How to Spend Christmas as a Soldier on Duty

Admittedly, Christmas is among the biggest event of the year. There is so much preparation, coming together of families and tradition that it becomes a very important event in the family calendar. Soldiers on duty may not have their loved ones physically with them, but they do enjoy themselves as much as others. As they stay on guard keeping our country free from chaos, many people honor them through heartfelt messages to lift their spirit.

Care packages sent to soldiers on duty helps to keep their Christmas mood alive. This creates a sense of happiness triggered by genuine appreciation from their loved ones, government and the nation at large. The following are tips on how to spend Christmas as a soldier on duty.

Christmas Cards

The use of Christmas cards to convey warm and encouraging messages is a time-honored tradition that cheers people up. As a soldier operating overseas or within the boundary of our nation, you should create some time to read through all the Christmas cards sent to you. Messages sent via cards help fill your love tank, especially if they came from your loved ones.

A soldier who receives a simple message from his youngest daughter saying “Dad, I am proud of you for protecting our nation, have a Merry Christmas’’ will definitely be overwhelmed with joy. Though she may not be there physically, he will feel her heartfelt appreciation. You can share your cards with your fellow soldiers in the military camp, but it’s even more fun to discuss them as a group.

Feedback Christmas Wishes

After receiving cards from your friends and loved ones, you can choose to wish them a Merry Christmas in return. Though your Christmas card may not be fancy as theirs, make sure you send them positive feedback when writing back. If you do so, you will always develop a sense of fulfillment by relating with them.

Operation Gratitude

During Christmas, and as the year comes to an end, youth groups and citizens volunteer to send care packages to our troops both locally and abroad. Some of these gifts are letters, cards, and stickers. All this is done as a sign of appreciation for the patriotism demonstrated by our soldiers. Gifts are very rare in a military camp and very precious no matter how simple they may look.

The government can express its gratitude to our troops by providing additional basic needs and other relevant equipment. Nevertheless, it can also award medals to soldiers who have performed exceptionally well as a sign of recognition. Kind gestures and giving the right encouraging words for a soldier on duty can do so much to keep the warm memories of home, friends, and family fresh in their minds.


A bonfire can be the most enjoyable event for soldiers living inside a secured camp. Even though soldiers have bonfires on a regular basis, they are not as fun as those held on Christmas Eve.  A Bonfire acts as a social square where soldiers sing military songs, a few Christmas carols and dance until morning.


Moral support is very fundamental as it assures soldiers that the public and their loved ones have a deep sense of care for them. Nowadays, military troops are allowed to read emails sent to them by their loved ones and friends. But this is only allowed during special holidays such as Christmas.  Rather than feeling isolated and lonely, these emails make them feel appreciated and wanted. This, in turn, leads to increased enthusiasm while working especially during Christmas time.

Simple Concerts

Unit and Troop leaders can organize simple concerts during Christmas to make sure soldiers have fun like everyone else. These simple and highly decorated events are so effective in making soldiers feel at ease and happy. Occasionally, troop leaders spruce things up and invite two to three musicians to usher in the Christmas mood, but concerts are only organized inside camps within the nation’s’ territory. Troop leaders should, by all means, avoid holding concerts in foreign lands where our troops may face opposition and hostility.

Church Services

Church services are always available for soldiers who like to keep it quiet and spiritual. During Christmas, members of the Christian faith are asked to lead in praise and worship as they wait on the word from a guest speaker or preacher. Church services help bring Christian soldiers closer to Jesus Christ, enjoy Christmas and focus on its real meaning.

Evidently, our troops can also enjoy themselves during Christmas while still on duty. However, the degree of enjoyment is dependent on their locale. Soldiers in harsh and hostile environment celebrate a little while soldiers in safe areas party very well. We should all take part in making the troops enjoy their Christmas by sending cards, care packages, and emails for moral support.


How Military Spouses Can Help the Cause

If you’ve ever taken a general history class, then you already are aware of the fact that countries are formulated and built by blood. Since the pre-colonial era, there have been many wars in the world, and the tradition of international warfare continues into the 21st century with wars such as the Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Afghanistan Operation Enduring Freedom; wars that lasted for decades. The warriors who fight in these wars are usually emotionally and physically exhausted; however, there is a force that drives them to achieve their goals so as to uphold nationalism and a safer planet. While serving in the military is extremely vital and a highly regarded cause all over the world, it greatly influences families in a big way. Not only does the spouse who’s left behind need to do everything for the family alone; but also has to deal with the fears that their other half could be in danger.

Soldiers are always on the move; whether for an abroad deployment or local training, the majority of military members will at some point spend some extensive period away from their loved ones. Active duty comes with its share of uncertainty, risk, and danger, and the trauma and worry on military spouses left behind is a normal part of every military relationship. Don’t let the stress get you down, anyway. You love that man or woman who’s out there to serve. So, what is your responsibility as a Military spouse? Simple, your job is to make it as uncomplicated as possible for the soldier to do their work.

What makes a soldier’s job different from others is that theirs is a 24-hour everyday job; while soldiers have working days, their job doesn’t ever end. When a soldier is instructed to work, there is no room for saying no and more importantly; there’s no overtime pay. The soldier’s job is tougher than it seems. Now, bring in the deployments, and that’s a different world, altogether. The Military spouse is left supporting the family, and it is tough. You are left to explain to the kids why mom or dad will be away for a while. It sucks. Still, however annoying it may be, that does not relieve you of your duty to make the soldier’s life easier. You are the support mechanism that is the soldier’s backbone and the cornerstone of their career. Well, here are seven things that the military spouse can do in making the soldier’s life easier, especially during deployment:

  1. Make sure that you have everything that’s needed to accomplish stuff in life. Things needed include:
  • Power of Attorney – POA
  • Access to finances
  • Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System – DEERS
  • Soldiers Group Life Insurance – SGLILast will and testament
  1. Assume the responsibility of being the head of the family henceforth. You should learn to decide on all the key family issues in your own. You should be in a position to handle almost every situation that may arise in the household. Doing this will limit the number of disruptions to the Soldier while on duty, and it is crucial.
  2. Contact the head of your unit’s Family Readiness Group (FRG) and make sure that your name is on the contact list. This way, you will always get updates on any unit functions and latest news and information concerning the deployed soldiers. While there may be times when it is impossible for the soldier to call you; the FRG should be your point of contact during those times. The FRG can also be of help to you in case of anything when your wife or husband is away to serve.
  3. Communication is paramount during this period. Whether it be in the form of emails, phone calls or letters, try to remain as optimistic as possible during communication. Your chance to talk is restricted, so avoid any negative thoughts. The last thing in the world that any soldier needs while away for deployment is drama from home. Try very much to avoid unnecessary arguments. Talk about daily things – they need it.
  4. Share your everyday life with your spouse. Mention to them about all events concerning the family; from kids’ school events to household stuff. Send lots of videos and pictures when you can. It helps to make the Soldier feel connected to the family despite the long absence.
  5. Make it a habit of sending your spouse cards, care packages, and letters. Nothing can improve a Soldier’s spirits faster than receiving some form of communication from home. The soldiers are most likely at their most vulnerable state once the holidays approach. So, ensure that your husband or wife receives their holiday gift packages on time.
  6. Keep your family connection intact. Research has shown that there is usually a very high divorce rate in the military during and right away after a deployment. Divorce mostly occurs due to communication breakdown. It is important to listen to your partner and especially when they want to share what’s going on with them. Let them vent it all out. Be a good listener!



Military families are imperative, and they do stand out from the crowd. Always remember that you are the support mechanism that holds the soldier while on active duty. Without a strong backbone back at home, service members will certainly fail on the job as their attention is divided.

Keep in mind that even if you’re under much stress and pressure, your partner’s situation may be worse as they are exposed to immense physical danger not forgetting other combat hardships. Therefore, you should remain stable during this time. Instead of looking for emotional support; give it, and add some form of encouragement and declarations of your love as a bonus. Eventually, you’ll see that assuming the role of the emotionally stable partner indeed makes you strong, naturally. In the end, you will be able to carry on until your partner returns.  Your fundamental responsibility, nonetheless, is not to yourself. It is to the service man or woman in ensuring that their lives are stress-free so they can do their jobs to the best of their abilities.

Navy Seal Training

United States Navy SEALs are believed to be the best fighting force on the planet. They are famous for their ability to stay mentally and physically strong despite facing different challenging situation and circumstances. Navy Seal training is construed as one of the most painstaking periods any young person can face in their lifetime. As a Navy Seal, you are expected to be in a position to endure an incredible amount of physical strain, while performing continuously in battle conditions. You are also expected to feel at home wherever you are; on sea and land and also have excellent discipline and weapon training. Today, SEAL teams are always ready as they can be called upon at any time to fight terrorism and for other special assignments all over the world; and usually with very little prior notice.

A Navy Seal Training is one of the most complex and tough training suffered by individuals. There are certainly many organizations and special force teams always boasting of how tough, strong and capable they are of enduring in the harshest of conditions. However, the Navy Seals would take the cup home; after all, their training is no walk in the park. The big question now comes: How does the United States Navy trace, screen, assess and train these select warriors for combat?

For starters, U.S Navy Seal trainees must undergo an arduous 1½-2 years-long training process. In fact, research shows that on average, ¾ of SEAL trainees never go beyond Phase One of the training process. So, believe it when you hear that Navy Seals are the cream of the crop. For one to be called a Navy Seal, they have really earned that right. If you want to be considered for the Seals, you must first lay down a pretty amazing physical report. Navy Seals trainees must be able to swim not less than 500 yards (breast/side stroke) in 12 minutes and 30 seconds or less. Individuals must also do least 50 sit-ups and 42 push ups in a record two minutes each. The person must also run 1½ miles while wearing both pants and boots in not more than 11 minutes and 30 seconds.

In addition to being able to swim at very high-speed over long distances, Navy Seals also go through numerous hard and exerting exercise periods on land. To be in the clear, it is important to realize that training for military fitness is nowhere near gym fitness or other physical training programs which mainly focus on muscle building and getting leaner. While physical training for civilians is mainly for looking better and burning some fat; for these war warriors, this is barely important. These soldiers need to be in a position to count on their bodies to perform at any given time, thus looking good is merely a nice bonus. Another big difference is that Navy Seals training workouts mainly happen outside and not in a fitness center because there is a bigger emphasis on body-weight workouts than on weight training. Also, these soldiers train while carrying much extra gear (full military gear) and not in comfy gym attire.

As a Navy Seal trainee, you need to perform under limited time as you really don’t have all the time at your disposal. You can only take a break once your training sergeant permits it. This is very different from the air-conditioned, relaxed atmosphere of the sports club. Additionally, Navy Seals do much circuit training that involves strength and cardio exercises in quick sequences. Expect to do both sprinting and long period cardio, in addition to running uphill, through water and even on rough terrain.

As Navy Seals, you are expected to swiftly recover from bodily exertion so you can continue performing. This is because; there is no room for failure as you need to be able to defeat the enemy even when tired. Otherwise, the price of failure may be very high.

It is in Phase One of the training that Navy Seal recruits go through something notoriously branded as “Hell Week.” Hell Week starts in the fourth week of a soldier’s training and lasts for 132 hours. It consists of much experimentation and lots of exercises intended to assess the physical and mental hardiness of those who choose to undergo it. Trainees are in almost continuous movement during the entire experience and only get 3-4 hours of sleep at the end of the week. As if that is not enough, these Seals are always kept cold and soaking wet, from head to toe.

There’s always room for anyone who wants to quit, though. A shiny brass bell is strategically placed nearby all trainees during Hell Week. Ringing that bell means that you have had enough of the training and want to quit; and in so doing, you also drop out of the Navy Seal Training. The bell is always there to torture candidates, in an attempt to lure them into quitting.

The Navy Seals Training is hard and many individuals end up not living their dreams with a very high dropout rate throughout training. The training is intense and is never documented in the real sense. However, it is said that the Navy Seal training starts even before the recruits are ever even considered. There are some pre-screening rules used by the Navy Seals before one is considered to be qualified for enlistment. You must already be in the Navy before being allowed to try for a position among the Seals. If you fail in the training the first time, you can only make another attempt after a two-year break while on active duty. This gives you time to prepare to realize your Navy Seals dream the second time.


It’s a bumpy endeavor, but if you can physically endure this desirable and well-guarded training of the U.S Navy Seals, then you will definitely make it into one of the most elite Special Forces the world has ever seen. It is no chance that Navy Seals are the best force they are known to be. By suffering trials such as “Hell Week”; they indeed prove themselves to be ready to execute the operations that await them as fully-trained personnel of this select team.

VA Home Loans- Everything you Need to Know About VA Loans

The VA loan program is the most powerful home loan program on the market for many service members, veterans, and military families. This government supported loans come with big advantages that unlock the doors of home ownership to service members and veterans who might otherwise strain to get financing.

What is a VA loan?

The VA loan is a mortgage loan granted by authorized lenders and guaranteed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA program was started in 1944 by the U.S. government to help eligible surviving spouses, and service members buy homes without needing an excellent credit or down payments.

While the Department of Veteran Affairs doesn’t give money for VA loans, it guarantees loans made by private lenders (mortgage companies, loans, and savings, or banks) to qualified military spouses, veterans and active military personnel. Additionally, VA dictates the terms of the mortgages offered, insure VA loans against default and establishes the rules for those who qualify.

There are three types of VA loans: cash- out refinance loans, interest reduction refinance loans and purchase loans. These loans require no private mortgage insurance or down payment. Interesting enough, they allow qualified borrowers to buy a home with little or no money out of their pockets and feature competitive rates and terms.

The VA Loan Advantage

Borrowers who qualify for VA loans receive a lot of benefits that make this line of financing one of the most attractive options out there. VA home loans remove many barriers to home ownership and allow veterans and eligible service members to purchase a home easily. The VA loan is simply the best way to buy a home. Why? Because with a VA mortgage:

No down payment is required

Let’s face it, building credit and saving money can be difficult for service members who are constantly on the move. Fortunately, with VA loan, qualified borrowers can finance one hundred percent of the property’s value without a down payment.

This is perhaps the biggest advantage to a VA loan. You don’t need a down payment. None whatsoever.  This means you may finance any amount up to the total cost price as long as it’s not greater than the appraised property value. With a VA loan, you can purchase your dream home without delay, rather than after many years of saving for a down payment.

No mortgage insurance is required

Mortgage insurance is a monthly fee you pay with conventional lenders when you’re not putting at least twenty percent down, which is a tough task for many veterans. The VA’S guaranty reduces the need for mortgage insurance premium or any mortgage insurance, helping you save more money. This VA loan benefit lets you build up more equity in your home, saving you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage.

Competitive interest rates

Since they are guaranteed by the VA, lenders are able to offer lower interest rates with no minimum down payment requirement. VA loan rates are usually 0.25 to 1 percent lower than those of conventional loans. The VA backs the mortgages, making them a lower risk for lenders. However, the rates are still determined by the same factors, such as history and credit score, but they’re highly competitive compared to conventional loans.

Pair the ability to buy your dream home with no private mortgage insurance and that lower interest rate and the savings start adding up drastically.

No prepayment penalty

With most conventional loans, settling a home loan before it matures leads to a prepayment penalty. This is because lenders forego on additional opportunities to collect interest payments.  Without a prepayment penalty, borrowers are free to consider refinancing options and future home purchases.

You can make extra payments anytime you want, saving you a lot in interest over the life of your loan. Even better, you can set your payments to automatically subtract a certain amount every month. Just an extra one hundred dollars monthly can shave many years and tens of thousands of dollars from the balance.

Use your benefit again and again

There is a widespread fallacy that you can only use this program once. That is untrue. Furthermore, it is possible to have more than one VA loan at the same time or obtain another after losing one to foreclosure.

Assuming you bought a house with a VA loan, but need something bigger. When you sell the house and pay off the VA loan completely, you can re-use your benefit to buy another house. Your entitlement as a service member or veteran is restored in full.

FAQs on VA home loans

How can I qualify for a VA loan?

To meet the requirements for a VA loan, you should have prequalified with a VA authorized lender. Prequalification takes less than ten minutes, and you’ll be notified if you qualify for the VA loan. It’s important to understand that preapproval and prequalification aren’t binding and don’t create any sort of obligation between you and the lender.

I was declared bankrupt, or I have bad credit. Can I still get a VA loan?

VA loans are subject to similar terms as conventional loans, as they are provided by private lenders. The necessary income requirements and credit status still apply. Also, mortgage qualification is still determined based on the conditions that lenders lay down.

What can I purchase with my VA loan?

VA home loan programs may be used to obtain condominium, townhouse, or manufactured homes; install energy saving improvements; refinance your current home loan if you’re eligible, or make other qualified home improvements.

Can I use the program more than once?

The great thing about VA loans is that if you have previously bought a house with a VA loan, sold it and cleared the current loan, you can get your entitlement restored.

What VA cannot do

The VA appraisal is not intended to be an inspection of the property. Therefore, VA cannot guarantee that the house you purchase will be free of defects. In case you have any doubts about the condition of the house, it’s in your best interest to seek expert advice.

VA only guarantees the loan and not the condition of the home. Consequently, it’s your duty to be an enlightened buyer and reassure yourself that what you’re buying is satisfactory to you. In a nutshell, VA doesn’t have the authority to provide you with legal services.


The VA home loan program is an outstanding asset for veterans and members of the armed services. With competitive interest rates, no PMI, and no down payment, home ownership is now possible for military members on a tight budget.

USAA Insurance for Veterans

Unfortunately, veterans of the United States military haven’t always been honored as they should have been but a group of veterans got together and figured out a way to honor their brothers in arms. They came up with USAA insurance. The rates are comparable if not better than the leading major insurers. They also provide a full range of highly competitive financial products and services to the military community and their families.

What is USAA insurance?

United States Services Automobile Association (USAA) is a diversified services group of companies. It’s also a great insurance company with low and competitive car insurance rates to consider for members of the military forces and their families. Even better, it has some of the best quotes for this community and wins great reviews from other companies and its policyholders alike. USAA is perhaps the most exclusive of all insurance companies. Since the company was started in 1922, they have limited their policies to members of the U.S. Military.

USAA is listed in the Forbes 500 at 78 for total assets and 189 th for revenue. The company has more than a hundred billion dollars in assets and has written insurance policies totaling more than nine billion dollars in 2006. USAA is dedicated to serving veterans and service members who have admirably served our country. USAA has the strength and history you can count on to insure your cars, your home and more.

Unlike most banks, USAA doesn’t have a network of branches all over the country. USAA has just a few branches in major military installations across eleven states. However, it has a chain of over sixty thousand ATMs that members may use, as well as excellent technology for remote banking.

Membership and Eligibility

Since the 20s USAA still retains an unwavering focus on its original niche: to diligently serve military personnel and their families. Sadly, this means that most citizens in the United States don’t qualify for membership.

The following groups are eligible to join USAA:

  • Midshipmen and cadets. This includes midshipmen and cadets at service academies.
  • Retired, honorably separated, and active duty personnel. If you are a former or recurrent service member without a discreditable discharge, you’re qualified for membership.
  • Former and Current spouses of military service members.
  • Children of service members. Spouses and children of military personnel can be members of the USAA.

Civilians are not eligible for membership, but they can purchase life insurance and some investment accounts with USAA.

Why Consider Joining USAA?

So what makes USAA special? Well, quite a bit, actually, but first and foremost is their mission: they exist to serve the military community and their members. They do this by providing best in class financial services and products. Not the best part yet, they’re member-owned. So if you’re a member, you’re also a part owner. This is important because as a part owner, you are entitled to receive a share at the end of each financial year if the insurance premiums USAA amasses exceed claims.

Here are more reasons why you should consider joining USAA:

  1. World class customer service and superior products

USAA has the best customer service compared to other financial institutions or banks. Customers have raved about the claims experience at USAA. Particularly, the appraisal process and the fairness of the claim settlements have ranked among industry leaders. This high-quality customer service has won over many USAA customers. Since USAA is a private company, their main focus is keeping their policyholders happy through courteous customer service and timely claims. USAA provides a full range of highly competitive financial services and products to the military community and their families.

  1. Excellent rates for every member

USAA offers home equity loans, VA loans, auto loans, mortgages and more. Although the best deals are retained for active duty military personnel, USAA offers extremely low rates for loans for all of its members. USAA will give you good coverage for less, but not the personalized service that you would get if you went with a larger or more popular insurance provider. During these tough times, it’s exactly what most people need!

  1. Full-service banking

USAA has been an innovative bank for many years. They offer many premium services as standard for all accounts. These include free savings and checking accounts with no minimum balance fees, free rewards debit card, free checks, free web bill pay, free overdraft protection, and much more. Additionally, you get to enjoy these great services:

  • The Internet, tablet, smartphone, telephone, and mail banking.
  • Online tools
  • No ATM fees on up to 6 transactions a month
  • Investment products, services, and advice
  • Deposit checks from home or your phone


  1. The potential for annual profit distribution to members

On top of discounts and rebates on home insurance, automobiles, and other acquisitions, USAA returns capital to its members in other ways. When you purchase an insurance policy from USAA, you receive a subscriber’s account that has a share of USAA’s capital. If the company meets annual financial performance goals set by the board of directors, you are entitled to receive an annual payout of this amount.

  1. Attractive trading discounts

USAA offers attractive trading discounts for account holders who trade frequently and in high amounts, but they’re not prohibitive for people who don’t make multiple trades per day.

  1. Huge range of services and products under one roof

Compared to other financial institutions that do the bulk of their business online, USAA offers an array of services and products: several types of loans, brokerage, savings and checking accounts, retirement and brokerage accounts, and most types of insurance.


If you’re in the military, a child of a service member, or a military spouse, I’d highly recommend you check out USAA for your banking and insurance needs. Even if you do not reside over a more military installation, USAA can tend to all your banking needs if you’re willing to take on their digital banking. Otherwise, it can be a great place to get comprehensive insurance for less or a low-cost loan.

With all of these great advantages, it’s no surprise USAA has won so many industry awards. Once you join USAA, you’re a member for life, and you can pass on membership to your children and spouse.

Airborne Search and Rescue Training

Over time, the population of people has continued to increase exponentially. Among the many consequences of the influx of people on the surface of the earth is that they continually find themselves in distress or danger. Whether in isolation or in a group, people continue to find themselves in distressing situations or in imminent danger hence a need to be rescued.

Search and rescue is the systematic process of searching for people in distress or in danger and providing them with assistance and support. The field has been evolving from an informal sector that was only constituted in the event of a disaster and quickly disbanded when the situation was solved to dedicated systems that are continually set and ready for any eventuality that may require their services. Search and rescue has become a profession for many people whose sole purpose is to offer rescue and support to victims of distressing situations.

The continued evolution of the sector has seen its diversify and divide itself into several sub-sectors that specify on different situations and terrain. Some of the different classes of search and rescue include:

  • Mountain rescue
  • Ground search and rescue
  • Search and rescue in cities
  • Combat search and rescue on a battlefield
  • Air search and rescue over water

Despite there being such a variety of search and rescue missions, one thing is common to all, airborne search and rescue is necessary for all of them to be effective.

From the first successful airborne rescue mission in 1945 where a civilian helicopter was used to save the lives of 5 crew members of ship, people have continued to invest in the operation. More people continue to undergo training so as to be able to play a part in search and rescue operations.

Airborne search and rescue operations involve the use of planes and helicopters to identify, search and offer support to victims. Airborne search and rescue offers several advantages as it is easy to cover a wide surface over a short period, provides very fast response, and quick delivery of affected people to where they would get support and other necessary services e.g. medical attention.

Due to the seriousness and necessity of the services, it is important for those who wish to be involved in search and rescue operations to be properly trained on how to handle themselves on the ground. It is paramount that they know what to do at every situation as a person’s life may depend on their actions.

In airborne search and rescue operations, there are various tasks that require undertaking and anyone willing to engage in the practice would hardly lack a place. The following are some of the positions that a person willing to engage in airborne search and rescue can join.


These are the personnel responsible for flying the planes that are involved in search and rescue operations. They are basically trained to learn how to plan search and rescue operations and to safely and accurately execute the process.

Minimum requirements

  • 18 years old and above
  • Possess a valid pilot license
  • Not less than 150 hours as pilot in command and not less than 50 hours as a single pilot on a single engine plane.
  • Possess a restricted radio operator certificate

Key duties

  • Responsible for the safety of the plane at all times
  • Calculating and managing the weight of the aircraft
  • Acquiring weather information statistics
  • Obtaining active NOTAMs


These are personnel that assist the pilots when flying the planes to make sure that they navigate safely through the sky so as to reach the destinations quickly and safely. They may be pilots or not. All navigators are equipped with search and rescue navigation training to ensure they perform as intended.

Minimum requirements

  • 18 years of age or above
  • Possess a private pilot license or have prior aircrew experience
  • 20/20 vision (either natural or corrected)
  • Have good concentration levels
  • Current license validation certificate

Key responsibilities

  • Accurately assisting the pilot to navigate the plane along the assigned search and rescue pattern
  • Developing and determining search patterns
  • Preparation of maps
  • Calculation of time


These are basically the ‘eyes’ of the search team in the sky and are required to spot the targets of the search and rescue operation. Their training includes how they should conduct themselves inside small planes, how to identify search clues while inside a moving aircraft.

Minimum requirements

  • Minimum age of 18 years
  • 20/20 vision
  • Excellent concentration ability
  • Ability to direct and guide the pilot towards the spotted target
  • Weight restrictions

Key responsibilities

  • Acquiring and developing target information
  • Learn how to make emergency signs and report sightings

Ground team

These are personnel responsible for responding to urgent signals from a beacon to deliver help to a downed aircraft, hiker or a boat in distress. They are basically trained how to read and interpret maps, use of compasses, bush survival, use of homing and equipment and emergency scene management.

Minimal requirements

  • Willingness and ability to travel through bushes and thickets
  • Possession of a driving license is an advantage
  • Be willing to learn how to perform First Aid procedures

Key responsibilities

  • Advancing towards radio signal
  • Coordinate with search and rescue planes

Support team

People who do not make the cut to be involved in the flying planes or cutting through the bushes may be deployed in the offices. They are responsible for offering support services when required and keeping records of activities.


Are responsible for minting websites and engaging with users. They will maintain the database, ensure that the web is functional and make adjustments to improve performances.

Minimal requirements

  • Tangible experience in the use of WordPress CMS
  • Excellent communication skills

Key responsibilities

  • Post new and engaging content on the website including photos, videos etc.
  • Maintain company database
  • Perform diagnostic operations and maintaining the website in general

Airborne search and rescue has turned out to be a crucial operation in modern times. Continued conflicts around the world lead to more and more distress conditions for victims and increase the need for rescue operations.

For those who have a passion to alienate human suffering have a huge platform to exercise their passion through airborne search and rescue. Although there are some stringent requirements for certain positions e.g. piloting, some positions do not require much specialization and with the correct training they will be on their way to doing what they desire most; help other humans from suffering.

It is clear that there is a role for everyone willing to engage in airborne search and rescue and despite how small a task may seem, it may be the difference between a person living or suffering to death.


Training Regimen for Navy Pilots

To become a Navy pilot in the United States, you must meet medical, educational and physical prerequisites and finish several stages of training. The educational requirements are among the most time consuming and significant factors in becoming a naval aviator or navy pilot. In addition to academics, you must meet certain medical standards and be prepared for the physical demands of training.

What is Naval Aviation?

Naval Aviation is well-known for the requirements it places upon the Navy pilots. The concentration and skills required to track a sub while flying a few feet above a stormy sea is not only linked to top physical conditioning or a stellar academic background. There is more to naval aviation than that; it requires a combination of dedication and talents that few people have, and even fewer are challenged to use to full measure.

Here are the benchmarks you will need to meet if you plan to pursue this highly demanding and coveted career:

Education and Commissioning

The first step towards becoming a pilot in the Navy is enlisting in the Navy. Some potential pilots join the Navy when they enter college. To be a Navy pilot, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree so many individuals wait to enlist until after university. One of the benefits of enlisting sooner is that you can join the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (NROTC) and still take military classes while enrolled in a regular college curriculum.

Once you have a bachelor’s degree, you must become a naval officer appointed at the rank of ensign which requires you to have specific military training. The United States Naval Academy is the most rigorous route. Only about ten percent of applicants are chosen each year. Aspiring students have a varsity sports background, history of leadership, and stellar academic records.

Age Requirements

There are cutoff ages. You’re required to be at least eighteen years of age when you enlist in the Navy and be appointed as an officer before turning twenty-eight.


You must be a citizen of the United States. If you’re not a citizen yet, you can apply to become one as soon as you enlist, no matter how long you’ve lived in the United States.


To become a Navy pilot, you will have to pass a mandatory test of the Aviation Selection Test Battery (ASTB), a test that has been in place since World War II. It is comprised of five timed subsets: a survey gauging interest in aviation, spatial perception, nautical and aviation, verbal and mathematics, and mechanical comprehension. Approximately ten thousand candidates sit for the exam annually.

Physical Condition

You will have to take a battery of background, physical and psychological tests. You will take a flight physical to prove that you are medically qualified to fly. You can’t have problems with depth perception or be colorblind.

Flight School

After successfully completing the Aviation Selection Test Battery, you’ll need to enroll in flight school for introductory flight screening. However, if you have a private pilot’s or recreational license, you may be able to forego flight school.

Introductory flight screening includes twenty-five hours of instruction. Once this period is over, you must have completed three solo flights. Upon completion, you can enroll in the Navy’s program for aviators in the state of Florida.

In Florida, primary training commences. Here you’ll start your hands-on instruction in regards to repairing and operating aircraft. You will spend about a hundred hours in flight learning basic flight skills, aerobatics, night flying, and flying in formation.


At the end of your primary training stage, you will need to specialize in a specific aircraft. Where you go next depends on the aircraft you’ve chosen to specialize in operating.

Earn Your Golden Wings

The golden wings are awarded to select groups of pilots who can be Navy aviators. It takes years of education and training to earn your wings, but if you are devoted to a career as a pilot, it’s a great long-term goal. You just need to work hard and allow your instructors to train and guide you to your wings of gold.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Naval Flight Officer?

NFO’s are the women and men who operate the advanced systems onboard naval aircraft and some may also act as tactical directors of various air assets in a mission. They’re different from Naval Aviators in that they don’t pilot the aircraft in which they serve. This division of labor between NFO’s and aviators enables them to focus on mission tasks that call for specific occupational training.

What Courses Should I take if I am working Towards Becoming a Navy Pilot?

During your undergrad, you should plan on taking math up to Linear Algebra or Calculus II. You should also take two semesters of introductory physics classes which will rely heavily on your fundamental understanding of mathematics. From there, you might consider classes in material physics, thermal dynamics, and fluid, or physics of light. These will all help you stand out.


To become a Navy pilot, you need to be able to prove to the Navy that you are worthy of their investment in your training. You have to have the the traits and skills the Navy is looking for including character, will, desire and intelligence to make it through training. If you become a Navy pilot, you can look forward to a career filled with challenge, adventure, and excitement.

Sports for Deployed Troops

Sports in the military are a fundamental part to personal development, morale, operational effectiveness and most importantly, fighting spirit. Deployed troops are always out there fighting for us, typicallly in a foreign; thousands of miles away from those that they love. Understandably, many are the times that they desperately miss their families and time together. Their self-sacrifice and readiness to make a difference deserves merit and appreciation. Soldiers, just like most people, love to play – they need to play – so they make it work even when away on missions.

Forget the Final Four or the Super Bowl – the biggest games in the world don’t have a ref or fans. Interestingly enough, these games are usually played by men and women with much greater worries than their scores. They compete in challenging environments – for example, playing basketball in a makeshift court in the middle of no-where or playing in a hangar in the middle of a desert. It hasn’t always been supported by military leaders that didn’t always believe in off-duty games and particularly in hostile regions; however, this mindset has gradually faded and now most believe that these warriors putting their lives on the line for the nation also need the normalcy of sports.

Sports for deployed troops are usually considered to be an essential part of their routines. However, it doesn’t always happen. Of course, there are times when they can’t make it work. They are fighting a war. To completely realize the value of sports to the military, you must first understand the lives of these men and women. A normal day for a soldier during a mission is characterized by at least 14 hours of work. A soldier will normally work 7 days a week. In a week, you get only half a day to clean your living space and do laundry. While soldiers are usually trained to handle that; it’s reasonable to say they are generally under a lot more pressure than the normal person.

Once work is accomplished, a soldier usually has between 12 and 18 hours before doing it again. It is this period that they use for recreation – when they are not sleeping, eating or showering. There are a reasonable number of recreational options, but sports are a very good escape from the long days. Additionally, sports are also a nice outlet from the combat environment for those feeling stressed by it. Sports played vary depending on geographic location, interest and population. Here are a few common sports that deployed troops engage in:


For starters, soccer is all about the running. As play in soccer is constant, it is a great sport for strength and heart health. Playing recreational soccer doesn’t need a large field or many people. You can make it as simple as having a kick with your pals. Recreational soccer can also be done virtually anywhere – in streets, backyards and even on beaches. All you require is a soccer ball.

It is also the most hip and most played sport in the planet. It is an especially great sport when troops from different units come together. For instance, if you find yourself in a group of British soldiers and need to kill the boredom, then a game of soccer is a great choice.


Common martial arts performed by deployed troops include karate and kung fu. Apart from keeping soldiers fit and healthy at all times, martial arts instills excellent character traits such as hard work, discipline and having a sense of responsibility. Working with a partner is battle training of the best kind. This way, your muscles adapt to change and fatigue giving you the best body exercises possible.


Recreational basketball is so flexible that you can have fun in various ways. You can shoot some hoops by yourself or play a friendly game with your buddies. Basketball, like soccer is highly anaerobic and is great for overall fitness. It’s exercise that comes in bursts of great running and jumping, amid short walks and jogs depending on the game. This continuous rise and recovery of the breathing and heart rates helps in building stamina and enhances your ability to recuperate from exertion.


The military encourages sports among deployed troops because they know that it is vital for people to maintain physical fitness. Additionally, it’s beneficial to help deployed troops in managing their stress. If you ask a soldier the real importance of playing sports while on deployment, they will tell you that it is the only moment that they get to dominate their small “peaceful” world. Afterward, there would be a new mission and soldier life would be back on the line. But in that particular moment, one is virtually only thinking about soccer or whatever it is that they are playing.

Simple Ways to Show Patriotism

Every year on the fourth of July, we get our families and friends together, barbecue, light fireworks and relax. Although having a splendid holiday is important, it’s also important to remember why we’re celebrating in the first place. Independence Day is a federal public holiday in the United States that honors the declaration of independence.

Patriotism is a strong passion which inspires you to support and serve your country. Having a great love or passion for your country is beneficial and it is a source of inspiration that propels us towards great accomplishment or success. The fourth of July is almost here, which indicates it’s time for fireworks, cookouts and a whole lot of red, white and blue.

Here are some ways you can show your patriotism and make a difference at the same time:

Study history

It is often said that you cannot change the future without a firm understanding of the past. Consequently, being responsible citizens calls for a firm grasp of history. And, in the information age, there are no excuses for the ignorance of so many adults. Take a class. Watch a movie. Read a book. Study about our culture in all of its horror and splendor so that you can engage in factual debates and conversations.

Raise the Flag

Did you know that flying the flag is a simple, but powerful way to support your country and all the active duty women and men who have defended it? Raise a flag in your front yard on any day of the week and remember to treat it with utmost respect. Flag bumper stickers are a great way to fly the flag when you’re driving. Stick them on your car, or anywhere that can outwardly display your love and respect for your country.


The right to vote is every so often taken for granted. Voting empowers us as a nation to be involved and gives us the ability to have a say in the decisions that are made. Being an active citizen is a great way to show love for your country. Furthermore, actively participating in the democratic process is an integral part of being an American.

Visit national parks

The National Parks Service safeguards many of the country’s greatest historic and natural treasures, and they’re available for the enjoyment of everyone. Most historic sites and national parks are free, but some do charge admission. When you make a voluntary donation or pay for admission fees, you’re helping the national park service continue to preserve America’s natural and cultural history.

Visit a cemetery

Even if you don’t have a loved one who fought and died for our country, remembering the people who did is the best way to thank them for their service. Take some time from your day to remember individuals who fought to make sure you have all the freedoms you enjoy today.

Get involved

Another way to show love for your country is to get involved in your community. Become a member of the school board, attend a public meeting or run for a public office. Learn what setbacks your community is facing and speak up to offer solutions.

Pray for all the families of the fallen

Remember to pray for all our fallen service men and women on July 4th. Also, pray for the thousands of men and women who were killed in the struggle.

Make a patriotic playlist

Put together a playlist for a backyard, family gathering or a cool trip to the swimming pool. Among the most famous American musicians are: the Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan the Beach Boys and Elvis Presley.

Wear patriotic flags, colors or images

Admittedly, nothing displays the love for your country than displaying it through accessories or clothing! Each country has distinct images and colors that define who they’re and how they’re perceived globally.

Thank a veteran

Because of the veterans who defend our country’s rights, privileges, and freedoms, people can worship freely, women are not oppressed, and the government can’t control the press.

So express your gratitude by offering to buy a veteran a frosty beverage, lemonade or a cold bottle of water as the temperatures continue to hover at or near a hundred degrees.


Most people will approve and understand your pride. Show your patriotism, and remember your support and service makes the nation stronger.

What is PTSD and What Are the Most Effective Treatments?

Post-Traumatic stress disorder, otherwise known as PTSD, is an anxiety disorder a person may experience following a traumatic event involving personal injury or the threat of death, causing terror, hopelessness, and fear. It is estimated that out of a million troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, approximately three hundred thousand have come back with some form of PTSD. And those are just the reported cases.

According to the (NIMH) National Institute of Mental Health, about thirty percent of soldiers who have spent time in war zones, not just Afghanistan and Iraq, have experienced PTSD for varying length of time. An even more alarming statistic is that nearly eight million Americans have the symptoms of Post-traumatic stress at any given time. Most of the PTSD sufferers have never been in an actual war zone, but PTSD has no borders.

Trauma is something that most of us will be forced to cope with at some point in our life journey. In fact, it’s estimated that between fifty to ninety percent of us will have to cope with it at one point or another.

Symptoms of PTSD

Having stress reactions following a traumatic event is normal. Your behavior and emotions can change in ways that are upsetting to you. Although most people have stress reactions following trauma, they get better in time. However, you should seek help if symptoms disrupt your home or work life, last longer than three months, or cause you a lot of distress.

The specific symptoms can vary widely between individuals but generally fall into the categories listed below:

Flashbacks and Reliving the Event

Flashbacks are probably the most common symptom of PTSD. This is when a person vividly and involuntarily re-experiences the traumatic event in the form of:

  • Distressing and repetitive sentences or images
  • Nightmares
  • Physical sensation like trembling, sweating and pain
  • Flashbacks

Emotional Numbing and Avoidance

A vast majority with PTSD simply try to ignore the traumatic event, and push it out of their mind, frequently distracting themselves with work. Other individuals attempt to deal with their emotions by trying not to feel anything. This is recognized as emotional numbing. This can lead to the person becoming withdrawn and isolated.

Feeling on the Edge

Someone with PTSD may be very uneasy and find it hard to relax. They may be aware of threats and easily startled. This state of mind is known as hyperarousal. Hyperarousal can often lead to angry outbursts, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, and irritability

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of this condition is normally done through a physiological exam. The criteria include two hyperarousal symptoms, three avoidance symptoms and at least one re-experiencing symptom. The symptoms must be intense enough to interfere with your routine activities.

Fortunately, there is a myriad of ways anxiety attacks can be treated. Outpatient and therapy prescription Medicare are means that have long since been proven to be a success. Those that are suffering from this condition should seek medical advice from a qualified medical healthcare professional to discuss various treatment options.

There are many types of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. You and your doctor will discuss the best treatment for you. You may have to try some treatments before you find one that works for you. Treatment, however, is usually a combination of resolution of ongoing traumas and talk therapy.

Psychotherapy in conjunction with medications has been shown to be very effective for the treatment of this condition. You don’t have to suffer in silence. There is help if you feel you’re experiencing PTSD.


The good news is that there is hope for those who suffer from PTSD. The first step for soldiers returning or any veteran suffering from PTSD is to go to their local Veterans Hospital and get the diagnosis. PTSD is very common in those who have served in the armed forces and can occur as the result of any trauma in life. Help is available.

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