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December 30, 2017


Legislative Update
Army Update
Army National Guard
Naval Services Update
Air Force Update

Military Life
Jobs on the Hill
Law Reviews

In Memorium

Past ROA President Brig. Gen. Samuel P. Mitchell, Jr., USAF (Ret), dies at 79

It is with a heavy heart we report the passing of an ROA Past National President, retired USAF Brig. Gen. Samuel P. Mitchell, Jr., a Northland resident of Kansas City, Mo. General Mitchell died Friday, January 5, 2018, at the North Kansas City Hospital

General Mitchell became a life member of ROA in 1970 and since that time provided outstanding leadership for our members at all levels of
the organization. He was a Past National President and a Past Chairman of the National Membership Committee. During his term as National President in 1989, he had a lead role in renovating the Minuteman Memorial Building. In recognition of his membership committee leadership the Samuel Mitchell Membership Award was created. His service also includes various terms on the following National committees: ROTC, National Meetings, ad hoc Website Editorial Board and ad hoc 75th Anniversary. He was a charter member of the ROA Stars Foundation Pershing Society, joining at the Minuteman $1000 annual giving level of participation. In 2016 ROA presented him with the Harry S Truman Award recognizing his dedicated service. Until his death, the General served ROA in a leadership role as a member of the National Board of Trustees and as a member of the National Resource Development Committee.

"General Mitchell continued his service to ROA and America's reserve force long after the conclusion of his term as association president," said ROA's executive director, Jeff Phillips. "He was a generous donor; and he walked the talk when it came to membership growth, personally signing up many new members, serving and veteran, active and reserve, officer and NCO. We owe him much!"

He served the Department of Missouri as President and was currently Chairman and Trustee of the Charitable Contingency Trust Fund. Paralleling his National level activity, he Chaired the Missouri Membership committee for the past three decades.

General Mitchell also voluntarily served his community as an Air Force Academy Liaison Officer since 1972. In this role he sponsored and mentored 139 Air Force Cadets into the academy or ROTC programs. Once they were in the program he continued his mentorship throughout their military careers. In his civilian career he was a commercial airline pilot with Transworld Airline.

Notably, General Mitchell was an American Patriot who was extremely generous and unselfishly gave his leadership skills and significant financial contributions to all the organizations he supported. His leadership, mentorship and friendship will be sorely missed by everyone who followed him.

Samuel was born August 10, 1938 to Samuel P. and Blanche (Pettigrew) Mitchell, Sr. in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He is survived by his loving wife, June Mitchell; two children: Samuel Mitchell III (Tonya); and Leland Mitchell (Michelle).

The Funeral service was held on Thursday, January 11, 2018 with burial service at the Leavenworth National Cemetery, Kansas. READ MORE >

Legislative Update

President Signs Executive Order to Improve Mental Health Resources for Veterans Transitioning from Active Duty to Civilian Life

(Photo: The White House)

Transitioning service members and veterans can now receive up to a year of mental health care from the
Veterans Affairs Department after discharge from the service, according to an executive order President Donald J. Trump signed today.

The order, “Supporting Our Veterans During Their Transition From Uniformed Service to Civilian Life,” directs the Defense, Veterans Affairs and
Homeland Security departments to develop a joint action plan to ensure the 60 percent of new veterans who now do not qualify for enrollment in health care -- primarily because of a lack of verified service connection related to the medical issue at hand -- will receive treatment and access to services for mental health care for one year following their separation from service.

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with the VA to ensure veterans who have served our country continue to receive the important mental health care and services they need and deserve,” said Defense Secretary James N. Mattis.

“We want them to get the highest care and the care that they so richly deserve, and I've been working very hard on that with [VA Secretary
David J. Shulkin] and with everybody. It's something that is a top priority,” the president said. “We will not rest until all of America's great veterans receive the care they've earned through their incredible service and sacrifice to our country.”

Shulkin noted that as service members transition to veteran status, they face higher risk of suicide and mental health difficulties. “During this critical phase, many transitioning service members may not qualify for enrollment in health care,” he said. “The focus of this executive order is to coordinate federal assets to close that gap.”

Reserve Component Mobilizations -- By the Numbers (as of 9 January 2018)

The Department of Defense publishes contingency activations of the Reserve Components on a weekly basis. When DoD considered stopping the contingency reporting earlier in 2017, ROA was instrumental in pressing DoD to keep it as a reporting requirement. This information is important because Congress uses this information to gauge how the Reserve Component is being used for operational missions which results in authorizations and appropriations.

Additionally, this report reminds the President and Congress that the Reserve Component is still being used for contingency activations despite years of drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Army Reserve Update

New York Army National Guard Soldier Saves Four Before Perishing in
Massive Bronx Apartment Fire

(Photo: United States Army National Guard)

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wants the Army to posthumously honor a U.S. soldier and native of Ghana who raced repeatedly into a burning New York City apartment building in late December, saving four people before he died in flames that also claimed a dozen other lives.

Army National Guard Pfc. Emmanuel Mensah, 28, “was many things: a soldier, an immigrant, a first-generation American, a New Yorker — but above all else he was a hero,” Schumer said in a letter to the Army requesting that Mensah be formally awarded for his sacrifice.

Mensah perished Dec. 28 on a frigid night inside the five-story Bronx apartment building where he lived before joining the military a year earlier, Army officials said. He was home for Christmas after finishing National Guard basic training in Fort Lee, Virginia. The fire, the city’s deadliest since 1990, was accidentally started by a child playing with a gas stove, fire officials said. After the boy and his mother fled, flames spread up a stairwell and consumed the inside of the building.

When the fire broke out, he was sleeping on the first floor, according to Schumer, who cited reports from police, first responders and other witnesses. He was able to exit the building, the senator said. But Mensah then ran back into the inferno multiple times, helping four people escape before succumbing on an upper floor, according to a New York National Guard statement that cited police reports.

Schumer has written to Army Secretary Mark Esper urging the military to issue the soldier a posthumous award recognizing “the Army values of personal courage, selfless service and duty.” Col. Richard Goldenberg, a National Guard spokesman, said the military is working with Mensah’s relatives to decide on final arrangements, services and ceremonies.

Mensah was to begin drills this month with the New York Army National Guard’s 107th Military Police Company, based at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn. “I knew from the moment I met him his heart was as big as our National Guard family,” National Guard Staff Sgt. Ruben Martinez-Ortiz, who recruited Mensah in 2016, wrote on an Army website.

The fire took the lives of eight adults and five children, including 27-year-old Holt Francis, who was critically injured and died Thursday. Francis’ wife, 19-year-old niece and two daughters, ages 2 and 7, also died.

Army provides strategic messages
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National Guard General Seeks to Block Removal of Arizona-Based Attack Helicopters

(Photo: Arizona Daily Star)

The chief of the Arizona National Guard is mounting a last-ditch effort to save Apache attack-helicopter training at the Silverbell Army Heliport near Marana, as the Army moves to transfer most of the Guard’s Apaches to active-duty units.

The plan could cut 400 soldiers from the already diminished AH-64 Apache combat unit at Silverbell, which together with other units contributes an estimated $147.4 million annually to the local economy, according to a recent report.

After initially proposing to swap out all of the Guard Apaches for less-capable UH-60 Black Hawks, the Army is now planning to retain four Apache attack battalions in the Guard, with a decision on where those units will be based due from the Army chief of staff in the near future.

The adjutant general of the Arizona National Guard, Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael T. McGuire, says he’s concerned about the potential loss of the 400-member Apache combat unit at Silverbell, the 1st/285th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, and its impact on the region. But McGuire said his main worry is that the Army’s plan to cut the number of Apache attack units in the Guard to just four battalions — with 18 aircraft each, compared with the normal complement of 24 — is “unsustainable” and will waste the skills of hundreds of trained aviators, maintainers and support personnel.

The battalion’s more than 400 other members would be transferred to non-aviation units in transportation, logistics and military police. McGuire says it would be foolhardy to jettison skilled Apache pilots and maintenance crews when both the Guard and the active-duty Army are facing personnel shortfalls.

McGuire and local military supporters have been lobbying Sen. John McCain and the rest of the Arizona congressional delegation to save the Apaches at Silverbell.

The Arizona National Guard’s top general is asking members of Congress to temporarily block the scheduled removal of Apache attack-helicopter training at the Silverbell Army Heliport near Marana. READ MORE>

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Naval Services Update

U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter Crews Save Lives During Southern California Mudslides

(Photo: US Coast Guard)

Two San Diego Sector United States Coast Guard helicopter crews flew to the Santa Barbara area last week to aid in emergency mudslide response and made heroic rescues that were caught on video. The flooding comes just weeks after the Thomas fire burned nearly 282,000 acres in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, stripping hillsides of vegetation needed to stem water runoff during rainstorms. READ MORE>

Some DoD Tax Statements Are Ready -- Marines Get Theirs First

Tax time is here, and so are some 2017 Defense Department tax statements — including W-2s for Marines — that can be downloaded from your MyPay account.

The IRS will begin accepting tax returns 29 January 2018. This year’s deadline for filing tax returns is 17 April 2018.

These DoD statements are available as of 11 January 2018:
  • W-2s for active-duty and reserve-component Marines.
  • W-2s for reservists in the Army, Navy and Air Force.
  • 1099-Rs for retirees and annuitants.

These statements are scheduled to be ready 20 January 2018:

  • W-2s for active-duty Army, Navy and Air Force members.
  • W-2s for DoD civilians.
A schedule for the availability of other tax documents — such as the 1095-B or 1095-C forms for military, retirees and federal civilian employees who receive health care insurance coverage through the Tricare or Federal Employee Health Benefit program — is available at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service website.
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Swearing in of Thomas Modly, Under Secretary of the Navy

Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer, left, congratulates Thomas Modly on January 8, 2018 after ceremonially swearing him in as undersecretary of the Navy during a ceremony in Memorial Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Modly was confirmed as the 33rd undersecretary of the Navy by the U.S. Senate, November 2017. (Photo: US Navy)

Thomas Modly became the 33rd Under Secretary of the Navy on 8 January 2018 after a ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Modly, the son of immigrants, grew up outside Cleveland, and remains an avid Indians and Cavaliers fan, according to social media profiles. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1983. Both his parents came to the U.S. to escape living behind the Iron Curtain. As Modly told the Senate during his confirmation hearing in November 2017, his father escaped Hungary 69 years ago because he didn’t join the communist party and would be shut out of any chance of having a successful career.

After serving as a Navy helicopter pilot for seven years, Modly worked in academia, the private sector and public sector. In the early 2000s, Modly was the deputy undersecretary of defense for financial management and was the first executive director of the Defense Business Board.

Before his confirmation as undersecretary, Modly had worked for the past decade for PricewaterhouseCoopers, in charge of the firm’s Global Government and Public Services sector. According to his work bio, Modly had direct account responsibility for PwC’s Navy, Marine Corps and Office of the Secretary of Defense accounts. He was also PwC’s Global Account Leader for NATO, where the firm is engaged in substantial transformational projects as part of the NATO Reform Agenda. His son and son-in-law serve in the Air Force.

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Air Force Update

AF Reduces Administrative Requirements

The Air Force Reserve joined the Air Force in eliminating performance reports for airmen. For AFR this new policy will apply to senior airman and below. The airmen will still get performance feedback and assessments but the decision to limit appraisals was made because the focus needed to be on training and performance of their newly acquired skills. However, the ability of commanders to complete a “Directed by Commander” evaluation remains. READ HERE>

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Military Life

Veterans Have More Ways to Communicate with VA

VA wants your feedback on how the following communication tools are working:

  • Veterans not currently enrolled in VA health care can apply online using a simple, mobile-friendly application. Already, over 275,000 applications have been submitted using this tool.
  • Existing VA patients can now schedule appointments online for primary care, audiology, optometry, and outpatient mental health at over 100 participating medical centers across the country.
  • VA patients can also now message their health care team or refill a prescription from their smartphone.
  • We’ve completely rebuilt the way Veterans, Servicemembers, and their dependents apply for education, pension and burial benefits, making accessing these benefits easier than ever before.
  • The GI Bill Comparison tool helps Veterans learn about education programs and compare benefits by school. Veterans can also check the status of their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits and access a statement of benefits to verify eligibility with their school.
  • We have created a streamlined way for Veterans to check the status of their claims and appeals in one place. Veterans can use this tool today and thanks to the support of Congress, we’ll be making even more improvements in the Appeals process over the coming 18 months.

READ HERE> to receive a $25 participation stipend for your feedback.

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Beginning January 17, 2018, the United States Mint opens sales for their new 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar. This new coin honors the 100th anniversary of American participation in World War I.

Surcharges from the sale of these coins are authorized to be paid to the United States Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars to assist the World War I Centennial Commission in commemorating the centennial of World War I.

The Centennial Commission is a Congressional Commission, whose mission is public outreach and education about American involvement in the war. The Commission was authorized by Congress to create the new National World War I Memorial in Washington DC. This memorial will be located at DC's Pershing Park, on Pennsylvania Avenue NW and 14th Street NW, a block from the White House. The Centennial Commission receives no taxpayer funding.

The World War I Centennial Silver Dollar will be produced in limited quantities, and will be available for purchase online from the Mint through to December 28, 2018. Sales website is

The U.S. Mint has also created special companion medals, honoring each of the military branches that served in World War I. These silver companion medals will be available from the Mint as part of five different World War I Silver Dollar and Medal Sets. Information on these sets can also be found at

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Jobs on the Hill
Three good sources for legislative related job opportunities

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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. 18001 In the New Year, Back to Basics on USERRA
No. 18002 Section 4301(a) of USERRA
No. 18003 The Federal Government Must Be a Model Employer Section 4301(b) of USERRA
No. 18004 Under Section 4302, USERRA Is a Floor Not a Ceiling
No. 18005 Section 4302 of USERRA and Forced Arbitration
No. 18006 Relationship between USERRA and the CBA
No. 18007 USERRA’s Definitions

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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

11th Airborne Division Association, Mid-Atlantic Chapter; 11th Air Assault Division, and 187th Airborne RCT Annual Los Banos Reunion
Date: February 24-28, 2018 • Location: Myrtle Beach, SC
POC: Joseph W. Cole • email: • Phone: 502-641-2631

2018 U.S. Army Officer Candidate School Alumni Association (USAOCSAA) Reunion
DATE: March 25-29, 2018 • Location: Columbus, Ga.

Housing: Columbus Marriott Hotel
POC: Nancy Ionoff • Phone: 813-917-4309

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 Carpenter DD825
April 19-23, 2018
Ramada Inn, San Diego, CA
Contact Jimmie Kennedy
Ph: 714-776-4019 email:

USS San Marcos (LSD-25) Reunion

Date: May 4-6, 2018 • Sheraton Society Hill, Philadelphia, PA
Contact: Jack Lieberman

USS Taylor (DD/DDE-468)
Date: 07-11 October, 2018 • Location: Colorado Springs, CO
POC: CDR James G. O'Neill USNR-RET
Email: • Phone: 804-212-8911

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