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Guidelines dictate gift giving to troops

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (USTCNS) --- As a result of the overwhelming public support for the military during the ongoing War on Terrorism, the Department of Defense has drafted specific guidance to deal with the acceptance of gifts by its personnel.

According to the guidance, Air Mobility Command employees and their families may accept gifts from non-Federal sources as long as those gifts are not offered by a prohibited source or offered due to the personnel's official position.

Prohibited sources include anyone who seeks repayment from the gift, to include doing or seeking business with the employee's agency, conducting activities regulated by that agency, or having interests that could be affected by the agency's action.

"Accepting gifts from outside sources could potentially create a perception of favoritism," said Master Sgt. Daniel O'Hara, an AMC law office manager. "This is why guidelines have been established for accepting gifts from outside sources."

The guidance recommends that monetary gifts from the public be made directly to private relief organizations, such as the Air Force Aid Society, American Red Cross, United Service Organization and Veterans of Foreign Wars. These donations are eligible for deduction from the donator's tax return.

As the number of servicemembers deploying to support operations overseas has increased, so has the amount of gifts sent to deployed locations. Due to security and transportation concerns, DOD urges that the public do not send mail or packages to deployed troops unless they are family members or personal friends.

Other means of showing support include online greeting and thank-you cards located on several different Web sites. Another way to show support is by volunteering time and resources through local service organizations to help the families of deployed troops.

"There are many other ways the public can show its appreciation for the Armed Forces without giving gifts," Sergeant O'Hara said. "One example would be military appreciation days that are commonly held at theme parks and sporting events."

Any questions about the acceptance of public gifts should be directed to local base legal offices. Information on other ways the public can show support for the troops can be found at www.af.mil/news/opscenter/troop_support.shtml.

Office of Public Affairs - transcom-pa@mail.mil
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