News You Can Use: Jun. 14, 2004

Index of Articles

Note: Topics below are now bookmarked!
Click on the underlined topic below to link to the pages on that topic.



READINESS…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3

All Iraq Troops Equipped With Protective
Vests, General Says

Air National Guard Experiencing
Transformation Process

Texas Guard Troops Get a Look at What
Duty In Iraq Might Hold

Southern Lawmakers Seek Security Role For
National Guard’s Substitute Groups


DEPLOYMENT…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 8

Dade City Guard unit expects to deploy
next year to Afghanistan

Army Guard Providing
Security For G8 Summit


REUNION…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 12

Western N.C. National Guard Unit Returns Home

Receive Thanks


BENEFITS………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 12

and Guard Want Predictability and Better Pay

Members and Families Could Receive Smaller Paychecks

Retail Pharmacy Program Resolving Initial Concerns



At Home,
Budget Heroics

Guard Couple Marries By Video Conference


TRIBUTE TO OUR FALLEN HEROES………………………………………………………… 20

Newark Solider Among Four Garden State
Guardsmen Killed in Iraq


GENERAL…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 21

N.Va. Anxious Over Base Closings

Group Hopes to Help Supply Troops in Iraq

Tubby Smith Presented Ky. National Guard’s Highest Civilian







National Guard Family
Program Online Communities for families and youth:



TRICARE website for information on health



Civilian Employment Information (CEI) Program Registration for
Army and Air National Guard, Air Force, and Coast Guard Reserve



Cumulative roster of all
National Guard and Reserve who are currently on active duty



Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC)
contains links and information about schooling, distance education,
scholarships, and organizations devoted to the military family is a
website that helps military children with transition and deployment
issues.  It has some great features
for kids, parents, special needs families, school educators, and more—even
safe chat rooms for kids.



Disabled Soldiers Initiative (DS3)

This website provides information on the new DS3
program.  Through DS3, the Army
provides its most severely disabled Soldiers and their families with a system
of advocacy and follow-up.



Have an article,
announcement, or website that you’d like to share with the National Guard
Family Program Community?  Send your
suggestions in an e-mail to
[email protected].




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All Iraq
Troops Equipped With Protective Vests, General Says


June 8, 2004

By Bill Baskervill,
Associated Press

Heights, Va.

The Army’s
chief logistician said Monday that all American troops in Iraq are now
with lifesaving, bullet-resistant vests.

Gen. Paul Kern, commander of the Army
Material Command, spoke at a news conference after Honeywell Specialty
Materials announced it was boosting production of Spectra fiber, a material
used to make bullet-resistant vests for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As late as March, soldiers headed for
Iraq were still buying their own body armor despite assurances from the
military that the equipment would be available before they were in harm’s

“Everyone who is in theater today
has been issued a protective vest,” Kern said.

“There literally are dozens of
soldiers alive today who were shot at close range by AK47s” because of
their body armor, Kern said.

He recalled that when he was in
Vietnam, soldiers had to be ordered to wear heavy and hot flak jackets.

“You don’t have
to discipline them to put on protective gear today,” Kern said. “They
are looking for it.”

Kern also was asked about Humvees, the
basic troop transport that have often been the targets of roadside bombs
. He said 7,000 to 8,000 of the 12,000 Humvees in
Iraq have been fitted with armor packages to give them greater protection.

Mike Ryan,
vice president and general manager of Performance Products at Honeywell
Specialty Materials, said the company is spending $20 million to increase
production at its Colonial Heights plant. It will add 21 jobs.

Ryan said
Honeywell expects to make additional announcements in the future on boosting
production of the Spectra material.

expansion is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2005.

said it has been operating its Spectra fiber operations 24 hours a day, seven
days a week for several years.

armor plates are the component of the vest designed to stop rifle rounds,
including those from AK-47s, and shrapnel encountered by troops.

Speciality Materials is part of Honeywell International, a $23 billion
diversified technology and manufacturing company.




Air National
Guard Experiencing Transformation Process

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Air Force Print News

June 9, 2004

by Master Sgt. Bob Haskell

National Guard Bureau Public Affairs

Arlington, Va.

The Air
National Guard
has developed its own way of transforming its forces to
meet “The Way Ahead” initiatives of Army Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the
National Guard Bureau, and to remain relevant to the active Air Force.

Air National Guard officials call it “Vanguard,” the long-range
transformation program to downsize its fleet of airplanes at the same pace as
the Air Force while taking on other missions.

The Air
Guard will lose, for example, about one-third of its fighters throughout the
coming years. The reason is because one B-2 Spirit bomber can drop the same
number of bombs on a target as 12 to 18 F-16 Fighting Falcons, Guard Bureau
spokesman Dan Donohue said. Or six new F-22 Raptors can deliver the same
amount of ordnance as nine F-16s.

it will have fewer planes to fly and maintain, the Air Guard is exploring
other ways to serve the country, Mr. Donohue said. These include increasing
the size of its base defense forces, so Army Guard Soldiers no longer have to
guard bases in this country and devoting more assets to information warfare,
intelligence and unmanned reconnaissance aircraft.

General Blum told Guard leaders
in the 54 states and territories, the entire National Guard family, and the
national media his concept for moving the 460,000 guardsmen into the 21st
century. He said “The Way Ahead” is doing what is right for America.

The general said he believes the Guard has to change from a strategic reserve
that was standing by during the Cold War into an operational force that is
already actively engaged in the war against terrorism in the United States,
Iraq and Afghanistan.



Texas Guard Troops Get a Look at What
Duty In Iraq Might Hold;
On The Firing Line; At Fort Hood, a taste of urban

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American Statesman

12, 2004

Anita Powell

Fort Hood,

Spc. Ryan
Duffee motioned to his nine-member squad to fall into single file in the
muddy thicket, as the soldiers prepared for their entry into the small

at the ready, guys!” said the 21-year-old, gesturing with his
standard-issue M-16A2 assault rifle. “On your shoulders. You’re scanning
the windows, you’re scanning the rooftops.” 

At T-minus
one minute, silence fell over the 10 men and women. These members of the 36th
Infantry Division of the Texas Army National Guard were part of a
group of about 50 soldiers who had come to spend 24 hours — from 8 a.m.
Friday to 8 a.m. today, with no sleep — training for urban warfare.

The setup
was part of the military’s effort to make sure the troops are prepared for
combat in Iraq, or wherever they might be dispatched in the future.

At an
officer’s signal, the soldiers suddenly sprang into action. Two rushed
forward and belly-flopped onto the ground, guns pointed skyward. The rest
scrambled into a ditch about 100 feet away at the base of the small town,
where, only minutes before, Arabic music had been blaring.

go, go, go, go, go!” Duffee yelled as the troops stormed up a street
toward a building.

senior officers and training personnel observed the chaos before them. National
instructors dressed as enemy combatants fired blanks from machine
guns from the top floors of buildings.

Sweat and
adrenaline were thick in the air during the siege, which lasted 10 minutes at
most. At the end, seven of the 10 were left standing. The other three had
been “killed” by enemy fire. But they claimed a few victories: A
few “enemies” lay under the hot Texas sun.

Among them
was Spc. Ernest Fuentes, a Desert Storm veteran from San Antonio.  

“I got
shot right here,” joked Fuentes, 38, pointing at his shoulder. 

He turned
serious when describing his military service. He saw two of his close friends
die during urban combat operations, he said. “I got over it,” he
said blankly.

experience, he said, inspired him to teach other soldiers.

going to do this until they learn to work as a team,” he said. “If
you don’t have your buddies, you could get killed.”

Operations on Urbanized Terrain training is nothing new for the Army’s nearly
half-million active-duty men and women. At Fort Hood, this Cold War-esque set
— with all street signs in German — has been in use for more than 20 years.
Unlike their enlisted counterparts, National Guard troops don’t spend
significant amounts of time training in the field, only about two weeks a

But like
their enlisted counterparts, the approximately 350,000 National Guard
soldiers nationwide have been increasingly pulled into action.

about 150,000 are in service either at home or abroad. In January, about 300
Texas Guard troops with the 124th Cavalry out of Waco and Corsicana deployed
to Iraq. About 300 more from the 1836th Transportation Company out of El
Paso, Gatesville and Weslaco deployed in late spring, said Lt. Col. John
Stanford, spokesman for the Texas Military Forces, which includes the Army National
the Air National Guard and the Texas State Guard.  

3,000 from the 386th Engineer Battalion, from Kingsville, Corpus Christi,
Pasadena and Baytown, will deploy to Iraq within the next few months.

now in a situation where there appears to be a long-term occupation of Iraq
in progress,” he said. “The war was short. Now there’s this
extended period where we have to make peace.

now, in Iraq and Afghanistan, about 40 percent of the force is National
and reserve. It’s not a trend. It’s what we have become. We’ve
become an operational force. We’re not held back in reserve. We’re deployed.” 

That’s fine
for Duffee, whose division is currently not on alert for deployment, but who
said that he loves the camaraderie bred on the battlefield and can’t wait to
be deployed.

combat, it’s not about you, it’s not about your family,” he said.
“It’s about your buddy.”

in Iraq.



Southern Lawmakers Seek Security Role For
National Guard’s Substitute Groups

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Jun. 10,

By Jeffrey


When the National
was called into duty during this week’s G-8 summit in Sea Island,
Ga., a less familiar group of volunteers took over some of its usual
administrative jobs like answering phones at an operations center.

numerous units deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and others handling disasters
or major events, the Guard has been particularly busy lately with federal
tasks. That has bumped up the importance of these local substitute groups –
known as the state defense force in Georgia and state guards some other places.

The trouble
is, only 23 states and Puerto Rico have them, and the 170,000 volunteers they
represented during World War II have shrunk to 12,000 now. That would
increase dramatically, two Southern lawmakers say, if Congress approves their
proposal to give these groups federal recognition, possibly opening the door
for using state guards in unarmed homeland security efforts under the
Department of Defense.

got a small force today, and my concern is as we look at these National
folks being activated, we do need people back home who will give
some help to the community,” said Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn., who
sponsored the State Defense Force Improvement Act along with Rep. Joe Wilson,

Davis says
there’s no need create a new military branch, but rather to recognize the
state guards and state defense forces as having the ability to contribute,
even on the federal level if needed. It’s unclear whether federal law
currently allows the Pentagon to negotiate with governors for using the groups
in an emergency. The law would clarify that, and because retired military
servants seem to be drawn most to the volunteer groups, a federal connection
could beef up recruitment.

Their effort
has been received warmly by some Pentagon officials. Al Zapanta, chairman of
the Reserve Forces Policy Board, said it was likely the advisory group would
vote next month to recommend the bill to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

just add another arrow in your quiver about dealing with homeland
defense,” Zapanta said. “I don’t think it’s so much what they can’t
already do now. It’s a matter of trying to clear the water, making it really
a positive opportunity to utilize what is probably misunderstood and not well

There was
virtually no connection between the state militias and federal government
until Congress in 1903 agreed to pick up most of the tab on state National
Guard units with the understanding that, if needed for federal work, the
Pentagon could call on them.

the entire National Guard was used in World War II, so some 170,000
volunteers filled in for the Guard back home. After the war, it seemed the
need wasn’t there anymore, so the numbers dropped off.

The need is
back, says Gen. Joel Seymour, president of the State Guard Association of the
United States and commander of Georgia’s State Defense Force.
“We could help ease the strain on the National Guard being in
Iraq,” Seymour said. “We could help with homeland defense. There’s
technical expertise in the state guard, state defense force that could help
in that role.”

Davis and
Wilson hope their bill will get more immediate consideration because of
recent instances where state guard and defense force units have been called
into service. Besides working at the G-8 summit, they filled in while the
Guard handled Hurricane Isabel on the Atlantic Coast and guarded pipelines
and oil ports in Iraq when the national terror threat was heightened. The New
York Guard also assisted the military force working around the clock in the
aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

lawmakers figure they have stripped from their bill the biggest potential
source of opposition by stipulating that the states, not the Pentagon, would
maintain liability for the volunteer units in the case they’re used for
federal work.





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Dade City Guard unit expects to deploy
next year to Afghanistan


Petersburg Times (Florida)

June 9, 2004

By Chase

Dade City, Fla.

Members of
Pasco’s only Army National Guard unit have been told they’ll be called
up in May for a one-year tour overseas.

The sign
outside the Dade City National Guard armory offers “Part Time
Job, Full Time Benefits.”

next year, make that “Full Time Job.”

More than 60
soldiers in the Battery B 2nd Battalion, 116th Field Artillery unit based in
the downtown armory learned last month they will be activated in May and
probably sent to Afghanistan for a year-long deployment. Sgt. 1st Class
Randal Sikes, who oversees daily operations at the armory, said the troops’
role will likely be in providing security and instructing Afghani soldiers in
a variety of skills.

orders haven’t been delivered, but Sikes, a Brooksville resident, said his
unit was given a 12-month notice of deployment last month.

Looking at
photographs online of the area where the unit is expected to spend a year,
Sikes said the deployment will be a new experience for him and fellow
soldiers. The most recent lengthy deployment for the Dade City unit was 48
days in 1992 for Hurricane Andrew relief.

The land
surrounding the bases near Kabul, Afghanistan, where the Dade City unit is
expected to go, is brown and arid. The winds blow cold, and the nearby
mountains offer jagged peaks. Photos taken by soldiers already deployed show
patrols trudging through snow and bundled against the cold.

all Florida boys,” Sikes said. “That’s going to be a big

The Dade
City armory is home to the only Army National Guard unit in Pasco
County, but soldiers there are not limited to Pasco residents. They come from
all over West Florida. Some drive from as far as Tallahassee and Naples to
take part in monthly weekend drills.

deployment probably won’t hit Dade City’s business community especially hard,
because the soldiers come from such a wide area, Sikes said. But the
immediate future of the landmark armory is another matter.

While the
armory this spring got a facelift, with extensive landscaping including trees
and a new sprinkler system, it is unclear what will happen next year when the
soldiers move out.

may just close it,” Sikes said. “We just don’t know. That’s
something that will have to be discussed.”

Sikes, 35,
produced a newsletter for his soldiers and their families, explaining what
will happen in the coming months. The troops will train for their new mission
on weekends that used to be spent perfecting artillery skills.

going to be foot soldiers,” he said.

But the
mission will also include more than security, Sikes said. National Guard
service members are helping Afghani security forces learn how to protect
their country while teaching them about modern sanitation and food
preparation techniques to help them guard against disease.

The entire
deployment, including training time in the United States, will likely last 16
to 18 months, Sikes said.

While Iraq
gets much of the attention, Afghanistan provides its share of danger for
soldiers as well. Mines left over from the 1980s war with the Soviet Union
are still active along roadsides and in fields everywhere, Sikes said. Armed
bands still prowl the countryside; disease is an ever-present threat, and
even driving on the rugged roads is dangerous.

going to be difficult,” Sikes said. “But it’s what we do. I know
some of the men are looking forward to putting their training to use.”

Sikes’ wife,
Lori, said she is trying to deal with sending her husband off for what could
be a year and half or more. Having a year to get ready helps with practical
matters, but it’s hard emotionally, knowing he will have to leave for an
extended time, she said.

She said the
National Guard offers support groups for spouses left behind, and she
said she takes comfort in having her husband’s family live nearby. She also
said she understands that her husband and his fellow soldiers will provide
relief that will let other soldiers come back home.

me, it’s surreal,” she said. “But he said, “What if it was me
over there, and we were waiting for someone to come and take my place?”




Army Guard Providing
Security For G8 Summit

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Table of Contents


Master Sgt. Bob  Haskell

Simon Island, Ga. (Army News Service, June 8, 2004) – Georgia Army
National Guard
Brig. Gen. Terry Nesbitt will command two large teams at
the same time this week during a very public international event taking place
on coastal Georgia.

It’s called the Group of
Eight, or G8, Sea Island Summit for the leaders of the world’s major
industrial countries. And the world is watching.

A reported 3,000 journalists
from around the globe are covering the event, which takes place June 8-10.

The world, it’s being said,
has come back to Georgia.

It’s not the Olympics or
the World Series, and Nesbitt’s teams are on the same side for the 30th G8
Summit. Security against terrorists and demonstrators out to make trouble is
their main mission.

Nesbitt is the first National
general to ever do what he is doing. That involves commanding Army
and Air National Guard
troops, who are on state or active duty status and
Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, who are on federal, or Title 10,

Nesbitt will command
several thousand of those service members during the informal meetings taking
place on Sea Island among the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan,
Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. European Union leaders are
also here.

President George W. Bush
and Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue had to approve the idea of a single commander
for military forces on state and federal duty. After months of planning, the
pieces were all fit together during the first week of June.

“The idea is to provide
unity of command and unity of effort for support of the G8 Summit,” Nesbitt
explained. “It is being looked at, I think, as a model for future homeland defense
and homeland security operations so that same unity of command can be put in
place to support other homeland security operations or other special events.”

President Bush is hosting
the summit, which is being held in this country for the fifth time. Security
is one of the biggest concerns while those world leaders discuss economic,
political and security issues on the exclusive, secluded Georgia island about
80 miles south of Savannah.

The summit has been
designated a national security special event as was the Super Bowl last
February in Houston.

The security force, being
led by the U.S. Secret Service, has been widely reported to number about
10,000 people. Although no one is talking publicly about specific numbers and
what everybody is doing, Nesbitt’s Joint Task Force G8 includes a large
percentage of that force.

The National Guard
is one of the major participants. Guard troops from Georgia and 12 other
states, split into two major task forces, are supporting local law
enforcement agencies in Savannah and in the Brunswick area, where Sea Island
is located.

Guard members are staffing
vehicle checkpoints and helping to keep traffic flowing along the coastal
highways. They are flying helicopters. They are guarding the perimeters of
sensitive sites. They are driving foreign dignitaries. They are prepared to
help control crowds if they have to.

It is the National
largest national security event since the 2002 Winter Olympics in
Salt Lake City. It is the biggest such event for the Georgia National Guard
since the 1996 Summer Olympics in and around Atlanta.

It is also a test in
command for Nesbitt, who cut his military teeth as a Special Forces officer
in Vietnam in 1967-68 and who joined the Georgia Army Guard in June 1973.

About 31 years later, he is
responsible for two different teams that play by essentially the same set of
rules -- with some specific differences. It’s like baseball’s designated
hitter rule. The American League has it. The National League doesn’t.

National Guard troops on Title 32 state status
can assist police forces within their state. Troops on Title 10 federal
status can’t perform law enforcement duties. It’s against the law. They are
performing other missions.

Having one commander
responsible for both groups only makes sense, said Dan Donohue, spokesman for
the National Guard Bureau. “As opposed to setting up two parallel
headquarters, you have one focal point and a single commander who can respond
to the U.S. Northern Command, the federal military force responsible for
homeland defense, and to the governor.”

Nesbitt has staff members
monitoring the state and federal groups to make sure that everyone is doing
what they’re supposed to and that nobody crosses the state-federal duty line.

The average person in south
coastal Georgia this week is likely to see more troops in state status
working with deputy sheriffs and local and state police than they are troops
operating in federal status. But it’s hard to tell the difference. The troops
are not wearing signs on their uniforms.

And everyone has
essentially the same mission at heart, to keep the world leaders and their
staffs safe, to keep the peace and to work together.

“Our people have not dealt
with these other agencies, such as the Secret Service, the FBI, and 50 state
and local police departments, since the ’96 Olympics,” said Brig. Gen.
Stewart Rodeheaver, the new commander of the Georgia Army Guard’s 48th
Brigade Combat Team and the commander for the Brunswick task force.

The real challenge, he
said, is to maintain command and control of his troops spread over a fairly
wide area and “to not disrupt the rhythm of civilian life” for the
inhabitants, who want to shop and get to work and back home while the summit
is going on.

His Soldiers were in place
the Sunday before the summit began, Rodeheaver reported, and the only serious
situation he had encountered was that local people kept asking to have their
photos taken with the Soldiers.

That’s a situation the
commander can live with.




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N.C. National Guard Unit Returns Home


Associated Press

Jun. 11,


A 95-member
military police company from western North Carolina is home after 15 months
in Iraq.

The 210th
Military Police Company of the North Carolina National Guard came back
to its home state Thursday aboard two C-130 cargo planes. The unit had
arrived in the United States at Fort Dix, N.J., last week.

Hundreds of
relatives roared their approval as the soldiers walked off the planes at
Asheville Regional Airport.

The unit is
headquartered in Franklin and has platoons in Murphy and Sylva. The soldiers
spent 12 of their 15 months overseas on patrol in the streets of Baghdad.

Gov. Mike
Easley told the soldiers “how incredibly proud we are of each and every
one of you.”

Easley spoke
of the unit’s courage, strength and commitment in general, and had special
words for Sgt. Bobby Franklin of Mineral Bluff, Ga., who died in an explosion
while on patrol.

Franklin was a son of Georgia, but the people of North Carolina know he’s our
son too,” Easley said. “And North Carolina will never forget Bobby



Troops Receive Thanks

Disney Sponsors A Festive
Welcome-Home Party For The Flordia National Guard

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June 13,

By Brendon

Walt Disney
World commemorated the Florida National Guard’s homecoming with a
celebration at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex on Saturday.

Spc. Eoghan
Cullen, 23, of Lakeland was all smiles at the celebration, talking with his
wife and friends. He spent a year in Ramadi, Iraq, which he called an
“unexplainable” experience. He appreciated Disney’s program and the
freebies that came with it.

means a lot, especially coming from Disney,” Cullen said.

home from training around the nation and from operations in Afghanistan and
Iraq played games with their children and enjoyed refreshments. The children
took part in activities such as face painting. But in all their simplicity,
the red, silver and blue balloons provided the most entertainment for many

Five of
those children were there to honor their father, Sgt. Charles Gadson, 40, of
Mulberry, who was called to provide security at an airport. “It’s
special to me because you can’t get something like this from Disney all the
time,” he said. “It’s taking care of everybody.”

Families of
the returning troops sat in the stadium, fanning themselves vigorously with
their event programs. They put down their programs to applaud Disney’s 2004
All-Star Collegiate Band, which performed a funky rendition of “Twist
and Shout” that got the crowd cheering and forgetting about the heat.

Hayward, 16, of Orlando was more ambivalent about the ceremony but was proud
to honor Paul Tanner, her father and a first sergeant in the National
2nd Battalion of the 124th Infantry Division.

far, I think they [Disney] made a pretty good effort,” Andra said.
“It’s always important to support whoever goes out to protect the
country. I mean, they left for how many months? You’ve got to do

spokeswoman Veronica Clemons estimated that more than 2,500 visitors came to
the event, half of whom were troops.

Included in
the day’s events were free tickets to Walt Disney World theme parks and
coupons for park restaurants for the soldiers and their families. Dignitaries
from state and local government, the military and Disney made brief speeches.
Saturday was proclaimed Florida National Guard Day.

could do this every day and it would not be thank you enough,” Lt. Gov.
Toni Jennings said.

answered the call, you sacrificed, you succeeded, you served,” Disney
World President Al Weiss told them.




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Reserves and Guard Want Predictability
and Better Pay;
SLC convention: Officers and families discuss the
increased demands of a new wartime role; Reserve officers meet in Salt Lake


Salt Lake Tribune

June 11,

By Jillian

military reserves are no longer the nation’s “weekend warriors” —
instead the wars on terrorism and Iraq have thrust them headlong into the
roles of full-time soldiers, officials said Thursday at a national gathering
of reserve officers in Salt Lake City.

The evolution
of the roles of the reserves and National Guard means that the nation
must recognize a new reality and change the rules that govern their
deployment and the benefits and training the soldiers receive, said officers
and family members at the Reserve Officers Association national convention,
which runs through Saturday at Little America Hotel.

Wars used to
have a distinctive beginning and ending, said Maj. Gen. Charles Wilson,
second in command of the Army Reserve, at a panel discussion about the
transition of the nation’s reserve troops during the war on terrorism and in
Iraq. “Today none of these situations apply . . . We must adapt rapidly
to the situations we cannot anticipate,” said Wilson.

Reserves of
different branches of the military, along with the National Guard,
make up 40 percent of the U.S. forces deployed, or roughly 1.2 million

are becoming a regular army,” said Carolyn Montera, 57, of New York, a
conference participant and wife of a reservist.

When her
husband reached Iraq, Montera was informed that his duty would be extended to
12 months on the ground. The unit, however, was released earlier.

“It was
depressing and upsetting,” Montera remembered. “It [the
unpredictably] is not good for morale.”

Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs Thomas F. Hall said the military
extended the tours of duty for Guard and Reserve units because they were the
best forces available.

At least
5,000 members of the Reserve and National Guard, including some from
Utah, have had their duties extended at least 90 days.

were the best forces he had . . . so it is a tribute to the Guard and
Reserve,” Hall said in an interview. “But our goal is to not do
that in the future if at all possible.”

Families can
expect a more predictable schedule when reservists and guardsmen are
deployed, speakers said. Under current U.S. law, a reservist’s tour of active
duty is a maximum of 24 months. For example, if a reservist served eight
months, he or she could be reactivated anytime to serve another 14 months.

noted that officials are seeking changes in deployments so a soldier will be
reactivated only every four or five years after release from active duty. But
rotations would be different for some reserve units, such as Marine
reservists, who could be on a seven-month rotation.

“We are
trying to develop those kind of models in an uncertain world,” Hall
said. “But with the known factors, that’s what we are trying to

although expectations for reservists have changed, their benefits have not,
panelists noted. Medical benefits and housing allowances are considerably
less for reserves.

a young man or woman is on active duty, the pay and benefits must be the same
and they are not today, and that is what I’m going to work hard at,”
Hall said.

pointed to proposals to make the benefits for reserves equal to those of
active duty soldiers.

also said reserve troops need to have the same training as active troops
because of the way war is now being fought.




Guard Members and Families Could Receive
Smaller Paychecks

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June 14,


A payroll mistake could leave the
families of Arizona Army National Guard members more than $1,000 short
on their next paycheck.

Federal employees are trying to correct
the error and the matter could be resolved by June 23, said Guard spokesman
Maj. Robert Ditchey.

“The frustration that a soldier
has, even though the system is at work, is that it can take a week or 10 days
for that unfortunate mistake to be resolved,” Ditchey said.

The problem affects non-commissioned
officers and enlisted soldiers that are among the 130 active-duty members of
the Guard’s 258th Engineer Company, he said.

The error began when the Army overpaid
food allowances by about $8 a month to active duty soldiers. The overpayments
made during a five month period totaled about $40 per soldier, Ditchey said.

In an effort to recover the money, the
Army inadvertently deducted the entire amount of each soldier’s December
paycheck. The checks ranged from $1,100 to $1,300, he said.

Similar errors are more likely now that
so many Guard members and reservists are on active duty, Ditchey said.

Grants and no-interest loans are
available for Guard members suffering financial hardships because of the
glitch, he said.



Tricare Retail Pharmacy Program
Resolving Initial Concerns

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United States
Department of Defense

News Release

new Tricare Retail Pharmacy program began nationwide operations with Express
Scripts Inc. (ESI), St. Louis, Mo., on June 1st. Within hours,
significant problems arose for all ESI customer accounts, including Tricare
beneficiaries. The immediate and comprehensive efforts expended by ESI,
private sector consultants, and Tricare experts resulted in restoration of
commercial customer business and improvements for Tricare beneficiaries.
System improvements continue daily and until all system errors and
“time-outs” within the communications infrastructure are resolved, the
Tricare Management Activity will provide updates on its website on a 72-hour

to Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health
affairs, “Our primary concern is that our beneficiaries receive the
prescriptions they require. To that end, we continue to support efforts to
resolve the problems. We apologize to our beneficiaries and the 53,000
pharmacies across the United States who have experienced the difficulties associated
with these processing problems. Many people, from the network pharmacy staffs
to the management of the pharmacy chains, to ESI’s staff and consultants as
well as our own Tricare staff, have actively engaged in sorting out the
difficulties and implemented solutions to meet the needs of our
beneficiaries. This dedicated effort continues.”

and ESI expect that as initial prescription submission throughput improves,
the program will stabilize and reach a steady and continuing pace. On June 7th
and 8th, more than 180,000 claims were processed and paid each
day. These numbers significantly exceed the standard of 125,000 Tricare
claims usually processed and paid on Mondays and Tuesdays. Nevertheless,
higher than normal rates of claims rejection continue and problems exist in
some areas. The ESI provider-relations team is working with individual
pharmacies and pharmacy chains alike to resolve both systems problems and the
particular problems experienced by those pharmacies.

Toan, Express Scripts’ chairman and chief executive said, “We fully recognize
that this situation has been difficult for beneficiaries and pharmacies. We
apologize to those who have been inconvenienced and commit to rapidly
resolving the problems.”

new Tricare Pharmacy program introduces a standard, national approach to
retail pharmacy use that offers Tricare beneficiaries the same benefit
wherever they may be in the United States and its territories; it is a fully
portable benefit. Beneficiaries who experience difficulty with their
prescriptions during this initial period may contact the Tricare Retail
Pharmacy (TRRx) Customer Service Center at (866) 363-8779. For those who
purchased their medications at full price, they may file a paper claim (DD
Form 2642, available on the Tricare Website:
) to:

Express Scripts

PO Box 66518

St. Louis, Mo. 63166-6518

Express Scripts Inc. is one
of the largest pharmacy benefit management companies in North America,
providing pharmacy benefit management services to more than 50 million
members through facilities in 13 states and Canada. Express Scripts serves
thousands of client groups, including managed care organizations, insurance
carriers, third-party administrators, employers and union-sponsored benefit
plans. Express Scripts Inc. has the ability to process in excess of one
million claims daily.





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At Home, Budget Heroics


Christian Science Monitor

June 14,

By Jonathan
P. Decker


reservists are called to active duty, nearly a third of their families see a
decrease in income. How one such family makes ends meet.

It won’t
show up in the Defense Department’s budget, and it’s rarely mentioned on
network newscasts, but the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism carry a
hidden cost on reservists and members of the National Guard who have
been called to active duty. Besides the emotional burden, the deployments can
put unexpected financial hardships on military families – sky-high telephone
bills, unanticipated travel costs, and, perhaps most devastating: the loss of
income from a full-time job.

For the past
three months, Isabel Raymundo of Manchester, N.H., has had to contend with
many of these burdens. Her husband, Mario, was deployed to Iraq in early
March as part of the Army’s 172nd Infantry Regiment (Mountain). Because
Raymundo is a diesel mechanic for General Motors in civilian life, the
family’s finances are pinched while he’s on active duty. As a result, Isabel,
a nursing assistant, has had to take a second job cleaning offices. Working
two full-time shifts back to back and caring for her children, she has time
for only about six hours of sleep a day.

deployment is a hardship, of course,” says Mrs. Raymundo. “But
we’re doing just fine and he’s serving his country. We’ve been planning
financially for his deployment since he joined the New Hampshire National
in 2001.”

Mr. Raymundo
is among an estimated 300,000 members of the Reserve and National Guard
who have been called to active duty over the past 2-1/2 years. More than
two-fifths of US troops stationed in Iraq are Reserve and Guard members
facing front-line dangers – and frequently facing repeated call-ups. It is
the largest activation of the National Guard since World War II. A
recent survey commissioned by the Pentagon found that 31 percent of families
of reservists and National Guard members see a decrease in income when
a spouse is called to duty.

some families, they’ve had to take on additional work to make up for lost
income,” says Capt. Gregg Heilshorn, a public affairs officer with the
New Hampshire National Guard. “Fortunately, many businesses
either make up the difference in lost income [between their employees’
civilian and military pay] or continue paying benefits to the families of
their deployed employees.”

While large
companies and state and federal governments can afford this – and in the case
of some state governments, including California, are legally required to do
so – small businesses cannot always include this cost in their budgets.
That’s the primary reason that Congress has passed a number of bills to help
minimize the financial burden of deployment.

The rights
of employees who depart for military service are spelled out in the 1994
Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, which stipulates
that employers cannot terminate employees or hire permanent replacements. It
also mandates that an employer give the same or a comparable job back to
employees once they have returned from a military deployment.

this law is commendable, there are sometimes problems with enforcement,”
says Bob Norton, deputy director of government relations for the Military
Officers Association of America, in Alexandria, Va. “We’ve found that
the Labor Department and the Justice Department are not always going after
violators of the law.”

The other
federal legislation that members of the Reserve and National Guard can
rely upon is the Service Members Civil Relief Act.

This law
provides a safety net of economic and civil protections. It precludes creditors
from gouging servicemen and servicewomen and puts a ceiling of 6 percent on
credit-card interest. It also allows service members to break a car lease or
rental housing agreement and prevents a service member from being evicted
from a rental property (the rent must be less than $ 2,400 per month, a
figure that is indexed for inflation) or having their automobile repossessed
while they are on deployment.

service members are also entitled to stays of civil proceedings such as
bankruptcy, foreclosure, or divorce. And military income earned by soldiers
in combat zones is tax-free.

Of course
there are a number of proactive steps that guardsmen and reservists can take.
Among them:

* Always
build some cash reserves before being called up for active duty. The
emergency fund should cover housing and food costs for several months.
“Having some money for a rainy day makes sense for anyone, but
especially for a member of the reserves or National Guard – when a
deployment can sometimes last up to 18 months,” says Betty O’Leary, a
senior financial planner for Edelman Financial Services Inc. in Fairfax, Va.

* Set up a
home equity line of credit. This revolving line of credit can address any
financial need that arises during deployment. “It can tide you over
until your spouse comes back from his deployment,” says David Dondero, a
certified financial planner in Alexandria, Va.

* Evaluate
personal spending and look at unnecessary expenses. Preparing a
post-activation budget can help prepare for lost income. Personal-finance
experts advise canceling cable television and magazine subscriptions, cutting
down on eating out at restaurants and, if necessary, selling a second car.

* Set up a
trust for securities and property. “By naming a spouse as a trustee, it
makes any financial transaction involving stocks or a home a whole lot
easier,” says Richard Smith, a certified financial planner in Annandale,
Va. “This move is a large part of getting your estate in order before
any deployment.”

* Reduce
credit-card debt. Interest payments are especially difficult when incomes are
reduced. “By paying off high-interest credit cards before you are
deployed, you can provide more financial options to a spouse who may need to
use them in case of an emergency,” says Ms. O’Leary.

Isabel Raymundo
took many of these steps – months before Mario’s deployment to Iraq. “We
anticipated the call-up,” she says. “Thankfully, we made the
appropriate preparations.”

help for military families with financial concerns

When a
family member is deployed, those back home have to cope with everything from
insurance and mortgages to car loans and job protections for military
members. A number of specialized websites offer personal-finance advice for
military families. Among the best:

* Household
International Military Financial Education Center (
contains about 800 pages of financial information, more than 100 online
calculators, and links to other helpful sites.

* USA Cares
(; 800-773-0387) helps direct families to military and other
charitable organizations or corporate sponsors looking for ways to support
American troops. The nonprofit is committed to helping military families who
have run into financial troubles.

* National
Military Family Association ( is a nonprofit advocacy group that
provides information and assistance to military families.


National Guard Couple Marries By Video

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June 13,


Two national
soldiers, one in Iraq and the other in Colorado, have married in
what is being billed as the first videoconference marriage of soldiers.

Staff Sgt.
Shadow Evans, 30, said “I Do,” from her post in Iraq to Sgt. Rick
Everton, 29, at a motel in Durango.

La Plata
County Judge Martha Minot officiated at the Friday night event. The couple
had planned to marry in August but Everton was told he would be soon assigned
to Iraq. The couple decided they should get married quickly so they could be
together if either is wounded.

Now they
will both be in Iraq for three or four months.

I want to be with her but I don’t want her to have to stay there any longer
than she has to,” said Everton.

He starts
training Tuesday for duty with the 42nd Infantry Division.

The couple
met while both were on a National Guard assignment a year ago in Cape
Cod, Mass. “We didn’t have a first date. In fact we couldn’t date
because she was my boss, but we winked back and forth for a while.”
Before the videoconference they hadn’t seen each other for seven months.

The selected
Durango for the wedding because Colorado is one of three states that permits
weddings with one person standing in for one party to the marriage with a
power of attorney. The other two states, Texas and Montana, are farther from
the Los Angeles home of Evans’ parents.

troops found Evans a white blouse and bouquet. Rings will be exchanged in
person, later.

high-quality telecommunications line required for two-way video was set up by
an organization called Freedom Calls Foundation of New York





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Solider Among Four Garden State Guardsmen Killed in Iraq


Associated Press

June 8, 2004

Trenton, N.J.

The fourth New Jersey Army National
soldier killed in Baghdad was identified by the Pentagon as Sgt.
Humberto Timoteo of Newark.

The 25-year-old East
Side High School graduate was killed by a roadside bomb Saturday. He died
alongside 26-year-old Spc. Ryan Doltz of Mine Hill. Both belonged to the 3rd
Battalion of the 112th Field Artillery in Morristown.

Two other members of the unit, Sgt.
Frank Carvill, 51, of Carlstadt, and Spc. Christopher Duffy, 26, of Brick,
were killed Friday in an ambush. Three other soldiers from the unit were
injured in Friday’s attack.

Another soldier from the Morristown
unit was injured in an attack Sunday and is being treated at a U.S. military
hospital in Germany, National Guard officials said. Neither the
soldier’s name, his injuries nor details about the attack were immediately

National Guard
officials scheduled a Tuesday news conference to discuss the casulties.

Newark Mayor Sharpe
James told The Star-Ledger of Newark Timoteo had emigrated with his family
from Portugal and grew up in the city’s Ironbound section.

“He served and fought to protect
our liberties and values and he sacrificed his life for them,” James
told the newspaper. “He is a hero in every sense of the word.”

The family
declined comment.

joined the military in 1996 and trained as a field artilleryman at Fort Sill,
Okla., according to defense department records.

announcement of Timoteo’s death had been delayed to allow his wife, Silvia,
to return to the United States. Officials said she serves with the military
in Korea.

The couple
has a 3-year-old son, officials said.

The 112th
Field Artillery is a unit that would normally operate self-propelled
howitzers, weapons that can fire as far as 18 miles, National Guard
spokesman Roman Martyniuk said.

But the Iraq
conflict required them to perform tasks closer to those associated with
military police: patrol and security work, and protecting convoys,
infrastructure and military installations.

Most units
spent about three or four weeks training at Fort Dix before leaving for Iraq,
according to Fort Dix spokeswoman Carolee Nisbet. The 112th Field Artillery
members would have received training in the weeks before they left for Iraq
on Feb. 20.

“Basically, it’s a re-emphasis of
basic soldier skills,” Nisbet said. “What they were doing was
emphasizing weapons and security expertise, such as providing security for
convoys and checkpoints, and checking out vehicles. Every soldier gets some
of that when they come in, but it’s an amplification of that basic training.”





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Anxious Over Base Closings

Region Has Much At Risk in Next Round



June 9,

Michael Laris

increasing alarm, Northern Virginia officials are eyeing a national debate on
shutting U.S. bases and shuffling other military facilities, saying the
region could be hit hard by what one defense analyst has dubbed the
“mother of all base-closing rounds.”

Fort Belvoir
in southern Fairfax County is among those major facilities that almost
certainly would be spared in any downsizing, but local officials say they are
less sure about the large and more amorphous military presence in private
office buildings throughout the region.

people have focused on base closings and haven’t looked at the other side of
the coin,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E.
Connolly (D). “We need to collectively target our resources to respond
to this potential threat.”

Secretary of
Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld has pushed an ambitious and controversial effort
to shrink what Pentagon officials say is a marked surplus in military space.
The department has “24 percent excess installation capacity,”
according to a March report issued by the Pentagon as part of the process of
choosing facilities to close or relocate.

But closing
bases is just part of the effort to more efficiently accommodate defense
workers and save billions of dollars, said Loren B. Thompson, a defense
specialist at the Lexington Institute, a conservative think tank in

can’t really get the full savings unless you think through where you’re doing
the work and how you’re organized to do it,” Thompson said.

added that he is not surprised that local officials are beginning to agitate
on the issue. Thousands of military workers in Northern Virginia locales such
as Crystal City and Baileys Crossroads could end up being moved for financial
or security reasons, he said.

money and jobs on the table, and people are looking to protect their
parochial interests,” Thompson said. “The reality is, almost no
other place in America has as many federal jobs as Northern Virginia, so it
can probably spare them better than other places.”

from throughout Northern Virginia were briefed late last month by Barry
Steinberg, the Army’s former chief litigator, who now works for a Washington
law firm that specializes in fighting military closings. The briefing was
held for the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, made up of elected leaders
and other residents of more than a dozen cities, counties and towns.
Steinburg painted a stark picture of potential losses in Northern Virginia,
participants said.

caught a number of us somewhat off guard,” said G. Mark Gibb, the
Regional Commission’s executive director.

According to
the commission’s analysis of a General Services Administration list presented
at the meeting, the military has about 6.8 million square feet of office
space in Northern Virginia commercial buildings. Leases are concentrated in
Ballston, Rosslyn, Springfield and the Skyline development in Fairfax, among
other places. Officials believe the analysis undercounts the total and are
seeking additional data, Gibb said.

other areas of the state, local governments are much more organized to
protect their facilities,” said state Sen. Linda T. “Toddy”
Puller (D-Fairfax), an appointee to the Virginia Commission on Military
Bases. Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) formed the commission last year to protect the
commonwealth’s military facilities.

In areas
such as Norfolk and Newport News, where defense installations dominate
communities, officials have been busy analyzing the economic effect of bases
and lobbying Virginia’s congressional delegation.

In selection
criteria put forward by the Department of Defense in February, military value
is supposed to trump community impact. The process of choosing which
facilities to shutter or shift is designed to minimize the sway of
politicians. But previous efforts have been influenced by political considerations.

Some in
Congress have sought to delay or derail the latest round of base closings;
others contend that those seeking to stall closings often fuel unreasonable
fears with exaggerated warnings. Decisions on particular sites are scheduled
to be made next year, though the House of Representatives has moved for a
two-year delay.

“I don’t know that anything’s
potentially going. We’re actually growing in the region, with regard to
federal employment,” said Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.). If closings
appeared on the horizon, “the region would come together to protect the
region,” he said.




Group Hopes
to Help Supply Troops in Iraq;

Lack Equipment to Phone Home

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Washington Post

June 10, 2004

By Susan

Even though
she was seven months pregnant, 
Suzanne Mauris  was
sympathetic  last January when her
husband, Stephen, was deployed to Iraq with his Maryland National Guard
military intelligence unit for 18 months. 

what he’s trained for,” said Mauris, of Fulton. “I fully support
him in what he’s doing.” 

Since then,
Mauris’s resolve sometimes has given way to anxiety as Iraqi insurgents have
launched sporadic rocket attacks at Camp Cooke,  15 miles north of Baghdad, where her husband’s unit is

soldiers from a combat team at the camp were killed in recent months, says
the National Guard. Mauris and others with family members there worry
about their loved ones walking through the sprawling camp and standing in
long lines to call or send e-mail home.

felt that made them a target,” said Jill Reese, a College Park resident
whose brother-in-law  is also serving
at Camp Cooke with the 629th Military Intelligence Battalion  from Laurel.

To help
their loved ones, Mauris, Reese and others have formed a nonprofit group to
raise money to help purchase more telecommunications equipment for the  629th soldiers based at Camp Cooke.

we wanted to set up for them was more for the families’ benefit,” said
Mauris. “They haven’t heard from loved ones as much as they wanted

Eighteen men
and one woman make up the 629th Military Intelligence Battalion  at Camp Cooke, analyzing weaknesses that
would make coalition forces vulnerable to attack, said Maj. Charles S.
Kohler, public affairs officer for the Maryland National Guard. 

In recent
months, Camp Cooke has grown from about 2,000 to 10,000 soldiers. While
workers are rushing to install more telecommunications facilities, they have
not kept up with the camp’s rapid expansion. “The infrastructure just
wasn’t there to support that many people,” said Capt. Kristine Munn,
speaking for the National Guard.

An April 24
rocket attack  on Camp Cooke that
killed four soldiers and wounded five others “definitely got us
moving,” said Mauris. After the attack, 
a quick call home  from a
member of the 629th Battalion confirmed that the unit was okay. No other
information came for a week.

“I try
not to watch the news all the time,” Mauris said. “When you do see
it, your heart drops out of your chest.”

The soldiers
of the 629th Battalion have talked about trying to get their own satellite
dish, but that would cost about $21,000, she said.

 The new nonprofit organization, Friends of
the 629th MI Battalion Inc. (, has applied for federal
status as a charitable organization. 
In the future, the group hopes to be able to also offer emergency
financial assistance for military families and scholarships for children who
have lost a parent in combat. 

 Kohler said the Maryland  Guard supports the families’ initiative but
also said  the Guard has its own
nonprofit foundation that might be able to help.




Tubby Smith
Presented Ky. National Guard’s Highest Civilian Honor

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June 10,

Lexington, K.Y.

UK coach
Tubby Smith has been awarded a Kentucky Distinguished Service Medal, the
highest civilian award presented by the Kentucky National Guard.

The award,
presented by Colonel Ron Turner on behalf of Major General Don Storm, is in
recognition of Smith’s unwavering support of the nation’s military members
and their families. Smith has been an active supporter of the Kentucky
National Guard throughout his more than seven years in the Bluegrass.

He has stayed involved with the organization
through public service announcements, including one filmed
for Kentucky troops in Iraq.

While the
Kentucky National Guard is just one of the many organizations Smith gives his
time to, it is one near to his heart. Smith’s father, Guffrie, is a World War
II veteran





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