WC Newsletter Jan-Feb 2010 by gegeshandong


									                                                        NAVAL ENLISTED
                                                     RESERVE ASSOCIATION
                                                      WINDY CITY CHAPTER

                                                       January-February 2010
                                                  P.O. Box 4562 Rockford, IL 61110
                                                     EDITOR: James Premeske

                                                                From the President’s desk...
PRESIDENT                                                                                01-14-10
Butch Michaelson
3739 N. O’Dell
Chicago, IL 60634                   I hope everyone had a nice, quiet, pleasant, worthwhile holiday
                              season. I also want to thank John and Darlene Nickelson for, once
                              again, hosting our party at the Chapter clubhouse. If you were not
VICE-PRESIDENT                able to attend; you missed a great time. If you just decided not to
Edward Whiteside              attend; slap yourself.
1283 Wood Trail
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007         While everyone is busy making New Year’s resolutions please add
ewhiteside@yahoo.com          one to attend at least one chapter meeting this year and either the
                              Chapter picnic or holiday party.
Jim Premeske
Cwo4mrp@yahoo.com                   As usual, we are always looking for people who want to be
                              involved in the workings of our chapter. We need new blood to bring in
TREASURER                     new ideas, changes to the status quo and vitalize our organization.
Eugene Koelker
                                    Please consider attending your chapter meeting(s). They are
                              still held on the second Tuesday of February, April, June, August,
                              October and December at the Park Ridge VFW Hall at the intersection of
Paul Smurawski
                              Higgins Rd and Canfield Ave; we start promptly at 2000. The next
                              meeting will be held on 02-09-10.
Steve Devereaux
                                    Remember that, more than ever, “what Congress and DOD doth
                              giveth, Congress and DOD can taketh away”
Steve Devereaux
                                                                                                Butch Michaelson
Vol ume 10 Edition 1
                                                                                                Chapter President

Mark Your Calendar:                                                     C&BL proposals: no 2010 Regional Conference was
Meetings are conducted at 2000 on the second Tuesdays of even           anticipated. Plans are being considered for a summer
numbered months at the VFW Post #3579 Canfield at                       get-a-way at Wisconsin Dells.
Higgins (alongside the Kennedy Expressway) : on the 2nd deck
adjacent to the bar.
2010 Windy City NERA Meetings schedule: Feb 9th, Apr 13th,              In this edition: NERA National 2010; December
Jun 8th, Aug 10th, Oct 12th, Dec 7th                                    Mtg. Minutes; Benefits: No 2010 Cola; Dental
Planning Ahead!                                                         Insurance premium increase: NERA National Raffle;
 Our gratitude is extended to active WC member                          New Khaki uniform; Mayport Nuke Carrier
Gene Hui’s anonymous friend, who, learning of                           Lobbying; Seal Cover-up trial; Newest Attack Sub;
Windy City’s devotion to country, funded our                            Haitian Servicemen to get imminent danger pay; 2010
Christmas / Holiday Party.                                              Tax tips; SBP Clarification; Retiree FREE eyeglasses;
Since the original plan (re: C&BL) was to go to                         SS retirement yardstick; female four star;
biennial National Conferences and Whereas Regional                      Afghanistan: ineffective Strykers; Pakistan bomber
conferences were justified as a sounding board for                      kill 3 spec ops.

The 2010 convention Explaination.                                 Windy City Chapter Newsletter adjustments-
                                                                  second posting:
Although HQ’s Constitution & Bylaws now call for
biennial National Conferences in odd numbered                      When I accepted the Editor’s position (Steve
years, the NEC proposed and was granted an                        Devereaux was already the assistant publisher) over
Emergency Resolution that would permit an                         two years ago, I stated that I foresaw no changes to
additional National Conference in off years, when
sufficient notice is provided. There will be no                   our format; that I would always encourage
consideration of C & BL proposals this year.                      suggestions on what you, our clients, wanted in your
                                                                  newsletter. There have been few suggestions
                                                                  submitted, but we have reacted to those we receive.
2010 National Conference in Washington, D.C.
                          tW DC                                   The loss of Chapter Rebates from HQ and rising
                                                                  postal rates necessitated the inevitable conversion
                                s pleased to announce the
                                                                  from hardcopy format to a primarily email circulation.
                                loction for the 2010              The downside is we lost a few readers who chose not
                                National Conference!              to reply, who now lack a connection to Windy City
                                                                  Chapter; the upside is we can afford to expand the
                                November 11-14, 2010.             newsletter at no cost. The previous format,
                                 Conference schedule will         predicated by criteria established by HQ, required
                                be posted as events and           that our newsletter include Articles about our Marines
                                speakers are confirmed.           and Coasties in every newsletter. This was a
                                                                  requirement to compete for HQ’s (now discontinued)
                                                                  annual newsletter award. In the past we have often
                                                                  curtailed general interest news pertinent to our
                                T                                 constituents to accommodate less significant news
                                                                  for a membership group that did not exist.

                                                                  NERA, and now (also) The Military Coalition have
The 2010 NERA National Conference will be held                    always existed to gain for you the benefits you are
from November 11-14th at the Sheraton National                    entitled to. In this issue we have begun to categorize
Hotel in Arlington. Room Rate is a very reasonable                a benefits section to report on gains, legal decisions,
$109 / night. For reservations phone 1-888-627-                   explanations and assaults upon our benefits, our
8210. You must mention the NERA National                          retiree retreat will supplement those goals. A new
Conference to get the group room rate.                            feature that will appear periodically will attempt to cut
__________________________________________                        through the legalese to simplify your decision
                                                                  making. I’m referring to such articles as ‘yardsticks’ to
                                                                  comparatively measure the value of options against
Windy City Chapter meeting minutes – December 2009                one another. We will continue to include sea service
Anticipating a forecasted severe winter blizzard, the             news clips to keep you abreast of current news. For
attending members Phone Tree was activated, alerting              the past year each edition has carried featured
members the meeting had been canceled. Although a                 articles of current military importance. When a
quorum of WC chapter officers made it in, the normal              general interest story is pertinent we’ll include it. The
order of business was not pursued because of the low              area that has always eluded us is stories about our
attendance.                                                       members. Until we overcome inherent difficulties in
                                                                  acquiring stories about us, WCC meetings and
Your editor was relieved to receive the phone call, having        parties must suffice. We hope you enjoy our product!
just completed testifying at a Senate hearing in                  Steve Devereaux and Jim Premeske
Indianapolis. In the best case I would have arrived in Park
Ridge just in time for the meeting.

                    Benefits:                                  Visit the NERA Website at www.nera.org

2010 COLA for Retired Pay                                      For Nera National up to date information.
Each year military retirement pay is adjusted to meet
the increased cost of living. This Cost-of-Living-
Adjustment (COLA) varies from year to year based
on the previous year's Consumer Price Index                    Sea service News
Here's 2010 Update: The CPI dipped below 4
percent in the first two quarters of FY2009 and was            Navy Approves New Khaki
still in negative numbers at the end of the fiscal year.
Due to the negative CPI in FY2009 there will be no
                                                               Week of February 01, 2010
COLA increase for retirees in 2010
                                                               The Navy has approved the Service Dress Khaki
Dental Insurance was already prohibitively                     (SDK) for development as an optional uniform for E-7
expensive                                                      and above. It is
The TRICARE Dental Program's 1.9 million enrollees
will see a slight increase in their monthly premiums,          anticipated the uniform will be available for purchase
beginning Feb. 1, 2010. The monthly premium for an             in approximately 18 months. Once available, SDK will
active duty family member single plan will increase            be approved for optional wear in lieu of summer
from $12.12 to $12.69 and the monthly family plan              white and service khaki when wearing a tie in civilian
premium will increase from $30.29 to $31.72. The               attire is appropriate, such as in an office
National Guard and Reserve monthly sponsor                     environment. It will be available by special order from
premium will increase from $12.12 to $12.69. The               the Navy Exchange uniform centers for purchase.
monthly single premium rate for an Individual Ready            ___________________________________________________
Reserve (IRR) sponsor plan and the separate IRR
single family member plan will increase from $30.29            Interstate Rivalry in Carrier Battle Revived
to $31.72.

                                                               December 30, 2009
       Supporting NERA National                                This article first appeared in AviationWeek.com.
Acquire your tickets from Windy City’s Paul                    Virginia Sen. Jim Webb (D), a former Navy secretary
Smurawski @ 630-782-6657 or                                    and Marine combat veteran, is raising new objections
psmurawski411@comcast.net or on the                            over the Navy's proposal to home-port a nuclear-
NERA National Website: www.nera.org                            powered aircraft carrier in Mayport, Fla. Webb wrote
                                                               Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn last month
Tickets are $25 each or a book of five for $100.               asking him to address such concerns before the
Drawing will be on 16 October 2010.                            Pentagon's Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR)
The 2010 Ford Fusion set a world record by attaining           completes its assessment of the Navy's proposal.
1445 Miles on a single tank of gasoline!
After all NERA has done for you don’t you owe it to            According to his aides, "Webb also questioned the
yourself to try to win this great car?                         transparency of the lobbying efforts by retired Navy
______________________________________________                 Adm. Robert Natter, a former commander of the U.S.
                                                               Atlantic Fleet, who has received more than a million
dollars as a paid lobbyist for the state of Florida and        10 letter from Indiana Rep. Dan Burton, co-signed by
the city of Jacksonville."                                     40 other members of Congress.

Webb, a rising member of the Senate Armed Services             "While the assault and resulting injury to the detainee
Committee, has long opposed the move because it                were relatively minor, the more disconcerting
would leak prestige and economic power from the                allegations are those related to the Sailors' attempts

commonwealth (Aerospace DAILY, Oct. 26). But                   to cover up the incident, particularly in what appears
Virginian arguments have highlighted financial costs
                                                               to be an effort to influence the testimony of a
                                                               witness," Cleveland wrote.
of building up Mayport, previously only capable of
hosting conventionally powered flattops, especially in         Petty Officer 1st Class Julio A. Huertas Jr. and Petty
light of budget constraints and competing priorities.          Officers 2nd Class Matthew McCabe and Jonathan
                                                               Keefe, assigned to SEAL Team Ten at the Little
To that effect, Webb now says the Navy has                     Creek campus of the Joint Expeditionary Base , face
confirmed that its total fiscal 2009 restoration-              multiple misdemeanor charges related to the
modernization backlog of shore infrastructure is               treatment of Ahmed Hashim Abed. Abed is thought to
$36.6 billion, while the deficit in upgrades at the four       be linked to the 2004 killings of four Blackwater
Navy shipyards reaches $3 billion, a sum that                  contractors whose bodies were dragged through the
includes a $907 million shortfall at Norfolk Naval             streets of Fallujah and suspended from a bridge.
Shipyard in his state. Moreover, with recent
congressional approval to dredge Mayport for a
nuclear carrier, the Navy could relocate one there in          McCabe is the only person charged with assaulting
an emergency – but not pay up to $1 billion to do so           Abed. Prosecutors have said he punched Abed in the
permanently.                                                   midsection.
                                                               Huertas and Keefe are charged with dereliction of
                                                               duty for not protecting Abed, and all three
General: SEALs on Trial for Cover-up                           commandos are accused of making a false official

January 02, 2010
                                                               statement when questioned about the incident.
The Virginian-Pilot                                            Huertas also is accused of impeding the
The Army general who ordered three local Navy                  investigation.
SEALs to trial for their involvement in an alleged case
of detainee abuse says he is more upset by the                 "General, surely you agree that we are in a war that
men's apparent attempt to cover up the incident than           we must win," Burton wrote to Cleveland on Dec. 10.
by the "relatively minor" injuries inflicted on a high-        "Our troops and your SEALs need to be bold and
value detainee.                                                decisive in combat; not looking over their shoulder
                                                               fearing legal jeopardy for every action or gesture."
Maj. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland, head of Special
Operations Command Central, wrote to lawmakers                 Citing "press reports," Burton questioned whether
who had questioned the prosecutions that their                 Abed had actually been in the SEALs' custody when
perceptions of the case appear to be based upon                his injuries occurred and said that al-Qaida
"incomplete and factually inaccurate press                     operatives are trained to "self-inflict injuries for the
coverage."                                                     sole purpose of accusing U.S. forces of abuse."

Fox News was the first to report in November that the          Cleveland responded to both points, saying that the
SEALs would be prosecuted for their actions in Iraq            allegations of mistreatment didn't start with Abed and
in early September, spurring tens of thousands of              aren't based solely on his word. Rather, the
people to sign online petitions calling for the charges        allegations were "initially raised by other U.S. service
to be dropped.                                                 members," he wrote.

                                                               And Abed's alleged injuries occurred several hours
The military released Cleveland's two-page letter              after the operation had ended, while he was in U.S.
Wednesday evening. It came in response to a Dec.

custody at a detainee holding facility, not during the         "New Mexico performed superbly on sea trials," said
operation that captured him, Cleveland wrote.                  Rear Adm. William Hilarides, program executive
                                                               officer for submarines. "Her early delivery keeps us
About 100 people gathered to protest the charges               firmly on pace for a 60-month construction span by
when McCabe and Huertas were arraigned Dec. 7 at               the end of the Block II contract."
Norfolk Naval Station.
                                                               Capt. Michael Jabaley, Virginia-class Program
They are scheduled to be tried later this month in             manager, commented, "With the delivery of the sixth
Norfolk. Keefe's trial has been set for April.                 submarine, the Virginia Program continues to provide
                                                               needed capability to the fleet."
All the offenses are misdemeanors punishable by
demotion in rank, up to a year in jail and a bad-              USS North Carolina (SSN 777) and USS New
conduct discharge. Cleveland said he chose to deal             Hampshire (SSN 778), the two submarines delivered
with the incident through non judicial punishment - an         prior to New Mexico, were completed after 82 and 71
option that would have kept the case out of the public         months, respectively. New Mexico completed
eye but could have effectively ended the SEALs'                construction in just 70 months.
                                                               "Raising the bar yet again, the Virginia shipbuilding
The men refused that option and chose to face                  team has completed the fastest delivery to date, with
courts-martial.                                                further improvement soon to follow. This
                                                               improvement in performance positions the team to
Cleveland explained that several factors led him to            double the production rate to two submarines per
refer the cases to courts-martial:                             year in 2011. Keeping the production rate at two per
                                                               year is critical to maintaining the Navy's Attack
                                                               Submarine inventory," Jabaley added.
"Discipline and integrity are primary factors that make
our U.S. special operators such an effective fighting
force. The abuse of a detainee, no matter how minor,           New Mexico's delivery in 2009 wraps up a successful
creates strategic repercussions that harm our                  year for the Virginia-class program. Earlier
nation's security and ultimately costs the lives of U.S.       accomplishments include beginning the construction
citizens," he wrote. "When there are reasonable                of PCU North Dakota (SSN 784) March 2; the keel-
grounds to believe that an offense has been                    laying ceremony of PCU California's (SSN 781) May
committed, and that a specific individual in my                1; USS Texas (SSN 775) completion of the Virginia-
command has committed that offense, it is my duty to           class submarines' first Arctic Ocean testing in
take appropriate action to not only ensure justice is          November; transfers of USS Hawaii (SSN 776) and
done, but also to maintain good order and discipline."         Texas to their new homeport of Pearl Harbor in July
                                                               and November respectively; and the christening
                                                               ceremony of PCU Missouri's (SSN 780) Dec. 5.
In his words "... the more disconcerting allegations
are those related to the Sailors' attempts to cover up
the incident ..." wrote Maj. Gen. Charles T.                   Virginia-class submarines are flexible, multi-mission
Cleveland, head of Special Operations Command                  platforms designed to operate in both open-ocean
Central.                                                       and littoral waters. Their inherent stealth, endurance,
__________________________________________                     and firepower enable them to support the United
                                                               States sea power core capabilities of forward
                                                               presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection,
                                                               and maritime security
PCU New Mexico Delivered to Navy Early
December 30, 2009                                              Servicemen in Haiti Get Special Pay
Navy News

The Navy took delivery of its newest attack                    Week of February 01, 2010
submarine, PCU New Mexico (SSN 779), from                      U.S. Servicemen in Haiti will collect several special entitlements,
Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding (NGSB), four                     including imminent danger pay while deployed, according to the
months earlier than its contract delivery date. New            Army. They will also get hardship duty pay, and servicemen with
Mexico is the sixth Virginia-class submarine and the           families will receive an extra $250 per month in separation pay.
third delivered by NGSB.                                       The deployment will not affect basic allowance for housing.

                                                                  Pay for accrued leave earned in any month you served
    Tax Tips for Military Personnel                               in a combat zone
    Here are some more tips to help service members with
    their taxes.                                                  •           Portion of any student loan repayment made
    With the start to the new year behind us, it is time to             for the year while serving in a combat zone
    once again plan ahead for tax season. With the                    It is important to note that retirement pay and
    exception of those serving in combat zones or                     pensions do not qualify for combat zone exclusion. In
    stationed outside the U.S, most military personnel                some cases, service outside a combat zone can be
    and their families must file taxes by the traditional             considered service in a combat zone if the
    April 15th deadline.                                              Department of Defense designates it in direct support
    As usual, there are a number of unique credits and                of military operations in the combat zone, or if the
    deductions available to service members. This article             service qualifies for duty subject to hostile fire or
    will focus on the deductions available to military                imminent danger pay.
    families for 2009. All information in this piece is               Retirement Contributions
    based on information supplied by the IRS in the
    Armed Forces Tax Guide. For further clarification or              Generally, you can deduct some portion of the
    for additional deductions, as well as information on              contributions you make to your traditional individual
    available tax credits, you should refer to this                   retirement account (IRA) for the year. However, if you
    document.                                                         or your spouse were covered by an employer-
                                                                      maintained plan at any time during the year then not
    It can be found online here:                                      all of these deductions may be eligible. According to
    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p3.pdf.                            the IRS, Armed Forces members (including
                                                                      reservists on active duty for more than 90 days
    Gross Income
                                                                      during the year) are considered covered by an
    Military service members receive many different                   employer-maintained retirement plan.
    types of pay. For tax purposes, it is important to
    identify the types of pay and allowances that can be              Keep in mind that military personnel qualify for
    excluded from your gross income. These exclusions                 additional time to make contributions to an IRA. It is
    generally include: living allowances, moving                      also important to note that even though combat pay
    allowances, travel allowances, combat zone pay, and               is nontaxable, you must calculate it as part of your
    death allowances. Excluded items are not subject to               limits on IRA contributions and deductions of IRA
    tax, but may have to be shown in your tax return.                 contributions.
    Below, we will examine some of these exclusions as                Sale of a Home
    well as relevant deductions from income in more
    detail.                                                           You may not have to pay tax on all of the profit
                                                                      realized from the sale of your main home. A
    Combat Zone Exclusion                                             deduction of up to $250,000 of gain (or $500,000 if
    If you are a member of the Armed Forces serving in a              married, filing jointly) is generally available upon the
    designated combat zone, then you can exclude                      sale of a main home in 2009. A main home is one
    certain pay from your income. The month for which                 defined as having been lived in as a primary
    you receive this pay must be a month in which you                 residence for more than two years. You may also be
    either served in a combat zone or were hospitalized               able to exclude gain from the sale of a home that was
    as a result of wounds, disease, or injury obtained                used as a rental or business property as long as it
    while serving in the combat zone. You need only                   meets certain ownership test criteria outlined by the
    serve for one or more days in a month to qualify for              IRS. You cannot deduct a loss from the sale of your
    exclusion for the entire month. A few examples of                 main home.
    pay types eligible for exclusion include:                         Moving Expense
•          Active duty pay earned in any month you                    If you are a member of the Armed Forces on active
      served in a combat zone                                         duty and you move because of a permanent change
                                                                      of station, then you are entitled to a deduction for
•          Imminent danger/hostile fire pay
                                                                      reasonable un-reimbursed moving expenses related
•          A reenlistment bonus if this extension occurs              to travel and the cost of moving household goods
      in a month you served in a combat zone                          and personal effects.

    Travel expenses                                                   Educational expenses

    You are able to deduct un-reimbursed work-related                 You can deduct the cost of work-related education as
    travel expenses when you are traveling away from                  long as it meets one of two qualifying criteria as
    your permanent duty station. You cannot deduct                    defined by the IRS:
    expenses related to travel overseas when you are
    stationed there, or when you are traveling for                •          It is required by your employer or the law to
    personal reasons. You are considered away from                      maintain your salary, status or job. This must also
    home when you are away from your permanent duty                     serve a bona fide business purpose of your
    station for longer than an ordinary day’s work and                  employer.
    you need sleep or food. Eligible expenses include
    business-related meals, lodging, laundry, and                 •         It maintains or improves skills needed in your
    business phone calls.                                               present work.

    If you are a member of a reserve component of the                 In both instances, this education cannot be used
    Armed Forces that must travel more than 100 miles                 simply to meet minimum job requirements or cannot
    away from home in connection with your service,                   be used to find a new trade or business. With some
    then you can deduct your travel expenses as an                    exceptions, travel and expenses for obtaining this
    adjustment to income.                                             education can also be deducted.
                                                                      Updated for tax year 2009.
    Transportation expenses
    The costs of traveling from one workplace to another,
    attending a business meeting away from your regular
    workplace, or traveling away from home overnight                  Retiree’s Retreat
    can be deducted from your income. However, the
    expenses of commuting to your regular place of work
    are not deductible. For reservists, if a meeting of a             This is a yardstick to measure the value of SBP.
    reserve unit is held on a day of regular work, then               For the next issue we’re working on a Social Security
    related travel expenses are deductible.                           retirement age yardstick !

    Uniform expenses
                                                                      Too Many Retirees Turn Down SBP
    Generally, these are not deductible, except when
    regulations prohibit you from wearing uniforms off                Clarification- In the last issue we offered a comparative
    duty. In this case, you can then deduct the un-                   analysis of the pros vs. cons of signing onto to
    reimbursed cost and expense of upkeep of the                      Survivors Benefit Plan (for
    uniforms. According to the IRS, examples include:
                                                                      spouses). When it is within my capability I convert
•          Military dress uniforms and utility uniforms               data pertinent to active duty to its reservist equivalent.
      that you cannot wear when off duty                              A few questions from our readers made me aware of a
                                                                      potentially misleading discrepancy. In an example I
•          Articles not replacing regular clothing such as            used the case of a forty year old active duty retiree,
                                                                      and stated his SBP premium would no longer be
      insignia of rank, epaulets, and swords
                                                                      deducted after thirty years of payments; his age was
                                                                      70. Reservists do not receive their retirement until age
•          Reservists’ uniforms if they can only be worn
                                                                      sixty. Their thirty years of premium payments begin at
      while performing reservist duties                               that point; therefore they will pay their premium until
                                                                      ninety years of age (or when the retired reservist dies}.
    Professional dues
                                                                      In a fashion that gives reservists an upper hand in that
                                                                      the active duty retiree is likely to pay his premiums for
    You can deduct dues paid to any professional society
                                                                      thirty years, whereas the current life expectancy
    that is directly related to your military position (ex.           tables do not indicate that the retired reservist will live
    engineering society), but you cannot deduct dues                  beyond ninety. I appreciate the feedback from our
    paid to an officers’ club or a noncommissioned                    readers.
    officers’ club.                                                   __________________________________________

Eye Glasses for Retirees                                       all four years, and you earn a 32% bonus, plus all
Week of January 18, 2010                                       accumulated cost-of-living adjustments.

All retirees, even TRICARE for Life recipients, may            A lower-earning spouse can claim a benefit based on
receive one pair of standard issue glasses each year           his or her work record at age 62. Or the spouse can
from the Naval Ophthalmic Support and Training
Activity. Visit the NOSTRA website and select the              claim a "spousal" benefit, as long as the higher-
"How to Order: Retirees" link for more information.            earning spouse has started collecting benefits. If the
Family members and surviving spouses are not                   lower earner is at full retirement age, he or she can
entitled to NOSTRA support. Learn more about                   collect a benefit that's 50% of the higher earner's
TRICARE vision benefits at the TRICARE beneficiary             primary insurance amount.
                                                               However, if the lower earner collects a spousal
                                                               benefit before reaching full retirement age, the
 WC Chapter’s Social Security Retirement Timing                benefit will be reduced by a set percentage. For
                  Yardstick                                    instance, if the spouse claims at 64 and 3 months,
These strategies will help you make the most of                the spousal benefit will be 42.7% of the higher
your benefits. By Jim Premeske based on                        earner's benefit. And if the lower-earning spouse
Kiplingers and Social Security Administration                  collects his or her own benefit early and then "steps
Data                                                           up" to the spousal benefit later, that spousal benefit
                                                               will also be reduced.
When is the most beneficial age to apply for Social
Security? You can claim early (age 62)and take a                At the risk of inviting accusations of sexism, I’ll refer
smaller monthly payment for a longer period of time.           to the lower-earning spouse as the wife. That's the
Or you can claim later, collecting a larger benefit that       way it usually is, and she tends to live longer than the
is based on your shorter life expectancy. Your                 husband, too.
decision depends on many things beyond your need
for the money: whether you're married, your spouse's
                                                               First, if you're single. It usually makes sense to wait
earnings compared with yours, how much you have
                                                               until full retirement age to start claiming benefits,
saved and your health.
                                                               unless you expect to die early or need the money
Your goal is to maximize your Social Security                  sooner. This is especially true for women, who are
benefits, but not all beneficiaries understand how to          more likely to reach the "break-even age," when the
make the most of this guaranteed source of inflation-          total value of full benefits equals what you would
adjusted income.                                               have received by claiming reduced benefits earlier.

Before we review the strategies, you need to know              Unless you have significant savings, it generally pays
some Social Security basics. If you were born                  for singles to claim at 66, says Henry Hebeler,
between 1943 and 1954, you can claim your full                 creator of the Web site AnalyzeNow.com. Many
benefit, called the primary insurance amount, at age           singles will not have enough savings to support a
66. The earliest you can claim Social Security is 62.          delay until age 70, Hebeler says. But a single person
But your benefit will be permanently                           who collects at 62 is more likely to run out of money
                                                               at an earlier age than someone with the same
reduced by a certain percentage for each month you             amount of savings who waits until 66, he says. "It
claim before your 66th birthday. For instance, if you          usually works out that a single person should take
claim at age 62, you'll get 75% of your full benefit. If       benefits at full retirement age," he says.
you claim at 64 and 9 months, you'll receive 90%.
                                                               You can use a free program on Hebeler's site to
For each year you delay claiming benefits between
                                                               make your own calculations. Plug in your savings, tax
66 and 70, your benefit will increase by 8%. Hold off
                                                               bracket, annual spending and assumptions on

investment growth. You can see how long your                    will be less than 50% of your benefit if she applies
money will last based on when you start taking your             before her full retirement age). You immediately
benefits.                                                       request a voluntary suspension for your own benefits.
                                                                Your wife would then get spousal checks, and you
                                                                can earn a bigger benefit when you reapply later.
Married men should delay. Married couples can
maximize total benefits by coordinating their start             James Mahaney, vice-president of Prudential
dates. The top goal is to increase the benefit for the          Financial, recalls one couple who didn't realize they
surviving spouse, who gets 100% of the higher-                  could "file and suspend." The husband didn't want to
earning spouse's benefit when he dies. If the higher-           collect until 70. "They were leaving money on the
earning husband delays until 70, his survivor will get          table," he says. Once they learned of this strategy,
an extra 32% plus cost-of-living adjustments.                   the wife applied for a monthly spousal benefit of
                                                                $1,000 -- a nice pot over four years. If the husband
There are two ways that the surviving spouse would              dies first, she'll collect a higher survivor benefit.
get less than 100% of her husband's primary
insurance amount. If he collects Social Security
before age 66, his benefit -- and his wife's survivor           Claim a spousal benefit. Like the man above,
benefit -- will be lower. Also, the survivor benefit will       you're at full retirement age and you want to delay
be reduced if the husband dies and the wife collects            until 70. But you can still get benefits now -- a
the survivor benefit before turning 66. If she waits            spousal benefit. If your lower-earning spouse is at
until her full retirement age, she'll get 100% of the           least 62, she could claim her own benefit. You can
survivor benefit. The size of her survivor benefit,             then apply for a spousal benefit. At 70, you switch to
however, will not be affected if she collects her own           your own higher benefit. This strategy offers you and
benefit or a spousal benefit early.                             your spouse several advantages: Your wife's survivor
                                                                benefit will be higher if you die first, and you'll be
For many couples, a husband should claim at 70
while the lower-earning wife should start collecting at
62, according to a study by Boston College's Center
for Retirement Research. Because the husband is                 bringing extra income into the household until you
likely to die earlier, the study says, he will increase         reach 70. At that point, your wife can switch to a
the value of the survivor benefit by delaying. As for           spousal benefit based on what you would have
the wife, even though her benefit will be reduced by            received at 66.
25%, the authors figured that her reduced benefit is            Example: a woman started collecting her own benefit
only temporary. After her husband                               just short of full retirement age. Her monthly benefit is
                                                                about $1,000. Her husband gets a spousal benefit of
                                                                about $500. If he had claimed at 66, he would have
dies, she will step up to the higher survivor benefit. In       collected more than $1,925 a month. By waiting until
the meantime, the household is bringing in extra                70, his benefit will be 32% higher, plus COLA
income.                                                         adjustments. By not taking the benefit, it's like
 Let's say you're at full retirement age. You'd like to         investing the money and seeing it grow, And if he
delay collecting benefits until 70. If your wife is 62 or       dies first, his wife will be left with the bigger survivor
older, she could collect benefits based on her own              benefit.
work record, but she'd get more money with a
spousal benefit. A problem: She can't apply for the             Note that the higher-earning spouse cannot use this
spousal benefit until you file for your own benefit.            tactic -- known as "restricting an application" to
Here's what you do. You file for your own benefit,              spousal benefits -- if he's younger than full retirement
and your wife applies for the spousal benefit (which            age.

The retirement do-over.                                          Pertinent facts: There are issues to consider in weighing
                                                                 your decisions. Remember that you may need a sufficient
Last year a couple 67 and 65, decided to repay their             income for a very long time; people are living longer,
benefits. After mailing in a Request for Withdrawal of           generally women live longer than men. A typical 65 year
                                                                 old today will live to 85; one
Application (SSA Form 521), the government told
them that the repayment tab was about $84,000.                   in four 65 year olds will live to ninety; one in ten 65 year
They took the money from a 3% market account.                    olds will live to 95.
Because each year of delay boosts a benefit by more              Even if you defer your S.S. retirement benefits you
than twice that rate (not including the COLA), they              should sign up for Medicare three months before
figured he was getting a nice return on his                      reaching age 65. That’s also when Tricare steps
investment.                                                      back to allow Medicare to be the primary payer of
                                                                 your medical costs. More on this transition in a future
At the time they repaid their benefits, he was                   newsletters.
receiving $1,580 a month. He reapplied soon after
                                                                 Figuring out Social Security rules is like dealing with
and now receives $2,196 a month -- $616 more. By                 the IRS: don’t expect them to provide you guidance
repaying $84,000 in past benefits, he "bought" an                on how to outsmart them! Consider then following
additional $616 a month in inflation-adjusted income.            free sources of information:
That's less than what it would cost to buy an inflation-
protected immediate annuity with a 100% survivor                 Social Security-Retirement Benefits (No.05-10024)./
benefit from a low-cost annuity provider.                        Your retirement Benefit: How it is figured (No.05-
                                                                 10070) / Windfall elimination provision (No. 05-
If he dies first, she would receive his full benefit. His        10045) / Government pension offset (No.05-10007)
                                                                 a specific pamphlet on military service is available.
higher benefit also means that her spousal benefit               Phone 1-800-772-1213 for additional information.
will be bigger. And he will be able to recoup the                Calculate future retirement benefits at
income taxes he paid on the benefits he gave back.               www.socialsecurity.gov
He says that he's owed a credit of about $8,200,
reducing his repayment cost even further. (Check                 Upcoming yardsticks: Retiring and the IRS, Guide to
IRS Publication 915 for instructions.)                           Tri-Care choices.
One word of caution: Although this do-over strategy
works well if you were already collecting benefits, it's
                                                                 First female four-star general
riskier to plan to collect reduced benefits now with the         to be promoted
intention of repaying them later. You might not live
long enough to take advantage of the repayment                   BY ROBERT BURNS
strategy. In that case, your spouse would be left with           AP Military Writer | Friday, November 14, 2008 |
a reduced survivor benefit.                                      WASHINGTON (AP) -- From its humble beginning 33
                                                                 years ago at Fort Sill, Okla., the career of Ann E.
Remember, Medicare premiums are deducted from                    Dunwoody is ascending to a peak never before
Social Security checks. When you withdraw an                     reached by a woman in the U.S. military: four-star
application, you must pay back all the benefits,
including the benefits that paid your Medicare                   At a Pentagon promotion ceremony Friday,
premiums. But if you don't intend to reapply for Social          Dunwoody was adding a fourth star and later, at Fort
Security for several years, be clear that you are                Belvoir, Va., -- her birthplace -- being sworn in as
withdrawing from Social Security but not Medicare.               commander of the Army Materiel Command,
                                                                 responsible for equipping, outfitting and arming all
You will pay your Medicare premium separately. You
                                                                 soldiers. Just five months ago, she became the first
can test out the payback strategy on Hebeler's Web               female deputy commander there.
site, AnalyzeNow.com.

Dunwoody, 55, has made it clear that she feels no              Afganistan- Our continuing coverage of that
need for special acclaim for her historic achievement.         battlefield from perspectives not provided by the
                                                               general media.
"The recognition makes her a little bit uncomfortable          _________________________________________
                                                               Windy City Chapter meeting is: February 9, 2010 @ 2000 hours

from the standpoint of the gender aspect -- that we're
making a big deal (that) she is the first female
                                                               Strykers not as effective in Afghanistan as IRAQ
general officer," Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon
spokesman, said Thursday in announcing that
Defense Secretary Robert Gates would attend her
promotion ceremony.
When she was nominated by President George W.
Bush in June for promotion to four-star rank,
Dunwoody issued a statement saying she was
"I grew up in a family that didn't know what glass
ceilings were," she said. "This nomination only
reaffirms what I have known to be true about the
military throughout my career -- that the doors
continue to open for men and women in uniform."

She also told an internal Army publication, "While I
may be the first, I know I won't be the last."                 One of the things we want to get into with this
Her nomination was confirmed by the Senate in July.            newsletter is the issue of what works and what
                                                               doesn’t in terms of combat vehicles in Afghanistan.
Dunwoody has chosen not to grant interviews to                 Roadside bombs and military grade land mines
news organizations since her nomination. She was               continue to cause the largest number of U.S.
scheduled to hold a news conference at the                     casualties there. If there are new tactics or pieces of
Pentagon after her promotion ceremony on Friday.               equipment that can aid in the counter-IED fight we
There are 21 female general officers in the Army -- all        want to know about it.
but four at the one-star rank of brigadier. It was not          Why are there no heavy brigade combat teams in
until 1970 that the Army had its first one-star: Anna          Afghanistan and are the relative merits between
Mae Hays, chief of the Army Nurse Corps.                       tracked and wheeled vehicles on that battlefield? The
                                                               main reason there aren’t any heavy brigades in
Women now make up about 14 percent of the active-              Afghanistan is that pretty much everything must be
duty Army and are allowed to serve in a wide variety           flown into the country and flying in an entire heavy
of assignments. They are still excluded from units             brigade, or even a mechanized battalion, is not
designed primarily to engage in direct combat, such            altogether realistic. Not to mention providing fuel and
as infantry and tank units, but their opportunities            spare parts for a heavy unit once its there. The
have expanded over the past two decades.                       Russians could just drive their stuff across the
Dunwoody received her Army commission after                    “Friendship” Bridge in the 1980s. We don’t have that
graduating from the State University of New York in            luxury.
1975.                                                          The dismal state of the Afghan road network, and the
Her first assignment was to Fort Sill, as supply               heavily mountainous terrain, place real limits on
platoon leader in June 1976, and she remained at Sill          where tracked vehicles could even go. The Soviets
in various positions until she was sent to                     found their tanks were more useful as mobile
quartermaster officer school at Fort Lee, Va., in July         pillboxes guarding bases and combat outposts than
1980.                                                          as offensive weapons. The mujaheddin would usually
She later served in Germany and Saudi Arabia.                  lay low if tanks were prowling about.
After graduating from the Command and General
Staff College in 1987, she was assigned to Fort                A couple of points about the Stryker vehicle’s
Bragg, N.C., where she became the 82nd Airborne                performance in Afghanistan that I want to highlight: H
Division's first female battalion commander.                   the wheeled-vehicles haven’t performed as well as
                                                               expected (some 21 vehicles lost to IEDs since last

summer) because the network architecture that                         rarely discuss because of opposition here to American
provides vital communications and intelligence                        boots on Pakistani soil. Unlike Afghanistan and Iraq,
between vehicles doesn’t exist there like it did in Iraq.             Pakistan does not allow U.S. combat troops on its territory,
                                                                      making training local security forces an important part of
He says:
                                                                      ensuring that militants are not able to use the area as a
The connectivity from theater to home station in the                  sanctuary from which to attack American and NATO
past and today (unlike in Iraq) remains virtually non-                troops across the border in Afghanistan. The U.S. has also
existent in Afghanistan. The networks within theater                  relied on drone missile strikes to target militants in

(i.e. within Afghanistan) are not as robust as in Iraq                Pakistan's semiautonomous tribal area near the Afghan
nor are the information platforms (like UAVs, etc) as                 border. A senior intelligence official said Wednesday that
plentiful in Afghanistan as they have been in Iraq.
                                                                      U.S. counterterrorism officials believe Pakistani Taliban
These key factors explain why Stryker formations in                   leader Hakimullah Mehsud is dead following one such
Afghanistan have been unable to capitalize upon                       strike last month. The official spoke on condition of
their superior on-board electronic and                                anonymity to discuss sensitive security matters. The
                                                                      statement came after days of posturing by Pakistani
communications architecture not only to enhance
                                                                      Taliban officials, who first said they would prove their
their protection, but, more importantly, to become                    leader was alive and well, then reversed course and said
more effective in their mission.                                      they saw no need to prove it. It was unclear whether
_________________________________________                             Wednesday's bombing had any connection to Mehsud's
                                                                      reported death. The group stepped up attacks last year
Pakistan: Bomber Rammed U.S. Soldiers’ Car                            after Mehsud's predecessor was also killed in a U.S. drone
February 04, 2010
Associated Press                                                      The Soldiers killed Wednesday were part of a small group
                                                                      of American Soldiers training members of the paramilitary
ISLAMABAD --- The suicide bomber who killed three U.S.                Frontier Corps, Pakistan's army and the U.S. Embassy
Soldiers in northwestern Pakistan rammed his                          said. The mission is trying to strengthen the ill-equipped
                                                                      and poorly trained outfit's ability to fight militants.
car into their vehicle, raising questions about whether the           While not a secret, neither the Pakistanis nor the
attacker had inside information on the location of the                Americans have talked much about the program because
troops, police said Thursday. The attack, which occurred              of the political sensitivity in Pakistan of accepting
Wednesday in the former Pakistani Taliban stronghold of               American assistance. While the government in Islamabad
Lower Dir, came as U.S. intelligence officials said they              is closely allied with Washington, America is deeply
believe the militant group's chief recently died from injuries        unpopular among many Pakistanis, even those who
sustained in a U.S. drone strike in mid-January. Police               recognize that fighting militants is in their country's
official Naeem Khan said Pakistani authorities are                    interest. The Soldiers killed Wednesday were driving to
investigating whether the bomber knew the Soldiers, who               attend the inauguration of a girl's school, but the school
were training Pakistani forces to fight the Taliban and al-           that was damaged in the blast was not the one where the
Qaida, would be passing through Shahi Koto town where                 convoy was heading. Two U.S. officials, speaking on
the attack occurred and which vehicle to target out of the            condition of anonymity because the incident was still under
5-car convoy.                                                         review, said at least one of the three American Soldiers
"We launched a massive search in the area yesterday,                  was a member of a unit designed to help local authorities
and now about 35 suspects are in our custody and we are               publicize positive news --- in this case, apparently, the
questioning them in an effort to trace those who                      opening of a girls school, which the embassy said had
orchestrated the suicide attack," Khan told The Associated            been renovated with U.S. humanitarian assistance. Two
Press. "God willing, we will capture those responsible for            local journalists in the convoy were under the impression
this carnage."                                                        that the Soldiers, who were in civilian clothes, were
The blast also killed three girls at a nearby school and a            American journalists because of comments from a
Pakistani paramilitary soldier traveling with the Americans.          Pakistani soldier suggesting that was the case.
Two more U.S. Soldiers were wounded, along with about
100 other people, mostly students at the school. Several              Express TV reporter Amjad Ali Shah said as the convoy
were left trapped, bloodied and screaming in the rubble.              was about to leave from a paramilitary base, a Pakistani
U.S. officials said Wednesday it did not appear the                   soldier entered the room and said to an officer, "Sir, the
Soldiers were specifically targeted in the attack, and initial        foreign journalists have arrived," in an apparent reference
reports indicated the blast was caused by a roadside                  to the American contingent.
bomb. The latest information raises the specter of a
militant informant close to the training mission.

The Soldiers' deaths were the first known U.S. military
fatalities in nearly three years in Pakistan's Afghan border
region, drawing attention to a training program officials


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