You may find that we have so much information that you get overwhelmed. That's ok, here is a tip. If you find something that you like or think you'll need, print it out. Remember all this information is put together for your personal use.
The "BLACK BOOK"
Organization is a key to being prepared in any branch of the military. Help yourself!!! Create your own "Black Book" which has all important documents that are required from the day you walk into a recruiter's office and throughout your career in the military.
Two 1" covered ring binders, black, blue or green, with transparent coversheet sleeve on front and CD sleeve inside (as you go through your career the binder will grow)
One set/box of colored tabbed dividers
One set/box of clear page coversheets
College-ruled writing paper
Two rewritable CDs
Scan and name each document and save on the CD- put one in the CD sleeve, and give the other to a trusted family member, friend or attorney for safe keeping.
Each clear page-cover sheet should enclose one (1) original document along with at least one photo copy of the same (with "copy" printed in a clearly visible manner at the top)- place the original and the copy back to back so that if all the copies have been used, the "blank" original back will indicate the need to make more copies.
In the corner of the sleeve, affix a colored tab to include the name of the document, i.e. Original Birth Certificate
Place a single sheet of writing paper at the front of the folder, to be used as a master index, if no master index was included
As you put the documents into the sleeves, write the name and placement number in the master index form or lined sheet
Place 10/20 sheets of paper in each section, to be used for notes or written records
It starts the day you walk into a recruiter's office- documents! You will need to provide any and all important and/or legal documents, either in original or certified copy form. The following suggested list includes some but not all possible required documents:
Original/Official Birth Certificate (embossed &/or stamped)
Proof of citizenship (if you were not born in the United States)
Social Security Card
Valid Driver's License or current state identification card
Official High School transcripts (3 copies- once the envelope has been opened they are no longer considered "Official")
Original High School Diploma or GED
Original or certified ROTC documentation (if applicable)
Original college transcripts (if applicable)
A direct deposit form from your checking account signed by a bank official, or the name, address, account number and routing number of your financial institution (if applicable)
Original or certified copies of your marriage license, marriage certificate, divorce decree or separation order (if applicable)
Original or certified copies of birth certificates of children under 18; affidavit of support from parents; court documents and direct deposit forms if ordered to pay spousal and/or child support (if applicable)
Military spouse information- if you are married to a service member in the military, you need to have the name, Social Security number and military address of your spouse
Copies of your lease agreement or rental contract for any dependents residing outside of government quarters (if applicable)
- An once of prevention:
Any and all copies of tickets along with receipts of proof of payment (if applicable)
Original & certified copies of medical documents providing clearance from any officially diagnosed and documented medical condition that may be in question, i.e. depth perception issues (undiagnosed/undocumented medical issues should be discussed directly with your recruiter)
- Power of Attorney Documents:
Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)- There are many different types of Power of Attorney documents which you can do while at MEPS or at any time during your enlistment (for free). They can also be obtained by consulting an attorney, purchasing online or at an office supply store (all of which need to be notarized). Each is different and each has limitations. For instance, in some states a Durable Unlimited Power of Attorney does not work for Medical Health Care Power of Attorney and in others it does. Please consult an attorney or legal professional with any questions or concerns that you may have in regards to this process.
ALWAYS protect yourself. Financial difficulties can arise from improper or ill-advised POAs. Ask your banking institution or legal professional for their advise on protecting your accounts and future income. Within the actual POA documents, there is a section labeled "Other". If you are single, and plan to give someone other than your immediate family power of attorney of any type, PLEASE add the following requirement in that section: *Not to be used to open a charge account! This is where you may also add any additional protections your bank or lawyer suggests. It's better to be safe, than sorry.
Never close the book until ALL documents have been safely replaced. If it is required that you leave the document, have someone in authority sign for it and get their card to insert into the sleeve!
- Your Orders
Be sure to have all copies of orders and documents issued by your unit Recruiter and/or MEPS. These orders must be delivered by you and by hand. Travel and meal tickets will be provided.
As you go through your process of joining, MEPS, transfers, etc., having these documents readily accessible can make a huge difference, saving time and aggravation, and will always show others that you are organized and prepared! If possible, get a business card from everyone you deal with throughout your enlistment and career, writing the date & time of contact along with the reason for contact on the back of the card. It will help to also note this in your binder. As in any business, "who you know" can impact your future. Contacts are always good to have.
Once you have completed your black book, make a second set for your trusted person at home! Before you leave, make sure that you have a large pre-stamped envelope or box to mail the binder back if need be.
Be blessed & thank you for allowing me to help,
(Updated 28 August 2013)
In as much as "The Black Book" is the "Intellectual Property" of Lorraine Silva, I reserve all rights to and of this concept. Therefore, no person(s) or entity is allowed to use/copy/reproduce in part or in full without the explicit written consent of me. Furthermore, I have only granted permission to MS ABCT & AF Moms groups or pages which I admin or until further notice. 08/16/2013