THe Harting Family

THe Harting Family

Friday, February 26, 2010


I wanted to share some pictures of my son of when he was a freshmen in High School. He had joined J.R.O.T.C. and he was so motivated. 1stSgt Wilson took the kids to the Marine Corps obstacle course on base and my husband and I were so worried since my son had a paralyzing fear of heights and we knew it would be a challenge. So without my son knowing my husband went and watched from behind a building the whole time. My son was so afraid, and it took him a long time to trust himself enough to jump but he finally did. Later that weekend my husband took my son back to the course and he stayed there with him for hours until he could do it with confidence. Now my sons philosophy is to "just do it". He truly understands the meaning of courage from that obstacle course. Courage doesn't mean you are without fear, it means you do something in spite of your fear...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This Is What Should Be on the News Every Night

Today after my rant about the MSM and the failure to show and mention what our brave troops are doing in Afghanistan I did what I always do. I try to find some news about what is going on. So I was on Twitter and Marine Corps News released this photo..amazing. Showing our Marines shielding an Afghan man and boy from fire. This is what should be on the news ... there are many stories like this..this is just one.

Where is the Media Now???

I just got word that another Marine from my husbands Battalion was killed in Afghanistan. Our Battalion (yes, I say ours) went in with the intial push last year in April and took a lot of hits immediatly out of the gate. And I get that troops die in wars, I really get that. My own father was a Marine and killed in a war. But this week I have been angry, really angry. It started with the "News heard round the world" ..yes, Tiger Woods great apology for being a creepy cheater and it aired on every channel that I get on my television and I get a lot of channels. During his "great apology" I decided to tweet the names of the fallen, in February alone. There were plenty of names to take up the 15-20 minutes that Tiger blabbered on.
What has me so angry is this, Where is the Media? It is like they have forgotten we were at war (yes, again I say we). Since President Obama has sent troops in to Afghanistan the coverage has been next to zero. If you want to find news on the War you have to hit the net, or Twitter or some other resourse but certainly not the MSM. During the last administration if a troop or civilain so much has stubbed their toe it was on breaking news or ticker across the bottom of the page.
So why the silence now? How about the Media start talking about what is important and not turn its back on our service members? Here are the numbers folks for February alone...25 US Troops KIA in Afghanistan this month alone..not to mention almost an equal amoung of Allied forces KIA.
How about the troops killed by their Afghany translator last month? Yes, you heard it right. It didn't even make the MSM.
I am so tired of hearing about all the troop support and family support. The first lady talks about money going to help the families and then what happens, MyCaa gets canked without resume and some "unknown" date.
I don't care what people say about this administration, or the last. I do know this for sure...I feel like our troops are being left on the side of the road and so are we the families...

Friday, February 19, 2010


Here is what I recieved today via my Family Readiness Officer.

Military Spouse Employment
MyCAA Program in Hiatus
Response to Query
As of: February 18, 2010

POC: Major April Cunningham, OSD/PA

Current news: DoD announced February 16:

"Effective immediately, the MyCAA program is temporarily halting operations. We are reviewing all procedures, financial assistance documents and the overall program. This pause will not affect approved financial assistance documents. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please check back for updates.”

The announcement was posted to the MyCAA Web site.


“Military spouses represent a significant, young, diverse and motivated component of America’s labor force. We recognize that the military lifestyle calls for portable careers and that military spouses need access to education and training for careers that are portable and high-growth nationally. This short-term break will allow us to better assess the program to ensure we are achieving that goal.”

Tommy T. Thomas
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense
Military Community and Family Policy

Background: More than half of today’s 1.3 million active duty servicemembers are married; of these spouses, nearly 77 percent – about 675,000 – say they want or need to work. These spouses represent a significant, young, diverse and motivated component of America’s labor force. However, almost three-fourths of military spouses who would like advance their careers report that the cost of education is the reason for not attending school.
The Military Spouse Career Advancement Account – “MyCAA” –employment program, in a soft launch since March 2, 2009, will undergo an evaluation. In order to accomplish this assessment, the program will be halted temporarily. The operational pause will not affect financial assistance already approved for military spouses in academic programs across the nation.

Since the beginning of the program, more nearly 133,000 military spouses have applied for the MyCAA program. Currently, 98,000 are enrolled in courses or have been approved for tuition assistance. The program provides military spouses with opportunities to pursue portable careers in high-demand, high-growth occupations.

The Military Spouse Career Advancement Account program, an employment assistance program sponsored by the Defense Department, has three components: training, job readiness and employment assistance and career services.

• Training – Eligible active duty military spouses may receive a financial assistance to help them pursue education, training, licensure, certification and degrees leading to employment in portable career fields.
• Job readiness – Military spouses may request free career counseling through Military OneSource (800.342.9647 and online at to learn about market conditions, finding child care, successfully relocating to new communities, and balancing the demands of military life.
• Employment assistance and career services – DoD is currently developing networks of military-friendly employers who want to place military spouse in paid internships, hire and retain as they relocate.

During the DoD review of the MyCAA program, previously approved financial assistance for military spouses will be unaffected. Counseling support will remain available at the local installation and through Military OneSource. Military spouses are encouraged to continue to pursue career counseling and the development of their career training plans.

Related information:

Career Advancement Accounts are flexible, self-managed education funding accounts that will enable military spouses to gain the skills needed to successfully enter, navigate, and advance in portable careers.

o Accounts were made available to military spouses entering the workforce or transitioning between jobs and careers, and to incumbent workers in need of new skills to remain employed or move up the career ladder.
o Spouses are required to use their accounts to pay for expenses directly related to post-secondary education and training or and credentialing and licensing MyCAA will only pay for coursework (not laptops, fees, parking, etc.)
• The career advancement accounts target nationally identified
high-growth, portable occupations such as education, health care, information technology and financial services.

Questions and Answers

Q1. How many military spouses have contacted you for the MyCAA program?

A1. Nearly 133,000 military spouses have applied and approximately 98,000 spouses have been approved for financial assistance.

Q2. What is this "pause"?

A2. This pause is to review the procedures, financial assistance documents, and the overall program. This pause will not affect approved financial assistance documents. However, during the pause, no new MyCAA accounts may be created, and no new financial assistance applications will be accepted. Spouses who already have a MyCAA account may continue to use the MyCAA website for career counseling and planning.

Q3. Why is this pause necessary?

A3. The program, without any formal advertisement, has been extremely successful with high demand. The Defense Department is conducting this review to ensure the program is meeting the intent of its establishing legislation, which was to provide spouses with increased opportunity for portable careers.

Q4. How long will the pause continue?

A4. We will do our best to keep this operational pause to a minimum.

Q5. Are there other similar programs available to military spouses?

A5. There are a wide variety of government programs open to military
spouses. The most prominent among these are the Post 9/11 GI Bill and selected voluntary education programs available on installations and program Web sites.

Q6. Where can military spouses go for additional advice and counseling?

A6. Military OneSource, toll-free at (800) 342-9647 and online at is the best place for military spouses to start in getting information. Military OneSource Spouse Education and Career Consultants can provide education and training, career exploration, assessment, employment readiness and career search assistance.

Q7. What about spouses who have an approved career training plan, but do not have financial assistance approved for some courses?

A7. No new or pending financial assistance accounts will be approved during this review period. Spouses with a MyCAA account may continue to use the MyCAA Web site for career counseling and planning.

Q8. Who made this decision? Isn’t this a decision that can only be made at the Secretary of Defense level?

A8. The decision to initiate this pause was made on behalf of the Defense Department by the leadership in the office of Military Community and Family Policy, which is responsible for management of the program.

Q9. Why are you taking this action now? Is there a problem with – staffing (not enough people to manage the program); a problem with fraud (ineligible people getting funding); problem with the software (can we help fix it), etc, etc.

A9. No single event, circumstance or problem directed this review. As we near the anniversary of the soft launch of this new program, we believe it is appropriate to conduct full-spectrum analysis of the program.

Q10. What is the real reason for this decision? Your answers sound like code for “can we afford this program?”

A10. We are conducting a comprehensive top to bottom review of
the program to ensure the program is meeting the intent of its establishing legislation.

Q11. Is there a plan to cut or reduce the program?

A11. It is premature to discuss what actions might - or might not - be

Q12. Why didn't you give people a warning that the program was about to take a break so that those so close to getting their financing approved could do so?

A12. The DoD regrets the inconvenience that some have experienced due to this decision. However, it is DoD's assessment that, in the long term, this will better serve participating spouses.


Here is what I recieved today via my Family Readiness Officer..

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Stoppage of MyCaa Funds

As some of you may already know the Department of Defense stopped all funds that had been awarded to Military Spouses under the MyCaa. I could not believe my eyes as I read what they did. Without warning, without letting anyone know, they just withdrew the monies that had already been awarded to "re-evaluate" the program and its effectiveness. While I support the decision to make sure the program is running how it was intended I do not and can not support them pulling the funds that were already awarded.
I for one was awarded these funds, luckily for me I am now in my last 2 classes before finishing my program. I still had 3000 dollars in my account, I wasn't sure if I would be using it or not but it was there. But unlike myself, there were a lot of spouses who were not finished and who were depending on those funds for next semester and ones after that.
As military spouses we don't ask for much, and in turn we don't get much. This was something for "us" finally. A program to further our educations in careers that would follow us on the never ending PCS move.
What I encourage everyone one to do is call your congressmen and senators and tell them how you feel about what the DOD has done. If you are not a spouse of a military member but support our military please help support the families. I for one have started calling, writing and emailing.
This is a slap in the face to all the spouses that thought they had money for school and had it yanked without warning.
Here is a link to the story so you can read it yourself.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Back From the Great North Murphy's Law be Damned

934th Air Force Airlift Wing

Well we are home finally and I have to say..."It is fantastic to be home." If you follow me on twitter you know that my husband and I had to go on emergency leave to Minn. If you don't follow me here is the break down. Last week my husbands father, who travels the world as a tech rep had to cut short a trip to Africa when he fell off a piece of dredging equipment and broke his heel. In Africa (West) they treated him the only way they could, with Nsaids and sent him on his way. On the flight back his intestine was eaten through by the Nsaids and all their contents leaked into his abdomen. Yes, you guessed it, this in NOT good. Apparently it happened on the plane and when the plane landed in Minn. he was met by an ambulance and taken right to the hospital where they performed emergency surgery. During the surgery he went into kidney failure and of course at this time my husband had to be there. No family at all is in Minn. The company the FIL works for is based there and that is the only reason he goes there. So being it is a school year, and a Senior School year we decided my son could not miss school and since he was driving and leaving for college this would be a great time to see if he could get by on his own.
Well although I struggled with leaving him, a lot, I eventually realized my husband would need my support and off we went to the Great North. So, you have the short of it, FIL is in ICU and we have to go to Minn and leave our 17 year old alone at home for the first time EVER.
(Neighbors have eyes on house and we have other friends on stand by if need be)
So how does that Murphy's Law thing go..oh ya..we didn't even get to Minn and we had a voice Mail from our son, "I left the lights on in the truck and the battery is dead, I am stuck at the school parking lot." PERFECT...gone 4 hours and he is stuck at the school..bad mom, bad dad, I told you so, I shouldn't have left him alone....yadda, yadda, yadda..worse fears...yikes.
So after a panic attack and some well placed phone call, and a really good judgement call on my sons part I have to say....that crisis was averted. So no worries, off to see the FIL. Luckily there is an Air Force Reserve Base with a really nice lodge (thank you twitter friends) close to the hospital. We go see my FIL and he is in bad shape, and we don't know if he will be ok, all they are telling us is he isn't out of the woods and it's tough seeing my hubs hurting about his dad. Anyhow we head back to the lodge and I am trying to spin this into it doesn't have to be all sad, "hey look, at least it is snowing right? Haven't had snow in like 2 years and now we are surrounded by 4 feet of snow in all directions!" Feeling bad now because my son won't see the snow..back to lodge...
So day 3 and son calls, "guess what mom! we got 6 inches of snow last night! Oh ya I am going to the movies in Jacksonville with my friends.." ya, in the snow, that you never driven in, I don't think so..
So now are you getting the gist of the trip, FIL not doing good, left son with great truck and no snow and now that is not the picture I am dealing with..but nothing I can do about it..
Anyhow I am rambling now. The good thing is this, FIL is doing good, doc says he expects a full recovery and we come home. Son is fine, the house is clean and he is in one piece and.....HE MISSED US!
So everything worked out just the end. Thank you all for all the wishes, prayers, good vibes and everything else you sent our way! Lessons learned about life are hard won..

Monday, February 8, 2010

Some New Family Pics

Ok so here is what we ended up with..I am not a big fan of any of the ones I am in. The weather was really bad and lets just say the wind had its own plans for my hair. But I love how my hubs and son looks, it really does capture the fun we have together in the candid shots. The pics were done by a young Marine wife that is just starting out, she is really good and did the best she could with the weather and not being prepared for how tall we all are..I am 5'11 and I am the shortest of our bunch. But here goes..hope you like them.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I’m joining in with Household 6 Diva for her Blizzard Bloghop! I’m excited to ”introduce” myself and “meet” some new bloggers!!
My name is Heidi and I am a brand new blogger, and have only been at it for about a month.
My first blog was basically a Here We Go type entry to finally jump in head first. I have been so encouraged by so many of my friends on twitter who write amazing blogs. I only hope to be half as good as them.
My Blog is titled Empty Nest, PCS and All the Rest because that is what I am facing in the coming months. All at once, a lot of life changes. My hope is that if I blog about it and share with those that read it will help me deal with it. I have PCS'd and I have dealt "with all the Rest" but the Empty Nest is the new life changer, the hardest one.
My husband and I have 1 child, a son. He is 17 and he is the our pride and joy. We consider ourselves the "3 musketeers" after living overseas for many years, from Asia, to Europe and to Africa and back to the best..the U.S. of A.
I was born and raised in Philadelphia, my father was a Marine killed in Vietnam when I was an infant. It is fair to say he was my first hero even though I never met him. My sister married a Marine and I married a man that was on his way to being one. No wonder, my son is going to ROTC with the Marine Option to be a Marine as well.
Well that is a brief introduction and as I blog more you will learn more about me and my wonderful family as we pack our bags for our next adventure and drive across this great country on our way to California. Stay tuned.......

Trip Down Memory Lane

Just looking at some of my old pics, here is a few I thought you may like. Soon I will be getting a new camera and I look forward to sharing with you. I have so much beauty and craziness in my life that I look forward to freezing some of it in time. Enjoy some of our oldies but goodies.

Son fishing in Canada.

From Hubs first deployment.

My son with his godfather who we lost this summer..
We miss you Ricky.

My son in London. The story behind this pic is long.
Lets just say bribery was involved.

This is my hubs and me in Spain, on Embassy Duty

This is me on the left, love that dress, with my cousins.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sometimes You Catch A Break

Yesterday the Marine Corps decided to cooperate with our family. As most of my military friends know, this is not something that happens a lot. My husband (the pro-active man) decided as he usually does to take things into his own hands. He learned a long time ago that if you ask for what you want, and if it is in the best interest to the Marine Corps you can usually get it. He hears a lot of people complain about how, "the Corps/Army..IE is screwing me over". He usually never agrees. He tells his young Marines that he sees in his office everyday that there are certain criteria you should understand about the military. If you need something and it serves in the best interest of the Corps and you can explain that, it can happen. So that is what he did. He found a way to explain to the Marine Corps why it was in the Corps best interest and his that he didn't report until June instead of April as they originally asked. I won't go into too many details but most people would never dream of going up against the monitor to ask for a delay in orders, they would just complain about it, never realizing they could have possibly changed their circumstances. The point I am trying to make is, before you complain about the Military screwing you over, try to come up with a plan for yourself that makes sense and is in the best interest of the Corps or whatever your branch of service. Most things aren't written in stone. It was amazing how in the span of a few hours my husband convinced 2 SgtMajs to see why his plan made more sense, and they didn't even get shitty about it. So now we can all enjoy my sons last few months of his Sr. year and my husband doesn't have to miss a second of it. I am so happy that sometimes you catch a break.