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September 15, 2017

Legislative Update
Army Update
Naval Update
Air Force Update
Military Life
Law Reviews

Legislative Update

Trump Signs Continuing Resolution Through December

President Trump signed into law a provision that raises the debt ceiling and funds the government temporarily for three months. Raising the debt ceiling and passing an annual budget bill are two of the most contentious issues on the Congressional calendar this fall and this compromise delays their resolution.

Defense hawks slammed this compromise bill because defense spending is included in the continuing resolution (temporary spending measure). House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry railed against the CR contending it would undermine military readiness and cripple efforts to develop advanced technology ensuring technological superiority over U.S. geopolitical rivals.

ROA shares Thornberry’s concerns over how another CR would impact military readiness. As evidenced by recent Naval mishaps in the Pacific, the U.S. military has become increasingly stretched. Maintaining military spending to previous fiscal year spending levels would hamper military operations, especially within the Reserves. Orders are cancelled, units cannot train, and overall morale is depressed. Congress owes it to the men and women who have sacrificed their time, talent, and energy to serve in harm’s way, to enact defense spending on a regular schedule.

ROA Attends Reserve Forces Policy Board Meeting

ROA attended the annual meeting of the Reserve Forces Policy Board which included a Reserve Component Senior Enlisted Advisory Panel. The issues were very similar between the services and included duty status reform and the need to ensure benefits are consistently applied so servicemembers can focus on the fight or mission they are supporting. The Chiefs explained that a predictable budget is needed because National Guard and Reserve are not a 24/7 force so they need a budget to bring members on orders. Most importantly they are hearing from servicemembers that they want to maintain a training status that enables them to be mobilization ready, however, the Chiefs emphasized that a predictable rotation is what retains people.

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Senate Begins Debate on NDAA

The Senate has begun floor debate on the NDAA . Since the House already passed their NDAA version, when the Senate passes their version, it will move towards conference. In conference, House and Senate members meet to discuss difference in their bills and assess whether they can be resolved. Ultimately, the House and Senate have to agree on the exact same version of the bill. Once that the conference version is passed by both the House and the Senate, it is sent to the president’s desk.

Conference is the final opportunity for ROA to petition Congress for provisions they want enacted into law. Here are the major priorities ROA is advocating to include in the final NDAA and how you, as a ROA member, can assist in their passage.

1.) 12304a and 12304b mobilization benefits: Granting pre-mobilization and post transitional healthcare benefits for Reserve Component servicemembers mobilized on 12304a and 12304b mobilization authorities

Contact your Congressional representative or Senator (Congressional Directory) asking for the conference bill to restore benefits to Reserve Component servicemembers deployed under 12304a and 12304b mobilization authorities.

2.) Retain the Reserve Forces Policy Board Reports: The Reserve Forces Policy Board is a Pentagon entity tasked with assessing what is necessary to optimize the Reserve Component’s readiness and retention. However, the House NDAA includes a provision that would eliminate the RFPB’s annual report to the Office of the Secretary of Defense. This report is vital for communicating to Pentagon’s senior leadership areas needing to be reformed to improve the Reserve Component’s performance.
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Army Update

Army Reserve Civil Affairs Facing Training Troubles

One major mission area of the U.S. Army Reserve is facing a critical training shortfall. Although the Army Reserve contains over 80% of the civil affairs personnel, their training is often drastically shorter than their active-duty counterparts.
Active duty training usually takes around a year, but the Army Reserve drastically accelerates this timeline pushing Reserve training through in a matter of weeks or months.

Part of the acceleration has been the increasing deployments of civil affairs specialists. When AFRICOM was set up, it expanded the special operations within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). As Captain David Harrell, a civil affairs officer points out, Reservists traditionally did not do special operations support. However, as special operations have accelerated this distinction has broken down. Now, Army Reservists deploy on special operation missions, which require extensive training well above the degree to which the Army Reservist’s standard training levels afford. Unless there is commiserate training, operational effectiveness will be compromised.

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Army National Guard Assists in Hurricane Harvey and Irma Relief Efforts

The Army National Guard deployed thousands of troops to assist in disaster response and humanitarian relief efforts. Amidst the height of Hurricane Harvey, the entire Texas National Guard’s 12,000 servicemembers were activated. Rapid and extensive, the Army National Guard efforts includes rescue operations, aid delivery, reconstructive efforts, and much more.

Texas National Guard rescuing resident from floods. (PC:1LT Zachary West/100th MPAD)

Even while Hurricane Harvey efforts are ongoing, the Army National Guard has
geared up to respond to Hurricane Irma. Along with Florida Governor Rick Scott activating the entire Florida National Guard, thousands of National Guard troops across the country have responded to Irma relief efforts.

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Naval Services Update

Trump nominating Navy Reserve Congressman to head NASA

Trump announced that he is picking Republican Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma to lead NASA. Congressman Bridenstine was a pilot in the U.S. Navy Reserve and the executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium before he was elected to Congress.

He was elected in 2012 and currently serving on the House Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Congressman Bridenstine currently flies with the Oklahoma Air Guard.

Alaskan Governor calls for a new Navy base

Alaska is currently home to two Army and Air Force bases, a Joint base, the National Guard, and a series of Coast Guard stations with Marine Corps Reserve members. Though there is no official Navy base in Alaska, several thousand sailors are attached to various units in the state.

Governor Bill Walker, Republican governor of Alaska, wants the Department of Defense to open a new U.S. Navy base in the state in response to North Korea’s nuclear threat. North Korea’s recent nuclear test was its 6th to date, and the biggest.

Governor Walker says the recent increase in tests call for a comprehensive strategy for deterrence; a Navy base in Alaska, the Governor says, would provide the quickest access to Asia for any base, which would also be under the protective umbrella of the missile defense unit at Fort Greely, which protects most of North America.

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Services held in New York for Marines killed in Mississippi crash

Marines and Navy Sailor who were killed in the Mississippi plane crash

A memorial service was held at the end of August inside a hangar at the Stewart Air National Guard base, where the nine servicemembers were based in a Marine Forces Reserve transport squadron.

A total of fifteen Marines and a Sailor died when their C-130 transport plane crashed in the Mississippi Delta at the beginning of July. The other seven servicemen killed in the crash included six Marines and a Navy corpsman from an elite Marine Raider battalion out of North Carolina. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

The U.S. Marine Corps new deadly helicopters

The Marine Corps hopes to buy 200 CH-53K. They will eventually have eight active duty squadrons, one training squadron, and one reserve squadron of the aircraft if it completes all of its planned purchases. The King Stallion has three times the lift capability and has a cabin that is a foot wider; the wider cabin gives the new helicopter massively increased internal volume.

The U.S. Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to start producing the U.S. Marine Corps’ new CH-53K King Stallion heavy life helicopters. The company will produce two of the aircraft for a fixed price contract worth $304 million. The company is expected to start deliveries in 2020. The Navy is buying engines for the aircraft as Government furnished equipment under a separate contract with General Electric.

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Walter Handy, Hidden Figure

From the current issue of the Coast Guard’s Reservist magazine, a fine article on retired Capt. Walter Handy, whose mobilization of ROA activism on the Capitol Hill was essential to the survival of the Coast Guard Reserve after WWII and through the budget wars of the 1970s. It would appear that without ROA’s influence, there likely wouldn’t be a Coast Guard Reserve. (Article reprinted with permission of Reservist magazine, and our thanks.) READ MORE >

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Air Force Update

Air Force Reservist First Date Results in Rescue of 150 People

Most people use a first date to get to know they person they just met but for Tech. Sgt. Robert Dones, 349th Medical Squadron surgical technician, his included rescuing 150 people from a forest fire. On a hike around the Eagle Creek Trail in Mount Hood National Forest he noticed a cloud of smoke. When he went to investigate he realized the fire was only about a quarter mile away. He quickly started getting people out of the forest.

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National Guard Part of Joint Effort in Support of Hurricane Irma

(Photo by Sgt. Juanita Philip)

At a recent Reserve Forces Policy Board meeting, the group was briefed on the Guard and Reserve rescue efforts for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Of note was the destruction in the Virgin Islands and the difficulty because there is basically no infrastructure standing. According to the National Guard, "This would consist of airfield operations - support the download and upload of immediate assistance of food, water and necessities to help rebuild and support St. Thomas and St. John."

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Military Life

New VA Disability Processing System Launched

The Department of Veterans Affairs has officially launched Decision Ready Claims, a new system guaranteeing a 30 day or less decision on disability upgrade requests. However, before one can take advantage of this system, veterans must first work with veterans service organizations to ensure all their proper medical records are collected. Once the medical paperwork is properly collected and reviewed by a VA approved VSO, it can be submitted for the relatively quick 30 day decision.

Even with the restrictions, VA is lauding this as a significant improvement from the current average 100 day processing time for disability upgrade assessments. This program will not fully resolve the wait times for all disability upgrade claims, which make up around 10% of the VA’s total claims. However, for veterans who have easy access to their medical records, it could provide an alternative with expedited service.

Corporate Gray Military-Friendly Job Fair, Springfield, VA

Corporate Gray Military-Friendly Job Fair for transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses but open to all job seekers.

You are invited to attend the September 21st Corporate Gray Military-Friendly Job Fair and meet face-to-face with representatives from Lockheed Martin, Booz Allen Hamilton, CSRA, DXC Technology, SAIC, Leidos, U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, AECOM, PenFed, YRCI, WBB, FCi Federal, PotomacWave, ComScore, Defense Contract Management Agency, New York Life, Octo Consulting, ACT I, and more!

Job fair hours are 9 am to 12:30 pm, with an Employer Panel discussion for job seekers from 8 am to 9 am. The Waterford Reception Center is located at 6715 Commerce Street in Springfield, Virginia. Parking is free.

Business attire recommended. Bring many copies of your resume. Be sure to research the companies in advance, including contacting people you know who are working there and asking for their assistance in matching your skills and experience with their open jobs.

For more information and to register for the event, visit By pre-registering and uploading your resume, you'll receive the job fair employer directory in advance, and give the participating companies early access to your credentials.
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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. 17086 Enforcing USERRA against a State Government Employer—Continued
No. 17087 The Civilian Employer Does Not Get a Veto
No. 17088 USERRA Gives you the Right To Continue your Civilian Health Insurance while you Are on Active Duty, But you Probably Don’t Want To
No. 17089 Reinstate your Civilian Heath Insurance upon Reemployment

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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

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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