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Jeff M. (Creator)
Nov 24, 2019
In Military Inns
I wanted to take my family on a summer weekend trip to Virginia Beach. By family I mean my wife and I, grandma, daughter, and 2 dogs. The tricky part was finding a dog friendly lodging location. We discovered that Fort Story is only 15 minutes North of Virginia Beach. Fort Story offers a lot of lodging options - 2 & 3 bedroom Townhouses ($125-240/night) - Right off the Fort Story Beach. Looked very nice but not dog friendly - RV & Camp Sites ($25/night) - 1 & 2 bedroom cabins with lofts that have extra beds ($95/night) We booked a 2 bedroom cabin since it was the best dog friendly option. Overall, I highly recommend the cabins as a nice budget & dog friendly option when visiting Virginia Beach. It has a full kitchen and fridge so you don't have to eat out everyday. The area is very kid friendly with a play area nearby. The base also offers leisure access to it's own beach. (Not really walking distance from the cabins. We took a quick 3 minute drive). We'd love to go back again and next time may leave the dogos at a friend to try out a Townhouse
Summer Virginia Beach Stay at Fort Story content media
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Jeff M. (Creator)
Nov 24, 2019
In Career Starter Loan
I commissioned as an Air Force ROTC 2Lt in the Spring of 2013 and utilized the USAA Career Start Loan. I was offered the standard $25K at 2.99% to be paid off in 5 years but with a payment deferment of 6 months after my commissioning date. Monthly payments came out to about $471 a month. However, as a single Lt, I wanted to try and get it paid off as soon as possible so I rounded up to $250 per each bi-weekly check to equal $500/m. I used the majority of it to pay off my higher interest loans at 6% or above. I saved a couple thousand to help with some end of year expenses and getting set up in my new location before my PCS reimbursement funds kicked in. I never calculated how much I saved by doing so, but I'm happy to report that I was able to get student loan free by 2017. I commissioned in May so I didn't have to pay USAA anything until November of that year. I was a lucky one and got orders right away and reported to my first duty station in July. So I started getting paid by August. I had a couple peers that didn't get orders until 6 or 10 moths after commissioning (all about timing and needs of the Air Force). Remember you have 12 months within your commissioning date to apply for it. So if you think you may be delayed to get orders and don't have a part time job lined up to fill the gap, you may want to wait a little after commissioning to ensure you'll have a job by the time the 6 month deferment is up.
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Jeff M. (Creator)
Nov 24, 2019
In Military Permissive TDY
I first learned about the P-TDY opportunity through a supervisor in 2015. I was in Minot, ND at the time, low on leave, and itching for a fun trip. I looked up the reg (36-3003) and noticed item 12 allows P-TDY: "to participate or train in sports, recreation and talent events officially conducted or sponsored by elements of the Air Force, inter-Service organizations, or DoD". After a quick search I found the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon was still accepting registrations and was an official DoD sponsored event. I wrote and submitted an MFR (Memorandum For Record) for my Commander to officially sign granting me 5 days of P-TDY for the race (2 for travel, 1 before the race to acclimate, 1 for the race, 1 for recovery). My wife did the same and got hers approved to. We covered all of our expenses but didn't have to burn leave (which is extremely valuable as a 13N since it was a 24/7, 365 duty - you want Christmas off? Gotta take leave bro) Unfortunately, as of 2020, it looks like the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon is indefinitely cancelled. If you want to do a similar event I recommend the Air Force Half/Full Marathon (Dayton, OH), Marine Corps 10K or Marathon ( D.C.), or the Army 10 Miler (D.C.).
Navy-Air Force Half-Marathon P-TDY content media
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Jeff M. (Creator)
Nov 24, 2019
In Tuition Assistance
I started my online MBA when I was an 0-1 (Air Force). My goal was to not accrue any additional student loans nor to utilize any of my VA Top-Up benefit once that became available. I used the TA benefit to help cover my online MBA through Liberty University. Starting out in the Fall of 2015, the standard semester rate was $3,540 + $35 class fee. They offered a Military Tuition discount of $1,890 which brought the total to $1,685. Military TA covered $1,500. So my out of pocket expense for the semester was $185. I was able to finish the program with 1 semester left of my total graduate TA benefit left. Note - I actually had to first start a Masters in Leadership since I didn't have enough undergraduate background to jump into a Masters in Business Admin. Luckily, by completing one of the approved courses in the Leadership program I was then eligible to change to the MBA program. (You are allowed 1 degree program change with less than 50% of course work complete with the original) >Here is a link to the current Liberty University Military Benefits page< The big items are For undergrad degrees: Tuition discounts – reduces tuition rate to $250 per credit hour for undergraduate courses For graduate degrees: Tuition discounts – reduces tuition rate to $275 per credit hour for graduate courses College Credit for Military Training Your military training and experience could potentially qualify you for undergraduate or graduate credit through Liberty’s free evaluation of military training. Please note that credit is granted based on the American Council on Education (ACE)’s guideline recommendations. Additionally, Liberty University has partnered with the Air University – Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative (AU-ABC) program and the College of the American Soldier to maximize college credit received for military training in specific degree programs. Liberty also accepts CLEP and DSST tests to earn credit toward your online degree
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Jeff M. (Creator)
Nov 22, 2019
In Military Inns
My family and I stayed at the Navy Lodge North Island (NASNI) on Coronado Island near San Diego, CA over the Christmas season 2017. I highly recommend it for a stateside sandy beach getaway in December. Don't expect Hawaii 90* weather days, but we still enjoyed a couple nice walks on the beach and sunny days out on the town. *Travel Tip - The San Diego Zoo is free entry with an Active Duty ID. You don't even need to go stand in the ticket window line, just go straight to the entrance turnstiles and show your ID. My father (Army) booked the location about 10 months ahead in person while on exercise there. He wanted us to all stay together and so booked a beach cottage for $140/night. From their site "Breakers Beach is the proud home of twenty amazing new beach cottages. Relax in a casually elegant two-bedroom cottage that includes a fully-equipped kitchen, flat-screen cable TVs with a Blu-ray/DVD player, WiFi Internet access, linens, a private bath, patio and BBQ. These single-story units are right on the beach and have stunning views of the Pacific Ocean." It seems as though the Navy is trying to keep these cottages a hidden secret since it's really difficult to find any good information on them or how to book (The online search options only showed me rooms at the main hotel). It doesn't seem like you can book them online so I recommend calling the standard navy reservation line (1-877-628-9233) and specifically ask for "The Navy Lodge Beach Cottages on North Island". Side note - I just did a quick search of the standard hotel which you can find a 2 queen bed room for $104/night and a family suite for $136/night. (Note the famous Hotel Coronado is only a 15 minute drive away and family cottages start around $350/night) Also, here's the TripAdvisor review site of the hotel (4.5 stars)
Christmas Stay on Coronado Island (San Diego, CA) content media
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Jeff M. (Creator)
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