Entries in Joining Forces (3)


Michelle Obama to Give Coast Guard Cutter Sober Send-Off

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Two years and two whacks of a champagne bottle after she first christened it, first lady Michelle Obama will on Saturday formally commission the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stratton, a ship she sponsored as part of her Joining Forces initiative.

Obama will attend a ceremony on Coast Guard Island in Alameda, Calif., marking the beginning of active service for the Stratton, the White House announced. Officials said the vessel will patrol the coastline and conduct missions necessary for national defense.

“As the ship’s sponsor, the first lady will ceremonially give the order to bring the ship to life, at which time the crew will board the Stratton with much fanfare,” the White House said in a statement.

The ship is named after Capt. Dorothy Stratton, who led the 11,000-strong Coast Guard Women’s Reserve during World War II.  The first lady is expected to meet with women veterans who served alongside Stratton during her visit.

“As a woman, and as a mother of two daughters, as an American, I stand in awe of her life of service,” Mrs. Obama said in 2010.  "And after all these years later, all of us -- whether you’re a woman or a man, Coast Guard or another service, whether you’re military or civilian -- every American can be inspired by her example.”

Mrs. Obama christened the unfinished ship by breaking a champagne bottle across the hull -- a well-worn tradition -- during a Pascgoula, Miss., ceremony in July 2010.  No champagne will be involved in the commissioning.

Obama’s West Coast trip will also include a campaign fundraiser and participation in the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, where she will honor singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her recent outreach to victims of tornadoes and floods.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Michelle Obama, Jill Biden to Push Military Spouse Employment

Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will unveil on Wednesday the results of a national study aimed at boosting employment among military spouses in careers that require state occupational licensing, such as teachers, child care workers and nurses.

Spouses in those careers commonly face financial and administrative burdens every time they change residency -- which is often in military family life.  The report offers a roadmap to help streamline occupational licensing across state lines.

The White House estimates the licensing burdens, “negatively impact employability for more than 100,000 military spouses,” or 35 percent of all military spouses in the labor force.

Only 11 states currently have laws allowing portability of occupational licenses. Thirteen states have legislation pending.

Obama and Biden are expected to add pressure on more states to consider laws that would allow for easier state-to-state transfer of certification.  

Wednesday's Pentagon event is billed as part of the Obama-Biden “Joining Forces” initiative to support veterans and their families. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Michelle Obama Touts New Effort on Military PTSD, Brain Injuries

The White House/Chuck Kennedy(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden on Wednesday touted a new commitment by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) to improve the health care delivered to military veterans and their families.

Their goal, they said in a statement, is to create a new generation of doctors, medical schools and research facilities capable of providing a quality of care “worthy of their sacrifice.”

Some 130 U.S. medical schools associated with the AAMC and AACOM had pledged their support.

“I’m inspired to see our nation’s medical schools step up to address this pressing need for our veterans and military families,” said Mrs. Obama in a statement.  “By directing some of our brightest minds, our most cutting-edge research, and our finest teaching institutions toward our military families, they’re ensuring that those who have served our country receive the first-rate care that they have earned.”

The two medical education groups say they will focus on developing new research and clinical trials for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries so that they can better understand and treat those conditions.  The group also plans to share the information and best practices they develop through a collaborative web forum.

“Medical schools have long recognized the sacrifice and commitment of our military, veterans, and their families,” said Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges.  ”Because of our integrated missions in education, clinical care, and research, America’s medical schools are uniquely positioned to take a leadership role in this important effort.”

The project is part of the first lady’s Joining Forces initiative to support veterans and military families.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio