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Military News Briefs for the Week of Jan. 5, 2001

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2001 – (This is a summary of the American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending Jan. 5, 2001)

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New Provision to Make Enacting Wills Easier

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2001 -- A little known provision of the 2001 Defense Authorization Act will make it easier for the last wishes of service members to be carried out.

At the heart of the change to “military testamentary instruments” -- or wills -- is a standard "self-proving affidavit" at the end of the will. The affidavit contains the service member’s acknowledgment of the will and affidavits of the witnesses to the will.

“The affidavit indicates that the will was signed in accordance with the required formalities,” said Col. George Hancock, chief of the Army’s legal assistance division.

This new law will establish a single self-proving affidavit for legal assistance clients’ wills. It is a special alternative to different State requirements and should better assure the client that a probate court will accept his will.

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Service Members, Civilians to Get Paid for Storm Damaged Vehicles

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 3, 2001 -- The contractor responsible for a shipment of privately owned vehicles severely damaged en route to Europe for service members and civilian employees has gone beyond the letter of the contract for reimbursement.

The company, American Auto Logistics, Inc., of Monroe, N.Y., will waive its $20,000 maximum liability limit. Instead, the company will pay the blue book value for vehicles, market value for antiques and restored collector's items and 30-day rental car fee, or $1,000 in lieu of a rental car, according to Leesha Galery, an official with the Military Traffic Management Command.

The company and MTMC officials are contacting vehicle owners, including those stationed in Bosnia. The compensation package was announced on Dec. 19, 2000, during a meeting of the ship operator, American Roll-on-Roll-off Carrier of Montvale, N.J.; American Auto Logistics and MTMC.

More than 160 vehicles were damaged by diesel fuel oil aboard the MV Faust during a severe English Channel storm on Nov. 5, 2000.

Vehicle owners should contact:

Richard Holland-Moritz or Evelyn Dullagahan

Transcar GmbH

Langer Kornweg 16

65451 Kelsterbach, Germany

Telephone: 49-0-6107-944117/16

Facsimile: 49-0-6107-8691

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DoD Develops 'Tap and Click' Access to Services

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2001 - Service members and their families may one day use a DoD Internet site to communicate across the globe, access military and civilian news, college courses, community outreach services and even apply for jobs at the click of a mouse.

Victor Vasquez Jr., deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, sees DoD's "Keep in Touch" information technology strategy -- reaching out to the military community through the Internet -- as a quality of life multiplier.

"'Keep in Touch' serves three purposes: information, communication between service members and their families, and providing a greater opportunity for service members and their families to access Department of Defense, and other, services," he said. "For example, you could find on- or off-post child-care services, tax filing information, relocation, and other services through the Internet."

In fiscal 1999, Congress provided DoD $50 million to improve quality of life for deployed forces, Vasquez said. Almost $18 million went to buy computers and software to provide service member and family communications from installation recreation centers, youth centers and libraries.

Vasquez said morale is enhanced when service members and spouses separated by thousands of miles use these stateside and overseas "cyber-communications" centers to keep in touch with loved ones.

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