Army Echoes Blog

VA and TAPS working together to support the families of America’s fallen heroes
Posted on May 23, 2017

Each time a bugle plays Taps and a folded flag is presented to a grieving family, experts tell us that on average, 10 lives will be profoundly impacted. These are the wives, children, parents, siblings and battle buddies of America’s heroes, and they have paid a very steep price for our nation’s freedom.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) stands united with the Department of Veterans Affairs to, in the words of President Lincoln to care for “those who shall have borne the battle” and their survivors and their children. With this common purpose in mind, and with our annual Honor Guard Luncheon as the backdrop, TAPS and the VA signed a formal Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on April 12 to assist surviving military and Veteran family members as they identify and secure the benefits available to them through the service of their loved ones.

TAPS and VA have worked together for many years on behalf of America’s surviving military families. In May 2014, our organizations signed our first MOA, focused specifically on education entitlements for widows and surviving children. The new agreement formalizes what has been a long-standing, informal working relationship in areas beyond education, including grief counseling, burial benefits and more.

For the past 23 years, TAPS has provided key services including peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, bereavement seminars and retreats for adults, camps for children, case work assistance, connections to community based care, online and in-person support groups, and the 24/7 National Military Survivor Helpline for all those grieving a military or veteran loved one. Services are provided regardless of the surviving loved one’s relationship to the deceased; the duty status of the deceased, whether active duty, reserve forces or veteran; or the circumstances of death.

Under the MOA, TAPS will connect with surviving families and will begin to identify resources available to them both within the VA and through private sources. Specifically, the MOA encompasses work done by TAPS and the VA concerning:

The Fry Scholarship, Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) and general education benefits;
National Cemetery Administration benefits (e.g. burial, headstones and markers, educational programming and the Presidential Memorial Certificates);
VA Survivor Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and Survivor Pension;
VA Caregiver Support Program, including the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC); and
• VA mental health and suicide prevention resources for Veterans, family members and community providers, including (but not limited to) training, outreach and self-help resources.

It is our responsibility to honor the commitment our country made to care for the families of the fallen. Ultimately, this agreement will help those surviving family members who have already suffered the loss of their loved one as they seek timely access to the benefits earned through the service of their loved one. TAPS looks forward to working closely with the VA as we identify new ways to collaborate to bring compassionate care to survivors, dependents and all who are grieving the death of a fallen hero.

Original Post

TRICARE Changes to Nexium Coverage
Posted on May 18, 2017

Starting on June 28, 2017, TRICARE will no longer include the drug Nexium in the preferred, or formulary, drug list, and it will no longer be available in military hospitals and clinics. In order to prepare for the change, patients are currently being asked to switch to one of the following three preferred alternatives that have been shown to demonstrate effective results.


  • Omeprazole
  • Pantoprazole
  • Rabeprazole


How long do I wait for an urgent appointment? A window into waiting times in military medicine
Posted on May 17, 2017

The Military Health System (MHS) places significant priority on ensuring our service members and their families have constant, reliable access to the health care services they need. In surveys and in meetings with beneficiary organizations, the issue of timely access to care is often raised first.

Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs spearheads campaign to draw attention to women Veterans
Posted on May 16, 2017

The history of women in the U.S. Armed Forces is hidden, silent and invisible. The few things known are media snapshots that make the news: arguments about women being drafted, images of MASH nurses, the first woman Ranger, the risk and rate of sexual assault in the military. As important as all these snapshots are, they overshadow the reality of 252 years of U.S. military service by women. It is that lack of knowledge about the contributions of women to this country that maintains our invisibility as Veterans.

Exchange Invites Shoppers to Help Save a Tree with eReceipts
Posted on May 11, 2017

DALLAS – According to the University of Southern Indiana, the amount of paper thrown away in the United States every year is equivalent to about 1 billion trees. Much of this waste is from paper receipts.

To help reduce paper usage, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service offers shoppers the option to receive an electronic receipt instead of a printed one. Shoppers simply select “eReceipt” when prompted and provide the email address to which they would like their receipt delivered.

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About the Army Echoes Blog

This blog is the Army's newest method of communicating with its Retired Soldiers and their surviving spouses. Stories will provide a wide range of searchable, authoritative, retirement-related news and benefits information.
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