ROA Convention Hotel Group Rate Expires 9 July!
Going to the ROA National Convention? The discount group rate expires July 9. Go online now and make your reservation to enjoy the group rate of only $199/night.
When you arrive at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park, you’ll find a charming neighborhood in the heart of Washington, DC, with amazing restaurants and quaint shops. Close by are the funky stores and ethnic cuisine of Adams Morgan or the night life of Dupont Circle. Head north to the National Zoo. Or venture into the hotel’s natural surroundings to enjoy a quiet hike or invigorating run through Rock Creek Park. With a Metro stop just outside the doors and area airports close by, it’s a premier city destination just two Metro stops from everything DC has to offer.
Make plans now to attend the annual convention of YOUR association. Highlighted events include the induction of Honorable Chuck Hagel, former Secretary of Defense, into the ROA Minuteman Hall of Fame; presentation of the Twice the Citizen award to the Honorable Richard O. Wightman, Jr, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Reserve Affairs); a panel of reserve chiefs answering your questions; a State of the Association briefing by Jeff Phillips, ROA executive director; and much more!
Register now and save $100 by taking advantage of the advance registration prices. Click here for more information.
Dates: July 26-29, 2015
Location: Marriott Wardman Park
2660 Woodley Road, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Hotel: Room Rate is $199 plus 14.5% tax
• ROA Registration – $475 advance / $575 onsite
• ROAL Registration – $375
• Memorial Breakfast – $50
• Guest Ticket: Welcome Reception – $85
• Guest Ticket: President’s Reception – $115
> More information and online Registration
2015 ROA Convention awardees
(Above) Acting Asst Secretary of Defense Richard O. Wightman, Jr., Twice the Citizen award. (Right) Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Minuteman Hall of Fame
Exclusive: To be unveiled at ROA’s convention 27 July: the newest addition to the USAF art program, “Deterrence on Demand,” by AF Reservist historian/artist Maj Warren Neary, depicts 307th Bomb Wing airmen ramping up a nuclear exercise mission at Barksdale AFB. USAF Vice Chief of Staff General Larry O. Spencer may attend the ceremony hosted by USAFR Chief Lt. Gen. James “JJ” Jackson. Among invitees for the unveiling, which will be made before the general assembly are veterans of the WWII 307th Bombardment Group.
RSVPs as of 7 July for ROA convention service section meetings:
- Mr. Raymond “Fred” Rees, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower & Reserve Affairs) for Training, Readiness and Mobilization, Office of the Secretary of the Army, Washington, D.C.
- Maj. Gen. Glenn Lesniak, Deputy Chief, Army Reserve; or Maj. Gen. Lois Visot, Chief of Staff, United States Army Reserve; representing Chief of Army Reserve Jeffrey Talley.
- Command Sgt. Maj. Luther Thomas, Jr., Command Sergeant Major of the Army Reserve.
- Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, Director, Air National Guard, will represent General Frank Grass.
- Chief Master Sgt. Mitchell O. Brush, National Guard Bureau Senior Enlisted Advisor, invited.
- Vice Adm. Robin Braun, Chief of Navy Reserve, sending a senior representative.
- Navy Reserve Force Master Chief CJ Mitchell, invited.
- Lt. Gen. Richard P. Mills, commander of the Marine Forces Reserve, invited.
- Sgt. Maj. Anthony A. Spadaro, Sergeant Major, Marine Forces Reserve, invited.
- Lt. Gen. James “JJ” Jackson, Chief of the Air Force Reserve, confirmed.
- Chief Master Sergeant Cameron B. Kirksey, Command Chief Master Sergeant, USAFR, confirmed.
- Rear Adm. Kurt Hinrichs, Director, USCG Reserve and Military Personnel, confirmed.
- Force Master Chief Eric L. Johnson, USCGR Force Master Chief, invited.
FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act Update
The House and Senate returned from July 4th recess vowing to complete their bill by the end of July 2016. Bringing the bill to closure requires “conferencing” to reconcile those provisions where there are differences between the House (H.R. 1735) and Senate (S. 1376) bills. ROA will be working with the Armed Services Committees over the next few weeks to draw attention to the provisions that provide the best position for the Reserve Component. The ROA conference letter to the committees will include the following:
- Retirement government contributions to servicemembers with over 20 years instead of ending at the 20th year. ROA also supports continuation pay being provided anytime during 8-16 years of service versus only at the 12th year of service.
- C-130 funding for personnel and operations at the current installation if aircraft are not moved as had previously been planned.
- SBP-IDT payments at the same rate as active duty which provides support for surviving families at a livable rate.
Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2016 Update
The House and Senate Appropriation Committees are still working their way through federal appropriations but have passed the DoD budget allowing them to begin conferencing the House (H.R. 2685) and Senate (S. 1558) differences. ROA will be engaged with the committees on the following issues:
- Full funding for the Personnel and Operations and Maintenance accounts for the Guard and Reserve.
- Continued funding for equipment under the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account.
- A-10 funding for personnel and operations if the aircraft remain in the service inventory (which ROA supports).
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Ash Carter briefing the NMS at the Pentagon, July 1. DoD photo
The National Military Strategy of the United States of America 2015 was released at the end of June. “Today’s global security environment is the most unpredictable I have seen in 40 years of service,” wrote Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey in the foreword. “Since the last National Military Strategy was published in 2011, global disorder has significantly increased while some of our comparative military advantage has begun to erode.” Challenges include anti-access/area denial (A2/AD), space, cyber and hybrid threats. The Reserve chiefs agree the Reserve Component flexibility and capabilities are well suited to meet these challenges, which is why ROA is concerned that the future role of the Guard and Reserve is not clearly defined. ROA will do a more in-depth analysis of NMS implications for the nation’s reserves. We will ensure ROA continues voicing their concerns and, when appropriate, including recommendations to DoD for use of the Reserve Components.
Recently the Department of Veterans Affairs published regulations that would allow disability coverage with C-123 aircrews for Agent Orange and this has given new hope to the “Blue Water” Vietnam Veterans. These servicemembers were exposed when the rain washed Agent Orange through water tributaries to the South China Sea and ships turned sea water into potable water for showers, shaving, cooking, coffee, laundry and dishwashing. Senator Gillibrand sponsored S. 681 the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2015, legislation that would extend medical disability to the “Blue Water” veterans if they served within 12 miles of Vietnam’s shoreline. ROA testified in support of this legislation.
Note: ROA learned that VA provided the wrong number for their C-123 help line. The correct number is (800) 749-8387. The number on their website is correct.
ROA responds to a critic:
One ROA member, a retired lieutenant colonel, wrote us opposing ROA’s legislative initiative to change the requirement for “veteran status” (for purposes of federal hiring preferences) from 180 consecutive days on active duty to 180 cumulative days: “Also your wimp attitude that every reservist is now a Veteran is demeaning to the word Veteran.”
We think anyone who has “stepped up,” undergone the rigors of initial training and honorably performed some active duty serving his or her nation -- inherently at risk, which is the actual or potential reality for servicemembers — has earned the right to be known as a veteran. With its inherent orientation on the active component, the law requires 180 consecutive active duty days for veteran status. Given the different nature of RC service – often shorter active duty tours – the reservist should be able to fulfill the requirement in a way that fits the reality of RC service: a cumulative 180 days.
The pace of strategic change and technological innovation are moving so fast that incremental changes to old concepts will not serve the Army of the future. Understanding and responding to the nature and character of future ground warfare is a top Army priority. Future ground warfare will feature enemies with much greater firepower. Guided munitions and advanced weaponry will be more readily available to a variety of forces -- state and non-state (just today we read of the theft from a French military site of 200 detonators and large amounts of explosives). DoD and the Army are responding in a number of ways but two initiatives are reflective of the major effort to prepare our ground forces for the future: the Defense Innovation Initiative (DII) and the Army Operating Concept (AOC).
Pace of Change Demands New Concepts
The DII focuses on things needed to ensure (1) technical and operational excellence,(2) attracting personnel with great talent, and (3) assuring accountability and efficiency in DoD operations and acquisition policy.
The Army Operating Concept: Win in a Complex World presents a vision of future conflict that drives how the Army must change to ensure future forces are prepared to prevent, shape the security environment and win wars. It provides an intellectual framework for learning and for applying what is learned to future force development under Force 2025 and Beyond. The concept highlights that the future operational environment is not only unknown but unknowable and constantly changing. It emphasizes that Army forces must provide the Joint Force with multiple options, integrate the efforts of multiple partners, operate across multiple domains, and present our enemies with multiple dilemmas.
“While the concept underscores the foundational capabilities the Army needs to prevent wars and shape security environments, it also recognizes that to deter enemies, reassure allies, and influence neutrals the Army must conduct sophisticated expeditionary maneuver and joint combined arms operations,” writes Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno in the AOC foreword. “. . . Conflicts in the future, like those in the past, will ultimately be resolved on land. . . . Army forces will be essential components of joint operations to create sustainable political outcomes while defeating enemies and adversaries who will challenge U.S. advantages in all domains: land, air, maritime, space, and cyberspace. Joint operations are critical to cope with such complexity, and the Army's contribution must provide unique capabilities and multiple options to the President, Secretary of Defense, and Combatant Commanders. These capabilities include tailorable and scalable combinations of special operations and conventional forces, regionally aligned and globally responsive combined arms teams, and foundational theater capabilities to enable joint operations. To do this, innovation is critical, both for the operational and the institutional Army, and the AOC is a beginning point for the innovation we need to ensure that our Soldiers, leaders, and teams are prepared to win in a complex world.”
The Army is focusing efforts in a "Campaign of Learning" under Force 2025 Maneuvers and addressing 20 Army war fighting challenges identified in the AOC. It is imperative that the Army adapt to the future joint operating environment and the AOC is key to that success.
Why the U.S. Navy Is Offering New Moms the Same Perks as Google Employees
—(From Takepart, by Jennifer Swann, July 7, 2015)
The employer offering one of the nation's most generous paid maternity leaves is not who you might expect. Moms who work at Facebook and Google enjoy 18 weeks of paid time off with their newborns, and now, women serving in the U.S Navy and Marine Corps are entitled to the same benefit.
The Department of the Navy announced last week that it has tripled the length of paid maternity leave—from six to 18 weeks—that a new mom is entitled to take, either consecutively or at separate times, during the first year of her child's life.
Meanwhile, women serving in the U.S. Air Force, Army, or Coast Guard are only entitled to the standard six-week paid maternal leave, which is still fairly progressive considering that just 12 percent of U.S. workers are offered paid family leave through their private employer, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The United States is the only developed country that doesn't guarantee cash benefits to women during maternity leave.
"We have incredibly talented women who want to serve, and they also want to be mothers and have the time to fulfill that important role the right way. We can do that for them," Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said in a press statement. "Meaningful maternity leave when it matters most is one of the best ways that we can support the women who serve our country."
The new policy appears to be a result of Mabus' aggressive push toward recruiting and retaining more women in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. He made those intentions clear in a speech at the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in September 2014, when he said that the percentage of women in the Navy and Marine Corps—about 18 and 8 percent, respectively—was too low, Reuters reported at the time.
The Navy aims to boost its number of women to 25 percent. It's an ambitious goal but not unimaginable under the leadership of Michelle Howard, who was named Vice Chief of Naval Operations last year and has had her fair share of historic military achievements: She was the first woman to become a four-star admiral in 2014 and the first African American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship in 1999.
So, Why Should You Care? The Navy's new policy comes about six months after President Barack Obama pushed Congress to provide federal employees at least six weeks of paid parental leave, which has been linked to improvements in employee morale, family income, and employee retention, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research. All of those factors end up reducing costs for employers.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki attested to that in a Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this year. She noted that when her previous employer, Google, increased paid maternity leave from 12 to 18 weeks in 2007, the rate at which new moms left the company fell by 50 percent. The U.S. Navy might seem like the farthest thing from Silicon Valley, but it is placing a similar bet: that progressive, family-oriented policies will help attract and retain female employees.
Air Force Update
Air Force to rely on reserve to help stand up F-35
—(from Air Force Times, July 7)
The Air Force plans to turn to the Air Force Reserve for manpower to bring the F-35 online after Congress blocked the service's attempt to free up maintainers through retirement of the A-10, the head of Air Force Reserve Command said Tuesday.
"The active duty has a pretty significant shortage in maintainers, and keeping the A-10 means that those maintainers will have to stay with those [units] and not be able to retrain," Lt. Gen. James Jackson said at an Air Force Association speech in Arlington, Virginia.
The proposal is included in the Air Force's fiscal 2017 program objective memorandum, which outlines how the service plans to spend its resources over the next five years, Jackson said.
Reservists will be turning the wrenches on the new stealth fighter at the first operational F-35 unit at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, at training units at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, and at test units at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
The main reserve F-36 unit at Hill, the 419th Fighter Wing, will help stand up the F-35 "with a larger portion of maintenance than we've had in the past," Jackson said.
The numbers will first come from the fiscal 2016 plan, in which the Air Force approved 2,100 more reserve positions. Many of those spots are going to F-35 personnel, along with more positions in cyber and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
The service has said it needs 1,100 trained maintainers to have the F-35 meet its initial operating capability deadline in summer 2016. As of June 10, the F-35 maintainer schoolhouse at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, had trained 691 maintenance personnel. The service has also been able to move 18 A-10s to backup status, freeing up another 150 personnel. The remainder will have to come from other areas, such as the Air Force Reserve.
Jackson said the initial cadre of maintainers will likely be more experienced, 5- to 7-level airmen, mostly trained on other fighter aircraft. The largest demand is in the avionics career field, and training time is shorter for avionics airmen coming from aircraft such as the A-10 and F-16 than from mobility aircraft like a C-130 or C-17.
The reserve has been recruiting airmen from the active duty, with 58 percent of airmen in its ranks coming from active-duty service, Jackson said.
The number of reserve maintainers heading to the F-35 have not been released, because the fiscal 2017 POM has not been released. However, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh have said the service has gotten too small, and they would like to see increases in the number of airmen on active duty and in the reserve.
Reservist second at Armed Forces Triathlon Championship
By Tech. Sgt. Shane Ellis, 315th Airlift Wing / Published July 06, 2015
JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. — Maj. Jamie Turner, a Reservist at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, continued her world-class triathlete success as the second female to cross the finish line at the Armed Forces Triathlon Championship in Hammond, Indiana, June 7.
Turner’s accomplishments in her last five races solidified her spot as one of six Airmen selected to compete on the U.S. Air Force women’s triathlon team, which finished second in the team competition.
Twice a member of the U.S. Air Force team at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, Turner, a C-17 pilot with the 317th Airlift Squadron, has competed as a member of the USAF team for a total of five races. She is no stranger to triathlete competition – and the training it takes to compete at the highest level.
The Armed Forces Triathlon Championship race consisted of a 1,500 meter swim, a 40K bike and a 10K Run. Drafting on the bike was legal in this particular triathlon, and Turner wanted to come out of the water fast to increase her chances of staying up front during the race.
That would not be the case for Turner coming out of the water.
“Coming out of the water with the lead pack makes for a much easier race,” said Turner. “Even though I was able to decrease my swim time by five minutes, I was still over four minutes behind the lead girls when I came out of the water. It was very demoralizing and there were only two bikes left in transition.”
Turner initially biked with two Canadian girls she came out of the water with, but she was riding high on adrenaline and knew that she could bike faster – and potentially catch the next group of girls. According to Turner, leaving the two girls was a risky decision. She would have to ride harder and take the chance of exhausting her legs. After carefully considering her options, Turner decided to ride solo as fast as she could in an all-out effort to get closer to the leaders.
To make things even harder, a thunderstorm rolled in on her last bike lap. The storm brought torrential rain, lightning and a wind shift that turned a tailwind into a headwind.
“I tried to ignore this [the storm] as much as possible and focus on my goal of pedaling as fast as I could,” said Turner. “I couldn’t see anyone in front of or behind me, and all of the spectators and volunteers had taken shelter from the storm.”
The only benefit from the storm came from the cooler temperatures Turner felt transitioning from the bike to the 10K run. The course was now flooded and extreme winds remained.
A major turning point in the race came when Turner was about one half of a mile into the run, and she saw another runner in the distance.
“A big part of racing for me is the mental challenge,” she said. “I have a high pain threshold, and I am able to mentally push myself harder than my body ultimately trains.”
Every time Turner wanted to slow down she would see another athlete in the far distance – and they became her new target.
At the five and one half mile mark, Turner saw her coach who told her she was currently in second place.
“I couldn’t believe I had gone from almost last out of the water to second place,” said Turner. “I had my goal in sight, and I wasn’t going to slow down.”
Despite the downpour, Turner said she was euphoric crossing the finish line and finding out that the U.S. Air Force women’s triathlon team would be taking home second place.
“I gave it all I had and it paid off for a race that meant so much to me,” she said.
Despite the challenges faced during the race, Turner wasn’t finished after she crossed the finish line.
“I had a lot of residual adrenaline so I went back to run with the rest of the girls on my team,” she said. “I really enjoy motivating others, and I wanted to motivate my team to give it their all until the end.”
Turner ended the race in a good place. Her second place finish automatically qualified her as one of six athletes to compete on the women’s team at the Military World Games in Mungyeong, South Korea, Oct. 2-11, 2015.
Every four years the International Military Sports Council (CISM) hosts more than 6,000 athletes from more than 110 countries at the Military World Games. Since Turner is over the age of 35 she also qualified in the masters division, which adds two additional athletes to the team who are 35 years old or older.
Turner said she is very proud to represent the U.S. Air Force at this championship, and she looks forward to representing the United States at the CISM games in Korea.
Not bad for an Airman who didn’t pass her first physical fitness test at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
ROA’s Department of DC made the inaugural Pershing’s Pride sponsorship, providing national headquarters with a new Old Glory to replace the elements-worn flag that has flown proudly over the Minuteman Building and will now be retired. The new U.S. flag was bought by the department from the American Legion’s Emblem Sales service. Under the Pershing’s Pride initiative, ROA members, departments, chapters and/or coalitions may support materiel requirements of national headquarters or other departments on a collaborative basis.
Right: Department of DC Secretary Susan Lukas hoisting new Old Glory provided by her department to ROA HQ under “Pershing’s Pride.”
"A Special Thank You and Alert"
To all of you who so very generously supported our recent ROA Sustaining Membership appeal, I want to say a very enthusiastic THANK YOU!
Your support could not have come at a more critical moment. With the United States facing a growing number of threats around the world, it is more important than ever that our Reservists receive the funding and support they need. That is why it is critical for ROA to advocate and aggressively work on behalf of every Reservist, past, present and future. Also, I am pleased to report to you that the response to the initial Sustaining Membership appeal has been strong. In the past several days many of you will have received a follow-up to that appeal. If you responded to the first appeal, please view this reminder as evidence of how important your support is to ROA's current efforts. Also, I hope that as you reflect on the state of our national defenses and the need for ROA to reinvigorate our strong voice for the Reserves you will consider a second contribution. Again, I want to thank you for your generous support and I promise to keep you updated on our actions on Capitol Hill and throughout Washington in the days and weeks ahead. –Jeff Phillips, Executive Director
Outfit: USS Elokomin
Reunion Date: September 24-27, 2015
Location: Cleveland OH
Robert O’Sullivan, Theeloman@verizon.net
Ron Finet, Finet@hotmail.com
Outfit: USS Bon Homme Richard (CV/CVA-31)
Reunion Date: September 15-19, 2015
Location: San Antonio, TX
Contacts: Frank Pulliam 417-684-1358
Outfit: 12th TFW
(MacDill AFB and Vietnam), 12th FEW/SFW
AFB and Korea) and all their supporting units
Reunion Date: April 20-24, 2016
Location: Charleston, SC
Contacts: E.J. Sherwood firstname.lastname@example.org
Legal analysis on the issues impacting your life in and out of uniform
While ROA regretfully eliminated the full-time position of Service Member’s Law Center director, retired USNR Capt. Sam Wright has generously agreed to provide periodic law review updates and assistance on a voluntary basis while ROA develops an alternative SMLC solution.
Visit the Service Members Law Center
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