the “Good Times” Over? All too often when people telephone to ask me about counseling, they tell me they’re calling because they are an “alcoholic” or an “addict”. When I ask them why they think so, they say things like; “I drink too much”, “All my friends say I am”, or “I love to party.” I also provide court-ordered assessments for people who simply make the mistake of celebrating too much at an event, and end

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up losing their driving privileges. Usually they feel angry and ashamed at being unfairly labeled as an alcoholic or an addict when their only crime was consuming one too many drinks, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You might be surprised to learn that none of these things defines the disease we now term Substance Use Disorder.

You certainly wouldn’t walk into a job interview unprepared, would you? Heck... most people wouldn’t dream of going to the grocery store without a list! So, before someone slaps a label on you - or you label yourself - you should be armed with the facts as to what defines addiction. It is important information. Being able to recognize when the good times are over may save your life.


What Defines Addiction? Alcoholism was officially recognized as a disease by the medical community as far back as 1956. Just like other diseases, Substance Use Disorder: Never goes away, will continue to get worse, has well defined symptoms, and is predictable (often fatal). According to the American Psychiatric Association, addiction is characterized by the following eleven traits. As you read, check off those that apply to you: Compulsion. Do you sometimes use more of the substance or for a longer time than you would like? Do you sometimes drink to get drunk? Do you stop after a few, or does one lead to more? Persistent desire to quit, or unsuccessful efforts to quit or control substance use. Have you been wanting to quit? Have you tried and failed to quit or cut down?

Much time/activity to obtain, use, recover. Have you spent excessive amounts of time planning to use, obtaining, using, concealing and recovering from drugs and alcohol? Do you daydream about getting drunk or high? Have you spent time scheming of ways to avoid getting caught? Craving. Do you experience an overwhelming desire or urge to use? When you think of using alcohol or drugs, do you experience a physical reaction like a dog seeing his food bowl? Examples include increased heart rate, sweaty palms, a burst of pleasurable feelings etc. Failure to fulfill major role obligations. Has substance use interfered with your responsibilities at work, school or home? Do you blow off events or call in sick in order to use or recover from using?

with your ability to interact with others? Isolation. Has substance use caused you to withdraw from participating in social, occupational or recreational activities? Use in physically hazardous situations. Have you continued to drink or use even though that behavior places you in physically dangerous situations? Have you gotten a DUI? Use despite recurrent physical or psychological problems. Do you continue to use even though you have a physical or psychological ailment that is likely to have been caused or worsened by the substance? Tolerance. Do you continue to need more of the substance to get the same high?

Use despite recurrent social or interpersonal problems. Have you continued to use chemicals even though they interfere

Withdrawal. When you stop using, do experience physical or emotional withdrawal, including irritability, anxiety, shakes, sweats, nausea, or vomiting?

When it’s Over, IT’S OVER! To meet the medical definition of an addict or alcoholic, you need answer yes to only three (3) of these questions. If you did, I want you to stop for a moment and think about how that makes you feel. Before today you may have gone quite a long time abusing drugs and alcohol. In fact you might not even remember just how long other than knowing those substances have always been there for you. All the while you suffered under the misconception that it was under control, The truth is, if you have a substance use disorder then you probably waved adios to the good times long ago. Guess what… they are not coming back no matter how much you try. Take it from me. I tried so hard to keep the party going that I lost my job, career, house, marriage, health, friends and finances. Don’t let ego get in your way. Accept reality. Gather the courage and speak up now. See a counselor. Attend a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Read the books. I am a recovering addict and alcoholic who found real fulfillment after drugs and alcohol. There are millions more like me. If we can do it, so can you.

Our Court-Approved Substance Abuse Assessments Can Win Your Case! Approved by DMV, Family Services and Criminal Courts nationwide Court-ordered substance abuse assessments can determine the outcome of drug and alcohol related cases, including DUI, Family Services and criminal cases. Our expert assessments keep you on the road, out of jail, united with family or in treatment.

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Did you miss the article on Unbroken? Service Dogs? American Sniper? Military Life? Fighting PTSD?

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