Skip to comments.Help for Military mom?
Posted on 08/30/2012 6:21:00 PM PDT by Toespi
Military folks need some info please. Was in a restaurant this evening and got to talking to our waitress. She proudly told us her 21 year old Air Force daughter was literally on her way to Afghanstan as we were speaking. She is worried for her and mentioned she would not be able to communicate with her for a long time. I asked why and she said she can't afford a phone or computer a computer would be out of the question. She lives alone and makes a base pay of $800.00 a month. She had borrowed a friends cell phone for the past couple of days to text with her daughter. Somewhere I heard that there is a family program available that offers free computers to families to be able to Skype, email etc. with their loved ones deployed. Does anyone know anything about this and if so, who would I contact to get ths info for her. Thanks.
I don’t know anything about that..but her daughter should sign up for www.anysoldier.com for starters
I know I heard of it, it was called Operation Home Link or something, here is a forum about it:
Free Computers for Military Families of Deployed Men and Women:
If her main goal is video communication she should get a smart phone or tablet with 3G rather than putting money into a computer. If she signs up for a 2 year contract with a carrier then the devices are fairly cheap.
Goodwill or Salvation Army might have used laptops for little, and Linux (e.g. Ubuntu) can be had for free if she can find a friendly geek to load it up. Skype runs on Linux as well as Windows now.
Use caution and some common sense here as well...many MANY people pull this as a scam, to get money, computers, etc from people...and do not even have any relative in the military! I ask that you just think it through before handing over $$
The only thing that comes to my mind is to contact a nearby VFW Post.I wouldn’t be surprised if they could help...either directly or by means of a referral.
Walmart has a prepaid phone deal. My son has this. It works very well. You can pay $30 for a card that permits limited texting and calls for a month, or $45 for a card that permits unlimited texting, data, and calls for a month. You do have to use their phones, but they’re good phones. We have found that the Walmart plan works better than the prepaid Verizon or other plans.
ALSO!!!!!!!! Im guessing the base she will be on, will have a USO or miloitary service center...and GOD FORBID...she might have to actually write a letter, like we did during Viet Nam!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The USAF Bases at Bagram and Kandahar have phones and computers all over the place available for USAF personnel.
Email was very easy and used all the time.
Seriously???? And the digital charges cost an arm and a leg.
Good advice. Some people even use phony valor/combat service to get elected to public office!
I googled and found this:
...depending on her daughter’s AFG location, there may be a USO bldg with either free phones (via the military DSN) or calling cards available. The daughter should be able to make “morale calls” by patching through a military installation switchboard near the mother’s home.
..AFG local internet is pricey ($50 and up per month) and a LOT slower than Stateside (and that was in Kabul). Skype was fair at best (on video and sound quality), but had a number of dropouts on my end from there (Jan-Oct11).
There will be computers on base, and the Public library has free computer usage everywhere I’ve been. There are online services like Skype and others that are free.
Also, just about ever unit has Iridium sat phones that you can use to call home with. My kid brother is a Marine grunt and still was able to call home without bringing a computer, iphone etc. Most certainly the USAF can.
If she doesn’t pay those charges then she’ll pay up for cable internet access or ‘fios.’
The free cell phone programs are intended for low income folks, sounds like she qualifies. She can get one of the free phones and 200 minutes/texts a month. Should work till she can swing internet access.
Your waitress is a liar.
I’m not a vet, but I do work in the tech industry and I’m a strong supporter of vets. Try http://www.computersforsoldiers.org/ it looks like they do some great work. $800.00 a month isn’t a lot, but I suggest that an iPad priced at $399.99 it would be a great solid machine that will last her a solid 10 years and run Skype with voice and video chat. I’m also partial to the iPod touch its priced at $199.00 and functions like an iPhone without the data plan and can run the Skype app. She could also buy a droid tablet for $199.00 Google’s introducing a new one and rumor has it that Apple will be making an iPad mini for $250.00. I’m very impartial to Apple their products are TOUGH and they last forever. If you have any tech related questions concerning the laptop purchase please FReepmail me I’ll be happy to help.
How do you know that?
While I served, I found pen and paper to be very useful to communicate with my wife, daughters, and mom...am I a walking anachronism? “In theatre” she has no postage to pay; it’s free to send stateside. All she has to do to post a letter is write the word “free” in place of a stamp.
She might also check out the USO facilities.
See post 24...
My son just got home from being stationed in Afghanistan. He is in the infantry and was stationed in a remote combat outpost for his full deployment. Only during the first month and a half, while he and his unit were setting up their COP, was he out of communications, and that was primarily because their communications tent got hit with a mortar. After that, he had access to Satellite Phones, email, and Skype. Most of the time he just emailed because the lines to use the communication facilities was long.
That being said, if this woman is in the Air Force, she will be on a larger base which will have plenty of resources for her to call, skype, or email home. My son said that the Airbase in Bagram was so big, that they could ride a bus for 30 minutes to get to different locations. Bagram also had multiple facilities for calling home, so I'm sure this Air Force woman will not have a problem calling home, regardless of her pay or if she brought her own cell phone or computer.
First of all, no one tells a complete stranger a sob story like that unless they are trying to get something. She was milking you for a fatter tip and repeat business. Secondly, waitresses make good money.
You swallowed the hook, sucker.
Love it! After my husband tipped her $20.00 for a $30.00 meal and while walking to the car, we remembered 1968/1969 my USAF husband was in Korea during the USS Pueblo incident, he said, well she can write her daughter, like we did. How easily we forget.
If she has a land line phone she should ditch it and get a cell phone. She can keep her old number if she wants to. A decent Phone will do text messaging / instant messaging and email.
After my husband tipped her $20.00 for a $30.00 meal
LOL - I think the same thing when I get blank stares from my kids after suggesting we walk to some place.
How about a computer at a local library.
Of course that was back in the day when you could actually count on the PO to do their job.
I’ve got 350 love letters from MrsSgtBob, and she has the same from me...won’t the GreatGrands have a hoot when they open that shoebox! ;-)
But she is still paying for 3G service every month, which over the course of a year will cost her more than a ew tablet, Ipad, or reasonable computer - let alone a two year contract.
I'd hate to see a person living on $800/mo blow $75/mo on 3G service that would support skyping.
Better to find something, somewhere, where whe could access. NOt sure what programs are out there, but if I knew someone in that situation - I'd let them use my computer as appropriate...
Just don't put someone that is already on financial ropes into a two year contract for data services with severe cancellation penalities. This lady needs to figure out how to get her income up, but in the meantime she doesn't need to sign a deal with the devil...
All she needs is a library card and a free email service like yahoo mail or gmail.
Post cards / paper and envelopes are cheap , so are stamps.
Her daughter will have access to email and she can mail back letters for free (all she has to do is write free where the stamp would normally go)
Forget texting , doing that can end up getting someone killed in a combat zone. Besides her daughter is not going to be able to answer in seconds no how .
She may find free wifi and that would cut costs considerably.
I hadn’t seen $75/mo data charges though - more like $30/mo. I’m presuming she already has cell phone service instead of an expensive landline. I went cell only in 1998 and it cut my phone bill considerably.
What she told you is complete and utter bulls**t. an E-1 in the military serving in Afghanistan makes a minimum $1800 a month tax free. Over here there are so many different ways to communicate with the folks back home I don’t have time to list them all. The US government provides SPAWAR facilities, Internet Cafes, MWR facilities, etc. SPAWAR provides phone service for 4 cents a minute at almost every FOB or COS in theatre. This stuff is all in my lane and I track it daily so tell your waitress to get a better story.
Public Library has computers.
Scam, or she is a backwards idiot.
She has a job, and her daughter will have lots of money and communications options.
Many of us veterans will tell you that this newer version of old tales is a staple in military towns, from the waitresses and bar maids.
Young GIs fall for stuff all the time.
poor people get free cell phones and can talk as much as they want, have her get one
Stamps and letters.........although, no stamps are needed actually. Write every day, send every day. Tell your daughter to keep a journal, writing every day.
Most libraries have PCs available for us by the public. Compose a letter in Word then do a cut and paste into e-mail to daughter. Or correspond via a neighbor’s PC. This doesn’t sound like an insurmountable problem.
The amount of pay didn’t sound right, so I check the current military pay rates and if the young lady is merely an E-1, her basic pay is $1,491. If she’s serving in a combat zone, she doesn’t pay any taxes on her compensation and she might be receiving hostile fire pay of $225 a month. So, based on that Mom, I don’t think her mother is getting the unvarnished truth.
Letters will go through and there are military-sponsored programs to help them keep in touch. Sad-sob stories like this are likely designed to help someone make a profit.
Not sure of your friends location, but here is my recommendation:
Get a small notebook computer (Acer, HP)....new at Wal Mart they run 250-300 bucks....at a pawn shop they go 150-175. These little computers are not super-fast or fancy....but they are all wireless and already set up for using Skype
Many restaurants and coffee shops have Wi Fi. Also, many Denny’s have Wi Fi...which is good because your friend may have to skype or use internet during late nite-early AM hours with the time difference between here and Afghan.
The initial expense for the little computer will pay for itself with cheap/free Wi Fi....even if you drink coffee and eat small meals at the Wi Fi places.
There are a lot of good ideas here...and your friend should check all options. My idea will work best if your friend lives in a small city or large metro area