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October 15, 2017

Legislative Update
Army Update
Naval Update
Coast Guard Update

Air Force Update
Department Update
Military Life

Law Reviews

Responding to requests among members for more Reserve- and Guard-specific information, we have enhanced the content of ROA SmartBrief. You will find less general defense news content now, and more on the Reserve Components.

Legislative Update

ROA Offers Technical Fixes For Legislation At House VA Committee Roundtable

Photo: Susan Lucas

ROA's expertise was in evidence at a U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs roundtable Oct. 3, with legislative director John Rothrock, a USNR commander, and Susan Lucas (ROA Air Force Service Director) offering technical fixes to improve legislation.

The round table was attended by several veteran’s service organizations to discuss draft legislation on the provision of care veteran patients receive through VA.

Chairman Dr. Phil Roe (R-TN) stated “it is our duty to reform the VA that is in a meaningful way” and to provide a better doctor-patient relationship. He indicated that could be accomplished by improving VA-centric health care that is seamless, cuts red tape, digital, and has better local access. Additionally, he stated the end goal is to consolidate six choice programs into one.
ROA’s number one concern is does the proposed legislation address service-connected care as a priority and how much is funded. ROA asked for several additional clarifying definitions and thanked the committee for adding language allowing the VA secretary flexibility to determine unanticipated factors to medical facilities and health care providers. The proposed technical changes were warmly agreed to by the Members of Congress in attendance and by the other veteran service organizations.

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) said the proposed changes in this legislation will take time, but it will be worth it. Furthermore, he said “we are trying to change the tires on a moving car”, but he is hearing positive comments on the proposed changes.

ROA has been invited back to a smaller meeting in the coming week to further review proposed changes. The final bill is expected to be completed and presented to the full committee for consideration by October 24, 2017

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ROA To Sign Letter to House-Senate Conference on NDAA

ROA will be signing a joint letter with The Military Coalition (TMC) to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate urging Congress to continue to protect the interests of service members with passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018 (H.R. 2810/S. 5796). Both chambers recently passed their respective bills and now a conference committee is working to resolve the differences.

NDAA (H.R. 2810/S. 5796) authorizes FY2018 appropriations and sets forth policies for Department of Defense (DOD) programs and activities, including military personnel strengths. It does not provide budget authority, which is provided in subsequent appropriations legislation.

The bill also authorizes the FY2018 personnel strength for active duty and reserve forces and sets forth policies regarding compensation and other personnel benefits, the Ready Reserve Force and Military Sealift Command surge fleet, and matters relating to foreign nations.
The following concerns emphasize TMC’s views and recommendations on selected provisions of the House/Senate-passed bills.

Force Levels – TMC is concerned by continuing statements of Service leaders regarding the extent to which our forces are overstretched. We believe force levels should be increased to meet continuing and projected demands. For this reason, TMC supports the Senate-proposed increase for the Marine Corps and the House-proposed increases for the Active and Reserve Components of the other services.

Uniform Benefit – Compensation and benefit adjustments should apply equally for all seven uniformed services. Where applicable in legislation, “uniformed services” should be used in lieu of “armed forces.”

Military Pay Raise
– The Coalition believes strongly in the principle of pay raise comparability and believes servicemembers have earned and deserve the same annual raise as the average American’s, as measured by the Employment Cost Index (ECI). We urge the conferees to sustain and reinforce this fundamental comparability principle with a 2.4-percent raise for FY18. TMC supports the Senate-passed provision limiting the conditions under which the President may propose an alternative pay raise.

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) – TMC opposes the Senate-passed plan to deny with-dependent BAH payments to dual-member couples with children sharing the same household. For two married O-4s with children in Washington, DC, this would impose an annual pay cut of more than $4,000. For married E-7s with children in San Diego, the annual income loss would be more than $5,600. We agree with DoD, BAH is an integral element of military compensation, and servicemembers with dependents should not have to suffer this financial penalty based on whether they marry another servicemember vs. a civilian. We urge the conferees to leave with-dependent BAH rules unchanged.

TRICARE Fees – TMC opposes the Senate initiative to impose very large fee increases on currently serving and retired members and families who were explicitly grandfathered against such increases in the FY17 NDAA. Congress expects servicemembers to live up to their commitments, and those who are serving or have completed a career of service should have a reasonable expectation Congress will live up to the reciprocal commitments it has made to them, especially commitments made less than one year ago.

Pharmacy Copays – TMC opposes Senate-proposed increases in TRICARE pharmacy copays and elimination of the COLA-based adjustment process for those copays. The Coalition believes these copays already are too high and that recent actual and proposed increases have been determined arbitrarily, with the primary purpose of requiring beneficiaries to fund program changes rightfully the responsibility of the government. For example, the current $10 retail generic copay is already more than double the $4 Wal-Mart charges people with no insurance for hundreds of generic medications. Military beneficiaries deserve better than repeatedly seeing proposed copay hikes without any principles established for what level of pharmacy benefit their decades of service and sacrifice should have earned. COLA-adjustments contained in current law should continue to ensure fees do not out pace income.

Survivor Benefits – TMC is grateful to both chambers for their initiatives to prevent the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) authority from expiring. But military survivors deserve better than the status quo, or simply COLA-adjusting the current SSIA. TMC is seeking House and Senate senior leadership support to provide non-HASC/SASC offsets to allow multi-year increases in SSIA amounts, in accordance with Congress’ originally expressed intent to continue increasing SSIA as a means of phasing out the unfair deduction of Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuities for VA’s Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. SSIA increases should not be funded by taking money from other military benefits (e.g., by raising pharmacy copayments). Solutions must come from the government, not the beneficiary.

TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) – TMC supports the Senate proposal to extend TRS eligibility to Reserve Component members eligible for the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program, funding for which should not be forced on beneficiaries through excessive pharmacy copays. TMC believes this important equity issue should be funded by selling federal assets or other means that do not compel military beneficiaries to fund obligations that rightfully are the government’s.

Hospice Care for Children – TMC supports the Senate’s provision allowing hospice care coverage for children also receiving curative care. Medicare rules currently prohibit TRICARE coverage of hospice care services for children receiving curative healthcare treatments.

Reserve Benefit Comparability - TMC supports the House provision granting equal treatment of orders to serve on Active Duty under section 12304a and 12304b of Title 10. Servicemembers making the same sacrifices in support of our nation should receive the same benefits. We see no reason for Congress to deny equal treatment for equal sacrifice.

Assessing Characterization of Discharges – TMC supports the House provision emphasizing consideration of additional medical evidence and liberal consideration of evidence from VA or civilian healthcare providers relating to PTSD or TBI for correction of military records as relates to discharges or dismissals. TMC likewise supports the Senate provision, with regard to survivors of sexual assault, which includes those who allege sexual assault.

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Army Reserve Update

The Army Hints At Bringing Back World War II Uniforms

Photo: Army Times.Com

The Army is working on a revival of a World War II-era service uniform, and prototypes of the proposed “pinks and greens” made their debut on the conference floor last week of the annual AUSA meeting in Washington, D.C. The test has its supporters and critics, but addresses a good point: the Army needs one uniform for daily wear and one for special occasions. The “pinks and greens” would be an alternative to the blue Army Service Uniform for official events, similar to the Marine Corps‘ green service uniform.

ROA’s executive director Retired Maj. Gen. Jeff Phillips, heard from a solid source that the uniform change is virtually a "done deal."

ROA's Facebook post has some 10,000 views, with comments overwhelmingly approving of the change. READ MORE >

Knowledge, Leadership, Commitment: Army Reserve Special Agent Makes History

Staff Sgt. Anthony Johnson, a U.S. Army Reserve Special Agent with the 383th Military Police Detachment (CID) of Lakeland, Florida became the first U.S. Army Reservist to earn the Basic Army Instructor Badge on Sept. 18, 2017.

Johnson is the first adjunct instructor for the United States Army Military Police School and the first U.S. Army Reserve special agent to receive the BAIB in the MP Corps.

For Army Reserve CID agents, it is hard to obtain seats in active duty schools, such as the Advanced Leadership Course, which is necessary for career advancement. Having Johnson instruct courses will provide more slots for Reserve agents so they can attend ALC and progress in their respective field.

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Army National Guard Update

Missouri National Guard to add 800 jobs

Members of the Missouri Army National Guard watch a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter get loaded onto a C-17 Globemaster III prior to being transported from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., to the Virgin Islands, Sept. 24, 2017. (Airman Taylor Phifer/Air Force)

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) says he wants to add 800 new jobs to the state’s National Guard.

The Jefferson City News Tribune reports that Greitens announced on Tuesday at the Missouri National Guard’s Jefferson City headquarters plans to add the jobs by 2019.

Greitens says the additional jobs will have a $15 million economic impact for the state and will continue to build a strong National Guard presence in Missouri.

The governor said 85 percent of the job openings will be for full-time guardsmen, and the remaining 15 percent are available for civilians.

Greitens wants to add a trial defense team in Jefferson City, transportation units in Farmington and Perryville, and a maintenance team in Kansas City. He also wants an engineer support team in Bridgeton and a cyber protection team in St. Louis.

There currently are 9,300 soldiers serving in the Missouri National Guard. READ MORE >

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Naval Services Update

Instructors Identified in Navy Crash

Photo: U.S. Navy

The Navy identified pilot Lt. Patrick Lawrence Ruth and a student Lt. j.g. Wallace Eugene Burch as the two sailors who died in a crash at the beginning of October. The T-45C Goshawk they were flying crashed in Tennessee and could not be reached until the following day because it was lost deep into the Cherokee National Forest. The two individuals were on a training mission assigned to Training Squadron (VT) 7 at a Naval Air Station in Mississippi.

Ruth was 31 and began in the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps at Tulane. He was commissioned in 2008 and joined VAW-126 out of Norfolk in 2012. In 2015, he came to VT-7 to serve as an instructor. He earned two Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals during his career.

Burch was 25, attended Officer Candidate School in Rhode Island in 2014 and was commissioned the following year. He came to VT-7 as a student in 2016.

The T-45 trainer has faced some shutdowns recently as there was a spike in physiological episodes experienced by pilots, including hypoxia. However, this crash was flying a profile that would not typically cause a physiological episode.

The Navy is currently investigating the cause of the crash. READ MORE >

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Navy SEAL dies in skydiving accident

A highly decorated Navy SEAL was killed in a Skydiving accident at the beginning of the month. Cmdr. Seth Stone died after jumping out of a hot air balloon in California. The FAA determined that his parachute failed to open properly.

Stone was 41 years old, and was most recently assigned to Special Operations Command Pacific in Hawaii. He earned two Silver Stars, one for a fight in Iraq where Stone and the group of SEALs under his charge were attacked with arms fire and rockets while they were protecting another unit. Stone led the SEALs through the firefight and helped evacuate the wounded. Stone also received a Bronze Star for Valor and the Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal. He was commissioned through the Naval Academy and became a surface warfare officer before becoming a SEAL. READ MORE >

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Blue Angels’ Fat Albert, C-130Ts still idling

Photo: U.S. Navy

Three months after the crash of a Marine KC-130T transport aircraft that killed 16 troops, the Navy and Marine Corps have yet to lift a no-fly order affecting all similar aircraft. 23 Navy C-130Ts and 12 Marine Corps KC-130Ts have been grounded as military officials complete an investigation into the July tragedy.

One of the grounded aircraft includes Fat Albert, which provides logistics and transportation to the Blue Angels, the Navy’s elite aerial demonstration team. The Fat Albert is a crucial aircraft: it flies tens of thousands of pounds of gear, plus a team of 40 maintainers, to various locations around the country. READ MORE >

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arine Corps Update

Three senior Massachusetts Marine Leaders fired

Photo: USMC

Three senior Marines at a Massachusetts reserve unit were relieved of their duties on Thursday. Col. Morgan Mann, Sgt. Maj. James Boutin, and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Robert Hoy were all fired at once this week. The Marines were evidently relieved because their Commanding Officer had lost confidence in their abilities to command.

Mann enlisted in the Marine Corps in the 1980’s, and has led numerous infantry units deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. Boutin joined the Marine Corps around the same time and earned the machine gunner military occupational specialty. He deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and earned the Bronze Star. Hoy entered in 1995, deployed to Iraq and is a current member of the active reserve. All three will be reassigned within the 4th Marine Division. READ MORE >

Coast Guard Update

USCG Reserve Enters the Cyber Arena

Photo: Google.Com

The Coast Guard is building a Reserve component for CG Cyber Command (CGCYBER). The service is taking a total force approach to building its cyberspace workforce, and the CGR will be a critical part of that workforce.

All paygrades are encouraged to apply, although they are targeting pay-grades are E4 thru E9, CWO, and LT. READ MORE >
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Air Force Update

AFRC Stepping up Recruiting Efforts for Maintainers

Photo: U.S. Air Force

Air Force Reserve Command is adding recruiters to fill vacant ART positions in maintenance.

Earlier this year when bonus’s were increased for pilots, ROA took a position that bonuses should also be increased for enlisted maintenance positions for both traditional Reserve and military technicians. To support that position ROA passed Resolution 17-01, Military Technician Eligibility for Incentives. READ MORE >

Air National Guard Members Complete Cyber Training

A class of ANG members just graduated from the first Cyber Skills Validation Course that trains from skills learned from their civilian jobs. Photo: U.S. Air Forc

ROA focused on the cyber mission in their legislative agenda by asking for increased training slots for the Reserve Component. Congress authorized an additional $8 million for RC training. READ MORE >

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    Department Update
ROA National Councilman and Army Reserve Lt. Col. Will Breazeale (center), a member of ROA’s Department of Florida, donated $150 in the name of ROA to sponsor a hole at the 7th annual 108th Griffon Association Soldiers and Families Golf Tournament at the Pine Island Golf Course in Charlotte, NC, September 25. The tournament raises scholarship money for the children of soldiers of the 108th. Lt. Col. Breazeale is a brigade S-3 in the 104th Division, part of the 108th “Griffon” Training Command; joining him at the ROA hole are Col. Ken Marsh, USA (Ret.) (on left) and Dave Wrasman, both of Charlotte.

Military Life

New Military Spouse Checklist

Photo: Military.Com

Military Family Support provides a checklist for new military spouses that will help you learn the ins and outs of military life. It also provides information for current spouses about military ID cards that is beneficial. READ MORE >

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. 17094 The Copyright Act Applies to the Federal Government
No. 17095 In Computing your Civilian Pension Benefit, the Employer Must Look to what you Would Have Earned in the Civilian Job but for your Military Service
No. 17096 Location Is an Aspect of Status
No. 17097 The Escalator Does Not Always Ascend
No. 17098 The No FEAR Act Does Not Apply to Discrimination against Reserve Component Service Members

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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

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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