2015-2016 National Veterans & Family Support Ambassador
Operation Uplink™ – Still Relevant Today
Operation Uplink™ is a calling program for deployed service members that provides free phone time to active-duty military personnel and hospitalized veterans.
Many members have asked if the Operation Uplink™ portion of the VFW Veterans and Military Support Program is still relevant today and the answer is a resounding – YES!
On at least three days of every month, service personnel can make calls to the USA, its territories and to landlines in other military home base countries, including Afghanistan, American Samoa, Bahrain, Belgium, Germany, Guam, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Northern Marianas, Netherlands, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, UK and the U.S. Virgin Islands, from their local MWR (SPAWAR) Internet Café at no cost. There are no hidden fees or restrictions on these Free Call Days; all calls are free from midnight to midnight Eastern Time.
When Operation Uplink™ began in 1996, the program provided phone cards to deployed and hospitalized troops; each card cost $6.50 and provided 15 minutes of talk time to one (1) service member. Due to the growing popularity of the program, and thanks to the generosity of corporate donors like Sport Clips Haircuts and Harleysville Insurance, the program began hosting “Free Call Days” in 2006.
Advancements in technology and readily available internet access have caused phone cards to become obsolete. Service members have less access to phone banks and are relying on email, SKYPE and other instant messaging options to stay connected to home. With greater access through the MWR (Morale, Welfare & Recreation) cafés, Free Call Days and virtual PINs, Operation Uplink™ is providing more service members with chances to call home than ever before! That same $6.50 now provides a 15 minute call to 10 service members!
As the largest organization of combat veterans, the VFW knows the importance of keeping military families in touch. Free Call Days are more than just phone calls. These sponsored days allow families and friends to stay connected during a very stressful period of separation without regard for cost. They celebrate an excellent report card, homeruns at t-ball games, graduations, weddings and other important life moments.
Our military personnel have shared their appreciation for Operation Uplink™ with us
- CPT Bailey in Afghanistan writes, “I am so grateful for the ability to hear my wife and child over the phone. Your service is crucially important for the morale of the soldiers. You are doing your country an immeasurable service by ensuring the communication of military families!”
- Carlos in Iraq writes, “Free call days are like extended visits to my family. I just let them talk about every little detail of their day.”
Since its creation in 1996, Operation Uplink™ has evolved, but it still provides an invaluable service to our military service members by providing a morale boosting and vital connection with family and friends while eliminating the financial burden many can’t afford. Since 2006 over 7.5 million connections have provided over 90 million minutes of talk time – at no cost to our deployed service members.
Questions? Contact VFW Operation Uplink at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (816) 968-1155