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7 Simple Tools That Will Make Deployment Easier On The Family
Deployments can present challenges for military families. They worry about their loved ones who are called to duty, and are sometimes stressed by things on the home front as well. Much of how a deployment turns out for a military family is unpredictable. However, there's a lot about a deployment that one can plan and prepare for, such as sharing of certain responsibilities, quality communication, identifying key resources like child care services and legal counsel, to name a few.
Thankfully, there are various digital resources available to help military families during deployments.Here are seven tools that have great reviews, many of which I’ve personally benefited from, and can be helpful in easing the deployment process.
A friend recently pointed me to Sandboxx, and I’m glad she did. When it comes to camaraderie and sentiment, Sandboxx definitely strikes the emotional chords. This is an app developed by veterans, specifically for the military community, to facilitate relationships, friendships and support. It centers around uploading heartfelt letters and pictures digitally with the app, then having the Sandboxx team convert those digital letters and pictures into physical items that they mail out to people’s loved ones. Included with each mailing is a return envelope for in-the-moment responses. True to their tagline, Sandboxx does an awesome job of simplifying the military lifestyle.
With over 100 million downloads, rated an average 4.2 out of 5 stars by users, my own wife says this mobile application is a lifesaver during deployments. Tango allows people to enjoy free text chat, plus high-quality video and voice calls. Although there are various similar apps available on the market, Tango's big advantage to military families is the access to free international calls with other Tango users. This is a huge budget saver for military families during deployments, since it does not use your phone provider's minutes or text plan. On top of the costs savings, people can use Tango to have some fun by sharing photos, playing games, and browsing music selections.
I think we've all experienced the hassle of managing paper documents and acquiring signatures on them from geographically separated people. This inconvenience can become a major issue during deployment. But DocuSign is a digital resource that can help solve this problem. With this app, I’ve been able to endorse an official power of attorney, update my will, co-sign a lease with my wife, grant my younger brother access to my property, and more. It's fairly simple to use, and makes your electronic signature just as official as your wet-ink signature. I mostly use it through my laptop, but there’s a phone app available as well.
Especially valuable for newlyweds whose spouses have zero experience with the military life, this tool is a customizable app designed to help military families navigate life events. Created by the National Military Family Association, MyMilitaryLife can help remove the guesswork for military families getting what they need. One of my favorite features of this app is the push notifications about discounts and programs that are exclusive to military families. My wife really likes the “what spouses are saying” feature, because word of mouth and peer reviews are can provide valuable insight.
Taking care of the kids is a responsibility that works best when shared between spouses. Often, the spouse who remains on the homefront can get overwhelmed when dealing with the kids alone. When deployed, the mission and the long can prevent participation in the daily household routines. But, MyLunchMoney, a website and mobile app, creates an opportunity for a deployed parent to help their partner care for the kids, even while away. Parents can use it to pay for school meals and other school-related expenses at any time, from anywhere, using a computer or smartphone. MyLunchMoney is very secure, protected by information security industry standards. Deployed parents can use MyLunchMoney to help their partners feel less stressed, and make co-parenting an uninterrupted activity.
Even though technology affords us many conveniences in life today, sometimes we all need something tangible, especially when separated from our loved ones. The Postagram app features the best of both the digital world and the physical world. It makes it possible for users to take pictures with the app, or to use pictures from their social media profiles, and then send printed versions of the pictures to family and friends across the globe. Postagram is very inexpensive, costing just $0.99 to send picture-postcards anywhere in the United States, and only $1.99 for delivery in other countries. And those prices include postage. Thinking back to when I was deployed, receiving letters, cards and pictures in the mail was a huge deal for my mood and confidence. I see Postagram as a big morale booster.
Deployments can put a hamper on relationships, since it minimizes the opportunity for intimacy. It’s sometimes challenging to maintain closeness and affection while separated, especially with lack of privacy due to the threat of digital data breaches and snail-mail thieves. Using Couple makes keeping in touch with that special someone much less daunting. Couple is a private relationship platform. It's free, lots of fun, and designed for you and your partner’s eyes only, hint hint. Connect with each other through video, photos, audio, and even digital stickers. This app also enables couples to set reminders, share to-do lists, share locations, suggest places to go out to on date nights, and do much more. Here's the most romantic feature of Couple: It builds a private timeline to preserve a shared history of all the special moments. And then there's the sexiest feature: send "Secrets," which are photos that disappear after a fixed time. Although Couple is number seven on this list, in my opinion, it’s the first one that military couples should try if they haven't already.
There's no way to actually make a deployment easy. Orders are given, and military families experience separation periods. But, these seven tools have all been touted by military service members and families as effective in improving the overall deployment reality.
At least 4 American veterans among group arrested in Haiti with arsenal of weapons and tactical gear
At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.
Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.
They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.
What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if the employee behind a firearm company's Facebook page decided to goaded a bunch of Marines into destroying their brand new firearms? Now you know.
A top Senate Republican and fierce ally of President Donald Trump reportedly exploded at Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently about the U.S. military's plans to withdraw all troops from Syria by the end of April.
"That's the dumbest f******g idea I've ever heard," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly replied when Shanahan confirmed the Trump administration still plans to complete the Syria withdrawal by April 30.
Later, Graham told Shanahan, "I am now your adversary, not your friend."
If you are in the market for any size of military surplus vehicle, keep an eye on GovPlanet. The online auction house is about to start selling U.S. Navy and Marine Corps surplus M1161 ITV Growlers and seven-ton Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement trucks.
The White House will keep challenging the Pentagon on the threat of climate change until it gets an answer it likes
The definition of insanity, the old saying goes, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result — a definition that applies perfectly to the Trump administration's response to the looming national security threat of global climate change.