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August 30, 2017

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

Legislative Update

Exchange Retiree Advisory Council

ROA recently attended a meeting of the Exchange Retiree Advisory Council. ROA is part of this group that is charged to, “. . . advise the Director/CEO on issues of interest to the retiree community and help to communicate the value of the exchange benefit.”

ROA identified two issues for the council to consider. First was to get clarification of the standards the exchange was using to validate veteran status for being able to shop online. Earlier in 2017, the Exchange decided to allow veterans who were discharged with an “honorable” or “general under honorable conditions” to be allowed to shop online. To qualify for this new benefit servicemembers must go to and complete a verification form. The form will be validated by the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC). ROA’s intent is that RC members can smoothly qualify and engaged the council on this concern. The council responded by arranging for ROA to review the verification documents to make sure they include National Guard and Reserve records.

The second issue addressed by ROA was on military technicians in support positions who will be converted to a non-dual status civil service position. This Congressionally directed 20 percent reduction will occur on 1 October 2017 and affects approximately 15,000 technicians. Since many of these people currently wear their military uniform to work, ROA is concerned that they will now be required to obtain a civilian wardrobe. Essentially everyone enters the workforce needing a work wardrobe, and these individuals entered their position expecting the military uniform to be their work wardrobe. ROA asked the Exchange staff for discount coupons to help technicians afford their new work clothes. ROA believes this will be especially beneficial to those in the lower rated military and civil service positions. The council responded enthusiastically to the suggestion and ROA is working to make this happen.

DoD Meeting on Duty Status

ROA attended a meeting at the Pentagon concerning Reserve Component duty status reform. DoD senior leaders explained they have constructed a proposed structure for duty status that would reduce impediments to service including inequities in pay and benefit, disruption in pay and benefits, and reduced accessibility.

The duty status proposal currently includes four categories with eight activation authorities that encompass operational, strategic and training statuses. This construct, if implemented would allow DoD to standardize benefits into four levels for each of the four categories.

The complexity of this duty status reform may include changes to over 450 laws, 120 DoD issuances that will drive additional changes within the service regulations and over 1,000 changes in the financial management arena. Detailed legislative changes are expected in Spring 2019.

ROA, EANGUS, NGAUS, FRA, AUSA and the Navy League agreed with DoD that a phased-in approach was best to reduce disruptions to servicemembers. An incremental approach will also allow the services and stakeholders to identify unintended problems or consequences that can be addressed before laws and regulations are finalized. ROA appreciates DoD's transparent approach to duty status reform.

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Army Update

Army Reserve Senior Enlisted visits deployed troops

Command Sgt. Maj. Ted Copeland, U.S. Army Reserve command sergeant major, conducted a town hall in Kuwait. He shared his vision and priorities for U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers and took questions from the audience. The visit was part of Central Commands Joint Monthly Access for Reserve Component program for “. . . leaders to observe first-hand the contributions of their deployed personnel in the U.S. Army Central area of operations.”

Newly activated Guard unit to bolster Army Cyber forces

The cyber mission is still in the process of being established in the Army National Guard but that has not stopped them from lending support to Army Cyber Command. The largest cyber mobilization includes 138 National Guard members from seven states.

National Guard Defense Teams

Col. Adam Volant, Task Force Echo commander said, “The Soldiers in my formation are really information technology professionals. They work for major defense companies. They work for the government. They work for all the major brands that do technology and cyber. We're drawing upon those sets of experiences in bringing them into a military environment to weigh upon the problems presented here."

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Naval Services Update

U.S. Navy Commander relieved of duties – but why?

U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander of the U.S. 7th fleet has been relieved of his duties after two fatal ship collisions within two months. Aucoin had planned to retired in a few weeks, but Admiral Scott Swift of the U.S. Pacific Fleet relieved him early due to a “loss of confidence in his ability to command.” Rear Admiral Phil Sawyer will replace Aucoin.

U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin (Photo by Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

Aucoin was a Navy flight officer, commissioned in 1980 from the University of North Carolina’s Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program. He was an air wing commander in the Navy, and later worked for the Pentagon. The 7th fleet that he was in charge of commands 70 ships, 140 aircraft, and 20,000 sailors. It is headquartered in Japan.

What is missing in all this is context: an August 28 Defense News article, “How the US Navy's fleet has been on a collision course for years,” provides that context: “A series of warnings and alarming incidents have raised red flags about forward-deployed ships, which operate at a much higher tempo than their stateside counterparts but have also seen readiness eaten away by too much time at sea and too little time to train and maintain”; the article cites a 2015 Government Accountability Office report that stated, “the high pace of operations the Navy uses for overseas-homeported ships limits dedicated training and maintenance periods, which has resulted in difficulty keeping crews fully trained and ships maintained.”

Nowhere in the article is any indication the collision was the result of inadequate command.  Certainly, the commander is ultimately responsible, but where is the evidence that supports the rationale used: “loss of confidence in his ability to command.” (It’s interesting that a subordinate flag officer closer to the damaged ship has retained his job – and context suggests there is no reason for him not to.)

Notwithstanding Admiral Aucoin’s own use of that devastating phrase to describe his reason for relieving the skipper and top leaders of the USS Fitzgerald after its June collision, why was an otherwise well-regarded senior officer, in whom the nation has invested decades of developmental resources . . . sacked?

And if it’s true that these collisions are the result of exhausted crews and inadequate maintenance, caused by high optempo (driven by national policy) and not command misjudgment, how will these firings affect the enthusiasm of young officers and NCOs for Navy careers and higher responsibility?

The recent Navy collision victims

The bodies of all 10 sailors reported missing following a collision between the USS John S. McCain and a merchant vessel have been found, according to a statement from the US Navy's 7th Fleet.

ROA’s thoughts and prayers go out to the families for their loss. The deceased crewmen represent the best of the nation:

  • Nathan Findley, 31, Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles, from Amazonia, Missouri
  • Abraham Lopez, 39, Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class, from El Paso, Texas
  • Kevin Sayer Bushell, 26, Electronics Technician 2nd Class, from Gaithersburg, Maryland
  • Jacob Daniel Drake, 21, Electronics Technician 2nd Class, from Cable, Ohio
  • Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., 23, Information Systems Technician 2nd Class, from Manchester, Maryland
  • Corey George Ingram, 28, Information Systems Technician 2nd Class, from Poughkeepsie, New York
  • Dustin Louis Doyon, 26, Electronics Technician 3rd Class, from Suffield, Connecticut
  • John Henry Hoagland III, 20, Electronics Technician 3rd Class, from Killeen, Texas
  • Logan Stephen Palmer, 23, Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class, from Decatur, Illinois
  • Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, Electronics Technician 3rd Class, from Cherry Hill, New Jersey


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USS Gerald R. Ford goes to sea

The USS Gerald R. Ford, the first in the new Ford class of nuclear powered supercarriers commissioned on July 22nd, will go to sea with a multifunctional communications and entertainment system along with the first IP video system in the U.S. Navy fleet. This video system provides the crew with live streaming media options, multimedia programming while at sea, and pier side cable services. These systems are expected to bring cost savings and better quality. READ MORE >

The new Marine Corps sniper-training program

The Marine Corps has acquired a program, the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer III, to enhance the sharpshooting skills of the military branch. Marines will now have access to multiple weapons including: the M9 service pistol, M4 carbine, and wireless weapons, including the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, M32A1 Multi-Shot Grenade Launcher, and the M72 Light Anti-Tank Weapon. The system also boasts 3D projections and features to give Marines a better, more realistic training experience. The system will help to build muscle memory for Marines so that when they go to the range, they are prepped to respond to real-life scenarios, without costing millions of dollars.

The Marine Corps has ordered 490 ISMT III systems for major Marine Corps bases, reserve duty sites, amphibious transport docks, and amphibious assault ships worldwide. READ MORE >

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Marine Corps requests 50,000 more M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles

US Marine training with the M27 IAR in Okinawa, Japan. Photo courtesoy of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The Marine Corps is requesting 50,000 M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles to replace the M4 carbine that infantry and other units currently used. This increase in rifles would be in addition to the 11,000 already ordered. The initial 11,000 was to replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapons (SAW) in the Marine service, with the SAW placed in reserve.

The M27 is not capable of the level of suppressive fire found in the M249, but the Marine Corps believes that the weapon will make up for it with greater accuracy and ease of carry. READ MORE >

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Air Force Update

Reserve and National Guard Airmen Wildfire Suppression Efforts

California Army National Guard pilots and crew chiefs head to a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Coalinga Municipal Airport, California, July 13, 2017, to join firefighting efforts during the Garza Fire in Kings County. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Eddie Siguenza

The increase in wildfires this summer has led to a federal activation of C-130 aircraft equipped with the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System to perform fire suppression. DoD explained, “As of August 14, the federally activated MAFFS cumulative employment totals grew to 110 drops disbursing 279,350 gallons of retardant on more than a dozen fires throughout California.”

The National Guard provided assistance with
UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the California and Louisiana National Guard in July 2017 to support firefighting operations when fires began in Yosemite National Park.

Rescue Airman amputee wins battle to serve

Senior Airman Kevin Greene, a healthcare management technician with the 920th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, jogs along the running track at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, Aug. 8, 2017. Greene, who lost a portion of his left leg in a motorcycle accident on Dec. 17, 2014, is the first and only Air Force Reserve amputee to serve at Patrick AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarch).

Despite years of effort and several rejection letters from the medical evaluation board, Senior Airman Kevin Greene, never stopped in his effort to get back into uniform after an accident that left him an amputee. “I definitely felt loved in the hospital,” said the Brooklyn, New York, native. “My immediate family was always there of course, but my Air Force Reserve family surprised me. I knew people in the unit cared, but there was no mistaking it on the drill weekends when I’d have like 40 people coming to visit me. The staff didn’t even know what to do with that many visitors. The love and camaraderie I felt within my unit is the driving factor in my wanting to continue to serve.”

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In the Warlords' Shadow: ROA's Reserve Voice interviews author and ROA member Dr. Daniel R. Green

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not represent the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Department of State, or any government agency

Daniel R. Green, Ph.D., is a Navy Reserve officer who holds a doctorate in political science and is a defense fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; an ROA member, he is an authority on stability operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. ROA’s Reserve Voice asked Daniel to answer some questions in connection with his new book on the successful Village Stability Operations/Afghan Local Police initiative in which he participated in 2012.

ROA: Lieutenant Commander Green, as a Navy Reserve officer you have deployed several times to Afghanistan and Iraq. Could you summarize your military background?

I joined the U.S. Navy Reserve in June 2003 as a direct commission officer and deployed as a mobilized reservist to Fallujah, Iraq, in 2007; Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2009-2010; Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, in 2012; and Baghdad, Iraq, from 2015-2016. I also served as the U.S. Department of State political officer to the Tarin Kowt Provincial Reconstruction Team in 2005-2006. I am a lieutenant commander and an active drilling reservist. I deployed twice attached to Naval Special Warfare units and a great deal of my work has focused on understanding and working with local Afghan and Iraq tribal, political, village, and religious leaders to achieve the goals of my unit. READ MORE >

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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.)

Department of Missouri Chapter 442’s, Brig. Gen. Sam Mitchell, USAF (Ret.) sent the application and payment for a life membership for former Air Force Capt. Charles Ohms, Jr., of St. Louis. We welcome Captain Ohms to ROA and send General Mitchell, one of ROA’s top membership recruiters, the thanks of our growing association!

His ROA lanyard proudly displayed, Dept. of the Golden West’s secretary, Capt. Jerry E. Kromrey, USAFR (Ret.), speaks August 23 on a possible federal government shutdown and its effect on force readiness and the reserve force, at a town hall in San Jose held by Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17), a member of the House Armed Services Committee. The frame is from ABC-7 News coverage of the town hall, where Captain Kromrey posed his question. enhancement will help recruitment

Membership director Diane Markham is overseeing a revision to the ROA website, that will showcase ROA’s value to new and renewing members. Look for the new “What ROA is doing for you” feature on the home page. It will have links to ROA recent and past accomplishments, legislative and policy successes, member benefits such as the annual Henry J. Reilly Scholarship Program, and more.

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Military Life

Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program

The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program is a DoD-wide effort to promote the well-being of National Guard and Reserve members, their families and communities, by connecting them with resources throughout the deployment cycle.

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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. 17079 New Jersey’s Law against Discrimination Protects Service Members and Veterans
No. 17080 Military and Overseas Voting in 2017
No. 17081 DOJ Sues City of Glendale for Violating USERRA
No. 17082 Differential Pay for Federal Employees Voluntarily on Active Duty as National Guard or Reserve Service Members
No. 17083 Accrual and Use of Vacation Before, During and After a Period of Military Service
No. 17084 An Instructive USERRA Case from the Central District of California
No. 17085 New York City Expands its Human Rights Law To Protect Uniformed Service

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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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