Northwest Navigator: News and Information from Navy Region Northwest in Washington State's Puget Sound, including Bremerton, Kitsap County, Oak Harbor, and Everett

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What’s your degree?

The Labor Day holiday is now behind us and most, if not all, of our children are back in school. But education isn’t just for our kids. Let me ask you, do you have a college degree? If your answer is no, then today’s column is for you. If you already have a degree, today’s column is also for you. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to education. Everyone has different needs and different desires as well as different talents. The good news is that there are not only countless universities, colleges, and other methods from which to get an education but also various means of financing it. The options are numerous and easily tailored to your career, family, and resource needs.
September 8, 2006
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Labor Day: Plan and think safe

I write this shortly after having signed out a naval message discussing Labor Day safety, which brings both this weekend’s holiday and safety to my mind as singly important. Today’s themes are recurring ones: holiday, safety, and taking care of each other. At the risk of repeating myself, these are life skills — they’re vital to you, not just to the Navy, although their importance to the mission can’t be understated.
September 1, 2006
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BAH … it’s not just for a Christmas humbug

I want to spend a few minutes discussing Basic Allowance for Housing, better known by its acronym BAH. I hope that you share my consideration that BAH is an important topic, after all, it exists for one vital purpose: to provide you with the best possible housing relative to your paygrade and family status. First, what is it? Let me tell you up front that BAH is NOT what used to be called VHA or Variable Housing Allowance. That’s a good thing. Our housing allowance is no longer tied to specific lease or rental agreement amounts or dependent on yearly surveys. It is an equitable system designed to fairly pay each service member the same amount based on their duty station ZIP code, dependency status, and pay grade. BAH only applies to those Sailors or Marines on duty in the 50 United States; A service member stationed overseas, including U.S. protectorates, who is not provided government housing, is eligible for Overseas Housing Allowance, or OHA.
August 25, 2006
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Traffic safety … it’s in your hands

August 18, 2006
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Voting: A right and duty

We live in a nation where freedoms don’t come free, and, once earned, must be rigorously defended and zealously guarded. I wrote in my Fourth of July column that we honor those willing to fight and die to keep our country free. One of the freedoms that we fight for, defend, and guard is that of voting. Let me begin by telling what I won’t talk about and what you should and shouldn’t do. I’m not going to tell you how to vote, who to vote for, or what issues you should care about.
July 21, 2006
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CAPS program here to serve you

Many a doctor will tell you that band aids and Tylenol are great cures but the best medicine is prevention. You’ve seen me write already about taking care of yourself, your shipmates, co-workers, family and friends. I’ve written about looking out for yourself, for planning ahead, for preventing adverse occurrences in your life. However, there are times that, no matter how well you prevent or prepare, you’ll be faced with situations that are overwhelming or require special assistance. Navy Region Northwest and the Navy have many resources to help you, whether the issue is financial, medical, professional, or personal.
July 14, 2006
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4th of July message

Let me be the first to wish you a happy Fourth of July! This is an extraordinarily special weekend, and Tuesday will mark an extraordinarily special day in the history of our country. As you celebrate, take time off, and participate in various festivities, take the time to recall the real meaning of July 4th: our nation’s independence. Although this holiday offers us well deserved time to relax, spend time with family and friends, enjoy summer recreation, and pursue other leisure activities, Independence Day is about more than fireworks, hot dogs, and baseball.
June 30, 2006
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Father’s Day, a salute to all family members

Ah, Father’s Day. A time to relax; to sit back, and enjoy a special day. A time for wives and families to recognize an important member of the family. I said in an earlier column that families add stability and continuity to our military readiness; dads are (obviously) part of the family and part of that stability. Dads are important. As you make coffee for dad this weekend or light off the grill, please remember how blessed you are to have him at home. Not all are so fortunate. So many fathers/husbands (and mothers/wives) are deployed, whether on the ground in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Horn of Africa, Guantanamo Bay, at sea or with deployable squadrons.
June 16, 2006
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The fleet response plan

Before I get started on this week’s topic, I’d like to make mention of a personnel change to the region. I’m happy to welcome CNOCM(SS) Ron Johnson as the Regional Master Chief. He joins us from a tour as Submarine Group Nine’s Command Master Chief and brings outstanding experience and superior leadership to the job as well as an intimate knowledge of Navy Region Northwest. We’re glad to have him and his family onboard as part of the Region team.
June 9, 2006
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Ensure you’re insured

I hope everybody enjoyed the Armed Forces Day events last weekend and that youíre looking forward to Memorial Day. As we celebrate and remember the freedoms the Armed Forces have secured for us in the past and secure for our future, I want to make sure we take care of each other and our families by securing our future. Short and simple: you need to be insured. This space is too small for me to discuss all types of insurance; whatís right for individuals depends on their circumstances. Coverage varies widely. I wonít presume to tell you what the right amount of insurance is for you and your family or what the right products are. Let me focus on a few key areas.
May 26, 2006
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