Military Support Services in Jacksonville, Florida

MAYPORT, Fla. (JUNE 24, 2013) The guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) departs Naval Station Mayport for a scheduled deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Marcus L. Stanley/Released)

Jacksonville Military Veterans Coalition

The Jacksonville Military Veterans Coalition (JMVC) is committed to honoring military veterans and currently serving members of the National Guard and Reserve by facilitating career, business, and education opportunities in Jacksonville. Central to the JMVC vision is the recognition that many of the skills veterans developed in the military–leadership, fast and accurate decision making, operational focus, and the drive to accomplish a mission–have a direct application to Jacksonville businesses. The JMVC works with military organizations, veterans’ groups, industry associations, governmental entities, and Jacksonville businesses to build awareness and understanding of how these skills and cultural attributes make military veterans outstanding employees.

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross provides services to military personnel and their families. Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services personnel work in more than 700 chapters in the United States, on 61 military installations around the world, and with our troops in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Red Cross services include: emergency communications between active-duty members and their families, access to emergency financial assistance, confidential referrals to social service agencies, CPR classes, blood services, disaster assistance, and volunteer opportunities.

The American Red Cross Northeast Florida Chapter, based in Jacksonville, offers a variety of educational opportunities at a discounted rate for active-duty members and their families. Adult, child, and infant CPR classes are available, as well as first aid, baby-sitting, and basic aid training for children. The American Red Cross, 751 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville (358-8091).


American Veterans (AMVETS) assists military members soon to become veterans with submitting compensation claims to Veterans Affairs. AMVETS provides counseling to veterans and their families on benefits available from Veterans Affairs. It also conducts briefings on services, claim submissions, benefits, compensation, education, and pensions to commands, organizations, and groups. AMVETS is a nonprofit veteran services organization accredited by Veterans Affairs solely to assist veterans with information and assistance to get the veteran the compensation and benefits earned for his or her military service. Services are free. (673-3664,


The primary mission of Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) is to assist commands in achieving operational readiness, superior performance, and member retention, and to promote a reasonable quality of life for military personnel and their families. The FFSC provides a variety of services to single and married service members and their families. These services enhance personal and family readiness and adaptation to the military lifestyle by helping families in crisis, providing individual counseling, assisting with relocation to another duty station, helping family members with employment issues, providing in-home parent training, and more. Persons eligible for services include active-duty service members and their family members, Reservists on active duty, and military retirees and their family members.

The FFSC coordinates with and provides assistance to other military and civilian support agencies and groups that are concerned with helping military service members and the military family. Some of the free programs offered by the center include:
Hospitality Kits: Hospitality kits include a set of dishes, flatware, pots and pans, a coffee pot, a toaster, and a steam iron. A limited number of hospitality kits and children’s one-inch-thick sleep pads are available on a first-come, first-serve basis for incoming personnel only.

Information and Referral Program

The Information and Referral Program provides service members and their family members with information about services offered in the community.

Deployment Support Program

The Deployment Support Program helps service members and their families manage the challenges of deployment. Workshops, counseling, information, and referral programs helps service members and their families anticipate and understand the demands associated with deployment.

While the intent is to be proactive and offer support, encouragement, and assistance to prevent emergencies, the FFSC also stands ready to help family members resolve problems when emergencies occur during the service member’s absence.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program is comprised of three components: prevention, training, and education; crisis intervention with the use of volunteers; and statistical reporting. The program is designed to respond whenever victims of sexual assault are in need of supportive services through the crisis phase and forensic examination.

Education and Training

The FFSC offers an educational program designed to provide assistance and information to service members and their families who may be experiencing problems. Some of the classes and workshops available are: Anger Control, Communication Skills, Return and Reunion, Smooth Move, Sponsor Training, Stress Management, and Suicide Awareness.


The Greater Jacksonville Area USO provides more than $1 million annually of in-kind services through a variety of programs. Services include hosting more than 180,000 visitors each year at each of the three facilities. The USO distributes more than 12,000 care packages to deploying service members each year and operates free cyber cafes with Skype to help families stay in touch. More than 12,500 long-distance calling cards are also distributed annually for families to maintain communication .

Free meals are prepared and served twice a month at the Mayport USO to young service members and families struggling to make it to the next payday. The USO assists families dealing with both deployments and homecoming celebrations with family support groups, spouse organizations, education and more.


Region Legal Service Office Southeast (RLSO SE) supports the operational readiness of Department of the Navy assets in the southeastern United States by providing legal guidance, support services, and training in military justice, legal assistance, and administrative law. Attorneys provide guidance on issues such as consumer and financial affairs, crime victim information and advice, disaster relief support and advice, family law, foreclosure advice and counseling, immigration, notaries, powers of attorney, landlord-tenant, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, small claims and wills and estate planning. Pre-deployment services are given priority. Also, RLSO SE attorneys may be available to provide preventative law briefs.


Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) is a private, nonprofit, charitable organization. It is sponsored by the Department of the Navy and operates more than 200 offices ashore and afloat at Navy and Marine Corps bases throughout the world. The organization provides financial assistance in the form of interest-free loans, including the quick assist loan for $500, or grants for transportation in the event of an emergency, basic living expenses, essential vehicle repairs, a patient’s cost share of medical and dental expenses, funeral expenses, and more.

NMCRS also offers other forms of assistance, such as providing layettes (aka junior seabags) to new family members and a visiting nurse program to help new mothers, elderly individuals and anyone who needs a little extra help. There are also combat casualty nurses who provide free home visits to veterans and family members who have been affected by combat service. Services are provided through offices staffed by trained volunteers who are familiar with the special conditions of service life. Volunteers are always needed.


COJ’s MAV is mostly known for the city-wide events they facilitate to honor the Jacksonville population of veterans, but they are also happy to help any vet or member of the military that comes through their doors.

The MAV staff assists veterans and their families seeking pensions, info on the GI Bill, health care, disability ratings, and other benefits that have been earned. It’s a free one-stop shop that can help vets at tax time, with job placement, or if they need legal advice. If they can’t directly give the help you need, they can point vets in the right direction. Their services are free for those living in Jacksonville, and it’s a great place to get connected with everything a veteran might need. Go to where you’ll find links to a full guide of military-oriented services, job help, help navigating the VA, and much more.

About Liza Mitchell