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Reserve Organization of America
                                     Reserve Voice Newsletter for April, 2020

ROA’s website, ROA.org, has been undergoing some significant design changes. This week we are excited to launch the new site, which is also “mobile-friendly.” If you have questions, concerns, suggestions, or corrections, please email ROA’s executive director, Jeff Phillips: JPhillips@roa.org.

ROA National Staff on duty and serving you

ROA is engaged with lawmakers, and defense and veterans’ affairs policymakers during the current situation,” said the association’s executive director, Jeff Phillips.  

ROA continues to conduct the business of the association every day while still complying with federal and state guidelines.  One senior-level staff is in the office each day to conduct duties that cannot be accomplished remotely while the rest of the ROA national staff and contractors work remotely to perform their duties.  To ensure ROA’s security and physical integrity, in accordance with national and District of Columbia law and policy, minimal essential maintenance and janitorial services are occurring in our magnificent Minuteman Memorial Headquarters Building.  The tenants on the second and third floor are not in the building because they are also teleworking.  Email accounts remain active; and it is best to use this form of communication with staff.  Executive Director Phillips can be reached at jphillips@roa.org.

ROA is on the job for our members and for our nation’s Reserve force!
ROA pursuing legislation to minimize the impact of cancelled drill weekends

When the services began to cancel the April drill weekend ROA quickly contacted the Pentagon to see how servicemembers would be able to get a “good” retirement year which requires accumulating a minimum of 50 points each year.  The services reassured ROA the drill weekends would be rescheduled.  As the true impact of the pandemic became obvious and that future drill weekends could also be cancelled ROA noted that not every servicemember would be able to reschedule weekends before the end of the fiscal year, September 2020.  ROA is currently pursuing legislation to ensure every servicemember receives a minimum of 50 points for a good year by granting constructive credit authority to the Reserve Component Chiefs.  Read more
HERE.
Navy Reserve board USNS Comfort
NORFOLK (March 25, 2020) Navy Reserve sailors prepare to board the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). More than 120 Reserve volunteers were selected to support Comfort's upcoming deployment to New York City. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Craig Z. Rodarte)

Preparing for the ship’s COVID-19 response deployment, Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command selected more than 120 volunteers from a group of Navy Reserve medical professionals and other ratings to embark on the ship in support of the upcoming mission.  Read more HERE.

On Tuesday, March 31, DoD stated, “USNS Comfort will begin taking patients today after arriving in New York harbor yesterday. Both the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy are operating as referral hospitals for non-COVID-19 patients who are currently admitted to shore-based hospitals. Crews aboard the ships are providing a full spectrum of medical care to include general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults, which allows local hospitals to focus on COVID-19 patients.
President Trump signs executive order calling up Air Force Reserve medics, other specialties
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Tatiana Abasolo, a member of the Air Force Reserve’s 624th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, provides instruction on how to properly secure a patient for movement during an aeromedical staging and aerial port training event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Theanne Herrmann)

“The Air Force Reserve stands ready to surge in support of COVID-19 response,” said Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, chief of the Air Force Reserve and commander of the Air Force Reserve Command.  “This is an unprecedented mission and COVID-19 is a destructive adversary—we must do all we can to take care of Americans.”  Read more
HERE.
National Guard Activated for COVID-19

As of yesterday [March 30th], more than 14,830 Air and Army National Guard troops are supporting the COVID-19 crisis response at the direction of their governors, the National Guard Bureau reported.
"This response isn't just about delivering food or supporting COVID test centers. It's about protecting our children, parents and grandparents,” said Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, in a statement to the troops. “Our nation is looking to the National Guard to help and we can't let them down."
U.S. Air National Guard Lt. Col. Adam Goldstone from the 146th Airlift Wing’s Medical Group unloads donated food from the back of a Foodbank Santa Barbara County delivery truck at the West Boys and Girls Club in Santa Barbara, California. March 27, 2020. California Air National Guard members helped deliver food to distribution centers.

ROA Susan Lukas, as co-chair of the The Military Coalition, Guard and Reserve Committee, worked with 20 other associations to send a letter to the President asking for Title 32 authority to activate National Guard members in support of COVID-19.  Title 32 authority will provide military medical care and service-connection if they become sick from the coronavirus while they are helping states cope with the pandemic.  They will also be able to earn retirement benefits which they cannot earn under State Active Duty authority.  Read more HERE
Update on COVID-19's impact on America's Army Reserve
Chief of Army Reserve Lt. Gen. Luckey reminds soldiers about the importance of social distancing and tackles the issue of canceled battle assemblies and retirement points.  Read more and see the video HERE.
Successful Call to Action on USPHS!!!
United States Public Health Service Modernization Act of 2019

After a few rough starts with the length of the Call to Action title being too long (lesson learned!), that hiccup in the road did not deter ROA members from writing to Congress asking them to includeThe U.S. Public Health Service Modernization Act, 
H.R. 4870/S. 2629, in the coronavirus CARES Act.
 
I am happy to say that
the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” or the “CARES Act” passed as H.R. 748, Public Law 116-136 and it included provision Sec. 3214. United States Public Health Service Modernization.  This means the U.S. Public Health Service will now be able to recruit and fill a Ready Reserve.
ROA Opinion: Employers must support Reserve and Guard who are helping in this crisis

The latest Op-Ed by ROA Executive Director Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips (Ret.) discusses the operational tempo of the Reserve Component and how employer support is needed in equal measure. Read more
HERE.

© Getty Images

Reserve Component Chiefs testify before House and Senate
Reserve Chiefs testify before the U.S. House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Defense March 3, in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cierra Presentado)

For two days, March 2-3, the Reserve and National Guard testified before the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, Subcommittees on Defense, about their budget request.

Both hearings along with their written testimony can be found on the House Subcommittee on Defense website and the Senate Subcommittee on Defense website.
Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief, National Guard Bureau.  (Photo By: Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill)

Chairman Visclosky opened the House subcommittee hearing stating, “This Subcommittee has provided the Reserve Component with significant resources through the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account – an appropriation which is not included in the President’s Budget Request, as well as additional funding for counter-drug operations, Humvee modernization, helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, and more.  We look forward to hearing about the importance of NGREA investment in the 54 state and territorial guard organizations.”

ROA appropriation legislation can be found in the updated 116th Second Session pamphlet which includes a statement urging Congress to not allow reprogramming from the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account...Get a copy of the pamphlet HERE.

Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry

At a recent Defense Health Agency conference call, ROA and other associations were briefed updated about the Department of Defense efforts to help service members and veterans register with the Department of Veterans Affairs Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry.  Here are the eligibility requirements:


Eligibility

  • VA determines eligibility for the registry based on deployment information from the Department of Defense (DoD). Service members and veterans who deployed to the Southwest Asia theater of operations on or after August 2, 1990, or in Afghanistan or Djibouti on or after September 11, 2001, may be eligible to sign up for the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry.
  • These regions include the following countries, bodies of water, and the airspace above these locations: Afghanistan; Bahrain; Djibouti; Gulf of Aden; Gulf of Oman; Iraq; Kuwait; Oman; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; United Arab Emirates; and waters of the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, and Red Sea.

To find out more about the registry read more HERE.

While activations for overseas contingency operations have been going down for several weeks there has been an increase in activations for the Reserve and National Guard to help states cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The states initially activated the National Guard under a state authority called State Active Duty.  On Friday, March 28, 2020, Secretary Esper released information on how states can work with DoD to active National Guard under the federal authority of Title 32.  This will relieve some pressure off state funded active duty.  Read more HERE.
ROA Department of Illinois recruits nearly 300 new ROTC cadet members

ROA Department of Illinois retired Army Reserve Col. Mike Peck takes recruiter of the year award (informally, at least), with his recruitment of nearly 300 ROTC cadets into ROA’s ranks.  ROA is now working with the military to ensure cadets with canceled or postponed training are fully and promptly informed, which has not occurred as smoothly as we would have expected. READ MORE & MEET THESE NEW ROA MEMBERS >
DOD's Military OneSource, Family Readiness, Spouse Programs Available During COVID-19

Resources and services offered through Military OneSource, the Military and Family Life Counseling program, and the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program will continue to serve the military community during the coronavirus outbreak.  Read more
HERE.
Let the Exchange Do the Shopping with Buy Online, Pick Up in Store

“Buy Online, Pick Up in Store adds convenience and saves shoppers time at no extra cost,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Luis Reyes, Exchange senior enlisted advisor.  Read more HERE.
VA expands virtual services to support Veterans amid regional office closures due to COVID-19 pandemic

WASHINGTON– Veterans continue to receive benefits and services after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) temporarily closed its 56 regional offices to the public, March 19, in response to COVID- 19.
 
“The decision to close our offices to the general public, is part of the VA’s effort to limit exposure to vulnerable populations like our older Veterans and those with underlying medical conditions, as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “VA is expanding existing technologies to remain accessible to Veterans, service members and their families.” Read the full release HERE >

For further information about how VA is responding to COVID, visitCoronavirus FAQs page or read VA's public health response
.
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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 13 new Law Reviews have been posted. The latest six are linked below. Please visit ROA’s Law Center webpage to access all of the more than 1200 ROA Law Reviews available online.

No. 20028 Am I Eligible To Vote for all Offices, or Just Federal?
No. 20029 NDAA 2020 Amended the SCRA regarding Class Action Lawsuits
No. 20030 Right to Paid and Unpaid Military Leave for State and Local Government Employees in Massachusetts
No. 20031 Sergeant Major Erickson’s Long Struggle with the USPS May Be Finally Coming to an End
No. 20032 Enforcement Procedure for Federal Employee USERRA Complaints
No. 20033 A Military Retiree Must Wait at least 180 Days after Retirement To Start a new DOD Civilian Job
To publish your reunion notice in Reserve Voice, email jphillips@roa.org or send by mail to
ROA Reunion Notice
1 Constitution Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002

National 4th Infantry (IVY) Division Association
Dates:  22-28 June, 2020
Hotel Elegante Conference & Event Center
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Hotel PH: 719-576-5900
Info, Registration: www.4thinfantry.org

USS Taylor (DD/DDE-468) Reunion
Date: 27-31 August, 2020
Location: Hershey – Harrisburg, PA
POC: James G. O’Neill, 14200 Hollows Drive,
Montpelier, VA 23192 • ph: 804-212-8911
Email: oneillfalm@aol.com

USS Hornet (CV-8, CV, CVA, CVS-12), 72nd Reunion
All Ship's Company, Officers, Air Groups, Crew, Marines & Families
Date: Sept. 16-20, 2020 • Location: Buffalo, NY;
POC: Sandy Burket, email: hornetcva@aol.com
PO Box 108, Roaring Spring, PA 16673-9817
Phone: (814) 224-5063, cell: (814) 312-4976

USS Abnaki ATF96 Reunion
Date: 27-30 September, 2020, San Antonio, TX
Staybridge Suites Downtown Conv
POC: Steven Andersland  PH: 210-410-1820
Email: sandersland@outlook.com

USS Yellowstone AD 27 Reunion
Dates: 21-23 September, 2020
Location: Westgate Branson Woods Resort, Branson, MO
POC: Karen A. Bowen • 603-948-2821
30 Briar Drive, Rochester, NH 03867
Email: pkbowen@atlanticbb.net

USS Ranger CV/CVA-61 31st Annual Reunion
All former crew members
Dates: 30 September – 3 October, 2020
Location: Sheraton Norfolk Waterside
777 Waterside Dr., Norfolk, VA
POC: Tom Ballinger, Sec/Treas.  210-403-3302
(Photo: Arlington National Cemetery)

During February 2020, ROA was notified of 97 of our ROA comrades passing 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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Reserve Organization of America
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