Military families are on the move as PCS season revs up. With new orders comes navigating the process of packing and relocating and often a temporary separation, too. MOAA selected several smartphone and tablet apps to ease the transition process by keeping servicemembers connected with their families and providing a host of on-the-go resources. Each app featured is free and supported by iOS and Android.
This popular app allows a user to make a phone call or send a text to other Viber users at no charge. Relying on both 3G and Wi-Fi to connect, the call quality is excellent - even in remote areas around the world. For a small fee, Viber can even call landlines or phones that don't have the app. The program also offers a desktop app for Macs and PCs.
It's a favorite program for a reason: Skype helps military families ease the burden of separation whether due to PCS or deployment. Simply download the program to a smartphone or a computer to enjoy face-to-face video conversations at no charge.
For several generations, Sesame Street has relied on fuzzy characters, clever songs, and inventive cartoons to help children make sense of the world. So it's no surprise the beloved Elmo, Big Bird, and Cookie Monster also can help children of servicemembers understand via the Sesame Street app the big changes that come with military life. Videos, storybooks, games, and parent guides in both English and Spanish tackle the tough topics of deployments, injuries and grief, emotions, and changes.
Relocating to a new base can be tricky, but Base Directory takes some of the guesswork out of moving by featuring more than 400 bases worldwide in its app, covering all branches of military. The database gives access to addresses, phone numbers, and practical information on more than 15,000 establishments. Find the nearest commissaries, schools, banks, and gas stations. The user-intuitive program lets you save favorite locations and view maps. The developer, Military Traveler LLC, also offers a sampling of specialized free apps for six of the larger bases, including Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Whether it's a 20-percent discount at a Chinese restaurant or 10-percent off at Lowe's Home Improvement, Discount Soldier features lists of verified military discounts added by the military community. The app's directory shows locations, maps, store or restaurant info, Yelp reviews, and discount percentage. The Military Only Special Offers page lists national companies offering discounts and free items on holidays like Veterans Day and the Fourth of July and features online coupon codes.
MOAA's Military Officer magazine staff designed the MOAA Publications App as an extension of the association's mission to guide and inform servicemembers and their families at all stages of life. The simple design is optimized for Android tablets and phones and the iPad. Users get access to Military Officer Select, which offers informative articles from Military Officer. Other user-friendly guides about financial topics, health care, military pay, and benefits are available, too.
The Veteran Affairs National Center for PTSD and DoD's National Center for Telehealth and Technology created PTSD Coach to support those dealing with trauma. The easy-to-use app offers self-assessments, coping mechanisms for depression and anxiety, symptom charting, and a mental health support finder.