Monthly Archives: January 2014

SPAWAR Cafe Update

SPAWAR Cafes are currently located in Kuwait and Afghanistan and provide a great way for soldiers to keep in touch with their families through both internet and phone access. One of the best features of the SPAWAR Cafes is that phone calls to the United States are charged at only 4 cents per minute. I have yet to have found a calling card that compares.

Since the last time I posted about the SPAWAR Cafes on the old blog, it appears that they’ve expanded their services considerably.

Perhaps the most significant new service offered by SPAWAR is the addition of voicemail. Now soldiers can have a voicemail account attached to their unique PIN allowing them to receive calls even with the irregular schedules that deployments bring. Sign up is handled through the SPAWAR website, linked below.

To view a schedule of this year’s free call days, click here. Free call days allow soldiers to call the US for free for the entire day (based on the Eastern Time Zone).

In addition, a new feature of free call days is a DSN phone number that soldiers can call to make a free call if they don’t have access to a SPAWAR cafe. The following was taken from SPAWAR’s website:

Also, if there’s no SPAWAR Internet Cafe nearby, if your Command supports DSN morale calls, and if you have access to a Class “A” DSN line, you may either:
1. Dial [94] plus our access number [800-270-6109], and wait for the prompt, or
2. Dial [809-463-3376] and enter [1-800-270-6109] once you hear the dial tone, then wait for the prompt, or
3. Dial a Stateside DSN operator of your choosing and ask to be connected to [800-270-6109], then wait for the prompt. Once you hear the prompt, enter the destination number & this DSN Free Call Day PIN: [1668473258]. Your free call to a covered destination will be processed.

To learn more about SPAWAR Cafes and their services, visit https://icpaccess.net.

New Years Hopes & Dreams

Hopefully you’re busy enjoying the New Year with all of your family home and safe. If you’re one of the many who still have loved ones overseas this holiday, we’re praying for their safe return home in 2014.

With the beginning of this new year, we’re also hoping and praying for a few more things as well. In no particular order, here’s what we hope to see in 2014:

  1. A safe return home for all of our troops. We know that 2014 won’t end with every single soldier home safe with their families, but that won’t stop us from hoping and praying that it happens.
  2. Better personal safety equipment for our troops. The military has some amazingly smart people working on better uniforms, vests, helmets, and other protective equipment. In 2014 we’d like to see now of it in use protecting our loved ones.
  3. Less politics effecting the military. In the past year we saw two government shutdowns, sequestration, a troop draw down with an overall schedule that keeps getting shorter, and cuts to a slew of military programs that could effect maintenance, safety, and overall mission readiness for our military. Congress needs to do better than this.
  4. More than a 1% pay raise. The 2014 military and civilian technician pay raise is only 1%. While this is a great improvement for civilian technicians who support the military (including National Guard dual-status technicians) who didn’t get any raise for the three years prior, this is a huge setback for members of the military, who had been averaging 1.8% per year the past three years. While it’s understandable that we don’t have the 3% raises from the Bush years (the economy has been tight all around) we should expect more from our current ‘recovering’ economy than 1%, and there is no excuse for technicians having to wait four years to get any raise at all.

So what are your hopes for 2014? Share them below and we’ll see how many we can pull off by the end of the year.