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ReserveVoice: October 30, 2016

Legislative Update

California Bonus Repayments

Even though Congress continues to be on recess they weighed in this week on the California National Guard audit of fraudulent bonus payments.  The problem was initially revealed as far back as 2009 in an FBI investigation that resulted in prison time for a California National Guard’s former Bonus and Incentive Manager.  Years later servicemembers are still grappling with severe personal hardships as they try to repay the bonuses even though they did absolutely no wrong.  In a circle of finger pointing the California National Guard says the Department of Defense must fix the problem.  The Department of Defense says Congress must fix the problem.  The California Senators Feinstein and Boxer say Congress doesn’t need to fix anything because DoD can take care of the problem without legislation. 

Prudential-funded Operation Red Cap in Action

Department of Washington “Red Caps” during a positive lunch visit to their Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-6th) earlier this month, where they discussed SBP-IDT and veterans status.  Susan Lukas and ROA’s executive director, Jeff Phillips, followed up with a visit to Rep. Kilmer’s military legislative assistant in DC.    All ROA departments and chapters will have the benefit of Red Cap guidance in grassroots voter activism and PR/media, through a combination including WebEx, written and conference call instruction.

Army Update

Army Needs Guard and Reserve

Earlier this year the Army submitted a Fiscal Year 2017 budget that nearly doubled involuntary mobilizations of the Guard and Reserve.  As we begin the new fiscal year without a budget, the Army’s need for Reserve Component manpower will continue to be unmet which will further decay their readiness.  The next article provides more insight into the readiness crisis.

Why the U.S. Army's Readiness Crisis is So Terrifyingly Real

This inconvenient reality reveals that the Army would be unable to meet surge requirements without drawing heavily from National Guard and Reserve forces, which maintain a lower baseline level of readiness and would take far longer to prepare and deploy.

Naval Services

Navy Reserve:
Ready2Serve: Navy Launches Reserve Management APP

The Navy Reserve will soon launch its new mobile application, Ready-2-Serve (R2S). The initial version will be the Hopper release, honoring Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. R2S acts as a platform from which Selected Reservists, Full-Time Support personnel, and Reserve civilian members can view and obtain a host of services from their personal mobile device. R2S is an integrated mobile application that enables users to search for vacant billets and opportunities to mobilize, review readiness status, access training content, service and drill records, pay data, and check NMCI email from a personal mobile device. R2S also provides secure access to CAC enabled websites (such as the following alphabet soup assortment: NSIPS, MyPay, NRH, BOL, NKO, RFMT, TWMS, NFAAS, and ESAMS) > See the R2S Video
If you are a member of the Navy Reserve, R2S is a must-have. R2S is currently available in the App Store and on Google Play. Registration to access R2S and order your Navy-issued CAC reader for your mobile device will become available very soon!

Navy Reserve:
Enlisted Rating Modernization Plan

Talk about blowback….WOW – who couldn’t see that coming?!?
The Navy announced their plans to change the enlisted rating system.  There will no longer be Bo’sn, Force, Doc, or any other addressing the Navy’s enlisted population except by their rank – just Seaman, Petty Officer, Chief, Senior Chief, or Master Chief.
The Chief of Navy Personnel has explained that the change is needed as part of a larger modernization to the personnel system. You can read about it here:
For a primer, here are the 5 things the Navy is putting out as the initial thrust in their communication plan:
  1. This decision is the result of a comprehensive review of Navy rating titles completed this year by the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy and his leadership mess.
  2. Effective immediately, Sailors in paygrades E1-E3 will be addressed as “Seaman,” E4-E6 will be called “Petty Officer Third/Second/First Class” as appropriate, and Senior enlisted in paygrades E7 to E9 will be “Chief,” “Senior Chief,” or “Master Chief” depending on their paygrade.
  3. The Navy will more accurately identify a Sailors’ skill and training through a “Navy Occupational Specialty” or “NOS” code – a second key component of this change – that will allow greater assignment flexibility for Sailors throughout their career.
  4. The Navy’s Enlisted Rating Modernization Plan transformation will occur in phases over a multi-year period.
  5. This change is one step in a larger effort to modernize our personnel systems.
I am more than happy to receive your comments on this plan at the ROA Facebook page or directly via email (

Navy Reserve:
Honoring 9/11, a Navy Mustang is promoted aboard ‘Old Ironsides.’

Receiving her lieutenant commander rank in a promotion ceremony September 11 aboard the U.S.S. Constitution, ROA Naval Services National Jr. Vice President Lt. Cdr. Jennifer Franco has reported for fulltime duty in the Pentagon as Operational Support Officer with Navy Reserve Public Affairs. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (AW) Robert Zahn)
BOSTON (NNS) – Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Franco is a Navy Mustang in the truest sense of the term: hard-charging, experienced and a natural leader. 
Her rise through the ranks is due in large part to her work-ethic and ability, but she’s also risen to meet the challenges of some tough assignments along the way.
After returning from a voluntary deployment to Bahrain she became the Operations Officer, then the Acting Assistance Director/Executive Officer, for U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs, reserve component. > READ MORE

Navy Reserve:
Chief of Navy Reserve Employer Recognition Event

Nominate your outstanding employer to spend the day at the Navy’s Fleet headquarters in Norfolk, VA for an exciting and informative session hosted by the Chief of Navy Reserve; Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command; and the Virginia Committee of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).
This high visibility all day event will include briefings on current Navy operations, tours of Navy aircraft, ships and other hardware units. Transportation will be provided throughout the day’s activities. Lunch will be provided and the day will conclude with an evening reception at the Pennsylvania House on historic Admiral’s Row onboard Naval Station Norfolk with the Chief of Navy Reserve and Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command, as well as other Navy Flag Officers.  > READ MORE

Marine Corps Reserve

Marine Corps Marathon – started by the USMCR

“When it started out in 1976 all you had was the Boston Marathon and a very young New York Marathon. The Reserves knew they wanted to do something special. We were also coming out of the Vietnam War and veterans were not well thought of. The marathon showed that veterans were not all terrible people,” said Rick Nealis, MCM director and three-time MCM finisher.

USMCR Officer who warned of insider threat now faces end of career

An insider attack that killed three Marines in Afghanistan last year is under new scrutiny as the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York investigates the case and a congressman questions why an officer who warned about potential danger beforehand received a career-ending evaluation.

In a July 11 letter to Commandant Gen. Jim Amos, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y, wrote that Maj. Jason Brezler, a mobilized reserve Marine at the time, received "an emergency request for information" from deployed Marines with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, asking for information about an Afghan police official "whom they believed posed a security risk."
Brezler, "immediately told his fellow Marines what he knew about the peril they faced," and realized afterward that he passed "imminent threat" information classified as "NATO SECRET" over an unclassified computer network, King's letter states. Brezler, a member of a New York City fire department, reported his mistake to his chain of command in the Corps, and subsequently received an adverse fitness report.

Coast Guard Reserve

Coast Guard Dedicates Building in Honor of USCGR 9/11 Hero

Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Palazzo was a Coast Guard reservist serving with the New York City Fire Department when he lost his life during the 9/11 attacks.  On October 21st, the Coast Guard dedicated a new multi-purpose building in his honor onboard Coast Guard Station New York.

US Public Health Service

Discriminating Against USPHS Officers

ROA is working in concert with The Military Coalition to deliver a letter to the U.S. Attorney General asking her to direct the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to stop discriminating against officers in the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS). There are 855 PHS officers who provide healthcare to federal prison inmates. The other healthcare workers in federal prisons are unionized civilians. What has happened is that the union has pressured BOP leadership into giving union members first choice of all work shifts, meaning that PHS officers get to choose their shift after all civilians have picked theirs. This means that PHS officers get all the night and weekend shifts, regardless of their rank or seniority within the BOP system.  

We believe this to be both unfair and illegal under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1995 (USERRA). Many of you know or know of CAPT Sam Wright, who wrote literally hundreds of Service Members Law Center articles when ROA was running the Center. CAPT Wright prepared Law Review 16033 on this topic, clearly establishing that this discrimination is illegal under USERRA.

Air Force Update

A-10 Replacement Revealed

While the battle to retire A-10s continues between the Air Force and Congress the answer to the question of what will replace the close air support aircraft is finally coming to light.  The AC-130J Ghostrider appears to be the aircraft that will be coming to the rescue. > Read More

‘Gallant’ retired general added to wall at air museum gallery

Past ROA Department of Indiana President Maj. Gen. Mark Pillar, USAF (Ret.) and Grissom Air Reserve Base reservist, of Columbus, Indiana, received a special tribute, honored on the "Our Gallant Men" wall at the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum, in Columbus, Indiana. > READ MORE

Military Families

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


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. 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:

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. 16107 OSC Takes Action To Enforce Veterans’ Preference
  • No. 16108 VA Leaders: Please Take Whistleblowers Seriously. Please Act Promptly To Address the Problems they Bring to Light. Do not Retaliate against Whistleblowers.
  • No. 16109 OSC Takes Action To Protect VA Whistleblower
  • No. 16110 Ninth Circuit Holds that USERRA Does Not Preclude Forced Arbitration
  • No. 16111 USERRA Applies to Individuals Performing Regular Military Service, as well as those who Serve in the Guard or Reserve
  • No. 16112 You Are Not Required To Provide your Employer a Copy of your Orders when you Notify your Employer that you Active Duty Has Been Extended
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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