Facebook

Twitter

Tumblr

iTunes

RSS

HEAR THIS HOUR'S UPDATE
News Pages

Entries in military (8)

Wednesday
Feb062013

Group Sends 21,000 Pizzas to US Military for Super Bowl

U.S. Military(NEW YORK) -- A non-profit group said that it sent 21,000 pizzas to members of the U.S. military for the Super Bowl, passing its goal of 20,000 pies.

Pizza 4 Patriots, a 501(c)3 registered non-profit based in Illinois, has been sending pizzas to military service members abroad for the last five years.

For Super Bowl 2013, the group’s goal was to send 20,000 pizzas to service members in the Middle East.

Mark Evans, the retired Air Force master sergeant who started the organization, says he is still calculating how much money was raised through online and mailed donations, plus donated food and materials.  For example, the pizzas required about 10,000 pounds of dry ice, at $1 a pound.

Private carrier DHL Express donated the shipping services.  Many of the pizzas were air-dropped to service members in the field.  The shipping company said it has worked with Pizza 4 Patriots to send more than 122,000 pizzas to U.S. military personnel overseas since 2008.

“We get pizzas to soldiers for under $10 when you can’t get a pizza to your house for that amount,” said Evans, who now works for AT&T.

Evans said he has already heard stories about service members who appreciated receiving pizzas for the Super Bowl on Sunday, though he hasn’t heard whether his 25-year old daughter, an Air Force pilot in Afghanistan, was able to enjoy the pizza.

“Hopefully she received some,” he said.  “It’s a very fluid situation in a combat zone.”

Many of the pizzas were delivered during the week leading up to the game.

Evans’ next goal is to collect enough money and supplies to deliver enough pizzas on July 4, Independence Day, to feed all the military service members in the Middle East.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct272012

Bed and Breakfasts Offer Free Rooms to Say “Thank You” to Military

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Hundreds of bed and breakfasts around the country will offer free rooms and discounts to active and retired military personnel for Veterans Day and beyond this year. It was an idea that started with one three-room inn in West Virginia and has grown exponentially.

Kathleen Panek, the owner and host of the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast in Shinnston, West Va., said she thought the military needed a thank you and made her whole inn available to book for free. The next year, she invited nine other inns in West Virginia to join her.

Then, she said, "I started sending out emails to [inn] state associations asking if they wanted to join us. All they had to do was offer one free room for one night, that wasn't going to break anybody. I only have three rooms. I know what it is to be small."

The first association to accept the offer was in Cody, Wyo. And then it just grew and grew, as did the work to maintain it.

"It buried me alive," she said. "I never expected anything like that."

Panek has since passed the duties off, but still participates in the offer. Now, active and retired military can find out about the deals at web sites like BnBsforVets.org and BnBfinder.com/military.

The BnBsforVets site has 244 participating inns, many of which are already selling out of their free night offer. But even if an inn is sold out for this year, this isn't an offer likely to go away, said Panek. Inquire now about booking the offer for next year.

There are nearly 100 offers on BnBfinder, ranging from a 10 percent discount to free nights. But Mary White, CEO and founder of BnBFinder, said there are even more offers than what's on the web site. "Sometimes," she laughed, "the innkeepers don't get around to loading all their deals."

She encouraged veterans to call the site's toll-free number (888 547 8226) to get personal help with finding an offer to suit them.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun262012

Members of Military Targeted by Predatory Financial Practices

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Some servicemen and women serving abroad have found themselves not only facing the danger posed to them by their enemies, but threats on the home front from predatory financial practices aimed at them and their families. That danger was the focus of testimony on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

Two military advocates with famous political ties -- Holly Petraeus, the wife of CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, and Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden -- testified before Congress Tuesday to discuss the progress made to protect 1.2 million service members from becoming the victims of scams and defending themselves from financial risks.

From her conversations with service members on 27 military bases across the country, Petraeus, who joined the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2011 as assistant director of the Office of Service Member Affairs, found housing concerns -- from delinquent mortgage payments to looming foreclosures -- are top issues confronting military families. Often times, the service members are not equipped with the financial education to protect themselves.

Petraeus said service members are targeted by aggressive marketing practices from institutions of higher education, most often for-profit universities, and hounded by debt collectors preying upon military men and women, even citing one case where a widow was forced to immediately pay a debt upon her husband's death.

In an interview with ABC News, Petraeus said, "We've seen a lot of practices that are really not okay -- where they will call their place of business, their unit, repeatedly. Sometimes they will threaten to have them busted in rank. They'll threaten them with military justice which isn't theirs to administer, and in one of the worst cases I ever heard, they even hounded a combat widow that she needed to pay the debt immediately from the debt gratuity that she'd received when her husband was killed in combat."

Petraeus described service members seeking loans over the Internet which often have high interest rates as well as auto title loans, with some lenders tacking on exorbitant service fees. She recounted the story of a service member who sought a 32-month loan for $1,600, paying over $500 a month. By the time the loan was complete, the service fees amounted to $15,000, all for a $1,600 loan.

Biden, who serves as attorney general in Delaware and is a member of the Delaware Army National Guard in the JAG unit, told ABC News that scam artists tend to target people who are vulnerable, have a steady source of income, like members of the military, and who deeply trust others.

"They go to people who are taught to trust others and rely on others. Sometimes these young men and women who serve our country so heroically and so patriotically, they trust people, and sometimes they're not as, don't have as some [sic] of the background with how they should take care of their money, and they become susceptible to and vulnerable to people who are fraudsters and scamsters," Biden said.

Biden, who completed a tour of duty in Iraq in 2009, said in the hearing before the Senate committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, that he witnessed first-hand the additional pressures placed on service members facing foreclosure or financial problems while they are serving abroad, and he pressed the government to enhance financial protections for soldiers and their families while they are abroad.

"When you send a man or woman to go fight a battle for this country and off to war, they need to be focused on one thing, and that is doing the job, two things really -- doing their job as their commander in chief tells them to do and two getting home safely to their family," Biden said.

Last week, financial regulators introduced new guidance that would help military members deal with mortgage companies when they have underwater loans or are forced to move to new bases for work. The new guidelines would alleviate service members of the burden of having to sell their homes in difficult housing markets if they face a Permanent Change of Station order. An estimated 185,000 service members are homeowners who receive PCS order each year.

Biden and Petraeus argued for the need to restructure financial education programs for new members of the military as well as make training and resources more accessible and work to expand programs to the Internet. Petraeus, who said she understands first-hand as a military spouse the hardships service members and their families face, said she feels an obligation to protect service members from predatory practices.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar062012

Obama Unveils Housing Plan to Help Military Personnel

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- While his news conference was dominated largely by foreign policy, President Obama on Tuesday began by highlighting the housing crisis, announcing new mortgage relief for U.S. military personnel and homeowners with government-insured loans.

Obama told reporters that he is not satisfied to "sit by and wait while the housing market hits bottom," casting himself as a president in charge of the recovery.

The president's plan lets borrowers with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration refinance at lower rates, saving the typical borrower roughly $1,000 a year, according to the White House.

Obama said this step will "make refinancing even more attractive to families," noting that it was akin to a tax cut for U.S. families.

While the president called for Congress to act on his broader mortgage refinance plan, he emphasized that the steps he announced Tuesday require no congressional approval.

The president also announced relief for military personnel forced to sell their homes for less than the amount owed because of a permanent change in their station.

"It is unconscionable," Obama said, that members of the armed forces and their families have been some of the most susceptible to losing their homes because of the actions of unscrupulous banks and lenders.

Service members will receive refunds if they were wrongfully denied the opportunity to reduce their mortgage payments through lower interest rates. In addition, any military personnel wrongly foreclosed upon will be compensated for lost equity, plus interest and $116,785.

video platform video management video solutions video player

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan052012

Enlisted Military Soldier Ranked as the Nation’s Most Stressful Job

Khalid Mohammed-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Being shot at and targeted with roadside bombs is certainly nerve-racking and dangerous, so it’s no surprise that the job of being an enlisted soldier in the U.S. military ranks as the nation’s most stressful job.  That’s according to CareerCast.com’s annual survey of 200 different professions. The survey measures work environment, job competitiveness, risk and related factors.  For enduring that peril and stress, enlisted military soldiers earn an average yearly income of $35,580.  Military generals were ranked as having the fourth-most stressful job in the nation, but their average annual income is $196,300.

The survey found a medical records technician had the least stressful job in the nation.

Here are CareerCast.com's 10 Most Stressful Jobs, along with their average annual income:

    Enlisted Military Soldier -- Average Income $35,580
    Firefighter -- Average Income $45,250
    Airline Pilot -- Average Income $103,210
    Military General -- Average Income $196,300
    Police Officer -- Average Income $53,540
    Event Coordinator -- Average Income $45,260
    Public Relations Executive -- Average Income $91,810
    Corporate Executive (Senior) -- Average Income $165,830
    Photojournalist -- Average Income $40,000
    Taxi Driver -- Average Income $22,440

Here are CareerCast.com's 10 Least Stressful Jobs, along with their average annual income:

    Medical Records Technician -- Average Income $32,350
    Jeweler -- Average Income $35,170
    Hair Stylist -- Average Income $22,760
    Dressmaker/Tailor -- Average Income $26,560
    Medical Laboratory Technician -- Average Income $36,280
    Audiologist -- Average Income $66,660
    Precision Assembler - Average Income $31,250
    Dietitian -- Average Income $53,250
    Furniture Upholsterer -- Average Income $29,960
    Electrical Technician -- Average Income $56,040

Find out more about CareerCast.com's survey here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov112011

Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Military Veteran

John Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Democrats and Republicans lowered their swords long enough Thursday to pass the Vow to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which would dangle tax credits at employers as incentive to hire military veterans. The House is expected to pass it next week.

In the meantime, however, there are plenty of other reasons to hire military veterans. Here are 10 of them, courtesy of the U.S. Labor Department:

Accelerated learning curve: Veterans have the proven ability to learn new skills and concepts. In addition, they can enter your workforce with identifiable and transferable skills, proven in real-world situations.

Leadership:
  Veterans understand the practical ways to manage behaviors for results. They also know the dynamics of leadership as part of both hierarchical and peer structures.

Teamwork:  Military duties involve a blend of individual and group productivity. They also necessitate a perception of how groups of all sizes relate to each other and an overarching objective.

Diversity and inclusion in action: Veterans have learned to work side by side with individuals regardless of diverse race, gender, geographic origin, ethnic background, religion, and economic status as well as mental, physical, and attitudinal capabilities.

Efficient performance under pressure:
 Veterans understand the rigors of tight schedules and limited resources. They know the critical importance of staying with a task until it is done right.

Respect for procedures: Veterans have gained a unique perspective on the value of accountability. They can grasp their place within an organizational framework, becoming responsible for subordinates’ actions to higher supervisory levels.

Technology and globalization:
 Because of their experiences in the service, veterans are usually aware of international and technical trends pertinent to business and industry. They can bring the kind of global outlook and technological savvy that all enterprises of any size need to succeed.

Integrity:
 Veterans know what it means to do “an honest day’s work.” Prospective employers can take advantage of a track record of integrity, often including security clearances.

Conscious of health and safety standards: Thanks to extensive training, veterans are aware of health and safety protocols both for themselves and the welfare of others. On a company level, their awareness and conscientiousness translate into protection of employees, property, and materials.

Triumph over adversity:
 In addition to dealing positively with the typical issues of personal maturity, veterans have frequently triumphed over great adversity. They likely have proven their mettle in mission critical situations demanding endurance, stamina, and flexibility.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May312011

Pentagon to Take Military Action Against Cyber Attacks?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Hacker attacks have become more widespread and damaging lately, enough so that the government is considering stepping in and taking military action.

According to the Wall Street Journal, some top officials at the Pentagon are now calling computer sabotage an act of war, and are considering using military force as one way to respond to the malicious attacks against the U.S.  Doing so may warn potential adversaries about hacking.

Internet security lawyer Parry Aftab says there's no such thing as a harmless cyber attack.

"Everything on the Internet belongs to someone," he says.

Businesses also stand to lose a lot if hacked and have been at the center of the most recent breaches.  Defense contractor Lockheed Martin and broadcaster PBS were the latest victims of cyber break-ins this past weekend.  Prior to that, Sony's PlayStation network was hacked, compromising the accounts of more than 100 million customers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar092011

GE Wages Never-Say-Die Campaign for Jet Engine Contract

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In a never-say-die approach, General Electric's CEO Jeffrey Immelt has vowed to continue to fight for a high-priced military jet engine contract that President Obama, the Pentagon, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate have all said they don't want.

"GE will continue to press our case in the U.S. Senate and elsewhere," Immelt wrote in a note to aviation workers after the recent House vote to eliminate funding for the company's controversial jet engine. The defeat in the House would not, he said, halt development of the Joint Strike Fighter engine, intended as an alternate for one already built for the futuristic fighter by rival firm Pratt & Whitney.

General Electric has already shelled out millions in relentless pursuit of the engine contract, and its vow to fight on is the latest evidence of the company's aggressive strategy for Washington influence. It is an approach that has helped GE become the nation's top corporate spender on lobbying, spending more than $238 million on lobbyists over the past 12 years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics -- money that has helped GE gain access to the corridors of power and some of the most remote crevices of the governing process.

"It shows what deep lobbying is all about in Washington," said Ellen Miller, a founder of the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, which monitors the influence industry. "It's lobbying members of Congress, it's being friendly to the administration, it's being all over the agencies."

While the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Medical Association have spent more on lobbying over the past decade, GE sits high atop the list of corporate spenders. AT&T, the nearest competitor, spent $162 million, while Northrop Grumman and Exxon Mobil spent just over $150 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

ABC News requested an interview with Immelt to talk about the company's lobbying strategy. Spokesman Rick Kennedy turned down that request and did not respond to specific questions sent by e-mail about the company's lobbying in general and specifically about the effort to secure the lucrative jet engine contract. Last year, Kennedy told ABC News there was a reason Congress had agreed to fund the development of its engine for years, despite opposition from the Bush and Obama administrations.

"We have been reinstated year after year after year in the budget because the case for competition is simply too compelling for a program of this size," he said. "For this reason, we feel like we're standing on the side of the angels."

An ABC News review of General Electric lobbying found that the company has more than angels on its side -- it has an arsenal of former congressional leaders from both parties, including such well-known figures as former Sen. Trent Lott and former Rep. Dick Gephardt.

Last year, GE also hired Barack Obama's former campaign manager, David Plouffe, as a consultant, according to Plouffe's recently filed financial disclosure forms. It is unclear what Plouffe was hired to do, though his relationship with the president and senior White House staff is close to unparalleled. Plouffe is now back working as a senior advisor to Obama.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio