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ReserveVoice: December 30, 2016

Legislative Update

Reserve Forces Policy Board Highlights Concerns

The Reserve Forces Policy Board just completed publication of “Improving the “Total Force using the National Guard and Reserves” on Reserve Force issues for the presidential transition team.  The report includes 14 recommendations:
  1. Emphasize the Total Force Policy
  2. Formalize the Operational Reserve
  3. Increase Active Component/Reserve Component Integration
  4. Establish Department of Defense Policy for Computing Personnel Costs
  5. Enact Reserve Component Duty Status Reform
  6. Enact Reserve Component Survivor Benefit parity
  7. Allow Reservists to Accrue Post-9/11 Benefits while on Medical Hold
  8. Integrate the Reserve Component into the Force of the Future
  9. Maintain Reserve Component Readiness
  10. Include the Reserve Component in Cyber Mission Force Requirements
  11. Implement Individual Ready Reserve Management Reforms
  12. Transition Service Members at Home of Record Reserve Component Sites
  13. Minimize Installation and Infrastructure Duplication
  14. Retain Adequate Reserve Component General Officer/Flag Office Structure and Grade
It is hard to imagine that we still need to advocate for issues #1, #2, #3, and #8 based on the performance of the Guard and Reserve in the current war.  Issue #4 to establish a standard for computing personnel costs is long overdue; it would help determine where resources are needed.  The ROA legislative agenda for the 115th Congress will include issues #5, #7, #9, and #10.  Congress passed legislation that fixed issue #6.  Issue #11 to reform the Individual Ready Reserve may be how the services gain additional personnel in response to cuts to end strength.  For issues #13 the RFPB recommends the services consolidate sites and build joint reserve centers.  While ROA does not have a resolution on this specific issue the association supports additional funding for military construction.  Finally, issue #14 is a result of changes in the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act to the Guard and Reserve senior leader positions that ROA did not support.  ROA will advocate for reinstatement of the grade levels of our senior leaders and that these positions should be filled by Guard and Reserve leaders.

Requesting Your 2016 Year-end Support

Fellow ROA member:
As 2016 closes, we make our final request to ROA’s supporters for your annual support gift, which is fully tax deductible from your 2016 IRS return if submitted by Dec. 31.
We count you among ROA’s valued supporters; you are part of a great organization that has represented members of the Reserve Components for nearly a century. Your support makes a difference and continues to enable ROA to be the leading national voice on behalf of these patriots.  If you have previously given in 2016, we thank you!  >READ MORE

Army Update

The Reserve Policy Board Fellows Society Awards LTG Kicklighter and Kuwait Task Force

The Reserve Forces Policy Board (RFPB) Fellows Society conducted their annual awards ceremony where they honored units and individuals they feel have performed excellently in contributing to the nation’s security.
This year, two of the recipients were from the Army. One was Lieutenant General Claude Kicklighter, who received the Citizen Patriot Individual Award. The RFPB Fellows Society recognized LTG Kicklighter’s exceptional 36 years of Active duty service where he “worked closely with the Reserve Components and Reserve veterans associated with his various commands and positions.” The Society noted his understanding of the “mission, requirements, needs, and excellence” of the reserve forces which helped make him such a tremendous commander and beloved by those who served underneath him.
In a rare occasion, the RPB Fellows Society bestowed the Distinctive Service Award to the Kuwait Task Force (KWT) in honor of their 25th anniversary of service. One of those recognized included ROA’s own Army Service Director Bob Feidler who served as a legal officer and advised on rebuilding the justice system. The Society emphasized the professionalism and experience the Reservists demonstrated in assisting the Kuwait’s restoration both during and after Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The KWT’s critical civil affair skills ensured the U.S. did not need to occupy Kuwait for an extended period of time and enabled for relatively smooth governmental transition back to Kuwait.  

President-elect Donald Trump Selects Businessman and Former Army Reservist Vinnie Viola as Army Secretary

President-elect Donald Trump announced he would nominate Vinnie Viola, a former Army infantry officer and billionaire businessman as the Secretary of the Army.

Viola is the founder of Virtu Financial, a high-frequency trading company. He graduated from West Point in 1977 and went on to serve in the 101st Airborne Division. He ended his active duty, but remained in the Army Reserve, where he became a major. In 2003, Viola founded West Point’s Combatting Terrorism Center.

This early, it’s impossible to predict in what direction Viola will take the Army during his tenure (if he is confirmed, which is highly likely). Viola did mention in his acceptance remarks that he will be committed to “ensuring that American soldiers have the ways and means to fight and win across the full spectrum of conflict.” The comments reflect a general desire by the incoming Trump administration to lift the budget caps to increase Army troop levels and buy more equipment. Viola has also indicated in past statements his desire for the Army to be a more innovative, which may herald greater emphasis in cybersecurity.

Regardless, ROA is committed to working with the incoming Secretary of the Army and we look forward to helping him ensure the Army Guard and Reserve forces are well-prepared to face the national security challenges confronting the next administration.

Army Continues to Pursue Prioritized Modernization, “Big 6 +1”

 The Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) outlined major Army procurement and modernization priorities to industrial leaders at the Army’s Capabilities Information Exchange with industry. The six big priorities are:
  1. Future Vertical Lift (A replacement for the Army’s current family of aging helicopters)
  2. Combat vehicles
  3. Cross Domain Fires (weapons that can strike targets not just on land, but also in the air or at sea)
  4. Advanced protection
  5. Expeditionary mission command, cyber and electronic warfare
  6. Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS)
The plus one refers to “Soldier and Team, Performance and Overmatch” which applies across the equipment accounts.
The Army aims to focus its procurement funds on these main areas to maintain area dominance and not too spread itself too thinly while budgets remain tight. Outlining these modernization priorities to industry leaders is the Army’s effort to signal to the industry what they will need in the coming decades and ensure they can keep pace with advancing technology.
The question remains what the spending priorities will be for the Republican-led 115th Congress and the incoming Trump administration. President-elect Trump has signaled a desire for more military spending, but that may focus more on conventional military means (his remarks about the need for a renovated nuclear arsenal notwithstanding). It remains to be seen (1) if more military spending will occur and (2) if it does, whether the Army can use it to bolster its modernization or if it will be used for replacing aging legacy systems.

ROA farewells Lt. Col. Duane “Duke” Richards

Lt. Col. Duane James Richards, USAR (Ret.), of Fayetteville, Ga., died on December 27, 2016.  He was born on October 2, 1950, in New Castle, Pa., to JoAnn and Robert Richards.
Colonel Richards proudly served his country for 40 years, retiring from the U.S. Army Reserve.  His lifelong influence as an admired comrade and leader in the Reserve Officers Association of the United States culminated in his service as Chairman, Department National Council Members.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his son, Patrick, and is survived by his wife, Mary Ann (Prokop) Richards; son, Darrin F. Richards; siblings: Deborah J. (Gary) Scheib; Daniel J. (Nancy) Richards; Denise J. (Richard) Burgett; and Reed R. (Kim) Richards; and several nieces and nephews.
The funeral service was held at 11:00 AM on December 30 near the Richards home, at the Chapel of Mowell Funeral Home, Fayetteville, Georgia.  ROA Chaplain Sherman Reed officiated and ROA President Col. James R. Sweeney II, USMC (Ret.) attended.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Reserve Officers Association, 1 Constitution Avenue, NE, Washington, D.C. 20002, and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center,
From a letter to the Richards family from Colonel Sweeney and ROA Executive Director Jeffrey Phillips:
“ ‘Duke’, as we called him in respectful affection and admiration, was more than “twice the citizen”: he served his country in uniform, served his family in fidelity and selfless love, served his community as a gentleman and good neighbor, and served his Reserve Officers Association of the United States as a dedicated and productive leader.
Colonel Richards was a man of action and heart to accompany that action.  He cared for ROA at every level of its existence, for the individual member, the state departments and chapters, and the effectiveness of ROA at the national level in the Capitol region; he believed in our founding purpose with the heart of a lion and the spirit of a patriot.
Duke Richards will be sadly missed by us all. While we will have to look hard to find his equal, we will not have to look hard to find his influence, for it is now wed with the influence of our founders and will endure for the good of America.”

Naval Services

Navy Reserve:

Reserve Component Implications of A 350 Ship Navy

Sailors assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 4 get underway on a Mark VI Patrol Boat during weapons exercise Oct. 28, 2016. CRS-4 is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of Commander, Task Group (CTG) 56.7.  (U.S. Navy Combat Camera photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Hoskins)

A month ago I explained some of the macro-level points of friction to attaining a ship inventory of 350(ish) ships.  Let’s now consider how the Navy might actually be able to achieve that objective – and what that might mean for the Navy Reserve
First we need to establish our vantage – what do we intend to do with our Navy?  For the purposes of my discussion – and I think it is a solid assumption in any discussion – we’ll assume Non-state actors will be the primary focus of the US security efforts, even as near-peer competitors like Russia, China, and North Korea continue to command our attention.  While the Navy will continue to be employed in dealing with non-state actors and near-peer competitors… the nature of the involvement will be different.
It is easy to understand that the “hot” or “hard power” side of conflict will remain centered on the non-state threat, and the diplomatic – that is “soft power” side will remain the primary engagement choice in dealing with near-peers.  After all, nobody wants to get into a conventional war with countries unless there is a coalition of willing partners – and that will be almost impossible to find when considering the economic implications of such a choice vis a vis Russia and China.
So, back to those 350 ships.  In short, employing a COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf) solution to purchase smaller and less expensive ships is an acquisition strategy the US Navy has employed since its inception.  In our current global security environment, it has an added up-side of increasing agility and operational relevance in the brown-water operational areas. 
And the Reserve implications – well, where will the crews come from?  Manning is down on the existing fleet.  There are already gapped billets out at sea.  End-strength is expensive – even more so than hardware acquisition.  So, more fully operationalizing the RC is a solution that leverages experience and expertise already purchased by the Navy, it provides an operational option for the Navy contingents that have for a decade been so deeply involved in executing Army mission sets, and it does so in a manner that can be periodic, predictable, and planned (the hallmarks of a successful RC employment strategy).
Berube and Tempest have authored a solid thought piece titled “Trump’s Gunboats” about this on the National Interest website.  I recommend you spend some time digesting it.
And, in the meantime, at least we’ll have decent uniforms . . .

Navy Operational Support Center San Jose wins 2016 Navy Reserve Family Readiness Award

A Navy Reserve unit with which ROA has had a strong supportive relationship has won a prestigious Defense award the “recognizes the top unit in each Reserve Component, demonstrating excellence in family readiness and its important contributions to mission readiness.”
ROA Golden West Chapter 63 and NOSC San Jose participated in two 2015 events in CY 2015. NOSC San Jose was also featured in the Winter 2016 ROA Officer Magazine, "ROA Joins Navy and Marine Corps Tribute to Chattanooga Victims."
The article featured NOSC San Jose Commanding Officer Cmdr. Amy Hunt’s assessment of the threat. In her letter announcing the award, she cites ROA:
“I hope this finds you all in good health and enjoying the holiday season.  I'm writing to share the good news that NOSC San Jose was selected by Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command as the 2016 winner of the Navy Reserve Family Readiness Award!  This prestigious award recognizes the top Navy Reserve command for their efforts in engaging with Sailors, families, and the community.  As part of our award submission, we featured the special relationship that NOSC San Jose has enjoyed with our veteran and support organizations including MOAA, ROA, Navy League, the Moffett Field Historical Society, the Cost of Courage Foundation, Operation Care and Comfort and other Bay Area organizations. 

So on behalf of NOSC San Jose, I just want to say THANK YOU for being a part of our "Navy Family".  Wishing you all much happiness and success in 2017!”
ROA congratulates Commander Hunt and her Navy Reserve sailors; we will be on hand to add our applause at the award ceremony February 24, in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes.
> Read the official Navy orders for the award:

Marine Corps Reserve:

Upstate New York gets new USMCR Reserve Training Center

Members of Bravo Company, Eighth Tank Battalion of the Marine Corps Reserve make their way towards the improvised explosive device (IED) exercise for reservists at the Marine Corps Reserve Center in Mattydale in this 2005 file photo. The old training center will be demolished and rebuilt as part of a $13.2 million project. (John Berry | The Post-Standard)

Senators Gillibrand and Schumer from New York have successfully championed to identify $13.2M of funding in support of a much-needed infrastructure improvement.  The center will replace an existing center in Syracuse. > READ MORE

Air Force Update

Air Force Surprises Army

Staff Sgt. Kurtis Crawford (center right) and Senior Airman Tyler McPhail (right), both assigned to the 512th Airlift Control Flight, Dover Air Force Base, Del., Also pictured are two active-duty Airmen who graduated in the same class; they are Staff Sgt. Phillip Zakarain, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., and Senior Airman Carlos Mendez, MacDill AFB, Fla. 

Air Force Reservists completed the Army Air Assault School for air mobile operations to qualify as inspectors.  “The [Soldiers] were surprised to learn how much we did as reservists,” said McPhail.  “They had in their minds the classic ‘one weekend a month, two weeks a year’.”

Citizen Patriot Unit Award

The Reserve Forces Policy Board Fellows Society gave out their annual Citizen Patriot Unit Award to the 200th RED HORSE Squadron of the Ohio Air National Guard.

The RFPB Fellows Society noted the various successful missions the squadron had undertaken over its forty year history including combat, natural disaster recovery and relief missions. Given the consistent high-level performance in a variety of missions, the Society wanted to honor their outstanding achievement.
 Colonel Andrew Stephan was present to accept the award on behalf of his unit.

Military Families

Blue Star Families has released its annual survey results documenting the top concerns of active duty and veteran members and their families. Some of the top concerns for both active duty members and their spouses was military pay/benefits, retirement compensation, and the impact of increased deployment on family dynamics.
There is a general concern about increased operation tempo, which results in greater stress on military spouses and their children. For the first time in the survey’s history, active duty members listed the impact of frequent deployment on their children as one of their top concern, one that has consistently been one for military spouses. Overall, the report concluded, military families are struggling to adapt to a model that was predicated on military spouses subsuming their career and social needs for their active-duty counterpart and one ill-suited for a high operating tempo to counter low-intensity, but consistent threats.

Did you know that TRICARE offers free publications that explain your TRICARE benefit? Check out the new publications at

Book Review

ROA member’s first novel The Devil Dragon Pilot is aces high!

Reviewed by Jeff Phillips, ROA executive director
In his first novel, The Devil Dragon Pilot, former U.S. Marine Corps attack helicopter pilot and ROA member Lawrence “Cheese” Colby, has produced a fast-reading and clinching military thriller that would earn a place alongside any Clancy novel. 
Placed somewhere around the contemporary scenario of U.S.-China tensions, Devil Dragon is a story of two friends who ought to be foes; both consumed by love of home, family, and flying their nations’ most technologically advanced warplanes. 
Using his impressive command of subject, Colby keeps the reader turning pages, as the novel’s novel plot unfolds within an absorbing web of nicely done character development, superb technical and compelling national security detail (all cleared by DoD reviewers by the way – no one is going to jail), and old-fashioned cliffhanging drama.
It is fun to go “behind the text” and imagine this new writer joyously and compulsively scribing his drama. Colby, now a colonel in the Air Force Reserve who has apparently flown just about everything, teaches strategy at the National Defense University; he wrote us, “I looked around some of the current aviation and military themed books and movies, and could not find a fictional story that focused on the Air Force Reserve. With that in mind, I wrote an outline for The Devil Dragon Pilot that prominently featured an Air Force Reserve pilot. 
“There was no way I could write a book with my Washington, DC, based schedule, so I got up at 4 AM every day for a year and wrote one or two pages every morning.  Air Force Reserve Captain Ford Stevens was born as the main character!  
“Ford is a B-1 pilot who is recruited by his best friend, a Chinese Air Force pilot, to [dear reader, you’ll have to pick up Devil Dragon to learn just what Ford’s friend has in mind].  It features Washington DC politics, bureaucratic red-tape, espionage, and high-speed flight.  My goal was to put Air Force Reservists in the spotlight. 
“Book 2 comes out this summer, titled The Black Scorpion Pilot. We will once again see Ford Stevens test his aviation skills, human endurance, and his ability to survive an almost insurmountable situation.”
Among The Devil Dragon Pilot’s overwhelmingly positive Amazon reviews, this one is typical: “A great first novel! Riveting story line and very well researched. The author nails many facets of the US intelligence apparatus, military doctrine and the reality of military service, especially Air Force and Naval Aviation. He does a great job building the characters and relationships. Pick this book up now, you won't be disappointed!”


USS Waldron DD-699

April 27-May 1, 2017,
Doubletree by Hilton at the Houston Hobby Airport
8181 Airport Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77061
Contact: Ron Wells,  Phone: 512-282-4507

U.S.S. Lawrence Association (DDG-4 & DD-250)

May 2-7, 2017 Website:
Doubletree by Hilton, Jacksonville Riverfront
1201 Riverplace Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32207
Hotel: 904-398-8800
Contact Craig Bernat, Phone: 814-322-4150

U.S.S. Carpenter DD 825 Reunion

May 18-22, 2017
891 So. Walnut, #205, Nashville, Tenn.
Contact: Jimmie Kennedy

U.S.S. 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:

U.S.S. 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

The Distinguished Flying Cross Society Biennial Convention

September 24-28, 2017,
Dallas, Texas,
Contact: Bruce Huffman, Phone: 518-578-7089,

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. 16126 Great New Third Circuit USERRA Precedent
  • No. 16127 It Is Unlawful for an Employer To Delay Reemployment by Demanding Documentation that Is Not Readily Available.
Visit the Service Members Law Center
Reserve Voice is published on the 15th and 30th of each month by the Reserve Officers Association of the United States, the nation’s leading advocate for Reserve Component policy and resourcing, and support of RC service members and their families.

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