Military and Veteran Family Information

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Local Family Assistance Center

Allentown Family Assistance Center (FAC):  Although under contract through the National Guard, a Family Assistance Center provides assistance to all serving regardless of status, recent veterans, and their families not just the National Guard’s.  It offers information and assistance on a wide variety of military, federal, state, and local resources.  Examples are legal resources and referrals, financial resources and referrals, crisis intervention and referrals, TRICARE resources and referrals, ID card and Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) information, and community information and outreach. The one for the Lehigh Valley is located in Allentown in the Curtis Armory at the 15th and Allen Streets. Point of Contact is Mr. Robert (Bob) Mealand, Family Assistance Center Specialist at tel: 610-871-2246 or cell: 717-821-4687  or email: robert.a.mealand.ctr@mail.mil.

Army Wounded Warrior (AW2) Advocate

The Army Wounded Warrior Program is the official U.S. Army program that assists and advocates for severely wounded, ill, and injured soldiers, veterans, and their families, wherever they are located, regardless of military status.  For more details and for the Advocate serving the Lehigh Valley, go to the “Helping the Wounded, Injured And Disabled” page.

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Transition Assistance Advisor …  Maybe?

State Transition Assistance Advisors (TAA): Don’t let the name fool you, this is not about transition out of the service but assistance in transitioning back to civilian life while in the Guard, even though you may find difficulty finding it on the PA Guard website.  It’s an ombudsman service especially for those who did not receive and listen to their TAPS training (not uncommon, to be expected). As they put it, “We help you navigate through the numerous benefits and entitlements in the DoD and VA system. We take the time to assist you and not toss you into the ‘800 number desert!’ We will educate you so you will understand the benefits you have earned …” The program initiated in 2005 is primarily designed to serve the members of the National Guard.  No equivalent exists in for the reserve units in this state. However, the Guard says it gladly provide services to members in all of the Reserve components, even those in the Individual Ready Reserve.  We can’t guarantee that, but it is worth asking if you need help. For our area, contact Katherine (Katie) Johnson, Bldg 9-68 MPT-SPT, Ft. Indiantown Gap at tel: 717-861-8706 or cell: 717-821-4686 or email: katie.johnson1@us.army.mil.

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Online Help

Military OneSource provides information and resources on a variety of issues ranging from everyday concerns to deployment and reintegration. The service is funded by the Department of Defense and is available to active duty, Guard and Reserve Airmen and their families 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The program was introduced to the Air Force in February 2004 with the intent of creating a way to reach military Guard and Reserve members who were not located near active duty resources. While reaching the Guard and Reserve is still a goal, Military Onesource has expanded and is now being used by many active duty members. One of its advantages is that it provides a phone/email consultant for assistance. To access Military OneSource, use the website or call 1-800-342-9647.

Military HOMEFRONT: The Department of Defense website for official Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP) program information, policy and guidance designed to help troops and their families, leaders, and service providers. It has the same call line for assistance as Military OneSource (see below):

Knowing Your Army Benefits: myarmybenefits.us.army.mil/ .  Useful to others from the other services as well. A very useful guide. See also “Knowing Your Veterans Benefits” below. [LINK]

National Military Family Association: The organization exists to educate military families concerning their rights, the benefits and services available to them, and to inform them regarding issues that affect their lives. It also advocates for needed legislation and policies. This is a “font of knowledge” site and useful to both active and reserve component families.

Coping with Returning from the War Zone – the Servicemember and His Family:

Helping Military and Veterans’ Children Cope:  Visit our own website page  which provides in one place several useful websites (best of type) for families and educators.

Other Helpful Sites:

  • Army OneSource: The Army-specific version of Military OneSource concept without the consultant.  You can portal through Military OneSource to get to this.  Other services portal directly through Military OneSource.
  • Joint Services Support Website: You’d never it know it but this site has greater use than just for the National Guardsmen.
  • For Reserve Component Families:

Army Reserve Family Program
The National Guard Family Program Online
The Pennsylvania National Guard Family Program

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Last Updated: 28 September 2013 (Bob Mealand returns to FAC on 5 Oct)

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