ROA Pays Tribute to Great Army Reserve Leader – Richard O. Wightman Jr.
Rich Wightman will be honored with the Twice the Citizen Award at the upcoming ROA Annual Meeting on 27 July in Washington D.C. Rich has served this Country for nearly 50 years in all 3 components of the Army (Active, Guard and Reserve) and as Career Senior Service civilian and political appointee.
He enlisted in 1968 and was commissioned in 1969.He volunteered for a tour in Vietnam and served as a company commander and staff officer in the 48th Transportation Group. He served in a variety of command and staff assignments as he rose rapidly through the ranks. He graduated from both the Command and General Staff College and the Army War College – both as a resident student.
Rich has had five 2 star Army Reserve assignments including Deputy Commanding General of the Military Traffic Management Command; Commanding General of the 143rd Transportation Command; Commanding General and Senior Military Representative – NATO Hqs Sarajevo; Deputy Commander of the Joint Warfighting Center, USJFCOM; and Military Executive to the Chairman, Reserve Forces Policy Board, Office of the Secretary of Defense.
After retiring from the Army in 2010, he was selected for Senior Executive Service initially serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Materiel and Facilities within Reserve Affairs. In 2012, he was promoted to the position of Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs and later that year began performing the functions of Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. He formally became the Acting Assistant Secretary in the summer of 2014 and will retire in early August of this year.
His education includes an undergraduate degree from Framingham State College; Masters, Military Art & Science from the C&GS; the Joint Flag Officer Warfighting Course, the National Security Decision Making Seminar at Johns Hopkins; the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University; CAPSTONE at the National Defense University; and the Army Management Staff College.
His awards include the Distinguished Public Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, three Defense Superior Service Medals, two Legions of Merit, the Bronze Star w/ V Device, and the Purple Heart. He has also been awarded AUSA MG Earl Rudder Award and has been inducted into the Senior Army Reserve Commanders Hall of Fame and the Engineer Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.
Whether you refer to him as General Wightman or the Honorable Mr Wightman or Secretary Wightman, or as he so often prefers, just Rich, Rich Wightman is essence of the Citizen Soldier. Rich is a life member of ROA and a stalwart friend of our Association and its purposes. He is richly deserving of the Twice the Citizen Award for 2015 and we wish him and his family the best in his retirement and new endeavors.
Dates: July 26-29, 2015
Location: Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Rd NW, Washington, DC
On site registration opens Sunday, July 26, at 10 a.m. on the hotel mezzanine level. Online registrations are now closed.”
• ROA Registration – $575 onsite
• ROAL Registration – $375
• Memorial Breakfast – $50
• Guest Ticket: Welcome Reception – $85
• Guest Ticket: President’s Reception – $115
> More information
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 22 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, sending a senior representative.
- 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.
Storming the Hill
ROA will host a Storming the Hill day at Convention on 28 July 2015. The House and Senate are currently finalizing the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2016. The Committee on Armed Services is negotiating over several pieces of legislation that are critical to the Guard and Reserve and your voice needs to be heard before any decisions are reached. Please join ROA in this endeavor to educate Congressional members and staff on the negative impact of proposed legislation. Handouts on the issues will be available for your visits.
On December 1, 2015, retirees will see a reduction to their annual cost of living adjustment. Public Law, Section 403 would provide for an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) of inflation (measured by the Consumer Price Index) less one percentage point for adjustments starting on December 1, 2015 until the retiree reaches age 62. At age 62, the retired pay would be adjusted as if the COLA had been the full CPI adjustment in all previous years. Annual COLAs for service members after age 62 would be at the full CPI. This provision does not change the cost of living adjustments for participants in the REDUX retirement system.
Retiree Pay Reduction: CPI Minus One Percent
The justification for the change stated, “A service member who retires after 20 years of service receives 50 percent of his or her High-36 month Basic Pay with the percentage increasing in 2.5 percent increments for each year above 20. Because service members can retire well before the normal retirement age in the private sector, most service members begin a second career after leaving the military.” Here is ROA messaging to Congressional visits we are doing this month with AFA, EANGUS, NGAUS and VFW.
ROA urges Congress to repeal this provision in the budget act to prevent enactment on December 1, 2015. The reason is the HASC/SASC have changed the military retirement to a blended retirement and the retirement pay has been reduced to 40 percent with a reduction to 2.0 percent increments for each year above 20. This was not anticipated at the time the budget act was passed in 2013 and the Sec. 403 should be repealed in response to the new blended retirement system.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates savings to the Department of Defense of $6.3 billion over the first decade the COLA cap is in effect. The impact on individuals will vary based on rate of inflation. According to MOAA that can result in a reduction of $72,000 for an E-7 and $109,000 for an O-5 by age 62 if inflation is two percent.
GAO Interview with ROA – Mental Health Treatment Services
ROA was recently contacted by GAO for a report on mental health treatment services for servicemembers. They will. “ . . . examine availability and access issues for active duty, Reserve, and National Guard members in both deployed and non-deployed (within the US and abroad) units.” We are scheduled to meet with them on 4 August to provide information or perspectives about availability and access of Guard and Reserve to mental health treatment services within the Military Health System. Please contact Susan Lukas at email@example.com if you would like to share your own experience, either positive or negative, on mental health treatment. We will protect your privacy and not provide your name or any other identifying information.
VA Research – Guard and Reserve Focus
ROA recently attended a meeting with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Research Development (ORD) to discuss future VA research projects and the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative. ROA recommendations during the meeting included:
- Identify the Guard and Reserve cohort of future research projects in order to identify trends that show where legislation or funding could be used to correct problems. For example, the suicide rate decreased for active duty but increased for the reserve component. According to the Military Times, “But what likely is to be seen as good news by active component military leaders was not matched for the Guard and reserve components, whose suicide rates remain significantly higher than civilian rates. In 2013, the rate among reservists was 23.4 per 100,000, and among National Guardsmen, 28.9 per 100,000. These rates reflect all members of the Guard and Reserve, regardless of whether the deaths occurred while the service members were activated or in drilling status.”
- Enroll more Guard and Reserve veterans into their Million Veteran Program. A recent VA announcement stated, The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is announcing four new studies that will use genetic and other data from VA’s Million Veteran Program (MVP) to answer key questions on heart disease, kidney disease, and substance use—high-priority conditions affecting Veterans.” It is important to have Guard and Reserve members be part of this research by participating in the MVP program. VA research has yielded changes in medical treatments for not only veterans but also currently serving servicemembers.
- Provide funding to VA for the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative. This initiative would “. . . pioneer a new model of patient-powered research that promises to accelerate biomedical discoveries and provide clinicians with new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select which treatments will work best for which patients.” The National Institute of Health (NIH) goal of this initiative is to move away from a general population approach to treat medical conditions to a precise application of medicine and treatment based on the patient’s genetic make-up or profile of their health issue. ROA believes separate funding to Veterans Affairs ORD to conduct precision research in parallel with the NIH will protect the privacy of veterans enrolled in MVP.
—(From DefenseNews, July 21) WASHINGTON
US Army Gen. Mark Milley, the Obama administration's nominee for the service's top post, defended the service's controversial aviation restructure plan at a confirmation hearing Tuesday.
During his Senate Armed Services Committee appearance, Milley sought to placate opponents of the plan, but did not back off from the strategy first offered by Gen. Ray Odierno, whom Milley would replace.
The Army National Guard has some "good points," in its concerns with the plan, Milley said, in which the active Army would take the Guard's fleet of AH-64 Apaches in exchange for older UH-60 Black Hawks. These concerns include taking "combat capabilities away from [the Guard]; they won't be able to be the strategic and operational reserve." (Click for full story)
1 family, 3 generations celebrate Navy Reserve centennial
Story and photos by MC1 Doug Mappin Navy Public Affairs Support Element Midwest
Lt.j.g. Michael Bravaro stands with his father, Michael Bavaro, Jr. and grandfather Michael Bavaro, Sr.; all served in the U.S. Navy. Michael Bavaro, Sr., served during World War II. Michael Bavaro, Jr., served during the Vietnam War.
“We are family first, team second and military third,” Capt. Michael Elliott, commanding officer, Navy Operational Support Center Chicago said during the Navy Reserve Centennial celebration July 11.
The NOSC honored selected veterans of every military campaign since World War II on June 11 as part of the U.S. Navy Reserve Centennial celebration. The sailors of NOSC Chicago at Naval Station Great Lakes hosted the event.
“We picked this day to get our Navy family together but also to honor our vets,” the captain said.
One Navy Reservist standing in the audience was Lt. j.g. Michael Bavaro, who felt the celebration’s special meaning. Joining him at the Navy Reserve Centennial celebration was his grandfather, Michael Bavaro Sr., and his father, Michael Bavaro Jr., gathering three generations of Navy family together for the event. The Navy has meant family tradition as all three served in the Navy, Bavaro Sr., having served in the Pacific war theater during World War II.
The two younger men agreed that a large part of their service was motivated because Bavaro, Sr., who served in the Navy during such a crucial time in American history.
Joining at age 17, Bavaro Sr., served as a Machinist Mate 3rd Class. He went to boot camp in Farragut, Idaho, during the midst of World War II. He eventually was stationed aboard USS LST-637 from 1944-46. His ship saw many battles against the Japanese navy near the Philippines.
“While serving during the war, my duties included manning a 50-caliber machine gun,” Bavaro Sr. said somberly. “I recall in a fierce battle, one of our sister ships was struck by a torpedo. It sank in a matter of minutes with no survivors.”
Today, the 88-year old Bavaro Sr., an Addison, Ill. resident has lived to see two of his sons and his grandson serve in the Navy.
More than 20 years after Bavaro’s service during WWII, his two sons wore the Navy uniform during the height of the Vietnam War. Bavaro Jr. was an Aviation Machinist Mate 3rd Class and like his father he enlisted at age 17. His son Richard served as a submariner.
Lt. j.g. Bavaro’s father had not visited Naval Station Great Lakes since he himself went through boot camp, more than 45 years prior.
“Coming here today was like coming home,” Bavaro Jr. said. “I have not returned here since October of 1967. It has been fun returning to see where my son now serves after all these years.”
“I worked as a jet mechanic at our base at Meridian, Miss.,” Bavaro Jr. said. “I never served overseas or aboard ship, but wherever my commanding officer’s plane went, I went with it.”
The youngest member of this trio enlisted in the Navy in 1996, originally serving as an electronics technician for nine years before taking a seven-year break from the Navy. “I served aboard USS Eisenhower, CVN-69, for four years,” he said. “After a break in service, I returned to the Reserve Force, first as a recruiter before going direct commission in 2012.”
Lt. j.g. Bavaro serves as the Assistant Officer-in-Charge of Operation Support Unit 1326 at NOSC Chicago which was largely responsible for the planning and execution of the NOSC’s Navy Reserve Centennial event. “Today’s celebration was a way for me to include my father and grandfather and to honor our other veterans.”
“I thought today’s celebration was great,” Bavaro Sr. said. “It was nice sitting here in a Navy setting with my family all together.”
“It was a fun time, not only being here with my dad and son, but seeing all my fellow veterans too,” said Bavaro Jr. “I am happy that my dad could come.”
The day’s event signified more than just a chance for the three of them to gather together at the NOSC.
“This was a great way for our junior Sailors to interact with our older veterans,” the lieutenant observed, echoing a statement from Capt. Elliott. “A lot of our younger sailors today never get the chance to meet those who came before them. Many of them have never served aboard a ship or overseas or get to hear the old stories from earlier times. So for them, this was a great opportunity. Meeting the local veterans was their way to display their appreciation to those who came before them. It was a way for them to see that their contributions, like their predecessors matter.”
Congress authorized the establishment of the Federal Naval Reserve on March 3, 1915. At first, only enlisted Navy veterans were eligible to enroll. But on Aug. 29, 1916, with the prospect of America’s entry into World War I looming, the Navy Reserve reorganized to allow the enrollment of nonveterans and was renamed the Naval Reserve Force.
When the U.S. entered World War I on April 6, 1917, there were 8,000 sailors serving in the Navy Reserve Force. When the fighting ended on Nov. 11, 1918, more than 250,000 Reserve sailors were on active duty, more than half of the wartime Navy. They included 12,000 pioneering women who were all released from active duty by 1920, not to serve again until World War II.
During World War II, the Navy Reserve contributed 84 percent of the Navy’s manpower.
Their numbers included five future U.S. presidents – John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush – and 15 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
More than 22,000 Reserve sailors were mobilized for the first Gulf War, and since Sept. 11, 2001, there have been more than 70,000 Selected Reserve mobilizations, along with an additional 4,500 deployments by full-time support sailors.
Air Force Update
Hill reservists win Golden Derrick Award
By Bryan Magaña, 419th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, July 17, 2015
HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Maj. Gen. Richard Scobee, 10th Air Force commander, presents the “Golden Derrick Award” to the 419th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management flight during his visit here July 15. (U.S. Air Force photo/Alex Lloyd)
The 419th LRS fuels management flight topped five other competitors from across Air Force Reserve Command to earn the American Petroleum Institute Award for 2014, also known as the "Golden Derrick Award." The annual award recognizes the unit that excelled in performance, effectively utilized resources, and provided outstanding mission support.
Last year, the 419th LRS fuels flight supported nearly 300 training missions for Hill's 419th and 388th Fighter Wings with more than 1.5 million gallons of jet fuel. They also moved more than 10 million gallons of fuel while supporting Nellis AFB, Nevada, during a six-month deployment.
The reservists have also gained valuable training on the F-35, which is due to arrive at Hill AFB in September, as they provided fuel for F-35 training missions at Eglin AFB, Florida.
Following a 120-day deployment to Southwest Asia supporting regional airlift missions, airmen of the 139th Airlift Wing (Missouri ANG) return home to family.
(US Air National Guard photo).
Department and Chapter Fund Raiser
Earlier this year many Departments and Chapters said they needed fund raising opportunities. ROA has worked with LIDS to design custom hats with the ROA logo that could be used to raise funds. This was done by establishing a volume discount that can be used by ROA to purchase hats at their local LIDS store. A limited number of hats will be available for purchase in red, white or blue Shortstop Cap or Full Count Cap at the convention. To purchase hats at discount your local LIDS shop calls Store #5539 (Pentagon City Mall) and the Pentagon store will e-mail the ROA Digitized File. Your local LIDS can then make the hats in their store and you will avoid shipping charges and the embroidery will be free
ROA Headquarters Improvements
The late Dr. Robert Lathrop, who was a captain in the PHS Commissioned Corps, has made enormously generous donations to ROA. Dr. Lathrop established the first dental clinic in Barrow, Alaska, and provided unprecedented dental services for native Alaskans. The Winter 2015 Officer magazine has a story (pg 73) on his remarkable service. “Dr. Bob’s” love of nature and generous financial support to ROA are commemorated in a new Lathrop Memorial Garden now being established in the Minuteman Building front area. Because of record heat in the DC area, the garden will be completed this autumn.
"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
- No. 15059 Does USERRA Provide for Disparate Impact Liability?
- No. 15060 Beware of Asserting Inconsistent Claims
- No. 15061 The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act only Protects Service Members
- No. 15062 Update on Angiuoni v. Town of Billerica