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Making the leap

Posted 6/26/2011   Updated 6/26/2011 Email story   Print story


by Master Sgt. Collen McGee
433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

6/26/2011 - LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- There is a chasm between military culture and civilian life. Reservists straddle that divide by the very nature of their military commitment. Sometimes they stand firmly in one world or the other for a while. After a deployment or other period of active-duty service of 180 days or more, the leap back might look like it's too far to make alone.

If the barriers include financial planning, benefit eligibility or employment assistance, the 433rd Airman and Family Readiness Flight is the first stop on the path toward transition assistance.

"We do the pre-sep counseling here," said Master Sgt. Art Allen the A&FRF noncommissioned officer in charge.

The counseling doesn't tell an Airman what to do or how to best live in the civilian world; it does serve as a tool to build an individual plan that fits their needs.

Another resource available to transitioning reservists can be accessed through the Web at TurboTAP.org. On the Turbo TAP page you can find a printable guide to transitioning and several on-demand computer-based training courses. Airmen may also register for any of the live online learning events. Registration for the online events is limited and the site recommends early registration for those seminars.

Other resources and benefits available to transitioning Airmen include programs through the Veteran's Administration and MilitaryOneSource.com.

After spending months with both feet planted in the military lifestyle, the maze of available resources can make the transition back look difficult. Starting at A&FRF is designed to make the path between the military and civilian worlds clearer.

Below is a list of on line information sources that can assist you when planning for retirement or return to civilian life after active service. It pays to check them often when facing a transition as benefits can change or clarifications to benefits are often publicized at the following websites.

Veterans Administration http://www.va.gov/

If you are new to the Veterans Administration and need to begin the process of learning about and applying for benefits http://www.va.gov/opa/newtova.asp

Find accredited attorneys, claims agents, or Veterans Service Organizations Representatives to assist you http://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp

Military One Source provides counselors and acts as a clearing house for many benefits they can be reached 24-hours at 1-800-342-9647 or online at www.militaryonesource.com

To apply for VA Health Benefits: https://www.1010ez.med.va.gov/sec/vha/1010ez/

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