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WC Newsletter Jan-Feb 09


									                                                        NAVAL ENLISTED
                                                     RESERVE ASSOCIATION
                                                      WINDY CITY CHAPTER

                                                       January-February 2009
                                                  P.O. Box 4562 Rockford, IL 61110
                                                     EDITOR: James Premeske

                                                                From the President’s desk...
PRESIDENT                                                                                                   01-11-09
Butch Michaelson
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             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         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.
Steve Devereaux
                                    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          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”.

                                                                      Butch Michaelson

                                                                      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!
(2) Preamble
(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."
Ayes (Unanimous).
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
failed policy.
                                                                            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
on Karzai.
                                                                            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,
                  Under Consideration:
                                                                    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
                                                           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."


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