Monday, February 23, 2009

AER - We are watching

The Associated Press has found some interesting news – AER – Army Emergency Relief is a well know charity to most soldiers. They are the biggest charity inside the US Military and apparently they have been taking in more than they disburse.

Associated Press - February 22, 2009 1:15 PM ET An Associated Press investigation shows that between 2003 and 2007, the Army Emergency Relief grew into a $345 million behemoth. During those years, the charity packed away $117 million into its own reserves while spending just $64 million on direct aid.

That's at a time when many military families were struggling with long war deployments and increased numbers of home foreclosures.

The news is a little disturbing…so I went to AER’s site to see what they had to say about this large growth…

AER is the Army's own emergency financial assistance organization and is dedicated to "Helping the Army Take Care of Its Own". AER provides commanders a valuable asset in accomplishing their basic command responsibility for the morale and welfare of soldiers. AER funds are made available to commanders having AER Sections to provide emergency financial assistance to soldiers - active & retired - and their dependents when there is a valid need.

AER funds made available to commanders are not limited and are constrained only by the requirement of valid need. For these reasons, the AER assistance program is conducted within the Army structure by major commanders and their installation/organization commanders through AER sections and other related organizations.

OK – Hmmm wonder what commander retired applicants go through…so I looked at eligibility – seems to definitely favor active duty – Reserve soldiers are not normally eligible for AER unless they are on active duty… Retired Reservists are not eligible until they are age 60……OK so I guess Reserve soldiers are not really soldiers eligible for relief if they just do their normal weekend a month, 2 weeks during the summer.

Again I have to pull out the soapbox… Why would this agency treat 50% of the force with such disparity…perhaps to assist the gathering of 345 million dollars…much of it contributed by soldiers active and reserve?

AER’s mission - To collect and hold funds and to relieve distress of personnel of the Army of the United States and their dependents” - Certificate of Incorporation, 3 March 1942 … Could this count Reserve Soldiers? Should it?

Keep in mind that most of the assistance is Interest Free loans … Money that returns to AER so the AP figures don’t reflect that much of the money allocated in 2008 (70.9M) will be paid back. Loan repayments comprise 73% of income from year to year.

I don’t want to see AER’s mission stop…its needed…but hey - consider the Reserve Component a little more seriously.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Army Reserve Job Site

Stumbled accross an Army Reserve site that espouses the job opportunities with partners and supporting employers. The site is another Blogsite like this one it seems... Unfortunately the site is corporate eyewash and has all the individual personality that a PR person can impart...they need some personallity in these sites..liven it up a little... - perhaps they can get some contributors that have lived the life as Reserve Soldiers that have walked the talk.

They do have a piece on LTG Stultz - I like the touch as stated

This is no longer, the Army Reserve that I came into way back in '79

all good so far but then he candy coats Army Reserve Service with

that said, 'One weekend a month, two weeks in the summer; that's all we ask.' -

what??!? come on now ... count schooling, admin drill assemblies, G&C time, Correspondence courses etc...tell it like it is - Its work, but like any work where you are part of a team its not the time you spend but the satisfaction in the result.

Read it for yourself... try not to nod off - its at Http://

Friday, February 06, 2009

Veteran Primer

I recieved this from a Veteran Friend in the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (of which I am a proud member) It speaks of the bond that veterans have and serves as a primer about why we are the way we are...

When a Veteran leaves the 'job' and retires to a better life, many are jealous, some are pleased, and others, who may have already retired, wonder if he knows what he is leaving behind, because we already know.

1. We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing for those past times.

2. We know in the Military life there is a fellowship which lasts long after the uniforms are hung up in the back of the closet.

3. We know even if he throws them away, they will be on him with every step and breath that remains in his life. We also know how the very bearing of the man speaks of what he was and in his heart still is.

These are the burdens of the job. You will still look at people suspiciously, still see what others do not see or choose to ignore and always will look at the rest of the Military world with a respect for what they do; only grown in a lifetime of knowing.

Never think for one moment you are escaping from that life. You are only escaping the 'job' and merely being allowed to leave 'active' duty.

So what I wish for you is that whenever you ease into retirement, in your heart you never forget for one moment that you are still a member of the greatest fraternity the world has ever known.

NOW! Civilian Friends vs. Veteran Friends Comparisons

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Get upset if you're too busy to talk to them for a week.

VETERAN FRIENDS: Are glad to see you after years, and will happily carry on the same conversation you were having the last time you met.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Know a few things about you.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Will kick the crowd's ass that left you behind.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Are for a while.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Are for life.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have shared a few experiences...
VETERAN FRIENDS: Have shared a lifetime of experiences no citizen could ever dream of...

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will take you r drink away when they think you've had enough.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Will look at you stumbling all over the place and say, 'You better drink the rest of that before you spill it!' Then carry you home safely and put you
to bed...

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will ignore this.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Will forward this.

A veteran - whether active duty, retired, or reserve- is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The Government of the United States of America' for an amount of 'up to and including my life'. . . and military wives are as much veterans as their spouses.

From one Veteran to another, it's an honor to be in your company. Thank you Veterans.