Our Story

2010 - Present

1969-2014 NMFA's key accomplishmentsOperation Iraqi Freedom ends, with the last of the United States brigade combat teams crossing the border to Kuwait in August 2010. The world watched as Prince William marries long-time girlfriend and commoner Kate Middleton. On December 22, 2010, the repeal of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy”, a 17-year-old policy banning homosexuals serving openly in the US military, was signed into law by President Barack Obama. Osama bin Laden is killed by US special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011. The world’s population reaches 7 billion people. Singer and actress Whitney Houston dies at 48 from a drug overdose. Kim Jon-un is appointed Supreme Leader of North Korea. Scientists detect evidence of light from the universe’s first stars, which may have formed 500 million years after the big bang. Sequestration officially began March 1, 2013 as a result of Congress’ inability to balance the nation’s budget, and affects are felt in military family homes across the world. On April 15, 2013, two explosions kill 3 people and injury 183 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 with 239 people loses contact and disappears in March 2014, prompting the most expensive search effort in history. The city of Paris fell victim to a series of coordinated terrorist attacks occurring across the city killing 130 and injuring over 400. In 2016, Americans mourned the 15th anniversary of September 11th attacks. Barack Obama becomes the first US President to visit Cuba since 1928. On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union in what’s referred to as “Brexit’ (British Exit). Republican business mogul and television personality Donald Trump is elected the 45th President of the United States defeating former First Lady and Senator Hillary Clinton by 2.9 million votes. The Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians to win their first World Series in 1s08 years. Senator John Glenn—a Marine, Astronaut, and longtime member of NMFA’s Board of Advisors—dies on December 8, 2016. The #MeToo movement kicks off as the New York Times publishes an investigation into sexual harassment behavior by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. On June 12, 2018, President Trump and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un meet at a summit in Singapore marking the first meeting of the two nations. American actress Megan Markle marries British royal Prince Harry.

NMFA accomplishments

  • Association identifies gaps in the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which is amended to include military-related leave.
  • Staff, Volunteers, and other NMFA supporters storm Capitol Hill to urge Congress and House of Representative members to end Sequestration.
  • In 2013, the Association releases “Tips from Caregivers for Caregivers: Taking Care of Your Recovering Warrior,” a toolkit with tips, resources, and encouragement for people taking care of wounded, ill, or injured service members.
  • NMFA represents military families in a Veterans Day Parade in New York City.
  • Association uses real life stories from military families to defeat the Emergency Room Misuse Fee proposed by the Department of Defense.
  • In 2016, NMFA’s Military Spouse Scholarship Program awards $616,584 in funding to 591 spouses pursuing career and education goals—the most in program history—bringing the current total of scholarships to more than $4.5 million since 2004.
  • The Department of Defense creates the Urgent Care Pilot Program in response to NMFA’s advocacy.
  • Over 61,000 military kids and family members have attended an Operation Purple Program since 2004.
  • The American Camp Association awarded the Eleanor Ells Award to NMFA’s Operation Purple® Camps for excellence in research and programming.
  • In 2017, Operation Purple Buddy Camps hosts its first pilot camp for military kids ages 5-8.
2000 to 2009

Operation Purple Camp: Girl climbs on rock wallThe controversial 2000 election kicks off this decade when George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore hold a virtual dead-heat for the presidency. Natural disasters, the political climate, and war are at the forefront. On September 11, 2001, Islamic fundamentalist terrorists hijack four US airliners and crash three of them into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in New York City. Soon after the terrorist attacks, the United States is at war in Afghanistan. The Space Shuttle Columbia explodes upon re-entry over Texas and all seven astronauts inside are killed. On March 19, 2003, the war in Iraq begins with the bombing of Baghdad. Following a 9.3 Richter scale earthquake in the Indian Ocean, a Southeast Asian tsunami occurs and more than 290,000 people die. A worldwide relief effort is mobilized to assist. Hurricane Katrina devastates New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region with massive destruction and loss of lives. American cyclist Lance Armstrong wins his record 7th straight Tour de France. The one billionth song is downloaded from the internet music store, Apple iTunes, at the expense of many brick and mortar chains, including Tower Records. Michael Jackson dies in his home in California. One of the original members of the National Military Family Association’s Board of Advisors, Senator Ted Kennedy, passes away in August 2009. Sesame Street creates two prime time specials “When Parents are Deployed” and “Coming Home: Military Families Coping with Change” airing on PBS. The H1N1 virus, named the Swine Flu, is deemed a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. America elects Barack Obama, the first African-American President. Reality shows dominate the small screen turning every day people into celebrities. Staying in touch with friends and loved ones becomes easier through Facebook, Skype, and Twitter. Americans become fascinated with the lives of “Army Wives.” The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, underscore the strength and resolve of military families and the Nation. The National Military Family Association is more visible now than ever and continues to champion the rights of military families.

  • Association leads the charge to end the Social Security offset to the Survivor Benefit Plan, gets Women, Infants and Children (WIC) funding overseas authorized, and increases the benefits provided to survivors of all active duty deaths
  • The McCormick Foundation provides a grant to the Association to fund the VS&R department’s Professional Development Program
  • TRICARE for Life begins
  • Association creates the Joanne Holbrook Patton Spouse Scholarship Program and publishes the Military Spouse Education Resource Guide
  • In 2004, Operation Purple® Camp begins
  • Association publishes Serving the Homefront: An Analysis of Military Family Support and the Cycles of Deployment reports paving the way for our large-scale research project on military children, caregivers, and deployment
  • Post 9/11 GI Bill passes fulfilling an Association dream that began in 1981 when we first supported a provision to the GI Bill permitting a service member to transfer educational benefits to a spouse or child after 10 years of service
  • Association is a member of the drafting team that created the Interstate Compact for the Educational Opportunity for Military Children covering more than 430,000 military children
  • Almost one third of the Association’s current employees are former Association Volunteers

The 1990’s are truly the electronic age. The World Wide Web is born in 1992, and by 1994, three million people are online, and by 1998, 100 million people. The Cold War comes to a quick and decisive end. Operation Desert Storm in 1991 brings to the battlefield a new era of military technology. Nelson Mandela is freed. Americans mourn the lives lost in the Oklahoma City bombing and the Columbine Massacre. O.J. Simpson dominates the news and the entire Simpson trial is televised live. The news of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, shocks and saddens the entire world. Tiger Woods wins the Masters. Thursday nights are spent watching television and Jennifer Aniston has the hairstyle everyone wants. Families spend time together playing the popular board game, Pictionary. As the end of the twentieth century, and the end of the second millennium approach, governments, corporations, and people around the world worry that their computer systems will stop working and the world braces for Y2K!

  • National Military Family Association transition plan for military affected by downsizing receives Congressional backing – one year later Transition Assistance Plan is enacted
  • Association presents the first Very Important Patriot Award Program highlighting military community volunteers
  • Retiree dental program established
  • The Association highlights the importance of strong family support programs during Operation Desert Storm
  • To honor the dedication to military families of three Association Volunteers, the Sydney Tally Hickey, Margaret Vinson Hallgren, and Novella Gibson Whitehead awards
  • Association releases innovative health care plan for military families, which include recommendations that were later incorporated into TRICARE
  • By the end of the decade, the Association has 10 paid employees and the directors of all the departments are full-time Volunteers

The 1980s is the decade belonging to the “Me! Me! Me!” Generation. Hostile takeovers, leveraged buyouts, and mega-mergers spawn a new breed of billionaire. If you’ve got it, flaunt it and You can have it all! are the mottos of the 80’s. Binge buying and credit become a way of life and “Shop ’til you drop!” is the battle cry. Video games, aerobics, minivans, camcorders, and talk shows become part of our lives. The decade begins with double-digit inflation. President Reagan declares a war on drugs, hospital costs rise, many young men are dying of a mysterious disease called AIDS, and unemployment rises. Mount Saint Helens erupts, making it the worst volcanic disaster in American history. On the bright side, the United States Constitution celebrates its 200th birthday, ET phones home, Ted Turner establishes CNN, and in 1989, Americans give $115,000,000,000 to charity. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial opens in Washington, DC. Michael Jackson’s Thriller album is released and the PG-13 movie rating is created. At the very end of the decade the Berlin Wall is torn down, paving the way for positive change for the decade to come!

  • Association testifies in favor of suitable division of military retirement pay in divorce settlements – two years later the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act passes
  • In 1981, the Association recruits new Volunteers to visit more than 150 legislators in the new Congress to “re-educate the Members of Congress on the needs of the military family.”
  • In 1982, the Association’s first comprehensive survey, “Final Report, Military Spouse and Family Issues, Europe 1982” leads to creation of DoD Office of Family Policy
  • National Military Wives Association changes name to National Military Family Association
  • First Chapter established at Fort Bragg, NC and the Representative Program begins, by 1985 the Association has 20 Representatives in military communities in the states, the Canal Zone, Japan, and West Germany.
  • The Military Coalition is formed with the Association as a founding member.
  • The Association becomes first organization to testify before a Senate subcommittee on the critical issue of health care for military families – a year later Congress establishes Dependent Dental Plan
  • Association secures Supplemental Security Income benefits extension to military families stationed overseas

The year is 1969 and the chaotic events of the 60’s seem destined to continue in the 70’s. A growing disillusionment of government advances in civil rights, increased influence of the women’s movement, and a heightened concern for the environment are major trends of this decade. Anti-war demonstrations are held across the United States. Americans are shocked with the discovery of the Watergate Scandal and watch the story unfold on television. In 1976, the Nation celebrates its 200th birthday and Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to set foot on the moon. Mark Spitz wins seven gold medals in the Summer Olympics, the same Olympics where 11 Israeli athletes are killed by Palestinian terrorists. Disco, M*A*S*H, and computers emerge on the scene. Sesame Street enters living rooms across the country, introducing children to a new way of learning. American culture flourishes and the events of the times are reflected in much of the music, literature, entertainment, and even fashion of the decade.

  • 1969 Military Wives Association begins and seven years later becomes the National Military Wives Association
  • 1971 Survivor Benefit Plan becomes law
  • U.S. Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration become part of Association
  • In 1976, Association holds first Issues Workshop to educate families on benefits
  • In 1979, Association President, Rosemary Locke testifies before the White House Conference on military families


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