Saturday, February 28, 2015

Boosting resilience with your spouse

The Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control recently came out with ways to increase resilience in Navy couples.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Commissary Coupon App for Android

The rewards card is now even easier to use, thanks to an Android app that makes clipping coupons easy. From:

Using the rewards card is simple:
  • Get a rewards card at a commissary.
  • Register the card at
  • "Clip" or download coupons to your account (they are automatically loaded to your card).
  • Print a list of your coupons and bring it and your card with you on your next shopping trip.
  • Present your card at checkout so the cashier can scan it for coupons that match your purchased items.
  • Digital coupons are automatically erased from the account as they are redeemed or if they expire.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Is living on base so bad?

Forest City Housing in Hawaii, from Pintrest

With all the debate raging about military retirement, one issue that gets overlooked is the reduction in BAH allotment.  Many servicemembers talk about "making money on BAH" but is that truly the case?  And would that be true if BAH is cut to 99% or 95% of costs?

I decided to do a comparison of costs here in Hawaii.  I happen to live on base in public/private housing administered by Forest City.  I have a friend that lives in Ewa Beach (a popular place for military to live) who swears he's making 600 dollars a month on BAH.  To see how true that was, I busted out some Excel skills and started looking at costs.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Can you wear the awards you want to?

A reader asked me where the regulations say you can wear your "top three" awards, and if you could wear just the awards you wanted to wear.  Good question!  In the 5301 ( it says the following:

"3.  Arrangement.  Arrange ribbons in order of precedence in rows from top down, inboard to outboard.  Wear either the three senior ribbons, or all ribbons if you have earned three or more."

Easy answer to the first question.  The second often pops up with people who don't feel they "earned" an award.  The reality is that you don't get to pick the awards, and that's an order.  Some people take this to extremes, such as with the Medal of Honor awarded to Smedley Butler for actions during the Invasion of Vera Cruz:

"After the occupation of Veracruz, many military personnel received the Medal of Honor, an unusually high number that diminished somewhat the prestige of the award. The Army presented one, nine went to Marines and 46 were bestowed upon Navy personnel. During World War I, Butler, then a major, attempted to return his Medal, explaining he had done nothing to deserve it. The medal was returned with orders to keep it and to wear it as well." (from:

I have confronted Sailors that attempt to pick and choose what awards to wear.  My threshold is that once you've received 2 awards more than what is on your ribbon rack, it's time to update it.  Yes, that means a bit more money...which in that case, you can wear your top three.  It's silly to listen to arguments about what awards to wear, and it's against regulations, so don't allow it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015


 The Strategic Studies Institute recently published a 33-page paper about lying. It's worth the read (  While there is a bit of click-bait going on (Saying "Army Officers Lie" is certainly designed to get attention), the paper itself is well written and seems to be well researched.

As you read through it, replace "Army" with "Navy," and you'll find it still rings true.  For example, the study found that a unit needs 297 days to complete all mandated training, but only had 256 days to do so...meaning there is no physical way to complete all training.

"If units and individuals are literally unable to complete the tasks placed upon them, then reports submitted upward by leaders must be either admitting noncompliance, or they must be intentionally inaccurate. Units, however, rarely have the option to report that they have not completed the ARFORGEN pre-deployment checklist. Likewise, it is not an option for individuals to decide that they will forego sexual assault prevention training this quarter because they are too busy with other tasks. If reporting noncompliance is not an acceptable alternative because of the Army’s tendency toward zero defects, then it is important to examine the resultant institutional implications."

Does this sound like ORSE/INSURV?  Is our SAPR training any different?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tracing Pages for your kids!

I have three small kids that I home school.  The oldest is working on handwriting, so I decided to make some handwriting sheets to help her practice.  Instead of just a bunch of sentences, I chose to make some Navy-related tracing sheets.  Since I love to share, you can now download them as a PDF.  Go to the "Useful Files" link on the left side of the page.

I currently have an officer ranks and ships page, but I'll create some more soon.  Please put suggestions in the comments.