• Chief’s Message Pg. 3
• Bases Get New Names in Realignment Pg. 5
• Chief of Staff’s Retiree Council Calls Health Care Top Priority Pg. 6
• Army National Guard Supports its Retiring and Retired Soldiers Pg. 9
• Upgrading Retirement Services for Reserve Soldiers Pg. 10
• A ‘Peak’ Vacation Experience for Retirees Pg. 11
• DFAS to Resume VSI/SSB Recoupment Pg. 12
• myPay — Secure, Immediate Link to Your Account Pg. 13
• Retiree Appreciation Days Pg. 14
• No TRICARE Hike in 2011 Budget Request Pg. 15
• TRICARE Program for ‘Gray Area’ Reserve Retirees on its Way Pg. 16
• VA Prescription Costs to Increase Pg. 18
• How to Change Your Address
• Update Your Retired Pay File Info
• Not Updating Records Can Cost Benefits Pg. 19
• VA Recognizes ‘Presumptive’ Illnesses In Iraq, Afghanistan Pg. 20
• VA Proposes Change to Aid Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange Pg. 21
• Retirement Services Officers Pg. 22
• Directory Pg. 28
• Army Recruiting Command Key Messages Pg. 31
• TRICARE, VA Safe Under Health Care Reform Pg. 34
Greetings Retired Soldiers, Surviving Spouses and Families,
This edition of Army Echoes coincides with our Army’s Birthday. In mid-June, we turn 235 years old. And, we remain the best in the world at what we do — despite the stress and strain of fighting the longest war in the history of the All-Volunteer Force.
Recently, we surpassed the combined duration of World War I, World War II, and Korea. In that time, almost 5,500 men and women have given their lives and over 37,000 others have been Wounded in Action. It’s because of men and women like these — and the more than 13,000 Soldiers who have been decorated for valor since 9/11 — that the American people can go about their daily lives, prosper and thrive.
Our Soldiers, Families and Army Civilians carry on your unsurpassed legacy of excellence. You led the Army that led our Nation through the wars in Europe and the Pacific, Korea and Vietnam, and transitioned us to an All-Volunteer Force. You built the Army that won the Cold War, and you continue to inspire the Army that, today, is leading this country in our war against violent extremism.
When this war began in 2001, we had a great Army. But, it was an Army designed to fight large armored battles on the plains of Europe or in the deserts of Saudi Arabia. It was too small to do what the Nation asked us to do. And so, we found ourselves out of balance - so weighed down by our commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan that we couldn’t do the things that we knew we needed to do to sustain this All- Volunteer Force for the long haul and to build the capability to do other things.
So, for the past three years, we have been aggressively executing a program to sustain our Soldiers and Families — the heart and soul of the force; to prepare our Soldiers for success in the current conflict; to reset them effectively when they returned; and to continue to transform for an uncertain future — in order to restore balance and increase our strategic flexibility.
We have been making tremendous progress, but we’re not out of the woods yet. To sustain our Soldiers and Families, the most important thing we are working on right now is to increase the time that they spend at home between deployments. To do that, we have had to do two things. We have increased the size of the Army. We have also reduced demand; that’s what we’re doing now with the drawdown in Iraq.
We are also working on building resilience in the force and reducing the stigma associated with seeking assistance for mental health. To do so, we are expanding and institutionalizing Comprehensive Soldier Fitness — our effort to increase readiness and enhance performance by providing our Soldiers, Families and Civilians with the skills they need in this era of persistent conflict.
And, we are focusing on our obligations to our Wounded Warriors and their Families, and to our Survivors. We established the Warrior Transition Command and reorganized our Warrior Transition Brigades to provide better support, rehabilitation, and individualized transition planning to our recovering Warriors. And — together with the Department of Veterans Affairs — we are working to improve transition services and processes for our Veterans.
Similarly, we have expanded our Survivor Outreach Services, connecting with more than 26,000 Survivors to date.
As we draw down in Iraq and shift our main effort to Afghanistan, we know that the continued support of our Retirees, Surviving Spouses and Families will be vital to our
success. We are engaged in a long-term ideological conflict, and — while we know that we will prevail militarily — we recognize that any successful strategy requires long-term
commitment, patience and national will.
Throughout our 235-year history, our Army has been the strength of this Nation, and that strength has come from our people. There is no greater resource for our Army today than each of you. I encourage you to reconnect with today’s Soldiers, Families and Army Civilians because they follow in your footsteps. They have much to learn from your example, and they are worthy heirs to your legacy of service and achievement. Thank you for your continued service and sacrifice for our Army and for our Nation.
George W. Casey, Jr.
Greetings Retired Soldiers, Surviving Spouses and Family Members, “And the Army keeps rolling along….” How true that old phrase is. We at Army Retirement Services continue to be fully engaged in our important missions of helping Soldiers and Family members preparing to retire; assisting those of you who are retired as well as your Families; and working the Survivor Benefit Plan program for survivors of both Soldiers who die on active duty, as well as those who passed on after they retired. As you will note from several of the articles in this edition of Echoes, the Army continues to operate at a very high tempo.
Laura Paul has done a superb job of passing onto you the highlights of the 50th meeting of the Chief of Staff, Army Retiree Council in her article. As many of you know, this annual April meeting is our biggest single event of the year. Once again, the 14-member council did an outstanding job of representing you and insuring that virtually all significant issues raised by your installation retiree councils were briefed and understood by all in attendance. A variety of high level speakers walked us through their program highlights pertaining to issues that impact our Soldier/ Retired Soldier populations. All provided superb updates to the council membership. Ultimately this information is presented to the Chief of Staff of the Army to help insure he is aware of the most pressing concerns of the nearly one million Retired Soldiers, “gray area” Retirees, and Surviving Spouses.
Particularly noteworthy were the opening comments of LTG Bostick, Army G-1. LTG Bostick is our new Army G-1, and was making his first visit to the council as the opening speaker for the 5-day event. In addition to covering a wide variety of important personnel issues, he really hit a Home Run with all of us when he told the audience about the first time he talked with an Army Retiree. When he was finishing high school he was interested in attending the United States Military Academy at West Point. His Dad was a Master Sergeant and the Bostick Family had moved around a great deal. As he explored the various ways of applying for admission to West Point, he became aware of the rigorous nomination process for anyone who wants to enter USMA. A Retired Sergeant Major told him that because his Dad was a Master Sergeant, he qualified for a Presidential appointment as the son of a career Army Soldier. Because of the personal interest of the Retired Sergeant Major, and his love of the Army, young Thomas Bostick followed up and took the necessary steps to make the application, was admitted to West Point, and graduated four years later. LTG Bostick spoke about how this Retired Soldier made this great difference in his life all those years ago! I would suggest that you too can be a key influencer to the young men and women in your community. Many of you have done the same thing — that is speaking up for our Army by promoting the overwhelming number of opportunities that exist for the young men and women of this Nation who step forward to join our Army. You may never know how you have changed the life of some young person, or how your support in your community with currently serving Soldiers or their Families is making a difference today. Stay active; continue (or begin) to be one of the “key influencers” in your community. Lives may be changed because of YOU!
As is true each year, the CSA Retiree Council bade farewell to departing members. COL(R) Alan Phillips (Army of Europe), CSM(R)Frank Minosky (Ft. Hood), and SGM(R)Cliff Lovett (Ft. Leavenworth) all finished their distinguished service to your CSA Retiree Council. Each made significant and lasting contributions to our Army, and I am honored to count them as friends. They are true professionals who love their Army! They will be missed.
I believe this edition of Echoes is particularly good, and covers a wide range of very important topics. GEN Casey’s article is instructive and inspirational as he presents the big picture outlook on our history and traditions, and how “our Soldiers, Families, and Army Civilians carry on your unsurpassed legacy of excellence”. Please read his article carefully, especially his last paragraph as he thanks you for your “continued service and sacrifice for our Army and our Nation.” I also invite your attention to our TRICARE articles (page 16) as they relate to the recently passed National Health Care Act. Once again, health care was the #1 agenda item in the CSA Retiree Council’s report to GEN Casey.
As you faithful readers know, I always close my message by returning to the heart and soul of our Army: our Soldiers! In those quiet moments of your day remember to say a prayer for our troops, their Families, our most senior leaders, and our great Nation. Our greatest communication tool is not the latest electronic device in our hands—instead it’s our folded hands, and our heart and head bowed in prayer! It is my honor to serve you! Keep chargin!
John W. Radke