Most Army National Guard Soldiers know that if you serve twenty years, you qualify for retired pay at age 60. However, many Guard Soldiers can find retiring a confusing process. To better support its retiring and Retired Soldiers and Families, the Army National Guard is working to make the process smoother. Following are the Guard’s recent major accomplishments in this mission:
First, the Army National Guard has worked with the Department of the Army in updating the AR-600-8-7, the Army Retirement Services Regulation. This updated policy now includes the first ever chapter covering Army Guard Retirements to help Army personnel understand and handle not only Army retirements but also Army National Guard and Army Reserve retirements.
Second, the Army National Guard has developed an Army National Guard Information Guide on Non-Regular Retirements. This guide is designed to help anyone interested in how a member of the Army National Guard can earn retirement points, qualify for retired pay for nonregular service, and apply for retired pay.
Third, the Army National Guard is providing its retiring Soldiers the Army Retiring Soldier Commendation Packet. Soldiers receive the packets, which include a U.S. Flag and the Army Retiree Pin, when they notify their State Guard personnel of their retirement.
Finally, the Army National Guard held its first ever Retirement Workshop in Savannah, GA, from Mar. 1-5, 2010. This training, attended by 185 Army personnel, focused on providing State personnel information on updates to the laws, policies, and procedures for preparing Soldiers for retirement. It also included certification of 175 personnel on the Survivor Benefit Plan and the Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan. In attendance from the States were the Retirement Services Officers, Retirement Points Account Managers, and Active Guard Reserve Managers.
Looking to the future, the Army National Guard is enhancing its efforts to insure that our retiring Soldiers get the best support possible. A new conference is being planned with the goal of making retirement a seamless process for the ARNG Retiree and Family. While challenges remain, the Army National Guard is making strides in caring for all its retiring Soldiers, Retired Soldiers and Families.
Upgrading Retirement Services for Reserve Soldiers and Families
By LTC Robert L. Hagan,
Army Retirement Services Reserve Liaison Officer
Together, the Army G-1, Retirement Services Office, and the Army Reserve, have made great strides in improving retirement services to retiring and Retired Reserve Soldiers and their Families, including “gray area” Retired Soldiers, those not yet age 60 and not yet receiving retired pay. The goal is to upgrade the retirement services these Soldiers and Families receive via mail and the Human Resources Command St. Louis Call Center to more closely resemble the personal retirement counseling installation Retirement Services Officers provide to Soldiers and Families retiring from the Active Army.
The first step in accomplishing this goal was to appoint a Reserve liaison officer to the Army Retirement Services team. Working through the Army Family Action Plan, Army Retirement Services and the Reserve are striving to create a Regional network of Reserve Retirement Services Officers.
One major milestone was achieved in February 2009 when the first Army Reserve Non-Regular Retirement Guide was published and posted in the new Reserve and National Guard Retirement section of the Army Retirement Services homepage www.armyg1.army.mil/rso/rngr.asp.
A second milestone involved the National Guard, the Reserve, and Army Retirement Services working together as the Army National Guard held the very first Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RC-SBP) training workshop in March 2010, with key Army Reserve personnel attending the training.
A third milestone was the inclusion of Reserve Soldiers in the Army Retiring Soldier Commendation Program. The Reserve provided funding so that retiring Reserve Soldiers could receive the same U.S. flag, Retired Soldier pin and commendation packet that retiring Active Army Soldiers receive.
A fourth milestone resulted from the training workshop. The RC-SBP training is being incorporated into the Army Reserve Readiness Training Center’s Unit Administrator Basic Course (UABC) taught at Ft. McCoy, WI.
The UABC course trains 500 to 600 UAs annually. Army Reserve Soldiers
and their Families will have a local point of contact to go to when they
have questions about RCSBP, upon receipt of their twenty year letter or when applying for retired pay. Installation RSO training will now include RC-SBP, and these RSOs will be given the tools to assist Reserve Soldiers.
A fifth milestone will be the publication of the revised Army Retirement Services regulation AR 600-8-7 later this year with new chapters added on Reserve retirement and Guard retirement.
A ‘Peak’ Vacation Experience For Retirees
Nestled at the foot of sweeping alpine vistas, Edelweiss Lodge and Resort is a mountain haven just 56 miles from Munich. Edelweiss Lodge and Resort offers military Retirees exclusive European Escapes vacation packages throughout the year.
These ten-night packages include transportation to and from the airport, a welcome reception, guided tours, breakfast, a farewell reception and special gifts. Highlights may include Neuschwanstein Castle, Berchtesgaden, Innsbruck, Munich, Rothenburg, Herrenchiemsee, and Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Edelweiss also features amenities such as the outdoor hot tub, pool or massage therapy as well as three restaurants featuring regional cuisine and all-American favorites.
The edelweiss flower is a symbol of prestige but is also revered for its medicinal healing abilities, symbolizing the role the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort plays in providing rest and relaxation to Retirees and their Families. For information regarding these Retiree vacation packages, please visit http://www.edelweisslodgeandresort.com/european_escapes.html for details.