Saturday, November 29, 2008

Baby Boom Hits the Base

"For Fort Bragg soldiers, the send of the surge in Iraq led to an unexpected surge at home. Since the 22,000 members of the 82nd airborne began returning to the states a year ago, the number of births at the base has increased by 50 percent.

The Fort Bragg hospital has been delivering 10 babies a day. The base's hospital started noticing a spike in births over the summer, with nearly 300 a month.
The presence of prominent bellies and babies are ever apparent on base and a sure sign the trend will continue into 2009 as officials expect.
Capt. Jennifer Hernandez admitted she got pregnant the same day her husband returned from abroad. Now, she has trouble finding maternity wear because of the higher demand, and items she purchased are on back order. "

ABC News: Baby Boom Hits the Base:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Feeding a small army

"By John Ramsey
Staff writer
The ovens in the 3rd Brigade mess hall stayed on from Monday night to Tuesday morning, cooking enough food to feed a small Army.
From 6 p.m. until 7 a.m., 22 cooks prepared 823 pounds of turkey, 526 pounds of ham and 319 pounds of pot roast, not to mention the boatloads of gravy, stuffing and all sorts of Thanksgiving fixings. And that was just for the 3rd Brigade Combat Team’s mess hall, one of several on Fort Bragg that will feed more than 13 tons of holiday feast food to soldiers this week.
Cornucopias in the center of the room — facing a fridge full of pumpkin pies — overflowed with grapes, bananas, walnuts and M&Ms.

In about five hours, officers in their dress blues shoveled mashed potatoes, meats and more onto the plates of about 3,000 soldiers.
Soon after mealtime began at 11 a.m., a line snaked outside and around the corner of the mess hall, a building that may see a lot less traffic come next week. That’s when the 3rd Brigade Combat Team — about 3,500 men and women who make up part of the 82nd Airborne Division — will deploy to Iraq.
Three such soldiers — all in the Brigade Support Battalion, Alpha Company — sat around a table Tuesday afternoon, the food on their plates tipping over onto their green trays.
They said the food was juicier than the usual fare, with more down-home flavor. And seeing the bosses doing the serving was an added treat.
Pfc. William Benis said sharing a Thanksgiving meal with Pvt. Lorne Russell and Pfc. Angela Santos seemed fitting.
“We’ve been in the same place, going through the same stuff for a year and a half,” Benis said. “This is family after a while.”

Staff writer John Ramsey can be reached at or 486-3574." - Current Article Page:

Friday, November 07, 2008

DoD Announces Expansion of the Defense and Veterans Affairs Disability Evaluation System Pilot

"DoD Announces Expansion of the Defense and Veterans Affairs Disability Evaluation System Pilot

The Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today the expansion of the Disability Evaluation System (DES) pilot to 19 installations across the country, representing all military departments.

“The decision to expand the pilot was based upon a favorable review that focused on whether the pilot met its timeliness, effectiveness, transparency, and customer and stakeholder satisfaction objectives,” said Sam Retherford, director, officer and enlisted personnel management, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. “This expansion extends beyond the national capital region, so that more diverse data from other geographic areas can be evaluated, prior to rendering a final decision on worldwide implementation.”

On Oct. 1, 2008, the pilot was expanded to Fort Meade, Md., and Fort Belvoir, Va. The remaining 17 installations will be introduced to the pilot upon completion of site preparations and personnel orientation and training, during a 7-month period from November 2008 to May 2009.

The remaining installations to begin the program are: Army: Fort Carson, Colo., Fort Drum, N.Y., Fort Stewart, Ga., Fort Richardson, Alaska, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas, and Fort Polk, La.; Navy: Naval Medical Center (NMC) San Diego and Camp Pendleton, Calif., NMC Bremerton, Wash., NMC Jacksonville, Fla., and Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and Air Force: Vance Air Force Base, Okla., Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska., and Travis Air Force Base, Calif.

In November 2007 the DoD and VA implemented the pilot test for disability cases originating at the three major military treatment facilities in the national capital region. The pilot is a test of a new process design eliminating the duplicative, time-consuming, and often confusing elements of the two current disability processes of the departments. Key features of the DES pilot include one medical examination and a single-sourced disability rating. To date, more than 700 service members have participated in the pilot during the last ten months.

The pilot is focused on recommendations from the reports of the Task Force on Returning Global War on Terrorism Heroes, the Independent Review Group, the President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors (the Dole/Shalala Commission), and the Commission on Veterans’ Disability Benefits."

DefenseLink News Release: DoD Announces Expansion of the Defense and Veterans Affairs Disability Evaluation System Pilot: