Thursday Three is Here!August 27, 2020
Defense Imagery Management Operations Center
USPS in the news and how it might affect you
Our advisors, representing military communities at home and abroad, have shared that military families are feeling the impact of post office delivery unpredictability. They report having experienced delays in the delivery and receipt of prescriptions and care packages. That’s just the beginning. It was the week for postal-related news.
The family of Scott Egan, an Army Veteran, waited weeks for his remains to be delivered when they were lost in transit. The family was blessed by a dedicated postal worker who drove two hours each way (without overtime) to make sure the remains finally made it to Egan’s sister. (You can read the story here.)
A global pandemic has caused disruptions in many of the services we typically take for granted. And there are those who worry that an increase in mail-in ballots as a result of that pandemic will cause further delays in the delivery of mail. Still, mail-in voting is not new for military-connected families. We’ve been rocking absentee voting since before the Civil War.
DoD reports that it doesn’t expect any significant issues, despite an anticipated uptick in mail-in voting due to COVID. But the office responsible for the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) says differently, citing the importance of communications in a time when challenges such as international airport interruptions can throw a wrench in the system. (Learn more here.)
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that while there’ve been “dips” in service, the United States Postal Service is “working here feverishly to get the system running, add stability, and also to hire more workers to handle the delivery process.” (Read all about it here.)
Our advice to you? The same you’ve known your whole military-connected life – whenever possible, give yourself as much window as your circumstances allow to leave cushion for changes or delays.
Photo by Raymond Wong, Unsplash.com
New study on alcohol misuse in the services
When we asked you (via the 2019 Military Family Support Programming Survey), more than half of you shared that alcohol use in the military is problematic, and it is woven into the fabric of military life. Military spouses were more likely than others to say that alcohol use is a problem.
A new study, published in the July 2020 edition of Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, quantifies the problem. According to the study:
- Alcohol and heavy/binge drinking rates are higher in active duty service members than in the general population.
- From 2009 to 2018, more than 101,000 active duty troops went to the hospital for problems related to excessive drinking.
- There is a difference in incidence by service with the greatest incidence found in the Army, followed by the Marine Corps and Navy. (The Air Force had the lowest incidence at nearly half the rate of soldiers.)
You can read the full study results here.
Photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman, 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Another option for child care
A new, no-cost child care program provides another alternative for military spouses – at least those at Wright-Patterson AFB. Military Spouse Appointment Child Care (MASCC), a new initiative run by Air Force Family Child Care Expanded Child Care (AF FCC ECC), will make child care available so that military spouses can go to medical appointments, take advantage of employment opportunities (related to obtaining the job, not child care while the spouse works), or receive other key installation services.
This program addresses a significant challenge identified in MFAN’s 2019 survey. Almost two-thirds (64.1%) of actively serving military family respondents said they had to forego a medical appointment due to lack of child care in the past two years.
Having viable child care options touches on so many other areas (like health and employment) for military families. We’re excited to see a program designed to meet that need.