Know How To Request Military Records?

by Kimberly A. Cook              (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Sent off my snail mail request on Saturday to get copies of my Dad’s military and medical records. Have been meaning to do it for a couple months now, but finally made it happen. It’s a pretty simple process, but most folks won’t realize they need to deal with the National Archives, not the military branches.

New treasure! My Mom and sister discovered this bunch of letters my Dad wrote to his Mom during World War II tucked away in his dresser. More projects for me!

New treasure! My Mom and sister discovered this bunch of letters my Dad wrote to his Mom during World War II tucked away in his dresser. More projects for me!

Couple of things to know:

  • If the veteran is living, they have to request their own records.
  • If the veteran is deceased, only next of kin can request the records. Next of kin is limited to unremarried surviving spouse, father, mother, son, daughter, sister or brother.

Proof of death must be provided by a death certificate or obituary or death notice, coroner’s report of death, funeral director’s signed statement of death, or verdict of a coroner’s jury.

If you want to request military records for service completed before World War I, National Archives Trust Fund forms must be used to request those records. You can get the forms by email.

While there is a way to file electronically for the records if you’re next of kin, I went with old-fashioned snail mail. Filled out the pretty simple one page form, then figured out based on Dad’s service time where to mail it.

So that envelope is on its way to the National Personnel Records Center in St Louis, MO. They receive between 4,000 and 5,000 record requests a day, so they say not to even ask about status until 90 days have gone by. I will let you know what happens!

Link to National Archives veteran service records – http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/

Link to SF180 Request Form – http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/standard-form-180.html

 

 

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Do You Have A Horse Goat Sitter?

by Kimberly A. Cook         (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

My friends have the most fun hobbies; up to and including raising a baby goat. When I saw this video it reminded me of baby goat ‘Star,” who loves his bottle and to crawl up into my friend’s lap afterwards for a snuggle. (He does not burp afterwards, he farts.) Star’s snuggle has become more of a challenge these days since he is a bigger boy, but he insists on his lap cuddle. I need to warn her about raising bison.

These young goats have found the same kind of fun guy in this babysitter who lets them play King of the Horse with much patience. Have a Happy Quirky Friday!

http://youtu.be/X8dhgIhw9cA

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Is A Lazy Weekend Good For Your Creative Muse?

by Kimberly A. Cook           (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Interesting weather weekend. Heat, humidity, thunderstorms, rain, lightning, wind, clouds. Sometimes all at the same time. Sunday morning I realized I had the heating pad on for a sore muscle, the air conditioning going and it was raining outside. Welcome to wacky weather.

Before planting, all but four of these guys got in the ground. Yes, I'm a yard art slut and that is Gnomeo and Juliet.

Before planting, all but four of these guys got in the ground. Yes, I’m a yard art slut and that is Gnomeo and Juliet.

Part of what did not happen this past weekend was me cleaning up more of my office. Seems I wanted to play and working on de-cluttering didn’t feel like fun.

The tune “Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days Of Summer,” kept running through my mind.

By Sunday I had the lazy part down pat while I watched men run around at the World Cup with a lot more energy than I had.

Sometimes we need to park ourselves and sit. Just sit. Take time to think and dream and imagine. Daydreaming is an official requirement for writers, especially fiction writers. It also gives me time to scan the stack of magazines I buy and then barely have time to read.

Perfect Sunday. Weird weather means staying home is not only allowed, but recommended. Spec Ops Cat also requires a certain amount of lap time and he felt his quota was abysmal this past week. He got caught up.

There were two petunia and two fuchsia plants leftover from my garden planting weekend to go into the ground. I knew I should get them in the dirt but the rain and lightning convinced me they were on their own for another couple of days.

Sometimes the best thing to do on a summer Sunday is to putter, rest and snuggle with magazines and a cat. The office is not going to clean itself,  the clean up elves have a better union and don’t work on Sundays. It will all wait. September sounds good.

Taking time to refresh ourselves is important. Because even our creative muse mind needs a lazy summer day. Plus you don’t want to deal with a cranky pet, spouse, kids or friends. Enjoy some lazy summer days!

 

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It’s Time For Summer Polar Bear Pool Fun!

by Kimberly A. Cook                     (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Seems we are heading for a week of record temperatures here in Oregon and our duck web feet don’t take kindly to temps above 82 degrees.  But the polar bears at the Oregon Zoo will have their own cool pool to play in to keep cold. Maybe we should all get a kiddie pool, red plastic ball and dive in!

Happy Quirky Friday!

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What Is The Real State Of Our Union?

by Kimberly A. Cook             (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Last Thursday I ran errands to several places I was not excited to visit; usually I’m a little more logistically together to avoid the pharmacy, grocery store, post office and gas station the day before a major holiday weekend. But life happens and I ended up at those busy spots.

Walking into the pharmacy waiting room it was packed with folks. They were serving number 298 and I was number 316. The digital message on the wall let me know I should expect to be served in 22 minutes.

Captured this while waiting for a left hand turn signal light in May. Fabulous.

Captured this while waiting for a left hand turn signal light in May. Fabulous.

Sitting down on a cushy bench, I decided to do what writers do best: observe. People watching is fascinating. Learned several things. Everybody was pretty orderly. The pharmacy folks slammed at the windows were being pleasant and taking time to chat with people, but getting the job done. The noise level was quiet.

Friends, relatives and hired drivers were helping each other out. It was pretty low-key. It struck me how with all the craziness in the news on our nation’s birthday eve, we may not be the most fashion forward folks all the time but, the majority of Americans are kind.

The experience made me keep my eyes open on the rest of my stops. A man held the door open for a lady with a large package. USPS counter workers told people to have a Happy Fourth.

The woman who pumped my gas, yes we do not pump our own gas in Oregon, was perky and friendly and had on a bright red shirt for the occasion. At the grocery store walking out I saw another shopper helping an elderly gentleman locate the employee who had checked him out earlier. Stranger helping stranger.

Heard on the news the Boston Pops even moved up their concert one day to be able to party and keep everyone safe too. Is this a great country or what? Got bad weather coming? Party first!

Perhaps those of us who have served in the military realize the special meaning of our national birthday since many times we have not been on U.S. soil to celebrate, and we know others serve as the nation plays.

It’s always a good idea to open our eyes, look around, see the bigger picture in the small everyday details and tell the stories. That’s what writers do.

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”

Erma Bombeck

 

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Happy Fourth Of July America!

by Kimberly A. Cook                  (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Have a happy Fourth of July everybody! Thank you to our troops serving around the world today so we can party as a nation. Now head for the hot dogs and potato chips!

Watch this video on YouTube.

 

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Do All Facts Belong In Fiction?

by Kimberly A. Cook                     (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Not necessarily. Especially the “but it really happened that way” kind of facts. Fact is no guarantee it works in fiction writing. Case in point. Saturday I had lunch at my favorite café and antique store with my Mom. She spied a car that had driven up and parked. (Okay, people were driving it.) The car appeared to have a leak under the engine.

New fav mug from my sister. The yellow behind Bugs Bunny reminded me about the yellow shirt/tan shorts guys and had to tell her the tale.

New fav mug from my sister. The yellow behind Bugs Bunny reminded me about the yellow shirt/tan shorts guys and had to tell her the tale.

Last month I went back out to my garage after getting home and found my Subaru smoking. Engine off. In my non-smoking garage! Towed to the dealer the next day, found out a rock had pierced my oil filter and oil was everywhere. If I had driven it, very possibly rolling Subaru flambé.

So, with safety in mind, Mom told me the driver was a male wearing a yellow shirt and tan shorts. Off I went on a seek and alert mission. Down aisle one I spied a man just inside the front door with yellow shirt and tan shorts. Score! He denied having driven up in a red car. Okay.

Down aisle two and imagine my surprise; another man with yellow shirt and tan shorts. What are the odds? Asked if he had driven up in a red car and he said no. Think his wife thought I was trying to pick him up. I couldn’t figure out why these men were not fessing up.

Back at the café I found Mom talking to some folks from the café, which overlooks the large store. I could not see the people, but her “Are you from Montana?” got her chatting with them. Turns out they were the folks, the air conditioning overflow was the culprit and it had driven them nuts when they first got the car too.

By this time, I am back eating lunch and quite puzzled. Then, who do I see, but a woman and a different man in a yellow shirt and tan shorts come into the café. The Montana folks with the peeing car. Verified by Mom, this was the third guy in the store in a yellow shirt and tan shorts. Who sent out the yellow shirt, tan shorts memo?

Did it happen in real life? Yes. Would most readers believe it? Maybe. By the third time there would need to be a twist in the story to hold the reader’s attention. Real life stories are not necessarily the right stories for fiction. Truth can be stranger than fiction, but fiction needs to be believable.

How’s that for a head scratcher!

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