Get Ready for the 2020 Chapter of the Year Competition

ATTENTION, CHAPTER CHAIRS: The deadline for submitting your Chapter of the Year package to the San Antonio headquarters is rapidly approaching. The submission deadline is 31 July 2020 and the nomination forms are online at the AFSFA web site "Members", then "Members Documents" then "AFSFA Chapter Recognition Program."  The competition period for the award covers the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.  All of the rules and processes remain in place for the 2020 competition. The AFSFA vice president and regional directors will use the posted point scoring system for judging. The board of directors will validate the scores in time for the awards ceremony at the banquet. As with last year, we know from reading your minutes there are nearly 40 chapters doing great work that needs to be recognized – we invite you to “take-on” the reigning champion, the Ron Blatman Evergreen Chapter, and the 2019 runner-up, the Travis Bay Area Chapter!

For more information review the policy letter at:  http://afsfaonline.com/index.php/members/member-documents/120-afsfa-chapter-recognition-policy-statement

 

Easter Bunny Visits Children of Deployed Parents

A1C Cameron Otte, 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

The Easter Bunny made a stop at Travis Air Force Base April 11 to visit families of deployed service members.

The Easter Bunny prepares to give candy to children from military families with deployed parents, April 11, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The Easter Bunny hand-delivered 163 bags of candy to the children’s homes. U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Cameron Otte

Jannet Rodriguez, a unit program coordinator for the 60th Security Forces Squadron at Travis AFB, organized the visit to deliver some cheer during the coronavirus pandemic.

“With all the gloom of being in quarantine and the lockdowns, I think it’s important to spread some joy,” Rodriguez said. “I wanted to allow the opportunity for children to have an Easter event and not feel left out. We were going to have a squadron event, but since they were unable to come to us we decided to come to them.”

The Easter Bunny went door-to-door to visit with Travis families and delivered 163 candy bags.

“We started by purchasing 800 eggs and all the decorations needed to pack them,” Rodriguez said. “Then, we coordinated with the volunteers to pack the eggs and make the bags. After we finished, we mapped all the houses that we were going to deliver to on Saturday.”

The volunteers also made Easter bags for deployed service members to receive upon their return.

“I have a child, so I can relate to the other spouses on base who feel they are missing out on this holiday,” Rodriguez said.

The families seemed to really enjoy the event and the unexpected visit from the Easter bunny.

“I think what they are doing is great,” said Ericka Hrkach, spouse of U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jordan Hrkach, 60th SFS military working dog handler. “My kids were so excited to see the Easter Bunny for the first time. It made us happy and was a very special moment for our kids.”

Rodriguez said the event was a success because the Travis community came together.

“It feels so great getting involved with events like these,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes I go a little overboard and end up getting in over my head, and that’s why I’m so thankful to all the volunteers who helped support this with me. I think all the effort is worth it when you see a child’s face light up with excitement because nothing is more precious than a child’s smile.

“I think it’s great people are still willing to volunteer even with all the extra precautions people have to take because of the coronavirus.”

 DoD Response to COVID-19 - DoD ID Cards and Benefits

The Department of Defense is committed to protecting the security of our nation and its people by issuing identification (ID) cards to individuals requiring access to government systems and facilities, and to eligible individuals authorized to receive Uniformed Service benefits and privileges by law.

The Department is equally committed to the safety of our personnel and beneficiaries, including retirees and other high-risk populations. This includes ensuring continued access to healthcare and other benefits during this time of increasing precaution and restrictions in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). To ensure DoD ID card offices are postured to maintain continuity of operations, and to minimize the number of non-essential required visits at DoD ID card offices, the following guidance is in effect through September 30, 2020:

Common Access Cards (CAC) & Volunteer Logical Access Credentials (VoLAC)

  • CACs and VoLACs which expire on or after April 16, 2020, and are within 30 days of expiration, may have the certificates updated using ID Card Office Online to allow for continued use for logical access through September 30, 2020. The User Guide below provides details on who is eligible, and whom to contact for questions or problems. 
  • CACs shall not be reissued due to printed information changes (e.g., promotions, name changes). 
  • CACs that expire on or after April 16, 2020, are authorized for continued use to facilitate access to benefits through September 30, 2020, if the cardholder’s eligibility for benefits is unchanged. 
  • Existing and new Trusted Associate Sponsorship System (TASS) applications will be valid for 180 days, permitting TASS-sponsored cardholders to take advantage of the remote options to update their certificates. 
  • The policy memorandum allowing transferring DoD civilian employees to retain their CAC will be reissued. 

Uniformed Services ID Cards (USID) 

  • If a cardholder's affiliation is unchanged, USID cards which expired on or after January 1, 2020, are authorized for continued benefit use through September 30, 2020. 
  • Termination of cardholder affiliation with the DoD or termination of benefit eligibility shall be verified electronically prior to confiscating an expired USID card with an expiration date on or after January 1, 2020. 
  • Remote USID card renewals and reissuance shall be expanded. 
  • Remote family member enrollment/eligibility updates are authorized. 
  • Remote USID card initial issuance for first-time issuance or replacement of lost/stolen ID card is authorized. 
  • All remotely-issued USID cards shall be issued with an expiration date not to exceed one year from the date of issuance. 
  • The minimum age for initial USID card issuance is increased from 10 to 14 years. 
  • Continued use of the Reserve USID card to obtain active duty benefits is authorized for mobilized Reservists and their eligible dependents. 

The Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) will continue to be the authoritative source to verify statutory eligibility for DoD Healthcare and other benefits.

 U.S. Air Force Public Affairs published information on cac.mil about the new policy to accept expired credentials. Find the language and more information at:

https://www.cac.mil/Coronavirus/

Defenders, Firefighters Host Lunch for Medical Staff

By Lauren Russell, 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs, 10 April 2020

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Airmen from the 66th Security Forces Squadron and 66th Civil Engineering Division hosted an appreciation luncheon for members of the 66th Medical Squadron here, April 6.

The event recognized the hard work members of the 66 MDS have been putting in during COVID-19 response operations.

“We’ve all seen how hard they’ve been working and wanted to do something to really share our gratitude with the medical team,” said Maj. Shane Watts, 66 SFS commander.

The outdoor luncheon featured a “walking taco” lunch line, where volunteers spooned taco meat into prepackaged chip bags to minimize contact.

“Of course we spread ourselves out, and we all had our masks and gloves,” said Master Sgt. Ryan Francois, 66 SFS first sergeant. “The lunch was the best we could think of to show them how much we appreciate them while following the right protocols.”

Members of the three units are no strangers to essential operations, and the small gesture of appreciation between first responders made an impact on the medical staff.

“It was such a huge morale booster,” said Tech. Sgt. Yesenia Benjamin, 66 MDS noncommissioned officer in charge of Public Health Element. “It was such a great sense of community and support.”

Watts said that keeping the morale and spirits of his Airmen and wingmen high in the current state of global impact is more important than ever.

“In a time that requires such drastic posturing, there are some that need to make additional sacrifices,” he said. “We want to assure our medical team that their hard work is not going unnoticed.”

STAYING SAFE …

The unfolding coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has significantly affected meetings, travel, access to DoD and USAF facilities, events and installations. On March 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidance that all large events and mass gatherings of more than 50 people be suspended for at least eight weeks. "Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities.”

AFSFA Chapters are strongly encouraged to postpone any and all events and hold virtual chapter meetings as teleconferences at least for the next 30 days or until new guidance is issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

The well-being and safety of our members, families and Defenders is of upmost importance to us and we ask all to will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation. Each of us has a personal responsibility to take actions to minimize exposure to the virus by exercising personal hygiene and protection measures put forth by the CDC. Consult the website listed above and keep you and those around safe.

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