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Talk to ROA - Survey November 2019

Posted By ROA National Staff, Thursday, October 31, 2019

Gray Area Retirees - National Guard and Reserve servicemembers who have completed 20 years for retirement will not collect their retired pay until they reach early retirement or are age 60. These individuals are referred to as "Gray Area" Retirees. Approximately 6 months to 90 days prior to their 60th birthdate (or early retirement age) “Gray Area Retirees” must apply for their retirement pay.

The branch of service in which they last performed military service is responsible for validating the servicemembers retirement points. Once this process is complete the branch of service will send the servicemembers retirement pack to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service for continued payment of retirement benefits.

Once retirement orders for the “Gray Area Retiree” are processed DFAS will conduct a confirmation calculation of the servicemembers completed service record. This confirmation, on average, takes between 90 to 180 days. During this time the servicemember will not receive any payment of benefits.

Please take a quick one-question survey that tells ROA how long you waited for your first paycheck. CLICK HERE

Tags:  gray area  retire  retirement  survey 

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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 6, 2019
The House (H.R. 2500) and Senate (S. 1790) each passed their version of the NDAA. When Congress returns from summer recess in September they will, hopefully, quickly move to conference to resolve their differences. Here are some of the sections that need to be resolved: READ MORE (pdf) >

Tags:  NDAA 

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Talk to ROA - Survey August 2019

Posted By ROA National Staff, Thursday, August 15, 2019

Earlier this year the Department of Veterans Affairs implemented the Mission Act which was intended to be an improvement on the Choice Act. The purpose of both Acts was to provide community care to Veterans to relieve the long waiting periods for appointments with VA. ROA would like to know how many members have used either of these community care programs to receive medical care.

Have you ever used the VA community health care program under the Choice Act or Mission Act?

Let us know by completing this quick two-question survey. CLICK HERE


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Starting a Business?

Posted By ROA National Staff, Thursday, August 8, 2019

Congress is looking at ways to increase opportunities for Veterans to start a business.



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Talk to ROA - Survey July 2019

Posted By ROA National Staff, Monday, July 8, 2019

The Department of Defense 13th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation is assessing converting the current pay and allowance (housing, subsistence) system to a single pay system based either on national averages or geographic location. 


For example, civil service pay consists of a single pay system based on national standards for General Schedule employees.  Civil Service Wage Grade salaries are based on geographic location.  Both have high cost of living geographic differential pay.


CLICK HERE to Talk to ROA and answer this question:

Should military pay and allowances be converted to a single pay system?


Talk to ROA provides members an opportunity to provide feedback to ROA’s legislation team on issues being worked either through legislation or policy. Your response will help inform ROA’s action going forward. The next Reserve Voice will give you the results of the survey and the next monthly RV question.


Please share the link with other Reserve and National Guard servicemembers who may not be ROA members and encourage them to join ROA and help with our legislative efforts!


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VA Provides MISSION Act Update

Posted By ROA National Staff, Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Today, July 2, 2019, ROA staff attended the monthly Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Veteran Service Organization (VSO)/Military Service Organization (MSO) informational breakfast. Attendance was down due to the proximity of the 4th of July holiday, but it gave the few in attendance a great opportunity to dig into what issues the VA was working.

The VA discussion was led by Richard A. Stone, M.D. who addressed those in attendance. Dr. Richard Stone serves as the Executive in Charge for Veterans Health Administration (VHA), with the authority to perform the functions and duties of the Under Secretary for Health.

The discussion centered on how VA was implementing the new MISSION Act which is replacing the former community program, the Choice Act.

CLICK HERE for the full story.


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Scholarship Recipients Announced

Posted By ROA National Staff, Friday, June 21, 2019

ROA has announced this year’s 22 Henry J. Reilly Scholarship recipients, who will each receive $2,500 toward their studies.


“It is a privilege to support the education of the fine scholars selected for this year’s Henry J. Reilly Scholarships,” said ROA’s executive director, Jeffrey Phillips, a retired Army Reserve major general. “These men and women represent the future of an America secured by generations of reservists who served in our nation’s military.”



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Citizen warriors must be ready to deploy — they shouldn't pay for health care

Posted By ROA National Staff, Tuesday, June 11, 2019

ROA Executive Director Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Jeff Phillips is published in The Hill as an opinion contributor.

Over the past year or so, ROA has written about the endemic inequities between service in the active-duty military and duty in the Reserve and National Guard, known as the reserve components.

These inequities are not, by and large, the result of malign forces conspiring against the Reserve and Guard. For decades, before World War II, the reserve components were considered the “strategic reserve,” meant to be used only in the event of a major call-up of forces, such as we saw in that war or, later, in Korea. The reserve components rarely were deployed; they trained on weekends and two weeks in the summer (thus the moniker “weekend warrior”).

Being such an inactive part of the military, they were accorded benefits, support and funding considered by the Pentagon and Congress to be commensurate with their usage. That wasn’t much, actually. Members of the Reserve and Guard got no medical care when not training, for example.

That perhaps made sense in 1972 when the reserve components were not fighting a war in South Asia or mobilized to Poland as part of our response to a resurgent Russia’s ambitions for Eastern Europe’s recapture.


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A Day in the ROA Chaplain's Thoughts

Posted By ROA National Staff, Monday, June 10, 2019

A Time for Personal Reflection
A Spiritual Fitness message from the ROA National Chaplain
Psalm 121:1-5


I have had quite a time since our ROA Leaders Meeting in March. Since that time, I have been “grounded” by my MD and under his care and guidance. I had to cancel all my appointments and speaking engagements for the past 80 days—and I feel that I have counted each and every one of them, if you know what I mean. I have now recovered to the point that I can now do day trips and will be resuming my regular schedule soon. I still cannot fly until after my exam on 1 August but am much improved.


One of those days when my entire schedule had been turned upside down – to include sleeping and eating – it was 0500 and I could not sleep so I went to our front porch and sat in one of those Tennessee rocking chairs with my Bible and iPad trying to read and gazing eastward. As the morning sun appeared over the eastern horizon, my focus was upon those layers of Tennessee hills, knobs, mountains and my mind went to the Psalms where the writer exalts us to “Look unto the hills from where our help comes”.


In a following verse he wrote, “my help comes from the Lord”. Then I thought, I am truly a blest person with a view “from the porch” such as this. My mind then went from that view to how I got to this particular location and juncture in life. I soon not only found myself reading Psalm 121 and reflecting on the “help” I had received – not only from God Almighty but from a freedom and liberty few people in the world today have experienced.


My thoughts then went to family, loved ones, friends and total strangers who had so much to do with the “land of liberty and opportunity” with inalienable rights handed to us from Creation. I am a person in debt – not of finances but of such intangible senses and movements. My life had been saved and preserved through my years of risk, danger, and places I never dreamed I would be when I raised my hand and took my Oath of Office and Commission. I thought of an older Italian Officer with whom I had a conversation, years back, and he said to me,” You are the Chaplain from America, aren’t you? When I think of America, I think of freedom”! The look on his face told me even more than his words. Wow. It is so easy for me to take for granted those intangible things.


I recall my first time to hear TAPS apart from a movie or place of lack of bonding. I was a Lieutenant and prior to my Chaplain years. I served on a Combat Team and another Lieutenant and I became good friends. We had many missions together and talked just as good friends do.


I was single and he was married with three children. He would say to me, “Sherman, the only way to live is to be married, have children early and grow up with them”. We talked about many things as young officers do on our missions. One evening our team had arranged to connect at a certain time in final preparation for our mission but Pete did not make it. I discovered he was dead.


Our Major knew we were good friends, so he asked me to represent the team and crew and visit the family. What a task for a young inexperienced airman (I was in the Air Force then). At his burial in Ft. Rosecrans, I did what I was supposed to do with a heavy heart. Then in the distance came the notes of TAPS.


This time it was so different. The loss was so heavy and the tears flowed freely as I thought of his wife and three young children. The military service was taking on a whole new meaning now. The return to duty had an entirely new dimension as well.


Later, I received an air mail-gram thanking me for my friendship and care for their son and family. It was signed by a mother and father who was a US Ambassador. As much as Pete and I had talked on those special times, he never mentioned his family roots. I still have that letter today.


The older I become (and someone recently told me that growing old is not for the faint-hearted) the more our special National Holidays related to the military have become. Just think of the opportunities we have to say thank you and display our gratitude for those (and us) who have given much. Our debt of honor and appreciation can be respectively displayed in numerous ways. I think of the National Peace Officers Day, the Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, POW/MIA Recognition Day to name a few.


We can choose to be thankful for people who put their Country and Nation first over self. Self-serving has always been temporary and never long lasting. Our world has never been peaceful when individuals place “self” first and over country. Someone else said that “Freedom never lasts forever, because its very vitality is built on a combination of elements that are dynamic and difficult to hold together and easy to corrupt”. (Os Guinness).


George Washington had it right when, as his first official act, he offered a prayer to God thanking Him at his installation as our President. My freedom has been achieved for me by previous generations, but now I must do what I can to sustain the freedom in my Republic and hand off that baton to those who follow.


Sherman Reed

CH (COL) Sherman R. Reed, USA (Ret.)

Army Reserve Ambassador, Emeritus

ROA National Chaplain


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Survey: Military Exchange

Posted By ROA National Staff, Monday, June 3, 2019

Congress is considering a merger of the exchange and commissary. Based on the draft report going to Congress there is a chance the proposed changes could disrupt exchange efficiency and/or result in increased exchange prices. ROA would like to know how often the exchange is used by Reserve and National Guard servicemembers and their families.


Survey Question: How often do you use the military exchange?


Click here to answer the question.


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