Army Issuing Gold Star Installation Access Card for Survivors
The U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) recently implemented a program to ensure family members of fallen soldiers have easier access to Army installations. On March 14, Army installations began issuing a standardized Gold Star Installation Access Card to parents and siblings of deceased active duty Soldiers to allow unescorted access to the installation, so they are able to receive services and support.
This issue of installation access was raised to the Department of the Army level through the Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) program, which provides a grassroots forum for members of the Army community to raise quality of life concerns. The Gold Star Installation Access Card was created in response to this feedback after reaching the highest levels of Army leadership. In addition to providing access to all Army installations, the new identification card also serves as a small way of paying tribute to surviving family members.
The National Military Family Association salutes the Army’s sensitivity to the needs of surviving parents and siblings. Access to the Survivor Outreach Service (SOS) Center can be an essential lifeline for these families. We hope the other Services are as responsive to this group of survivors as well. We are also pleased to see the successful implementation of an issue raised through the AFAP process, demonstrating Army leadership buy-in to the AFAP program.
Many installations were already assisting and recognizing Gold Star Family members with post decals and some were even providing identification cards, but the new installation access card program standardizes these efforts across all Army installations.
The HQ IMCOM Survivor Outreach Services was one of the lead proponents assigned to make the Gold Star Installation Access Card a reality. Army SOS was established in 2008 as the long-term solution in the casualty assistance continuum of care. The program provides services that address the financial, emotional, educational, health and family issues that may arise following the death of a soldier while continuously linking survivors to their Army family for as long as they desire.
In addition to the installation access card, the Army also implemented a program on March 22, which provides reserved parking spaces to Gold Star Family members at various locations on Army installations.
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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