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Reserve Organization of America
                                         Reserve Voice Newsletter for August, 2020
Registration now Open for ROA 20220 National Convention, with In-person or Virtual Choice
Have it your way, but please register for ROA’s annual National Convention, Sept. 17-20, in St. Louis, Missouri – you can attend in person or choose to participate via virtual means at a significantly reduced registration cost.

“An annual meeting is required by ROA’s constitution, and the association’s leadership saw value and prudence in offering members a choice of in-person or virtual attendance.  Of course, we will monitor the health situation as September nears, but our hotel is taking all precautions to provide a safe venue,” said ROA’s executive director, Jeff Phillips. “We look forward to meeting with members – be it in person or by digital means!”
ROA urges president to support defense bill, including military base renaming
The Reserve Organization of America on July 29 >wrote President Trump in support of the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act, including its provision that would rename military properties, such as bases named for Confederate officers. ROA also wrote Congress, backing a broad and inclusive commission of stakeholders for the challenging task of renaming. ROA regards obstacles to military recruitment and retention as obstacles to readiness. Our servicemembers stand guard on the ramparts for our nation's security; they deserve an environment that supports their service and reflects our great nation's diversity.
House, Senate must now hash out NDAA differences
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, speaking, supports base renaming, as did 32 other committee members in approving the provision.

NGAUS Washington Report, July 28, 2020
:
  The House and Senate have each recently adopted a version of the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. Now the two sides must agree on a compromise version of the voluminous defense policy bill they can send to the president’s desk.

Complicating matters, both versions contain language that would rename military bases that bear the names of Confederate officers. The president has threatened to veto any bill that includes this provision.

Both the House and Senate included measures to do just that in their respective bills. But the fight over the issue is not over. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., promised to find a way to remove the language from the final bill.

Inhofe is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and will select some of the senators who will negotiate a final bill.

“We’re going to see to it that provision doesn’t survive the bill,” Inhofe told the Oklahoman. “I’m not going to say how at this point.”

Removing Confederate names is likely to be one of the most visible issues during those discussions, but it will not be the only debate. Republicans, who control the Senate, and Democrats, who control the House, have several other disagreements between the bills.

“I remain concerned about the consequences of a number of the amendments the House adopted and hope that we can further perfect them in Conference,” said Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee.

“None of those disagreements is insurmountable, and there is nothing in this bill that we should not be able to resolve before the end of the fiscal year.”

“We must meet in conference with the House to iron out some differences and develop a unified defense bill that enhances national security and provides our troops with decisive, lasting advantages and powerful, force-multiplying assets,” said Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the ranking Democrat on the SASC. 

Both bills provide for a 3 percent pay raise for service members and invest in new military equipment, including ships, planes, and combat vehicles.

Progressives in the Senate, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., failed to cut 10 percent from the $74.5 billion NDAA last week. The measure would have rerouted funding to education, health care, housing, and other programs.

https://www.ngaus.org/about-ngaus/newsroom/house-senate-must-now-hash-out-ndaa-differences

Majority of States Ask for T32 Extension for COVID-19 Missions

NGAUS Washington Report July 21, 2020:  At least 35 states and territories have asked the White House to extend the authority to use the National Guard under federal Title 32 for COVID-19 missions beyond the current Aug. 21 deadline.

The authority under section 502(f) of federal Title 32 provides federal pay and benefits while keeping Guardsmen under state control.

President Trump first provided the authority to California, New York, and Washington state March 22. Eventually, he authorized 45 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia to use Guard soldiers and airmen for COVID-19 under Title 32.

At the peak of the response, nearly 50,000 Guardsmen and 7,000 Reservists were serving on missions related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Currently, just under 30,000 Guardsmen are on such missions, but that number could increase as cases increase in the South and West.

Without federal support, leaders in several states have said they lack the resources to continue using the Guard on a large scale. In addition, Guardsmen on duty would also no longer receive medical coverage. They would also not be able to qualify for federal education and retirement benefits.

In a letter to President Trump, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said there is much more work to be done to respond to and recover from the ongoing crisis.

“The Michigan National Guard is a crucial part of the state’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Guard will be vital to our ongoing recovery as well,” she said. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, another Democrat, has also requested an extension.

“The Connecticut National Guard has demonstrated that its ability to respond is constant, and their unwavering response is a big reason why we have been able to significantly bend the curve from the initial outbreak,” he said. “Not only are they providing state government with needed support, but they regularly partner with local and federal agencies to help protect our communities.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, the Republican co-chair of the National Governors Association, said yesterday that his organization strongly supports the extension. “The National Guard remains a critical part of our public health response,” he tweeted.

ROA also back extension of the Title 32 mission. In addition, the association continues to work with Congress to ensure Guardsmen on coronavirus-related missions have transitional health care once their missions end.

Appeals by the governors, members of Congress and ROA prompted the president to extend the Title 32 authorization two times previously
.

https://www.ngaus.org/about-ngaus/newsroom/majority-states-ask-t32-extension-covid-19-missions

Ruling on major GI Bill benefits case will not come in time for fall classes
A veterans benefits coordinator briefs troops and retirees on the GI Bill benefits at Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, MS in July 2009 (Petty Officer 1st Class Sam Spain/Navy)

Military Times Website July 27, 2020:  Student veterans hoping for resolution in a court case which could open an extra year of GI Bill education benefits to hundreds of thousands of individuals will not get any resolution before the start of the fall semester.

But may see some legal progress in time for the spring.

The case — Rudisill v. Wilkie, pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit — has gained the attention of numerous education and veterans advocacy groups in recent months due to its potential impact on veterans’ education benefits.

Last year, a lower appeals court ruled that the Department of Veterans Affairs’ practice of requiring veterans to give up their Montgomery GI Bill eligibility to receive Post-9/11 GI Bill payouts was improper.

That means that veterans who use up their 36 months of Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits should still have access to 12 months of Montgomery GI Bill benefits if they paid into the program while they were serving. Under existing federal statute, any government higher education payouts are capped at 48 months.

Department of Veterans Affairs officials appealed that ruling earlier this year and are scheduled to file additional motions early next week. After that, court officials are expected to schedule oral arguments in late August or September.

That pushes any resolution of the case later into the fall, well after classes for the upcoming semester have already begun.

Attorneys for the plaintiff had pushed for a quicker timeline, but with no success. Hunton Andrews Kurth Associate Tim McHugh, an Army veteran and co-counsel on the case, said he is optimistic a final decision by the federal circuit court could come before the end of the year.

In recent weeks, a pair of veterans advocates — National Veterans Legal Services Program and Veterans Education Success — filed briefs of support in the case, arguing the more generous interpretation of GI Bill payouts should be upheld based on past congressional intent and court precedents.

“The court should turn to the pro-veteran canon and adopt the interpretation that furthers Congress’s purpose of providing more generous education benefits to veterans,” they wrote.

David DePippo, senior counsel for Dominion Energy Services and co-counsel on the case, called their support “a big deal” in furthering the argument.

“These are two groups that are big players in this area,” he said. “They really have moved the ball in terms of veterans benefits in the past. So, to have them look at this and sign on is significant.”

VA’s opposition stems from an argument that the use of both benefits programs amounts to “double-dipping” for veterans, and the potential extra costs of tens of billions of dollars in new education payouts in coming years.

Under current rules, the Post-9/11 GI Bill provides 36 months of tuition assistance and living stipends to veterans (or their family members) who served at least three years on active-duty after Sept. 10, 2001. The total value of those payouts can top $20,000 a year, depending on where individuals attend school.

That benefit was finalized in 2010 and largely replaced the Montgomery GI Bill, which requires servicemembers to pay $1,200 in their first year after enlisting to be eligible for payouts after separation from the service. Individuals who used that education program last semester received payouts of about $2,000 a month.

The federal circuit court’s decision can be appealed to the Supreme Court, a process that could take several more years to complete.

In the meantime, VA officials have declined to recognize the lower court ruling and start awarding the extra GI Bill benefits to eligible veterans. McHugh said his legal team believes that represents a serious violation of federal rules, but enforcement of the issue would likely require a secondary lawsuit to force the issue.

https://www.militarytimes.com/education-transition/2020/07/27/ruling-on-major-gi-bill-benefits-case-wont-come-in-time-for-fall-classes/
Second lady Karen Pence, a Marine mom, takes key role in veterans suicide prevention effort
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, right, and his wife Karen Pence applaud U.S. military personnel at U.S. Yokota Air Base in Japan

MilitaryTimes website June 27, 2020: Second lady Karen Pence believes one way for military families to get through their many challenges and stresses is to start talking about the problems more, not less.

“With veterans, we want them to be able to talk about their struggles and sometimes they can’t,” said Pence, whose son is a pilot in the Marine Corps. “Sometimes they’re dealing with trauma that damages the brain. Sometimes they just do not know how to tell people they are struggling.

“But help is out there.”

For the last few months, Pence has served as the lead ambassador to the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) task force, a 15-month project to find new solutions for veterans’ mental health and suicide challenges.

That effort took a new public step Wednesday with the release of a broad task force report recommending new research, community partnerships and public awareness campaigns. Pence will serve as a key figure in that work, extending her efforts with military spouses and family advocacy to the public health issue of veteran’s suicide.

Pence spoke with Military Times following the White House PREVENTS unveiling event to discuss her role with the task force and her goal of bringing awareness to the issue of veterans’ mental health.

Q: Talk about your role as the lead ambassador for the veterans’ suicide prevention task force.

Karen Pence: I am not an expert on mental health or suicide, but I am someone who can elevate the discussion. And when they asked me to be lead ambassador, I said “absolutely,” I did not hesitate at all. Because what we want to do is (elevate) thought leaders who are passionate about preventing suicide, and we want to leverage their own personal networks.

So, we want to spread the word about the help that is out there, through media, academia, employers, members of faith-based communities, non-governmental, non-profits and our military and veteran community. I see my role as elevating the messages that PREVENTS wants to get out there. We want people to know, especially our veterans, that there is help.

In this challenging time that we are in right now, everybody is feeling some type of anxiety and stress. If we can help to kind of take away the stigma of the mental health issue and change the culture of talking about suicide, that is what we want to do.

Q: As someone from a military family, how much do you think people outside the community know about military mental health issues and veteran suicide?

Karen Pence: I think a lot of people are not aware that we have, on average, 20 veterans who commit suicide a day. That is an outrageous number. That number is just way too high.

I had someone just today say “wait a minute, I don’t think that numbers right.” And I said yes, it is. So, it is important to get that message out. I think that will make people maybe a little more sensitive to what our veterans and our veterans’ families deal with.

They are not the only people in the country who have challenges, I am not saying that. But they have some unique challenges, especially if they have gone through trauma or combat stress. And we want people to be aware of that.

The COVID-19 pandemic has added some unusual stresses for our military families, such as all of their PCS moves being put on hold. And what that does to a military family is, OK, my lease is up next week, now you’re telling me I can’t move and I’m supposed to get my kids enrolled in a new school, and I have a job that’s going to start in a new location.

A big part of this is being on the front end and reaching out to people, making them know you’re there for them, and that there’s help available for them before they get to the point where they’re wanting to actually do harm to themselves.

Q: What will the new public awareness campaign for the suicide prevention campaign entail? Commercials, Sesame Street appearances?

Karen Pence: There are a couple different things that we are doing. We want states to play a major role, so in September we are going to host a national signing of a state PREVENTS proclamations. The governors will declare their state’s full support (for the campaign). And I think when we start doing that, we start to have a ripple effect.

We also want to look to our corporate partners. They hire a lot of vets, and so we want their support so … we want them to be aware that veterans may need opportunities to avail themselves of mental health services.

Another big part of it is more of an ad or media campaign and being able to be out there and talk about it. A big part of this is just getting people to start to talk about the problem. I think right now, it’s important for us to be on the front edge and start telling people that when you start to feel like the stress is getting too much for you, reach out for help.

Q: We have talked about the problem of mental health stigma for years. What else needs to be done to drive home the idea that asking for help is not a weakness?

Karen Pence: I think the first thing we need to do is talk about it, but also to be willing to be vulnerable. I have been saying during the whole pandemic that it is okay to say you are not okay. Right now, is a great opportunity for us to say, “I get it. I know what you are feeling. Let us get some help.”

Everybody is going through something we have never gone through before, so I think right now the fact that we are launching the PREVENTS roadmap is a chance to say that to our vets especially. This is a time where you are not going to carry the stigma that maybe you would have carried before (the pandemic) …

I had many members of the task force to the Vice President’s residence about four months ago. And I said, “I want to know what we are thinking is going to be different this time.” One of the things that impressed me is that some of these people have been working in suicide prevention for decades. Now they are all together. They are all saying “this is something that works, this is something that works ...”

It is just an honor for me to be able to be one of the people who is trying to tell the story and let our vets know we appreciate their service. We want to help you. It is our duty to come alongside and get you the help that you need.

Veterans experiencing a mental health emergency can contact the Veteran Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and select option 1 for a VA staffer. Veterans, troops, or their family members can also text 838255 or visit VeteransCrisisLine.net for assistance.

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2020/06/17/second-lady-karen-pence-a-marine-mom-takes-key-role-in-veterans-suicide-prevention-effort/
First woman to lead Army Reserve assumes command
Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels is the first woman to lead an Army service component. (Army)

ArmyTimes.com July 28, 2020:
  The first woman to lead an Army component has assumed command of the Army Reserve and received her third star.

Newly minted Lt. Gen. Jody J. Daniels has been in the Army for more than three decades, previously serving as a division commander and the chief of staff for Army Forces Command. She also held leadership roles under U.S. Africa Command and the U.S. mission in Iraq.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville spoke during her July 28, 2020 assumption of command ceremony at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“It’s a special day because not only will Jody become the first woman to serve as the chief of the Army Reserve, but she’ll also be the first woman to lead an Army component,” McConville said during the live-streamed ceremony.

Daniels assumes command as the Army at large continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Restarting collective training, modernizing the reserve as the Army crafts its new multidomain operations doctrine and retaining talent were lines of effort she intends to pursue during her tenure.

“I want foster a mindset of teamwork, continuous learning and growth, with a particular focus on junior talent so they have a desire to continue to serve and to lead,” Daniels said. “This culture of teamwork will be essential to shaping our future.”

Daniels, who last commanded the 88th Readiness Division, out of Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, also holds a doctorate in computer science. In her civilian career, she was the director of advanced programs for Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Laboratories.

“It’s the Army Reserve that allows us to compete with the private sector for talent in specialized fields like medicine, law, engineering and cyber,” McConville added. “And today we need that talent more than ever as we modernize in the information age.”

After her own promotion, Daniels presented her mother, Jean, with a four-star rank emblem, saying “This is to ensure that you always outrank me.”

With nearly 200,000 soldiers, the Army Reserve makes up roughly 20 percent of the service’s total force. But the component provides about half of the service’s maneuver support to sustain formations, according to McConville.

https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2020/07/28/first-woman-to-lead-army-reserve-assumes-command/
ROA would like you to participate in this Call to Action on H.R.6957 (Rep. Panetta CA-20),to direct the DoD and VA secretaries to treat a period of full-time National Guard duty as not shorter than 90 days when performed for the COVID-19 national emergency declared on March 13, 2020.  This is a priority and ROA asks for additional co-sponsors and an amendment to strike “National Guard” and insert “Reserve Component” because the bill as written would not include Reserve members on COVID-19 orders.  As of today, approximately 46,500 National Guard and 7,500 Reserve servicemembers are on orders. 
 
This legislation would ensure that all Reserve Component members who were activated in support of COVID-19 get the 90 day benefits they deserve --Post 9/11 GI bill credit and early age retirement.  As the bill is currently written only the National Guard would receive these benefits
 
To respond to this Call to Action please click the link below.
• H.R 6957 Help Guard & Reserve on COVID-19 Orders
ROA supported the Coast Guard last year when they were not funded during the January 2019 government shutdown.  At that time an additional 50,000+ Coast Guard retirees were at risk of not receiving their retirement pay.

According to Rep Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) and Steven Palazzo (R-MS), “Currently, retiree payments come out of the yearly Coast Guard budget as a mandatory appropriation, also known as “pay as you go.” However, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force retirees are all paid by the Department of Defense, which switched from a “pay as you go” system to an accrual system in 1984.”

Because of the accrual system DoD servicemembers will never lose their retirement pay by a government shutdown.  Coast Guard is excluded from this fund and this bill will right this wrong by implementing safeguards for future retirement pay for Coast Guard retirees.

To respond to this Call to Action please click the link below.
• H.R 6072, Coast Guard Retirement Parity Act


AUGUST CONGRESSIONAL SCHEDULE

The House and Senate are both in recess until after Labor Day weekend.

ROA's focus will remain on NDAA conference issues.


Checklist for Navy Reservists
Click image for full size checklist

Media Advisory

TRICARE Select Enrollment Fees for Certain Retirees to Increase January 1

 
View Advisory Here (pdf)

Legal analysis on the issues impacting your life in and out of uniform

Former Service Member’s Law Center director, retired USNR Capt. Sam Wright, provides periodic law review updates. This past month 7 new Law Reviews have been posted. They are linked below. Please visit ROA’s Law Center webpage to access all of the more than 1200 ROA Law Reviews available online.

No. 20061 There Need Not Be a Merger or Transfer of Assets for the New Employer To Be the Successor-in-Interest to the Old Employer
No. 20062 NOAA and PHS Veterans Are Entitled to Benefits Administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
No. 20063 More on Successor in Interest and USERRA
To publish your reunion notice in Reserve Voice, email jphillips@roa.org or send by mail to
ROA Reunion Notice
1 Constitution Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002

USS Taylor (DD/DDE-468) Reunion
Date: 27-31 August, 2020
Location: Hershey – Harrisburg, PA
POC: James G. O’Neill, 14200 Hollows Drive,
Montpelier, VA 23192 • ph: 804-212-8911
Email: oneillfalm@aol.com

USS Hornet (CV-8, CV, CVA, CVS-12), 72nd Reunion
All Ship's Company, Officers, Air Groups, Crew, Marines & Families
Date: September 16-20, 2020 • Location: Buffalo, NY;
POC: Sandy Burket, email: hornetcva@aol.com
PO Box 108, Roaring Spring, PA 16673-9817
Phone: (814) 224-5063, cell: (814) 312-4976

USS Abnaki ATF96 Reunion
Date: 27-30 September, 2020, San Antonio, TX
Staybridge Suites Downtown Conv
POC: Steven Andersland  PH: 210-410-1820
Email: sandersland@outlook.com

USS Yellowstone AD 27 Reunion
Dates: 21-23 September, 2020
Location: Westgate Branson Woods Resort, Branson, MO
POC: Karen A. Bowen • 603-948-2821
30 Briar Drive, Rochester, NH 03867
Email: pkbowen@atlanticbb.net

USS Ranger CV/CVA-61 31st Annual Reunion
All former crew members
Dates: 30 September – 3 October, 2020
Location: Sheraton Norfolk Waterside
777 Waterside Dr., Norfolk, VA
POC: Tom Ballinger, Sec/Treas.  210-403-3302

USS Voge (DE/FF-1047) 5th Reunion
Members (ships company or Air Groups) serving 1966 to 1989
Date: October 7-11, 2020
Location: New Orleans, LA
Reservations/Info: Reunion Planners Website
Or call MRP at 817-251-3551 before August 26
For Info, updates, & ship's roster of those
Contacted, please visit our Facebook page or
Email USSVOGEGROUP@gmail.com or
Jan Harris at janharris23464@gmail.com


12TFW  2020 Reunion
Includes 12th TFW MacDill AFB, FL; Cam Ranh AB & Phu Cat AB (Vietnam) & 12th FEW/SFW Bergstrom AFB, TX (Korea) and all supporting units. A memorial dedication to the 12TFW will occur during this event.
Dates: October 28-31, 2020
Location: Dayton, Ohio
POC: E. J. Sherwood, 12TFW Association
Email: EJ12TFW@cox.net • Ph: 480-396-4681
(Photo: Arlington National Cemetery)

During June 2020, ROA was notified of 38 of our ROA comrades passing from our ranks. On behalf of our membership, we thank these brave men and women for their many years of service and wish their families peace. READ MORE>

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Reserve Organization of America
1 Constitution Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002
WWW.ROA.ORG

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