News flash — July 28, 2014

Give blood Aug. 5

The Wiesbaden Knights of Columbus Council 10292 and American Red Cross will host a Blood Drive Aug. 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Tony Bass Auditorium. Donors can sign up for donation appointments at www.militarydonor.com or by emailing wiesbaden@redcross.com. Walk-ins are also welcome.

New deputy commander

U.S. Army Europe welcomed new deputy commander, Maj. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, July 23. Piatt, who formerly served as the commander of the Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwöhr, replaced Maj. Gen. Richard Longo who retired July 22 after 34 years of service. (USAREUR Public Affairs)

VAT form prices rise

Starting Aug. 1 the cost of a Value Added Tax form will increase to $5 for purchases of up to €2499.99. VAT forms for purchases of €2,500 and higher will cost $65. UTAP registration increases to $99. For more information or to purchase forms before that date, stop by the VAT/UTAP Office in Building 1023E on Clay Kaserne. Call civ (0611) 143-544-9888 for more information.

Car shipping problems

International Auto Logistics, the new global privately owned vehicle contractor, is not meeting customer required delivery date for shipment. Service members who incur an expense because their vehicles have not arrived at the authorized destination by the required delivery date (during a permanent change of station) are eligible for monetary reimbursement. Call Brigit Smith at civ (0611) 705-7038 or email brigit.e.smith.ln@mail.mil for more information.

Technology Expo

All military, civilian and contractor personnel are invited to attend the Clay Kaserne Technology Expo Aug. 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wiesbaden Fitness Center. The event, hosted by 5th Signal Command, will feature more than 50 exhibitors who will demonstrate the latest in systems integration, cyber security, cloud computing, data protection, advanced training services and more. Refreshments will be served and giveaways offered while supplies last. Visit www.federalevents.com.

Beware of scams

Officials at the U.S. Army Europe Office of the Provost Marshal said newcomers to Europe should be aware of some of the ways they could be ripped off. OPM Law Enforcement Chief Joseph Day warned people to be alert for swindlers who:  Try to entice money by pretending to need help — offering jewelry as collateral until they can repay the “loan.”  Claim to have run out of money and offer to sell brand-name clothes at huge discounts to buy gas to get home.  Pretend to be plainclothes police officers targeting people in tourist areas — checking wallets and purses for counterfeit bills. Visit www.eur.army.mil/opm/default.htm. (USAREUR Public Affairs)

Apply now for Funded Legal Education Program

The Office of the Judge Advocate is now accepting applications for the Army’s Funded Legal Education Program. Selected officers will attend law school at government expense beginning in fall 2015 while remaining on active duty. Applicants must be commissioned officers with 2 to 6 years of active federal service when school begins. Review Army Regulation 27-1, Chapter 14 to determine eligibility and application requirements. Application deadline is Nov. 1. Contact the U.S. Army Europe OJA Lt. Col. Sara Root mil 337-9294 or (0611) 705-4700 to set up an interview and for more information.

Vehicle Reg changes

As of July 1 Wiesbaden’s Vehicle Registration Office has modified operations. Walk-in and appointment customers are now seen from 7:30-11:30 a.m. and customers with appointments only from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day. Emergency walk-ins are handled on a case-by-case basis. Call civ (0611) 143-548-7821 or mil 548-7821 to schedule an appointment.

Designated drivers

Besides helping save lives, designated drivers drink for free at local Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities including the Cappuccino Casino, Little Italy Restaurant and Catering Center, U’R Place Bar and Grill, Wiesbaden Entertainment Center and the Rheinblick Golf Course. Designated drivers in a group of two or more individuals should let the bartender or server know that he or she is the designated driver to obtain a wrist band entitling that person to free non-alcoholic beverages.

Importing pets stateside

People moving stateside this summer may take most types of pets with them if they plan ahead. However endangered species laws prevent people from taking some turtles, birds and reptiles to the United States. “Dogs must be free of disease and be vaccinated against rabies at least 30 day before they reach the USA,” said Mike Dean, director of the U.S. European Command’s customs and Border Clearance Agency. “Puppies younger than three months and dogs in rabies-free areas such as the United Kingdom are exempted, however.” Unvaccinated dogs will be inoculated on arrival and confined for 30 days at the owner’s expense. Cats must show no signs of disease and rabies vaccination is required in most U.S. states. People wanting to ship pet birds should consult the U.S. Department of Agriculture website at www.aphis.usda.gov/wps/portal/aphis/ourfocus/importexport. Arrangements to ship pet birds must be made 120 days in advance of a Permanent Change of Station move. For information about shipping pets to Hawaii (a rabies-free state) visit http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/aqs/animal-quarantine-information-page. (USAREUR Customs Release)

Put it on ICE

Have you been waiting to submit feedback for a garrison service or facility but aren’t sure how? Submitting an electronic Interactive Customer Evaluation card ensure the appropriate get the submission immediately. To access ICE visit www.wiesbaden.army.mil and click on the ICE button on the bottom left side of the page. This will take you to the garrison’s ICE page. Once there either use the “Service Provider Search” option, the “Show All” option or “Submitting a Site” comment. You can leave your contact information and request a response from management or you leave an anonymous submission. All are reviewed – so make sure your feedback is heard.

Banned foodstuffs

People shipping household goods to the United States this summer should be careful when packing the contents of their kitchen. The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection issues fines of $100 to $1,000 to first-time offenders who ignore the strict rules that apply to sending food products stateside. Banned items include red meats, sausages, pates, salami, pasta and soup mixes containing dried meat, fresh fruits and vegetables. Items such as canned fruit, olive oil, mustard and canned or processed sauces, commercially produced dried herbs and spices, tea, roasted coffee, cured cheeses, cakes, candies, cookies and roasted nuts are permitted. Visit www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/know-before-you-go for more information. (USAREUR Customs Public Affairs)

Helmets required

Helmets are required when riding a bike, scooter or skateboard on all U.S. Army Europe installations.

Motorcycle registration change

Service members initially registering or renewing their motorcycles must now meet the following requirements: * Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course no older than 12 months; * Within 12 months of completeing BRC, service members much complete an Experienced Rider Course or a Military Sport bike Riders Course which are valid for five years (after which service members must retake the ERC or MSRC). Additionally, after a five-year period of inactivity or upon acquisition of a new or change in motorcycles, service members must complete sustainment training by retaking the ERC or MSRC. Although not mandatory, service members are also encouraged to go through sustainment training again by retaking the courses after a major geographical change.

Fitness center attire

Service members are reminded that the following regulations apply to working out at the fitness center: improved physical fitness uniform or appropriate civilian attire, Army Combat Uniform allowed only during lunch hours or if Army Physical Readiness Test uniform is ACU for combatives or physical training, physical fitness lunch hours are 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., wireless devices not authorized when wearing military uniform, no dirty or muddy combat boots allowed on cardio equipment. Spot checks will be conducted by garrison and community leaders, and standards enforced by unit leadership.

SSN reduction plan

The Installation Management Command-Europe underscored the Defense Department’s guidance to reduce the use of Social Security Numbers on department forms and records unless there are legal reasons to continue doing so as a means of identifying and authenticating individuals with Policy Memorandum 25-400-1. This includes using just the last numbers of a person’s SSN. Everyone who is the proponent of regulations, forms and policies is asked to eliminate requests for SSNs. Anyone needing guidance to determine the legal requirements for using the SSN should contact the Legal Office. Those needing guidance should send a justification request through channels to HQ IMCOM G1, Administrative Services Division; or local ASD office in your garrison (Wiesbaden’s is located in Building 1023E, second floor, Room 265. Call mil 337-6122 or -7322 for more information.

Internet vulnerability

Internet Explorer and Firefox users, beware. U.S. Army Europe cyber security experts warn that a vulnerability discovered April 26 could allow an attacker to take control of computer systems with the same permissions as the account the user is signed in on. To protect personal computers from attack, cyber security officials recommend that users create a non-administrator account for everyday use and only use administrator accounts when needed, or use another web browser until patches are available for the affected programs. For more information on the vulnerability and how to create new user accounts, the following sites are offered: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/library/security/2963983; http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-New-User-for-Windows-8; http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-New-User-Account-in-Windows-Vista-and-7; http://www.wikihow.com/Add-New-Users-in-Mac-OS-X.

Contacting CWT/Sato Travel

To avoid long waiting times during a visit to the official travel office send an email to wiesbadenCTO@cwtsatotravel.com. That way your request will be addressed by CWT/Sato travel agents throughout Europe. Your reservation request should contain the travel date, desitnation authorized per your order, full name, Social Security Number, date of birth of all travelers, phone number and point of contact. If traveling with a pet provide kennel dimensions and weight of pet. Patrons are also asked to use the civilian number civ (0611) 977 340 rather than the DSN number to contact the office.

Lock your vehicle

Leaving your vehicle unsecure is a traffic violation in Germany and can result in a fine. If you leave your vehicle unsecured and the Polizei cannot locate you or secure your vehicle they will secure your valuables and you can retrieve them with a ticket at the local Polizei Precinct. Also the police advise everyone to secure their license plates properly to their vehicles. Report missing or stolen plate to the Military Police immediately. (Courtesy of the Directorate of Emergency Services)

Beware of scam

Some myPay users have received fake emails asking for the answers to myPay security questions. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service will never ask for this information by email. The fake emails came from smartdocs@dfas-mil.org and smartdocs@dfas.mil.org. People who responded to this email request with answers to their myPay security questions are advised to log into myPay to change their security questions immediately. The official SmartDocs email address is SmartDocs@dfas.mil. (Courtesy of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service)

New CAC ID process

Army Appropriated Fund civilian employees and family members are no longer required to visit their Civilian Personnel Advisory Center before renewing their CAC cards. They can go directly to their ID card section. This only applies for Army ID card facilities. If you chose to obtain a CAC from a non-ARMY ID card office you will be required to obtain a DD Form 1172-2 (application for identification card/DEERS enrollment).

MPs cracking down on unregistered motorcycles
     The Military Police will be targeting unregistered motorcycles parked throughout the garrison over the next few months. If you have an unregistered motorcycle you must either obtain a valid registration and license plates or register it as nonoperational with the Vehicle Registration Office. U.S. Army Garrison Command Policy No. 11 lists the authorized locations to park vehicles registered as nonoperational. As a service to motorcycle owners, Morale, Welfare and Recreation is now offering a towing service and covered storage for motorcycles on the North Side of Clay Kaserne for a small monthly fee. Contact the MWR Automotive Skills Center at mil 337-6679 or civ (0611) 705-6679 for information on this service.
Threat awareness training

Service members and Department of the Army civilians are required to attend annual Threat Awareness and Reporting Program training. The training takes about one and a half hours and addresses subject areas including espionage, terrorism, subversion, sabotage and insider threat indicators. Training will be held from 9-10:30 a.m. and 2-3:30 p.m. at the Taunus Theater in the Hainerberg Shopping Center on June 19, Sept. 18 and Dec. 11. For more information call mil 337-5540.

Recycling information

Looking for information about recycling or the 2014 trash pick-up schedules for Wiesbaden military community housing areas. Visit www.wiesbaden.army.mil and click on the Recycling link or get there directly by visiting www.wiesbaden.army.mil/sites/directorates/Refuse_Schedule.asp. Residents are also reminded that the Recycle/Reuse Center on Clay Kaserne is now open weekdays from noon to 3:30 p.m. and stays open until 6 p.m. on Thursdays.

Visual information requests

Customers requesting visual information support from Wiesbaden’s Training Support Center are advised that when visiting the VIOS website, www.vios.army.mil/viosmain.html, they must now click on the Europe section of the map to submit a request.

Inclement weather updates

Be sure to tune in to AFN radio (FM98.7) starting at 6 a.m. weekdays to hear the latest road, traffic and school closure information. Community members can also call the Weather Hotline at civ (0611) 7245 or 6101, check the Garrison Wiesbaden Facebook page or click on the Weather and Road Conditions link on the garrison’s home page (www.wiesbaden.army.mil) for the latest updates on delays and closures due to weather.

Eagle 360

American Forces Network listeners in Wiesbaden can now get live streaming radio services on their computer desktops and mobile devices. AFN 360 Internet Radio, launched Dec. 3, offers eight streaming radio channels including a local station and seven additional streams of news, sports talk, political talk and music. In addition to music and talk shows, AFN 360 features local and regional information. Visit www.afneurope.net and select AFN to get streamed AFN Wiesbaden The Eagle radio. (Defense Media Activity News Release)

Check Fuel Card

Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials advise patrons to check their Esso Fuel Card expiration date (lower right hand corner). If near expiration, customers must stop by the nearest AAFES Fuel Card issuing location for a replacement card. (Courtesy of AAFES Public Affairs)

Bikes on public transportation

Did you know that you can take your bicycle along with for free on any S-Bahn throughout the week in the Rhein-Main Region? Bikes may also be taken on U-Bahns and buses on the weekends; however, on weekdays they are not permitted during rush hour (6-8:30 a.m. and 4-6:30 p.m.). Anytime on weekends is OK for bikes. Wheelchairs and buggies have priority over bikes.

Home protection

Host nation crime prevention experts warn people that recent incidents of single home burglaries involved perpetrators sticking small pieces of plastic between the entrance door and door frame to determine if occupants were home or away on business or vacation. The burglars reportedly checked after a couple of days to see if the plastic had been removed or was still in place indicating that the door had not been opened and a break-in could occur unimpeded. People are advised to be on the lookout for inconspicuous pieces of plastic placed in the doorway and to report it to the Military Police. For more crime prevention tips visit the Hessen Polizei home page at http://www.polizei.hessen.de/icc/internetzentral/nav/c7e/c7e70b60-d9ec-e141-14ae-3c060ef798e7.htm. (Courtesy of U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden’s Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security).

New Mainz-Kastel Housing prefix

The military prefix telephone number for all offices in Mainz-Kastel Housing have changed from 337 to 548. The civilian conversion is (0611) 143. That means the number for the Vehicle Registration Office is now mil 548-7819/7821/7823 or civ (0611) 143-7819/7821/7823.

VA telephone scam

Veterans Affairs warns veterans of a scam involving attempts to contact the VA by phone. Reportedly scammers are using a phone line number that is one number off from the Veterans Benefits Administration National Call Center and the GI Bill Call Center. Numbers to be avoided are (800) 872-1000 (the actual VA NCC number is 800-827-1000) and (888) 442-4511 (the correct ...VA GI BCC number is 888-442-4551). Both fraudulent call centers appear to be attempting to gather personal information for identity theft. VA officials noted that they would never ask for a credit car number or banking information over the phone. If you feel you are a victim of a fraud, contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-382-4357. Visit stopfraud.gov for more information about reporting financial fraud.

Legal Assistance hours

The Wiesbaden Legal Assistance and Claims offices are open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m.; Thursdays from 1-4 p.m. The offices are closed the first Friday of every month for Readiness Day activities and all federal and training holidays. To speak to an attorney call civ (0611) 705-4725 to make an appointment. Powers of attorney and notaries are done on a walk-in basis.

Package appointments

Patrons who have five or more packages to mail can schedule an appointment before normal opening times by calling mil 337-6413 or civ (0611) 705-6413.

Snow and ice response

The U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden’s Directorate of Public Works provides snow and ice removal after major storms. Priority is given to clearing the airfield taxiways, garrison-controlled roads and common area walkways. The city of Wiesbaden clears road in open housing areas giving priority to city bus routes, then major roads feeding to city bus routes and then residential areas. Housing residents are responsible for clearing sidewalks from the front door to the parking space. Newman Village residents are also responsible for clearing the sidewalks in front of their quarters. Tenant units/activities are responsible for clearing the steps leading to their facilities while DPW crews will clear the steps of public facilities.

Farm traffic only

Drivers are reminded that the farm road behind Clay Kaserne (adjacent to Newman Housing) is for farm traffic, cyclists and pedestrians only. It is not to be used as a thoroughfare to approach or leave Clay Kaserne. The Polizei will ticket drivers who use the farm road, according to Lt. Col. Joseph Hissim, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Emergency Services director.

ESWE offers night bus service

ESWE now offers a night bus service departing from downtown Wiesbaden that includes a stop at the Main Gate at Clay Kaserne. ESWE Bus N7 will pick up at the Platz der Deutschen Einheit stop (located on Schwalbacher Strasse near the Luisen Forum) at 12:30 a.m. daily and arrive at Clay Kaserne about 20 minutes later. Also, on Friday and Saturday ESWE Bus N7 offers two additional pickups at 2 and 3 a.m. Patrons can call (0611) 45022-450 for bus pick up information from Mainz-Kastel or other outlying areas. Visit www.eswe.verkehr.de for more information.

Internet pets

Several community members have reported becoming the victims of an Internet pet scam. People seeking pets are asked to send money to such places as the Ukraine, Cameroon, Spain and other places in order to buy or even to see a photo of a potential future pet only to never receive the pet or the money back. This has sometimes involved the “seller” asking the purchaser to send payment through Western Union. Community are advised to beware of online pet sales.

Parking policy

Do you know the rules for parking in the Wiesbaden military community. Read the updated commander’s policy letter – “Reserved, Designated and General Parking” – on the garrison’s home page at www.wiesbaden.army.mil by clicking on Command Focus, Policies and then the policy – CP11.

Green Boot program

Is your unit signed up for the Green Boot program? Help the Army save by sharing ideas on ways to conserve and use energy more efficiently. Contact Maj. William McGlothlin at mil 337-5840 or William.p.mcglothlin.mil@mail.mil for details.

Passport up to date?

Although some European borders don’t always feature passport checks when crossing from one country to another, U.S. military community members are reminded that they should always carry their passport when traveling between countries. Military assignment orders are not a substitute for a passport. Police in some European countries can pull vehicles over without suspicion of wrongdoing to check for passports. Avoid possible detainment, search and illegal border crossing charges – carry your passport and keep it up to date when traveling in Europe.

Overseas car conversion

Americans in Europe must beware of European car dealers who offer to convert cars or motorcycles to U.S. standards. You could lose a lot of money by trying to ship a vehicle “converted” in Europe to the States. The Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency only accept work done by licensed companies in the United States, not the work of individuals or overseas companies. U.S. Customs can easily check vehicle identification numbers to detect phony conversions. Under EPA regulations, nonconforming vehicles less than 21 years old may only enter the United States through an independent commercial importer. These vehicles must be tested and adapted to the emission standards in effect at the time of production. Vehicles that are 21 years old or older do not require EPA tests or conversions. DOT requires shippers of nonconforming vehicles to sign a contract with a registered import company that must certify in advance that it can convert the model to U.S. safety standards. The owner must also post a bond for one and half times the vehicle’s dutiable value. Shipping, paperwork and conversions cost between $6,500 and $25,000 per vehicle. Get the “Importing a Car” pamphlet from Customs or visit www.hqusareur.army.mil/opm/cars.htm for details.

Update DEERS information

As summer approaches many service members and their families are gearing up for permanent change of station moves and retirees may be heading off to distant destinations. It’s important for Tricare beneficiaries to update their DEERS information to make sure their health care follow them to their new address. Visit www.tricare.mil for more information. (Tricare Communications)

DOT code a must

Tires shipped stateside must meet U.S. Department of Transportation standards, whether fitted to vehicles or not. So if you replace tires on your privately owned vehicle or buy a used vehicle, check for the DOT code if you intend to ship the POV to the States. Check both sides of the tire for the code as it may appear only on one side. Visit www.nhtsa.gov/Vehicle+Safety/Tires for more information. (Customs Release)

Save tax on imported vehicles
     U.S. personnel stationed overseas can ship vehicles to the United States free of federal tax and duty. Shippers must meet three conditions —taking physical possession of the vehicle before shipping, having valid Permanent Change of Station orders and importing for personal use (or by immediate family members) only. Exemption does not free one of state taxation. Registering a vehicle is the best way to show possession, but you can also prove it by putting a copy of your movement orders in the glove compartment. It is illegal to import vehicles for third parties or in order to sell them. Obtain state tax information from the relevant Department of Motor Vehicles (links available at www.hqusareur.army.mil/rmv/stateside_dmvs.htm). Stop by your local Customs or Transportation Office for more information about shipping procedures and fees. (Customs Release)
New Passport Office procedure
     The Wiesbaden Passport Office now only allows passport pickups on Tuesdays from 1:30-4 p.m. The office is located in Rooms 162 and 163 in Building 1023E on Clay Kaserne. Coordinate with passport agents for all emergencies or alternate pickup dates by calling civ (0611) 705-5308/7470 or 5515.
TSP app warning
     The Apple App Store is offering a Thrift Savings Plan application that is not sanctioned by the TSP. The free iPhone app, TSP Funds, offered through the Apple App Store, asks TSP participants for their account login information. The app is not being offered through the TSP and TSP officials do not recommend using the application to access TSP accounts.
Free alterations
     The Army and Air Force Exchange Service is offering free alterations and modifications on all issued uniforms for severely wounded, ill and injured Soldiers at all 79 Army Military Clothing stores around the world. The Army-led initiative ensures all wounded Soldiers receive free alterations and modifications on all issued uniforms in accordance with the Wounded Warrior Clothing Support Program including Army service, combat and improved physical fitness uniforms as well as undergarments. Eligible Soldiers must present an approved Army Form 3078 along with the prescribed modifications by the physical or occupational therapist to receive free services.
(AAFES Public Affairs)
Energy tips for offices
     To help reduce costs and save energy people are asked to power down all computers at the end of the duty day and to shut off computer speakers, scanners and other attached equipment when not in use. Place computer and peripherals on a power or smart strip and turn off at the end of the day. Ensure all exterior doors/windows remain closed and well sealed, except to ventilate for short periods for mold/mildew control. Space heaters are strictly prohibited in heated or cooled spaces. Building lights should be turned off when facility is unoccupied. If windows are cracked or missing submit a work order for repair.
(Courtesy of the Directorate of Public Works)
Make ID card appointments online
     Did you know you can make an appointment online to get a new ID card? To schedule an appointment go to https://rapids-appointments.dmdc.osd.mil. The ID Cards/DEERS office is located in Room 111, Building 1023E on Clay Kaserne. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the last customer sign-in at 3:30 p.m. Call mil 337-6355 or civ (0611) 705-5515 for more information.
Slow down to save money
     Each month the city of Wiesbaden records some 10,000 speeders on its streets, thanks to radar devices throughout the city. Drivers are asked to always observe the speed limits and to be aware that speed measurement devices are in place at various locations, including near the Hainerberg Shopping Center.
Don’t mail meat
     Some U.S. personnel in Europe receive fines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture because they mailed packages or sausages, ham or pate to the United States. The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection conducts inspections of incoming mail and refers violations to the USDA. Fines can range from $100 to $1,100. However infestations of animal disease can cost the U.S. taxpayer much more — millions of dollars each year. It is illegal to send meats and sausages without USDA approval. Even pasta or soup mixes that contain dried meat are not allowed. All packages mailed to the United States must have valid Customs declarations. Visit www.hqusareur.army.mil/opm/uscustoms.htm for more information.
(Customs News Release)
Commissary feedback
      Although the Defense Commissary Agency is not incorporated in the Interactive Customer Evaluation system, patrons can make comments and ask questions at local store’s customer service office. If the local customer service representative is unable to answer a question or help with a problem, patrons are advised to ask for the store director or manager on duty. If that too, doesn’t work during a commissary visit, head to the DeCA website, www.commissaries.com. Store contact information, a customer comment form and Frequently Asked Questions are available through the “Contact Us” page on DeCA’s website.
(DeCA Public Affairs)

Stateside phone access

Anyone can now call the Army in Europe’s official Defense Switched Network phone numbers from the United States via a standard stateside commercial telephone number. The number, (301) 981 1059, gives callers in the United States who do not have a DSN line available immediate commercial access to an operator in Germany who will then connect them to the appropriate DSN number in Europe. Callers must pay commercial calling costs to the Maryland 301 area code, but there are no overseas calling charges, and the number is accessible from any phone. U.S. Army Europe officials said the number is for official use only — not for “morale and welfare calls.” For more information email ocpa.pi@eur.army.mil or call civ (06221) 57-7270. (USAREUR Public Affairs)

Getting service records

Army veterans who served on active duty or in the Army Reserve, and the family members of those veterans, are eligible to receive service-related documents for free through a number of official sources. Soldiers who separated in October 2002 or later can submit a signed Standard Form 180 (Request Pertaining to Military Records – www.archives.gov/research/order/standard-form-180.pdf) to the U.S. Army Human Resources Command by email to askhrc.army@us.army.mil or by mail to U.S. Army Human Resources Command, ATTN: AHRC-PDR-V/Department 420. Soldiers who separated before October 2002 should submit a signed SF 180 to the National Archives and Records Administration’s National Personnel Records Center at National Personnel Records Center, 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63132-1002. For National Guard information visit www.nationalguard.mil/resources/states.aspx. Veterans can also access their information directly through a joint partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense known as eBenefits at www.ebenefits.va.gov.

It’s your call

Confidential help for the U.S. Army Europe community is available through the Military Crisis Line at civ (00800) 1273-8255 or mil 118. Suicide prevention and crisis support through confidential chat is also available online at MilitaryCrisisLine.net.

Online disability help

Soldiers, family members and commanders can now find helpful data, phone numbers and first-line information on how the integrated Disability Evaluation System works for the Army in Europe at the U.S. Army Europe IDES website — www.eur.army.mil/IDES. Europe and Asia are part of the final implementation evaluation process for Soldiers which began in October 2011. The new system eliminates both the requirement for veterans to navigate the Department of Veterans Affairs disability evaluation process on their own and the delay between the end of a Soldier’s service and the beginning of his or her Veterans Affairs benefits. The IDES partners the disability rating systems of the Department of Defense and the VA to produce a disability rating system used by both departments. The IDES also features a single set of medical examinations and a single set of disability ratings, resulting in benefits that begin as soon as Soldiers separate from military service. (USAREUR Public Affairs)

Military Kids Connect website

The challenges faced by a child when a parent or caregiver deploys are unique to the military community. MilitaryKidsConnect.org is a new Defense Department-sponsored website to help military children support one another and learn coping and resilience-building skills. The site was developed by psychologists at the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, DoD’s primary agency for applying innovative technology to issues of psychological health and traumatic brain injury. Visit MilitaryKidsConnect.org for more information. (DoD News)

Check mail before sending

Customs officials advise mailers to avoid mail delays and customs issues by ensuring their mail is free of prohibited, restricted and otherwise non-mailable items. Restricted items include weapons, explosives, ammunition, tobacco products, meat products, alcohol and alcohol-filled candy, fruit, plants, medicines, dietary aids, butane lighters, obscene articles, aerosol cans and “Kinder eggs” with the prize enclosed. The Military Postal Service also cannot be used for humanitarian aid or business ventures. Restrictions vary from country to country. When in doubt contact your local postal clerk for guidance. (Courtesy of IMCOM-Europe Public Affairs Office)

Army Mentorship Program

The Army Mentorship Program is a voluntary, web-based program that promotes mentorship by linking mentors and mentees, and provides training videos and literature teaching the concepts of mentorship. Studies have shown that mentoring relationships can help individuals with personal and professional growth by improving their leadership and interpersonal and technical skills. For more information visit www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/mentorship. (USAREUR Public Affairs)

Career transition training

The Department of Defense now offers an online Career Decision Toolkit to help service members assess transition needs and explore transition-related subjects such as career exploration, financial planning for transition, job search success, effective resumes and cover letters, interviewing excellence and negotiating salaries. For more information visit www.turbotap.org. (DoD News)

Hanau Veterans Center

A new American Veterans Center opened on the former Francoise Kaserne in the Lamboy section of Hanau (Building 905/Club 905 — Francoisegarten bus stop). Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday. It will serve as a social center and information point for all American veterans, retirees, spouses and widows. Coffee and tea will be available. For more information email retired Col. Paul Sanders at Pauls09165@hotmail.com, Joyce Schloesser at Schloesser-bob@t-online.de or call civ (06128) 489 202. Parking is available in the Club 905 spaces.

Check vehicle registration

Directorate of Emergency Services officials remind privately owned vehicle operators to check their vehicle registration for expiration. Don’t become a blotter statistic. While checking your vehicle registration, also make sure your U.S. Forces Europe driver’s license is still current. Make sure to renew both in a timely manner.

USB power, think again

Before plugging any device in a U.S. government computer — whether it’s a thumb drive, phone or mp3 player — think again. Anything that plugs into USB can not only draw power but can also transfer data. Plugging those devices into U.S. government systems creates vulnerabilities, which lead to significant risks to the networks.

Know before you go

People moving to the States this summer should start preparing now by finding new homes for the things that are banned from import. It is also a good idea to apply early for import permits on restricted items, Customs officials advise. "Prohibited items include meat and meat products such as sausage, pate and salami, as well as plants and destructive devices," said Bill Johnson, director of the U.S. European Command’s Customs and Border Clearance Agency. "If you’re planning on shipping firearms, ensure you have proof that you owned them in the States or have an import permit." Other points to remember include: t Owners of vehicles not made to U.S. standards have to ship them through commercial importers registered with the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency. However vehicles more than 25 years old are exempt from this rule. t Most mopeds and motorcycles must also meet U.S. safety and pollution standards, and all vehicles must be free of dirt, insects and vegetation. t Wine collections can only be shipped with advance approval from the transportation office. Endangered species items such as ivory and some furs may only be shipped if owners can prove they were previously owned in the United States or are antiques 100 years old. t State attorneys general must approve imports of gambling devices. These devices must be registered with the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. Pick up more information at your local Customs Office or visit www.hqusareur.army.mil/opm/uscustoms.htm. (USEUCOM Customs Public Affairs)

Getting vehicles ready for shipment

Soldiers and civilians are reminded that they are responsible for ensuring specific steps are taken before shipping their privately owned vehicle. Individuals must v Have six copies of PCS orders; v Have a valid ID card and registration; v Make and confirm an appointment with Transcar shipping office to turn in a POV (call civ 06134-69303 or mil 337-7849); Remove all personal effects; v Ensure POV is in operable condition; v Clean vehicle interior and exterior to meet USADA standards (no dirt, soil, plant or animal life); v Make sure fuel tank is less than one quarter full; v Make sure emergency brake is in full working order; v Vehicle has no leaks; v EPA and DOT labels are attached to the vehicle; v Lug nut key is available; v Car stereo equipment is permanently fixed or bolted down; v Must have read the "Global POV Contract Outbound — What to Expect" pamphlet given during the transportation briefing. (Courtesy of USAG Wiesbaden’s DPTMS)

Federal benefits contact

The federal benefits unit in Frankfurt has a new telephone number for those needing assistance with Social Security, Medicare or Veterans Affairs issues. The new number is civ (069) 90555 1110. The federal benefits unit Frankfurt may also be reached at FBU.Frankfurt@ssa.gov or by fax at civ (069) 749 352.

Avoid demonstrations

Garrison force protection and security experts advise community members to always avoid any public demonstrations as they could become violent. Listen to the American Forces Network radio, check the garrison home page and Commander’s Information Channel for the latest advisories and plan your route to stay away from demonstrations whenever possible.

Think Act Save

Help save Army dollars by doing your part to recycle refuse. Join the Separate Or Recycle Trash effort by properly sorting all recyclables. Also turn off lights and other appliances when not in use. It’s commonsense, it makes good sense and it saves lots of cents.

Ready Army

Army families are reminded to plan ahead and establish a family emergency plan for all potential hazards. Soldiers, civilians, families and contractors are advised to "get a kit, make a plan and be informed." "One of the most important tools you and your family can have to protect yourself in possible emergencies is a family emergency plan," said Rene Gomez, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high Yield Explosives specialist. "It is important that you plan ahead as a family for all types of emergencies and responses." When establishing a plan it’s important to: (bullet) Know your installation’s evacuation procedure; (bullet) Discuss as a family where you will go in the event of an emergency; (bullet) Plan how you will evacuate family members with special needs; (bullet) Include pets in your family plan; (bullet) Save "In Case of Emergency" information on everyone’s cell phone; (bullet) Set up practice evacuations or shelter-in-place drills for your family to ensure everyone knows what to do; (bullet) Keep your emergency supply kit up to date, replacing water and perishables periodically.