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August 15, 2017

Legislative Update
ROA Convention Wrapup
Army Update
Naval Update

Air Force Update
Military Life
Law Reviews

Legislative Update

Arlington National Cemetery Survey

ROA recently appeared before the Arlington National Cemetery to discuss the Congressionally directed report on extending the life expectancy of the cemetery. One of the results of the meeting was that ROA provided comments and edits to the National Dialogue Survey recently launched by the Advisory Committee on Arlington National Cemetery.

ROA strongly urges their members and spouses to take the National Dialogue Survey
and give your views on expanding the cemetery by taking action now to:

  • Restrict eligibility;
  • Expand the geographical footprint of the cemetery;
  • Prove a combination of the above options.

California National Guard Bonus

The Department of Defense recently updated the issue of bonuses paid to California National Guard members who were subsequently found to not be eligible for the bonuses. The issue came to the attention of the public once DoD began debt repayment action for the erroneously paid bonuses. ROA was against recoupment of the bonuses because National Guard members were not at fault for payment of the bonuses. DoD stated:

“From October 2016 through July 30, 2017, DoD conducted a multi-level review of 17,485 cases. 17,092 of those cases -- the overwhelming majority -- were resolved in favor of the Soldier, either by waiving an existing debt or by not establishing a debt.

The remaining 393 cases were entered into the Department's robust appeals process, which was designed to maximize each Soldier's opportunities for relief. As of July 31, the appeals process is complete in 202 of those 393 cases. In 2 of the 202 completed cases, a grant of full relief was provided to the affected Soldiers. In 200 of the completed cases, the Soldiers were notified of their right to appear before an appellate Special Board of Review, but they did not respond within the 10-day period allowed.

Accordingly, the finding of the DoD review -- that the available evidence did not support a grant of full relief -- is final. Those 200 cases have now been referred to the National Guard Bureau and the California National Guard for review and action as appropriate. Finally, as of July 31, 191 of the 393 Soldiers whose cases were entered into the appeals process have not yet exhausted their appellate opportunities.

By September 30, 2017, DoD will provide Congress with the final results of the appellate process.”

After the erroneous payment of bonuses from 2004 to 2010, the National Guard Incentive Management System (GIMS) was implemented in 2012 to manage incentives and education benefits, “Looking forward, the Department believes that the capabilities achieved since 2011 with the Guard Incentive Management System (GIMS) will continue to significantly improve the timely and accurate management and oversight of incentives.”
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Executive Director Visits

With ROA’s organizational revitalization now solidified, the association’s executive director, Jeff Phillips, a retired USAR major general, has established a weekly battledrill of meetings with members of the House and Senate and key staff, as well as senior military officials. These meetings reinforce the work done daily by Legislative and Military Policy Director Susan Lukas and her team, and our grassroots activists in the departments and chapters.

Since May 2017, Phillips has carried ROA’s legislative agenda to:


  • Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-6th), with Ryan Clark (legislative assistant). Rep. Coffman is interested in the military’s pilot shortage and the RC’s potential to help fill the gap.
  • Rep. Steve Russell (OK-5th) with Cody Hoefer (military policy specialist). Rep. Russell is interested in third party accreditation for military training.
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2nd), represented by Craig Shimizu (military policy specialist).
  • Rep. Tom Rooney (FL-17th), represented by Ethan Abner (legislative assistant). Rep. Rooney is interested in VA reform by making the Secretary of Veterans Affairs a directly presidentially appointed position like the FBI Director.
  • Rep. Hal Rogers (KY-5th), represented by Jake Johnsen (legislative assistant). Rep. Rogers is interested in veterans federal hiring preference reform.
  • Rep. John Shimkus (IL-19th), with Chase Clanahan (legislative assistant).
  • Rep. Ralph Abraham (LA-5th), with Patrick Barron (legislative assistant).


  • Sen. Dan Sullivan (AK), represented by Maj. Terry Hjerpe (defense fellow)
  • Sen. Johnny Isakson (GA), represented by Douglas Hill (defense legislative fellow), Tommy Nguyen (defense policy advisor), and Kevin Petroccione (legislative correspondent). Sen. Isakson is interested in building up the Senate Reserve Component Caucus.
  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT), represented by Katherine Bradbury (legislative assistant for military affairs) and Sarah Eyman (legislative assistant for veterans affairs).

In addition, he has visited with the new Reserve Chiefs of the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and is scheduling visits with Chief of the Army Reserve Lt. Gen. Charles Luckey (with whom he has chatted informally), and senior leaders in the Public Health Service and NOAA.

Two items always discussed with Hill audiences: Ensuring pre- and post-mobilization health care is included with 12304b mobilization, and support for ROA’s initiative to facilitate members of the RC earning veteran status for federal hiring preference, changing the requirement from 180 or more “consecutive” days on active duty to 180 or more “cumulative” days on active duty.

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SecDef Memo on Ethical Standards

Secretary Mattis recently released a memo reminding Department of Defense employees, military and civilian, that they are expected to “ . . . be on the essence of ethical conduct: doing what is right at all times, regardless of the circumstances or whether anyone is watching.” ROA subscribes to this same conduct at all times when working with Congress and the Pentagon on legislation. To gain without ethics is not a win. READ THE MEMO>

Army Update

McCarthy Confirmed as Army Undersecretary

Former Army Ranger Ryan McCarthy was confirmed as the Army’s Undersecretary, the second highest civilian position in the Army. Besides serving as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan, McCarthy served as the Special Assistant to Sec. of Defense Robert Gates and as a special assistant to the Undersecretary of Defense on Acquisitions, Technology, and Logistics. In his most recent role, he worked for Lockheed Martin in various Vice-President roles regarding the F-35 program and global security policy.

Since there is currently no Army Secretary confirmed (or even nominated), McCarthy will be the acting Army Secretary overseeing the Department of the Army. He will retain those duties until the Senate confirms an Army Secretary, which may not occur until late this year or early next year.

Foreign Born Army Reservists Sue DoD, DHS Over Citizenship Process
10 Army Reservists sued the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense for delaying their citizenship applications. Under a Pentagon program called the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program, or MAVNI, immigrants can join the military and gain fast track status to citizenship if they possess critically needed language or cultural skills. The Reservists are suing because they are currently in the military, but their promised fast-track citizenship application has been delayed, causing financial uncertainty and even some facing the threat of deportation as their visas expire.

DoD has considered replacing the MAVNI program entirely out of concerns they do not have the proper vetting process to thoroughly screen potential recruits. Currently, there are 10,000 recruits through the MAVNI, mainly in the Army. The citizenship delays are primarily affecting Reservists since the DoD’s increased scrutiny is partially tied to whether the soldier is on active duty.

Misfire Incidents Point to Safety Defects with Army’s New Handgun

Several stories have surfaced of the Sig’s P320, the Army’s new handgun, misfiring when accidentally dropped. One involved a Connecticut policeman suing Sig Sauer for $6 million because he was injured when his holstered P320 was accidentally dropped and fired hitting him in the left leg.

Back in January, Sig Sauer was granted a 10-year contract with the Army after winning their Modular Handgun System contest. Sig has tried to get ahead of these accidental misfiring incidents, announcing a voluntary upgrade for the P320. In addition, some of have noted the model of the Sig Sauer-the XM17- that the Army plans on using has a frame mounted safety, which could potentially stop accidental drop discharges. However, this has not been fully tested and there is lingering concern about the Army’s P320 version even if it is not part of the recall.

Army Public Affairs key messages

The Army Chief of Public Affairs periodically provides insights and messaging for public consumption; Reserve Voice sends these along as items of interest.

New National Museum of the U.S. Army asks for vets to share their stories.

Naval Services Update

Navy Grounds Important Aircraft After Mississippi Crash
The Naval Air Force Reserve has grounded 23 C-130T transport aircraft until further notice. The choice was made to ground the aircraft amid ongoing investigation into the deadly KC-130T crash in Mississippi that killed sixteen servicemembers last month. The Navy aircraft are similar to the Marine Corps Reserve’s fleets, which were also grounded Thursday.

The Navy’s fleet of aircraft includes the C-130T, also known as “Fat Albert”, that is part of the Navy’s Blue Angels precision air team, which will not be part of air shows until further notices.

New Navy Secretary Sworn In
Richard Spencer was sworn in as the 76th Secretary of the Navy and Marine Corps. The event took place in the office of the Secretary of the Navy, with a Navy administrative assistant performing the ceremony.

Spencer graduated from Rollins College with an economics degree, and afterwards got commissioned in the Marine Corps. He flew H-46 helicopters for five years. Spencer then worked on Wall Street for 16 years, doing investment banking. He now manages a small consulting firm in Wyoming.

When questioned about how to bring the Navy to 355 ships from its current 276, Spencer said that bringing things out of the ready reserve might be an important component. To increase capacity, manning will be required, so numbers will have to be adjusted going forward for end strength.

The Importance of Joint Training
Marines from units across the Marine Corps Reserve participated in Innovative Readiness Training in Alaska from April 3- August 8. Training was conducted in a small Alaskan village, home to a runway extension project under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training program.

Marine Air Group 41 was the project lead over Marine wing support squadrons, Army engineer battalions, Naval Mobile Construction Battalions, and the Arizona, Montana, and Guam National Guards. The concept of the project was to extend the community’s runway from 2,700 to 4,700 feet to help facilitate economic development.

Coast Guard Celebrates 227th Birthday

Photo Credit: Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Anderson

The Coast Guard
celebrated 227 years of service on August 4, 2017. In August of 1790, President George Washington signed an act authorizing the construction of ten vessels to enforce federal tariff and trade laws to prevent smuggling.

An Act of Congress in 1915 combined the services of the revenue cutters with the U.S. Life-Saving Service, which then became known as the United States Coast Guard. The Coast Guard picked up the additional duty of maintaining aids to maritime navigation, including lighthouses, in 1939 by order of President Roosevelt. The Coast Guard is one of the oldest organizations of the federal government, and until Congress established the Navy department in 1798, was the nation’s only armed force on water.

Jerome Adams Assumes Post as New Surgeon General
The Senate confirmed Dr. Jerome Adams as the 20th Surgeon General on August 3. Dr. Adams has pledged to put science ahead of politics, and told Senators that science has to be applied in a sympathetic and empathetic way. Adams said that one of his priorities as Surgeon General would be addressing the opioid addiction crisis.

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Air Force Update

Pilot Shortages Continue to Plague the Air Force

The Air Force Reserve is facing
290 pilot shortages in their full-time manning positions. To fill the positions, they are competing with the Air Force that has a shortage of 1,500 pilots and the airlines are planning on hiring 40,000 pilots over the next 10 years

The Air Force Reserve is using several methods to reduce the shortage:

  • Streamlining incentives
  • Minimizing the length of time to hire technicians
  • Recruiting pilot trainees from the enlisted force
  • Bring Air Force ROTC students directly into pilot training

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Membership grows; Half-million dollars in rebates to ROA departments can fuel efforts

An engaged membership is ROA’s center of gravity: engaged members are the principal strength of the association; without them, we cannot achieve our purpose, mission, vision, values or objectives. “Engaged membership” means not only members who engage to effectively influence legislation and military policy and who volunteer for leadership positions, but also those who buy ROA products and services, make substantial donations, attend association events, voice their opinions on issues, and recruit new members. ROA must do everything possible to increase engaged membership. (Adapted from the draft ROA Strategy 2017-2022.)

ROA state departments are building an engaged membership:

Department of Tennessee’s Judi Davenport, who chairs ROA’s Department National Council Members, reported Tuesday that she and fellow department member and husband John “went to the reserve unit family day here in Chattanooga and signed up 5 new members: 3 NCOs and 2 officers. We also paid for Chaplain Paul who spoke at the summer meeting for the Tennessee department. Yeah progress!”

Department of Texas, attending an Army Reserve unit meeting in Grand Prairie, signed up six new members over the weekend of August 12. READ MORE>

AAFES Online Shopping for Veterans

ARMY & AIR FORCE EXCHANGE SERVICE - On November 11, 2017 all honorably discharged veterans will be eligible to shop their military exchange online for tax-free shopping with military exchange pricing. Visit for information and log onto now to verify your eligibility to access this new lifelong online military exchange benefit.

See actor Mark Walhberg and retired Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell talk about the Veterans online shopping benefit

Military Life

Congress Approves Veterans Memorial to Global War on Terror
approved construction of a war memorial honoring the veterans of the Global War on Terror (GWOT). The GWOT began back in 2001 shortly after the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. It has continued ever since with ongoing operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and across the Greater Middle East. Generally, Congress must wait 10 years after a war has concluded before they consider a memorial built commemorating the conflict. However, given the open-ended nature of the GWOT and the likelihood that an official end to the war will not occur until years from now, Congress passed H.R. 873, Global War on Terrorism Memorial Act.

The bill does not set aside any federal funds for the construction of the project. Rather, it authorizes the
Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation to construct a memorial. The Foundation, in consultation with the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission, will find a place on the National Mall for the memorial.
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Jobs on the Hill
Three good sources for legislative related job opportunities

Law Reviews:
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. Please see ROA’s Law Center webpage for more information on service members’ law.

No. 17073 New Case about USERRA and Disabled Veterans
No. 17074 Recent Case on Section 4311 of USERRA
No. 17075 Recent 5th Circuit Case on Rights of Reservist after Returning from Drill Weekend
No. 17076 USERRA and Federal Employees
No. 17077 USERRA Rights of the Returning Veteran Trump the Rights of the Incumbent
No. 17078 Military Retiree Must Wait 180 Days after Retirement To Start DOD Civilian Job

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To publish your reunion notice in Reserve Voice, email or send by mail to
ROA Reunion Notice
1 Constitution Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002

“Big Red One” 98th Annual Reunion
Hosted by Society of the First Infantry Division
Date: July 26-30, 2017
Location: Westin Crown Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Details & reservation forms are available on Society’s website:,
Email: or Phone: 215-654-1969

USS Perkins (DD26, DD377, DDR877) 27th Annual Reunion
Date: August 17-19, 2017
Grapevine, TX
Contact: Billy & Sue Orr Phone: 903-583-7641

Yellowstone (AD-27) Association Reunion
August 23-27, 2017
Hilton Gardens, Columbus , Ga.
Contact: Paul W. Bowen, Secretary/Treasurer & Reunion Planner
Cell: 352-208-5400 Email:

. John R. Craig DD885
September 6-10, 2017
Norfolk, VA
Contact: Jerry Chwalek Phone: 734-525-1469

U.S.S. Midway Veterans Association
September 11–13, 2017
Wyndham San Diego Bayside
1335 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA
Hotel: 619-232-3861

Randolph/CV-CVA-CVS 15
September 17-24, 2017
2008 Radisson Hotel Cincinnati Riverfront
668 West Fifth St., Covington, KY 41011
Contact Sal Rizza, 321-454-2344

Ranger CVA/CV-61
(all former crew members, Squadrons, Marine detachment or T.A.D.’s)
September 20-23, 2017
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Warwick RI
Contact: George Meoli Email:
Phone: 203-453-4279

U.S.S. Bremerton CA-130/SSN-698
24-29 September 2017
Portland, Oregon
Contact: N. Polanowski Ph. 585-365-2316

The Distinguished Flying Cross Society Biennial Convention
September 24-28, 2017,
Dallas, Texas,
Contact: Bruce Huffman, Phone: 518-578-7089,

U.S.S. Saratoga CV-3, CVA-60, CV-60 66th Annual Reunion
Date: 27-30 Sept. 2017
Holiday Inn, Saratoga Springs, NY
POC: Ed McReady, 804-589-1170,

USS Bon Homme Richard Shipmates Association
September 26 thru October 1, 2017
Viscount Hotel, Tucson, AZ
Contact: Ray King
Phone: 715-456-5933

Wilhoite DE/DER 397
Date: October 2-5, 2017
Crowne Plaza Dayton Ph: 1-800-689-5586
33 East Fifth Street, Dayton, Ohio
Contact: Elisabeth Kimball Email:
Ph: 479-280-2776 Website:

Sperry AS12 reunion
Oct 25 to 28, San Diego CA
Information at: or email
phone: 360 435-6919 if you have problem

USAF Aggressors 45th Year Reunion
All Squadrons
November 9-11, 2017
SLS Hotel, Las Vegas, NV
Contact: Pink Williams Phone: 435-602-9655

12th TFW, MacDill AFB, FL; Cam Ranh AB & Phu Cat AB; 389 TFS & 480 TFS, Da Nang, Vietnam; 555th TFS 1964-66 and 12th FEW/SFW (Bergstrom AFB, TX & Korea), and all supporting units
Date: 4 – 7 April 2018 • Location: Tucson, AZ
Contact: E. J. Sherwood • email: • Phone: 480-396-4681

USS San Marcos (LSD-25) Reunion
May 4-6, 2018
Sheraton Society Hill, Philadelphia, PA
Contact: Jack Lieberman

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