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NDAA 2009 UPDATE September 14, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th September 2008

The Senate returned to work and took up consideration of the cloture motion to proceed to S.3001, the DoD Authorization bill on 8 SEP. Two hours later they proceeded to a roll call vote on the Motion to invoke Cloture which was approved 83-0 allowing the Senate to move to debate on this bill. Cloture is a procedural vote to limit debate and force a vote on a particular issue. It prevents excessive discussion of an issue (called filibustering or talk-a-thon). Three-fifths of all senators (sixty if there are no vacancies) must vote for the motion for cloture for it to be invoked. Once cloture is invoked, the Senate must take final action on the issue by the end of the thirty hours of consideration and may consider no other business until it takes that action. Each senator may speak for a total of no more than one hour. Senators may yield all or part of their hour to one of the floor managers or floor leaders that may in turn yield that time to other senators, but each manager and leader may be yielded no more than two hours. No delaying amendments or motions are allowed, and all debate and amendments must be relative to the debate. Only amendments filed before the cloture vote may be considered; no new amendments may be offered. No senator may call up more than two amendments until every other senator has had an opportunity to do so.

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NATIONAL GUARD BENEFITS September 14, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th September 2008

Currently, enlistees may be eligible for up to a $20,000 cash signing bonus for select careers and up to $32,000 for your college education through the Montgomery G.I. Bill and other incentive programs. The Guard offers many federal benefits/entitlements to their unit members and their families such as the Base Exchange, Commissary, use of Morale Welfare And Recreation facilities, and up to $400,000 life insurance at reduced rates. Members can also take advantage of Tricare Reserve Select Health Insurance and Tricare Dental. Both of these Health Insurance programs offer low cost premiums that round out the benefits necessary for families to maintain good health. Federal education benefits through the Montgomery G.I. Bill are available to most unit members provided they enlist for 6 years. These benefits are available to members after completion of basic training and technical school. This program is a non-contributory benefit, meaning no payment or reduction in pay is required to receive these benefits. Federal benefits received: Montgomery GI Bill chapter 1606; up to $317 per month to offset college cost of attending college fulltime. Other Education Benefits for members enlisting for six years in a critical skills job are: Montgomery GI Bill kicker up to $350 per month for full-time college enrollment, Student loan repayment program; up to $20,000 paid throughout enlistment. If you have prior military service and elected the active duty MGIB, you may still take advantage of this benefit up to a maximum of 48 months of combined benefits at the full-time rate. In addition to the federal benefits listed above, each state may offer additional benefits for their members such as: up to 100% tuition assistance, state tax deferment, and reduced auto license fees. Some of these benefits extend to member’s families. To search for benefits by state refer to www.goang.com/benefits/. For more information refer to:

• Army Guard: www.1-800-GO-GUARD.com

• Air Guard: site is www.GOANG.com

• Coast Guard Reserve: http://www.gocoastguard.com

• Marine Corps Reserve: http://www.marforres.usmc.mil/join/Bonus.asp

• Navy Reserve: http://www.navyreserve.com/?campaign=Reprise_YahooPI_Homepage_Homepage_Text

[Source: NGAUS Leg Up 5 Sep 08 ++]

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MEDICARE PART B NON-ENROLLMENT September 14, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th September 2008

Tricare beneficiaries who qualify for Medicare Part A will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part B at an increased marginal cost unless declined by the beneficiary. However, subject to the exceptions noted below, the consequences for declining Medicare B can be potentially disastrous, as Tricare can pay nothing for care while a beneficiary is eligible for Medicare Part A unless the beneficiary also has Medicare Part B coverage. Tricare will also recoup any benefit payments made to physicians for a disqualified beneficiary for the period that the beneficiary was eligible for Medicare Part A but declined Medicare Part B. The same consequence would apply to Tricare beneficiaries who are awarded two years or more of retroactive Medicare Part A coverage because of a Social Security disability award but decline the option to take Medicare Part B for the period of retroactive Medicare Part A coverage. Any payments made to physicians during a period of retroactive Medicare Part A coverage for which Medicare Part B is declined will be recouped by Tricare.

The mandatory Medicare Part B enrolment rule does not apply if the beneficiary has an active duty sponsor, is enrolled in the US Family Health Plan, or is covered under Tricare Reserve Select. Tricare beneficiaries who are changing Tricare coverage, such as those switching to Tricare for Life and those Tricare beneficiaries with potentially successful Social Security claims should particularly take heed of the Medicare Part B requirement if they want to continue Tricare coverage. The clear message from Tricare Management Activity to Tricare beneficiaries covered by Medicare Part A is that if they decline Medicare Part B coverage, they do so at their peril as this could terminate Tricare payments of claims. It is possible to later enroll in Medicare Part B for those who decline the initial coverage but substantial penalties could apply. Questions on this requirement should be directed to your Tricare contractor. You can also visit the Tricare website for your region or program as follows.

• North Region: www.healthnetfederalservices.com

• West Region: www.triwest.com

• South Region: www.humana-military.com

• Tricare for Life: www.tricare-4u.com

[Source: NGAUS Leg Up 5 Sep 08 ++]

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TRDP UPDATE September 14, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th September 2008

An upcoming change to Tricare soon could give military retirees living overseas reason to smile. Beginning 1 OCT, those retirees will have access to the Tricare Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) insurance benefits that have been previously unavailable outside the United States, Tricare officials said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes on 5 SEP. Jeff Album, spokesman for Delta Dental, the California-based contractor that handles Tricare’s dental coverage, said the company expects about 14,000 of the 35,000 eligible retirees to take advantage of the optional program in its first year. While the change is good news for many, it might not be cost-effective for every retiree living overseas, said Ed Chan, the Tricare Pacific director. For instance, out-of-pocket expenses for dental care in the Philippines are generally much less than monthly insurance premiums, he said. “In some cases, they may not get back what they paid into it,” he said. In South Korea and Japan, he said, retirees might have national insurance if they’re married to citizens of those countries, which includes some dental coverage. In some places in Japan and Okinawa, officials say, retirees can receive free space-available care on base. Retirees in South Korea have very limited on-post care. They are authorized emergency care and can get cleanings during special events such as retiree appreciation days and noncombatant evacuation exercises, said Chris Vaia, chairman of the retiree counsel at Yongsan Garrison in Seoul.

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MILITARY HISTORY ANNIVERSARIES September 14, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th September 2008

Following are some September significant events that occurred in military history:

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MILITARY STOLEN VALOR UPDATE September 14, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th September 2008

Former Army serviceman Randall Moneymaker was sentenced to three years in prison 5 SEP for embellishing a brief military career into that of a decorated combat veteran. Moneymaker is part of the growing problem of “phony war heroes,” across the nation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig “Jake” Jacobsen said. “As the wars drag on in this country, you have more and more wannabes” who make claims of sacrifices never suffered and medals never earned, Jacobsen said. Unlike other imposters who seek only bragging rights or political gain, Moneymaker was motivated mostly by greed, the government contended — making his false claims to collect more than $18,000 in disability and military benefits. Moneymaker was sentenced by Judge James Turk following a March trial in U.S. District Court in Roanoke. After hearing testimony that Moneymaker made up tales of firefights, Ranger missions and hundreds of parachute jumps, a jury convicted him of six charges of fraud and theft. “I’m sorry for what I’ve done,” Moneymaker told the judge, apologizing to his family, his country, his fellow soldiers and “anyone else that I’ve done wrong.”

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WORLD WAR I MEMORIAL September 14, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th September 2008

More than nine decades after driving ambulances on the battlefields of Europe, 107-year-old Frank Woodruff Buckles is the nation’s last known survivor of World War I. Now he’s also become the face of an ambitious campaign to erect a national memorial honoring the 4.6 million Americans who endured “the war to end all wars.” Buckles was the celebrity participant at a news conference 9 SEP to unveil plans for a National World War I Memorial on Washington’s National Mall. It would be midway between memorials already there to World War II and the Korean War. Planners envision refurbishing and expanding an existing memorial that President Herbert Hoover dedicated in 1931 to honor World War I veterans from the District of Columbia. That circular open-air Doric structure, ravaged by time and neglect, is tucked among trees at the southern edge of the Mall and often is ignored or overlooked by tourists. It was named as one of Washington’s most endangered places in 2003 and 2006.

Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) has introduced the Frank Buckles World War I Memorial Act to renovate the memorial and rededicate it as a national shrine in 2018, when America observes the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. Buckles said the 21st-century commitment was needed to make the memorial “what it should be” by honoring all who’d gone before him. “I just feel there should be some recognition,” he said. Buckles was born in 1901 in Harrison County, Mo. He lied about his age to enlist, telling a skeptical recruiter that Missouri didn’t keep birth records when he was born. He was dispatched to England, then France, where he served as an ambulance driver. After the armistice, he delivered German POWs back to their home country. Buckles spent the next 20 years as a merchant seaman before he was entangled in another world war. He was working in the Philippines in 1941 and was captured by the Japanese shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He spent the next three and a half years in Japanese prison camps. After World War II, he returned to the United States, married and settled down on a 33-acre West Virginia farm, where he still lives. His wife died in 1999.

The D.C. Preservation League and a newly formed World War I Memorial Foundation will take the lead in planning, designing and raising money. Refurbishing the monument is expected to cost just under $1 million but planners said it was too early to project a total cost. The circular memorial, composed of Vermont marble, was intended as a bandstand for memorial concerts to World War I participants. It stands on a 4-foot-high circular marble platform around which are inscribed the names of the 499 Washington residents who died in the war. Planners said they hoped to pay for much of the work through private donations. One priority, they said, will be to preserve and improve the existing monument as a “place of peace and reflection” without trying to rival or surpass the scope of more opulent monuments such as the World War II Memorial. [Source: McClatchy Newspapers Dave Montgomery article 9 Sep 08 ++]

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TRICARE URFS UPDATE 2 September 14, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th September 2008

The URFS can verify his/her DEERS information by contacting their regional TRICARE contractor, the local TRICARE Service Center, or the nearest uniformed services personnel office (ID card facility). They can also update their addresses and personal information via the online Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS). When updating addresses, you should make sure to specify a mailing address and not just a home address. The URFS must visit his/her uniformed services personnel office or nearest RAPID site in person and present the necessary documentation, e.g., a marriage certificate, divorce decree and/or birth certificate, to add or be removed from the database. To update DEERS eligibility information:

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TRICARE URFS 1 September 14, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th September 2008

Since 1 OCT 03, the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) reflects TRICARE eligibility for URFS (Unremarried Former Spouses) under his/her own name and Social Security Number (SSN), not his/her former sponsor’s. The URFS now use their own name and SSN to schedule medical appointments and to file TRICARE claims. As an URFS of a uniformed service member, you may be eligible for continued benefits if you do not remarry, are not covered by an employer-sponsored health plan and meet certain requirements. If a URFS remarries, the loss of benefits remains applicable even if the remarriage ends in death or divorce. However, if the URFS remarries a uniformed service active duty or retired member, he or she becomes TRICARE-eligible under his/her new sponsor.

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MOBILIZED RESERVE September 14, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th September 2008

The Army, Air Force and Marine Corps announced the current number of reservists on active duty as of 10 SEP 08 in support of the partial mobilization. The net collective result is 7,744 more reservists mobilized than last reported in the Bulletin for 1 SEP 08. At any given time, services may mobilize some units and individuals while demobilizing others, making it possible for these figures to either increase or decrease. The total number currently on active duty in support of the partial mobilization of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve is 87,818; Navy Reserve, 5,619; Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, 12,466; Marine Corps Reserve, 8,007; and the Coast Guard Reserve, 738. This brings the total National Guard and Reserve personnel who have been mobilized to 114,648 including both units and individual augmentees. A cumulative roster of all National Guard and Reserve personnel, who are currently mobilized, can be found at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Sep2008/d20080910ngr.pdf. [Source: DoD News Release 759-08 10 Sep 08 ++]

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