ary Officer - ArkLaTex MOAA

Ark–La–Tex Chapter of
The Military Officers Assn. of America
P.O. Box 134
Barksdale AFB, LA 71110-0134
Phone: 318-456-5976
POSTMASTER: Please send the change of address orders to:
MOAA, PO Box 134, Barksdale AFB, LA 71110-0134
l i t a ry O f f i c e r
The monthly Newsletter for Members of the Ark-La-Tex Chapter
of The Military Officers Association of America.
MOAA is the nation’s largest and influential association
of military officers. It is an independent, non-profit, politically
nonpartisan organization.
WEBSITE WINNER 2005-2006-2009-2010-2013- RUNNER UP 2011
NEWSPAPER WINNER 2006 & 2011, 2012 & 2013- RUNNER UP 2000 THRU 2006 & 2011
Editor- C o l . S t e v e d e P y s s l e r , U S A F , R E T
1,440 Mailings
May 2015
MOAA 2014
Annual Letter
now online
Never Stop Serving – That’s the
promise of the Military Officers
Association of America (MOAA).
The organizations 2014 Annual
Letter to Members is now available
online at
The letter highlights the victories,
careers, services, strength and goals of
the MOAA and it’s effect on the lives of
spouses and families and on our national media.
We hope that you will take a moment
and read up on all ways being a member
of MOAA ensures the growth and effectiveness of this organization.
Fallen Soldier
Cross Monument
Ceremony 25 May
There will be a dedication ceremony
for the Fallen Soldier Cross
Monument at the Northwest
Louisiana Veterans Cemetery on
Memorial Day 25 May.
See page 2 for more details.
Super Scholarship Dinner
Sat 13 June
Barksdale Club Ballroom
5pm–6pm: Social Hour
6pm: Buffet Dinner
6:45pm: Award Ceremony
Over 20 students will receive scholarships totaling over $25,000!
You must come to this great ceremony and meet these super young
people. They are the finest youths and our future generations.
The guest speaker will be Lt. Col. George Finck, USAF (Retired) and
recipient of the Air Force Cross for combat action in Vietnam – the top
USAF award and second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Door Prizes will be given out
Note: Our chapter has the biggest, best, with the most scholarship
money of all the almost 400 MOAA Chapters.
Highly recommend all our enlisted officers attend this special event.
Reservation for 13 June Super Scholarship Dinner
$20 Buffet x Total # Guests:_____________ Total Amount:$__________
Check Account No. ________________________________________
Credit Card (Mastercard or Visa only)
No.________-_______-________-_______ Expiration Date: __/__
MOAA Member? ____Yes ____No
Mail to: MOAA, PO Box 134, Barksdale AFB, LA 71110
May 2015
The Military Officer
Dedication of Fallen Soldier Cross Monument at NW LA
Veterans Cemetery set for Memorial Day, Monday 25 May
The dedication of the Fallen Soldier
Cross monument will be held with the
annual Memorial Day services at 12
noon at the Veterans Cemetery. The ten
foot tall bronze monument will also
have in front a kneeling lady with an
American tri-fold flag. A Victory
Garden will be in front on the monument and be surrounded by all the State
The guest speaker will be Lt. Gen.
Wilson Commander of Air Force Global
Strike Command. The monument has
been approved by the Arlington
National Cemetery and will be the only
monument in a Louisiana State cemetery. THIS IS AN HISTORIC EVENT
and your family and friends are all cordially invited to attend this event which
will have lots of military pageantry.
Great opportunity for picture taking!
To reach the NW LA Veterans
Cemetery travel west on I-20 from
Shreveport and take Exit 8 (Bert Kouns
Industrial Loop/LA 526; go south on
Bert Kouns to traffic signal at intersection of Woolworth Road (fire station);
turn right and continue to end of road at
Intersection of LA 525/Colquitt Road;
turn right and continue to 4-way stop at
intersection of LA 169 in Spring Ridge;
turn left and go 1 mile to intersection of
LA 789; bear left on LA 789 and continue for about 2 1/2 miles. Look for sign to
Northwest LA Veterans Cemetery
Contents of the Ark-La-Tex Chapter Military Officers
Association of America (MOAA) newsletter are not necessarily
the official views of, or endorsed by the U.S. Government, the
Department of Defense or the Department of the Air Force.
The appearance of advertising In this publication, including
inserts and supplements, does not constitute endorsement by
the Ark-La-Tex Chapter Military Officers Association of
America (MOAA) or the Natchitoches Times, the publishing
company, of the products or services advertised.
Board of Directors/Positions/Duties
1st Vice Pres
2nd Vice Pres
3rd Vice Pres
Immed Past Pres
Stewart Greathouse
Bill Davis
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
Walt Slocombe
David Lay
Philip Blaufuss
Dave Jampole
Henry Burns
Daniel Charchian
William Cocke
Steven dePyssler
Stan Johnson
James Kendall
Ivan McKinney
Anthony Wolf
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
Doris Everhart-Franklin: e-mail: [email protected] (For Base Approval)
Casualty Assistance: Director dePyssler
Dinner Reservations: 1st Vice President Davis
Finance: Treasurer Blaufuss
Finance Committee: Pres. Greathouse/Treas. Blaufuss/Dir. Kendall
Historian/Awards: Director Slocombe
Membership: Director McKinney
Newsletter/Membership: Director dePyssler
Programs & Events:
Roster Updated: Lt Col (Ret) John Seanor/Phone: 318-456-4480/E-Mail: [email protected]
ROTC/JROTC Coordinator: President Greathouse
Scholarship/Letters To The Front: George Finck - 965-4124 - [email protected]
Transition Center: 3rd Vice President Slocombe
Web Master: Immediate Past President Jampole
The Military Officer is published monthly by the Ark-La-Tex Chapter, The Military Officers Association of America, P. O. Box 134, BAFB, LA 71110. For address changes, please
mail to: Military Officers of America Association (MOAA), P.O. Box 134, BAFB, LA 71110 or email: [email protected] or fax: 318-456-3520. Annual dues are $20 (includes
$3 dues and $17 subscription). Mail article suggestions, recommendations and complaints to MOAA at the above address. This newsletter is designed to provide information in regard to subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the editor is NOT engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional service
and is strictly a volunteer without pay. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. The opinions
expressed are those of the editor and not of the chapter.
The Military Officer
May 2015
The Bill Box contains a listing of
bills that AUSA is currently tracking.
Senate Action
S. 167 {Clay Hunt Say Act}
Cosponsors: 35
Directs the Secretary of
Veterans’ Affairs to provide for the conduct of annual evaluations of mental
health care and suicide prevention programs of the Department of Veterans’
Affairs and would require a pilot program on loan repayment for psychiatrists who agree to serve in the Veterans
Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Introduced by Sen. John
McCain, R-Ariz.
Veterans’ Affairs
Signed into law Feb. 12, 2015.
House Action
H.R. 303 {Retired Pay Restoration
Act} Cosponsors: 19
Permits additional retired mem-
bers of the Armed Forces who have a
service-connected disability to receive
both disability compensation from the
VA for their disability and either retired
pay by reason of their years of military
service or Combat-Related Special
Eliminates the phase-in period
under current law with respect to such
concurrent receipt
Introduced by Rep. Gus
Bilirakis, R-Fla.
Referred to Committees:
Armed Services;
Veterans’ Affairs
H.R. 333 {Disabled Veterans’ Tax
Termination Act}
Cosponsors: 24
Permits retired members of the
Armed Forces who have a service-connected disability rated less than 50 percent to receive concurrent payment of
both retired pay and veterans’ disability
Eliminates the phase-in period
for concurrent receipt
Barksdale ITT
new location
The Barksdale AFB Information
Tickets and Tours office has a new location! We are now located in the new
MSG Building on Kenney Ave. We are
located on the first floor in room 1003.
The ITT office offers a variety of discounted tickets for the military, such as
Disney World, Universal Studios, Six
Flags, and Medieval Times. Our most
popular by far is the Disney World
Military Salute ticket that we sell for
$177 for a 4 day park hopper! That is
more than half off the regular price!
Visit our Facebook page at for
any local events we might have, or to see a
list of what we offer! We are open
Monday-Friday 1000-1400, or call with
any questions at 318-456-1866.
Extends eligibility for concurrent receipt to
chapter 61 disability retirees with
less than 20 years of service.
Introduced by Rep. Sanford
Bishop, D-Ga.
Referred to Committees:
Armed Services; Veterans’ Affairs
Senate Action
S. 271 {Retired Pay Restoration Act}
Cosponsors: 8
Permits certain retired members of the uniformed services who
have a service-connected disability to
receive both disability compensation
from the Department of Veterans’
Affairs for their disability and either
retired pay by reason of their years of
military service or Combat-Related
Special Compensation.
Introduced by Sen. Harry Reid,
Referred to Committee: Armed
House Action
H.R. 218 (CHAMPVA Children’s
Protection Act of 2013)
Cosponsors: 2
Increases the maximum age for
children eligible for medical care under
the CHAMPVA program.
Introduced by Rep. Corrine
Brown, D-Fla.
Veterans’ Affairs
Senate Action
S. 759 (The Military Spouse Job
Continuity Act)
Cosponsors: 7
Allows a credit against income
tax for amounts paid by a spouse of a
member of the Armed Forces for a new
State license or certification required by
reason of a permanent change in the
duty station of such member to another
Introduced by Sen. Bob Casey,
Awarded Top Advocacy Association
by THE HILL newspaper
7 years in a row
Information about this publication
Published by Ark-La-Tex Chapter of MOAA. “Military Officers Association of America, Ark-La-Tex Chapter Newsletter” is published to inform members and family members of
changes in legislation, defense policies and other matters affecting their military rights, benefits and obligations. It also contains information about Barksdale AFB and the local
retiree community. While every effort is made to verify information in this publication, we can’t guarantee the accuracy of information furnished by outside agencies.
Everything advertised in this publication shall be made available for purchase, use or patronage without regard to race, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, physical
handicap, political affiliation, or any other nonmerit factor of the purchaser, user or patron. Advertising inquiries should be directed to: Col. Steve dePyssler at 318-456-5976 or email
to [email protected]
USPS No. 11960
“The Military Officer”
Editorial and Publication
Published each month at 800 Kenney Ave. Rm#24,
BAFB, LA 71110
Periodicals Postage paid at
Bossier City, LA. 71111
Send address changes to: Ark-La-Tex Chapter MOAA
P.O. Box 134, Barksdale AFB, LA 71110-0134
Membership in the ArklaTex Chapter MOAA with $20 annual dues
includes $3 Dues and $17 subscription price to The Military Officer
Advertising rates will be furnished upon request.
The advertiser shall defend and indemnify and hold harmless
The Military Officers Association of America, Ark-La-Tex Chapter
against any claim of liability or loss asserted or established against
it by reasons of the publication of any advertisement or any part
thereof submitted by or published at the direction of the advertiser.
For questions about advertising, call (318) 456-5976.
For questions about membership information, call (318) 456-4480.
May 2015
The Military Officer
You may be entitled to more social security than you’re getting
Social Security might end up being
your most valuable retirement asset...
and the most difficult to understand.
The system has more than 2,700 core
rules and thousands more codicils. A
single misstep could cost you as much
as one-third of the money you might
have received. Here’s a closer look at
four Social Security guidelines that are
poorly understood, even by financial
You might have more than one benefit available to you, but you can’t claim
more than one at a time.
Examples of benefits in addition to
your standard retirement benefit:
• If your spouse (or former spouse if
you are divorced and your marriage
lasted at least 10 years) is alive, you
might qualify for a monthly spousal
benefit equal to as much as 50% of your
spouse’s “full retirement benefit”-the
amount your spouse would receive if he
starts his benefits at his “full retirement
age,” which is 66 for people born
between 1943 and 1954 ... between 66
and 67 for people born between 1955
and 1959 ... and 67 for people born in
1960 or later.
• If your spouse or ex passes away,
you might be entitled to a monthly survivor benefit of as much as 100% of the
retirement benefit that he could have
received if he were still alive.
Social Security rules make it difficult
to understand that you can’t get more
than one of the benefits at the same
time. The rules seem to indicate that
Social Security Info
Faster processing
The Social Security Administration will expedite disability claims for applicants with severe medical conditions. The agency lists 225 conditions for which
the expedited process applies. (You can find the list at
security,gov/compassionateallowances.) These claims should be decided within
days, the agency says.
Online statements
The Social Security Administration reports that more than 13 million “My
Social Security” accounts have been created. With an account, you can see your
Social Security benefits statement online; it provides estimates for retirement,
disability and survivor benefits. Go to for
more info.
Lost social security form
If you got Social Security benefits last year but haven’t yet received (or have
misplaced) Form SSA-l099, you can quickly print a replacement by setting up
an online Social Security account. There are other ad vantages, too. You can get
an estimate of future benefits if you’re still working, track yearly earnings and
set up direct deposit for payments. To set up an online account, go to
Divorce and benefits
My husband and I divorced after 20 years and he has remarried. Which wife
gets the Social Security benefits?
You both do. You and the new wife can each claim spousal benefits while he
lives and survivor’s benefits when he dies. Neither of you gains (or loses) a dime
just because there’s more than one of you on his account. The three main claiming rules for an ex: You were married for at least 10 years, you haven’t remarried and you’re 62 or older.
You have one advantage over the current wife. She can’t claim spousal benefits until her husband files for retirement himself. A divorced wife can get those
benefits even if her ex has not retired, provided that he’s eligible to claim and
they’ve been divorced for two years or more.
you can receive your own retirement
benefit plus the portion of another benefit that is in excess of your retirement
benefit-but that’s really just a confusing
way of saying that the smaller of the
two benefits is eliminated.
What to do: It sometimes is worth
claiming first one benefit, then switching to a different one later on. Doing
this delays the start of the second benefit, which could increase the size of the
check that you receive each month
from that benefit for the rest of your
There are many complex rules governing this. It’s easy to make a mistake
and apply for two benefits even though
you intended to apply for just one. If
this happens, you might eliminate any
upside to switching benefits later.
Three important benefit-switching
• It may not be wise to claim a
spousal benefit before you reach your
foil retirement age. Doing so would
cause you to be deemed to be filing for
your own retirement benefit at this
early age, too; forever reducing your
monthly retirement benefit.
• If you are married, you cannot file
for a spousal benefit until your spouse
has filed for his own retirement benefit
(though if you are divorced, you can).
• Although your monthly retirement
benefit continues to increase in size for
each month you delay starting it until
age 70, spousal and survivor benefits
Don’t confuse wills and trusts
Trusts are an essential part of estate
planning, but many people make a mistake that essentially vitiates their purpose by not transferring all of the assets
they could have into the trust.
A trust disposes of assets outside of
probate, which is a procedure under the
administration of a court that marshals
the decedent’s assets, pays creditors
and others, and disposes of the assets of
the estate according to the decedent’s
will. Probate involves, at the very least,
an executor, an attorney, an appraiser
and filing fees. By using a trust, the
trustor (the person who transfers the
assets going into the trust) can avoid
these expenses to a considerable extent.
The trustor, however, must put
assets into the trust. And sometimes
assets are forgotten, or the trustor
thinks the attorney is responsible for
their transfer. When the trustor dies,
assets that should have been disposed
of outside probate be come entangled
in that complicated and costly procedure. Maintain good records so that
assets intended for the trust are listed
and easy to find.
Biggest mistake in estate planning
What’s the biggest mistake people
make with estate planning?
As long as the world keeps changing,
there is always a chance that an estate
plan put in place in the past will no
longer work as intended.
Consider how the federal estate-tax
exemption has changed. In recent years,
the allowable amount that can be passed
tax-free to non spousal beneficiaries has
jumped to $5.43 million from $1.5 million. Many people have two trusts one
for their spouse, one for other beneficiaries and direct that the second trust be
funded first, up to the exemption
amount. The second trust, if unrevised,
could consume all the decedent’s estate,
leaving nothing for the spouse.
Similarly, say you named your young
children as beneficiaries on your retirement plan. Years later, one dies. If that
original beneficiary designation hasn’t
been revised, there is potential to completely disinherit one set of grandchildren.
Review your estate plan annually.
The most common mistake in estate
planning is failing to do it. Basic estateplanning needs include: a will (pay
attention to who you name as executor);
a durable power of attorney for health
care (don’t let the state make “do- or
do-not-resuscitate” decisions on your
behalf); and a durable power of attorney
for financial matters (specify whether
you want this to be immediately effective or “springing,” which means it isn’t
effective unless you are incapacitated).
Estate planning all-in-one guide
The American Institute for Economic
Research offers a publication that helps
devise a “master plan” to handle your
estate if you become incapacitated or
die. If Something Should Happen
includes worksheets to help pull together pertinent information. Copies are
$10; order one at, or call 888-528-1216.
The Military Officer
May 2015
May 2015
The Military Officer
Fleming says 4 star at BAFB removes BRAC worry Former BAFB
Congressman John Fleming said the U.S.
Air Force’s decision to upgrade the command at Barksdale Air Force Base is good
news for its longevity.
Air Force General Robin Rand will be
the new 4-star Commander of Global Strike
at Barksdale Air Force Base, pending U.S.
Senate confirmation.
When asked about the future of Air Force
Congressman Barksdale Air Force Base for potential cuts,
John Fleming he quickly replied, “What’s really important about that is, it obviously takes away
the worry that Barksdale is on the chopping block for BRAC
(Base Realignment and Closure). Obviously that’s not gonna
happen, since we’re upgrading our command.”
When asked about the details of the new 4-star at
Barksdale, Fleming said, “Just this past week, I had questions
in the House Armed Services Committee to an Admiral
Haney, who is part of that nuclear enterprise.”
“I asked him about what the current policy is of the
Pentagon, relative to moving from a triad, which is bombers,
missiles and submarines down to a diad, which is what many
in Washington really want,” Fleming continued, “and he
(Haney) reiterated what the Pentagon has been saying, and
I’ve been saying.”
“We need to maintain a nuclear. triad; we need to modernize our: nuclear weapons, because many of them are becoming obsolescent and would questionably work if called
upon,” said Fleming.
Emphasizing the need for nuclear upgrades, the
Congressman said, “Our delivery system we have, the B-52’s
that have been in operation now, we have grandsons of some
of the original pilots who are flying them now,” adding, “and
there’ll be another generation or two even before the next
bombers come off the assembly line.”
Optimistic about Global Strike, Fleming summed up his
thoughts, “So, I’m very happy with the developments that
we’re seeing out of the Air Force.”
Air Force is short 520 active duty fighter pilots
The Air Force doesn’t have enough fighter pilots in its
active duty cockpits, and the service fears a long-term drop in
those available to train new pilots and test new aircraft, service leaders told lawmakers March 19.
The active-duty Air Force is 520 pilots short of its total
manning requirement, with that projection expected to grow
in the near future due to an
increase in private airlines luring
the pilots away and continued
effects of force structure cuts,
according to joint testimony to the
Senate Armed Services Committee
by William LaPlante, assistant secretary for acquisition; Lt. Gen.
James Holmes, deputy chief of
staff for strategic plans and
requirements; and Lt. Gen. Tod
Wolters, deputy chief of staff for
“The shortfall evolved from
force structure reductions that cut
active-duty fighter squadrons and
fighter training squadrons to a number that cannot sustain billet requirements,” the testimony states. “As a result, the Air
Force is currently unable to produce and experience the
required number of fighter pilots across’ the total force.”
The service is prioritizing its overall manpower to keep
Guantanamo to
close by 2017
President Obama will make big headway on shuttering Guantanamo Bay. By
year-end, he’ll have removed all but 30
of the 122 detainees left at the naval
base in Cuba, sending them to
Kazakhstan, Uruguay and other countries that’ll take them. Invoking executive privilege, he’ll transfer the remaining 30, considered by Washington to be
the most dangerous terrorists, to wellguarded U.S. facilities. He’ll get his way
by noting that the cost of housing a per-
operational cockpits full, causing a drop in air operations
expertise during higher-level planning and a drop in fighter
pilot experience for trainers and test programs.
“Without these fighter pilots, the Air Force will be very
challenged to continue to provide the air supremacy upon
which all our forces depend,” the testimony states.
The Air Force projects that the
airline industry will hire about
20,000 pilots over the next 10
years, and with changing requirements, the companies will target
military aviators at an increased
rate, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen.
Mark Welsh told the Senate Armed
Services Committee on March 18.
Budget restrictions have limited
flying hours, causing frustration
among pilots. This frustration will
return if sequestration comes back,
Welsh said.
The Air Force uses big bonuses
to try to keep its pilots around. The
service offers Aviator Retention Pay payouts for eligible
pilots who agree to serve for nine more years, at a rate of up
to $225,000. Fighter pilots, other valuable pilots and combat
systems officers who sign up for five more years can also get
a $125,000 bonus.
son at Guantanamo Bay is nearly $3
million a year versus $34,000, on average, for an inmate held at a high-security U.S. prison. The detention facility
will be closed by the time Obama leaves
office in 2017.
Troops in Iraq
Look for the president to double the
number of U.S. troops in Iraq.
But the move won’t stop Islamic
State rebels from being a threat to the
U.S. and allies in the Middle East and
elsewhere. Short of an all-out war in
Iraq and Syria, which the U.S. doesn’t
have the stomach for, the rebels will
keep hitting and running, even as U.S.
forces continue to have success in identifying and targeting ISIS leaders.
Obama will reluctantly provide 5,000
troops, advisers, contractors and support
staff, on top of the 4,700 who are
already in Iraq or are committed to be
there early in 2015.
Cost of Wars
Almost $2 Trillion
A Dec. 8, 2014, Congressional
Research Service report says the wars in
Iraq, Afghanistan and counterterrorism
Commander up
for promotion
A recent commander of the 2nd Bomb
Wing at Barksdale is
up for promotion to
general officer and a
plum position, and
other officers either
once stationed at
Barksdale or under
Air Force Global Col. Andrew
Strike Command also
are set for moves, the
Pentagon has announced.
Col. Andrew Gebara commander of
the local active-duty B-52 wing from
May 2012 to August 2014, was named
for elevation to brigadier general,
according to a release from Air Force
headquarters Friday.
Gebara’s new job will be as deputy
director of nuclear operations at
Headquarters U.S. Strategic Command,
Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.
Lt. Col. Burns,
USA, Retired
announces run
for La. Senate
District 9 State Rep. Henry Burns
made it official. He has tossed his hat
into the ring for the Dist. 36 state senate
seat that will be up for grabs in
October’s statewide elections.
Burns, who was first elected in 2007
to serve Dist. 9, is seeking to replace
Benton Republican Robert Adley, who
is term-limited after serving 12 years.
Editors note: Burns is a board member of the Ark-La-Tex Chapter of the
Military Officers Association of
America (MOAA).
operations elsewhere cost a combined
$1.6 trillion between Sept 11, 2001, and
Sept. 30, 2014.
Some 92% of these expenses fall
under the Defense Department. But VA
medical care expenditures for the
wounded are included in the remaining
8%. Physically wounded from both
wars total 52,304 plus 128,496 veterans
formally diagnosed with PTSD.
Not calculated are lifetime costs of
medical care for disabled veterans. A
June Boston University study claims
that amount through 2054 could be a
whopping $1 trillion.
The Military Officer
May 2015
Letters to the Editor
Sci-Port a gem for Shreveport, region
February 20th 2015
Dear Col. dePyssler,
I want to thank you so much for all the information you gave me, it was
invaluable. I don’t know what the widows of Shreveport/Bossier would do without your help.
You are an amazing man and I may take you up on the offer of investment
Mary K. Shouse, Bossier City
Dear Editor,
As a native of Shreveport who now
lives in Dallas, I want to share a terrific
experience that my family had while in
Shreveport over the holidays. We went
to Sci-Port.
My husband and I took our two children, niece and nephew, who range in
age from 4 to 10. It was one of the best
experiences I have ever had anywhere
with four small children. As any parent
or caregiver knows, finding indoor, fun,
educational activities that last longer
than 10 minutes and are enjoyable for
adults as well as children is like the
search for the Holy Grail. It seems unattainable.
In Dallas we are fortunate to have the
Perot Museum of Nature and Science,
which offers stunning architecture, outstanding lab experiences, and an amazing exhibits. However, I found Sci-Port
to be more accessible for children of
elementary school age, with many
hands-on activities demonstrating basic
scientific principles and fewer video
screens. We even lucked into a “holiday
season” chemistry presentation, during
which a Sci-Port employee conducted
experiments, including making snow,
then turning it green and red.
Sci-Port is a gem for the residents of
Shreveport and the entire region. We
can’t wait to go again!
- Frances Seiber Knipp
Dallas, Texas
La. National Guard Youth Challenge Program
Dear Editor,
The Louisiana National Guard
Youth Challenge Program (YCP) is an
alternative educational program which
offers 16-18 year old adolescents an
opportunity to change their future.
Students looking for a way to succeed
outside of a traditional school setting
learn self-discipline, leadership, and
responsibility while working to obtain
a high school equivalency diploma.
In total, YCP is a 17 month program
which consists of two phases. During
the 5 month Residential Phase, students live on site at one of the three
locations: Camp Minden near
Shreveport, Camp Beauregard in
Central Louisiana, and The Gillis W.
Long Center near Baton Rouge.
During the Residential Phase, students
attend school,
receive individual counseling, and are
supervised 24
hours a day.
After graduation, students return
enter the 12
Residential Phase. During this phase,
which is designed to help students
continue in a positive direction, graduates are assisted by case managers
and community mentors to continue
their education, enroll in college,
begin job training, find employment,
or enlist in the military.
May 2015
The Military Officer
Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) question and answer
A complete and detailed description
of SBP can be found at
DFAS provides a treatment of the SBP
at These websites are the
most important tools for any RSO looking to understand the provisions of the
SBP plan overall.
SBP Basics
Retired pay stops with the death of
the retiree. The Survivor Benefit Plan
was created to permit a retiree to provide a portion of his or her retired pay to
an elected beneficiary or beneficiaries
after his or her death. The SBP benefit is
inflation protected as the base amounts,
premiums and annuity amounts are
increased with each cost of living
increase applied to retired pay.
Coverage is available for a spouse, former spouse, children, a combination of
spouse or former spouse with children,
or a insurable interest person (such as a
business partner or parent) if there is no
spouse at retirement.
The SBP annuity will generally be
55% of the base amount selected for
coverage. The base amount can be the
maximum of the gross monthly retired
pay entitlement, or any lesser dollar
amount down to the $300.00 minimum.
At retirement, a member must elect
SBP coverage. He or she must also elect
the type of coverage desired. However,
if a member is married, he or she may
not reduce or decline spouse coverage
without his or her spouse’s written consent. If a member is married and has
made no other valid election, the full
basic SBP for spouse and children is
automatic. If a member has a former
spouse, that may affect his or her
In general, once a SBP election has
been made, it cannot be canceled or
changed except in specific instances
such as a change in your marital status
or after the loss of a beneficiary.
Q1: What happens if a member elects
SBP coverage, then after retirement
decides he or she no longer wants coverage?
SBP is an irrevocable election. The
only circumstances in which a member
can remove SBP coverage are:
• loss of beneficiary (death, divorce,
child age, etc.)
• termination of coverage during 2536 months of retirement (must be made
on DD Form 2656-2)
• withdrawal due to VA disability
(member must be rated 100% by DVA
for five consecutive years beginning at
retirement -OR- member must be rated
100% by DVA for ten consecutive years
beginning after retirement)
Q2: What happens if a member wishes to make an election requiring spousal
concurrence, but the spouse is unable to
sign documentation due to being
If an election requires spousal concurrence, then that concurrence must be
obtained and obtained in the proper
form before the election is valid. If the
member wishes his or her election to
become valid, the form(s) must be
mailed, faxed, emailed, etc. to the
spouse for signature. Whether the
spouse is across the country or even the
world, he/she must still sign documentation and validate his or her signature
with an appropriately signed and dated
If the spouse’s whereabouts are truly
unknown, the Secretary of the member’s
branch of service may be able to exempt
the member from the spouse signature
Q3: Is it true that the surviving spouse
of a member receiving a SBP benefit
will lose the benefit if he or she remarries?
If a surviving spouse annuitant remarries before the age of 55, he or she will
lose their benefit. However, the benefit
will be reinstated if the new marriage
ends for any reason (death, divorce,
If a surviving spouse annuitant remarries after the age of 55, his or her benefit will not be affected.
For former spouse SBP beneficiaries
(in cases in which the member is still
alive), FS SBP coverage is suspended
upon remarriage prior to 55. In these
cases, coverage be reinstated if remarriage ends for any reason (death,
divorce, annulment).
Q4: What information in regards to
Former Spouse SBP are we authorized
to release to former spouses?
The information we are allowed to
divulge is limited to:
The level of coverage (can divulge
only if the FS is beneficiary)
The amount of the annuity payable
(can divulge only if FS is beneficiary)
Q5: What rules govern changing SBP
coverage from a Former Spouse to a
current Spouse upon the death of the
covered Former Spouse?
Effective January 8, 2014, DFAS’
Office of General Counsel clarified the
laws regarding the change of SBP coverage from Former Spouse to Spouse
upon the death of the former spouse.
Situation 1: Any retiree who is married and elects Spouse coverage at
retirement, then divorces that spouse
and elects Former Spouse coverage for
the former spouse, CANNOT elect to
cover his/her current spouse upon the
former spouse’s death.
It does not matter whether or not the
Former Spouse SBP coverage was
court-ordered. Once the former spouse
dies, the retiree cannot add his/her new
spouse to the SBP
The ONLY circumstance under which
a retiree in Situation 1 can change
his/her SBP coverage from Former
Spouse to Spouse is if the change is
made while the Former Spouse is alive
Situation 2: Any retiree that has
BOTH a spouse and former spouse at
retirement, who elects Former Spouse
SBP coverage pursuant to a court order,
is eligible to change his/her SBP coverage to Spouse upon the former spouse’s
This is because the retiree’s actual
spouse was an eligible beneficiary at
retirement, but the retiree was required
by a court order to establish Former
Spouse coverage
If the retiree made a voluntary election for Former Spouse coverage at
retirement, while he/she also had a current spouse, then SBP the coverage cannot be changed to spouse upon the former spouse’s death.
New Survivor Benefit Plan Trust now available
Recently passed legislation now
allows Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)
income to be paid into a special needs
After numerous years as a MOAA
legislative priority, legislation passed at
the end of December 2014 allowing the
Survivor Benefit plan (SBP) to pay a
special needs trust. Many families have
been waiting for this SBP change for
years. What does it mean?
In this context, a special needs trust is
a legal document that establishes an
account to oversee financial assets of a
mentally or physically incapacitated
child - specifically a child, by this law.
When a special needs trust is designated as the beneficiary of an SBP annuity,
SBP income can be paid to the trust and
managed for the benefit of the incapacitated child’s life. A designated trustee
manages the trust assets.
A key benefit of a special needs trust
is that SBP income placed in the trust
will not disqualify a child from other
state or federal aid that might have been
jeopardized had the SBP income been
paid directly to the child. SBP income
will be exempt from state financial
means tests determining other aid eligibility.
To qualify, a special needs trust must
provide that upon the death of the beneficiary, remaining assets in the trust
revert back to the state. The state will
use the remaining trust assets to offset
its prior costs, up to an amount equal to
the total assistance paid on behalf of the
It will take a while for DoD to figure
out how to implement this new legal
provision and put all the management
systems in place. Currently, there are no
details for how to establish a trust for
your beneficiary. Here’s what we don’t
know yet:
• whether current SBP participants
will be given an option to change their
SBP beneficiaries to a special needs
• whether DoD will consider an open
season enrollment to allow retirees who
have incapacitated children and did not
enroll in SBP at retirement to take ad
vantage of this new beneficiary category;
• whether survivors currently receiving SBP income will be allowed to
divert their income to the new trust beneficiary; and how members coming up
on retirement and making the SBP decision will be managed.
MOAA will be working closely with
the service pay agencies to make suggestions and monitor the progress of
this policy development. Until more
details become available, we all are in
For general information on special
needs trusts, consult legal counsel. To
keep up-to-date on other important legislative news affecting the military
community, subscribe to MOAA’s
weekly Legislative Update e-newsletter
SBP Resources
For more Survivor Benefit Plan
(SBP) information - including several
publications that are free to MOAA
Premium and Life members - visit
The Military Officer
Casualty Affairs - Make
your wishes known now
To assist you in making certain decisions concerning your funeral service. By
making your wishes known now, you’ll
spare your family the additional stress of
having to make these decisions within a
few hours of your demise.
1. Does your primary next of kin
(PNOK) know where to locate the following documents or information:
DD Form 214, Certificate of
Release or Discharge from Active Duty.
This very important document shows
proof of your military service and is needed to apply for burial entitlements and a
variety of other benefits. You’ll receive
the original copy upon retirement;
NPRC/NCPMF-C, 9700 Page Blvd, St
Louis MO 63132 also retains a copy.
DD Form 93, Record of
Emergency Data. You’ll receive a copy
upon retirement; the original is on file at
DF AS-CL. After retirement, you may
change the DD Form 93 by completing an
AF Form 694, Data for Payment of
Retired AF Personnel. If you’ve already
done so, a copy of the form will suffice.
Birth Certificates. You should
have the original or certified copies of
birth certificates for you, your spouse, and
your children.
Will. Your PNOK should have
access to your will. In addition, you
should have a letter of instructions for
your executor.
Life Insurance Policies. You
should ensure your PNOK has a list of all
policy account numbers, policy values
and types, and the name, address and telephone numbers of the policy providers.
Addresses. You should ensure your
PNOK has access to bank, investment,
loan, and credit card account numbers, the
types of accounts and the address or telephone number of each account-holding
VA Claim.
Do you want your body or organs
donated? Do you have a signed organ
donor card? Is your PNOK aware of your
Do you want your remains cremated or casketed? Do you want a military funeral ceremony? Where do you
wish to be interred? If you wish to be
buried at the Northwest LA Veterans
Cemetery at Keithville, LA call 318-9250612
If you wish to be interred at
Arlington National Cemetery, do you
want the funeral service to be conducted
in the “Old Post Chapel” (capacity 200)
or at the Memorial Chapel (capacity
750)? Both chapels are located on Fort
Myer VA.
Do you wish to be interred in uniform? If yes, do you have a service dress
uniform completed with all rank, ribbons,
badges, and other items? Uniform should
be current as of your retirement effective
Do you want a privately obtained
headstone or the government 01 A) supplied grave marker?
Do you have a family chaplain
who will preside over the funeral service,
or do wish to use an AF chaplain? Do you
have a religious preference?
Do you have a preference on
flowers or donations instead of? If you
prefer donations instead of flowers, where
should the donations be sent? Your PNOK
should have access to the name, address,
and telephone number of the recipient.
Do you want your funeral service
to include an eulogy; if so, do you have a
preference on who delivers the comments?
Would you like to have honorary
pallbearers? If so, who are they? Your
PNOK should have access to their names,
addresses, and telephone numbers. Also,
you may wish to identify a few alternates.
10. Condolence messages, cards, letters, etc will normally be sent to your
PNOK’s address — do you have an alternate preference (e.g., executor)? If so,
please ensure your PNOK is made aware
of your preferences.
11. Do you have an updated bio that
includes post-retirement information?
This bio will help your PNOK prepare the
obituary. Do you want a picture and/or
flag in obituary?
12. Do you belong to a military association? If so, is your PNOK aware of the
services they provide?
13. Which professional organizations or specific individuals do you wish
your PNOK to notify upon your demise.
May 2015
Certificate of Eligibility for widows
Effective Aug. 1, 2013, most
Survivor Benefit plan annuitants over
the age of 55 were no longer required to
complete and submit an annual certificate of Eligibility (COE) to the Defense
Finance and Accounting Service.
Annuitants will not receive the annual
COE once they reach age 55. Their eligibility to receive annuity payments
will continue without submitting the
The following annuitants will continue to receive COES and must submit
completed forms to DFAS to continue
annuity payment eligibility:
• Annuitants under 55 years of age
• Annuitants who are receiving hard
copy checks in a foreign country
(regardless of age)
• Annuitants who have a permanent
disability (regardless of age)
For more information contact Selina
Lyle, Chief, CasuaIty/SBP Operations
800 Keaney Ave Bldg, 4353 Room
25, Barksdale AFB, LA 71110
[email protected]
Voice: (318) 456-2212 Cell: (318)
230-4387 Fax: (318) 456-3584
VA Benefits e-claims toolkit
The VA Recently debuted its e-claims
toolkit to help veterans filing claims for
benefits. In addition to the kit, claimants
have access to new infographics, fact
sheets, and tips.
you’ll find pointers like the ones below
and more.
1. File your disability compensation
claim electronically through eBenefits.
eBenefits allows you to fill out your
application, upload all required documentation, and submit your claim with
2. Submit your application and all documentation within one year of starting
your claim. You have the option of starting your claim early to preserve your start
date, from which benefits would be paid.
3. Gather and submit all documentation simultaneously with your claim
application. You will be eligible for faster
processing if all your required and relevant documentation is, provided at the
time you submit your claim.
Find out more about eBenefits and
access other MOAA veterans service
Editors note: Highly recommend
going through a veterans service officer.
There is one in every parish/county.
Reopening a VA claim
A veteran may reopen a finally adjudicated claim by submitting new and
material evidence. New evidence
means existing evidence not previously
submitted to the VA. Material evidence
means existing evidence that, by itself
or when considered with previous evidence, relates to an unestablished fact
necessary to substantiate the claim.
New and material evidence can be
neither cumulative nor redundant of the
evidence of record and must raise a reasonable possibility of substantiating the
claim. New and material evidence
received prior to the expiration of the
appeal period, or prior to the appeal
decision if a timely appeal has been
filed, will be considered as having been
filed in connection with the claim
which was pending at the beginning of
the appeal period.
Once a decision is made, if VA
receives or associates relevant official
Barksdale AFB Casualty Affairs
Selina Lyle
service department records that existed
and had not been associated with the
claim when VA first decided the claim,
VA will reconsider the claim.
These records may include service
records that are related to a claimed in
service event, injury, or disease; additional service records forwarded by the
Department of Defense or the service
department to VA any time after VA’s
original request for service records; or
declassified records that could not
have been obtained because the
records were classified when VA
decided the claim.
This does not apply to records that
VA could not have obtained when it
decided the claim because the records
did not exist, or because the veteran
failed to provide sufficient information
for VA to identify and obtain the
records. Editors note: Always go thru a
veterans service officer when possible.
May 2015
The Military Officer
March 2015
Retiree Deaths
Date of Death
Charles K. Bowers
Jerry B. Harris
William F. Lott
Frederick C. Westergaard 3-Mar-15
Walter H. Kirkpatrick
Aubrey Howard
Walter H. Campbell
Dennis L. Black
Rex A. Ryan
Lee H. Rucker
Stephen J. Westbrook
Charles D. Wheeler
Robert C. Meredith
Clair L. Coy
Aaron D. Hemphill
Fred E. Beach
Gerald W Monismith
William L. Horne
Thomas R. Cox
Joseph Provost
William L. Mattison
Dennis C. Rushford
Wilson Updyke
Grady C. Wilson
George S. Wylie
Herbert W. Taylor
Air Force
Air Force
Air Force
Air Force
Air Force
Air Force
Air Force
Air Force
Air Force
Air Force
Air Force
Air Force
Air Force
Air Force
Air Force
Air Force
Air Force
Air Force
Grade Age
CMSgt 84
SMSgt 80
CMSgt 82
SMSgt 74
SMSgt 81
Widow/Spouse Deaths
Doris W. McGraw
Date of Death
Maj. Jim F. McGraw
to apply for the
french legion of honor medal
French Legion Honor for
World War II Veterans
By Dr. Nancy Toombs
As many of you know, the 8th Air
Force Historical Society has been working hard to relay the message to all our
WWII veterans about the French
Legion of Honor Medal. This is the
highest award that France can bestow
and it is given to all branches of service
personnel who participated in the liberation of France.
I can’t emphasize enough how
important it is for every eligible veteran
to make application, as it can take up to
one year for your application to be
approved. The main criteria for eligibility is the veteran must have participated
in one of the four French campaigns.
Those campaigns are:
*Ardennes (Battle of the Budge)
*Northern France
*Provence (Southern France)
Please do not put this off—make
your application today. Call Nancy
Toombs at (501) 681-3126 and I will
send you a package of information so
you can make application NOW. You
may also mail your information to:
Consul General de France
1340 Poydras Street, Suite 1710
New Orleans, LA 70112
Tel: 504-569-2880
Fax: 504-569-2871
The Historical Society will be keeping a record of those veterans who have
received this award. Remember, this
award cannot be given posthumously
unless the application has been received
AND approved prior to death. If you, a
loved one, or a WWII veteran you know
may be eligible, please pass this information along to them. We are very
proud of our Legion of Honor Award
recipients and want to recognize each
and every one of our heroes.
The Military Officer
May 2015
2014 Site Excellence Award
The 2nd Force Support Squadron
(FSS) at Barksdale has won the 2014
Department of Defense (DoD) RAPIDS
Site of the Year Award. RAPIDS stands
for Real-time Automated Personal
Identification Data System and represents all of the hardware and software
used to produce Common Access Cards
(CACs) and retiree and dependent identification cards for active duty, retired,
reserve, civilian and contractor personnel around the globe.
The criteria by which a site is chosen
are: production rate, low card issuance
failure rates, training currency, personnel and hardware management, cardstock management, proactive troubleshooting, process innovation, and
customer service.
DoD contractors at Barksdale, led by
Nate Waters was chosen over 1600
RAPIDS sites worldwide for providing
exceptional process management and
outstanding customer service and support.
The DoD RAPIDS Site of the Year
Award is presented annually to a site
that greatly exceeds standards by adopting new procedures or tools that benefit
customer service. Ms Mary Dixon,
Director, Defense Manpower Data
Center (DMDC) will award the
Barksdale team certificates of
Appreciation from the Office of the
Under Secretary of Defense Personnel
& Readiness for outstanding support of
the Defense Enrollment Eligibility
Reporting System.
Pushing the limits
of life longevity
1925 Turn-of-thecentury health regulations,
improvements such as
clean water and better
sewage disposal, curb
outbreaks in the U.S.
that are particularly deadly to children.
1955 Thanks to
vaccines for smallpox, diphtheria, polio
and other highly contagious-and
lethal viruses, average life expectancy
goes up.
1985 Public-health
campaigns on heart
health and the dangers of smoking
reduce heart-disease
advances also help
extend life.
tests, surgeries, disease treatments and
advances reduce fatality rates for cancers
and other illnesses.
2045 Regenerative
medicine may interrupt aging. If not,
expectancy at 81 as
high obesity rates offset other gains.
May 2015
The Military Officer
Win on the car lot before
you get to the car lot
Plan ahead before you haggle with a
salesperson who does this every day.
There’s plenty up for grabs: According
to Kelley Blue Book, the fair price for a
new Toyota Camry is $2,000 less than
the manufacturer’s suggested retail
You see an ad for a specific car at a
great price.
“I want to see if the 2013 pre-owned
hybrid SUV is still available. It is?
Great! Can you have it ready to testdrive when I get there?”
Car dealers may
one car to
get you
to the
lot and
t h e n
showing it
to you
so you buy a
pricier one, says
Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor at
You know what car you want, and
you want to compare prices at different
“I’m looking for an out-the-door quote
on the 2015.” Then specify the trim,
options, and color.
If you call around, dealers may try to
draw you into the shop without giving
you the info you are looking for. By
specifying all the details and making
sure to get a price that covers everything, you’ll be able to make apples-toapples
Wiesenfelder, executive
editor of Cars. com.
And you’ll have neutralized a salesperson’s
the gift of
AARP Driving Classes 2015
By taking the “Smart Driver Course” participants may: Update their
knowledge of the rules of the road, learn or improve defensive driving
techniques and extend their safe driving lifetime.
Successful course completion qualifies attendees to possible discount of up to three years on auto insurance from most insurers.
All classes meet on the days indicated below from 1200 to 1600 hrs.
Barksdale AFB Golf Course Clubhouse.
Call the Barksdale Retiree office- 318-456-4480 to register.
Cost is $15 per person (proof of AARP Membership required) and
$20 for non-AARP member. This can be paid by cash or check made
payable to AARP. Students must attend a total of 4 hours in order to
receive a certificate of completion.
The Golf Course Clubhouse has a snack bar open until 2pm for
meals. After 2pm there are drinks & snacks available for purchase.
brought in from the outside.
2015 Classes:
28 Apr
30 Jun
25 Aug
27 Oct
15 Dec
Exchange rewards academic excellence
with ‘You Made the Grade’ program
Besides handling daily schoolwork,
studying and tests, military students
face unique challenges, including coping with separation from parents during
deployments and multiple moves. In
fact, according to the
Education Coalition,
typically move six to
nine times by the
time they’ve completed 12th grade,
with many making
multiple moves during high school.
The Army & Air Force Exchange
Service is rewarding military students
who excel in the classroom with its You
Made the Grade program, now in its
15th year. Students in first through 12th
grades who maintain a B average or better are eligible to receive a coupon book
filled with free offers and discounts.
You Made the Grade offers for 2015
include free food items such as a
Burrito Supreme or Taco Supreme from
Taco Bell; small chicken Philly sandwich at Charleys; Popeyes Chicken
Po’Boy; and a bacon double cheeseburger and small fry from Burger King.
Students who make the grade will
also score Snack Avenue coupons for a
free fountain drink, including Yeti, a
frozen carbonated drink, and a complimentary hot dog or roller grill item.
Other offers include discounts on backpacks, shoes and more.
Scholars can also enter the You Made
the Grade semiannual sweepstakes to
receive gift cards worth $2,000, $1,500
or $500. Entries for
the gift card sweepstakes drawing can
be submitted twice a
year, with drawings
typically held in
June and December.
“The Exchange
appreciates the sacrifices military students make,” said Air Force Chief
Master Sgt. Sean Applegate, Exchange
senior enlisted advisor. “Those who
excel in the classroom, especially while
dealing with multiple moves and parents’ deployments, deserve to be recognized.”
Students, including those who are
home schooled, can receive a You Made
the Grade coupon booklet by presenting
a valid military I.D. and proof of an
overall B average at their nearest
Exchange customer service area.
Eligible students can pick up one booklet for each qualifying report card.
Students and guardians can check
with their local Exchange store manager for more information about the
Exchange’s You Made the Grade program.
ThanksUSA offers scholarships to children,
spouses of U.S. Troops, ends 15 May
ThanksUSA, a national nonprofit
organization dedicated to thanking
America’s troops through the gift of
education, is inviting children and
spouses of America’s armed forces to
apply for its post-secondary education
ThanksUSA news release issued today.
Those interested can apply via the
(, and the application period extends from today through
May 15, 2015.
ThanksUSA provides need-based
scholarships to the children and spouses of service members across all the
armed forces, including the reserves,
giving special consideration to families of the fallen and wounded, according to the release. Over the past
decade, the said the organization has
raised more than $10 million, resulting
in nearly 3,400 scholarships. Up to 500
students are expected to receive
awards this season, totaling $1.5 million.
ThanksUSA is a nonpartisan, charitable effort to mobilize Americans of
all ages to thank the men and women
of the U.S. military for their service to
the nation, the release said. The organization provides college, technical and
vocational school scholarships to the
children and spouses of military personnel.
ThanksUSA Scholarship include:
Be a dependent child, age 24 and
under (as of application deadline) or
Be a spouse of U.S. military service
personnel AND
Be current high school seniors or
graduates who plan to enroll or students who are already enrolled in a
fulltime undergraduate course of study
at an accredited two-or four-year college or university or vocational-technical school for the academic year.
The Military Officer
May 2015
What does it take to get you moving? VA aid &
Despite the abundance of supervised
programs and gizmos to encourage
movement, health experts are still asking what it takes to get you moving.
It’s probably more than your good
“It’s very challenging to rely on will
power to change,” says Jeremy Adam
He’s encouraging people to increase
the number of steps they take each day.
“The average American is getting
just over 5,000 steps a day. The goal is
10,000 steps,” Steeves says.
In one experiment he divided 58
sedentary, overweight adults into two
groups. During the six-month trial, one
group walked for 30 minutes a day; the
second group stepped in place during
the commercials in a 90-minute stretch
of television viewing daily.
Both groups increased their daily
steps while decreasing their body fat
and their waist to and hip circumference over the length of the experiment.
The TV-stepping group broke up
their sitting time, which also is important, according to Steeves.
For Marc Hamilton, the answer is to
encourage more everyday movement.
“If it looks like exercise and
requires equipment you’ll perform it
like exercise. You’ll do it for 30 minutes, check it off the list, then park
yourself in front of the TV.” says
People can “retool the habits of their
day,” according to his research.
“There are practical, feasible things
you can do without exerting yourself.
You’ll feel better, have a greater sense
of energy and be more productive, “
Hamilton says.
Make it a practice to get up from
your desk to talk to colleagues across
the room or pick up around the house
every day.
“You can experience healthful
results based on how much time you
spend moving, not just how much you
exert yourself,” he says.
Questions to ask before hiring a health aide
No one with a need for a home health
aide should be afraid to seek necessary
care. But how do you ensure that your
loved one is in safe hands? Lee
Lindquist, M.D., chief of geriatrics at the
Northwestern University Feinberg
School of Medicine, offers these 10
questions to ask when vetting home-care
How do you recruit home health
aides, and what are your hiring requirements?
Do you do criminal background
checks on prospective aides? How about
drug screening?
Are health aides certified in CPR, or
do they have any health-related training?
Are the aides insured and bonded
through your agency?
What competencies are expected of
the aide? Lifting and transfers? Personal
care skills (bathing, dressing, toileting)?
Training in behavioral management,
cognitive support?
How do you assess what the aide is
capable of doing?
Difficulty standing on one leg?
You may be in danger of a stroke
If you have difficulty standing on one
leg for 20 seconds, you may be in danger of a stroke. Research published in
the journal Stroke found that the inability to balance on one foot could indicate
damage to small blood vessels in the
brain that raise the risk for stroke and
mental decline. Nearly, 400 apparently
healthy men and women, average age
67, were asked to stand in a flamingolike position for up to 60 seconds.
Afterward, each underwent an MRI
brain scan. Those who had difficulty
balancing for 20 seconds were more
likely to have undergone “silent”
strokes, called microbleeds, that affect
balance and were at risk for a serious
What is your policy on providing a
substitute home health care aide in the
event a regular care provider cannot perform the services in your contract?
If there is dissatisfaction with a particular home care provider, can he or she be
replaced “without cause”?
Does the agency provide a supervisor
who is responsible for regularly evaluating the quality of home care?
Does supervision occur over the telephone, through progress reports or in
person at the home of the older adult?
Help for Alzheimers Caregivers
The Alzheimer’s Association hosts
an online Alzheimer’s and
Dementia Caregiver Center at
If you think you are eligible for VA
Aid & Attendance or Housebound benefits or nursing home benefits you
should contact and work with your
nearest VA Service Officer.
It is too complicated to put in an article in this paper.
USAA #33 of 100
Best Companies
to Work For
San Antonio, Tx., based USAA
employs 26,267 people and currently has 1,100 job openings.
USAA is a provider of financial
services to nearly 11 million military families and has child-care
centers at its four major posts (San
Antonio, Phoenix, Tampa, and
Colorado Springs), and all are
Pay Date
NW LA Veteran Cemetery
Located in Keithville, LA
Director: Timothy Johnson
What should a person do if they have no
one to settle their affairs after they die?
When you set up your will, one of the
key decisions you make is naming an
executor or personal representative.
Having served as executor for a friend,
I can tell you it can be a fairly big job.
Selling and distributing property, paying bills and filing taxes are just the tip
of the iceberg. You definitely want an
executor you can trust.
If no family or friends are ideal, you
can name a bank trust department.
I found distributing personal property
to be the biggest headache. The more
guidance and direction you leave your
executor and heirs on that topic, the better. Good luck.
The Family Caregiver Alliance’s “Family Care Navigator” helps families locate
government, nonprofit and private caregiver support programs. The online guide
includes information on legal resources and disease-specific organizations. Find
it at
318-925-1046 • Fax: 318-925-5821
Web Site:
Date Opened: 2007 • Burials 853
• To pre-register furnish copy of DD-214
May 2015
The Military Officer
AAFES out to improve customer satisfaction
Before learning their recent low rating
in a national customer satisfaction survey, Army and Air Force Exchange
Service officials had already launched an
effort to improve customer satisfaction,
AAFES’ director said.
Addressing customer satisfaction is
the second phase of a campaign that
began in October to “turn around”
AAFES, said Thomas Shull, the
exchange service’s CEO and director.
The first phase, he said, had to be
shoring up the financial health of the
stores for the sake of the benefit — without raising prices for customers.
Now, “2015 is the year of the customer,” Shull said.
Shull, a 1973 West Point graduate, left
the Army as a major in 1983 and spent
25 years in the civilian commercial retail
industry. He was the first civilian director in AAFES’ history.
Since he arrived in 2012, AAFES has
cut $221 million in annual operating
costs. And despite a decrease in the customer base and sales related to personnel
cutbacks in the force, AAFES’ profits for
2014 are expected to be more than $390
million, according to unaudited results,
up from $272 million in 2011.
Part of the profits from the exchanges
help fund the services’ morale, welfare
and recreation programs.
AAFES dropped by seven points from
its score last year, to 68 out of a possible
100, according to the nationwide
American Customer Satisfaction Index
results released Feb. 18. The decline was
the largest of any retailer in the department and discount store category.
AAFES tied with Wal-Mart for the lowest customer satisfaction score among
large retailers.
ACSI surveyed 250 authorized
AAFES customers worldwide, a small
sample size that Shull described as “on
the ragged edge of being credible.”
He said AAFES officials “were quite
surprised” to learn of their low rating,
especially since their own survey, conducted by CFI Group Inc. of 43,000 customers about six weeks before the ACSI
survey, showed a score of 80, representing an increase of one point over 2013.
CFI Group uses protocols similar to the
ACSI survey.
While there are possible technical reasons for the decline in customer satisfaction, such as a change in ACSI survey
methodology, “I’m not saying we don’t
have room for improvement,” Shull said.
Among the improvements slated for
customer service, according to Shull:
A process for escalating customer
complaints to Shull and his team to deal
A customer makes his purchases at the AAFES mini mall on Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. (Photo: Army)
with if they can’t be resolved at a lower
level. “I’ll personally respond or my
team will respond,” he said. AAFES is in
the process of hiring an “executive
response specialist.”
Online training to model great examples of customer service for employees,
whether they are store associates, or
work in call centers, food courts or
movie theaters.
A revision of return policies.
An update of price-matching policies
for customers who find the same item at
a lower price at another store.
An emphasis on helping customers
order an item online or from another
store if they can’t find it in their store.
Certain associates will use tablets to provide a concierge-type service. Items can
either be brought to the customer’s store
or shipped to the customer’s home.
AAFES has also been working on
other elements of customer satisfaction.
It has installed 424 “brand” shops within
various stores, with familiar names like
Carter’s, The North Face, Samsung,
Adidas, Victoria’s Secret and Michael
It has added 13 concessions in 39
store locations and has begun offering
first-run movies from Disney, Sony and
Paramount in its theaters in the continen-
tal U.S.
AAFES officials launched a new website in October with more offerings.
After a rocky start related to software
problems, the website is working well,
Shull said.
Sales have increased by single digits
— not dramatically, he admits — but he
noted that a dedicated marketing campaign for the new site has not begun and
will not begin for another couple of
Since Shull arrived, AAFES has been
working to increase the number of items
on that are
offered in the stores. When he arrived,
there was a 6 percent overlap of items
sold in stores and those offered online.
Now, it’s 28 percent, he said.
His first priority when he arrived in
2012 had to be shoring up AAFES’
financial health. The exchange system
was losing part of its customer base
because of drawdowns. “We needed to
do what we could to avoid adversely
affecting the benefit,” Shull said.
It was a difficult situation for AAFES
officials, Shull said, to improve profits
without raising prices. At that time, profits were projected to drop to by $70 million annually. AAFES stemmed losses in
part by by reducing the number of
employee positions since 2012 by 6,200
— about 17 percent — through a hiring
freeze, attrition and early retirement programs.
The Barksdale AFB Refill
Pharmacy will be closed
until 1:30pm the last Friday
of each month for training.
The Military Officer
May 2015
Barksdale Exchange partners with Sears for savings on home improvement and repairs
Barksdale Exchange- The Army & Air
Force Exchange Service is teaming up
with Sears to offer military shoppers in
the United States special savings on
cleaning, home improvement and repair
Barksdale Exchange shoppers can
now receive special offers on cleaning
services including:
• Carpets
• Upholstery
• Protector and deodorizer for carpet
and upholstery
• Tile and grout
• Air ducts and dryer vents
• Air purifying products
Exchange shoppers receive either 10
percent off the Sears Home Services’
everyday price of cleaning services or
the current sale price-whichever is lowest.
Sears also offers garage doors, garage
door openers as well as repair and maintenance service, including spring repair
and replacement; preventative maintenance; roller replacement and tune ups
and alignments.
For garage doors and openers,
Exchange shoppers receive either 5 percent off the regular price of cleaning
services or the current sale pricewhichever is lowest. For garage door and
opener repairs or maintenance, shoppers
get either 10 percent off the regular price
or the current sales price, whichever is
Sears offers Exchange shoppers discounted home improvement services,
including kitchen remodeling, vinyl siding, cabinet refacing, countertops,
replacement windows as well as central
heating and cooling systems. Coupons
for discounts on these services are available at local Exchanges.
Barksdale Exchange shoppers can
also count on Sears for major appliance
repairs performed in their home. The
Sears Blue Crew also repairs electronics,
fitness equipment and lawn equipment,
no matter where the products were purchased. Exchange shoppers will receive
a 10% discount on parts and labor.
“Like the Exchange, Sears has been a
trusted name for generations,” said the
Barksdale Exchange’s General Manager,
Ellen Henderson. “By partnering with
Sears, the Barksdale Exchange is providing shoppers with world-class cleaning,
home improvement and repair services
they can count on.”
For more information and to schedule
appointments, military shoppers in the
United States can call:
• 866-858-8660 for cleaning and
garage door services
• 888-959-5450 for home improvement services or
• 888-346-5334 for repair services
The Army & Air Force Exchange
Service goes where Soldiers, Airmen
and their families go to improve the
quality of their lives through goods and
services provided. Exchange earnings
provide dividends to support military
morale, welfare and recreation programs. The Exchange is part of the
Department of Defense and is directed
by a Board of Directors, responsible to
the Secretaries of the Army and Air
Force through the Chiefs of Staff. To
find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press
releases please visit our Web site at or
Patricia N. Miramon
Attorney At Law
Assisting Retirees Since 1985
More ‘value’ items come
to base commissaries
Are you on the lookout for the orange
“Value” signs in your commissary?
Officials have selected another 99 items
to put under that banner, bringing extra
The orange signs point out items that
include several cheeses, condiments,
canned and powdered milk, canned
soup, dry pasta, honey, rice, laundry
bleach and paper towels.
Defense Commissary Agency officials choose items that are competitively
priced - equal to or below the price of
store brands or private label brands of
similar items in commercial supermarkets.
These items offer an average savings
of about 42 percent when compared to
national brands in commercial retail
stores, and 25 percent when compared to
store brands and private label items in
commercial retail stores, according to
commissary officials.
These additions bring the number of
value brand items to nearly 400 - including frozen food; pet food; health and
beauty items; cereals; soft drinks; coffee;
canned fruit, soup and fish; and disposable storage bags.
The Defense Commissary Agency reenergized its value brand program last
November because officials felt their
previous value brand program wasn’t
always obvious to shoppers. That was
highlighted last year in congressional
testimony when a senior defense official
and some senior enlisted advisers talked
about the need for generics or store
brands in commissaries to provide more
savings for customers.
By law, DeCA can’t create its own
store brand like the military exchanges’
“Exchange Select” brand. But commissaries have long carried other options as
part of programs such as “Best Value
Item” and even a “Commissary Value
Brand” program.
“We’ve carried most of these items for
years, but they were sort of hidden,” said
Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt.
Stuart M. Allison, senior enlisted adviser
to the DeCA director, in a statement
detailing the addition al value brand
items. “Unless you knew to look for
them, you weren’t truly aware they existed. Now we’re giving the customer a
highly visible option to compare and add
more savings to their shopping experience.”
Those orange signs should be a
reminder to compare prices.
Specials and promotions will continue
in commissaries and in commercial retail
stores, so keep comparing unit prices price per ounce of cereal, price per ounce
of canned milk, price per diaper, etc.
• Probate • Estate Planning
• Wills • Powers of Attorney
• Trusts • Family Partnerships
[email protected]
3324 Line Avenue • Shreveport, LA 71104
(318) 869-0055
(888) 869-0055
(318) 865-4041 Fax
May 2015
The Military Officer
Documents every couple needs Banks free up your credit score
All couples should have durable powers of attorney for finances and health
care, but these documents are even more
important if you and your partner aren’t
A durable power of attorney gives
you and your partner the authority to
manage each other’s finances if one of
you becomes incapacitated. A power of
attorney for health care, sometimes
referred to as a health care proxy, gives
you the right to make medical decisions
on your partner’s behalf if he or she is
unable to do so.
Without these documents, you could
be prohibited from making decisions on
behalf of your partner, even if you’ve
been together for years. A court may
grant a family member authority to
make decisions about your partner’s
finances. “If you’re not married, you
have no standing under the law,” says
Lili Vasileff, a certified financial planner
and president emeritus of the
Association of Divorce Financial
An estate-planning lawyer can help
you draw up power-of-attorney documents for your state. Some banks and
brokerage firms won’t honor power-ofattorney documents unless they meet
certain conditions, so make sure the
form you use will be accepted by your
financial institutions. Both the power of
attorney for finances and the health care
proxy should be easily accessible in an
Barksdale AFB Printing Services
Big banks are jumping on the bandwagon to provide free credit scores to
their customers. The majority are
offering FICO scores, the most commonly used measure of credit worthiness among lenders. Citibank says that
most of its consumer cardholders can
now go online to see their FICO
scores. Bank of America says it will
provide FICO scores to its consumer
card users later this year. Ally
Financial is conducting a pilot program to supply FICO scores to its car
loan customers; a full launch is
planned for this summer. Those three
issuers join Barclaycard, Discover,
Pentagon Federal Credit Union and
Sallie Mae, which already offer FICO
Depending on your lender, you may
be able to see your score on your
monthly statement, by logging in to
your account online, or by viewing it
on a mobile app. Your lender may also
include a 12-month history of your
score and key factors affecting it. Keep
in mind that the scale a lender uses to
evaluate your credit profile may differ
from the standard FICO range of 300
to 850. Citibank, for example, provides
a score based on a scale of 250 to 900.
Not all of the free scores are FICO
scores. USAA says that by summer it
will provide all its credit card customers with their VantageScore-a score
developed by the three major credit
agencies (Equifax, Experian and
TransUnion). Some sites, such as, and Credit, will also show you free
scores from the major credit agencies.
Even when scores aren’t the same ones
used by your lenders, they are useful
indicators of your credit health. And
don’t forget to check your credit
report. You can get a free look once a
year from each of the credit agencies at
Small claims can turn into big premium hikes
Filing just a single claim after a car
accident raises your auto insurance premium an average of 41%, according to a
new study from
These rate hikes, which usually kick in
only if the accident is your fault, range
from a high of 76% in Massachusetts to
a low of 22% in Maryland. Examining
costs for a college-educated, 45-year-old
woman with a clean driving record who
files a $2,000 claim, the study also found
that two accident claims would double
premiums at renewal time. The lesson:
After a minor accident, you might want
to cover repair costs out of pocket rather
than tap your insurance policy.
You should file, though, if someone
is hurt, says Michael Barry, a
Information Institute trade group.
Bodily injury costs, he explains, can
reach five times the payout of a property-damage claim. Also file, he says, if
your policy includes accident forgiveness-your insurer’s promise to not raise
rates after your first fender-bender.
Health insurance subsidies and income tax
A tax complication for some who
received subsidies to buy health insurance: About 5% of taxpayers will have
to reconcile the subsidy with their pay.
Most people opted to receive the tax
credits in advance, based on estimated
income. If actual income was higher,
though, they will have to make up the
There’s a silver lining, however: The
IRS will waive late payment fees and
estimated tax penalties if the person
files on time and doesn’t owe back
An additional 4% of taxpayers will
owe penalties for not having insurance
in 2014. The fine for ignoring the mandate: The higher of $95 per uninsured
person or 1% of household adjusted
gross income above $20,300 per couple
($10,150 for one).
Note: The IRS’s standard rate for
business driving in 2015 is 57.5¢ a
mile, up 1.5¢. The rate for medical
travel and moving has fallen to 23¢,
while the allowance for charitable driving is staying at 14¢. You can deduct
costs of parking and tolls, too.
Heirs liable for taxes on U.S. Savings Bonds
Call: 318.347.0439 or 318.456.3140
email: [email protected] or
[email protected]
I have a stack of U.S. Savings Bonds
that are still earning interest, tax
deferred. When I die, will the interest be
taxable to my heirs?
One way or another, income taxes
have to be paid. Your executors can
report the income earned up to your day
of death on your own final tax return,
says Alison Flores of The Tax Institute
at H&R Block. In that case, your heirs
would owe taxes only on the interest
earned later. Or, heirs can defer taxes
until the bonds are redeemed or reach
their final maturity date.
The Military Officer
May 2015
Tricare no longer covers some prescription pain killers
Tricare (
tricare) officials are rolling out a new
prescription drug clearance system that
will block from coverage some ingredients used in compounded medications
like painkillers.
The changes, which went into effect
May 1, are designed to cut the health
insurer’s pharmacy costs by no longer
paying for compounds they considers
unsafe or ineffective, Tricare officials
said. They will most heavily impact
prescription painkillers, which make up
the majority of compounded medication
filled by Tricare, they said.
A compounded medication is a drug
mixed with one or more non-FDA
approved ingredients designed to alter
the drug to fit the need of the person
taking it. For example, children often
take compounded medications to alter
the drug’s dosage to their weight,
remove dyes to which they are allergic
or turn a pill medication into a liquid.
For pain management, compounds
are often used to turn pain medications
into creams or sprays to target specific
areas. Specialized compounding can
also adjust the dosage to the size or pain
tolerance of the patient.
But a top Tricare official said in a interview that the effectiveness of those specialized pain medications are not always “supported by
evidence.” At least one Military
Treatment Facility (MTF) has complained recently about a marketing
agent for a pain medication compounding pharmacy soliciting potential customers in the MTF’s pharmacy waiting
room, he said.
Compounding agents cost Tricare
more than $514 million in 2014 and are
on track to exceed $2 billion for 2015,
officials said. Yet those agents make up
only 0.5 percent of the total number of
prescriptions provided by Tricare.
Tricare currently fills compounded
medication for about 40,000 users a
month, Jones said.
The vast majority of compounded
medications will continue to be covered, Jones said. Although he declined
to give an example of pain medication
compounds that will no longer be
included, he said popular compounding
agents such as gabapentin and ketamine
will still be covered. He was also not
able to provide a percentage the compounding agents that will still be covered.
Right now, Tricare chooses which
We know it is not kind to start the
beginning of the year by talking about
filing taxes but there is no getting
around them 2014 is the first year that
the ACA-Affordable Care Act (or as it
is generally known Obamacare)
requires that tax payers report on their
health insurance status on their federal
tax forms. They must have minimum
essential coverage (MEC) or pay what
the federal government is calling an
“individual shared responsibility” tax
Shortly after the ACA was passed,
TREA along with many other VSOs and
MSOs successfully urged Congress to
state in law that TRICARE qualified for
MEC. WE also got statutory passage of
a bill extending TRICARE dependent
coverage to run up to age 26 through the
TRICARE Young Adult program which
clearly qualified as “minimal essential
So now all beneficiaries qualify
under the ACA requirements if you are
entitled to TRICARE coverage or you
purchase TRICARE or CHCBP premium based coverage.
That means that you cover the MEC
requirements if you are entitled to any
of the following:
* TRICARE Prime (all plans)
* TRICARE Standard / Extra
* TRICARE Overseas (all plans)
* TRICARE For Life
* Transitional Assistance
Management Program
* Uniformed Services Family
Health Plan
You are also covered for the MCE
requirements if you qualify and purchase:
* TRICARE Reserve Select
* TRICARE Retired Reserve
* TRICARE Young Adult (all plans)
* Continued Health Care Benefit
For 2014 taxpayers will “self-attest”
that they have qualified coverage.
Starting this year TRICARE will inform
the IRS of coverage and DFAS and the
Uniformed Services Pay Centers will
provide beneficiaries with necessary tax
Please note: There are also some
Uniformed Services health care beneficiaries who are eligible only for care at
Military Treatment Facilities (Direct
Care Only). They have a special specific exemption for Taxable Year 2014
only. They will not meet the ACA’s
requirements this year. (2015)
compounded medications to cover
based on the screening of a single ingredient submitted by a pharmacy. But the
new system operated by Tricare’s pharmacy subcontractor, Express Scripts,
will allow officials to screen every
ingredient included in any given compound medication. If all ingredients do
not match the accept list, coverage will
be denied, they said.
Tricare officials decided which compounding ingredients will be on the list
based on FDA standards for compounding agents
Ingredient screening will be instantaneous though the online Express Scripts
system. When an ingredient is denied,
the pharmacist will be notified about
which one and given the option to call
Express Scripts to explore alternatives.
Tricare users who wish to can file a
“prior authorization” form and appeal
to Express Scripts after a denial. The
appeal will be processed in no more
than five days, Jones said.
To avoid a disruption in service while
Tricare processes drug appeals, officials
will pay for some no longer covered
compounds on a case-by-case basis,
Jones said.
Tricare users who have a have had a
compounded medication filled in the
last 30 days will soon receive a letter by
mail notifying them of the change.
Pharmacy Rx Fee Hike
Due to the FY 2015 Defense
Authorization Act, TRICARE has
raised most pharmacy copayments.
TRICARE beneficiaries who fill their
prescriptions at retail pharmacies or by
mail will see most copayments increase
by $3. The new fee structure, which
went into effect Feb. 1, will result in
30-day prescriptions at TRICARE network pharmacies for generic medications to rise from $5 to $8; brand-name
medications from $17 to $20; and prescriptions not in TRICARE’s formulary from $44 to $47.
Many prescriptions available
through TRICARE’s home-delivery
program also will see increases. A 90day supply of brand-name medication
delivered by mail will rise from $13 to
$16, and non-formulary items will
increase from $43 to $46.
Mail-order generic drugs, as well
as all prescriptions filled at the military pharmacies, still will be available
at no cost.
In addition, beneficiaries on maintenance medications for chronic diseases
will be able to fill prescriptions at a
military pharmacy or obtain them
through the TRICARE home-delivery
program. This is the same program for
maintenance medications instituted last
year for TRICARE for Life beneficiaries and expanded to all non-active duty
Beneficiaries still will be able to
fill prescriptions for brand-name
drugs for acute illnesses like earaches
or sore throats at TRICARE network
May 2015
The Military Officer
to the international Internet. This involved
new censorship software to detect and block
the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
that have been used to access forbidden
websites outside China. The government
also rolled out powerful new data mining
and screening software checks for anti-government posts in real time. Currently as
many as 10% of Chinese Internet users get
past the “Great Firewall of China” using
VPNs and other technical tools.
Preventing mass unrest
Rallying support
Since the U.S. has so few troops on the
ground in Iraq and hardly any in Syria, it
has to use different methods for finding targets for the coalition to attack from above.
Just because the attacks are being made
with precision munitions does not eliminate
the risk of civilian casualties. There have
been few of these, but none are ignored on
the ground because Arab Islamic terrorists
will invent them if they can to rally more
support to their cause.
More fact than fiction
An Arab newspaper revealed details of a
meeting between Hamas and Iranian officials
after the 40-day war in Gaza ended in August
2014. Iran agreed to overlook Hamas’ support for Sunni Islamic terror groups fighting
the Iran-supported Syrian government and
cooperate with Hamas on doing some damage to Israel. Iran also agreed to resume sending cash and as much military aid as they
could get past the Israeli and Egyptian blockade. Hamas and Fatah are supposed to have
made peace, but given the Hamas violence
against Fatah supporters in Gaza, and Fatah
doing the same to Hamas members in the
West Bank, the Hamas-Fatah peace is more
fiction than fact.
Imaginary threat
Chinese claims on much of eastern
Russia and increasing Chinese economic
domination in the Russian Far East tends to
make Russians nervous. At the moment,
Russian leaders are more concerned with
the imaginary threat from the West rather
than the very real one from the east.
Exacting revenge
Russia gave the Chinese yet another reason to exact some revenge. Russia agreed to
sell jet engines directly to Pakistan for the
Chinese-made JF-17 fighters Pakistan is
importing and building under license. China
is still dependent on Russia for high-performance military jet engines, but if the
Chinese followed Russian practice, they
would insist that Pakistan buy the Russian
engines from China so they could up the
price and make a profit. The Chinese don’t
forget slights like this, and the Russians
know it.
Net neutrality?
China began the New Year with yet
another major attempt to block free access
Despite all the Internet censorship,
Chinese citizens continue to discuss forbidden subjects like corruption at the top and
Chinese who openly protest the corruption
and bad government. Chinese censors
aren’t really going after individual offenders as much as they are seeking to prevent
mass unrest, so sometimes even the arrest
and punishment of Internet offenders is not
publicized. China has a growing problem
with large groups hitting the streets to
protest and, with the large amount of corruption and inefficiency, there’s a lot to
protest. The Internet is seen as essential,
economically, but also the chief means for
local pro-tests to turn into major ones. That
is not to be allowed, at all costs.
A benefit to China
When China makes itself useful to other
countries it’s because it’s useful to China,
often in the long run. Case in point is their
willingness to sell weapons to Argentina,
which is surprising because Argentina is
broke and a notorious international deadbeat. China normally sells to anyone as long
as they can pay cash, preferably up front if
there are any doubts about the buyer’s credit rating. An exception is being made with
Argentina, as it will allow South Americans
to get a better view of Chinese weapons,
which are touted as cheap, reliable and
increasingly high-tech.
Keeping it secret
With all China’s new military high-tech
comes the need to keep a lot of it secret, so
China is building a 71-foot-high wall around
its Dalian naval base in northeastern China to
prevent people from taking pictures of what
is going on there. It seems that past construction resulted in unexpectedly tall residences
being built near the base so the military got
new laws passed restricting the height of new
buildings near military bases. Having existing buildings torn down is too difficult
because some of the owners are powerful
locals, thus the need for the wall.
No plan
The Colombian government has a security problem it has little control over: the
growing unrest in Venezuela. Colombia
fears this will escalate into a civil war and
drive many Venezuelans, possibly more
than a million, across the border as
refugees. The Venezuelan border is already
a danger zone because corrupt Venezuelan
officers and officials have allowed
Colombian drug gangs and leftist rebels to
operate on the Venezuelan side. The U.S.
has accused Venezuela of becoming a major
transit point for illegal drugs coming out of
Colombia and onto world markets.
Everyone wants Venezuela fixed, but no
one has a practical plan for how to do it.
The U.S. instigated 17 arrests in Colombia
and broke up a gang accused of smuggling
Colombian cocaine via Venezuela to the
United States; another dozen gang members
are still being sought. The arrests were made
possible by the defection of a Venezuelan
security official to the U.S. where he revealed
details of how this gang operated. He also
identified senior Venezuelan officials who
were paid off to let the gang function.
No compromise
Egypt has long declared that outside
force would eventually be needed and saw
Libyan peace talks as futile and counterproductive because the Islamic terrorist factions really have no interest in compromising. This was before IS showed up in 2014
and the IS is the most violent and uncompromising Islamic terror group out there.
Revealing old tech
In honor of the 1979 revolution’s 36th
anniversary, Iran’s government unveiled a
new supersonic fighter jet called the Saeqeh
2 (Thunderbolt 2). This jet, along with its
older cousins, the Azarakhsh and the
Saeqeh 1, are Iran’s latest attempts to
reverse engineer and improve the Cold Warera Northrop F-5E. Prior to the 1979 revolution, Iran had over 100 Northrop F-5E’s
in service; they still have about 70 of them,
although most are not flyable.
Questioning their faith
In the wake of the growing number of IS
videos that show Islamic terrorists killing
unarmed Muslims in much more creative
and gruesome ways, more Muslims are
publicly raising questions about whether
Islam is really a “religion of peace.” What
has not yet been brought up in the Muslim
world is the problem the rest of the world
sees: that Islam is, in reality, the region of
intolerance and hypocrisy.
In retreat
IS retreating in Iraq and Syria. Sunni tribes
in Anbar and western Syria are in open revolt
and subject to increasingly savage reprisals
by IS gunmen, who are often foreigners,
which makes the tribesmen angrier. Half the
IS leadership has been killed by coalition
warplanes since August 2014. This air support and Iraqi soldiers, Kurdish troops, Shia
militias and armed Sunni tribesmen have
taken back much of the territory IS overran in
early 2014. American and other Western
troops are rebuilding the Iraqi Army and arming anti-IS Sunni tribesmen. Iran is training
and sometimes leading Shia militias. In Syria
IS is getting beaten by Kurds, Syrian soldiers
and more Iranian trained Shia militias.
Submit or die
The word “Islam” derives from the
Arabic word “istaslama” which means, literally, “submission.” What is implied, for
most Muslims, is that non-Muslims must
submit as well, whether they want to or not.
To refuse to submit is a sign of intolerance,
religious bigotry, racism and blasphemy
and most definitely against Islamic scripture and practice. For Islamic conservatives,
clergy and scholars, there can be no other
interpretation. Westerners have had a hard
time understanding this crucial cultural difference, but now it is becoming violently
obvious to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
At war with us
The effort to eliminate the religion angle
when it comes to Islamic terrorism is also
present in the United States. For example,
it’s official policy in the U.S. military to
eliminate any mention of a war between
Islam and the West. This policy is enforced
despite the fact that Islam, at least according to many Muslims, is definitely at war
with the Western world.
Alive and well
The U.S. has officially maintained the illusion that we aren’t at war with Islam since
shortly after September 11, 2001, despite the
fact that many Islamic clerics and government officials in Muslim nations, openly and
frequently agree “Islam is at war with the
West.” Many Western leaders prefer to
believe that by insisting that such hostile religious attitudes are not widespread in Muslim
countries, the hostility will diminish. To that
end, the U.S. government has, for years, been
removing any reference to “Islam” and “terrorism” in official documents. Military and
civilian personnel who have spent time in
Muslim countries know the “Islam is at war
with the West” angle is alive and well among
Muslims. When you look at the media in
Muslim countries, it is all pretty explicit.
Serious threat
Despite the declining IS prospects, a recent
opinion poll in the U.S. showed that 84% of
Americans believe the IS is the most serious
threat over the next decade. International terrorism also has 84% of Americans concerned; Iranian nukes frighten 77%, followed
by North Korea at 64% and Russia 49%.
Vows revenge
The Japanese government vowed revenge
against IS after a video was released showing the second of two Japanese citizens
being beheaded by IS. IS had demanded
$200 million ransom for the two men.
Conspiracy theories
Many Muslims in the Middle East still
believe that the Israelis and the American
CIA carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks. In fact, just about any catastrophic
event that makes Arabs or Muslims look
bad is blamed on Israel, the Americans or
some other Western state, and most
Muslims actually believe it and they have
no problem expressing those beliefs. These
conspiracy theories extend to the belief that
the Taliban, al Qaeda and IS were all
Western inventions meant to discredit Islam
and Muslims, in general, as well as provide
an excuse to attack Islam and kill Muslims.
see G-2… Page 19
The Military Officer
and far fewer jobs. Nothing good comes out
of taking some territory from Ukraine.
Opinion polls conducted among Muslims
after the January Islamic terror attacks in
Paris, France, that left 20 dead found that
most Muslims in the Middle East believed
that the attack was actually carried out by
Israeli intelligence to punish Europe for its
growing support of the Palestinian effort to
destroy Israel. Over 80% of Palestinians
believed this. The logic of this attitude was
that the only one to benefit from the attacks
was Israel, so it must have been planned by
Brotherhood motto
“Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our
leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our
way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest
hope.” — Muslim Brotherhood motto
N, Korea
North Korea is still seeking a high price
for any sort of concession on its nuclear program. North Korea continues to hold out for
a major concession; the size is unspecified,
but apparently it’s more than the U.S. or its
neighbors are willing to pay in order to have
the North to shut down their nuclear and
long-range ballistic missile programs. China
is getting more nervous and more extreme in
its threats to North Korea over the matter.
Eased up
In part because of the need to focus their
anger at North Korea, China has eased up
on its “hate Japan” campaign, which
encourages local hotheads to be openly
nasty about Japan and with Japanese-owned
companies in China, and even sometimes
physical with visiting Japanese citizens.
The government knows it can easily turn
this hate on again to deflect criticism of
local bad behavior, such as corruption or
unpopular government policies because of
some seemingly endless self-destructive
and impossible-to-change bad behavior of
the Japanese. This ensures that the Japanese
never have close allies in the region.
Hurting themselves
The Russians are feeling the impact of
their territorial dispute with Ukraine. That’s
because GDP will shrink by at least 3% in
2015 and probably closer to 10%. If oil
prices remain low, Russia will lose about a
third of the $500 billion a year in export
income, most of it from oil and natural gas.
Their population is also shrinking, as foreigners flee and migration from Central Asia
declines because of the economic problems
May 2015
mess. Some politicians are calling for
Maduro to resign, or be forcibly removed.
Old tricks
Failed experiment
Westerners in Russia, especially those
who speak and read Russian, report that
state-controlled Russian media has seemingly reverted to stories and attitudes right out of
the Cold War. It’s unreal but it’s actually happening. Russian media is full of stories of
NATO aggression against Russia and anything that is going wrong in Russia is blamed
on a NATO conspiracy to destroy Russia.
The Russian aggression in Ukraine is
described as a fable created by a NATO conspiracy to take over the Ukrainian government and institute a terror campaign against
the ethnic Russian minority in Ukraine, especially eastern Ukraine.
A Swedish newspaper exposed another
incident of their government giving in to
Russian pressure, when they agreed not to
land any of its warplanes in Estonia or
Finland during joint military exercises held
in March and April. The Swedish government saw this as throwing the Russians a
bone while remaining involved with the
U.S.-sponsored joint exercises. Russia is also
pressuring Sweden to stay out of NATO, but
news stories like this make it more likely that
Swedish voters would approve joining.
Russia is now considered more threatening
than they were during the Cold War.
Venezuela’s experiment in establishing a
socialist paradise has been undone by corruption, incompetence and the rapidly
declining price of oil. Shrinking GDP and
rising inflation has led to high unemployment/underemployment and an unprecedented crime wave, with Venezuela now the murder capital of the world. The murder rate in
Venezuela is over 60 per 100,000 people a
year; one of the highest on the planet and
more than 10 times the rate in the United
Doing more damage
In order to distract Russians from their
collapsing economy, continuing corruption
and the expanding police state that is dragging Russia back to the bad old days of the
Soviet Union, the leadership creates crises in
Ukraine. While the government can keep the
discontent largely invisible via the state controlled mass media, the unease at the top is
harder to conceal. The “Cold Warriors,” led
by former KGB officer Vladimir Putin, dominate, and the technocrats, led by Prime
Minister Medvedev, keep Putin in power.
This dissent at the top is all about the technocrats doing the math and pointing out that
the Ukraine aggression is damaging the
economy and threatening to use nukes scares
Russians as much as everyone else.
Selective screening
Violence continues
For the second year in a row, an international survey determined that Venezuela was
the most miserable nation on the planet.
Venezuela’s President Maduro blames all his
problems on foreign interference and economic sabotage. The United States is seen as
the main villain, but no one can produce any
The terrorist violence continues in the
Russian Caucasus, but there is less of it. In
2014, terrorist-related deaths were down
36%, to 340. Only about 52% of those deaths
were in Chechnya, but that was up 33% from
2013. Russia believes a major reason for the
reduced violence was the movement of so
many Russian Islamic terrorists, mainly from
the Caucasus, to Syria to fight for the IS.
Junk status
In the West, Russian government debt was
downgraded to “junk” status. This makes it
much more expensive for the Russian government to borrow outside Russia.
Sending a message
The EU made a move sure to anger Russia
by admitting, in print, that Russian troops are
in eastern Ukraine. The EU also added
Russian military commanders known to be
controlling Russian troops fighting in
Ukraine to the list of those sanctioned. The
EU had previously gone along with the
Russian lie that there were no Russian troops
fighting in Ukraine, but as Russian involvement became more obvious and their bad
behavior of making, then violating, ceasefire
and other agreements, the EU decided to
send Russia a message.
The Russian threat
According to an opinion poll, 18% of
Americans sense a growing threat from
Russia, believing that Russia is the most dangerous foreign threat. That’s up from 9% in
2014 and 2% in 2012. The second and morefeared threat is North Korea at 15%; which
had been at the top of the list for a long time.
So far the U.S. has screened 1,200 Syrian
rebels to be sent to training at camps in
Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It is
believed that those selected are less likely to
be radicalized and the U.S. hopes to have
3,000 trained and in action by the end of
2015. Such screening is difficult, but Saudi
Arabia helped, as they have had success in
that respect. The American effort is criticized
for being too slow and producing too few
armed and trained fighters to make a difference. At the moment, U.S. policy limits what
U.S. counter-terrorism efforts can do.
Most miserable
Socialism doesn’t work
The Venezuelan government announced
that the official inflation rate at the end of
2014 was 68.5%, compared to 56% in 2013.
The government also admitted that the economy is contracting, at a rate of over 5% a
year. Many believe that GDP has shrunk
even more given the extent of unemployment, businesses closing, the falling price of
oil and increasing shortages. Desperate for a
solution, the government agreed to legalize
the buying and selling of dollars, merely a
band-aid applied to a much more serious
Some familiarity
Venezuela’s government places the ultimate blame for its economic problems on
foreign conspiracies, and is responding by
arresting its critics and accusing them of
belonging to this conspiracy. All this is
meant to encourage the minority population
that still supports President Maduro’s socialist revolution. The government sees a need to
mobilize its supporters to use force, if necessary, to prevent the majority of Venezuelans
from crippling Maduro’s revolution in
upcoming parliament elections with massive
losses. Currently only 22% of voters approve
of Maduro and another poll shows over 80%
of Venezuelans blame him for the economic
Ceasefire violated
Ceasefire negotiations in Ukraine aren’t
working. Russia pretends to agree to a ceasefire, then declares it has no control over rebel
factions that are seeking to gain an advantage
by using ceasefire terms which the
Ukrainians obey, but the rebels don’t. The
rebels regularly violated the September ‘14
ceasefire, even launching a major offensive
in January. Since September the rebels, with
the aid of up to 10,000 Russian troops inside
Donbas, have gained more than 500 square
kilometers of territory. This led to another
round of negotiations, with Russia, as before,
pretending to be the peacemaker and denying all evidence that it supervised and often
carried out most of the ceasefire violations. It
is happening all over again.
United Arab
Search and rescue
The United Arab Emirates (UAE)
resumed air attacks against IS after halting
them until the U.S. increased its Search and
Rescue (SAR) forces in the area. The UAE
attributed the capture of a Jordanian pilot to
insufficient SAR forces and, therefore, halted their air strikes. American SAR units have
commando-type rescue personnel and support specialists who can quickly direct combat aircraft to where a downed pilot is, keeping hostile troops away until the pilot is rescued. It is unclear if a more vigorous SAR
response would have prevented the capture
of the Jordanian pilot, but the UAE believed
it would, and having more SAR units was the
only way to get UAE warplanes back in the
air over Iraq and Syria.
A gift from IS
The UN is criticizing IS for marking foreign, mostly UN and mostly paid for by the
U.S., food aid as coming from IS. Before IS
allows food aid to be distributed, the boxes
and sacks must be marked as a “gift from
IS.” The UN also criticizes IS for selling
some food on the market to raise cash. IS
tells the UN to shut up and be grateful that IS
allows the food aid in and generally does not
abuse UN staff.
May 2015
The Military Officer
Memorial Day Service at Hill Crest Memorial Park
Hill Crest Memorial Funeral Home and VFW Post
#4588 will sponsor the 38th Memorial Day Service at
Hill Crest Memorial Park Amphitheater on Monday,
May 25, 2015 beginning at 9:00 AM. All veterans
organizations and other civic organizations or individuals are invited at attend this patriotic event as we
honor our departed heroes.
Hill Crest Memorial Park is located at 601
Highway 80, Haughton, LA. The Reverend Ken
Richmond, Church of the Cross, will give the invocation. The guest speaker is Vietnam veteran and Air
Force Cross Recipient Lt. Colonel George Finck, an
active member of VFW Post #4588. Haughton
AFJROTC cadets will present the Colors and assist
Barksdale Defenders of Liberty
Air Show May 2-3, 2015
with the placing of wreaths. The Veterans of Foreign
Wars 12th District Honor Guard will provide a 21-gun
salute and Taps to conclude the service.
During the Memorial Day Service, wreaths will be
placed in front of the Amphitheater by each participating veterans’ organization as well as other organizations or individuals who may wish to do so.
AFJROTC cadets will assist with the placing of
Please notify George Finck at (318) 965-4124 or email at [email protected] if you plan to participate
in this patriotic event honoring our American heroes,
especially if you were not on the program last year.
George C. Finck
Gandy-Brown VFW Post #4588
1004 Jeter Street
Bossier City, LA 71111
NW LA Veteran
Cemetery status
Barksdale Air Force Base Air
Show is a two day event taking
place on Saturday and Sunday.
On both days, all static displays
will be accessible and the dynamic displays will be the same.
Date: Saturday, May 2 and
Sunday, May 3
Show Time: 11am;
Gates open at 9am
Admission: Free
Parking: Free; On-base parking will be made available for
visitors entering the North
(Bossier) and West (Shreveport)
gates. All vehicles will be directed to the flight line parking area.
COURTESY BUS TRANSPORTATION will also be available from Bossier Parish
Community College to minimize
traffic congestion on and off the
base. Although intervals are not
finalized, the buses will run on a
continuous route to and from the
Directions: Enter through the
West Gate over the ShreveportBarksdale Bridge or the North
Gate via Northgate Road. If you
have an oversize vehicle or RV,
enter through the East Gate via
Industrial Drive. If you are a
DoD ID card holder desiring
access to any part of the base
other than the air show main
parking area, enter through the
South Gate, East Gate, or Bodcau
Gate. Before 8:30 a.m., UTA personnel may enter via any
entrance, but must choose South
Gate, East Gate, or Bodcau Gate
at other times for 307 BW access.
Bodcau Gate will be open from 9
a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.
Please allow enough time for
coming to the base, parking your
car at designated areas and going
through security checks.
weapons are allowed. Backpacks,
large purses and coolers will be
prohibited on the airfield. Please
check our Security FAQ for further details.
Food and drinks will be available for purchase at the air show.
As there are very few shaded
areas, sunscreen is highly recommended.
Flying begins at 11 a.m. Please
allow enough time for coming to
the base, parking your car at designated areas and going through
security checks.
The Northwest Veteran Cemetery was made possible by a grant from the US Department of Veterans
Affairs. The land was donated from the parish of
Caddo and all construction and equipment necessary
to operate the cemetery was paid for from the grant
The state of Louisiana must operate and care for the
cemetery in perpetuity.
First interment was on June 18, 2007.
The cemetery encompasses 81 total acres with 25
acres developed.
At present there are 12,138 casketed spaces and
3,342 cremains spaces.
Vets interred - 1,337
Spouses interred - 201
A dedication ceremony for a Fallen Soldier monument and surrounding garden at the cemetery is being
planned for a Sunday afternoon in May. A specific
date will be announced soon.
Tim Johnson
Director NLVC
Long-term care deductions
Deduct more premiums. You can deduct more of
your long term-care premiums as a medical expense
in 2015. Taxpayers 71 and older can claim up to
$4,750, seniors 61 to 70 can claim up to $3,800, while
people 51 to 60 can deduct up to $1,430.
Attention LA Veterans
on 100% Disability
The U.S. Army Golden Knights will be one of the groups performing at the Barksdale Air Force Base 2015 Air Show.
To double your parish homestead exemption,
get a letter from your VA service officer stating
you have 100% disability and take it to your
tax assessor to get your exemption. For example, current tax of $459 could be reduced to
$224 with new tax exemption.