DoD, Operation Homefront Sign Agreement

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 13, 2006 - Operation Homefront and the Department of Defense formally agreed to cooperate on their joint mission to support military members and their families during a reception here yesterday evening.

Operation Homefront, a grassroots group headed by military spouses, is a member of the Defense Department's America Supports You program, which highlights efforts to support America's servicemembers. Operation Homefront is the first such group to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Defense through its America Supports You partnership.

"We're thrilled to be here tonight to sign the very first memorandum of understanding with an America Supports You member," Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communication and public liaison, said during the signing ceremony, at the Navy League building here.

"We are deeply honored that the DoD recognizes the incredible work we do deep in the trenches with military families," Meredith Leyva, founder of Operation Homefront, said. "(DoD) recognizes our work so much that they're willing to sing a (memorandum of understanding), which signifies, essentially, a national partnership with Operation Homefront."

The memorandum eliminates obstacles that sometimes occur between a private organization and the DoD, Leyva said.
Veterans Affairs Secretary R. James Nicholson was not scheduled to participate in the ceremony, attended the reception out of respect for what Operation Homefront is doing, he said. "I welcome this opportunity to say thanks to them and to the leadership and all you're doing in so many different places," he told the Operation Homefront representatives.

Barber said the agreement is just one more way to meet the mission of the American Supports You program: to highlight support to servicemembers.

"The morale of our troops is based on the support they feel from home," she said. "We're proud of what we created: a connector campaign. ... When (troops) say, 'Do the American people still support us?' ... We can say, 'Absolutely, they support you.'

"And when the American people say, 'How can we help?' Through the America Supports You program, we can say, 'Let us tell you about Operation Homefront.'"

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