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Frequently Asked Questions
Given sequestration and on-going budget uncertainty, the Department of Defense has taken a number of steps to reduce spending. This includes the suspension of ALL aerial demonstrations to include flyovers, jump team demonstrations, aircraft static displays at civilian air shows and events as well as at military open houses.
These steps were taken to conserve personnel, equipment, aircraft, and flying hours in order to meet operational requirements and pre-deployment training.
Non-aerial support (color guards, bands, equipment displays, etc) to community relations events is limited to those events within a 100-mile radius of an Army installation. Any support to events within the 100-mile radius must also be at no additional cost to the government.
While the Army recognizes community relations support activities have a high value for recruitment, public engagement and the demonstration of national pride, these benefits were weighed carefully against the Army's ability to support the warfight and wartime demands placed on these assets.
Thank you for your understanding.
Where can I get information about enlisting in the Army?
Can non-US citizens join the Army?
Enlistment into any branch of the U.S. military, by citizens of countries other than the United States is limited to those foreign nationals who are legally residing in the United States and possess a Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services Alien Registration Card (INS Form I-151/551 - commonly known as a "Green Card"). Applicants must be between 17 and 35; meet the mental, moral, and physical standards for enlistment; and must speak, read and write English fluently.
The U.S. military branches cannot assist foreign nationals in obtaining admittance into the United States. Questions concerning immigration to the United States should be asked of the U.S. Embassy. Only after immigration procedures are completed and an applicant is legally residing in the United States may an application for enlistment be accepted.
The U.S. Government agency which is responsible for immigration and naturalization is the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services within the Department of Homeland Security.
Check out the Military section at: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/
How can I learn more about attending West Point?
Contact the U.S. Military Academy at West Point directly, or visit its website:
United States Military Academy
ATTN: Public Affairs Office
Taylor Hall, Bldg 600
West Point, NY 10996-1788
Phone (845) 938-2006
Where can I download the America's Army computer game? Also how can I obtain a CD of the game?
For downloads from games and ringtones to wallpapers and apps go to: http://www.goarmy.com/downloads.html
Where can I get copies of my personnel records?
Former/retired Army Civilian employees:
Contact the National Personnel Records Center at:
Civilian Records Facility
111 Winnebago Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63118-4199
Active duty retirees should contact:
Military Records Facility
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, Missouri 63132-5100
Phone: (800) 318-5298
At minimum, please include the service member's complete name, Social Security number and/or serial number, and the requester's return address. Website is: https://www.hrc.army.mil/tagd/Human Resource Service Center
How do I correct errors in my military records?
In order to get your military service records upgraded/changes, you must contact your respective service Board for Correction of Military Records. Contact information for each board is listed below:
Army Board of Correction
Crystal Mall 4, Room 220
Arlington, VA 22202-4508
Is the National Archives and Records Administration destroying military personnel files?
They are not being destroyed. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) preserves and protects the files because they are permanently valuable records that document the essential evidence of military service for veterans. However, there is a rumor circulating on the Internet that advises veterans to apply for their Official Military Personnel Files to save them from destruction. There is no truth to this "urban legend" being perpetuated on the Web.
How do I replace my medals that were lost?
In order to obtain a replacement medal you will have to contact the following institution at:
National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138
Phone (314) 801-0800
You may be charged for the replacement of the medals.
What is the status of the Cold War Medal? Will it be issued?
The Department of Defense (DoD) recently completed a comprehensive review for both military and civilian awards policy. As part of the review, DoD examined award recognition for military service during the Cold War. Based on the recommendations of the Services, the Defense Department does not at this time support the creation of a Service Medal specifically to recognize Cold War military service. Commanders have always had a variety of awards to recognize the service and sacrifice of service members, including those who served during the Cold War. The Army continues the issuance of the Cold War Certificate, which appropriately recognizes military and civilian federal service during the Cold War. To find information on the Cold War Recognition Certificate please visit the following web page:
This article may help clarify some of the tricks social media scammers try to use to take advantage of people: http://www.army.mil/article/61432/
- Soldiers and their loved ones are not charged money so that the Soldier can go on leave.
- Soldiers are not charged money for secure communications or leave.
- Soldiers do not need permission to get married.
- Soldiers do not have to pay for early retirement.
- Soldiers have medical insurance, which pays for their medical costs when treated at civilian health care facilities worldwide – family and friends do not need to pay their medical expenses.
- Military aircraft are not used to transport Privately Owned Vehicles.
- Army financial offices are not used to help Soldiers buy or sell items of any kind.
- Soldiers deployed to Combat Zones do not need to solicit money from the public to feed or house their troops.
- Deployed Soldiers do not find large unclaimed sums of money and need your help to get that money out of the country.
Anyone who tells you one of the above-listed conditions/circumstances is true is likely posing as a Soldier and trying to steal money from you.
We would urge you to immediately cease all contact with this individual.
For more information on avoiding online scams and to report this crime, please see the following sites:
How do I explore opportunities for employment with the Army as a federal civilian employee?
For Army federal employment explore the Army’s Civilian Personnel web site: http://cpol.army.mil/index.html
The primary web site to look for civilian federal jobs is http://www.usajobs.gov/
It's user-friendly and you can also search for jobs by agency.
How do I verify my past federal employment?
If it has been less than six months since you were employed with a Federal agency, first contact the personnel department of the agency for which you worked to assist you in determining the necessary procedures.
If you are unable to obtain your records from the personnel department or if it has been more than six months since you were employed with that Federal agency, send a written request for the records to the NPRC Civilian Personnel Records Division. Please note that the Civilian Personnel Records Division will only provide copies of documents and information to the subject of the file or someone who has received written authorization from the subject of the file.
I was born overseas at a military installation. How do I obtain my birth certificate?
I have a site on the Internet, and was wondering if I could post some of your pictures on my site?
Images, pictures, and other media depicting Army personnel carrying out their official duties may be used by non-Federal entities in communication venues which are solely informational in nature, such as newspapers, news magazines, or other media that focus on reporting social or industry news, and are not directly or indirectly associated with a marketing, advertising, or a self-promoting activity (including company annual reports).
Photographs and imagery on the Army's website at https://search.usa.gov/search/images?affiliate=www.army.mil, unless otherwise noted, are in the public domain. Attribution of the source is always appreciated by the military photographer.
Army imagery is provided without talent releases on any individual portrayed. Imagery is provided with the understanding that the Army has no authority to waive the privacy rights of any individual depicted in government media. And no exclusive rights to official records may be claimed by any organization or individual.
Commercial Use of Imagery
The use of DoD Personnel and Materiel in Advertising, Marketing or Promotional Material must be approved by the Department of Defense and meet the following guidelines:
Endorsement of a non-Federal entity, event, product, service or enterprise may be neither stated nor implied by DoD or DoD employees in their official capacities, including through use of their images. Additionally, titles, positions or organization names may not be used to suggest official endorsement or preferential treatment of any non-Federal entity, except in limited circumstances outlined in DoD Directive 5500.7-R. In all cases, Military Service-specific insignia must be removed from advertising, marketing or promotional material.
The use of Department of Defense still and/or motion imagery that includes people who can be personally identified in the image is not authorized, unless the requestor contacts the person(s) and obtains written permission for the use of their identifiable image.
DoD materiel such as aircraft, missiles, ships, and other hardware cannot be used in any company marketing or advertising campaign, if they incorporate distinctive U.S. military markings and/or other features that would connote DoD endorsement of the campaign. If still and/or motion imagery is to be used for commercial advertisement, the proposed ad layout with its accompanying copy must be approved by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.
For approval, e-mail or FAX your request to OASD (PA)/CR & PL: PAreview@osd.mil or 703-697-2577.
Can I find an online resource that shows current and historical active duty military pay tables?
The information you seek is available online at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service's website at http://www.dfas.mil/militarymembers/payentitlements/militarypaytables.html.
I have some questions regarding TRICARE. Where can I go online for answers?
The following link will provide for you information about contacting your regional TRICARE office by phone or by e-mail:
Postal Service to any Soldier Mail
How can I send postal mail to the troops?
Delivery of materials to unidentified service members is prohibited due to security concerns, but you can express your support for the troops via e-mail. The Military Postal Service Agency an extension of the United States Postal Service, provides Department of Defense personnel, their family members and other authorized users mail services around the world. Our customers receive basically the same level of service as though they were at home in the United States. Differences are based on the country in which they are stationed and the type of military operation in which they are involved. For more information:
Military Postal Service Agency
2900 Crystal Dr., Suite 410
Arlington, VA 22202-3595
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
How do I use the Freedom of Information Act?
Freedom of Information Act instructions are at http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/
What educational benefits are available for Soldiers or Veterans?
Or call Education (GI Bill): 1-888-442-4551
Verification of Military Service
I need to verify if someone is a member of the military. What Department should I contact?
Support to Civilian Events (Army Color Guard or military band)
How do I obtain the services of an Army Color Guard or military band?
Citizens can request military participation, such as a Color Guard or military band, with a DD Form 2536, Request for Armed Forces Participation in Public Events (Non-Aviation) which can be downloaded here.
NOTE : Instructions on the back of the DD 2536 form are currently being updated. Please do not mail or fax the form to the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Please submit your completed request for Army support to the U.S. Army Public Affairs Office at the installation closest to the event.
For information about military bands and to find a band located close to the event, refer to the Army Bands Online Website: http://bands.army.mil/search/activearmy.asp
- U.S. Army Field Band: http://www.armyfieldband.com
- U.S. Army Band: http://www.usarmyband.com
- U.S. Army Bands Link: http://bands.army.mil
- U.S. Army Reserve Bands: http://bands.army.mil/bands/ar/
- U.S. Navy: http://www.navyband.navy.mil
- U.S. Air Force: http://www.usafband.af.mil/
- U.S. Marine Corps: http://marineband.usmc.mil
- U.S. Coast Guard: http://www.uscg.mil/band/
How do I request a helicopter display or a flyover?
Have you ever seen a Blackhawk or Apache helicopter or met their aircrews up close and personal? Well, the Army can help make a static display happen through an aerial request. Due to its combat commitments, the Army has suspended flyovers.
The Army considers requests for aerial support at community events all over the country.
Besides static displays, the official U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights, as well as three other Army Command Parachute Teams, conduct aerial demonstrations and special tandem jumps at eligible events. Each team brings a unique dimension to the event. The teams include the:
- "Screaming Eagles," 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, KY
- "Black Daggers," U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, NC
- "Silver Wings," Command Exhibition Parachute Team, Fort Benning, GA
To get started on the aerial request, complete a DD Form 2535 Request for Military Aerial Support and note whether you wish to request a tactical aircraft exhibit, post open house, or parachute demonstration. Download the form here: http://usarmy.vo.llnwd.net/e2/rv5_downloads/comrel/dd2535.pdf
Contracts With the Army
Where am I able to find DoD contracts or information regarding contracts?
View the most recently announced contracts: http://www.defense.gov/contracts/
Federal Business Opportunities web site lists U.S. Government contracts, including the Defense Department, that are up for bid. Please see: http://www.fedbizopps.gov.
How do I get information on aspects of federal contracting and procurement activities?
The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) recommends the following steps for those wishing to do business with the government:
- Read the daily Federal Business Opportunities, which is published every business day and lists procurement opportunities for more than $25,000. You can access the FBO online at http://www.fedbizopps.gov
- Visit your local Small Business Administration (SBA) office or go online to http://www.sba.gov. There you will find resources, reports, and educational programs to provide you with the necessary information to bid successfully on government contracts.
- Visit the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), which can be found at www.bpn.gov/ccr. This is the product of the integration of PRO-Net and DOD's Central Contractor Registration (CCR) databases, and has resulted in one portal for entering and searching small business sources. This integration assists small businesses with marketing their goods and services to the federal government.
- Be open to subcontracting opportunities. This is especially beneficial when starting out. It is a great way to gain government experience and earn credibility for your business.
Where can I learn more about the Army’s medical benefits?
I am a Reservist on active duty about to transition back to Reserve status. What kinds of health care are provide for me and my family?
The TRICARE has several programs one of which you may be eligible.
Transitional Health Care
Tricare Reserve Select (TRS)
Reserve Component Members Health Care
Reserve Component Health Care Benefits Brochure
Tricare Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need the mailing address of the Army Public Affairs office?
Department of the Army
ATTN: Chief of Public Affairs
1500 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-1500
Senior Leader Photos and Autographs
We are having an auction at our organization to help raise money for a worthy cause and would love to have a photo signed by the Secretary of the Army or the Secretary of Defense. Can you help?
Army and Defense senior leaders may not provide an item for auction. Rules and regulations governing the conduct of the Department of Defense employees prohibit the use of our names--including the Secretary of of the Army or Secretary of Defense--on any collectible item. This policy, which is government-wide, simply reflects the practical limitations on the U.S. Government's ability to extend official support to every local, regional, national, or international charity. It carries no direct or indirect judgment on the worthiness of those charities or your event.
How many Soldiers are there in the Army?
There are about 480,000 Soldiers on active duty.
The average Soldier is:
RANK: E-4 (Corporal / Specialist)
TIME IN SERVICE: 4 Years
BASE PAY: $2,199.90/month
EDUCATION: High School Graduate
MARITAL STATUS: Married w/ two Children
RACE: 60% Caucasian/40% Minority
GENDER: 85% Male/15% Female
AVERAGE WORK DAY: When the mission is complete
What is the proper way to wear the American Flag Patch on military uniforms?
Thank you for your inquiry about the proper placement of the American flag on the uniform of the U.S. Armed Forces. Army Regulation 670-1, "Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia," updated most recently September 5, 2003, addresses explicitly the proper and lawful placement of the U.S. flag patch on the Army uniform. The regulation states that when authorized for application to the proper uniform the American flag patch is to be worn, right or left shoulder, so that "the star field faces forward, or to the flag's own right. When worn in this manner, the flag is facing to the observer's right, and gives the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward. The appropriate replica for the right shoulder sleeve is identified as the 'reverse side flag'." We appreciate and share your concern for the respectful display of our American flag on the uniform of the U.S. Armed Forces. For more information on Army Regulation 670-1 please view the following document: http://www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/r670_1.pdf
Another source of information is Army.mil's Army Service Uniform microsite: http://www.army.mil/asu/
What equipment does the Army use?
- Army Fact Files: http://www.army.mil/factfiles/
- Brigade Combat Team Modernization: http://www.bctmod.army.mil
- PEO Soldier: https://peosoldier.army.mil
- Acquisition, Logistics and Technology: https://www.alt.army.mil/portal/page/portal/oasaalt/documents/ASC_1009_AUSABook_Final_lo.pdf
How can I access my DD 214 on-line?
Military veterans and the next of kin of deceased former military members may now use a new online military personnel records system to request documents from the National Military Personnel Records Center (NPRC) at the National Archives Center in Saint Louis, Mo.
Veterans and next of kin may access this application at http://www.archives.gov/veterans/evetrecs/
Other individuals with a need for documents must still complete the Standard Form 180, which can be downloaded from the online web site. The new web-based application was designed to provide better service on these requests by eliminating the records center's mailroom processing time. Also, because the requester will be asked to supply all information essential for NPRC to process the request, delays that normally occur when NPRC has to ask veterans for additional information will be minimized.
Are there opportunities for active duty veterans with the National Guard or Reserve?
Once certain thresholds have been met (with regard to age, years of service, etc.) Soldiers usually are not eligible for reentry to service, however, there are other ways that many veterans continue to serve. Most states have a volunteer force of veterans, often referred to as a "defense force", "volunteer force" or state "militia" who serve in a variety of roles within the respective states. More information can be obtained by contacting state or territorial headquarters.
Where can I find information on the web about military memorials?
There are various war memorials to commemorate and celebrate the services of American veterans. These memorials are maintained by the National Park Service (NPS) and can usually be visited year round. The NPS website located at http://www.nps.gov has information about NPS veterans' memorials. You can also speak with an NPS representative by contacting one of the National Park Service Regional Offices.
Where are National Guard units located?
The Army National Guard has more than 1,832 units located in more than 2,700 communities across the 54 states, territories and the District of Columbia. Each state has a unique force structure and a varying number of units, personnel, armories and training sites. For more information, visit the Guard's website at http://www.ng.mil/
How is the Army National Guard different from the Army Reserve?
The Army Reserve is completely controlled by the federal government and serves solely as a federal reserve to the Active Army. The Army National Guard, on the other hand, may be controlled by either the state or the federal government, depending on the circumstance. The Army Guard force structure consists of Combat, Combat Support and Combat Service Support units, while the Army Reserve force is primarily comprised of Combat Support and Combat Service Support. The ARNG consists of approximately 340,000 Soldiers versus just over 200,000 in the USAR. Both organizations are part of The Army, which consists of the Active, Guard and Reserve components.
What benefits do I get from having employees who are Guard members or Army Reservists?
There are many benefits to employing Guardsmen and Reservists. You will have an employee who has been trained to possess and use superior leadership skills and discipline - someone who has proven their ability to commit to goals, objectives and ideas with a high level of motivation. You will have an employee who has valuable job skills ranging from specific technical expertise to leadership. The employee will also receive additional training as time goes on - at no cost to you. The concept of the citizen-Soldier is based upon a person committed to fulfilling both their civilian and military responsibilities, a person who becomes a special member of their community.
Acronyms and Terms
Do you have a listing of frequently used DoD acronyms?
Do you have a listing of frequently used DoD acronyms?
I am with the media and have some questions regarding past, present, and future Army issues. Who do I call?
For Defense issues call:
Department of Defense (703) 697-5131
For MEDIA QUERIES ONLY:
- For questions about Army operations, intelligence, and logistics, (703) 697-7550 or (703) 693-7589
- For questions about Army weapons, environment, and technology, (703) 697-7592 or (703) 697-7591 or (703) 697-5344
- For questions about Army personnel and human resources, (703) 693-5084 or (703) 697-5662 or (703) 627-2163
Women in the Military
How can I find information on women in the military?
There are numerous sources of information available to you. We also recommend you start your search with a visit to the website for the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services at http://dacowits.defense.gov
Also see Army.mil's microsite about women in the Army: http://www.army.mil/women/
What services does the Army provide for families?
The Army has a program called "Army Community Service" that is a collection of 12 different services ranging from family advocacy (domestic violence prevention) to financial counseling. There are ACS programs at every Army post, and there are similar programs for members of the U.S. Army Reserve and the National Guard.
For details, refer to any of the following websites:
- Army Well-Being: http://www.armywell-being.org/skins/WBLO/home.aspx?AllowSSL=true
- Army Families and Services: https://www.myarmyonesource.com/familyprogramsandservices/default.aspx
- Military One Source: http://www.militaryonesource.mil/
- The National Guard Family Program's Online Community: http://www.guardfamily.org
- US Army Reserve Family Support: http://www.militaryonesource.mil
How may I get help in obtaining court-ordered child support?
The Defense Finance and Accounting Services web page provides information pertaining to garnishment of wages for child support, or alimony: http://www.dfas.mil
Individuals should also encourage you to seek legal council from a civilian lawyer or your military staff judge advocate's office.
I am divorced. My former spouse now seeks more money and property. What are my rights, obligations, and protections?
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service web site pertaining to the Former Spouses Protection:
I am interested in the background and history of an Army unit. How do I get this information online?
Center for Military History http://www.history.army.mil
- Military History Institute http://www.carlisle.army.mil/AHEC/USAMHI/default.cfm
- Center for Army Lessons Learned: http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/call/
- Combat Studies Institute: http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/csi/CSIResearchSurveys.asp
- World War One: http://www.worldwar1.com/
- World War Two: http://ww2.vet.org, http://www.archives.gov/research/ww2/ww2-participation.pdf
- Civil War: http://www.civilwar.com
Many of Army.mil's microsites focus on history. An index can be found at http://www.army.mil/features/
I would like to get an American Flag flown at the Pentagon to give to my brother for his service to our nation. Can you tell me who I need to talk with to get a Flag?
- The requester must provide the flag. All requests must be submitted no more than 15 business days in advance and the least must be 5 business days from date of receipt of the flag if you are mailing the flag(s) please add on an additional week.
- Each returned flag will be accompanied by a certificate verifying the date upon which the flag was flown and the name of the person for whom the flag was flown.
- The requester (without Pentagon access) must provide within the package return postage from the post office or another requestor pre-paid shipping method (i.e. FedEx or UPS Air Bill with an account number or postage stamps) for the flag and certificate to be returned.(The Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) cannot accept cash, money orders or checks for the return postage. PFPA is not responsible for providing return postage or packaging.)
- The requester will be notified immediately to arrange for shipping if return postage or another paid shipping method is not received with the flag so that the flag and certificate can be returned. (Due to limited space flag(s) cannot be held for more than 30 days from date of receipt.)
- A typed or printed letter of request must accompany the flag and contain the following information:
- The name of the person and organization of the flag recipient.
- The occasion the flag will be flown for, if any (e.g. retirements, anniversary, birthday, etc.)
- Verbiage on certificate goes up to 32 spaces total.
- The specific date the flag is requested to be flown on. If no date is specified, the flag will be flown 15 business days after receipt of the flag.
- The point of contact's name, address, and their telephone number (commercial and/or DSN) and email address.
For further information visit http://www.pfpa.mil/services/flagpnt.html
How do I find out more information about an Army post?
For information about Army garrisons go to:
How can I purchase maps from the Army?
How can I get information on surplus auctions?
Contact the Defense Disposition Services at 1-877-352-2255.
Where can I get old Army stuff?
Equipment that is old, has been replaced or is no longer needed is turned in to the Defense Disposition Services. There are numerous facilities located around the country. To find out more about how to get equipment from these sites you can visit their web site at www.drms.dla.mil or check with a local military installation that has a Disposition office. Equipment is "demilitarized", if required, to ensure that it is safe prior to sale.
Fraud Waste and Abuse
How do I report fraud, waste, or abuse at the Defense Department?
You may do so by contacting the Defense Department Inspector General's Hotline for Fraud, Waste, and Abuse. The telephone number there is: 800-424-9098. You may also send an e-mail to officials there at: email@example.com
How can I find the address of a specific present or former member of the U.S. Armed Forces?
How can I find the address of a specific present or former member of the U.S. Armed Forces? Requests for military addresses should be sent to the respective service of the individual whose address is being sought. Military regulations and the Privacy Act of 1974 do not permit the military departments to provide email addresses, home addresses or telephone numbers of service personnel. Moreover, regulations do not permit random dissemination of listings of names and addresses of service personnel. These regulations have been established to protect individual service men and women from commercial exploitation and to respect their right of privacy.
Because of the large volume of requests that each service locator receives, please allow four weeks processing time for written requests. The following information is needed for all requests for locator services: Give as much identifying information as possible about the person you wish to locate such as full name, rank, last duty assignment/last known military address, service number, and Social Security number.
The locator service is free to immediate family members and government officials. Other family members, civilian friends, businesses and others must pay $3.50. The check or money order must be made out to the U.S. Treasury. It is not refundable. United States Army The Army will help you locate individuals on active duty only, not retirees.
The Army World Wide Locator address is:
Commander U.S. Army Enlisted Records & Evaluation Center
8899 East 56th Street
Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN 46249-5301
Games and Downloads
Where can I download the America's Army computer game? Also how can I obtain a CD of the game?
For downloads from games and ringtones to wallpapers and apps go to:
Stop Loss Retroactive Pay
LAST DAY TO FILE FOR RETROACTIVE STOP LOSS HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO October 21, 2011.
Was your enlistment involuntarily extended due to Stop Loss between September 11, 2001 and September 30, 2009? If so, and you have yet to file a claim for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP), October 21, 2011, is a very important date to you. That's the last day to file for payment.
Go to http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2010/0710_stoploss/ for links to the claim forms and individual military service links with instructions on how to file claims. Don't delay, do it today.