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July 1, 2019

ROA farewells former National Chaplain Marcom

Retired U.S. Army chaplain Col. Jack A. Marcom, Jr., 76, left our ranks on Tuesday, June 18. Colonel Marcom was born January 11, 1943, in Fredericksburg, Va. He served as a U.S. Army Reserve chaplain for 30 years, including an assignment as command chaplain of the 310th Theater Army Area Command, Ft. Belvoir, Va. He was ROA’s national chaplain for ten years. Among Chaplain Marcom’s awards and decorations was the Legion of Merit. According to his obituary, “He was always concerned about and advocating for the individual soldier and was presented the Order of the Sword by the enlisted men in his unit.” The colonel will be missed by his ROA comrades, for who he served so unselfishly. He leaves his wife of 55 years, Phyllis Short Marcom, two sons, three grandchildren, and a sister.

Read Colonel Marcom’s obituary

Talk to ROA is a feature the ROA legislative team will use to ask a question on issues being worked either through legislation or policy.

Your response will help inform ROA’s action going forward. The next Reserve Voice will give you the results of the survey and the next monthly RV question.

Please share the link with other Reserve and National Guard servicemembers who may not be ROA members and encourage them to join ROA and help with our legislative efforts!

Photo by Merriam-Webster

The Department of Defense 13th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation is assessing converting the current pay and allowance (housing, subsistence) system to a single pay system based either on national averages or geographic location.

For example, civil service pay consists of a single pay system based on national standards for General Schedule employees. Civil Service Wage Grade salaries are based on geographic location. Both have high cost of living geographic differential pay.

Should military pay and allowances be converted to a single pay system?

  1. Yes, national standard pay system.
  2. Yes, national standard and/or geographic location pay system.
  3. Yes, geographic location pay system.
  4. No, stay with the current military and allowances pay system.

Thank you to everyone who responded to ROA’s first “Talk to ROA.” The results are in (below) and they show that the military Exchange store is a benefit used and appreciated by ROA members.

How often do you use the military exchange?

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Blue Water Navy Passes into Law

U.S.S. Epperson, (DD-719), a Navy destroyer used during the Korean and Vietnam wars.

ROA has had resolutions advocating for service-connected recognition of toxic exposure since 2007.

Special thanks to Capt. Morgan Little, USN (Ret.) and Captain Samuel F. Wright, JAGC, USN (Ret.) for their dedication to getting this legislation passed.
On Tuesday, June 25, 2019, the president signed into law H.R. 299, the “Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019,” which includes Blue Water Navy veterans under the presumption of service for Agent Orange.

Recognition of health issues related to exposure to Agent Orange became legislation with the Agent Orange Act of 1991. However, a Department of Veterans Affairs ruling in 1994 excluded “Blue Water Navy” (vessels operating off the coast of South Vietnam but often very close to the coast) according to ROA Law Review 16010.

Capt. Morgan Little, USN (Ret.), a tireless advocate for recognition of sailors off the coast of Vietnam, wrote about his experience with exposure to Agent Orange, “The ship’s supply of potable water was contaminated with Agent Orange to a significant degree. We drank that water in the ship’s scuttlebutts (water fountains). That water was used in the preparation of food and beverages and for washing dishes and utensils. We showered and shaved and brushed our teeth with that water.”

VA Purges Medical Applications

In 2017 Congress sent a
letter to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs putting a hold on their decision to purge over 200,000 applications for medical enrollment with VA. A VA IG report explained there was insufficient management of the enrollment process by VA Central Office and therefore veterans should not be held responsible for incomplete applications. However, by May 2019 it was reported that the enrollment applications were deleted.

While ROA has not been able to verify these actions took place, we urge ROA members to check on their applications for medical enrollment so you know whether the application is still current or that you should reapply. For clarification this does not include disability applications.

Citizen warriors must be ready to deploy — they shouldn't pay
for health care

Getty Images

ROA Executive Director Jeff Phillips wrote an op-ed piece that was published June 1, 2019 on ROA legislative priority for health care.

Jeff wrote, “
A single TRICARE Prime health care option for the reserve components is the cost to ensure their readiness and eliminate the expensive, readiness robbing complications of the current bureaucratic tangle. Anything less shortchanges our citizen-warriors and their families.”

You might also be interested in scrolling to the end of the article to read the comments that were posted.

Op-Eds and Articles

ROA national staff regularly contributes opinion pieces to publications such as The Hill and the Military Times. In order to make articles easier to access they are now archived on the ROA website under
Publications/Op-Ed Articles.

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Department and Chapter Grassroots Efforts

During the month of July the House and Senate will be in regular session after returning from the 4th of July recess.

Congress will only have about 9 days together to advance the National Defense Authorization Act and any appropriation bills.

Typically, Congress travels on Monday and Friday which is why most legislative action takes place three days a week on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Reserve Component Mobilizations

By the Numbers (as of June 25, 2019 )
The Department of Defense publishes contingency activations of the Reserve Components on a weekly basis.

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South Carolina Congressman and Army Guardsman joins ROA

Congressman William “Will” Timmons, a South Carolina Army National Guard 1st Lieutenant serving in the Judge Advocate General Corps, accepted an ROA term membership presented by the Department of South Carolina (“Colonel ‘BB’ Parks” Chapter 009). We welcome Lieutenant Timmons to ROA!

Rep Timmons Biography

ROA Henry J. Reilly Scholarship Recipients Announced

ROA recently announced this year’s 22 Henry J. Reilly Scholarship recipients, who will each receive $2,500 toward their studies.

“It is a privilege to support the education of the fine scholars selected for this year’s Henry J. Reilly Scholarships,” said ROA’s executive director, Jeffrey Phillips, a retired Army Reserve major general. “These men and women represent the future of an America secured by generations of reservists who served in our nation’s military.”

See a list of recipients here

Army National Junior Vice President moves to Darkhorse Wrestling

U.S. Army Maj. Jason Tolbert joined the staff of the Darkhorse Wrestling Club in Charlotte North Carolina.

Jason’s most notable accomplishments include:
• US Army and WCAP Wrestling Team 1992-2008
• 3x Olympic Festival Gold Medalist, 1 Bronze
• 3x University National Champ, 1 Silver
• 2X Armed Forces Champ
• 1995 National World Team, Greco Roman – (ranked 3rd in the Country from 1995-1996)
• 1997 Military World Games Team Member
• All Army Team 1993-2000, 01, 04, 07,08
• World Class Athlete Team 1995-2000, 04, 07, 08
• 2006 Georgia State Games Iron Man Champ-(Greco Gold, Freestyle Gold, Folk style Silver)
• Listed in the Hall of Champions Database 3x at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, OK.
• Trained at the following Olympic Training Centers: USA, Russia, Germany, Bulgaria, Sweden.
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JROTC Cadet Sponaugle receives ROA medal for outstanding leadership

Cadet Jonah Sponaugle receives an ROA JROTC medal from Maj. David Schwab, USA (Ret.), Senior Army Instructor, Baumholder Military High School.
Robert P. Chaucierre, president, ROA Department of Europe, recently supported award of a ROA Junior ROTC medal to Jonah Sponaugle, Cadet Second Lieutenant, at Baumholder American High School.

“Receiving the medal was a great honor for me. It has made me feel like I have accomplished something important in my life and will encourage me to do more,” Cadet Sponaugle said.

Jonah plans to attend Schiller International University of Heidelberg to study international business.

Department of Texas ROTC cadet presentation

Col. (ret.) Tom Lewis, Cadet Jace Foulk, Lt. Col. James Horn, Professor of Military Science
Department of Texas, Col. (ret.) Tom Lewis, presents the ROA Award to Cadet Jace Foulk of the University of Houston Battalion Army ROTC at its 2019 Annual Awards Ceremony. Jace is President of The University of Houston Cullen Rifles Marksmanship Team.

The University of Houston program has produced a number of notable officers who have gone on to distinguished military careers. Col. Rick Noriega graduated from the University of Houston in 1984. In 2011, Noriega was named brigade commander of the Texas National Guard's 71st Theater Information Operations Group.
Military Family

MISSION Act Launches

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs launched its new and improved Veterans Community Care Program on June 6, 2019, implementing portions of the VA Mission Act, which both ends the Veterans Choice Program and establishes a new Veterans Community Care Program.

Under the new Veterans Community Care Program, Veterans can work with their VA health care provider or other VA staff to see if they are eligible to receive community care based on new criteria. Six eligibility criteria:

  1. A Veteran needs a service not available at any VA medical facility.
  2. A Veteran lives in a U.S. state or territory without a full-service VA medical facility. Specifically, this would apply to Veterans living in Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire and the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  3. A Veteran qualifies under the “grandfather” provision related to distance eligibility under the Veterans Choice Program.

4. VA cannot furnish care within certain designated access standards. The specific access standards are described below:

Drive time to a specific VA medical facility

o Thirty-minute average drive time for primary care, mental health and noninstitutional extended care services.

o Sixty-minute average drive time for specialty care.

Note: Drive times are calculated using geomapping software.

Appointment wait time at a specific VA medical facility

o Twenty days from the date of request for primary care, mental health care and noninstitutional extended care services, unless the Veteran agrees to a later date in consultation with his or her VA health care provider.

o Twenty-eight days for specialty care from the date of request, unless the Veteran agrees to a later date in consultation with his or her VA health care provider.

  1. The Veteran and the referring clinician agree it is in the best medical interest of the Veteran to receive community care based on defined factors.
  2. VA has determined that a VA medical service line is not providing care in a manner that complies with VA’s standards for quality based on specific conditions.
In preparation for this landmark initiative, senior VA leaders will visit more than 30 VA hospitals across the country to provide in-person support for the rollout.
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MILITARY STAR Shoppers Have Chance at $25,000 in Prizes
in Unilever Giveaway

MILITARY STAR and Unilever are teaming up to give 50 lucky military shoppers $500. Anyone with a MILITARY STAR card as of July 15 can win. Apply for a card at any exchange store or online at Winners will receive statement credits to their MILITARY STAR account.
Winners will be announced on or about August 15. No purchase necessary to win.
Read more:

30 Military Shoppers will clean up with $500 gift cards in Exchange sweepstakes

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is partnering with Unilever this summer to provide 30 lucky military shoppers $500 gift cards in the From the Field to Your Family sweepstakes. From June 28 to Aug. 1, authorized Exchange shoppers age 18 and older may enter the sweepstakes at No purchase is necessary to enter or win.Read more:

TSA Won’t Grant Military Retirees, Veterans Free Precheck

Did you ever wonder how you got so lucky as to have TSA Pre® every time you went through airport security? Well don’t expect that going forward.

In an Air Force Times magazine article last year, “Retirees, veterans and spouses are not covered under the agreement because DoD cannot vouch for them in the same way they can for those currently employed by the department. They can sign up for Precheck like any other US resident, paying $85 for a five-year clearance.”

There are several traveler programs besides TSA that you can choose from to best meet your needs.

TSA Expects More Than 4% Volume Increase, Marking Busiest
Summer Travel Season Ever

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is preparing for what is likely to be the agency’s busiest travel season ever, as 263 million passengers and crew are projected to pass through security checkpoints nationwide from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend – Thursday, May 23, through Tuesday, September 3.

  • Nearly 20 percent of TSA employees are veterans or still proudly serving
  • TSA screens more than 2 million passengers daily and over 750 million every year
In 2018, officers detected approximately 4,239 firearms at airport checkpoints, averaging 11 firearms per day

Check your withholding ASAP

You should check your withholding – also known as doing a Paycheck Checkup – as soon as possible, using the Withholding Calculator on to make sure enough is being taken out of your paychecks or other income to cover the tax owed.

By checking your withholding, you can make sure enough is being taken out of your paychecks or other income to cover the tax owed.

Check your withholding when life changes occur including:

  • Marriage or divorce
  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Purchase of a home
  • Retirement
  • Chapter 11 bankruptcy
  • New job or loss of job

Some life changes might affect your itemized deductions or credits. Check your withholding if you experience changes to:

  • Medical expenses
  • Taxes
  • Interest expense
  • Gifts to charity
  • Dependent care expenses
  • Education credit
  • Child tax credit
  • Earned income tax credit
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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. This past month 10 new Law Reviews have been posted. The latest 5 are linked below. Please visit ROA’s Law Center webpage to access all of the more than 1200 ROA Law Reviews available online.

No. 19054 National Guard Technicians Who Are away from Technician Jobs for Title 10 Active Duty Are Entitled to 15 Days per Year of Paid Military Leave under 5 U.S.C. 6323
No. 19055 Unfavorable Virginia Supreme Court Decision on Enforcing USERRA against State Government Agency Employers
No. 19056 USERRA Coverage of National Guard Personnel
No. 19057 Supreme Court Explains the Hybrid Federal-State Nature of the National Guard
No. 19058 ROA Member Writes the Definitive Treatise on Military Family Law


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

USS Hornet CVS-12 & Apollo 50, 71st Reunion
All Ship's Company, Officers, Air Groups, Crew, Marines and Families Welcomed.
July 18-22, 2019. Oakland, CA

POC: Sandy Burket, PO Box 108, Roaring Spring, PA 16673
Or email:

4th Infantry (IVY) Division 2019 National Reunion
19-25 August, University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center, Springfield, Missouri
For more information, visit the association website at

The Distinguished Flying Cross Society, 2019 Reunion,
“Celebrating 100 Years of American Air Power,”
September 15 thru 19, 2019.
Dayton/Fairborn, OH, •
Host hotel: Holiday Inn/Fairborn

POC: Warren Eastman,, Ph: 760-985-2810
Check website for updates as planning progresses.

USS Yellowstone AD 27 Reunion
Dates: September 22 – 26, 2019
Location: Holiday Inn, Virginia Beach, VA
POC: Paul W. Bowen, Secretarty/Treasurer
Home Ph: 603-948-2821

USS ABNAKI ATF96 Reunion 2019
Date: 23-27 September 2019
Location: Comfort Inn – Traverse City, Michigan
Richard Beaver • Phone: 231-384-5757

455/91 SMW/MW/SW Operations Reunion
Dates: 24 - 29 September 2019
Location: Holiday Inn on the Riverwalk, San Antonio, TX.
POC: Richard Sarfin, 210-818-9402 (C), 210-684-9758 (H),

US Army, 31stEngineer Battalion Association Reunion
Date: October 3-6, 2019
Location: Danvers, MA, 01832
POC: Wilson L. Brown • Phone: (508) 294-5869

RED HORSE and Prime BEEF Association 2019 Convention
All Red Horse (RH) & Prime Beef (PB) Members past & present:
Date: 8-12 October, 2019. Bring your spouse
Location: Silverton Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.
Info: Dick Aldinger • Phone: (407) 859-7436
E-mail: • Website:

USS Stickell DD-888 Reunion
October 28-30, 2019
Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina, Newport, RI
POC: Don O’Brien, Ph: 401-847-1706 • Email:

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(Photo: Arlington National Cemetery)

During May 2019, 117 of our ROA comrades passed 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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