27 March 2012

Hero's Salute



* Complimentary admission for active duty military representing all five service branches, active members of a reserve or National Guard unit, and/or up to three direct dependants.
* Valid for one complimentary single-day admission per person, per year, to one of the following SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment parks:
o SeaWorld Orlando, San Diego, or San Antonio
o Busch Gardens Tampa Bay or Williamsburg
o Sesame Place
o Adventure Island
o Water Country USA
* Offer not valid for separate ticketed events including Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa and A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place.
* Offer valid through 12/31/2012. Operating days and hours vary by park. Please check with specific park for current operating schedule.

25 March 2012

Pre Deployment Emotions

This weekend was a crazy one in our house. And not for any particular reason, or any good reason. Thinking back on what happened or triggered the emotions, I can't pin point it to one thing said, or done. But I am mindful that beneath the surface emotions will heighten as we get closer to deployment date. It's a good thing we're going away for Spring Break. I think we all need a break from the house, from school and sports, from our community so that we can focus on just us. The Navy has new beach front cottages at North Island (Coronado Island, San Diego). We visited last summer and loved it. We're all looking forward to going back.

24 March 2012

Military Wives Rally

I can't imagine what the wife of Sgt Bales is going through.  My heart also goes out to her and her children.

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12 March 2012

US Army to soldiers: 'Check-ins' can kill

While the U.S. Army knows its soldiers live in the modern world and carry location-aware, socially networked smartphones, it is reiterating the dangers of broadcasting too much information, because oversharing could cost lives.

Reporting from Fort Benning, Ga., Cheryl Rodewig summed it up this way on the official homepage of the U.S. Army: "Someone with the right software and the wrong motivation could download the photo and extract the coordinates from the metadata."

As civilians, we're constantly giving out warnings about the dangers of revealing real-time locations via Facebook and Foursquare check-ins, or via tweets.We also tell you how to disable location tracking in your smartphones. Not only does it make individuals vulnerable to stalking, but also to robbery and other theft, if someone knows when you're not home. But that still doesn't deter many people, who still feel the need to tell us which restaurant they're at, whose house they're visiting and any other venue that they may feel to be of interest.

But soldiers who upload photos to Facebook "could broadcast the exact location of their unit," wrote Rodewig, citing Steve Warren, an administrative officer in the intelligence office of the Army's Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE). Warren gave Rodewig a chilling example of the consequences of geo-tagging from 2007:
"When a new fleet of helicopters arrived with an aviation unit at a base in Iraq, some soldiers took pictures on the flightline, he said. From the photos that were uploaded to the Internet, the enemy was able to determine the exact location of the helicopters inside the compound and conduct a mortar attack, destroying four of the AH-64 Apaches."
If that isn't enough to shake the average soldier into stopping that practice, Rodewig's story also extends the danger to family members of those who serve the country, in that with Facebook Timeline, posts could add up to patterns that those with nefarious purposes could use to harm service members.

As Kent Grosshans, an operations security officer in the MCoE, says in the story:
"In operations security, we talk about the adversary. The adversary could be a hacker, could be terrorists, could be criminals; someone who has an intent to cause harm. The adversary picks up on pieces of information to put the whole puzzle together."
In the spring of 2011, built-in location tracking on smartphones was the source not only of public outrage, but also prompted congressional inquiries that went right to the heart of privacy concerns. And more recently, the discovery of the Carrier IQ key-logging software has also raised hackles, as again, consumers' movements are being tracked without their consent or knowledge.

But now, not only smartphones have built-in GPS --so do the latest point-and-shoot digital cameras.

Soldiers (and their families) should also be cautious when posting any images. It's also probably a good time to really check out who you're sharing information with, and tighten the privacy settings on whatever social network you use regularly.

It's hard, we know, when families are separated and sometimes the only thing that brings them together are those images to let others know they're safe. And it's hard not to share reunions with Facebook friends, but given what's at stake, the warnings from the Army are reasonable and should, at the very least, command a moment's hesitation.

05 March 2012

Deployment Count Downs

We're only a few month out from our fourth deployment- this one being a year long deployment.  And I'm trying to look around for a deployment count down.  I've seen a lot of the chain links but I don't like those visually.  I do like the tree/leaves idea.  I could make a tree trunk poster and put it on the wall and we could add leaves each day with something the kids did that day written on the back.  Monthly we could send the leaves to hubby, or save them for the whole year- which is a lot of leaves.

I'm still looking around for more ideas.

Military Spouse

10 Things You May Not Know About Military Wives Spouses

By sarahlynne

1. When a deployment is imminent, we just want it to start. That doesn't mean we want our spouses to leave. We don't. But when the date has been set and our husband's bag is sitting half-packed in the corner of the bedroom, we start getting anxious, worried and a little bit angry. We think about the upcoming months and everything he's going to miss and everything we're going to have to do alone. It's overwhelming. Once they leave, we can start to tackle the challenges one at a time and that's so much easier than the waiting. But those last few weeks before he leaves are wrought with frustration, nervousness and a little fear.

2. We are not miserable the whole time they are gone. We don't like that our family is split up, but we can't live in the future or press a pause button on our life, so we focus on other things. Hobbies, children, visiting friends and family, work; our life is still full. Just not complete.

3. But there are tears right underneath the surface. Whenever our children do something new, or something exciting or sad happens, or even when there have been just too many nights that we've stayed in alone, we get really sad. And we can't always be sad because we don't want to upset the kids.

4. That being said, most of us like our lifestyle. We enjoy the adventure of moving every few years, starting over, making new friends and living in various parts of the country and world. We have close friends everywhere. It's stressful yes, but also exciting.