By Kristin Finney
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Have a coupon but it’s expired? Before throwing it away, consider this…Military members who are serving overseas can use expired coupons for up to six months after their expiration date. For many military families that are stationed overseas, their household income comes from one person. This can put those families on a very tight budget. However, there is a way for people back home to help.
There are a few limitations on this deal. The coupons must be Manufacturer Coupons, which means that store or restaurant coupons are out. When the coupons are sent they can’t be more than 30 days past their expiration date. Also when they are sent, the coupons must be clipped together and sorted into “Food” and “Non-food” categories.
It is easy to determine if a coupon is “Food” or “Non-food.” “Food” items are things that people can eat, and would normally eat, that provide calories. So things such as gum, mints, meal drinks, cereal and anything else that is normally eaten, fall into that category. As for “Non-food,” these would be things like cat or dog food, dish detergent, soap, etc.
The coupons can be separated into plastic bags and labeled as “Food” or “Non-food” to make distribution easier. There is no limit to the amount of coupons you can send. People are asked to collect their coupons throughout the month and then send any they collect after the month is up. They ask that you not send more than once a month because it makes distributing them easier.
Families and communities can work together to send coupons overseas as well as individuals. Joyce Bethea is working with local businesses such as the Library to get drop off locations set up in Madison. However, until that time, coupons can be sent to
Coupon Chix Overseas Coupon Program
1260 Conference Road
Cantonment, FL 32533.
The new Ad Valorem Tax Credit for Deployed Military Personnel is different from any other homestead exemptions of classifications, said Marie Smith, Assistant Property Tax Appraiser for Madison County. The deadlines for any other homestead exemptions, March 1, has already passed, but any military personnel in Madison County who qualify for this new, additional exemption have until June 1 to come into the property appraiser’s office and fill out the necessary paperwork.
Since this is the first year the tax credit takes effect, “we have no way of knowing how many people from Madison County may have been deployed,” said Smith. “That’s why we have to advertise, so they will come to us.”
The measure, which was approved by voters last November, applies members of the U.S. military or military reserves, the United States Coast Guard or its reserves who receive a homestead exemption and who were deployed in that previous calendar year on active duty outside the continental United States, Alaska or Hawaii, supporting military operations designated by the Legislature. This year, the Legislature has identified the three qualifying deployments as Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.
The tax credit is in addition to the homeowner’s exemption already in place, and the amount of the exemption will depend on how many calendar days in the previous year (2010) the applicant spent on active deployment.
Those who qualify for this exemption will need to come into the Property Appraiser’s Office by June 1 to complete the application, and each applicant must identify which of the three operations they were deployed on, supply the dates they were deployed, and furnish proof of the deployment. There are also provisions to allow a spouse or other specified person to apply for the exemption on behalf of the deployed service member.
Since the measure is so new, still awaiting Governor Rick Scott’s signature, the appraiser’s office has now received a complete list of acceptable documentation for proof of deployment, but copies of orders or anything from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will surely be on the list, said Smith.
For further information, please contact the Madison County Property Appraiser’s Office at (850) 973-6133 prior to June 1.
Joe Boyles Guest Columnist
The acronym SOF stands for Special Operations Forces. These irregular military troops that each of the four services contribute toward are sometimes referred to as “snake eaters.” Their headquarters (Special Operations Command or SOCOM) is located at Tampa’s McDill Air Force Base. SOCOM planners put together last week’s raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden.
There are about 60 thousand members of SOCOM. The Army contributes Special Forces (aka Green Berets), the Rangers, and the elite Delta Force. Another Army unit is the Night Stalkers of the 160th Aviation Company that flew the Seals into the compound last week. The Air Force elements are primarily located in Florida’s Eglin complex at Hurlburt and Duke Fields and include gunships, aerial refueling aircraft, and heavylift helicopters. The Marines have RECON companies while the Navy contributes six SEAL teams including Team Six that conducted last week’s raid on ObL.
Our special operations forces, the best in the world, have come a long way in thirty years. In the spring of 1980, the services threw together a complex mission to rescue the hostages from the American Embassy in Tehran. To transport the assault team, six helicopters were needed. The team asked for 12 and were given eight. When they landed at a remote site in Northern Iran named Desert 1, three helicopters were broken and unable to continue. Since they had less than the six required, the mission was scrubbed. During a night refueling in blowing sand, a Marine chopper collided with an Air Force C-130. The accident cost the lives of eight American servicemen including a good friend that I had gone to flight school with nine years before, Rick Bakke.
The failure of this mission made President Jimmy Carter look weak, one of many factors that led to his electoral defeat six months later. Each of the services investigated this mission. The Air Force team included a Texan by the name of Jey Younger who I later worked for. Jey had done special operations helicopter work in Vietnam ten years before. One of the recommendations was to build a special operations command with elements from each of the services. This would be the forerunner of today’s SOCOM.
President Reagan’s Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger accepted the notion and told the four military services to pony-up their forces for the new command. In turn, the four services drug their feet. For one matter, they didn’t want to give up control. For another, the traditional services hated the snake eaters. You see, military traditionalists despise the unconventional nature of special forces. Cap Weinberger had to get really tough and lay down the law to make SOCOM happen.
SOF has had its up and downs over the years. When Don Rumsfeld was the Secretary of Defense from 2001-06, he made sure that SOCOM had the resources they needed to build an effective fighting force and Bob Gates has continued this emphasis. Consequently, SOF is in great shape today, witness the success of the difficult May 1st mission to kill ObL.
Many other nations have SOF capability including England, France, Italy, Germany, and Israel, but none can match the size and scope of SOCOM. These nations have invested in special operations because they are uniquely qualified to match and defeat para-military organizations like al-Qaeda. If al-Qaeda is the equivalent of a nuisance fly, then special operations uses a flyswatter. You wouldn’t want to try and kill a fly with a baseball bat, would you?
I think that SOF forces are the ideal fighting force in the war against al-Qaeda going forward. Whether the mission is retaking an embassy, freeing a hostage, capturing a high-value enemy combatant, or assassinating a terrorist, the best option is to turn the mission over to SOCOM. These are finite, precise missions where special forces specialize.
You won’t see these guys seek publicity or attend a press conference. They work in the shadows. A large measure of their success is anonymity. Just be glad they’re on our side.
Joe Boyles – Guest Columnist
The United States is now engaged in another war against a Muslim nation; this time the target is Libya. We have a long military history with the nations of North Africa; the second stanza of the Marine Corps Hymn is “to the shores of Tripoli” recalling our brief war with the Barbary Coast pirates two centuries ago during the Jeffersonian era.
In the fall of 1942, after nearly a year of impatient preparation, the U.S. engaged the German Army in North Africa. American military leaders and the president had been pushing for an early cross-channel invasion of Europe. Our British allies urged caution and suggested that our young army cut its teeth on a more modest enemy, the Afrika Corps. The August raid on Dieppe by the Canadians proved that the Brits were right.
On November 8, 1942, the American Army under code name Operation Torch landed at three invasion sites in what was then (Vichy) French North Africa: Casablanca, Oran, and Algiers. This was the first engagement by the American Army (the Marines had been engaged in the Pacific War at Guadalcanal three months earlier) against the Germans. The strategy was to squeeze the Germans and their Italian allies between the Americans coming from the west and the British arriving from Egypt to the east where they had just won a decisive battle at El Alamein.
The eventual victory in North Africa would occur in Tunisia the following May and involve six U.S. Army divisions. In that six month campaign, we suffered more than 18 thousand casualties. In the process, our young volunteer army would learn many valuable lessons that would be put to use in the subsequent invasions of Sicily, Italy, and eventually France. These were growing pains that we needed to assimilate and improve upon before the big test.
The keys to victory in North Africa were that the Allies learned how to operate as a coalition; we cut off supplies that could reach the Axis forces in Tunisia; and the Italian Army proved to be a paper tiger.
Fast forward to today. North Africa is on fire as revolts have sprung up in Tunisia, Egypt, and now Libya. To a lesser extent, they are spreading further east as well. The people are attempting to overthrow dictatorships that have oppressed them for decades. Fundamentalist elements like the Muslim Brotherhood, forerunner to al-Qaeda, may be playing a role in this unrest. There is some indication that the lack of food (short supplies and high prices) may also be playing a role.
The issue in Libya is that military strong man Muammar al-Gaddafi is not only hanging on, he is threatening to liquidate the rebels who oppose him. After weeks of watching what may be a humanitarian disaster unfold, another coalition (United Nations, NATO, and the Arab League) has decided to weigh in (Operation Odyssey Dawn) and enforce a no-fly zone to prevent Libyan fighter jets from destroying the rebel stronghold to the east.
President Obama is reluctant to engage the Pentagon in another war and has limited U.S. involvement thus far to intelligence gathering, reconnaissance, command and control, and limited bombing. Our forces have employed cruise missiles (primarily the Tomahawk launched from surface ships and submarines in the Mediterranean), stealth bombers, and fighters to keep Gaddafi’s fighter and attack aircraft grounded. The targets appear to be command facilities, air defenses, airfields, and armored convoys that threaten the rebels.
Three B-2 Spirit stealth bombers launched from their home in Central Missouri, refueled in mid-air, and flew non-stop to Libya to deliver 45 two thousand pound JDAM GPS-guided standoff weapons against preplanned targets. Then they retraced their route of flight, landing at Whiteman AFB 25 hours after launch. That is Global Reach, Global Power in action.
Where this effort goes from here is a big question. Are we seeking to overthrow Gaddafi or are we merely trying to protect the rebels from destruction? How long will this effort last? What will be the cost? Are we in danger of “mission creep?” How resolved are our NATO allies to this effort? What will other Arab nations permit before they waiver in their support? These and more are unknowns as we carefully tread upon territory that has already absorbed its share of American blood.
We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that North Africa was part of European colonialism not that long ago. The French, British and Italians ruled this region for more than a century until World War II led to eventual independence. The fact that democratic institutions were not installed then is a subtext to the problems we face today.
By Kristin Finney
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Even soldiers need their sweets, and when a personal message is attached to the candy bar it makes it a hundred times sweeter. For a week in March, Harveys of Madison has been collecting Reese’s candy bars for the soldiers at Moody Air Force Base.
The Reese’s were sold for $1, and anyone who wished to donate a candy bar was also invited to write a personal message on them. The candy bars were then taken to Moody Air Force Base to be distributed to the soldiers.
Air Force recruiters Garrett D. Forehand and Regina Cooper, in cooperation with the store manager of Madison’s Harveys, Michael Bryan, brought this effort together. Harveys collected over 500 candy bars in one week.
Harveys would like to thank the community for their support in this effort and for supporting our troops.
Michael Bryan holds his daughter, Mary Bryan, while visiting with recruiters Regina Cooper (left) and Garrett D. Forehand (right).