WINDY CITY CHAPTER
P.O. Box 4562 Rockford, IL 61110
EDITOR: James Premeske
From the President’s desk...
3739 N. O’Dell
Chicago, IL 60634 Hello Windy City Chapter members,
VICE-PRESIDENT As published in the last few issues of Navy Times, we now have
Edward Whiteside another health issue brought to you by the same people responsible for
1283 Wood Trail the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical warfare tests of the 50’s, Agent
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
Orange during Vietnam and Persian Gulf sickness in the 90’s. Anyone
who has either worked in or were working/berthed near the burn pits in
SECRETARTY Iraq or Afghanistan should be aware of a potential health hazard caused
Jim Premeske (interim) by the toxins that were generated. Some of what was burned were
Cwo4mrp@yahoo.com plastic bottles, oil, refuse, human waste, and amputated limbs. The
TREASURER Department of Defense has stated that there are no lasting health
Eugene Koelker issues due to the burn pits. The Disabled American Veterans have
firstname.lastname@example.org already jumped on this and hopefully the rest of The Military Coalition
will follow. Proper investigation is justified.
Paul Smurawski We are always looking for people who want to be involved in the
workings of our chapter. We need new blood to bring in new ideas,
MASTER-AT-ARMS changes to the status quo and revitalize our organization.
Please consider attending your chapter meeting(s). They are held
WEB MASTER on the second Tuesday of February, April, June, August, October and
Steve Devereaux December at the Park Ridge VFW Hall at the intersection of Higgins Rd
email@example.com and Canfield Ave; we start promptly at 2000. The next meeting will be
held on 02-10-09.
Remember that “what Congress doth giveth, Congress can taketh away”.
WC Chapter President
Mark Your Calendar:
Meetings are conducted at 2000 on the second Tuesdays of even In This Edition: 1/08/09 Mtg. Minutes / Historic
numbered months at the VFW Post #3579 Canfield at Afghanistan / Military Healthcare - are we to pay for
Higgins (alongside the Kennedy Expressway) : on the 2nd deck
adjacent to the bar.
the healthcare of others? / Congratulations: Reservists
2009 Windy City NERA Meetings schedule: Holiday Party live longer / NERA’s Ship’s Store / NC Regional
1/31/09; Feb 10,2009; Apr 14; Jun 9; Aug 11; Oct 13; Dec 8. Conference 4/17 & 18 @ Minneapolis. / Marines lead
Afghanistan troop boost / Coast Guard working with
Planning Ahead!!! Navy to deal with Somali pirates.
WC Chapter Officer Nominations-Due through 2/10 election
For those who have RSVP’d don’t forget the January
31st Holiday Party
Windy City Chapter meeting minutes – 1/08/2009
(Rescheduled from Storm Canceled meeting)
Roll Call was taken. President, VP, Executive Counselor, Sea Service News Briefs
Master-at-Arms: Present. Secretary, Absent & Treasurer:
(1) Pledge of Allegiance (10) Motion to adjourn x Dennis Devitt. Ayes have it!
(3) Moment of Silence Afghan War Could Be
(4) Approval of the Minutes from 10/7/08. Mot x Jim
Premeske, 2nd x Steve Devereaux
Quagmire for Obama- this
(5) Treasurer’s Report: None Provided. obscure corner of the
(6) Committee Reports: Recruiting – NERA National
Harley raffle is proceeding; poster(s) available soon world has “ issues of
Mot x Jim Premeske that WC purchase a $100 ticket (if we
win we can re raffle it) 2 x John Nickelson Ayes have it historic proportions”
Sunshine Fund: 3 cards sent; Steve Sandy’s son Michael’s
death, Art Prochaska,ill, Mike Drelich’s brother’s death; January 26, 2009International Herald Tribune
fund picked up shipping tab for gedunks sent to Iraq. Still When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains
solvent- not collecting for fund. And the women come out to cut up what remains
Request for committee volunteers to slate our 2008 Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
officers selection and for volunteers to post for our officer An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
positions; all present agreed to help.
- Rudyard Kipling, "The Young British Soldier," 1892
Newsletter – mailed out, e-mail went out with link to
newsletter. // Webmaster – all links are working well.
(7) Old Business: WC Coins received & ready for sale / Can President Barack Obama succeed in that long-lamented
"graveyard of empires" - a place that has crushed foreign
Need for a telephone Recall list in case of inclement
occupiers for more than 2,000 years?
weather. Again this year God vetoed the date of our Ever since the Bush administration diverted its attention -- and
December meeting at the last minute. WC Chapter is still resources -- to the war in Iraq from the war in Afghanistan,
interested in pursuing sponsorship of a Navy Boot camp military planners and foreign policy experts have bemoaned the
company. dearth of troops to keep that country from sliding back into
National Treasurer Paul Smurawski provided his summary Taliban control. And in that time, the insurgency blossomed, as
of the National Conference, including subsequent Taliban militants took advantage of huge swaths of territory,
investment revelations: NERA’s investment options are particularly in the south, that NATO troops were not able to fill.
wider than we were previously led to believe, but none the
less (by law) are ultra conservative and biased in favor of Enter Obama. During the campaign he promised to send two
Virginia businesses. additional brigades - 7,000 troops - to Afghanistan. During the
th transition, military planners started talking about adding as many
Election of Officers will be conducted at February 10
as 30,000 troops. And within days of taking office, Obama
Meeting. Nominations: Butch Michaelson for Pres. announced the appointment of Richard Holbrooke, architect of
Mot. X John Nickelson, 2x Diana Premeske; Ed Whiteside the Balkan peace accords, to execute a new Afghanistan policy.
for V.P. Mot x John Nickelson, 2 x Diana Premeske; Jim
Premeske for Secretary Mot. X John Nickelson, 2 by But even as Obama's military planners prepare for the first wave
Darlene Nickelson; Gene Koelker for Treasurer Mot x of the new Afghanistan "surge," there is growing debate,
John Nickelson, 2x JC Edfors; Jim Edfors for Treasurer including among those who agree with the plan to send more
Mot x Lois Edfors, 2 x Darlene Nickelson; Paul troops, about whether -- or how -- the troops can accomplish their
Smurawski for Executive Counselor Mot x Darlene mission, and just what the mission is.
Nickelson, 2 nd x Steve Devereaux. Nominations may
th Afghanistan has, after all, stymied would-be conquerors since
still be made prior to election on February 10 .
Alexander the Great. It is always the same story; the invaders -
(8) New business: WC Secretary Mark Gutierrez resigned British, Soviets - control the cities, but not the countryside. And
citing overwhelming ongoing personal business that eventually, the invaders do not even control the cities and are
prevents meeting attendance. Jim Premeske appointed to sent packing.
stand-in until a replacement is elected.
Mot. X Darlene Nickelson to purchase a NERA National Think Iraq was hard? Afghanistan, former Secretary of State
Memorial Brick for Steve Sandy’s son. 2x Jim Klocek. Colin Powell argues, will be "much, much harder."
Discussion of alternate meeting dates was discussed: After much "Iraq had a middle class," Powell pointed out on MSNBC's
dialog and a poll of those present it was decided to retain the "Morning Joe" a couple of hours before Obama was sworn in last
current plan. Tuesday. "It was a fairly advanced country before Saddam
(9) Good of the Order: Happy Birthday sung to Newsletter Hussein drove it in the ground." Afghanistan, on the other hand,
"is still basically a tribal society, a lot of corruption; drugs are
Editor Jim Premeske. Meeting Hostess Kegan Whiteside sold
going to destroy that country if something isn't done about it."
Girl Scout cookies which will be sent to troops in Iraq.
For Obama, Afghanistan is the foreign policy crisis that he must modern cohesive Afghan state is a realistic objective, United
address quickly. Some 34,000 American troops are already States policy makers would like, at the very least, to get to a point
fighting an insurgency that grows stronger by the month, making in Afghanistan where the country is no longer a launching pad for
this a dynamically deteriorating situation in a region fraught with terrorist attacks like those of Sept. 11, 2001. Beating back the
consequence for American security aims. Coupled with nuclear- Taliban in southern Afghanistan, and rooting out Qaeda training
armed Pakistan, with which it shares a border zone that has camps on the Pakistani border in eastern Afghanistan with the
become a haven for Al Qaeda, Afghanistan could quickly come goal of finding Osama bin Laden, are all central parts of
to define the Obama presidency. American policy, even absent a modern cohesive Afghan state.
Obama's extra troops will largely be battling a Taliban insurgency
fed by an opium trade estimated at $300 million a year. The Military Healthcare- Evaluating reaction
insurgency is dispersed among a largely rural population living in
villages scattered over 77,000 square miles, of Afghanistan.
vs. premature overreaction!!
One question for Obama is whether 30,000 more troops are As Windy City News Editor I receive emails from a large cross
enough. "I think that this is more of a psychological surge than a section of military friends. I share input with active duty lifers in
practical surge," said Karin von Hippel, an Afghanistan expert at my family, retirees throughout the US via my numerous
the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She said she shipmates and NERA acquaintances ( I even get emails from
favored the troop increase but only as a precursor to getting the
Maui about Blago’s upcoming sheet metal apprenticeship:
Europeans to contribute more, and to changing America's policy
so it focuses more on the countryside, as opposed to the capital.
“Illinois, where our governor’s make our license plates”), and
several WC shipmates who stay alert for what you should know.
"In Afghanistan, the number of troops, if you combine NATO,
American and Afghan troops, is 200,000 forces versus 600,000 Recently I’ve received several alerts concerning reduction of
in Iraq," von Hippel said. "Those numbers are so low that an military health benefits. It is well that we practice research
extra 30,000 isn't going to get you to where you need to be. It's before publication. Although received in four separate formats,
more of a stopgap measure."
four such emails all drew their basis from the same
"But something," she said, "is better than nothing." Congressional Budget Office study. This report is the product
That last assertion, however, is also open to debate. Some of an enormous effort involving more than three dozen
foreign policy experts argue that Obama's decision to send members of the CBO staff over a period of many months.
additional troops to Afghanistan is simply an extension of Bush
administration policy in the region, with the difference being that This comprehensive and thorough CBO analysis was
Obama could be putting more American lives at risk to pursue a commissioned to become a basis for congressional consideration
of budget cutting options. Who, among us, does not believe
While more American troops can help to stabilize southern
Federal spending should be reduced? Yet we all want to retain
Afghanistan, that argument goes, they cannot turn the situation benefits we have earned. Military and uniformed services retiree
around in the country unless there are major changes in overall costs to government are considered along with a hundred+
policy. The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, the darling of the others. The report looks at when savings and/or costs would be
Bush administration, has begun to lose his luster; American and realized in the context of the next four years and nine years.
European officials now express private frustration over his refusal
to arrest drug lords who have been running the opium trade.
The following are excerpts from this several hundred page
Karzai has also been widely criticized for not cracking down
enough on corruption. And diplomats say his distaste for report. This report expands regular reports to the House
venturing far beyond his fortified presidential palace in Kabul and Senate Committees on the Budget—presents 115
reinforces the divide between Afghanistan's central government options for reducing (or, in some cases, increasing) federal
and its largely rural population, giving the Taliban free rein in the spending on health care, altering federal healthcare
programs, and making substantive changes to the nation’s
Before sending in more American troops, argues Andrew health insurance system.
Bacevich, an international relations professor at Boston
University, Obama should figure out if he is going to change an The options compiled for this volume stem from a variety
underlying American policy that has shrunk from putting pressure
of sources, including extensive discussions
"It seems there's a rush to send in more reinforcements absent with Congressional staff; reviews of legislative proposals,
the careful analysis that's most needed here," said Bacevich, the President’s budget, and academic literature; and
author of "The Limits of Power: The End of American analysis conducted by CBO staff, other government
Exceptionalism." agencies, and private groups. Although the number of
"There's clearly a consensus that things are heading in the wrong
direction," Bacevich said. "What's not clear to me is why sending
health-related policy options shown here is significantly
30,000 more troops is the essential step to changing that. My greater than in previous Budget Options volumes, it is not
understanding of the larger objective of the allied enterprise in an exhaustive list: Some options could not be included
Afghanistan is to bring into existence something that looks like a because of time constraints or analytical complexity. The
modern, cohesive Afghan state. Well, it could be that that's an inclusion or exclusion of a particular policy change does
unrealistic objective." Putting aside the question of whether a
not represent an endorsement or rejection by CBO; to
ensure impartiality, the discussion of each option All retired officers, and retired reserve enlisted members,
summarizes arguments for and against it. In keeping with still live a few years longer, on average, than the general
CBO’s mandate to provide objective analysis, the report population. But for retired active duty enlisted, it's about
makes no recommendations. even with other Americans.
An introductory chapter provides an overview of the
volume and offers some important context
for understanding the options. Chapters 2 through 12
present those options, organized by broad themes (for
ways to support NERA
example, payment for Medicare services, cost sharing in
Have you purchased a NERA National or Windy
federal programs, and long-term care). Each chapter is
City Chapter Challenge Coin yet? Invest in your
introduced with a page of background information
chapter and in HQ. These are beautiful limited
about the theme. The volume (of the whole report)is
edition coins from the same mint. Do not expect
available in multiple formats on CBO’s Web site
to find them at an exchange. HQ is currently
vending a ceramic version challenge coin,
popular among those currently deployed for a
Option 28 End Enrollment in VA Medical Care for Vets in
mere $5.00. Windy City’s challenge coins are
Groups 7 and 8 Pg 56
available from our Treasurer by mail for only $6.
Opt 29 Reopen Enrollment for VA Medical Care for
Group 8 Veterans for Five Years Pg 58
Sure 100 bucks used to be a lot of money; but a
Opt 48 Support Development of VistA to Meet Standards
Harley is a lot of bike. If it’s too much for your
and Encourage Adoption Pg 93
wallet, consider splitting a ticket among friends
Opt 98 Require Copayments for Care Provided by the VA
(just don’t plan on dividing the bike).
to Enrollees W/o a S-C Disability Pg 178
Opt 95 Increase Health Care Cost Sharing for Family ___________________________________________
Members of Active-Duty Military Personnel Pg 175
Opt 96 Introduce Minimum Out-of-Pocket Reqmts Under North Central Regional Conference
TRICARE For Life Pg 176
Opt 97 Increase Medical Cost Sharing for Military This year’s conference is sponsored by the Minnesota
Retirees Who Are Not Yet Eligible for Medicare Pg 178 Chapter and will be conducted April 17 & 18 at the
Holiday Inn, 1201 W. 94th St. in Bloomington, Mn
So-o Should we be alarmed about Congress looking 55431. Room Rate is a very reasonable $69/rm/nite if
at the facts? Alarmed- no but alert and wary won’t reserved by: 4/1/2009. Call 952-884-8211 for
hurt. Watch these issues closely! We should not be reservations. More details as they become available
the source of funding health insurance for those who or call our friend Ron Campbell with questions at
have chosen not to serve our great country, many of 612-920-9022. When was the last time you shopped
whom have been a social burden all of their lives. Ed Mall of America?
Reservists Live Longer than Active Duty
Tom Philpott | January 15, 2009 Military.Com
Department of Defense actuaries have discovered
significantly higher mortality rates among active duty Marine Unit Leading Afghan Troop Boost
retirees compared to reserve retirees, and the disparity
stretches back decades. December 17, 2008
Military.com by: Christian Lowe
In any given year, looking at populations of non-disabled
military retirees age 60 and older, the death rate for active It's a tough neighborhood for coalition forces in southern
duty enlisted retirees is 20 to 25 percent higher than for Afghanistan. While moving through the historical home of
reserve enlisted retirees. Active duty officer retirees who the Taliban and its putative leader, Mullah Mohammed
are 60 and older die in numbers roughly 10 percent higher Omar, American and NATO troops have been increasingly
than retired reserve peers. bruised by fighters from the resurgent movement who
attack, run and lay ambushes nearly at will.
The last substantial group of American troops who DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Captured Somali pirates
patrolled the area at the juncture of Farah and Helmand could soon face trials and serve jail sentences outside their
provinces was battered and bruised by militant attacks, homeland under a pact being negotiated between
hitting when they could but absorbing casualties at a rate American officials and regional allies, the head of a new
their small numbers could not adequately prevent. U.S. anti-piracy task force said Friday.
Now, as part of an upcoming surge of as many as 10,000 The lack of an international framework to bring pirates to
justice is among the many frustrations for forces struggling
to curb rising attacks on merchant vessels off lawless
Somalia, where pirates launched more than 100 assaults on
U.S. troops into Afghanistan, the new U.S. commander in ships last year and took away millions of dollars in
the area says lessons learned from his predecessor's ransom. Rear Adm. Terence McKnight told The
experience are putting him in a better position to knock the Associated Press an accord could be reached within weeks
enemy down -- and keep him out. to clear the way for piracy trials and imprisonment in
"We're kind of the leading edge of the U.S. plus-up of countries "in the region." He declined, however, to name
forces in this area," said Col. Duffy White, commander of the nations possibly willing to hold the trials. "We're
the Marine task force that recently deployed to southern working with a couple of countries that have helped ... out
Afghanistan. "I'd love to win hearts and minds, but I before," McKnight said in a telephone interview from the
would really prefer at this point to win trust and USS San Antonio, which began anti-piracy patrols last
confidence of the people; that we're here to help them, week along with another U.S. warship.
we're here to stay and we're here to help the Afghans find a In November, a Kenyan court gave seven-year prison
solution to an Afghan issue." sentences to each of 10 Somali pirates captured by the
"We are picking up from the success [2/7] had and now U.S. Navy after hijacking an Indian-based merchant ship.
it goes a little bit beyond that because now we have a little Last week, eight suspected pirates detained by a British
bit more capability," warship also went before a Kenyan court in Mombasa.
One of the major factors that contributed to 2/7's heavy India has handed over 11 suspected Somali pirates to
casualty rate of was the lack of armored vehicles to protect Yemen. France and Denmark are among European nations
its troops from roadside bombs planted in the unimproved that appear willing to hold their own piracy trials - which
roads of Afghanistan's southern deserts. White comes are impossible in Somalia.
armed with mine resistant, ambush protected vehicle
variants that carry both troops and route clearance gear. Pirates last year staged a series of increasingly bold
His logistics teams include explosive ordnance disposal ambushes with some startling successes, including
technicians and ground roving robots that can probe for commandeering a Saudi oil tanker and a Ukrainian cargo
increasingly sophisticated IEDs, he said. ship carrying more than 30 battle tanks. The tanker was
With the increase in forces, new, more robust equipment released earlier this month after the payment of a reported
and aviation elements at his back, White hopes he'll be $3 million ransom.
able to expand on the slim gains made by his predecessors.
And a new NATO commander for coalition forces in Naval forces from around the world have responded with
southern Afghanistan, Dutch Maj. Gen. Mart de Kruif, warships and surveillance vessels throughout the Gulf of
who trained at the Army War College and is "very bright, Aden and nearby waters that mark one of the world's
very energetic and very focused on the enemy and how to busiest shipping lanes. An estimated 20,000 merchant
defeat him in a holistic manner" will help. ships use the route the links Asian ports to the
Add to that a group of hard-charging British Royal Mediterranean through the Suez Canal.
Marines guarding his flank in Helmand province, and the
MAGTF commander sees a tough force for militants to More than a dozen nations - including Britain, France,
reckon with. China and Russia - have deployed ships to the region to
_______________________________________________ combat pirates. The warships coordinate with the new U.S.
Navy task force, said McKnight, but are not directly under
his command. "The coalition involvement has been huge,".
In December, Iran joined the international flotilla off
Somalia after sending a warship to help protect Iranian
merchant vessels. The U.S. task force includes about 1,000
sailors and 80 Marines. The ships carry an Navy HH-60
helicopter squadron and special vessels for boarding teams
that include Marine scout snipers. "We'll work to
Pact Near for Somali Pirate Trials coordinate ... with all professional navies operating in the
January 23, 2009
area," he said. "Piracy is an international problem that
Associated Press requires an international solution That means we all need
to work together to ensure the free flow of commerce in
the world's waterways."