Sapper Tab Now Authorized
On 28 June, Army Chief of Staff GEN Peter J. Schoomaker announced a new Sapper Tab for combat engineers (approved for wear by qualified Soldiers on the left shoulder). Until August, only the Special Forces Tab and the Ranger Tab were authorized for wear above the unit patch on the left shoulder.
The Sapper Tab must be worn below the Ranger and Special Forces Tabs if a Soldier has either of those. To qualify for the Sapper Tab, Soldiers must complete the Sapper Leader Course (SLC) at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. The award is retroactive to the graduates of the first SLC on 14 June 1985.
For more information on wear of the Sapper Tab view this PDF file: https://www.perscomonline.army.mil/tagd/awards/HQDA_Ltr670_04_1Sapper.pdf.
DoD Welcomes Wounded Troops to Remain on Duty
The Defense Department has long been a leader in providing employment opportunities to people with disabilities, but it’s taken a major step forward by allowing disabled veterans to remain in the military if they want to and can continue to perform.
This year’s theme for National Disability Employ-ment Month is “You’re Hired! Success Knows No Limits!” with a special reverence for those who are now disabled because of their contribution to the Global War on Terrorism.
With advances in medicine, technology and rehabilitation techniques, DoD is making every attempt to return willing and able servicemembers to duty, sometimes within their own units.
The loss of a limb no longer means forced discharge. New prosthetic devices and the Advanced Amputee Training Center established at Walter Reed Army Medical Center helped make that a reality. The Army wants you to know, if you can do it, you can do it. (From www.dtic.mil)
Employment Initiative for Wounded Vets
For injured veterans coming home, employment help is waiting for them. On 4 October, Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced the creation of REALifelines (Recovery and Employment Assistance Lifelines), a joint commitment by the Department of Labor, the military medical community and several local agencies aimed at getting injured veterans back on their feet and into the workforce.
Thanks to funding by the Department of Labor, the first phase of REALifelines will create a team of counselors who will work solely in medical facilities to help veterans ease into the private sector. Counselors will work one-on-one with veterans to create individual recovery and reemployment plans.
The program also includes a national tracking system to ensure follow-up services that link servicemembers with local professionals able to support their recovery and reemployment efforts.
Servicemembers and their spouses will also be able to access more than 3,500 career centers the Department of Labor has set up nationwide. (From www.dtic.mil)
Uniting in the Name of Homeland Defense
Military units assigned in the Washington, D.C., area—honor guards, ceremonial outfits, bands, coastal patrols—are being reformatted under a new head-quarters focused on homeland defense.
The new Joint Force Headquarters–National Capital Region, spearheaded from Fort McNair, includes the Army’s Military District of Washington, the Naval District of Washington, the Marine Corps National Capital Regional Command at Quantico, the Air Force’s 11th Wing at Bolling Air Force Base and 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base and the U.S. Coast Guard’s Fifth District.
These teams train around the clock preparing for homeland defense, worst-case scenarios for the District of Columbia and attacks on the President or his staff.
Ceremonial duties have not been discarded. Soldiers are now doing ceremonial duties and training cycles. (From ArmyTimes)
IRR Likely to be Called Upon Again
The Army likely will mobilize another 5,600 Soldiers from the Individual Ready Reserve in the coming fiscal year, service personnel officials said 1 October.
Robert Smiley, Principal Assistant for Training, Readiness and Mobilization in the Office of Manpower and Reserve Affairs, said, “We will give as much notice” as possible to the Soldiers being recalled to active duty.
Smiley and BG Sean Byrne, director of personnel policy, said that 1,143 Soldiers of 1,700 with orders to report from the IRR were on active duty by 28 Sep-tember. The first reporting date was 31 August.
“We’re in contact with more than half” of the approximately 600 who have not reported, Byrne said. The Soldiers who are in contact with the Army are asking for delays or exemptions for a variety of personal and medical reasons. Some are already serving in Afghanistan or Iraq as part of their civilian careers and would not be called to active military service, Smiley said.
Byrne said he plans to deal with these Soldiers on a case-by-case basis, with a 40-person cell in St. Louis devoted to working with the Soldiers. “No one has been classified as AWOL,” Byrne said.
He added that 3,899 published sets of orders have been sent to Soldiers in the IRR, but reporting dates are stretched out through the spring. The Soldiers are contacted first by Western Union telegram which is then followed by a letter.
Army officials said that in some cases they did not have the correct addresses for Soldiers in the IRR. “We’re working [with a number of organizations] to get current addresses,” said Raymond Robinson, chief of operations in the Army’s G-1. “We have a very fluid group of young Soldiers” who move frequently to attend school or begin careers in places other than the communities from which they enlisted.
When the Army announced its plans to mobilize Soldiers from the IRR this summer, service officials said they expected about one-third would be exempt. “The plan we laid out in June is pretty much working,” Byrne said.
“We’re not getting great push back” from Soldiers who are being mobilized, Robinson said. (John Grady, AUSA Communications Director)
Military Construction Bill En Route to the President
After clearing the Senate, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 military construction appropriations bill is headed to President George W. Bush for signature.
The $10 billion bill (5 percent more than the President’s request) appropriates $5.5 billion for military construction projects and $4 billion for family housing. The main sticking point with the spending measure was resolved when the FY 2005 defense authorization bill lifted a statutory cap on a program that privatizes the upgrade and construction of military housing. (Julie Rudowski, AUSA Goverment Affairs)
Specialty 89D: Have you got what it takes?
With more and more explosive devices being used against coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army is finding itself with an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technician shortage. EOD technicians are in great demand, and the Army is paying handsomely for more to sign up or reenlist.
EOD technicians must be agile, limber, cool-headed under intense pressure and quick-thinking . . . in a 70-pound bomb suit.
The job is highly dangerous. Enemies of the United States know that once an explosive device is discovered, the EOD technicians arrive, making it a prime location for an ambush. In that environment, the EOD technician has to dismantle the bomb.
Investigative work also comes into play. These technicians forensically research detonation sites to gain insight on enemy capabilities, patterns, targets, etc. They also get to set a few bombs of their own.
EOD technicians are in high demand outside the Army as well, so the transition from military to private life is fairly smooth.
It is considered to be one of the most stressful Army occupations, but it brings an enormous sense of satisfaction to know at the end of the day that you have saved lives.
Come for the increase in pay. Stay for the love of the job. (From Army Times)
DoD Takes Steps to Correct Guard and Reserve Pay Issues
Defense officials, in response to a memo written by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, announced they have implemented measures designed to correct pay problems that have plagued National Guard and Reserve troops deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Rumsfeld’s memo, written earlier this year, said that while the current pay system was adequate to handle payments for part-time drills, it is “seriously inadequate when we are mobilizing to the extent we have had to during the Iraq conflict.”
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to conduct a study to determine if controls used to pay mobilized Army National Guard personnel provided assurances that pay was accurate and timely.
In a hearing before the House Government Reform Committee, officials from the GAO testified that the existing processes and controls used to provide pay and allowances to mobilized Army National Guard personnel is so cumbersome and complex that neither the payer (DoD) nor the payee (the mobilized Guard Soldier) can be certain of timely and accurate payroll payments.
The flaws in the pay process resulted in over- and underpayments and even large, erroneously assessed debts. At the hearing, GAO released the results of a survey it conducted at seven reserve units. More than 90 percent of personnel at those units had pay problems.
Reservists testifying before Congress said the troubled system had seriously damaged morale.
Deployed reservists often did not receive their full pay after being activated, but then received active duty pay long after they returned to reserve status.
Many soldiers and their families were required to spend considerable time, sometimes while the Soldiers were deployed in remote, hostile environments, seeking corrections to active duty pay and allowances.
In July, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) opened a “Center of Excellence” in Cleveland to deal with the Guard and Reserve pay issues.
DFAS officials believe that consolidating Guard and Reserve pay in one location will facilitate the sharing of “best practices” about pay account support. The center will be “responsible for implementation and dissemina-tion of pay-related policy and procedural guidance that affects Guard and Reserve members,” a DFAS spokesperson said.
Additionally, the Pentagon has installed several short-term reforms including a military pay safety net designed to catch mistakes. The Pentagon also will implement a temporary pay system—Forward Compatible Payroll—throughout the military by early 2006. This system will resolve many of the weaknesses in the existing system.
Ultimately, a permanent, single, integrated personnel and payroll system known as the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System will be installed. Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract to develop that system.
AUSA strongly supports all DoD efforts to correct Guard and Reserve pay problems. Our 2004 Resolution 04-01, Point 20, encourages the administration and Congress to develop a single pay system for active and reserve component soldiers. (From www.dtic.mil)
In an effort to increase numbers, Retention Control Points (RCP) for sergeants first class and master sergeants serving in MOS 79R (recruiting) have been temporarily changed for Soldiers whose terms of service expire before 1 October 2006. The RCP for 79R sergeants first class is now 26 years. The RCP for 79R master sergeants has increased from 26 to 28 years. (www.hrc.army.mil)
Communications Between Soldiers and Technology a Challenge
Difficulties maintaining communication between Soldiers and their technology did not surprise Army leaders even in the months leading up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“We knew going in that communication was going to be a challenge,” MG Michael Mazzucchi, Commander, Communications-Electronic Command, said on 13 September at the Association of the United States Army’s acquisition symposium in Falls Church, Virginia. “So it really wasn’t a lesson learned.”
Efforts are being focused on building a common archi-tecture to support battle command technologies used by Soldiers in the field.
“We really have to build on Microsoft Office products,” Mazzucchi said.
Soldiers use Microsoft Office programs regularly until they’re in combat, Mazzucchi said. Then they turn to Army battle command systems.
Communication software the Army acquires has to be multipurpose, make use of the Internet and be easy enough to use that a Soldier can learn how to operate with it in less than an hour, Mazzucchi said.
But “without power and network connectivity, nothing happens,” he said. “It’s for more than just the Army, it’s for more than the DoD, it’s for everything we do.”
The Army is already fielding technologies to increase the amount of information units receive while continuing operations in Iraq, said LTG Joseph Yakovac, military deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology.
Citing the 3d Infantry Division, going to Iraq later this year, Yakovac said, “We’re bringing the satellite down to the brigade level. We’re giving them a bigger pipe.”
Saving Lives Through a Different Type of Donation
On 11 August 2004, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) started a new plasma collection program, one designed to develop a clinical-grade hyperimmune globulin to treat patients exposed to anthrax.
The CDC hopes to collect plasma and use it to create the treatment. However, CDC cannot use the plasma of everyday donors: the donors must be Soldiers who have received the anthrax vaccine. No Soldier will be ordered to participate.
Only servicemembers who received anthrax vaccination No. 4 or higher are eligible to participate. The window during which Soldiers can donate their plasma is between 10 and 21 days after their vaccination, when antibody levels are at their highest.
The CDC wants to make enough anthrax hyper-immune globulin to protect between 5,000 and 10,000 people. Once created, the globulin will go into the CDC’s national stockpile, a collection of emergency supplies for mass-casualty events.
The donation process is not much different from donating blood, except that when plasma is donated, only the plasma is kept—the blood cells are returned to the donor’s bloodstream. The process takes approximately 30 minutes. (From www.dtic.mil)
NCO Paper Selected for Presentation at AUSA’s Annual Meeting
The Institute of Land Warfare receives submissions for publication on a regular basis, and we are very thorough and particular in our selection. SGT Russell P. Galeti, Jr.’s paper, “Terrorism and Asymmetric Warfare” was well-written, well-researched and informative. His paper briefs the reader on the United States’ global posture versus its hidden enemies’ ever-changing tactics and the importance of “boots on the ground.” Now the paper is a part of our Landpower Essay series (LPE 04-3).
SGT Galeti’s paper has also been selected for presentation at this year’s AUSA Annual Meeting, a convention in Washington, D.C., that typically hosts an average of 27,000 people.
SGT Galeti enlisted in Company D, 1-107th Army Battalion (Cavalry) of the Ohio Army National Guard in August 1998. Since September 2003, he has been serving as an M-1A1 Abrams Gunner/Assistant Tank Commander and a Motorized Infantry Team Leader. Currently, he is assigned to the 3d Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division in Baghdad, Iraq.
To obtain a copy of SGT Galeti’s paper, visit www.ausa.org/ilw or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Army is creating a new field manual that offers guidance on combating insurgencies. If the manual is approved, the document could be used in service schools to teach the fundamentals of counterinsurgency operations like those currently under way in Iraq and Afghanistan. (From Inside the Army)
The Department of Defense is taking serious action against those who support prostitution, whether they are Soldiers, federal civilians or contractors. Those caught purchasing the services of a prostitute or working as a prostitute may be subject to court-martial, a one-year prison sentence and a dishonorable discharge. Those found pandering—“pimping”—could face a five-year jail sentence and a dishonorable discharge.
DoD has several reasons for cracking down on prostitution. Largely, it is just another front in the Global War on Terrorism. Prostitutes, for the most part, do not choose their profession. Many times they are forced into working for organizations to whom their debt can never be paid. Those who traffic prostitutes or sexual slaves also traffic drugs, money and illegal weaponry through the hands of the hidden enemies of the United States. Prostitution is also unhealthy and a threat to good morale and discipline.
DoD’s antiprostitution campaign will include an education effort aimed at military leaders to express the Pentagon’s “zero-tolerance” policy for any involvement with the sex exploitation industry.
The battle for freedom isn’t fought solely with guns and bullets. It can also be fought with self-restraint and a little common sense. Do your part by acting against prostitution and the trafficking of modern slaves.
For more information on sexual slavery and the trafficking of humans, visit www.armytimes.com or www.nationalgeographic.com.
GI Bill Boost for Reservists
Guardmembers and Reservists whose active duty time is extended past the 12-month call-up may be eligible for active duty benefits of the Montgomery GI Bill.
Currently, members participating in the active duty GI Bill receive $800 or $985 per month for full-time training. Reservists receive only $282 per month.
Some reservists are now eligible for the greater active duty benefit when their tour of duty is extended to 24 months or more. (From www.dtic.mil)
Help for Your Children While You Are Away
An estimated 500,000 sons and daughters are left home while their reservist parents are deployed over-seas. This situation is more than typical for active duty Soldiers’ families, but National Guard and Reserve families lack the tight-knit support group the active Army shares. During times of deployment, Guard and Reserve families can feel isolated, insecure and uncertain about where to turn for help.
A new Military Child Education Coalition booklet helps such families who are overwhelmed by their sudden military status. “How Communities Can Support the Children and Families of Those Serving in the National Guard and Reserves” is a 12-page booklet explaining the ins and outs of the deployment experience in an easy-to-understand approach.
The book, which was heavily demanded by military-family representatives, is full of ideas to help communities reach out to Reserve and Guard families during periods of deployment.
The booklet serves as a companion guide to the popular coalition publication “How to Prepare Our Children and Stay Involved in Their Education During Deployment,” a favorite of First Lady Laura Bush.
For more information, visit the Military Child Education Coalition web site: www.militarychild.org. (From www.dtic.mil.)
Congratulations Are in Order!
The selection list containing the names of active component Soldiers recommended for promotion to sergeant major has been released. For the complete list, visit www.perscomonline.army.mil/select/Enlisted.htm. Congratulations to those senior NCOs! You are the backbone of the United States Army.
How Politically Active Can I Be?
As elections draw near, questions arise as to the legality of servicemembers displaying their political viewpoints. On 2 August 2004 the Department of Defense revised its Directive 1344.10: Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces on Active Duty. It states that a servicemember on active duty may:
- register, vote and express his or her personal opinion on political candidates and issues, but not as a representative of the armed forces;
- make monetary contributions to a political organi-zation;
- attend partisan and nonpartisan meetings, rallies or conventions as a spectator when not in uniform.
A servicemember on active duty may not:
- use his or her official authority for interfering with an election, soliciting votes for a particular candidate or issue, or soliciting political contributions;
- be a candidate for, hold or exercise the function of civil office;
- participate in partisan political management, campaigns or conventions unless attending as a spectator not in uniform.
For a full description of DoD Directive 1344.10, visit http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/html2/d134410x.htm.
Harvey Tapped for Army Secretary
Francis Harvey, a former Westinghouse executive, has been nominated by the President to be Secretary of the Army.
If confirmed by the Senate, Harvey will take over for Les Brownlee, who has served as Acting Secretary of the Army since last year when Thomas E. White stepped down from the top Army civilian post.
A staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee said the committee has received Harvey’s 15 September nomination from the White House. It is unknown whether a confirmation hearing will be held before the November presidential election.
Harvey is on the board of directors of three companies partly owned by the Carlyle Group. He headed the Baltimore-based Industries and Technology Group of Westinghouse, now owned by Northrop Grumman.
Letters to the Editor. . .
NCO Update would like to hear from you. We want to know your opinions and possibly publish them in future issues. Please send your letters to Editor, NCO Update, AUSA, 2425 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201. Letters are also accepted via e-mail at ILWResearch@ausa.org with the subject line “Letters to the Editor.”
Congratulations to the 2004 Soldier and NCO of the Year
NCO OF THE YEAR
Staff Sergeant Andrew Bullock,
5th Ranger Training Battalion, TRADOC
SOLDIER OF THE YEAR
Specialist Wilfredo A. Mendez,
Military Intelligence, Eighth Army
NCO Update is published quarterly by the AUSA Institute of Land Warfare to help Army noncommissioned officers keep up to date on matters affecting the military profession and to better inform their soldiers. Reproduction is encouraged.
Randy M. Yasenchak, Editor
CSM (Ret.) Jimmie Spencer, Director, NCO and Enlisted Affairs
2425 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201-3385
Phone 800-336-4570 ext. 632, or 703-907-2632