Dear Coast Guard Family: Tips and resources for times of deployment or separation

Time – it’s a funny thing, isn’t it? Sometimes passing too quickly. Sometimes too slowly. And, it never feels more evident than when you’re facing or experiencing time away from the one that you love.

Amanda Gornik is the ombudsman for the Coast Guard Cutter Spencer, homeported in Boston. Photo courtesy of Amanda Gornik.

From the Homefront: Ombudsmen share their secrets to success

Every Coast Guard ombudsman has a list of favored resources and services that are as distinct as the families they serve. Families’ needs, whether on cutters, at stations or “geobaching,” are diverse and ombudsmen are prepared to respond. This week, I asked them to open their toolboxes and share the resources they find most useful for Coastie families.


Shape the future: Be a DoD training officer

I’ve always believed that the best way to retain information is to learn, do, then teach!

Coast Guardsmen from Recruit Company Lima 188 march in front of family and friends during Pass and Review at their graduation from Training Center Cape May, Aug. 2, 2013. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska.

From the Homefront: Top 10 things we wish people knew about Coast Guard life

I spend a lot of time explaining Coast Guard life to other people – not just here, but everywhere: to my neighbors, at the gym, at the grocery store, at kids’ birthday parties. I know I am not alone. Every Coastie I know has a set list of responses for the questions we get. We love that people want to understand us. So this week I crowd-sourced the question and asked people to tell me what they wish people knew about Coast Guard life. I sent out a survey over social media, and asked everyone to weigh in to come up with the following top 10 list.

Marines participating in the ammo can lift portion of the Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test. Photo courtesy of Marine Corps Cyber Command.

Get fit: Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test

Lt. Cmdr. Sean Plankey, currently deployed with Expeditionary Cyber Support Element under U.S. Forces Afghanistan, talks about his experiences keeping fit in a joint operating environment and accepting the challenge to participate in the Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test.

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TSA Travel Tip: TSA Pre✓™ for military members expanded to 100 airports

Currently, members of the U.S. Armed Forces can use TSA Pre✓™ lanes at 10 domestic airports by presenting their Common Access Card. Starting December 20th, these individuals will be able to enjoy the benefits of the program at the 100 participating airports across the country, allowing them to keep their footwear on as well as light outerwear, laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry on in select screening lanes.

Shelley Kimball (second from left) and fellow participants at the 2013 Joining Forces Veteran and Military Family Summit in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Shelley Kimball.

From the Homefront: Making sure your voice is heard

So, you remember on the first day of my column, when I said I would not sugar coat things? Well, today is the day. Just before I left, I reached out for some input from fellow Coastie families through social media. I asked for the answer to one question: What is the most pressing issue facing Coast Guard families today? In a matter of days, 50 people responded. I’m going to tell you what I learned.

Screenshot of website.

New military website teaches parenting skills

The Department of Defense launched a new website ealier today aimed at helping active duty, reserve and veteran military parents communicate with their children. is a free, online course providing a “boot camp” approach to the basics of parenting.

Flag-waving family members welcome the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Bear home following a 58-day deployment. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

From the Homefront: Deployment help for spouses

Twice a month, Coast Guard All Hands will feature “From the Homefront,” a column for Coast Guard spouses by Coast Guard spouse Shelley Kimball. Shelley has been married to Capt. Joe Kimball, commanding officer of Air Station Miami, for nearly […]

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TSA travel tip: TSA Pre✓™ for Active Duty Military

Deployments can be stressful on both members and their families. Our friends over at the Transportation Security Administration appreciate the sacrifices our servicemembers and their families make and offer up the following information on TSA Pre✓™ for active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces to make your time at the airport just a little less stressful.

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