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.

scriptsell.neteDataStyle - Best Wordpress Services