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Fact Sheet Display
David Grant USAF Medical Center - American Red Cross Station
Published July 10, 2014
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American Red Cross
What is the role of Red Cross workers with the military in time of conflict?
The American Red Cross' mission is to keep the American people in touch with their family members serving in the armed forces. To accomplish this work, Red Cross workers frequently deploy on assignment with military forces to keep the communication link operational around the clock and around the globe. Other American Red Cross services are made available to military personnel on an as needed basis just as they are in the civilian communities.
Why doesn't the American Red Cross provide the same services for the public as if does to members of the armed forces?
With the exception of emergency communication services, the American Red Cross does provide the same services to both military and civilian populations. Military service is unique, frequently separating families for extended periods of time and often placing loved ones in harm's way. Red Cross emergency communication services keep families in this unique situation connected when a problem develops back home.
Why can't the military provide for communication between members of the armed forces and their families, instead of the Red Cross?
Assisting the American people to communicate with their family members serving in the Armed Forces was a mandate from the U.S. Congress to the American Red Cross many years ago. The majority of family members needing this assistance live in civilian communities far removed from military installations and many do not know how to reach a family member stationed in the military. They can and do, however, call their local Red Cross chapter where workers are available around the clock to assist.
More than 95 percent of the family emergencies requiring the presence of a military service member begin back home with the death/serious illness of a father, mother, grandparent or other close relative. Once the local Red Cross has verified all details relating to the emergency, information is sent to the service member stationed anywhere worldwide. The family may want this information shared with military commands that will decide if the service member will be granted emergency leave to come home. Commanders overseas and on ships at sea frequently require American Red Cross verification before emergency leave is granted.
Military leaders are the first to say they do not have the capacity to verify and validate family emergencies or to get in touch with families back home. They turn to the Red Cross for this information, which is frequently transmitted over the Department of Defense communications systems from one Red Cross worker to another.
Armed Forces Emergency Services are available to all members of the armed services and their families. Both active duty and community-based military can count on AFES to provide emergency communications, emergency financial assistance, counseling, veteran's assistance, and aid in the field. In the Bay Area communities of San Francisco, Marin, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda and San Mateo counties call toll-free (800) 660-4272, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. If the emergency occurs on base at Travis AFB, call toll-free (877) 272-7337.
We also provide briefings to military personnel in these six counties about the services available through the American Red Cross. To schedule a briefing, contact (707) 423-3737.
How you can help the Troops:
- For info on programs to support deployed military people or to sign a virtual thank you card, visit the
America Supports You
- Donate a calling card to help keep service members in touch with their families at
- Send a greeting via e-mail through
Operation Dear Abby
- Make a donation to one of the military relief societies:
Army Emergency Relief
Navy/Marine Relief Society
Air Force Aid Society
Coast Guard Mutual Assistance
- Donate to
Operation USO Care Package
Volunteer at a VA Hospital
to honor veterans who bore the lamp of freedom in past conflicts.
- Support families whose loved ones are being treated at military and VA hospitals through a donation to the
- Reach out to military families in your community, especially those with a loved one overseas.
Project Video Connect:
The Red Cross Bay Area has now joined forces with AOL to help thousands of soldiers and staff stationed abroad to communicate "face-to-face" with their loved ones in the Bay Area by exchanging two-minute video messages for free over the Internet. The service uses a computer equipped with a video camera, an AOL Broadband Internet connection, and a special video-messaging program called
We invite family members to schedule a videotaping appointment by contacting
ARC station manager at (707) 423-3648 or (415) 427-8064. To use the service, you will need your service member's email address. If you are a dependent, please bring your Military Dependent Identification Card to your appointment.
Help families keep in touch with our troops. Call (707) 423-3648 for more info.