Celebrate Memorial Day with USBA
Memorial Day is Monday, May 27th. Please join us in observing this national holiday of remembrance.
USBA is honored to be a sponsor of the nationally televised 2013 National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, DC recognizing heroes from across the generations. Actor, best-selling author, and Army veteran J.R. Martinez will be the parade’s Grand Marshal. Celebrity guests include Gary Sinise of Lt. Dan fame from the movie “Forrest Gump,” Trace Adkins, the Grammy-nominated country artist, actor, and spokesman for the Wounded Warrior Project; and Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan, as well as others. If you can’t join us in Washington, D.C., make sure to enjoy the parade on TV. Check here for details.
We’re also pleased to continue our tradition of offering free electronic postcards to honor USBA members and all who serve. For the last 7 years, we’ve issued a series of patriotic eCards in celebration of Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day. These cards blend poignant images and inspirational words with beautiful music to create special messages for sharing with those near and far. Check out this year’s Memorial Day card.
USBA is honored to serve those who serve this Memorial Day and every day.
Planning a vacation? Check out the Armed Forces Recreation Centers
Are you looking for an enjoyable vacation destination that fits your family’s budget? Armed Forces Recreation Center (AFRC) resorts offer military guests and their families luxurious accommodations at very affordable prices.
Centrally managed and operated by the Installation Management Command (IMCOM) G9, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Programs, AFRCs are located in some of the world’s top vacation destinations. They include Shades of Green Resort (Orlando, FL), Hale Koa Hotel (Honolulu, HI), Dragon Hill Lodge (Seoul, S. Korea) and Edelweiss Lodge and Resort (Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany).
Authorized AFRC users include active-duty military, retirees, currently employed and retired Department of Defense civilians, reservists, delayed entry recruits, and family members. AFRC room rates are based on rank, pay grade, duty status, room size, and/or room location. For more information, visit their website.
During current economic times, it’s important to note that AFRCs are self-supporting and funded by non-appropriated fund revenues generated internally from operations. Revenues from AFRCs are continually reinvested to maintain and improve the physical facilities while providing the greatest possible value for AFRC guests.
Special Note: Because of the popularity of AFRCs, you need to plan and book ahead, sometimes as much as a year. However, guests say it’s well worth the wait.
And if travel of any kind is on your radar, consider joining USBA’s Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+) program. It provides 24 hour emergency assistance—including medical evacuation-- when you’re traveling. USBA members receive a special rate and a Risk Free 30-Day Trial.
How to know if you have enough life insurance
Almost everyone’s life insurance needs to change over time. There are a number of factors that can affect how much financial protection you need to meet changing financial responsibilities should something happen to you. These include marriage or divorce, a new baby or new home, responsibility for aging parents or a child’s college tuition, as well as your plans to transition or retire from the service.
As you know, your SGLI isn’t portable. It ends 120 days after you leave the service and it maxes out at $400,000. So it may not be enough to cover your current financial obligations.
With April 15th behind you and your financial situation still top-of-mind, now’s a good time to review your life insurance coverage. Make sure it still provides enough protection for those counting on you. You can use the USBA Life Insurance Needs Estimator to help you.
Then if you have questions or would like to talk with someone about what’s right for your situation, please call us at (877) 297-9235.
April is â€śMonth of the Military Childâ€ť
In 1986, Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger designated April as the “Month of the Military Child” as a way to honor military kids for their sacrifices and courage. Since then, military installations, organizations and communities have created special events to pay tribute to our little military heroes.
To celebrate “Month of the Military Child,” there’s an online resource that helps you locate events and planned activities in your area. Use the "state search" at Operation Military Kids.
You’ll find it doesn’t take a lot to put a smile on a child’s face. If you can’t find events or activities in your area, pick a date and have your son, daughter, grandson or granddaughter choose how he or she would like to spend the day. You may be surprised at their requests. Make sure to take photos to share with the parent serving.
Regardless of how you celebrate with our littlest heroes, make sure they understand the day is meant to honor and celebrate them, their sacrifices and their courage.
Please join USBA in honoring the bravery of military children everywhere.
Is long-term care insurance right for you?
Did you know it’s estimated nearly one out of two people turning 65 will require nursing home care at some point during their lives? This includes care needed after a serious accident or illness and assistance required when you can no longer care for yourself on a daily basis because of aging.
Traditional health care insurance programs—including TRICARE—don’t cover these costs, nor does Medicare or Medicare supplements. Long-term care insurance does.
Having long-term care insurance allows you to receive quality care, protect your savings, preserve important family relationships, and have peace of mind knowing you won’t be a financial burden to loved ones. It also gives you the ability to continue making your own choices:
- Your choice to remain independent and receive quality care at home.
- Your choice to free family and friends from the responsibility of caring for you.
- Your choice to spend your hard-earned savings the way you want.
It’s a fact that the longer you live, the more likely it is you’ll need long-term care. It’s also a fact that the younger you are when you buy the long-term care insurance, the lower your premium.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Now’s the time to check out your options. Find out more about long-term care insurance offered through your USBA membership. It only takes a few minutes.
Why spouses need life insurance too
You might not think it is necessary to insure your spouse especially if you live in a one income household … but think again.
Even if your spouse doesn’t work outside the home, you should consider the value of having life insurance protection on her or him. Here’s why. If your spouse passes away, you may have to pay for child care or for additional assistance in your home. And if your spouse does work outside the home, without his or her income you may not be able to cover the rent or mortgage, car payments, utilities, college education costs, and other bills. Life insurance helps fill this financial gap.
That’s why it’s important to look at your entire financial picture when determining your family’s insurance needs.
USBA offers affordable group life insurance plans for both you and your spouse including our unique USBA Double Value TWO for ONE® Family Group Level Term Life plan. This popular protection covers both of you with the same amount of coverage and pays on whoever dies first, so there’s only one premium to pay … not two.
You and your spouse can keep your USBA life insurance after you transition out of the service no matter how often you move or change jobs. It’s portable and you own it.
Learn more about affordable USBA life insurance for you and your spouse.
If travel is on your radar, read this:
Did you know USBA has a family of affinity partners that offers USBA members special savings? One of the newest is Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+).
For less than 25¢ a day, EA+ provides travelers with a safety net to help pay for emergencies health and travel insurance generally don’t cover. It also provides services that help you get the care you need when away from home. Participating members have 24/7 access to EA+ staff speaking over 70 languages with in-depth knowledge of local cultures and procedures all over the world. Learn more.
Whether you’re traveling out of town, out of state, or out of the country, when someone in your family needs medical care you can turn to EA+ for over 20 emergency and medical services including:
- Interpreters for emergencies when you don’t speak the language
- Recommendations to make sure you’re getting the best medical treatment
- Helicopter or ambulance medical evacuation to an appropriate medical facility if your current facility can’t properly treat you
- 24-Hour Doctor/ER/Dentist/Attorney Locator Service
- One round-trip economy airline ticket for a loved one to join you if you’re traveling alone and must stay in a hospital for over 7 days … plus more!
USBA members save 47% and members with families save 42% on annual enrollment. Sign up now and get a 30-day risk-free trial.
Interested in taking advantage of all your USBA membership benefits? Register at the USBA Member Service Center.
Jumpstart your 2012 taxes in February
Just thinking about April 15th is enough to cause a major headache. Between collecting the right documents, following all the current tax laws and getting everything submitted, tax time can be overwhelming.
But with a little early effort on your part and help from outside resources (e.g. your installation military Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) office and Military OneSource), the process doesn’t have to be so stressful.
To get a jumpstart this month, gather these documents and put them in a folder, drawer or shoebox:
- Social Security number and date of birth for you, your spouse and dependents
- Child care, education and adoption costs
- W-2 forms from all employers for you and your spouse
- Form 1099 for independent contractors
- Investment income forms
- Alimony information
- Social Security benefits
- Miscellaneous income
- Form 1098-E for student loan interest
- Charitable donations
- Uninsured medical and dental expenses
- Real estate taxes
- Receipts for any deductible expenses
W-2 forms are typically available from your employer by the end of January. You can also download your military W-2 from myPay. Tax forms are available at your local post office, library and the IRS website.
Don’t wait until April. Get started now. Find more help here.
January is a good time to finally ...
... review and update your life insurance. Stop putting it off! With USBA’s online tools, it only takes a few minutes. Here’s why it’s important to do an annual review.
Even though you have SGLI that maxes out at $400,000, do you know if that’s enough money to cover your current financial obligations should something happen to you? People’s lives change and so do their personal responsibilities. Find out if you have enough insurance by using this free Life Insurance Estimator.
Important Note: If you’re planning to retire or transition from the military, remember SGLI ends 120 days after you leave the service. So it’s never too soon to start researching and securing portable life insurance you can keep no matter where life takes you.
Do you need permanent or term life protection? Start by considering if your financial commitments are temporary or if you need lifelong financial protection? Then learn more about the different types of life insurance to help you decide which is right for you.
Concerned about finding affordable insurance that fits your budget? It’s quick and easy to request a free online quote for any USBA life insurance plan. You’re in no way obligated to buy anything.
Underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company, USBA plans provide rock solid, competitively priced protection specifically for those in the Armed Services including Active Duty, Transitioning Military, Veterans, Retired Military, Reserve & National Guard, Federal Employees, and spouses of those serving.
Are you retiring or transitioning in 2013?
Use this checklist to help ease the transition into civilian life. Don’t wait until 30 days before transitioning or retiring to start the process.
Career. Use the USBA Military Jobs Center to start planning your civilian career. It’s powered by the nation’s largest military placement agency, Orion International. Also start networking with other veterans and attending career fairs.
Physical move. Your transition will most likely require moving—whether it’s across town, cross country or back to your home of record. Once you have chosen your new hometown, arrange for transportation guidance. Schedule an appointment with your installation’s Transportation Office. Reimbursement for moving expenses is limited. If you plan to move yourself, use this detailed checklist.
Housing. Are you planning to buy or rent? Do you want a home with a yard, condominium or apartment? Work with a real estate agent, rental broker and online resources to streamline your search. Also research financing options for veterans.
Health insurance. While health insurance may be provided at your civilian job, you’ll be responsible for medical expenses between when your military health care ends and your private insurance starts. Ask your Transition Officer or the Health Benefits Advisor at any military medical facility to help you secure transition coverage before your separation.
Life insurance. SGLI covers you for the first 120 days after you separate. Prior to its expiration, review your options and get new life insurance in place. Even though your civilian occupation may be less risky in terms of combat danger – keep in mind no job is bulletproof in today’s economy. You don’t want to risk your family’s future. Get help looking for life insurance.
Finances. Your financial situation can change dramatically during your transition, so financial planning is critical. Service department Family Centers offer financial planning seminars, as well as individual counseling.
Resources. Use the transition counselors available at your full-time post. The MWR (Morale, Welfare, Recreation) division is another helpful resource. You can also get help here building a personal transition plan online. And this Military Separation Guide may also be helpful.
Why New York Life Insurance Company?
People often ask why USBA’s group life insurance plans are underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company. The answer is simple.
When you buy life insurance protection, you need to be confident your valid claim will be paid as promised—even if payment is 20 years or more from now. That’s why USBA selected New York Life as the underwriter for the veterans group life insurance plans the association offers.
Founded in 1845—over 177 years ago—New York Life has a long history of financial stability and reliable claims service.
New York Life Insurance Company has received the highest ratings for financial strength currently awarded to any life insurer by all four major ratings agencies: A.M. Best (A++), Standard & Poor’s (AA+), Moody’s (Aaa), and Fitch (AAA).
New York Life has proven it has the resources to meet its long-term commitments and financial obligations to our USBA members.
*Source: Individual Third Party Ratings Report (as of 6/22/12)
10 FREE Resources for Transitioning Veterans
Use these 10 free resources to help you learn more about successfully transitioning from military to civilian life.
Planning Checklist for Transitioners: Includes everything from financial matters to real estate and moving.
Life Insurance Estimator: Get online help calculating how much life insurance to buy before your SGLI runs out.
2012 List of Top 100 Military-Friendly Employers: Check this out; the #1 company may surprise you. Use this resource to help you map out your new career path.
Military-to-Civilian Pay Calculator: Find out how much civilian salary you’ll need to maintain your current standard of living by using the G.I. Jobs military-to-civilian pay calculator.
USBA Military Jobs Center: Get free job search assistance powered by Orion International, the nation’s largest military placement agency.
210 Jobs Veterans Can Get With a Year of Training: The Labor Department has identified over 200 occupations in which unemployed veterans could find work after as little as one year of education and training through the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program.
Best Colleges for Veterans: According to a Military Times survey, these are the top schools (broken down by type) when it comes to recruiting and supporting military veterans in their post-service education: 4-year colleges, online/nontraditional colleges, 2-year colleges.
Career Fair Calendar: Find a career fair near you.
“Do These Five Things BEFORE Starting Your Job Search”: Use this free resource to help streamline your job search efforts.
5 Rules for Resume Success: Get tips from experts on creating competitive resumes in an era of high-tech job hunting.
What Happens Next?
No matter how close or far you are from transitioning, you’re no doubt thinking about what it will be like after you leave the service. In addition to finding a new job and possibly moving, there will be many other changes. Among them is the fact your SGLI will end 120 days after your retirement or separation.
Now is a good time to consider your options for buying life insurance that’s portable. This is financial protection you own that will go with you no matter how often you change jobs.
Wondering how much life insurance you need after your SGLI ends? Consider your stage in life and financial responsibilities.
If you’re single and have little or no debt, you may need only to consider how you would cover the cost of your final expenses, but often even small personal debt and medical bills can be a significant burden for family to pay. If you have sizable savings or other assets, you may use life insurance to generate income your family or executor can use to pay your estate taxes. Your assets are then preserved as a legacy to family members, a favorite charity or other cause. Yet another reason to buy life insurance is to protect your insurability now while you’re in good health and while you’re younger. Life insurance is based on your age, among other factors, so the longer you wait, the more you will typically pay for an equivalent amount of life insurance in future years. And if you become uninsurable down the road, it’s too late then to try to buy it.
If you’re married and have dependent children or have debts such as a mortgage, car payment, or credit card balances, your family could be at serious financial risk if you die suddenly and your income is no longer available to them. Adequate life insurance can help protect your family’s future and cover your personal financial responsibilities.
If you’ve finished raising your family and paid off your mortgage and other debts, your life insurance needs are different from when you were younger. If you’re married, the income your spouse earns or has at their disposal may be considerably less with you gone. And you’ll still need to make sure your final expenses and perhaps medical bills are paid. Enough life insurance helps “fill the gap.”
So, how much life insurance do you need? Use this free Life Insurance Estimator to find out.
Transitioning? Use this Planning Checklist
Use this checklist to help smooth your transition from military to civilian life.
□ Consider your bank or credit card needs. Do you need a brick and mortar bank where you’re moving?
□ Develop a budget knowing it will be adjusted in the coming months.
□ Revisit your personal financial plan. Interview financial advisors.
□ Determine retirement, education and insurance needs and plan for them.
Health & Life Insurance
□ Investigate options for transitional health care.
□ Estimate your family’s life insurance needs using this free calculator.
□ Determine how you will replace SGLI to protect your family’s financial future.
□ Revisit your auto insurance policy. Obtain competitive bids and determine which fits your needs and budget.
Real Estate & Moving
□ Homeowners: Contact a real estate agent to sell your home.
□ Renters: Notify your landlord of your vacate date.
□ Contact a real estate agent where you’re moving to show you properties to buy or rent.
□ Contact a mortgage company to pre-apply for a mortgage; get a VA home loan form from the VA.
□ Determine if you need personal property storage or moving services.
□ Get moving and/or personal property insurance if your homeowners or renters policy doesn’t cover you during a move.
Telecomm & Utilities
□ Notify utility and telecomm providers of your move date.
□ Determine the best providers for phone, cellular phone, cable and internet service where you are moving.
□ Consider whether package deals or “bundles” are good deals for your needs.
□ With utility deregulation, consider your options for electricity, water and gas.
Get started with your civilian career job search by submitting your resume to job search sites that specialize in connecting you to companies specifically looking for veterans.
Leaving the military within next 18 months?
A sincere “thank you” for your service from all of us at USBA. To help during the transition ahead, USBA is pleased to offer you $5,000 of NO-COST, no-strings attached, Group Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Coverage.* This AD&D protection comes with free membership in the Uniformed Services Benefit Association (USBA).
As a USBA member you are entitled (but not required) to apply for any of our USBA group life insurance plans, TRICARE supplement coverage, and other health insurance products. All are designed specifically for veterans of the armed forces and their families. And just a reminder, your SGLI will end 120 days after your service ends. USBA coverage is portable and goes with you no matter how often you change jobs. To accept this no-cost AD&D offer, you simply need to meet these eligibility requirements:
- Be under the age of 60
- Be an Active Duty serviceperson scheduled for honorable discharge within the next 18 months (be sure to give us your separation date on the enrollment form)
- Reside in a state other than Oregon or Texas
Please review the plan details and click “Enroll Now” to complete your free USBA Membership Enrollment.
*Coverage is provided at no cost for the first year to Eligible New Members of USBA. Premiums for this first year of coverage are paid by USBA.
Need help selecting life insurance?
Need help selecting life insurance?
Choosing the right life insurance doesn’t have to be overwhelming or confusing. You can do it yourself right now. Just follow these 4 easy steps to find the right veterans group life insurance (VGLI) to fit your needs and budget.
Step 1: Estimate how much life insurance you need.
Use this handy free Life Insurance Estimator to gain an understanding of how much life insurance you should have. The more specifics you know about your current financial situation, the more accurate your estimate will be.
Step 2: Term or whole life insurance?
When you’re shopping for veterans group life insurance (VGLI), the first and most important decision you’ll make is whether to buy term or whole life insurance. How do you know which is right for you? It depends on how long you plan to keep it and what you expect it to do for you. Use this Plan Recommender to help you decide.
Step 3: Get a free rate quote.
When you’re ready, you can get a free rate quote for USBA life insurance right here. There’s no obligation to buy anything. This is information you can use to help with budgeting.
Step 4: Ready to buy? Apply online.
You can apply for USBA group life insurance from your home or wherever you are. Apply online.
Want more information? Request a Free Info Packet for any of our USBA group life insurance plans designed for both active duty and veteran members of all branches of the armed forces including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserve, as well as federal civilian employees. Request Free Info Packet.
Questions? Email us or call to talk with a friendly knowledgeable representative. Call (877) 297-9235 from 8 am – 4:30 pm (CST), Monday through Friday.
What makes Uniformed Services Benefit Association (USBA) different?
USBA was founded in 1959 to meet the needs of active duty military personnel, who at that time wanted to supplement their SGLI $10,000 benefit and had difficulty finding adequate life insurance coverage that would cover combat-related deaths. USBA was one of the first to eliminate the so-called “war clause” from all of its coverage. Right from the start, USBA took a leadership role in helping members find the best rates and coverage. Learn more about USBA here.
USBA is a nonprofit association owned by its members—the same people it insures. It exists purely to serve its membership with a Board of Directors made up of active and retired military officers and federal employees. The Board is member-elected. These individuals understand the unique needs and concerns of America’s service men, women, and their families. Click here for more background on the USBA board.
USBA President and CEO Colonel Robin Snyder USAF (Ret.) encourages members to share the USBA story and tell other veterans about its affordable group life insurance products. “Together, we create a ‘Power of One’ pricing advantage through our common bond of Military and Government service,” he explains. “The more members we have, the greater opportunities and advantages we can share with each other.” Learn more about USBA Insurance Plans here.
USBA provides low-cost veterans group life insurance plans and other financial services specifically for active duty and retired members and their families, and honorably discharged veterans. Members are from all branches of the armed forces including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserve, as well as federal civilian employees. Find a USBA life insurance plan that works for you.
Is â€śEnoughâ€ť Really Enough?
According to a 2010 LIMRA* study, many U.S. households are significantly underinsured. In fact, LIMRA, a worldwide life insurance research association, states more than 40 percent of all Americans say a major reason they have not bought more life insurance is because they have other financial priorities right now.
Such financial priorities are among the top reasons to not procrastinate. In today’s economic downturn, more people should be certain their family’s financial goals and standard of everyday living are protected in the event of an unexpected death.
Among households with children under 18, seven in ten would immediately have trouble meeting everyday living expenses if a primary wage-earner died today. And consider how financially vulnerable you’d also become if the primary caretaker of these children died or was no longer as available due to having to work more hours to earn more income. There would be long term unplanned childcare expenses, for instance, to consider. Additionally, two-income families would quickly be in financial jeopardy with the loss of either wage-earner.
USBA’s Double Value Two for One® Family Group Level Term Life Insurance plan covers both legally married spouses for the same amount of coverage, pays on whoever dies first, but there’s only one premium to pay … not two. Another important benefit – should both spouses die within 15 days of each other as the result of the same accident, the full benefit amount would be paid for EACH life.
If you’re among the one in four Americans relying on workplace group life insurance to bridge the insurance gap** between your USBA policy and a spouse’s, consider this: in the past year, someone lost their job in 15 percent of all U.S. households**. Having both qualified spouses insured through USBA puts your family in more control of your policy instead of relying on your job. As long as you continue to pay your premiums, all USBA life insurance policies are portable – you can take them with you wherever your career or life’s path takes you.
USBA offers a choice of 5, 10, 15 and 20 year level term life insurance plans, underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company, allowing you to pick the term that best fits your budget, timeline and level of financial protection for you or your spouse and your children. You can enhance your current coverage, add to it with another plan or apply for coverage for your spouse.
Another unique option many USBA members appreciate is our Wise Choice Generation 3 Group Blended life insurance, underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company. It is a combination blending whole life, decreasing term and paid-up additional insurance. It gives you level coverage (the benefit amount doesn’t decrease), with premiums designed to remain level for life.
If it all seems a bit overwhelming, remember our trained Member Service representatives can talk to you about your options. Simply call (800) 821-7912, Monday through Friday, 8am to 4:30pm (CST), or look over all of our available insurance plans here.
Most importantly, please take a moment to look at your current situation to ensure you are NOT one of those families statistically slated to have barely enough insurance to meet the challenges of a financial catastrophe.
*Life Insurance Marketing Research Association
**Results of a 2010 Life Insurance Ownership Study by LIMRA
Members Share â€śPower of Oneâ€ť Benefits
USBA CEO Colonel Robin Snyder encourages current USBA members to share the news about our association and its affordable group life insurance products. “Together, we create a ‘Power of One’ pricing advantage through our common bond of Military and Government service,” he explains. “The more members we have, the greater opportunities and advantages we can share with each other.”
Snyder points out that family members are also eligible for USBA products. Spouses of qualified USBA members can apply for our group life insurance products and children may also be covered up to age 23 or until they marry,” he says. “In most cases, children ages 18 to 23 can even qualify for Associate Membership on their own, without meeting any of the qualifying categories for regular USBA membership.”
To find out more about how you can become a member of the USBA family, contact us today!
Before You Skip a Premium...
The recent economic challenges have all of us considering ways to cut our monthly budget. You might feel your USBA life insurance would be a good consideration for the chopping block, but think about the long term impact. Letting your insurance lapse or cancelling it altogether should be the last thing you would want to do if expenses are on your mind. Imagine how things might be for your family if the unfortunate should happen and your coverage was no longer active.
Before you decide to skip a premium, let your policy lapse or cancel it, remember the reason why you made the caring decision to purchase it in the first place. You can’t predict the future, but you can prepare for it by making sure your family is financially protected.
Instead, check out your alternatives. Your insurance needs or situation might have changed, requiring an adjustment in your coverage. Or there may be other budgeting options for you. USBA cares about its members and welcomes the opportunity to explore options with you when you find yourself financially challenged. Contact us today.
Group Gives Life to Dying Ritual
Of all the bugle calls, none is so easily recognized or able to stir emotions than the call, “Taps”. In addition to signaling the close of a soldier’s day, the deeply moving 24 notes are a solemn tradition at funerals, wreath-laying and memorial services.
In January of 2000, Congress passed a bill guaranteeing eligible United States veterans a full military service that includes the folding of the flag and the playing of “Taps” at their funeral. Due to a lack of available buglers, the military estimates they can supply only 20 percent of the necessary buglers for the traditional ceremony. As a result, military funerals increasingly feature boom box versions, or a computerized chip inserted in a fake bugle playing a recording of the historic melody. For many, this is a poor substitute for the emotional experience tied to a live horn.
Enter Thomas Day and Bugles Across America. The former Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant wanted the families and friends of deceased veterans to have something he believed was a more noble send-off for individuals who had served their country. In late 2000, Day founded Bugles Across America, a non-profit organization with the goal of providing “Taps” via a live rendition at every veteran’s funeral.
Since its inception, Day has recruited over 5,000 horn players in America and abroad and the organization has collectively done more than 60,000 funerals thus far. There is no charge for the service.
Day has performed at more than 1,000 ceremonies on a bugle that is authenticated as being the same bugle used at the funeral of U.S. President William McKinley in 1901.
To request a bugler, volunteer or make a donation, visit Bugles Across America.
They are commonly known amongst themselves and in popular culture as “Military Brats.” This would be the child of a military family, accustomed to many geographic moves (sometimes living in foreign countries), immersed in military culture and consequently never really having a hometown.
Military brats, whether current or former children of career military families, are viewed by those who study them as one of America’s oldest subculture with up to 15 million members. They’ve also been described as a modern nomadic tribe.
Donna Musil agrees. A military brat herself and founder of Brats Without Borders, she sees them as members of an ancient but invisible tribe. “The average brat moves nine to twelve times before graduating from high school and one or both parents can be absent for weeks or years, depending on the deployment,” she explains.
Musil says brats “grow up in a paradox that can be idealistic and authoritarian, privileged and perilous, supportive and stifling all at the same time.” Their world is shaped by regional (and sometimes foreign) cultural differences, threat of parental loss during war, and the stress of making new friends as well as leaving old ones behind. As a result, when brats leave the military world, they may find themselves floundering or feeling out of sync with the “normal” world, according to Musil.
On the plus side, this group has been identified in studies of military brat populations as having a high occurrence of resilient personalities, exceptional social skills, high degree of multicultural awareness, and a very strong affinity for careers that involve service to others.
Another similarly tested group would be “Suddenly Military” brats who are reservists and National Guard families who face the additional challenges of isolation from other military-family peers as well as within their own hometown communities.
Through her nonprofit organization, Musil has been trying to bring attention to the emotional and mental challenges children have regarding this life, including and beyond deployment. “The country seems willing to face the mental challenges of soldiers and spouses, but not their children who are just encouraged to ‘be resilient,’ which in my view is the 20th century term for ‘get over it,’” she points out.
Musil is also a filmmaker and her documentary, Brats: Our Journey Home has won six awards. Narrated by Kris Kristofferson, a brat himself, the film explores the unique heritage and psychological legacy of this special subculture through interviews, shared experiences and expert insight. Among those interviewed is General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, USA (Ret.).
What advice does Musil have for a military family in these times of deployment to a combat zone? “You can make it through this – millions of families have walked in your shoes and we’re here to help,” she says. “One of the best ways to help your own military brat is through understanding. Look at ‘being a brat’ through a child’s eyes.” She also urges parents to watch the documentary, read books written by older brats and visit her website as well as other military social networking sites.
Want to share your own Military Brat experience? Go to USBA’s Facebook page to comment.
How USBA Life Insurance Claims Are Paid
No one likes to think about the likelihood of having to make a claim on a life insurance policy. It is a difficult time. USBA makes every effort to make the process simple to understand.
Once we receive telephone notification of a death, we notify the underwriter, New York Life Insurance Company. At the same time, qualifying beneficiaries will receive an emergency payment of up to $15,000. This check is a partial payment of the total claim intended to relieve families of financial stress during this difficult time when emergencies arise needing immediate attention. The balance of the coverage is paid when the remaining claim requirements have been submitted. You can rely on us to walk beneficiaries through the process and explain everything in detail.
Upon approval of the claim by New York Life, beneficiaries will receive a lump sum payment by check.
We want you to know USBA is here for your beneficiaries during this trying time. We are committed to helping your loved ones through this process and explaining everything in detail. What is especially important to know is that your beneficiaries will always have control of the claim payout and a clear choice on how they wish for it to be paid.