PIEDMONT CHAPTER Chartered 21 November 1963
Military Officers Association of America 56 Years
January 2020 Keeping Alive a Fine Tradition
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Happy New Year !! PIEDMONT CHAPTER, MOAA Luncheon Meeting Thursday, 16 January 2020
The program will be presented by the Museum Director, Beverly Childs and staff, on the status of the upcoming exhibit “Andersonians in War”. This is of interest to all Andersonians but particularly to all county veterans. The early renderings of the project are impressive and will make us all proud of this tribute to our county forefathers and current veterans and the County’s military history and achievements. This is for all veterans so bring a friend.
Date: Thursday, 16 January 2020, 11:30 am
Place: Anderson County Museum
202 E. Greenville Street, Anderson, SC 29621. 864-260-4737
Located on the corner of Greenville and McDuffie Streets.
Menu: Choice of barbecue chicken or pulled pork and comes with two sides, bread & drink. Cost: $15.00 per person includes tax and gratuity.
RSVP/Mail Checks: Col Tom Turner
38 Voyles Road, Abbeville, SC 29620
Call: (864) 378-7143 or 864-446-2449(m) or 864-933-4067(m)
Checks payable to: Piedmont Chapter, MOAA
RSVP Date: Monday, 13 January 2020 Spouses and guests are encouraged to attend.
RESERVATION FOR Anderson County Museum, 16 January 2020
* TAPS *
* Dr. John Benjamin Kissam, COL, USA, ARNG *
* April 25, 1935 - Nov 24, 2019 *
Presidents Comments. It is hard to believe that 2019 is gone. In the past year we lost two fine members; COL Ben Kissam and LTCOL Fred Schwerdfeger. Their presence is missed. The past year has been busy. We have had good meals, very good guest speakers, ranging from exceptional students to a variety of civic leaders. In the coming year we hope to continue on this path. We have improved our membership program, extended our area of membership, and expect these improvements will have positive results.
Legislative Information. There is a lot of information of military importance to report on, at both the state level and the federal level.
1. The South Carolina Office of Veterans Affairs is now a part of the Governors Cabinet. Previously it was in the Department of Administration. Governor Henry McMaster signed a bill into law in May creating the Department of Veterans Affairs. The departments mission is to serve as an advocate for more than 420,000 veterans in South Carolina.
2. The SC Department of Veterans Affairs has a new leader. The previous department head was Howard Metcalf who passed away in November. Governor McMaster has nominated army veteran Bobby Cox, a freshman Republican legislator from Greer to lead the new department. The state Senate must confirm the appointment. A graduate of the Citadel, Cox served four tours in Iraq as an Army Ranger, and he currently is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve. The state received about 25 applications for the post. Cox said South Carolina ”deeply respects and appreciates our veterans.” As secretary of the state Veterans Affairs department, he said “he will work to make South Carolina the most military and Veteran-friendly state in the nation.”
3. The Dorn VA hospital in Columbia is experiencing major construction. There is a new multi-story parking garage, a new Behavioral Center, new Prosthetics Center, new Rehab Center, new Eye Clinic, new Police station and perimeter fencing, and a new Fisher House on the Dorn Campus.
4. There are new columbarian units being built at the MJ Dolly Cooper Veterans Cemetery in Anderson. As of a month ago there were only 15 columbarium vaults still available.
5. Three new South Carolina Veteran Nursing homes are planned. Two have been approved for Florence and Cherokee County. A future home is planned for either Columbia or Sumter.
The FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was passed. Here are the highlights:
1. Provides a 3.1% military pay raise, the largest pay increase for troops in 10 years.
2. No new fees or pharmacy increases. Previously agreed upon increases for medical and pharmacy copays will take effect in January 2020.
3. Prohibits the DoD and the services from reducing medical end strength authorizations until the Dod completes a series of analsyis and reviews regarding both medical readiness and beneficiary access.
4. Eliminates the “widow tax”. Eliminating the widows tax has been a top legislative priority for MOAA for decades. Under previous law, survivors of deceased military members must forfeit part or all of their purchased Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity when awarded the VA’s Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).
The loss of any portion of the SBP annuity is known as the “widows tax”. The change has a phased-in period with a delayed start. No changes will be made to the benefit in calendar year 2020, but the offset will be reduced partially over 2021 and 2022, with full elimination starting on Jan. 1, 2023.
5. Members of the National Guard and Reserves, serving on 12304B orders will now have this time count toward their active time to lower the age when they receive their retirement pay.
6. Addresses non-combat related military medical malpractice by directing DoD to develop a regulation for negligent malpractice to be addressed through the military legal system. It provides a form of redress for servicemembers who have suffered from medical malpractice. It will authorize a payment up to $100,000 by DoD judges.
7. Provides expansion to spouse employment resources such as an increase to $1000 for licensure reimbursement.
8. Includes comprehensive military housing reform. The bill includes a robust tenant bill of rights and responsibilities, ensures medical costs and relocation expenses are covered and formalizes a dispute resolution process, and insures a proper work order system and complaint database are in place.
The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 went into effect January 1.
Veterans who served on vessels operating within 12 nautical miles of Vietnam and Cambodia who are now suffering from one of 14 illnesses believed to be tied to a dangerous herbicide used between Jan 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, can now file disability claims with the VA.
The Chapter Information Corner.
1. Piedmont Chapter Area Expands. In coordination with MOAA and our state Council the Piedmont Chapter has expanded its recruiting base to include some of the area of the former Greenville Chapter. The Piedmont area now includes Piedmont, Easley, Mauldin, Simpsonville and Greenville zip codes 29605, 29607 and 29611.
2. Longest Serving MOAA Members. A review of the chapter roster and MOAA member numbers reveals the chapter members who have been members of MOAA the longest. Here are the top ten: George Rasula, Al Mathiasen, Robert McCall, Howard Stammerjohn, Rock Reinhart, Len Krolak, Chalmers Carr, Thomas Martin, Richard Scott and Bob Heller. Congratulations for your continued support and devotion to duty.
Never Stop Serving!!
New Member Information…..Welcome Aboard!!
Jerry Rookstool and wife Aundre, 126 Life Style Ln., Anderson, 29621, MSG(E8),
USA (Ret), 276-733-4241.
Warren Lutz and wife Bonita, 150 Stone Cottage Dr., Anderson, 29621, HM1 (E6),
USN (Ret) 864-224-7358.
Jeffrey Stevens and wife Kelly, 3104 Barefoot Trail, Anderson, 29621, MAJ, USA
(Former officer) 864-224-7558.
A Bit of Humor: 60th High School Class Reunion
He was a widower and she a widow. They had known each other for a number of years, having been high school classmates and having attended class reunions in the past without fail. This 60th anniversary of their class, the widower and the widow made a foursome with two other singles. They had a wonderful evening, their spirits high, with the widower throwing admiring glances across the table and the widow smiling coyly back at him. Finally, during one dance,
he worked up courage to ask her, “Will you marry me?”. After about six seconds of careful consideration, she answered, “Yes, yes I will!”. Needless to say, the evening ended on a happy note for the widower. However, the next morning he was troubled. Did she say “Yes” or did she say “No”? He couldn’t remember. Try as he would, he just could not recall.
He went over-and-over the conversation of the previous evening, but his mind was blank. With fear and trepidation, he picked up the phone and called her. First, he explained that he couldn’t remember as well as he used to. Then he reviewed the past evening. As he he gained a little more courage, he then inquired of her, “When I asked if you would marry me, did you say “Yes” or did you say “No”? “Why, you silly man” she replied. “I said Yes. Yes I will! And I meant it with all my heart!” The widow was delighted. He felt his heart skip a beat. Then she continued.
“And I’m so glad you called. I couldn’t remember who asked me!”
Keep laughing !! Its good for the soul.
Piedmont South Carolina Chapter